B2B decision makers don’t rely on emotions and showy ads to make purchases. They look for info in the form of case studies, white papers, and ebooks to determine whether a business has a proper understanding of their problem. As a result, content marketing is of tantamount importance to B2B small businesses.

It Gets You Closer to Closing the Deal.

Traditional B2B sales wisdom advises professionals to identify the decision maker. But just because you know who the decision maker is, doesn’t mean they want to listen to what you have to say. While you’ve pegged them as your person of focus, they’re flooded with cold calls and email requests.

Fifty-one percent of B2B buyers look for content to inform their buying decisions, according to DemandGen. Forty-seven percent of buyers look at three to five pieces of content before even talking with a sales rep. It’s worth it to invest in great B2B content.

It Mimics The Impact of Trade Shows Year Round.

B2B marketers place enormous importance on trade shows and for good reason. Trade shows produce a significant number of leads for B2B companies. Chief Marketer puts the portion of leads generated by live events at a whopping 59 percent. But trade shows only happen a few times a year, and marketing should be more than an annual or bi-annual event.

Why are trade shows successful? They allow you to reach people who are the most likely to need your services. They boost the legitimacy of your brand. They also allow you to see what the competition is up to, which of your sales strategies are working, and which could use some work.

You can do this year-round through content marketing.

  • Persona research allows you to identify the decision makers, their biggest challenges, and what content they’re most likely to respond to.
  • Whitepapers, infographics, and webinars with sincerely helpful content elevate your brand in the eyes of B2B decision makers who appreciate the usefulness of your materials.
  • Data analytics allow you to see what content your audience engages with and which content frequently leads to sales.

It Empowers You To Reach New Customers or Opportunities.

Your business instincts tell you there may be another market opportunity out there, but your prudence tells you not to take a risk. Market research allows you to identify opportunities to reach new audiences or develop new solutions, but that’s expensive.

Content marketing offers a low-risk way of either identifying or experimenting with new messaging or solutions. If you think there’s a segment of customers interested in something outside of your core business, you can start marketing it to gauge whether that solution is worth dividing your company’s focus.

Similarly, if you want to identify problems you don’t yet know about, you can use online engagement through social media questions, live webinars, live tweeting sessions, or quizzes to find out what your customers want.

It Enables You To Reach Customers at Different Stages of the Buyer’s Journey.

Prospects are all over the map when it comes to how close they are to making a purchase.

  • Awareness Stage: Still identifying what their problem is, so they aren’t yet ready to hear a solution.
  • Consideration Stage: Understand what their problem is and now they’re exploring and comparing potential solutions.
  • Decision Stage: Now that they understand the nature of their problem and the feasible solutions out there, they’re looking for a vendor to help facilitate that solution.

Salespeople are most interested in prospects in the final stages, but all leads should be nurtured so that they can eventually wind up in the decision stage. But leads at different stages need different types of nurturing.

Someone in the awareness stage doesn’t want to hear about your solution — they don’t even know what their problem is! And someone in the decision stage doesn’t want a blog post on the importance of a CRM when they already know and are in the process of comparing the features of different software.

It’s next to impossible to nurture all these leads manually as a small business owner. Content marketing allows you to produce pieces of content for these different stages while marketing automation tools let you pump out the right email or offer based on what the prospect needs.

It Shows Business Owners That You Get Their Problem.

B2B decision makers want to work with companies that just get it. A B2B purchasing decision has higher stakes than a B2C purchasing decision. If a consumer buys a crappy product, they’re bummed for a week, and while they’re out some money, they’ll get over it soon enough. On the other hand, a poor B2B buying decision can cost someone their job, so you’d better believe that person is reading everything they can get their hands on.

By investing time into producing quality content, you demonstrate to B2B decision makers that you get what they need at every stage: when they’re learning, when they’re considering, and when they’re deciding.

The Most Successful B2B Companies Are Doing It.

Ninety-one percent of the top-performing B2B companies are either extremely or very committed to content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Also, 85 percent of the most successful B2B companies report that they always or frequently deliver content consistently.

The moral of the story: Don’t let your company be left behind. Content marketing is clearly something that works. Take advantage of your organizational knowledge and track record of solving B2B customers’ problems by developing a comprehensive content strategy and publishing regularly.