Content marketing is all about influencing customer behavior with your content. And, most people who use it know it’s effective. Just look at these B2B Tech success stories:
LeadPages: This landing page template provider acquired 35,000 customers in less than three years and hit over $16 million in revenue in 2015!
How? By combining its educational content with its podcast and weekly webinars.
WP Engine: This WordPress hosting platform acquired 300,000 sites in 128 countries and earned over $40 million.
How? By helping people to build their online presence and providing support through Torque, a community of WordPress users.
SAP: This large enterprise software vendor operates in more than a dozen industries. Its content activities brought Marketing Generated Ops to the tune of $3,675,000, and marketing touched pipeline growth equal to $50,037,709.
How? By customizing their content for 19 customer segments and tailoring messaging covering topics relevant to each industry.
There’s no denying the fact that inbound marketing is a powerful business-building tool. It’s a game-changer.
There’s just one problem though: content marketing can be seriously hard work. From creating content to publishing content to promoting content, businesses find it a whole lot to deal with.
Zazzle Media says 60% of companies struggle to produce content consistently, and 65% find it a challenge to produce engaging content. And not engaging your visitors means you’re losing money.
Aside the content creation challenge, most B2B SaaS businesses struggle with obtaining results with their content. Their reality does not match the stories shared above. What are they doing wrong? It might be due to the following content marketing mistakes.
So, Why Is Your Content Not Generating Leads and Sales?
1. Not Having a Content Strategy
Having a clear strategy is crucial to content marketing success. Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 B2B Marketing report says “a documented strategy is often a key indicator of content marketing success.” But, only 41% of B2B marketers have a documented strategy.
So, what is the remaining 59% doing? Just winging it. Just doing guess work. Just following trends without a proper plan. Which group do you belong? If you belong to the latter, you’re like a soldier going to war without ammunition. What are you going to fight with?
A documented strategy is your ammunition in the inbound marketing war. It’s your plan of attack. It’s your road map. It gives your content purpose.
Marketing Influencer, Neil Patel says a winning strategy should answer the following questions:
- Who is my audience?
- What are they searching for…and why?
- What’s working and not working for my competitors?
- What are my content marketing goals?
- How do I measure success?
A strategic content plan doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple document will do. Keep it simple stupid (KISS).
2. Selling Instead of Informing
There’s a reason learning sites like Lynda, Masterclass, and Udemy are flourishing. People want to know how to do stuff. They love educational content. If you can inform and educate, you will get a lot of people to your website. Hopefully, you can retain them and even convert them into paying customers.
Understand the problems your buyers have and solve them through your content. Prioritizing your audience’s informational needs over your organization’s promotional message works. 52% of buyers say they are definitely more likely to buy from a vendor after reading its content.
The thing is, people don’t like to be sold to. They like to be helped. If you can help them with your content (by solving their pain points), you can break their resistance to buying. Helping is the new selling.
Educational content is particularly helpful in attracting and nurturing your audience. As you can see from this image:
3. Not Publishing Regularly
In 2019, HubSpot found that marketers who prioritize marketing efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI. Making blogging a serious portion of your day-to-day is hard work, but rewarding in that you may garner visits and leads.
So, How Often Should You Blog?
There’s no hard and fast rule. It depends on what you want to achieve. Are you blogging for organic traffic or brand awareness?
If your goal is to raise your traffic numbers and get new people to your website, you’ve got to publish frequently but the schedule is up to you. If you’re a small team, publishing on a daily basis may not be sustainable but planning ahead of time would help you.
You may not need to publish frequently if you’re blogging for brand awareness. The key is to diversify content and ensure your content highlights what your brand can do for people. Celebrate employees and share behind-the-scene peeks into life at your organization.
Below is a graphic that summarizes some goals to shoot for when thinking about blog frequency. Remember that updating posts with new information is a great way to build SEO, no matter the goal.
4. Failure to Capture Leads
Capturing the contact information of the people who visit your website is a fantastic way to keep in touch with them. If you fail to do this, you’re leaving money on the table. Maximize your traffic by creating a lead capture system and following up consistently.
Why? Most website visitors will not buy on a first time visit but if you constantly follow them up, you can convert them into paying customers.
You can use lead magnets, content upgrades, and even blog updates to capture leads. See how Hubspot uses content upgrades in the image below:
5. Lack of Content Diversification
Buyers consume content in different ways. Some members of your audience may prefer podcasts while others will prefer video. To be able to satisfy these preferences, you’ve got to diversify content.
Let me grab some statistics to illustrate this point:
The top 3 content mediums for B2B marketers are social media content (95%), blog posts/short articles (89%), and email newsletters (81%). (B2B Content Marketing 2020 Report).
