How do B2B buyers make purchasing decisions, where do they go for information and how do they share information when making purchasing decisions? The answers to these questions should shape your small business’s content marketing efforts. New research by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council offers some insights you can use.
B2B buyers are increasingly relying on third-party information from trusted sources online to make decisions before they buy, the CMO Council reports. Typically, the search for, consumption and sharing of that content starts with mid-level executives, who then pass the information on to senior execs. Here are some tips:
- Promote your content to the mid-level executive. Mid-level executives are most likely to drive the content discovery and sharing process in 65 percent of organizations, so start by sharing and promoting your content in avenues where they’re likely to see it. For example, you can share your content in LinkedIn groups made up of these target executives or on industry blogs that target them as readers.
- Write with the C-level in mind. Even when content starts with mid-level executives, they share it with higher-level execs. And in 29 percent of organizations, senior management finds and shares the content used in making the buying decision. In other words, C-level execs inevitably review your content at some point. That’s why it’s crucial that your content answer the questions and ease the concerns senior-level executives are likely to have about your product or service.
- Provide a wide range of content. Within the world of B2B buyers, the study identified three types of content consumers. Make sure you create or share content to suit all three.
- Researchers: They look for the broadest, most expansive content, such as new industry reports and research about advancements, new products, trends impacting the market and opportunities for improvement.
- Influencers: They look for broad thought leadership content as well as specifics such as data sheets or case studies. They also love summarized content, such as infographics, videos and blog posts.
- Decision Makers: They come in at the end of the decision process and want to stay informed through research reports and analyst commentary. They also want quick access to the data they need to make a good decision.
- Boost your online presence. The Internet is overwhelmingly where B2B buyers start their path to purchase. Some 68 percent begin with search engines, 40 percent start at the vendor website and 25 percent start their search inspired by an email from a peer or other trusted source. Increase your SEO so that your website comes up high in search results; make sure your business website is up-to-date with the kinds of content buyers seek; and encourage recipients of your email marketing messages to share them with peers.
- Be objective. Buyers say that technical details and specifications about products and services are the second-most valued source of content influencing their buying decision—even more so than analyst reviews or recommendations, which came in third. Make sure you provide objective, comprehensive technical information about what you sell.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.