Is it Time to Up Your Content Marketing Game

It’s been said (probably millions of times) that if you aren’t moving forward, you are falling behind. This expression is so popular because it is so true. And it goes for almost everything in life and in business-including content marketing. Even if you are satisfied with your content marketing efforts you need to continue to […]

If you are a B2B marketer, you are likely always on the lookout for news ways to fill your sales funnel. After all, lead generation is the lifeblood of any business.
While most articles on the latest trends in marketing usually hit around the New Year, we thought we would mix things up a little and do a mid-year assessment of what are the hottest trends in B2B marketing right now. After all, things change quickly in the marketing world so it is important to know how to best promote your B2B brand throughout the year.

  1. Channel Integration. It is always tempting to focus on individual channels that seem to work well for your B2B brand. However, integration of channels can do wonders for your brand. No longer does it make sense to spend all of your marketing dollars on email marketing, for example. Savvy B2B marketers understand the importance of integrating email marketing with web optimization and social media-or whatever combination works best for their particular brand.
  2. Personalization. Individual interactions are all the rage. Providing seamless, unique experiences for customers that is both user-specific and time-sensitive leads to huge bumps in ROI.
  3. Account-Based Marketing. Account-based marketing involves getting more personalized information from users. The more personal information you can get from users, the better you can customized their experiences which means they will remain on your website longer and visit it more often.
  4. Video, Video and More Video. If text or video are both available on a website, most people will click on the video. The options with video are virtually endless. You can livestream from a tradeshow, perform product demonstrations, give behind-the-scenes tours of your business and much more. This is all in addition to posting straightforward brand videos and client testimonials.
  5. Content Marketing. This is certainly not a new trend but its popularity continues to grow. B2B companies benefit greatly from content marketing because B2B buyers have a longer sales journey than B2C buyers. That means B2B customers have more time to pour over content which will allow them to make the best buying decision. It also means you need to constantly work on upping your content marketing game.

No matter what you think about the latest marketing trends, one thing is for sure, there has never been more ways to connect with customers and prospects. The key is to find a few of the trends you know you can excel at and work hard to take full advantage of them.

Content is king. But that doesn’t mean that every piece of content is worth its weight in gold.

While you should never publish a piece of content you are not satisfied is well written and connects, educates and inspires your target audience-that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to miss the mark once in a while. However, if your content strategy seems to be consistently falling flat, you need to take a hard look at what is going wrong and find ways to fix it.

Here are some telltale signs you need to overhaul your content marketing strategy:

  1. Lack of traction. Relationship building is an essential part of content marketing and that takes time. However, if your website never gets views and no one is sharing your content, it’s time to make some changes.
  2. Hidden website. While being at the top of search engine result pages is the ultimate goal of every business, slowly climbing up those pages is what tells you that you are moving in the right direction. If you continue to always languish in the same (low) spot, you need to figure out why.
  3. Stagnant social. Are people liking you on Facebook? Retweeting your Tweets? If there isn’t a lot of activity on your social media sites then your posts clearly aren’t doing their job.
  4. Failure to engage. Valuable content means that visitors will stay on your site for longer periods of time. You also will see a lower bounce rate.
  5. Nothing stands out. Again, not every piece of content is going to be a homerun (although it shouldn’t strike out, either) but periodically you should have a piece of content that hits it out of the park. When a piece of content really creates a buzz around your website you are on the right track. If there is never any buzz, it is time to mix things up so that you can create some.

In some cases, a lackluster content marketing strategy will require a major overhaul. In other cases there are simple fixes that will drastically improve things. These include figuring out how to differentiate yourself from the competition or merely doing a better job of promoting your content.

More and more consumers are asking for personalized experiences. After all, in today’s online marketplace, people are asked to give up more personal information. Therefore, it only seems fair that they should expect this information to be used for their benefit.

Unfortunately, many businesses – especially small businesses – are at a loss when it comes to knowing how to provide these types of experiences. Further, the time, money and resources that are required to develop these types of experiences also can seem overwhelming.

The truth is, however, that creating these types of experiences don’t have to be as complicated as you might think. In fact, you may already be doing many of the things that allow you to customize the overall customer experience.

Below are some the easiest and most practical ways to offer your customers and prospects the personalized experiences they are looking for – without expending a great deal of extra time, money and manpower.

  • Targeted searches. When your customer is searching for something, quality always trumps quantity when it comes to search results. Focus less on volume and more on targeted offers.
  • Specific content. Again, more doesn’t mean better. Nothing is more impersonal than content that is merely sales copy or copy solely designed to drive a reader to a particular website. Instead, make sure your content connects, educates and inspires. Solving a problem for a customer or prospect is the ultimate personalized experience.
  • Do your research. If you aren’t conducting market research it is impossible to know what your market wants. And if you don’t know what your target audience wants you can’t give them a personalized experience. Try to hone in on specific segments of your target audience and market to these particular segments separately instead of using one broad marketing message.
  • Get interactive. Calculators, quizzes and other tools that help you engage with your target audience are more popular than ever. Further, when these tools help an individual determine a product they could use, for example, the personalization factor increases dramatically.
  • Don’t forget to be human. In many cases, the most effective personalized experiences are just that: person – to – person. Don’t get so caught up in trying to give your target audience the latest in digital technology that you fail to really get to know them on a personal level. After all, the most personalized experiences occur when your customers and prospects feel that you really want to get to know them.

Many businesses are using content marketing to promote their business online. This is no surprise given the many ways these businesses can use content marketing to leverage their brand. From allowing a business to be seen as thought leader in their industry to capturing leads to building brand loyalty, content marketing is the name of the game.

Unfortunately, your business is not the only one that knows this. As a result, your target audience is relentlessly being bombarded with online messages. So how is a business to stand out? What follows are three strategies to help you get noticed and stand out from the crowd.

1. Know your audience. You must do more than just create content. Make no mistake, posting content that doesn’t connect with your target audience is as pointless as not posting any content at all. Think of it this way: Is your content entertaining? Great. But is it entertaining to your specific target audience? It better be or it won’t do a thing for your business. Does your content tell stories that your target audience wants to hear? Does it solve the problems your target audience is experiencing? If the answer to these questions is no, then your content is nothing but clutter your target audience will tune out. What’s worse, your target audience will come to see your business as a nuisance they want to avoid.

2. Think in terms of maximum engagement. Is your content merely consumed by your target audience? If so, it’s not doing its job. Your content must be easily shared but it needs to go a step further. It must be likely to be shared. You can include a million share buttons but if your content is not viewed as something that inspires readers to bring to the attention of others, that content has a very limited shelf-life (never a good thing in the world of content marketing ). You also must make sure your content does not exist in a silo. Repurpose your content so it fits different platforms. This includes everything from blogs to social media to email marketing. Your content’s reach should be far and wide.

3. Beware of content overload. It goes without saying that quality trumps quantity. However, your content needs to be more than just high quality. It must be something your target audience not just wants to read but feels that they have to read. This type of remarkable content not only breaks through the clutter, it is something your readers anxiously wait for because it is that significant and helpful.

Content marketing has proven itself invaluable to businesses competing for attention online. As a result, the stakes are higher than ever to break through the noise that surrounds it.