When most people think of content marketing, the brands that spring to mind are often B2C – consumer-focused giants like Red Bull or Go Pro.
But by far the biggest beneficiaries of content marketing are, in fact, B2B companies.
Research shows that the most successful B2B marketers spend 40% of their marketing budget on content marketing. After all, businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales (for 33% less cost) than non-nurtured prospects.
So what can we learn from B2B industries that are at the cutting edge? Here, we look at three sectors and show how success is possible for both large and small companies.
SME-insurance broker Simply Business reached 1st place in Search Engine Results Pages for product-related terms by devising a radical new content strategy
Few B2B insurance companies enjoy the luxury of being wanted or popular. In many cases their clients deal with them because they have to, or because it’s too much of a risk not to. To counter poor conversion rates and low traffic to their website, Simply Business knew that it had to change its strategy.
So how did they get around low interest in a ‘boring’ unpopular industry – and how could that help you with your business?
In what turns out to have been a masterstroke, Simply Business decided not to base its content marketing strategy on its own products and services at all, but to become a small business champion by developing a series of guides on content strategy for small businesses. In short, the aim of their content strategy was to help their existing and prospective SME clients create solutions to their problems.
The first guide gained impressive social traction, and within a couple of months, Simply Business had grown its social following by 30% and organic weekly website traffic by 25%, as well as seeing a sharp jump in search visibility. It now has a following of over 20,000 users on Twitter, which it uses to distribute regular content.
The key take-away here?
Despite the fact that all its efforts were dedicated to helping clients and prospective clients, its own products enjoyed greater visibility, too. Its content has also garnered a much larger audience to establish Simply Business’ name as SME champions and an expert resource.
And the icing on the cake? Current clients who had seen just one of the Simply Business small-business guides were 30% more likely to renew existing policies as clients who hadn’t.
2. Professional services & consulting
Deloitte’s educational content hub attracts 10 million hits per month
When you offer a variety of services across numerous industries, it’s not always easy to target a particular audience.
But it’s a crucial point to consider, because 87% of US B2B companies in 2019 used digital content marketing. Why? Because studies show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing techniques, but generates three times as many leads.
So, how can you target your audience more effectively?
Deloitte devised a way to keep content targeted by creating Deloitte Insights. An educational content hub, it covers 12 different topics – from digital transformation to diversity and inclusion – across 13 industry sectors, from financial services to healthcare. From podcasts to articles, the hub is generated by Deloitte’s worldwide specialists, which is why it attracts over 10 million visits per month.
The key take-aways here?
If you improve the way you trace which content gets the most visitors, and which key words people search, you’ll improve traffic flow.
So, organise content by topics. Delve into the data and give structure to your content.
Use all the top distribution networks – the top five platforms that B2B uses to distribute content are email (93%), social media (92%), blog posts (79%) real-life and in-person events (56%), virtual events and webinars (55%). According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most successful B2B companies use all five formats to distribute their content.
3. Pharmaceuticals and healthcare
The top four players account for nearly two-thirds of the entire industry’s search traffic
As things stand, the majority of search traffic and social engagement can be found in the top four companies: Johnson & Johnson, Merck (and its Sigma Aldrich website), Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Pfizer. In fact, these four account for 53% of social engagement and 63% of search traffic for the entire pharmaceutical industry.
In SEO alone, for example, Merck gets an estimated 6.6m search referrals from a large library of resources on chemistry theory, whilst Thermo Fisher attracts over five million clicks from search every month by publishing a variety of technical articles.
But life isn’t so rosy for the rest of the top 50. Here, the landscape is characterised by minimal traffic from search engines or social engagement.
So, how can you avoid the pitfalls some pharma content has faced?
It’s clear the sector is creating a lot of content – nearly 60% of the industry is spending USD 50m per annum on content development – but industry analysis shows only 11% of respondents within the sector said they had a clear content strategy. And that’s low. The figure for most other industries is over 40%.
The key take-aways here?
Establish the overall objective of your marketing strategy. This will guide your content. Distinguish between a copywriting strategy and a content marketing strategy. Orientate content to help clients and prospective clients achieve their potential. Sustain all five channels that the successful B2B players use for content.
What can you do for your clients?
With 96% of B2B buyers wanting content from industry experts, it pays to focus on what you can do to help your existing and prospective clients. While it’s clear that B2B content marketing is effective, it’s also clear that ‘boring’ or ‘unpopular’ industries can be radical and innovative, too. And gain great results.