If content is the king, then context is the queen…and engagement is the kingdom. Philippe Ruttens
B2B marketing differs from B2C marketing as the purchase process by the customer takes longer. It is the sum result of decisions of the members of a “committee” or a “buying center”. Content-driven nurture strategies play a vital role in funnel optimization and resulting movement that happens from top to bottom of the funnel.
Herein we shall discuss the content-centric guideposts typical of four stages of buyer journey in B2B business acquisition. The B2B lead nurturing stages are ToFu (Top of the Funnel), MoFU (Middle of the Funnel), BoFu (Bottom of the Funnel), Post-purchase/Customer Onboarding.
At the top of the funnel, you need attention-grabbing tactics that spread awareness of your brand and establish you as a thought leader in your domain. Since it is the first brand outreach and exposure exercise, the net has to be cast wide.
You have to make the right impression with highly relevant and informative content. Such content by raising brand awareness level helps build relationships and draws the customer to your door organically.
The most effective form of content at this stage is blog posts rich in facts and figures and industry knowledge. According to a survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 73% of B2B marketers said that blogs were an effective way of taking customers to the next stage. As stated by Hubspot, 81% of companies consider their blogs “useful,” “important,” or “critical.”
The lead magnet is a problem solving or winning content that should generate value to the customer. The lead magnet helps you increase your customer-database by seeking customer’s information in lieu of productive downloadable content that could be of use to them. The content should be easily understandable and digestible. It could also be supported by visuals and illustrations.
Most widely used Lead Magnets in B2B marketing are infographics, Datasheets, whitepapers, research papers, podcasts, and eBooks.
According to the American Marketing Association, positioning is defined as, “firm’s marketing activities geared toward positively adjusting the mind of the consumer via various marketing communication and promotion approaches.” Positioning, therefore, changes the mindset of the customer. Industrial positioning is necessary or else “price war” is the only option for you to compete in the market. The content, should, therefore, position your brand or the product as the best suited to meet the customer’s needs.
By this stage, the customer has gained basic familiarity with your brand and industry. On the customer end, it is the heavily research-oriented evaluation phase. And for you, as a B2B marketer, begins the task of personalization and persuasion. MoFu stage content can give the leading edge in the competitive race if you address the “pain points” of the customer through unique solutions.
At the ToFu level, you spread your message far and wide to let yourself be known. Here in the MoFu stage, you have to be working rigorously to segment them for ongoing communication paths based on the persona. The most effective content at this stage focuses on “why ” a particular persona may need your product or service.
Some types of content relevant at the MOFU stage are FAQs, Demo Videos, How to Guides, Interactive Meetings, Whitepapers, and Comparison Charts. You can also showcase your product or customer service excellence.
Since it is also the “know each other better stage”, you need to win the trust of the customer by showcasing your reliability and credibility. You can impress them with the features of your products and services and luring them with the benefits your wares bring along. However, you should avoid the pushy sales mechanism. The content should be educational and designed around delivering a solution.
MoFu bridges the gap between ToFu and BoFu stages of B2B lead nurturing as the customer is pulled down into the funnel leading to conversion.
The conversion or sale takes place where the funnel is narrowest. This is, perhaps, the most important stage of the B2B lead nurturing funnel as the ultimate aim of gathering leads in ToFu and MoFu stages is sales. The customer has reached this stage after thorough research and analysis and they are now looking for that single most motivating factor that shall make them take a decision in your favor. Here you must focus on the “how” your product or service can help your customers.
This is the time when extensive consultations, demonstrations, free trials, cost estimates, and competitive positioning do the trick.
This is what gives all the more importance to in-depth case studies, which showcase the value of your products, services, or company. A well-framed case study that has solved the problem or a previous customer or addressed their need is an asset in B2B lead nurturing at the BoFu stage. The case study should have a theme and it should be structured in a standard format.
For physical products Augmented Reality (AR) can play a deal-clinching role at the BoFu stage. The AR technology integrates a digitally produced image on the real-time environment of the user, thus, creating a composite view. AR is extensively employed in the construction and equipment industry.
In order to achieve a good return on investment, your content should be highly optimized for search. You should not be spending big time on technology without weighing the pros and cons. You can balance the ROI and demand for the creation of compelling and novel content every day by adjusting the content mix.
Customer onboarding content should include step-by-step guided usage tutorials and support. Other essential content practices in onboarding include sending a welcome series of emails. It should be positive in tone with a congratulatory message on making a new purchase. There can be a guided audio-visual tutorial. Interactive walkthroughs are also extremely helpful in onboarding.
It costs 7 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. The onboarding and continuous support communications can play a key role in retaining and growing existing customers. Increasing the Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) a key metric for every business.
Wherever possible, write old-style personal notes thanking the customer. Also, build relationships with end-users and introduce them to your product and customer service teams.
It is highly imperative to gauge customer satisfaction post-purchase phase of nurturing. Third-party or direct surveys can be commissioned to measure customer satisfaction. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are great for determining your customers' initial and continued satisfaction with your products and services.
To conclude a B2B content marketer has to make a fit between the type of content and stage of lead nurturing. If the fit arrives properly and relevant content is delivered at customer touchpoints, it shall lead to better conversion and retention of customers.
There should be a balanced approach towards investment in nurturing at all stages. The investment should focus on maximizing the Economic Value of A Lead at every stage of the funnel.
Book a free 30-minute consultation with our B2B Lead Nurturing Experts from Growth Natives to see possibilities you may be missing.