When many companies think about their online content strategy, they revert to talking about themselves—and that’s no way to carry on a good conversation.
“They revert back to talking about product, because its what they know,” says Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions. “Instead, they need to find out what is interesting to their customers and talk about that.”
If B2B prospects and customers are looking at your social presence or website, they know who you are, so you don’t have to keep reminding them. “The payoff can take a while, but you have to be patient,” says Albee, an advisory board member for B2B LeadsCon, set for Aug. 14-15 in New York.
Part of the problem is that marketers often feel more driven by volume than quantity. “Sales gets hyped up and wants more leads so marketers feel they need to fill the funnel, but you need to look at how prospects are moving through the pipeline,” she notes. “Marketing and sales need to come into alignment about what they are working on and where they are heading.”
Companies with long sales cycles such as IT firms marketing high-ticket systems can benefit from the touches that online content can create. One client of Albee’s recently got a call from a vice president they had been trying unsuccessfully to connect with for some time, asking for an appointment. What spurred the call? An article written by a company executive on an industry website.
Still, some marketers don’t have the patience to see it through and wait for results. “It’s not their fault, they have pressure from above to get the ROI,” she says.
Blogging is a great way for B2B marketers to build a presence online, but it can be difficult to get started. “A lot of marketers don’t write, or don’t have enough confidence in their expertise to write,” says Albee. “It’s a different skill set, and some folks adapt to it sooner than others.”
For their part, companies need to build blogging into their lead nurturing program, and allow employees to post themselves and build an audience. “Immediacy is taken away by a corporate structure that dictates everything has to go through IT,” she notes, adding that online content works best when it is written peer-to-peer, in a way that is interesting and engaging.
Also keep in mind that online content should be reused in different ways, to get the most reach. Consider embedding webinar slide decks into blog posts, or offering whitepapers and ebooks in different email promotions.
“You need to pay amore attention to cross-channel efforts, but remember that you can’t use the same message everywhere, she says. “Different channels work in different ways.”