4 Best Practices for Creating Engaging B2B Content

There’s a massive amount of content on the web today. Even before the global pandemic that forced everyone to stay home, reports indicated that over two-thirds of all data on the web was created sometime in the last few years.

Unfortunately, a lot of that data isn’t practical. The same is true in the world of B2B content. Many companies are embracing the practice – more than 4 in 5 B2B marketers use content marketing as a strategy, according to HubSpot surveys from 2021.

The problem? Not enough companies are doing content well. The prevalence of content marketing strategy means that many organizations are rushing to put out content simply “to have something there,” or even worse, just as a way to game SEO algorithms to increase their page rankings.

If this sounds like your company’s strategy, it needs to make a change. Whether creating content for a specific part of your funnel or more generalized marketing content, here are four tips to give you a better chance of engaging your audience.

Remove Fluff and Filler Ruthlessly

If you’ve done any kind of search recently related to any type of marketing or digital business phrase, you’ve probably noticed a common issue. There’s a lot of useless content out there. Sure, you can still find valuable stuff on any subject, and Google has been trying its hardest to update its algorithm quickly enough to weed out low-quality search results. But the proliferation of content and search engine marketing means there are still plenty of pages designed just to help the publisher move up search engine results – not to help someone in their target audience.

There are two simple (but not always easy) methods for making your content more valuable. First, you have to cut all fluff and filler from your content. Be ruthless – if there’s a question about whether or not something is worth including, you should probably scrap it. This ruthlessness even extends to things writers love, like using outside anecdotes or drawn-out metaphors.

It’s particularly important to make your content easy to interpret and valuable when it’s being used further down your B2B funnel. Decision-makers at companies making significant purchases usually want to maximize their time considering different vendors and solutions. Sifting through unnecessarily long content doesn’t give them a positive perspective of your company or its offering.

It’s particularly important to make your content easy to interpret and valuable when it’s being used further down your B2B funnel. Click To Tweet

The second important step in removing fluff and filler is making your content more digestible so prospects can scan and read it more quickly. This method is called “scannable content.” According to Microsoft, a few essential strategies for scannable content include:

  • Put your most important content above the fold or the part of the page the user doesn’t need to scroll down to see.
  • Be brief, clear, and concise. Don’t use more words than you need.
  • Include navigation options for a long document.

You might also think about using progress bars or page numbers so users know how much more they have left in the content. Some more modern publications will even estimate how long it will take to read a piece of written content.

Use the Right Hook

By its nature, B2B content has to be highly customized. Buyers in this sector have specific and dynamic needs regarding what they’re looking for out of a business solution. These discerning needs are part of the reason tactics like content and account-based marketing are so popular with B2B marketers in the first place.

And while the personalized requirements of B2B content marketing might make the process more difficult in some ways, in another sense, it makes creating engaging content easier. Knowing a lot about your prospect’s specific needs and challenges means you can present more relevant information.

In content marketing parlance, a “hook” immediately grabs users’ attention and makes them want to continue consuming the content. Whether it’s a headline, the first sentence of a blog article or social media post, or the initial words of a video, a good hook can be the difference between someone consuming an entire piece of content or bouncing out of it quickly. In any B2B content setting, you want to make your hook as personalized as possible. In the best-case scenario, a prospect should feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Be Interactive

This tip isn’t always fully applicable, depending on the channel you use for your content. But if you’re using a platform where interaction is a big component – such as social media – it’s important to include an avenue for users to engage with the content. In the B2B setting, it’s common to see posts on social media that ask users to share their own experiences, for example.

If you can’t make your content directly interactive for users, try to help them imagine themselves in the same situation. Visualization is one of the most powerful psychological tools available to us as humans. Putting your content’s audience in a position to visualize themselves using your product or service is one of the best ways to help nurture them closer to converting into customers. Whether you achieve this by including a few poignant questions at the end of an article, or some interesting visuals in an infographic or video, it’s critical to draw the user into becoming more than just a passive consumer of your content.

Measure and Analyze the Right Metrics

These steps are fantastic, but some may work better for you than others. Some may not work at all! How will you know if this is the case and which tactics may or may not apply? There’s only one way: measuring and analyzing how well it performs.

The big challenge many companies face is not necessarily analyzing metrics – it’s choosing the right metrics to follow. We see numerous prospects encountering the same problem: their high-level metrics like views, click-through rates, and session time numbers are good, but they aren’t leading to conversions or sales. 

That’s why it’s so important to track the correct numbers. In the hugely broad, dynamic world of business data, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by fancy metrics or numbers that seem important but don’t tell you much about your content. To overcome this challenge, think intentionally about a few of the most critical numbers that matter to your business and its content efforts, then make sure you stick to tracking just those numbers. It’s okay to revisit your core metrics from time to time to ensure they are still working the way you need, but don’t be swayed from measuring the KPIs you initially decided were most important.

And if you need any help figuring out which metrics to track or how to keep your content engaging, our expert team at FunnelEnvy is ready to help. We have several years of experience working with B2B companies to optimize their funnel content and ensure they can stand out in today’s noisy content marketing sector. Click here to fill out a short questionnaire and learn more about our pricing structure.

