There is not a "one-size fits all" template when it comes to content marketing. If there were, I would not have a job. Customers prefer to engage with businesses in a variety of ways, some more complex than others.
The 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report collected data from 189 buyers of B2B products and services. This report was conducted to determine what types of vendor content are most effective and preferred by buyers.
Content marketing is a growing field and serves as a way to introduce customers to your brand. According to the Preference Survey Report, 47% of people rely on content more than they did in the previous year when it comes to B2B sales, and 50% said they rely the same amount as last year. This means that only 3% of those surveyed stated that they rely on content less than they did in previous years. Content is becoming one of the determining factors in selecting a business to work with.
According to the report, 72% of B2B buyers have been placing higher emphasis on trustworthiness of content sources. Content becomes a way to build a rapport with customers and potential leads as well as an opportunity to gain their trust.
Trust in a vendor is also built through influencer content and third-party content. 87% of respondents stated that they trust content promoted by industry influencers when deciding on a vendor. Additionally, 68% of buyers read third-party content as they feel it's less sales focused than vendor content.
In order to gain the trust of your readers, create curated content as well as original content that shows the strengths unique to your company. Social media can allow you to share other B2B company's content to build trust between you and your potential customers.
In today's digital marketplace, smartphones and tablets have become a large part of conducting business. 52% of those surveyed said they prefer mobile-optimized content. Additionally, shorter content is preferred by 42% of buyers as it can be quickly viewed on mobile devices.
The respondents were also asked ways to improve content created by B2B vendors.
Content is not valuable unless the person viewing the content sees value in it. 76% of the respondents in the survey said that B2B content would be better if it incorporated more data and research.
Incorporating infographics into content is a good way to include numerical content into an easily understood image for your potential customers.
74% of the respondents stated that B2B content could be improved if it was less sales focused. Most customers are looking for information when they take in content and are more likely to be turned off by the use of obvious sales tactics.
Your content should provide your readers with information pertinent to their business and should not blatantly sell your products or services.
The three most popular forms of content are Case Studies, White Papers, and Webinars. Case Studies are the most popular form of content because they allow potential buyers to see how vendors have handled similar challenges in the past.
Although these are the most popular forms of content, try to create a variety of pieces in order to suit the needs of all customers and potential customers.
Accessibility was another issue discussed in the survey. 71% of respondents stated that content marketing would be better and more effective if it were easier to access. The numerous forms and buttons to click make the reader less likely to continue reading a piece of content.
When creating call to action buttons and forms on content, think of the information you would feel comfortable providing to a company. For example, most customers feel comfortable when providing an email address and company name, but are hesitant to provide their phone number.
The 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report provides businesses with helpful tips to improve content in order to increase conversions and create better B2B relationships.
If you agree with these preferences, or have content preferences that were not listed, reach out to us so we can best provide for your needs!