You don’t have to invest a lot of time, effort and resources into figuring out how B2B buyers behave; they will tell you.
This point holds true when trying to determine which elements to include in your content marketing to achieve demand generation.
A Demand Gen Report offered excellent insights into the types of content that B2B buyers responded to in 2016.
The following is a look at these items along with tips on how to incorporate them into your content.
Offer Shorter and More Interactive Pieces
The Demand Gen “Content Preferences” survey revealed that 51 percent of B2B respondents rely on content for pre-purchase research.
This data aligns with other reports that illustrate the importance of the self-directed research process in the buyer’s journey.
This point is particularly the case during early stages of research. Thus, videos, images, and other non-text tools help keep a B2B reader’s attention in the midst of a typical blog post.
Infographics are a better way to break down data and facts as opposed to straight-line copy.
This infographic from Curata, titled “Content Marketing Strategy: 3 steps to get more content and leads on a tight budget”, is an excellent example:
Educate Rather Than Sell
B2B buyers also prefer that the content you produce should focus on educating rather than selling.
The opportunity to sell comes after a prospect has gathered enough information to evaluate options. During initial demand generation stages, aggressive sales content is a turn off to the buyer looking to get informed.
Use your early-stage content to establish authority and credibility on relevant topics and problems. When you educate b2b buyers looking for information, you establish yourself as someone that customer can trust.
Let the reader sort through the content on his own, and then engage him in a sales conversation at the right time.
According to a LinkedIn report, B2B buyers are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business.
Include Proof Devices
Your prospects want evidence that supports your words or message.
This point is backed up by the fact that 73 percent of B2B buyers in the Demand Gen survey viewed a case study during their journey.
Case studies are evidence that your solution or process achieved desirable results with a real client.
In addition to case studies, visual depictions of your process, testimonials, company or product reviews, and video demonstrations can all serve as proof devices.
Integrate Thoughts from Industry Leaders
Another key finding of the Demand Gen study was that an overwhelming 96 percent of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders.
This fact supports the previous point about using early-stage content to establish your company as a credible industry resource.
It also suggests that highlighting your firm’s history, its relevant background of leaders, and innovative elements of solutions can all carry significant weight in content marketing.
In fact, in the same LinkedIn report, it was found that nearly 90% of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with sales professionals who are viewed as thought leaders in their industry.
Your content should establish that your company and its leaders understand the industry, needs of buyers and solution capabilities.
You don’t have to be clairvoyant to achieve success in demand generation.
Just look at the precise data from B2B buyers telling you what they want during their online journey.
Your job is just to execute quality content that aligns with prospect desires and distribute it in the right way.