Reaching a B2B, or business-to-business, audience takes a bit of extra attention. In this space, you are often competing with a lot of other companies for the time and attention of your audience. At the same time, your audience consists of people who are working, so they do not have a lot of time for distractions. Here’s what you need to know to break through and get the attention of B2B audiences.
Start by Refining the Audience
You know right out of the gate that you are addressing people who are at work, but it is important to break that down a bit further to get your content marketing efforts on target. First, are you talking to a decision maker or someone who influences decision makers? For example, CEOs are often too busy to participate in the research phase of a new purchase. Instead, they assign that task to someone else—the head of a department, perhaps—and only join the process after the selection has been narrowed down.
It also helps to define the size of the company you think your target is likely to work for. Larger companies are more likely to have bigger budgets, but they also come with a lot of red tape. There is a long hierarchy of people who have to be in on purchasing decisions, and you’ll have to provide plenty of information for all of them. Small businesses, on the other hand, tend to empower individuals a bit more.
Consider the Problem
B2B customers are looking to make their lives easier by making their jobs faster and more effective while saving the company a few bucks or bringing in new sales to boost revenues. Whether you are a landscaping company or an elite software developer, unless you can address these problems, your audience will not be interested in your content. Figure out what the specific problems are that fall into these categories, and get to work providing solutions.
Use the Right Language
B2B customers want to know that you know the business. Using the right lingo, abbreviations, and acronyms is important to keep your credibility. Choose your words wisely based on where in the chain of command you are aiming. For example, if you are providing accounting software, the Senior Accountant will get weary of reading all your spelled-out terms while the CEO might get tripped up by AP, AR, GL, EOM and other common terms.
Getting the Length Right
When a business customer is considering a purchase, they need lots of detailed information before they make a decision. They are looking for a solution that is efficient, and that is provided by an expert in the field. In return for these demands, they will probably spend a lot more time with each piece of content than a direct customer (after all, they are being paid to research).
Make sure your content is long enough to cover all the important points and that it contains plenty of specific details, facts, case studies, statistics, and other verifiable research to make the case. That way, when it is time to present the solution to someone higher up the food chain, they will have everything needed to make the case. Long blog posts can help draw in new B2B leads, and professional ebooks and whitepapers make excellent resources.
Hitting the Right Notes
Business purchases are rarely emotionally charged. They are built up over a long period of time and selections are made based on careful evaluations of cost, benefits, and customer service. Business customers want to build long-term relationships or sign contracts so the process does not have to be repeated too often.
Your tone should always be helpful and reassuring, and adding a bit of entertainment helps to keep things light. Make sure, however, that you are not wasting anyone’s time as these are not relaxed people shopping for casual purchases while they watch TV. Think about how you might keep a meeting with your boss light while still staying on-task and try to aim for that tone.
Just as B2C customers, your B2B audience is still people. Be sure your words are addressing humans and not corporations, just remember that these people are at work and that they have a job to do. Give them help, provide them with details and answers, and show them how you will make them look like a rock star at work to really make the connection.