- Posted by Connor Haslam
- On April 13, 2017
- 0 Comments
Content marketing. We know it works in a B2C environment; you’re communicating directly with your potential customers in a setting where they feel comfortable, it makes sense that it works. But what about B2B content marketing? Can a tweet really drive revenue when your customers are other businesses? Let’s start with a historic example of content marketing to answer this:
Do you think content marketing is a relatively new tactic? Well, back in 1895 John Deere started circulating the magazine The Furrow which delivered tips to farmers on how to become more profitable. To quote James O’Brien of Contently, “The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return.” John Deere gave their readers something that provided them with lots of value to the reader’s business, and in return, they earned the business of their readers. Content marketing began in a B2B environment, and the magazine still reaches 1.5 million readers today.
OK, so we know content marketing is almost as old as our home and native land but is it still relevant today? Let’s jump into some modern day examples.
If blogging existed in 1895, The Furrow would’ve been an online publication; the same content, but in a new medium. And that’s because the principles behind content marketing haven’t changed in over a hundred years: provide value in order to earn value in return. And blog posts are extremely valuable to your potential customer because they offer them knowledge on a topic they’re already interested in.
What was John Deere’s goal when publishing The Furrow? Drive foot traffic and potential customers to their stores. So what should your goal be with your blog? Drive online traffic and potential customers to your website. Your site is like a digital storefront, and it’s where you will inevitably capture most of your business.
How do we know blogging works when it comes to B2B content marketing? Well to take an example from our own backyard, by using Google Analytics, we know that 9 out of 10 of the most popular pages on our website are blog posts, and some of these were published years ago. Blogging is one of the most powerful tactics we use to drive traffic to our own digital storefront.
If you have an email address, you’ve most definitely received an email newsletter sometime in the past. And the point of those emails? They can be geared towards driving traffic to the company’s website, highlight a sale for particular products, the list goes on. But what do all of these have in common? They’re aimed at driving revenue for the business sending the emails. So how can we prove email marketing works? Let’s discuss a case in point.
For one of our clients, we send email newsletters every Wednesday. Their target audience is composed of executive directors and front of line staff at nonprofit agencies. The emails are designed to highlight our client’s newest workshops that may interest their audience. Here’s a screenshot from Google Analytics of their website traffic:
Notice something? It spikes every Wednesday. Coincidence? I think not. And the email newsletters aren’t just driving traffic towards their website, they’re also resulting in direct registrations for their workshops. Registrations equal revenue, and revenue is the goal. Mission accomplished.
Social media is an environment where you can build brand awareness, establish yourself as a thought leader, and continue to drive traffic to your site. With the proper use of hashtags, you can open yourself up to an already established audience of people searching for content that’s related to what you have to offer. People can click on the hashtag, as an example for “B2B Content Marketing,” and Twitter can pull together a list of all the tweets on the given subject. You can also promote blog posts that you’ve already written as well. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Check out our customer success story for Sales for Life and learn how we used social media (among other tactics) in order to increase traffic to their website and blog by 300%.
Digital Promotion Translating to the Real World
OK, so not every company operates solely digitally, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of digital strategies in order to increase their physical world presence. Take the Golden Horseshoe Venture Forum (GHVF) for example. They host five events a year that allow entrepreneurs to present their companies to investors and venture capitalists, but their issue was that they still needed to promote the event in a setting where they could reach a massive audience with very little effort. We worked with them to design a new website and further develop event content which led to an average increase in attendance by over 30% and at the same time grew their email distribution list by over 40%.
Check out our success story with GHVF.
At some point the argument of whether B2B content marketing works or doesn’t work stops being an argument. It’s a decision of which content marketing tactic(s) will work best for your business. It takes a marvellous combination of art and science to get the most out of your content marketing, and it’s about time you jumped on the 100-year-old bandwagon.
Want more examples of B2B content marketing? Check out our Twitter feed or some of our downloadable (and free) white papers.