Now that inbound marketing is the focus in the B2B world, developing content that adds value, educates, influences and is completely aligned with buyers’ behaviours is key for sustainable success.
Buyer behaviour has changed, and to engage them today you need to grow your online influence to prove your company is one that buyers can trust:
- Word-of-mouth recommendations influence between 20% and 50% of purchasing decisions (McKinsey & Co)
- The brands considered as influential generate three times as many word-of-mouth messages as the non-influential (McKinsey & Co)
- One-third of global B2B buyers use social media to engage with their vendors, and 75% expect to use social media in future buying processes (Social Media B2B).
There are several key changes in buyer behaviour:
- Decision-making networks are continually expanding with the growth of social media
- Buyers are actively seeking intelligent, educational and interesting content and interactions
- Technology is enabling buyers to evaluate products and services, moving through the early stages of the sales cycle without directly engaging with you
- The economic uncertainty means buyers are more risk averse than ever - they need a reason to trust you.
All the signals are pointing to the fact that businesses who align their online influence with these new buyer behaviours achieve better results:
- More than 90% of buyers visit a vendor website after seeing an online ad for a product or solution (B2BMarketing.net)
- 92% of retweets are based on “interesting content” whilst only 26% are due to inclusion of “Please RT!” in the tweet (Mindjumpers)
- 79% of Twitter users are more likely to recommend brands they follow (HubSpot)
- 63% of companies using social media marketing say it has increased effectiveness (HubSpot)
- Marketers rate social media as the second-most important factor (64%) in search, behind only content marketing (82%) (BtoB Magazine)
- 50% of buyers said they will be responsive to vendor solicitation on online platforms, provided the messaging is relevant (B2BMarketing.net).
So how can you grow your online influence? These ideas can help:
- Create content that delivers real value - educate your audience by showing how your solutions can help them do their job better
- Develop a content marketing strategy that is aligned to your buyer personas, the digital behaviours they demonstrate and their buying journey
- Interact with your targets in social media forums in a natural way rather than just posting links back to your content
- Deliver excellent customer service so your existing customers become your brand advocates and spread the word online for you.
Keep in mind that B2B lead generation is all about the prospect needing what you can provide, rather than them simply liking your Facebook page or following your LinkedIn profile or Twitter account. But also remember that:
- Businesses with 301 to 1,000 Twitter followers get over 4 times more leads than those with 1 to 25 followers (HubSpot)
- Businesses with over 1,000 Facebook fans get 6.5 times more leads than those with 1 to 25 fans (HubSpot)
- 65% of B2B organisations have acquired a customer through LinkedIn (Marketing Charts)
- 41% of B2B companies acquire customers through Facebook (HubSpot)
- Leads generated through social media cost on average 45% less (HubSpot).
So identifying who you need to influence, the best platform on which to engage with them, and what inbound marketing content to use can transform your marketing results.