14
Jun
Warehouse 1 Buyer Persona Example (1)

4 Step Planning Process For B2B Content Marketing

We’re currently pitching to take on the content marketing and social media strategy for a sizable B2B company in Saudi Arabia.

During one of my early discussions with the client, the topic of Facebook came up.  Specifically, that most of the proposals he received focused around a “Facebook strategy”.  He wasn’t convinced that this was the only platform to reach and communicate with his customers; existing and prospect.

He felt that LinkedIn would be a better social media platform to achieve the required results.

I explained our approach.

We don’t start with a Facebook strategy, we begin with a content marketing plan. Social media strategy is a part of that plan; Facebook may not necessarily play the central role in that plan.

I’d like to share with you some of our top line thinking on B2B content marketing and social media strategy…

Before You Begin: Define Your Goals & Objectives

Get to grips with what you’re trying to achieve.  In most cases, the objectives will fall under one or all of these four broad categories:

  • generate brand awareness
  • increase the number of qualified leads,
  • increase the numbers of customers
  • retain existing clients

Once you’ve defined these objectives, communicate them to your agency.  They will help you define the success metrics to measure moving forward.

As for the 4 step content marketing planning process we follow (very top line), I’d like to share it with you…

1. Understand Your B2B Buyer Decision Funnel

First of, try and visualize your industry’s buyer decision funnel.

b2b decision funnelA typical B2B decision funnel is composed of the following basic components (it can get much more detailed than this):

  1. Problem Recognition
  2. Information Gathering
  3. Evaluating Options
  4. Decision
  5. Post Purchase Evaluation

The funnel should help you define the type of content across each stage of the conversion process to convert your visitors into prospects, your prospects into leads, and your leads into loyal customers and fans.  See point 3 below for the content formats that work during various stages of the decision journey.

2. Define Your Buyer Personas

Without a thorough understanding of your buyers you’re flying blind.

Warehouse 1 Buyer Persona Example (1)

Who are your buyers? What challenges can you help them solve?

These insights should inform your marketing message (content), your tone of voice and your media strategy (how you’ll reach them).

Create a “Persona Card” for each of your buyers and be as precise as possible.

Information to include:

  • the company: Essential information about the company, what it does, its clients, etc.
  • their role: what do they do on a day to day basis.  How essential is their role to the buying process.
  • what are they measured on: how are they evaluated within their organisation.
  • their interest: this goes beyond their interest at work and more about their general interests.  E.g. an IT professional at a major Saudi telecom company might be interested in smartphone technology.
  • media consumption habits: what tv channels do they watch? Which trade publications do they read?  What websites do they subscribe to?

Make sure you have a compelling story to tell to each of them.

3. Create Your Content Marketing Plan

Content marketing is only as effective as the planning behind it.  It’s less of an art and more of a science.  The idea behind content planning -in a nutshell- is to drive your prospects further down the funnel (mentioned above) with each piece of content your produce.  The final goal is to make them convert.

You will need to define what the content formats that will best deliver your message, guide your buyers on their purchase journey and help drive your final goal.

The content grid below is an example of such planning, obviously you need to tailor it for your clients but it does provide you with an overview of the type of content that may work during each stage of the conversion funnel.

Once you’ve decided on the content you’ll be producing, you’ll be ready to create your editorial calendar.

The above content grid also provides a set of KPI (Key Performance Indicators) and useful metrics to your content’s performance at each stage of the conversion funnel.

This neatly brings us to the final point. Measurement.

4. Measure, Rinse & Repeat

google analytics conversions b2bMarketers today have a distinct advantage over their counterparts of a decade or so ago.  This advantage is in the amount and quality of data that is available to measure performance, tweak campaigns, and improve overall ROI.

I’m assuming that you’ve set-up and optimized your lead collection and conversion landing pages and that your campaign measurement goals and objectives are all tagged.

If not, make sure they are.

For a truly successful, accountable and measurable  B2B content marketing , ensure all your conversion points across all your assets are tagged and ready to provide you with the data you need to place value on your various content initiatives, do more of what’s working and less of what’s not.

There you go.  A simple 4 step process to guide you through your B2B content marketing plans…

Over to you.

How do you plan your B2B content marketing campaigns?  Share your experience below…

Acknowledgement:

  • Buyer Persona Image: Courtesy of Hubspot
  • Content Grid Image: Courtesy of Eloqua
  • Conversion Funnel Image: Courtesy of DeliaNet

 

About Omar Kattan
Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.
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