The Information Age has transformed your company’s prospects into savvy researchers and confident buyers. They are hungry for content and are finding plenty of online and offline outlets to satiate their appetites. While it may be true that more knowledgeable prospects are more difficult to sell to, providing them with the valuable, authoritative content they need to help solve their problems will position your company as an authority in the field, build trust with your prospects and, ultimately, make it easier to sell your products and services and to drive revenue.
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According to the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), nearly two-thirds of business-to-business buyers (regardless of what product or service they plan to purchase) conduct their own research before contacting a vendor. Before they even pick up the phone to call you or send you an email, they likely know who you are, what you do and what you sell. This may be intimidating to some companies but a huge opportunity for others if a dynamic content marketing strategy has been implemented to attract, engage and inform your prospects.
Establishing Authority, Building Trust
Strong content marketing positions your company as a thought leader in your industry and helps you rise above your competitors. Going beyond simply discussing your products, effective content marketers also provide competitive analysis, industry trends, case studies, best practices and other materials that establish their companies as the expert and “go-to” resource for their types of solutions and services. For industrial suppliers that could also mean product specifications, CAD files, technical datasheets, a request for quotation form, searchable product catalogs, product availability, pricing information and part number search. Through content marketing, you have helped make your business prospects smarter and more knowledgeable about your industry, products, and services and have positioned yourself as the potential answer to their needs. You’ve also begun a relationship with them and can start fostering that critical – and often elusive – trust. Building a high level of confidence with your prospects isn’t simple and is more important than ever. This will lead to a greater comfort level with your company and make it easier for your prospects to buy from you.
Content marketing is cost effective, as materials can often be created in-house and used across multiple online and offline platforms. For example, you have produced a research report on the latest trends in your industry. A summary of your findings (linking back to the original report) can be part of an e-newsletter, posted to a company blog and distributed through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It can be the basis for an article that can be pitched to industry-specific magazines and turned into a print collateral piece for a direct mailing or trade show. An interview with the author of the report can be turned into a podcast or a short video for a YouTube channel. With one piece of content and a well-constructed strategy around it, you have delivered valuable information to your prospects where they are most likely to turn for these resources.
Ultimately, the reason why content marketing is an essential piece to your company’s strategy is revenue. You are placing your prospects in a better position to buy from you rather than your competitor by delivering the information they seek, becoming the authority they want and building the trust they need before making a purchasing decision.