Content Marketing and the B2B Buy-Cycle

Abraham Nord May 31, 2012

One of the most important aspects of increasing online conversions (particularly for B2B focused sites) is speaking to prospects at all stages in the buying cycle. A prospect doing research on a topic is at a different place than one who is looking to hire a company, and each prospect must be met at the stage where they are.

Below, I describe four proven content assets and incentives to reach business buyers at all stages in their purchasing process.

1. White Papers & Webinars

White Papers and Webinars are great for B2B prospects at the very beginning of their buying cycle. Prospects at this stage know they have a problem and are trying to figure out the best way to fix it. They are in research mode. For this reason, it is critical that your White Papers and Webinars focus on the prospect and the problem you are solving and not on your company.

Done correctly, White Papers and Webinars will provide helpful information, answer the prospects questions and position your company as a thought leader in your field. Later in the buying cycle, they are more likely to remember your previous help and expertise and look for more information on how you specifically, can help them.

2. Case Studies

This brings us to the next phase in the buying cycle. Case Studies are an excellent way to bridge the gap between business buyers engaged in general research and those who are looking for a specific solution.

Case studies have the unique opportunity of doing both. You can educate a prospect by showing how you have solved a problem, how customers benefited, and how you were instrumental in their success.

TIP: Consider combining your white papers, webinars and case studies into one offer such as an “informational kit” to add value and reach a wider range of prospects.

3. Assessments & Audits

Assessments and Audits should be used for B2B prospects who are beyond the initial research stage and have already determined that they need to make a change or need help. These assets are customized to specifically address a prospect’s particular situation.

Through a customized Assessment or Audit, you are now becoming more intimate with their company and their challenges. This allows you to provide insights and information that are truly meaningful and impactful for the prospect and enables you to make direct comparisons between your solutions to their needs.

4. Demos & Free Trials

Demos and free trials work very well during the final step in the buying cycle. One of the final hurdles to overcome is commitment. How does the prospect know they are making the right decision?

Through the previous 3 content assets you have already demonstrated that you are the right partner through your:

  • Thought leadership (White papers / Webinars)
  • Proven success and testimonials (Case Studies)
  • Insightful recommendations and solutions to the prospects specific problem (Assessment / Audit)

Demos and Free Trials are a great way to overcome any of the last reservation about commitment or unknowns. The prospect has a chance to test the waters, experience first-hand how your products or services help them, and just become comfortable working with your company and offerings.

Give Prospects What They Want

When it comes to content marketing and downloadable assets — one size definitely does not fit all. Every prospect starts at a different stages in the buying cycle so don’t only focus on those at the bottom of the funnel.

At the end of the day, marketing methods must match the buyer’s needs at all stages. By achieving this, you will successfully engage more prospects and ultimately convert more prospects into customers.

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Abraham is the head of the Conversion Improvement department. He leads landing page testing strategy, implementation and analysis along with client communication and delivery. Abraham brings 8+ years of experience in conversion improvement, landing page testing and usability with a specific focus towards B2B and business with a complex sale.