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How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

Your content strategy didn’t work, and you don’t know why.

All of that time, energy, and money invested — yet nothing happened.

That might feel like enough to lose motivation and give up, but don’t worry.

See, it’s easy to feel lost with your content strategy.

  • Digital marketing trends are always changing. 
  • Focusing too much on the small details.
  • Getting worked up on things like what kind of articles you should write, whether you should use PPC ads, or if you should host a webinar.

Instead, you need to re-evaluate your entire content strategy. 

If you don’t have the right strategy, you won’t get the traffic and conversions you want. It doesn’t even matter what types of content you produce.  

Not only that, but you’ll lose your target audience to other competitors. That means all the money you’ve used to promote your business can go to waste.

That’s why this article goes over the steps you need to take to design the right content strategy for your business.

These steps are proven to help businesses land new customers and generate real ROI. 

You know, the results you want to see.

Ready to find out more? Keep on reading.

 

There’s No One Size Fits All Content Strategy

 

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

The wrong content strategy can be costly in terms of time, money, and effort. But it’s important to remember that the same content strategy will not work for every business.

Creating the right strategy depends on your market, industry, business model, and your brand. But all businesses need to understand the purpose of the content they create.

Think about your current content strategy. Can you answer these questions?

  1. Why are you using each piece of content? For what?
  2. Who is it for?
  3. Is it valuable? How?

For example, are you trying to increase product awareness, audience engagement, conversion rate, customer retention rate? 

Who are you creating your content for? Do you have an ideal audience in mind? Who are they?

If you’re trying to attract business decision-makers through your content, is it useful to them? Are you providing information that helps their business grow and succeed?

When you know what your content is supposed to do for you, you can create the right kinds of content to get the results you want.

You don’t need to spend money to create content just for the sake of it. And you don’t need to spend your time and energy getting caught up in what your competitors are doing and blindly copy them.

Instead, focus on creating the right content strategy for your business.

Keep reading to learn how to start.

 

B2B Content Strategy Step 1: Know Your Audience

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

This may seem obvious, but knowing your target audience is the most important thing you need to do.

As Joe Pulizzi says, “if your content marketing is for everybody, it’s for nobody.”

If you’re not sure who your target audience is, you’ll never reach them. And even if you do, if you don’t understand their goals and challenges, you’ll never earn their trust or their business.

To understand your ideal client better, try to answer these questions:

  • What does my target audience want and need? (Relates to business’ success)
  • What are the problems they will face? (Obstacles their business goes through)
  • How does my business specifically help them fix their problems? (Solutions to these obstacles)

Also, create an ideal client portfolio for your target audience. Having one on hand will help you keep their perspective in mind while you make content for them.

  • Consider their age, gender, location, income, and interests
    • Do they have children? What age(s)?
    • What is their demographic?
    • Where are they based?
    • How much revenue do they generate from their business?
    • What do they care about? 
    • What are their values?
  • What are their behaviors and tendencies online regarding their business?
    • Where do they spend most of their time online?
    • Who do they follow online?
    • What is their decision-making process?
    • What are their online buying habits and patterns?

Once you have these answers, you’ll know what motivates your target audiences. And you'll have a better idea of the kinds of content that will resonate with them

The key thing to remember is your content should be useful to your target audience. In other words, your content should help their business succeed. Understanding their wants, needs, and pain points will help you get specific on the solutions your business can provide them.

If you focus on putting out content that demonstrates your value clearly, you’ll be more likely to attract your target audience’s interest.

This specific approach will help you design a plan to create and distribute content that attracts your target audience. It will also save you time, energy, and money from throwing out random marketing ideas for everyone and anyone, but will reach no one.

Learn how to do proper audience research to increase conversions here.

 

B2B Content Strategy Step 2: Understand Your Customer’s Journey

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

Depending on where your customer is in their buying journey, different kinds of content are more effective at leading them down the sales funnel.

So it’s important to put yourself in the heads of other business decision-makers to understand their purchasing journey.

These are the stages of your customer’s journey. You can also see examples of the most effective kinds of content you can use to get and keep them interested in your business.

  1. Awareness
    • Focus on solving your customer’s pain points and problems. 
    • Use content that’s industry-specific and focuses on solving big picture problems.
    • Examples: social media, advertising, PR, sponsorships
  2. Interest
    • Focus on educating your consumer about solutions
    • Help them evaluate buying criteria, i.e. what they should consider before making a purchase
    • Examples: white papers, eBooks, webinars, videos, reviews, checklists
  3. Consideration
    • Show what it’s like to work with your business
    • Provide demos, datasheets, trials, pricing, case studies, references
  4. Purchase
    • Make the buying process easy for the customer
    • Start providing your service for them
    • Examples: live training, user guides, kick-off events, or services.
  5. Post-Purchase
    • Focus on continuing customers’ education, nurturing their relationships, and building community and loyalty
    • Check-in with existing customers through emails, newsletters, phone calls. 
    • Make them feel valued as your customer.
  6. Re-Purchase
    • Stay in touch with your purchasers. Look for opportunities to upgrade, upsell, or promote a new product or service.
    • Again, use newsletters, emails, and phone calls.

