Content marketing is nearly essential for B2B companies to generate leads and build relationships with potential customers. While firms race to outdo each other with content, some may not be providing a good experience to leads. Content needs be informative, easy to read and engaging for website visitors. Otherwise it could have a detrimental effect on search engine optimization. B2B marketing professionals need to communicate the benefits to readers while staying brief and incorporating relevant keywords to ensure the post is found in a search engine (1). Here are some tips for hitting the mark with content:
1. Focus on keyword placement rather than density
It's no secret that content marketing and SEO are closely linked. While it's more important to provide valuable content, users may not find it unless you incorporate keywords that increase organic traffic. In the past, the sheer number of keywords could impact results, but most search engines are gradually moving away from this model. Including a diverse range of keywords can be effective, but only if these terms are as specific as possible (1). It's also important to avoid including the same term six times in one paragraph, for example. Keywords deliver the intended result when they are used intuitively in the text. This provides more value to readers than clogging a paragraph with a repetitive phrase.
2. Diversify types of content
It's hard to capture the attention span of business buyers and even harder to hold it over time. There are a multitude of content types out there, but it's essential to consider which are the most relevant to your audience (2). Videos won't perform very well if your target audience would prefer to read a white paper. In general, a B2B content marketing strategy includes various types of content for the different phases in the sales cycle. Blogs, press releases, webinars, case studies and buyer-specific landing pages are all commonly used. However, more visual sources like video and infographics are starting to make a larger impact in B2B marketing because they are highly effective for condensing complex information into a more digestible format. Companies should always be mindful of their customers' particular interests to select the right types of content to engage their audience.
3. Always keep your target audience in mind
To expand on the second point, content always needs to speak to buyers' business needs, goals and main challenges. One of the main reasons why content marketing efforts fall flat is because marketers get so wrapped up in trying to promote their products that they miss the point in explaining how the service could help potential customers. Making content easy to find in a search engine is only one piece of the puzzle. Marketers need to ensure content is easy for their ideal customers to read because this increases the odds of them returning to the website (1). Content should always speak to the particular challenges in a buyer's industry. During the later stages of the sales cycle, content needs to address how a particular solution can alleviate some of these issues. Marketing materials always should focus on buyers' top concerns to maintain effectiveness.
One of the ways marketers can overcome this challenge is by defining buyer personas. These fictional representations of a target audience can help B2B firms keep their content marketing efforts on point to ensure readers keep coming back. Businesses that do a good job of this typically have better lead generation campaigns and close more deals.
1. "Why Your Web Copy Is Missing the Mark (and How You Can Fix It)"
2. "How To Create A First-Rate Content Marketing Strategy"
Marketers need to use mobile search engine optimization to connect with executives. These influential people that business-to-business marketers are trying to reach using SEO strategies are increasingly leaning on their mobile devices to conduct research into potential partnerships.
In fact, 92 percent of senior executives own a smartphone which they use for business purposes, and 77 percent indicated they use this mobile technology to look for in-depth information about products or services (1). Meanwhile, 50 percent of senior-level employees used their smartphone to buy information technology items for their companies.
This tendency among executives to make business purchases on a mobile device should signal to marketers that they need to make sure their company can be found easily through organic search and content marketing strategies using smartphones and tablets. For those looking to capture leads at the top of the sales funnel, 71 percent of marketers use more general keywords to catch the attention of decision-makers looking for information (2).
At the same time, 61 percent of marketing professionals have integrated responsive design to boost mobile SEO because the senior executives trying to get information need to be able to view content, including case studies and infographics, comfortably on their mobile devices.
1. Putting the Spotlight on the Mobile Evolution
2. State of Search Marketing 2014
The most recent changes to the algorithm Google uses to manage search results will likely influence local search marketing. While Google hasn't officially given a name to the update – breaking the string of animal names beginning with "p" – the update alters organic search results in both Google Maps and a standard query (1). In fact, some businesses have disappeared from the map when users search for certain keywords. At the same time, the update will have an impact on the knowledge graph, which is the vast network of connections Google is constantly stringing together to make search more relevant.
Another Internet enterprise that stands to gain from the update is the customer review site Yelp. Previously, the company charged Google with not dealing fairly with search engine results when people explicitly search for Yelp reviews (2). For instance, a query containing the word "yelp" frequently didn't put company's page at the top of the SERP. This may have a significant influence on the way business owners drive traffic to their homepages. Because many buyers tend to look at the experiences of others who have collaborated with a specific business, positive or negative reviews on sites like Yelp may attract or alienate potential customers.
1. Google "Pigeon" Local Search Algorithm Launches
2. Google's Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories
The latest Google algorithm may once again redefine local search marketing. Nicknamed Pigeon, the update will try to deliver better local search results through improvements to Google's distance and location ranking parameters (1). While the search engine giant has yet to say much about Pigeon, Google reported the new algorithm will link local search more closely to standard Web searches, which could help B2B companies with a small geographic target audience gain more traction.
Each time Google announces a search engine optimization update, marketers often panic because they are unsure how the changes will impact their campaigns. It seems there may still some kinks to work out before it's fully understood how Pigeon will change SEO (2). In particular, the effect on mobile SEO is still unclear. Despite the skepticism about Pigeon, there was similar confusion when Hummingbird was released in 2013, and the development has mostly been positive for marketers. As more prospects use their mobile devices to do business research on the go, it will become increasingly important to provide a high-quality user experience because this will be tied to a company's search engine results.
1. "Experts Weigh In On Google's 'Pigeon' Update Aimed At Improving Local Search Results"
2. "New Google Search Algorithm Update Targets Local Search Queries"
Video may not be the first thing that comes to mind for a successful B2B content marketing strategy. However, it's becoming an essential engagement tool during the lead generation and nurturing process.
Many B2B marketing professionals are already getting on board with video. In fact, 82 percent of marketers have seen success with this technique (1). Some of the ways companies would make sure their videos were seen included tagging content with search engine optimization keywords and posting videos on the blog. Increasing brand awareness was the primary reason why B2B firms got involved with video creation.
Video is a versatile medium that can be used during the initial stages of the sales process and later as a lead nurturing tool. In fact, this form of content can significantly increase conversion rates (2). One of the reasons B2B content marketing can be tricky is because of the lack of an emotional engagement, but video is a great way to surmount this challenge. It's a useful medium for telling a story and conveying complex information in a more condensed way. Customer testimonials can be a great way to make video work for B2B marketing.
1. "Are Marketers Having Success with B2B Video?"
2. "Smart B2B Video: A Killer Tactic for Hitting 2014 Revenue Goals"
B2B firms need to start considering mobile marketing now. While it may not seem like a priority in the face of other lead generation tools, experts project there will be to be 1.75 billion smartphone users around the world in 2014 (1). Mobile devices have fundamentally changed B2B marketing because of the way buyers interact with content on the go.
While marketers have had a variety of Internet marketing tools at their disposal for the past few years, decision-makers are increasingly searching for content from their smartphones. In addition, buyers are using more than one device before arriving at a decision, which almost certainly means they are relying on mobile for part of their search. It's important to effectively engage with these leads or risk losing them.
In fact, mobile marketing offers the distinct advantage of better segmentation (2). This is especially valuable for firms that cater to multiple customer groups. Mobile allows them to deliver exactly what potential clients are looking for. This channel offers an excellent way to engage customers through relevant industry content, targeted local information and helpful, entertaining videos. Mixing up mobile content leads to a richer marketing strategy.
1. "Smartphone Users Worldwide Will Total 1.75 Billion in 2014"
2. "Seven Deadly Sins of Mobile Marketing [Infographic]"