4 ways to escape the content marketing ‘pinch point’ in B2B
“Pinch point noun. A place or point where congestion occurs or is likely to occur.”
Sound familiar? If you’re a B2B marketer, chances are it will. For our Tech Heads research report, we spoke to 402 decision-makers and found that there’s a congestion in content marketing, which is holding B2B campaigns back.
As part of the build-up to our webinar on overcoming the ‘content pinch point’, here are some tactics to help B2B marketers avoid the congestion and engage decision-makers.
What exactly is the ‘content pinch point’?
Tech Heads data shows that buyers are spending less time researching new products (in 2015 it was about 3hr 15mins, the first dip since 2013), but more time on making a purchasing decision (it’s now around 14 weeks), creating a pinch point for marketers where:
The time buyers have to consume information is getting shorter, the devices they have to consume it on are getting smaller, their sales decision-making process is getting longer, and their appetite to consume information around that process is growing.
Decisions taking longer
Create stickiness and multiple touch points: The relevance of channels and types of audience engagement change over time. If the time to decide on supplier selection is lengthening, this requires that specific consideration is given to activity that keeps you relevant across the buying process.
Tip: Staying relevant to your audience at each stage of the buying process is not just a case matching your content topics to what your buyers want from you, but also getting the format of it right too.
For example, let’s say your business sells web security products to other businesses. Before purchasing from you, potential buyers might initially be troubleshooting online and trying to solve their site security vulnerabilities. Then they’ll be going into more detail and considering the available solutions, before shortlisting the ones that fit their business’s needs and eventually buying one.
For those potential buyers who are just starting their research and far from making a decision, it wouldn’t make sense to email them a case study or an offer of a free trial of your service. It would make sense though to send them lighter, educational content such as a blog.
Check out HubSpot’s diagram below for more on aligning your content topic and type with your buyer’s journey.
Time for researching is down
Be clearer with content and get to the point: The window of opportunity to bring a prospect closer to you as a business via content is open for, on average, 48 minutes per day. Tech Heads data shows the biggest turn-offs for respondents as being: quantity over quality (38%), poorly targeted content and generic content (32%).
Tip: Generic content, quantity-over-quality…avoiding those traps is easier said than done. It won’t happen overnight but it is something that you can hone.
Here’s a five-step sequence to get that honing process going:
- Pick a topic that’s both key to your business and its audience. If your company creates online payment technology and your business’s buyers deal with online transactions, you could write about the reliability of online payments.
- Choose the level of information needed for where your buyer is at in their journey. Is your content for somebody who’s merely interested, close to buying, or somewhere in between.
- What content type would best serve that topic and buying stage? Options include: how-to guide, Q&A, opinion piece, and data analysis (check out the HubSpot diagram earlier in this blog)
- Ideas time. Actions 1 to 3 should focus your thoughts and help you arrive at a new spin on an existing idea. For example, online payment reliability is the topic, initial interest is the level of information, and list is the format. An idea for a focussed topic and blog title could be: 4 reasons online payments are safer than ever for eCommerce sites.
Competitive pressures increase
Stand out from a crowd of solutions pitches: 73% of sales and marketing professionals believe there are businesses in their market that have an evident strategic advantage driven by better use of customer data, analytics and engagement.
Tip: Ensure that you’re making the most of your online analytics by setting up specific goals on your Google Analytics account.
A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business, such as filling out a form on your website or completing an online purchase, to name but a few.
Setting up and analysing goals in Google Analytics will give insight into which or your marketing campaigns are working well and why, and which can be improved.
If you’re unfamiliar with the service, check out Google’s Digital Analytics Fundamentals course. It’s a free video-based course over 11 units that gives a good overview of the core principles of digital measurement, and how they can be used to improve business performance.
More reliance on content
Be relevant across the journey. The best news is that B2B buyers are immersed in information gathering and they value content across the buying process. Capturing attention, creating the right context and maintaining attention over time are the foundations for content delivering a competitive edge. Content marketing does impact the sales pipeline.
Tip: Marketers can’t help the sales team if they if they don’t understand how leads are developed and defined within the business.
Speak to your sales department. Ask them questions to find out where the marketing messaging and sales patter overlap, then ensure marketing has developed tools and guides to maximise these engagements.
When a sales rep pitches prospects on the phone, what are the common objections? What piques their interest? What are the frequently asked questions. Those FAQs could be the springboard for an eBook – making it a content asset that’s valuable to your buyers, as well as supporting your sales team’s work.
If you’d like to hear more strategies for engaging B2B buyers, sign up for our upcoming Content Pinch Point webinar.