B2B Search and Content Marketing: Getting Found by Prospects

B2B Search and Content Marketing: Getting Found by Prospects
Stephanie Tilton - Thu Sep 02, 2010 @ 06:10AM
Comments: 5

If we've said it once, we've said it tons of times here on the Savvy B2B Marketing blog – to ant searchingconnect with today's B2B buyers, you need to produce and make easily accessible a range of content that guides prospects through the buying cycle. Consider a few data points that back this up:

And the report Breaking Out Of The Funnel: A Look Inside the Mind of the New Generation BtoB Buyer published by DemandGen Report highlighted the following:

"Almost 95% of recent purchasers said the solution provider they chose provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.' " (Of note: "case studies, best practices data, white papers, ROI tools, and vendor comparison analysis were cited as the most helpful content sources.")

All this means that a critical component of your content marketing strategy is making sure your content is found in the search engines. After all, it's where the research process often begins.

A recent article on MediaPost summarized a Webinar presented by Jennifer Howard, who leads Google's B2B market group. Here are the stats that caught my eye:

  • 79% increase in query volume for B2B terms during the last two years.
  • Approximately 62% of business buyers now spend more time researching product and services online than they did prior to the recession.
  • 65% of C-Suite executives conduct six or more work-related searches daily.
  • About 99% of small-business owners use the Internet for research and cite it as the most effective tool to find suppliers.

As the article explains:

"The new analysis identifies the role online search contributes to the decision-making process as the 'zero moment of truth' (ZMOT)…with online marketing, marketers have an opportunity to stay with the consumer all along the purchase path as they consume content, watch videos and participate in forums." (Note that "consumer" here is used in reference to a B2B buyer.)

These trends underscore the importance of embedding keywords into every content asset and related web page on your site and others where you maintain a presence. This includes your white papers, blog posts, case studies, competitive comparisons, brochures, press releases, video and podcast abstracts, and even discussions on sites such as LinkedIn.

And if you're not already doing so, create dedicated landing pages for each content asset. Not only does this help prospects easily access the content they came across in the search engine results, it boosts your rankings in those results pages when you embed the keyword terms your prospects are searching on.

It goes without saying, but make sure you align your keywords with the terms your prospects are searching on. For example, at the beginning of the research process, they're mainly interested in trends, issues, and best practices – that means they won't be searching for a specific product type or vendor name. The following diagram from a Google webinar on using paid search for B2B provides more details.

Google Keyword Usage through the Buying Process

I was going to lay out ALL the steps marketers should take to capitalize on these trends, but Rob Garner, a senior strategy director for digital marketing company iCrossing, just contributed a timely article to MediaPost about content publishing strategy. He suggests the following for marketers that want to succeed as online publishers:

  1. Perform in-depth keyword and market research
  2. Identify types of content to be targeted (videos, images, news, text, etc.)
  3. Plan to develop containers for the asset types that will be promoted (HTML, feeds, Web site architecture, etc.)
  4. Develop a detailed content strategy
  5. Develop a strategic plan for social content dissemination and engagement
  6. Identify primary and secondary metrics
  7. Customize dashboards and analytics platforms to accommodate new metrics
  8. Determine the specific resources needed for content development, deployment and social interaction, based on the scale determined in the strategy

For the details behind each step, check out Rob's article.

What are your suggestions for making sure content is found by B2B prospects?

About the author: Stephanie Tilton is a content marketing consultant who helps B2B companies craft content that nurtures leads and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on SavvyB2B.

Image source: (c) SUJOY DAS on flickr

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Comments: 5

Comments

1. Successful B2B Marketing   |   Mon Sep 06, 2010 @ 01:21AM

Nice.. one.. I agree with you. Thanks for the great analysis.. and responsible source for the keyword optimization.keep sharing.

2. Lise Janody  |  my website   |   Tue Sep 07, 2010 @ 04:00AM

Very useful. Are you aware of any research of how non-IT enterprise buyers conduct their research (finance directors, for example)? Surely there are B2B marketing efforts that do not target IT folks, but most research I've come across is very IT-focused.

3. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Tue Sep 07, 2010 @ 04:23AM

Hi Lise - I'm not aware of research related to non-tech buyers, but as you say, I'm sure it's out there. Perhaps search on MarketingProfs and Marketing Sherpa...? if you do come across anything, I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stephanie

4. Sean McVey  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 08, 2010 @ 01:19PM

Hey thanks for the great ideas. Promoting content is something our company has been working on but still learning the ropes. We have not tried it yet but are considering PPC ads that take the user to a content landing page, such as a research study or a white paper. When you talk about keyword research and optimization, are you suggesting it is important for organic, paid, or both?

Thanks!

5. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 08, 2010 @ 04:59PM

Sean,
Keyword research and optimization impacts both organic and paid search engine results. The key is to identify the terms that prospects and customers use when describing the issues that you help solve. And when it comes to maximizing your results, you'll want paid search, organic search, keywords, landing pages, and offers to be complementary. You may want to check out this white paper from HubSpot: 5 Tips to Turn Your Website 
into a Marketing Machine 
http://www.artseventures.com/resources/5Tips_to_Turn_Your_Website_into_a_Marketing_Machine_HubSpot.pdf

Thanks for visiting the Savvy B2B site, and best of luck with your content endeavor!

Stephanie

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