Decision makers tend to be busy people who have neither the time nor patience to absorb themselves in surface-level content that leaves them unfulfilled. All too often, a B2B inbound marketing strategy consists largely of overly promotional content that fails to make a real impact on target audiences.
As a high-tech firm, you need to strive hard to make a meaningful connection with your potential and existing customers. This means publishing content that goes beyond the hype and sensationalism that’s often associated with the industry. Consumers and, to an even greater extent, businesses, are getting better all the time at identifying purely promotional content to the extent that it often simply passes them by. Banner blindness is a perfect example, whereby people are becoming less likely to even notice more traditional advertisements due to desensitization. So how do you reach out to audiences who don’t want to be advertised to?
You might have the most cutting-edge product or service in your niche, but hyperbolic statements are not likely to garner much attention. Your potential buyer, having seen your content, wants to be fulfilled to the extent that they’ll understand how your product and service can benefit them. It’s about making a connection, but that doesn’t mean talking just about yourself, or your product or service for that matter. This is where educational content comes in.
With educational content, you don’t talk so much about your brand or what it offers. Instead, you focus on the wider issues that concern your target audience. You start by identifying their problems and educating them about the ways they can solve them, perhaps ultimately ending with a call to action recommending a relevant product or service.
Education is all about the transfer of knowledge, so it’s crucial to build up a reputation as a thought leader in your industry. You need to show your target audience that you’re an industry expert, and that’s best done through educational content. After all, anyone can talk about how great their product or service is, but not everyone can effectively demonstrate how it can help would-be buyers in real-world situations.
If your product or service is particularly revolutionary, offering a solution to a problem that has never been solved before, or at least not adequately, then it’s often tempting to do little more than illustrate the benefits it brings. However, this may simply leave people confused. A far more effective method is to inspire some solidarity in your audience by making it clear that you understand their problem and the existing ways people try to solve it. You’ll then be in a much better position to present your offering as a viable solution.
Short-form content, such as blog posts, are useful in any inbound marketing strategy, since they can help to enter into a dialog with readers, nurture existing customers and also boost your search engine visibility. Nonetheless, they’re certainly not the be all and end all. In fact, the most valuable content, particularly with regards to educating readers, tends to come in longer and more in-depth formats. By contrast, a blog post can be a great format for summarizing or otherwise drawing attention to the more in-depth formats, such as whitepapers and case studies.
The case study is perhaps the most effective educational content format of all in the world of B2B technology. Your would-be customers need to be convinced that what you have to offer presents a value proposition like no other. A case study should be crafted following a professional and formal research routine whereby you investigate how your product or service has helped other companies. You’ll need to back up your claims with interviews, statistics and external recommendations and reviews. A case study, while not directly promotional in nature, can also objectively counteract any criticisms or concerns that your potential and existing customers might have.
Another exceptionally powerful educational content format is the webinar, an online seminar held by a live lecturer. Although it will usually take lesser content formats to draw attention to it in the first place, having people join your webinar can translate into immense inbound marketing success. A webinar presents the perfect opportunity to establish yourself as an authority by educating your target audience, answering their questions and addressing their concerns all while building up memorable relationships. Even in archived form, past webinars can still be highly effective for generating promising leads and nurturing existing customer contracts.
Both webinars and case studies, as well as video demonstrations, podcasts, whitepapers and even the humble blog post, can be particularly effective for explaining complex subject matter. As a technology company, it’s often difficult to reach out to people without losing them to confusing technicalities and jargon somewhere along the way. By educating through demonstration and authority, you’ll be in a much better position to achieve outstanding inbound marketing success.
In contrast to private purchase decisions in B2C markets, B2B companies need to focus more on the aspects of professionalism, incorruptible facts and seriousness. Inbound marketing for B2B technology companies is no exception – you have very little time to get people’s attention in the first place, and it will be an ongoing challenge to hold onto it. However, by focusing on educational content, you’ll be better equipped to overcome the challenges of your industry and become a known authority in your niche.
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.
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