By |2022-11-17T03:29:55-08:00November 28th, 2022|General B2B Funnel Advice|0 Comments

How to Map Content Creation to Your B2B Funnel

Anyone working in marketing today is probably aware of the importance of creating content. Thanks to the growth of content marketing over the last decade or so companies in every field are rushing to produce content they believe will drive revenue and improve their brand awareness among their target audience.

Unfortunately, many content marketers don’t get it right. They direct an internal resource or outside contractor to churn out a set number of content pieces about pre-arranged topics on a monthly or quarterly basis. Robert Rose, chief strategy officer at the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Advisory consultancy, has spoken about this issue before, calling it the “vending machine” approach to content creation. 

As Rose points out, not only does this approach not scale, it positions content as nothing more than a to-do list for the marketing department. A better approach is to first understand the goals and objectives behind each piece of content pertaining to different stages of your sales funnel. From there, you can create content in a way that aligns smoothly with your funnel and provides tangible value for your audience. 

How do you go about doing that? It’ll be slightly different for everyone depending on your specific target audience and the funnel for which you’re creating content. Below, we dive into a few tips that any marketer can apply to B2B content creation.

Revisit Personas and Funnel Steps

Before you start churning out content assets, it’s essential to take a step back and go over the fundamentals of your funnel. Begin the process by going over your buyer persona, which according to HubSpot best practices, should include information like:

  • Demographics including age, income, location, etc.
  • Communication preferences that indicate how they like to receive information and engage with potential vendors
  • Goals for both their personal and professional lives
  • Biggest challenges particularly as it relates to the product or service being marketed

As you (ideally, along with your primary content creators) review this information, remember to spend time considering whether or not anything is outdated or inaccurate. This is a great time to update your personas and make your marketing efforts more effective.

Beyond that, you should also look at each step in your funnel to see how people inside it go from a stranger unaware of your brand’s existence to the conversion action you desire. This process will also unlock a vital source of ideas for content and make it much easier to align each piece with your funnel. 

Here’s an example: let’s say visiting a landing page is an important step in the funnel for which you want to create effective content. By drawing on the existing content, language, and media on the landing page, you’ll have a starting point for content you want to map to that funnel segment. 

Experiment With Different Channels

One of the double-edged swords of modern digital marketing is the array of different kinds of media we can use to reach an audience. The most common formats are e-mail, social media, blog posts, and videos. Clever marketers can develop an endless variety of themes and formats within just these four channels.

If you haven’t already, you need to work on aligning your different marketing channels with each stage of your funnel. These insights will be key for understanding what type of content to produce for different segments of your audience.

Here’s another concrete example: you typically use video advertisements on social media networks to attract people to your brand and make them aware of your offering. This is a standard way marketers use video content for the top of their funnels.

If you haven’t already, you need to work on aligning your different marketing channels with each stage of your funnel Click To Tweet

But what if, instead of only using video for social media ads, you also incorporated video at the later stages of your funnel? Maybe you publish a video interview with a satisfied client in which they discuss some of the most significant benefits of your offering and why it worked. In this case, you’d use video for your funnel’s middle segment.

It’s impossible to definitively say which combination will work best for your funnel and audience. Remember to measure and track the data so you can compare how each channel works for each segment of your funnel. 

Add a Personal Touch

It’s wonderful to understand your sales funnel as a progression of different steps and know what kind of content will work best for prospects at each one. But to maximize your content’s effectiveness, you must find a way to express an understanding of what your target audience is going through.

Take a look at this excerpt from a landing page for Drift, a conversational marketing tool focused on interactions via chatbot and messenger platforms:

Content for funnel

From the very first word of the copy, they ask the reader to envision how their work situation could be made better by using Drift. Sure, the message may not be as effective for people who don’t manage a sales team daily. But because the team responsible for marketing Drift has a deep understanding of their target audience, they can add this personal touch that speaks directly to the goals or challenges of their ideal prospect.

It’s vital to incorporate these kinds of highly-specific messages in your content, no matter what stage of the funnel you intend. If you don’t feel confident enough in your audience’s understanding to add these personal touches, revisit the first step in this post to deepen your knowledge.

Solicit Real Feedback

Our final piece of advice for mapping content to different funnel stages is straightforward but not always easy: ask a real person! One of the most common mistakes we see in the prospects and clients we work with is the “bubble effect.” A team of marketers gathers (virtually or in-person) to figure out the needs and challenges of an audience without any input from real people in that audience.

This approach is okay in the earliest stages of your marketing or when resources like time and money are drastically limited. However, you shouldn’t run a content marketing campaign for an extended period without getting input from the target audience. Whether you receive that input from a formal survey, a casual in-person meeting, or a quick video call, it’s critical to integrate it into your content creation efforts as soon as possible.  

Final Thoughts on Mapping Content Creation to Your Funnel

Content creation as a strategy for digital marketers probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, the format of that content and how you create it will change. The best-performing content marketers will be the ones who can closely match their content with the specific challenges of their audience – in a time-sensitive fashion, presented via a format that fits their lifestyle.

Are you looking to get some expert insights into how you can do a better job of matching content to different parts of your sales funnel? Click here to fill out a quick questionnaire and see if you might be a fit to work with our team at FunnelEnvy.

By |2022-08-24T07:12:51-07:00September 5th, 2022|General B2B Funnel Advice|0 Comments
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