As internet users in the 21st century, we’re all familiar with information overload.
We experience it on our social media feeds, where it’s possible to scroll for hours without running out of content.
We experience it when we do a Google search and come up with 50 different sites offering essentially the same information.
And we certainly experience it when we’re shopping for something, whether it’s a new baseball glove for our kid or new cloud enterprise software for our business. And considering that a B2B purchase like software is far more expensive than something like a baseball glove, those purchases require far more research and brand interaction—and that’s where B2B marketing comes in.
Let’s take a closer look.
Listen to Zen founder Shama Hyder talk B2B marketing and PR on the 2B Bolder podcast.
Why you can’t only rely on your sales team for B2B selling
It used to be that if someone wanted to understand a product or solution, they needed to sit down with sales. Information for customers was scarce, and often, it was only available through a company’s sales staff. So, it made sense for B2Bs to focus on funneling all their customers over to sales.
Now, consumers are doing their own homework. According to a survey by WebFX, 57% of B2B buyers are more than halfway through the decision process by the time they reach out to a sales team.
And with more information out there than ever before, to make waves in your industry, you need to be a part of every story, you need to come up in the search results, and you need to be connecting with your audience online.
Think of it this way: Why do Goliaths keep selling when the Davids have the better products?
Because people have heard of the Goliaths.
It’s safe to go with a well-known brand. To compete as a B2B in today’s market, you have to get your name and information out there. This is even more true for B2Bs than B2Cs since a B2B decision puts your buyer’s reputation at risk and can involve tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars year over year.
If you aren’t being transparent about pricing, offering up the information your buyer needs to make a decision, and creating valuable content on a regular basis, you risk fading into the background while your potential buyers flock to your largest competitors.
How to beat information overload with B2B marketing
If there’s already too much information out there for your buyers to digest, how are you supposed to get your own B2B content to break through the noise?
There are a few critical elements.
- Choose your niche and speak directly to them—don’t try to appeal to every buyer.
- Publish content that adds practical value to your buyers’ journey.
- Stay top of mind through owned, earned, and paid media.
Choose your niche and speak directly to them—don’t try to appeal to every buyer.
You’re probably familiar with the saying that if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one.
This is just as true in B2B marketing as anywhere else. If you want your brand to be findable online, you can’t try to compete with megacompanies like Salesforce or Amazon Web Services. Instead, you need to figure out exactly who your customers are, then speak to them directly.
This requires a good understanding of your audience personas, market research, and working with your sales teams to identify the pain points and desires of the customers you’re after, both current and potential. Your sales and customer service teams can be an invaluable resource here, as they are the ones who are actually interacting with your customers every day.
Once you’ve figured out who your customers are and what they want to hear about, it’s time to kick your B2B content marketing into gear. Blog posts, videos, infographics, and case studies are good places to start.
Publish content that adds practical value to your buyers’ journey.
It’s important to create content for every stage of the buyer journey, including the post-purchase stage, which often gets forgotten.
If you know your audience’s pain points, then you’ll have a good idea of where to start: create content that addresses those pain points explicitly. Explain a particularly knotty step in your setup process for your current customers, or create a chart comparing your product to close competitors.
You want whatever content you create to give your buyers what they need to move to the next step in the B2B funnel—whichever step that might be.
Stay top of mind through owned, earned, and paid media.
Your owned media—in other words, the content you create, from social media posts to blogs—alone isn’t enough to turn prospects into buyers.
You also need earned media (PR placements) and paid media (advertising).
Together, these types of media create real credibility for your brand that they can’t do alone. While owned media is essential for those wanting information about your brand and product, earned media can convince them that you’re a leader in your industry. After all, if you weren’t, media outlets wouldn’t be talking to you.
Earned media can take the form of interviews on podcasts or broadcast/online shows, press coverage, social media mentions, reviews, and mentions in trade publications.
Paid media is any exposure you’ve paid for: Google ads or social media ads, display ads, influencer marketing campaigns, social sponsorships, etc. These forms of media are critical because they get your name in front of your potential buyers. And repeated exposure is important if you want your brand to be memorable. Repetition drives revenue.
B2B marketing may have gotten more challenging with the information overload, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Partnering with a B2B marketing agency like Zen Media can help you develop a strategy to get you in front of your target audience and usher them along in the buyer journey. Reach out today to get started!