- 48% of B2B tech buyers read 2-5 pieces of content before making a purchase
- 25% read 6-8 assets (Eccolo Media)
This is why B2B tech companies are investing aggressively in content marketing. In fact, 80 percent create content to reach their marketing goals (Regalix State of B2B Product Marketing). They know they need content that will educate and engage buyers for lead generation and market differentiation.
However, B2B software companies usually offer complex products in a specialized space – and they need content marketing strategies that reflect that. One in five Brafton customers operates in the B2B software space, so we’ve had plenty of experience in finding the formats that deliver the best results.
Our latest infographic on The Roadmap to B2B tech content outlines the strategic route that’s made our partners the most successful.
Phase 1: Start close to home
Although in-depth white papers and custom infographics might be what initially got you excited about content marketing, they’re not necessarily where you should start. It’s important that your content writer (whether it’s someone in-house or an outsourced writer) has a deep understanding of your business and brand before they tackle high-investment, longform pieces.
Instead, we recommend that you start by optimizing the basic building blocks of your site: The landing pages, the calls-to-action and the core pieces about your brand value props. These assets are also the perfect opportunity to get your editorial team closely aligned with your purpose as a brand.
Landing page copy
First stop: Focus on your product landing pages.
Technical jargon might seem like a demonstration of expertise, but it becomes a problem when the writing is hard to comprehend by a novice visitor. A lot of marketers we’ve spoken with have landing pages drafted by CEO and product developers. These experts have deep knowledge, but top-ranking content is targeted at an 11-year-old reading level.
While you shouldn’t talk down to prospects, remember the CTO or owner (with ultimate buying power) might not always be the person who’s vetting your products. In fact, the 2015 B2B Buyosphere report indicates an employee category labeled “other” is most influential during the research phase of shopping (separate from executive management, the IT department and operations). If your web visitor is the administrator who was asked to compile a short list of vendors, he needs to understand your products to pitch them to his boss.
Brafton research shows 300-500 words per B2B tech landing page is the sweet spot for SEO.
Have your content writer look through your landing pages and produce updated copy that answers customers’ frequently asked questions concisely and clearly.T his will be your best bet at answering interested prospects’ queries, AND becoming discovered through search. In revising landing pages, make sure the copy includes relevant keywords to improve your SEO.
Some Brafton insights to keep in mind:
- When we evaluated our B2B software clients, product and service pages proved to earn the most backlinks.
- Brafton research shows 300-500 words per B2B tech landing page is the sweet spot for SEO.
Update or add calls to action buttons (CTAs) to your website to make conversions effortless. It’s the easiest way to get more leads, and 71 percent of technology companies say converting visitors is their top priority in 2015.
These small graphics have a huge impact on your bottom line because without them, people who visit your website won’t know how to request a demo or contact your customer service team. Despite their importance, CTAs are often overlooked by B2B software companies.
Ask your graphic design team and content writer to partner up and create some UX-friendly CTAs to add to your blog pages, landing pages and homepage.
Our teams (and client success stories) vote video as the most important content type for B2B software companies. You need corporate overviews or animated product demos to explain what you do quickly.
- 4x as many buyers would rather watch a video than read about a product (Animoto)
- 70% of B2B tech companies say videos are the best type of content at the start of the sales funnel (Regalix)
Once you have these basic building blocks in place, work toward publishing regular blog content. This gives you the opportunity to use keywords frequently and naturally, which builds your search presence and educates prospects about your brand.
- 90% of tech companies use blog content
- Our experience shows short and timely blogs can influence visitors’ form completions
Phase 2: Traverse the thought leadership line
After your products and services have been laid out simply, you need your website to showcase why you’re the best provider. Once your content writing team has a solid understanding of your core business goals and what you do to solve your customers’ problems, they can put together pieces that showcase why you’re the expert.
Case studies & testimonials
If you want people to know you’re a leader, don’t make them take your word for it: Let success speak for itself. Case studies and testimonials prove that you are in a position to help customers by giving them access to people you’ve worked with in the past. Case studies and testimonials are prerequisites for making it onto buyers’ short lists.
- 42% of B2B tech buyers have read case studies in the past 6 months to pick a vendor
- 56% of consumers find customer testimonials are helpful when purchasing a product/service (Animoto)
With some examples of your client work available for prospects to peruse, you should move forward with content projects that will help you earn the title “thought leader.” Put your experts (executives, product engineers, etc.) in the spotlight to talk about their experience and values.
- Not sure what we mean? Go beyond a corporate promo, and really ask your experts to talk about their vision for the industry. Check out this example:
Find and fill information gaps in your marketplace with comprehensive research that your target audience needs. Over 80 percent of tech companies already use white papers in their content marketing strategies and 33% of B2B tech buyers say white papers are the most influential kind of content in their purchase decisions.
- For added value: Put these formatted resources behind download forms for lead generation wins.
The written word is a powerful tool to convey information, but it’s even stronger when paired with attractive visuals. In fact, 63 percent of B2B product marketers say infographics are a top content format to educate new leads.
There’s no better way to show you understand a topic inside and out than to build visual metaphors to help people comprehend the subject matter at a glance.
- We’ve seen that graphics complement written thought leadership assets to support conversion goals:
Phase 3: Venture out to amplify market share
When you have an archive of assets that show your impressive track record with clients AND the infrastructure that supports your core business goals, it’s time to open the floodgates. Get as many eyes as you can on your conversion-ready content.
Social media posts
Promote your content on social networks to engage your audience, build brand awareness and earn thought leadership. The mass majority of tech companies (96 percent) say they already use social media – LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular.
Share some of your expertise in a live presentation. You can generate new leads from first-time registrants and nurture existing prospects with proprietary information. Among the 84 percent of tech companies that use webinars, nearly seven in 10 say they’re effective marketing assets.
Bonus tip: Turn your webinar into bite-sized pieces of content you can use to promote the event for added registrations, or as follow-up collateral to encourage on-demand views.
- Learn about strategies to repurpose webinars and other collateral in our guide: How to recycle content
Break away from the blog with custom articles for LinkedIn as a way to build thought leadership with your social media audience. A study by ReachForce found that 44 percent of B2B marketers have generated leads through LinkedIn, proving that it’s a valuable place to connect with business professionals in need of solutions.
Social videos & event videos
One-fourth of customers lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video. Create a little intrigue with an inside look at events through video coverage, and vox pops to up the entertainment value of your strategy.
Remember: The content marketing journey doesn’t end
There’s always an opportunity to move your content – and your business – forward. And if and as you introduce new products, you’ll need to start the engines all over again. Be sure to check out our full infographic to help keep you on track.