Now that you know which kinds of content are the most effective at each stage in the buyer’s journey, you can create a strategy that grabs your target audience’s attention at any stage of their process.

But it’s also important to note that modern B2Bs tend to find out about other companies online in a variety of ways.

For example, your potential clients may learn about your business from an article in an industry-specific publication. From there, they might be directed to your website and find your blog. After reading your blog for a few months, they may then decide to purchase your product or service.

It’s not a straightforward or immediate process. But if you can understand your buyer’s tendencies, you can create a system that makes it smoother for them to do business with you.

 

B2B Content Strategy Step 3: Check Out The Competition

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

I know I said that it’s important to focus on your brand’s content strategy rather than on your competitors’. But, you can still learn a lot from analyzing what other companies, even if they’re your sworn enemies, are doing right.

Again, don’t just blindly follow what they’re doing. Rather, focus on learning which kinds of content work best for them and why.

Try to assess:

  1. Which kinds of content are the most popular?
    • This depends on where the customer is in the sales funnel.
    • For example, an email may not be the most effective tactic to raise customers' interest in your business. Proving an eBook that gives solutions on how to fix their problems, on the other hand, will work better.
  2. What kinds of content drive more traffic to their site?
    • This depends on your market, industry, niche, and target audience.
    • For example, if your target audience follows an industry leader’s blog, try writing a guest post to gain attention. The important thing you should do is put your business in front of the right audience...
  3. What platforms do they use?
    • This also depends on your market, industry, niche, and target audience.
    • For example, is your target audience most active on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Dedicate your marketing efforts toward where you know your audience will be.
  4. How often do they release content?
    • Publishing content consistently means you’re more visible and active. This will help you get more traffic.
    • The more attention and interest you can generate, the higher chances you have of converting your target audience. 

When you can answer these questions, you can try to replicate your competitor’s success in your business.

You will not only have more ideas about the kinds of content to create for your business. You’ll also have the certainty of which kinds of content works and when, and what your target audience wants to see.

 

B2B Content Strategy Step 4: Set Your Brand Apart

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

Now that you’ve seen what kinds of content work and when based on what your competitors are doing, it’s time to set your business apart from them. 

To get a clear understanding of your brand’s message, try answering these questions:

  1. What are your brand’s key priorities?
    • This relates to the question from Step 1: “How does my business specifically help fix my target audience’s problems?”
    • Know the specific solutions you provide to your target audience.
  2. How can you specifically help them solve their problems in ways my competitors can’t
    • This relates to the research you did about your competitors.
    • Having a good understanding of your competitors will help you be more clear on what makes your business more valuable and different.
  3. What content can I use to best demonstrate my brand’s value?
    • You know what kinds of content attract your target audience. So now, focus on demonstrating how your business is better than your competitors.

When you know what makes your brand unique, you can streamline your business’ content creation and distribution process. 

Now that your strategy is filled with the specific kinds of content that showcase your brand’s strengths, you will have a better chance of attracting your target audience’s attention away from your competitors.

Here's how you can stand out in your copywriting.

 

B2B Content Strategy Step 5: Put All the Steps Together

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

Now you’ve done all of the preliminary work to create the right content strategy for your business, it’s time to put it all together.

  1. Figure out what types of content you will produce. 
    • For example, ultimate guides, explainer videos, infographics, presentations, etc.
  2. Choose which platforms you are going to use.
    • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Podcasts, etc.
  3. Determine where and how often you will upload your content,
    • Weekly, monthly, quarterly, year.
  4. How will you promote your content?
    • Twitter, Facebook, email list, guest posts.
  5. Who will create and distribute your content for you?

Remember, a good content strategy focuses on providing your target audience with the right content at the right time, depending on where they are in the sales funnel. So it’s important to know which types of content to produce and at which stage of your buyer’s journey.

For example, let’s say your company offers a task managing app for small businesses. Here are some examples of content your business could create that would appeal to your customer at each stage of the sales funnel.

  1. Awareness
    • Ads of your task managing app on social media that small businesses use, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  2. Interest
    • Videos about your app and testimonials from other small businesses who use and recommend it.
  3. Consideration
    • Infographics that compare and contrast your task managing app with other competitors (and clearly states why yours is better).
  4. Purchase
    • Live training or demonstrations of how customers can use the app in the most optimal way to improve their business.
  5. Post-Purchase
    • Emails informing them of new features and updates that have been added, and how to utilize them to better manage their company’s tasks.
  6. Re-Purchase
    • An email newsletter for users to learn more about your company’s business and other products or services you’re offering.

An important thing to note is that your content should all serve a coordinated purpose. A content strategy made up of random marketing tactics, such as PPC, ads, or explainer videos, that don’t serve a specific purpose won’t get your business the results you want.

