Content marketing often suffers for one of two reasons: Either there’s too much focus on selling with content, or there’s too much emphasis on attracting audiences without enough content to motivate them to make a purchase decision. In B2B marketing, there are usually so many different people involved in the decision-making process that you can’t afford to neglect content that provokes the right questions in prospects and moves key decision-makers along. Urgency is what moves prospects to act. And you can build it into your content to motivate certain behavior or create sales enablement content that pushes prospects past the finish line.
1) Include relevant CTAs in your eBooks
The best eBooks present immediately compelling value that you can justify gating to accelerate lead generation. Audiences carry certain assumptions about specific content formats, and eBooks are generally perceived as high-value resources that are worth trading some information. The angle you choose should attract qualified audiences and what you ask in the forms reveal any potential buying intention in those who convert on them.
An eBook about conversion copywriting, for example, will attract audiences that might have need for a landing page solution, which subsequently lets you acknowledge and nurture that need throughout the eBook. But it doesn’t stop there. You’re allowed to feature the occasional call-to-action throughout if it makes sense in the context. The eBook generates interest and demand—your CTAs turn that into action in the process of consumption.
Your calls-to-action can invite readers to start a free trial, request a demo or even pick up the phone to call.In the spur of the moment, while the need is fresh on their mind, is the best time to ask.
2) Use white papers to point out an industry problem & solution
White papers are a huge undertaking, because they must be well-researched enough to be positioned as an authoritative document that highlights a major problem in your industry.
The benefit is that, unlike eBooks, a white paper is less “how-to” and more argumentative in nature. You’re allowed to express an opinion about why a solution like yours is necessary, as long as you can back it up.
The presentation is objective, but the delivery is persuasive. That’s what makes white papers valuable in B2B marketing—they explore in problems in depth that might not be readily apparent in order to create demand for your solution.
3) Develop objection-handling content that reduces friction
Buyer objections can often act as an obstacle to action. Consider tackling objections in blog posts, white papers or other content. Or, even better, create one-pagers, comparison guides and other sales support collateral. These count as content too, although you may not distribute them like you would a blog post.
Make these resources easily accessible for your sales team. They can explain away an objection themselves, or they can simply send their prospects the right materials to alleviate any concerns.
4) Host webinars and include a demo at the end
Webinars are unique among content formats in that they give you access to a captive, live audience. While the bulk of your webinars should provide objective value, such as how to generate more leads with content, you can invite your audience to stick around to listen to a demo of your product after.
If they’ve stuck around for that long, they might just stay for a demo too. And you’ll have earned the opportunity to show off your solution and field questions from your audience with a nice, compelling call-to-action at the end.
While webinars are great for capturing leads via registrations, don’t neglect the opportunity to explain what it is you can offer after you’ve earned your audience’s trust.
5) Create Case Studies that show off customer success stories
Many companies integrate case studies into their website or publish them as content that’s more shareable. Either way, your product should play a supporting role and these stories should focus on your customers.
Present case studies like a story—represent the change that occurred from where they started to where they ended up. Maintain objectivity by shifting the focus away from your own brand, and speak to how your solution enabled the results. By presenting concrete numbers, details about the entire journey and testimonials to contribute social proof, case studies can be among the most powerful assets in your content mix.
As always, include the right call-to-action to ask them to the next step: Starting a free trial, requesting a demo, or contacting a rep.
Who says content can’t sell?
We’re often told that content isn’t inherently about selling. Most of it is about attracting audiences and some of it is about influencing them. But there’s also the content you should be creating to compel action in B2B marketing. Content marketing is about providing value; but to ensure that value isn’t entirely one-sided your mix needs to include content that can be used to motivate action.