So if some forms of content aren’t relevant to your target audience, then don’t bother with them. Stick to the basics with every stage of the buyer’s journey, and only deal with content that you know benefits your ideal audience. Even blogging helps for the first stage of the funnel, to bring awareness to your offer and brand through the power of SEO. The easier it is to find you, the higher the traffic tends to be (and it’s all a domino effect from there).

Having a clear content strategy will give you a better sense of the right content to use, how and when, and will give you more predictable and reliable results.

 

B2B Content Strategy Step 6: Measure Your Progress

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

Speaking of results, the best way to determine if your content strategy is working is setting the right goals and measuring them the right way.

Choosing the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress depends on your market, industry, and content strategy. For example, your average niche won’t likely use an ROI calculator as an asset during the Decision phase of the buyer’s journey, but for any financial or entrepreneurial offer, it might be something to consider.

Despite the exceptions you might come across, there are still, there are 3 fundamental KPIs you should be tracking.

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): how much it costs to get a new customer through your marketing strategy.
    • It tells you how successful your marketing strategy is.
    • It helps you understand the ROI you generate from each new customer.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV or LTV): how much a single customer spends during the lifetime of their business with you.
    • It tells you if people repurchase from your business.
    • It shows you how well you’re upselling your current customers.
    • It streamlines finances (if your LTV is higher than your CAC, that means your company is generating a profit).
  • Revenue Growth Rate: at what rate is your business growing.
    • It shows how fast your business is generating revenue.
    • It helps you project future growth
    • It influences future spending decisions you can make.

You may also want to track your business’ progress in other areas. For example, are you trying to improve your business’ brand awareness, audience engagement, lead conversion rate, sales, or customer satisfaction?

Some KPIs for these goals can include:

  • Brand awareness: traffic to your site and the rate of visitors, 
  • Audience engagement: the number of likes, shares, and comments on your social media.
  • Lead conversions: click through rates of your content
  • Sales: purchase rate through your website
  • Customer retention rate: surveys, follow up emails, or reviews from your customers

You should also set time-based goals for the results you want to see. Setting a timeline for your content creation and distribution will give you specific targets to hit, such as:

  • Getting 300 new subscribers on my mailing list by the next quarter
  • Getting 500 new visitors to my website by next month
  • Publishing 4 blog posts per month

Choosing the right metrics to measure your progress will give you a more accurate view of how effective your content is. If you’re not reaching your targets, you can then re-evaluate your goals or your strategy. That’s why companies that track their KPIs are also more likely to hit their targets.

Know how to optimize your conversion rates with better copywriting here.

 

B2B Content Strategy Step 7: Keep Updating Your Strategy

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

Creating an effective content strategy is an ongoing process. Your plan might not be perfect right away. But it’s better to have a direction with your content creation and distribution.

Here are some actionable steps you can take to keep updating your plan.

Keep re-evaluating your buyer’s journey. Has your target audience’s buying patterns changed? Has their decision-making process been influenced by other developments? 

When you understand each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can streamline the right kinds of content to create at each stage. Then you can see what works and what doesn’t, and repeat the process with new content.

That is also another reason why choosing the right metrics for your progress is important. For example, If you want to increase sales, look at the purchasing stage of your buyer’s journey. Your content should be validating their decision through emotional pulls and benefits. It should also be easy for your customer to purchase from you with a clear offer.

If you’re not meeting your sales KPI, then you know to go back and fix that content.

It’s especially important to keep track of your progress because digital marketing trends are constantly changing. What’s working for your business now may not work in a few months, much less in a few years.

Your content strategy should be able to evolve over time to keep up with the latest trends, and whatever resonates with your target audience at the time.

 

Design Your Own Content Strategy In 7 Steps

How To Design An Effective B2B Content Strategy That Sells (And Generates Strong ROI)

Content marketing is competitive. Without a strategy, you’ll lose out on your target audience’s attention. That also means all the time, money, and energy you put in will be for nothing.

A good content strategy instead gives you the direction you need to get your business in front of your target audience. It shows them why they should do business with you.

Now that you know the steps you need to take to create a winning content strategy for your business, you won’t have to worry about wasting your efforts.

Instead, you can be certain you’ll generate returns for your business. The kinds of returns that’ll lead you to success.

Want higher conversions on your landing pages, sales letters, emails, or ads? It might be time for you to work with an expert copywriter. I’ve driven tens of millions of dollars in revenue for hundreds of clients over the past 10 years — including some of the largest B2B companies and digital brands in America.

Using my words, I’ll tap into your prospects’ deepest desires, deploy my menagerie of psychological sales triggers, and prime them for the sale. The result? More wins for your business and more revenue and profits in your pocket. Sound interesting to you? Click HERE to learn more about my copywriting work and see if we’re a good match.

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About Daniel Doan

Daniel "Banana" Doan is a direct-response copywriter with over a decade of expertise writing words that bridge the gap between what you want to say and what your customers want to read.
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