But, B2B audiences consume more than just text content.
More than half of tech buyers think video is the most useful form of content (Isoline Comms).
Social media is a source in making purchasing decisions for 84% of B2B executives (Leadspace)
7 in 10 B2B buyers watch videos throughout their sales journey (Google)
48 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly while the average number of monthly podcast listeners will reach 112 million by 2021 (Statista).
86% of B2B buyers now prefer interactive content (KoMarketing).
To attract attention, you’ve got to diversify your content portfolio. Don’t put all your eggs in the text basket. Explore other formats and see what happens.
6. Not Tracking Content Performance
Michael Brenner is a top CMO and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He talks about the 5 critical metrics to measure when it comes to content performance in this post. They are:
Traffic: how many people are landing on your website as a result of your content?
Conversions: what actions are your website visitors taking after reading your content? Are they clicking to read more or subscribing to your newsletter?
Engagement: how long are people spending on your site and how many pages are they visiting in each session?
SEO Performance: are you ranking in the search engines? What keywords are you ranking for?
Authority: though not easy to measure like the other metrics, high authority will improve your SEO and build your brand
Tracking your content performance would enable you to know how your content is doing. It would also enable you to add punch to your content.
7. Poor Understanding of Audience
Writing content without a thorough understanding of your audience results in poorly-written content. Content that is not well-targeted.
When you nail down your audience, understand their pain points, identify with their struggles, prioritize their needs above your own, it would show in your content.
It would be extremely targeted and the people for whom it’s meant will immediately get the message.
CoSchedule provides a 3-step guide to discovering what your audience wants:
- Talk to your readers face-to-face. It’s not just enough to do reader surveys and what nots.
- Use Ubersuggest And Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. This will unveil the keywords they’re searching and problems they’re contending with.
- Analyze Your Competitors’ Top Performing Content. This can easily be done with BuzzSumo.
Are You Making Assumptions About Your Audience?
While advising that you avoid making assumptions about your audience, CoSchedule says you should guide your content with data instead.
4 Common Audience Assumptions To Avoid
Assumption #1: Your Audience Is Just Like You.
Your audience can never be like you They don’t care about the things you care about.
Assumption #2: They Know The Same Things You Know
Your audience may be smart and knowledgeable but they don’t know the same things you know.
Assumption #3: They Care About Your Brand
The only language they understand is the ‘what’s in it for me?’ lingo. Be honest with yourself. Your audience doesn’t care one bit about your brand. They care about their family, friends, businesses, etc.
Assumption #4: They Know Your Industry Jargon
This is especially true in the B2B SaaS industry where creators get excited about their data warehouses, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. And, want to tell people about it.
Listen, your audience will not understand the power of a database warehouse but they will understand when you tell them it would lead to marketing efficiency and drive revenue.
When you understand your audience, you will not use jargon that confuses them. You’ll speak their lingo. This would ensure you don’t lose your audience.
8. Ignoring Email Marketing
Email marketing is powerful in the relationship-building mix. And, the good thing is, email is here to stay.
For starters, we send 102.6 trillion emails every year. And the numbers keep going up, with 126.7 trillion expected to be sent by 2022. The average email subscriber receives 13 commercial emails a day.
And, consumers are loving it. As Adestra says they prefer email for communicating with the brands they’re connected with.
When compared with social media, email marketing has a higher return on investment (ROI): 4400%. That means that every dollar you spend on email marketing has the potential to bring you a $44 return. Wow! That’s quite a number!
So, How Do You Succeed with Email Marketing?
- Send hyper-personalized emails
- Integrate machine learning/AI into email marketing automation
- Be relevant to consumers across all channels
9. Neglecting SEO
Optimizing your content for the search engines makes your content findable. You can use both on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO are the things you do on your site to make your content search-engine friendly, like making sure each piece has a primary keyword, interlinking relevant pages, and writing original content.
Off-page SEO are the page ranking factors that occur on other websites. Like backlinks, for instance. They’re extremely valuable to rankings but out of your control.
10. Focus on Quantity Rather than Quality
High-quality content impresses your website visitors. It gives your brand a lot of positives. But, quality is often sacrificed on the altar of quantity.
In a bid to gain top search engine rankings. In a bid to satisfy our conscience that we’re doing this content marketing ‘thingy’. But, it doesn’t have to be so.
You don’t have to publish daily if that is going to affect content quality. It pays to publish quality content on a weekly basis than to publish quantity content on a daily basis.
Be realistic and create a publishing schedule that would not affect content quality.
But then, What is Quality Content?
Larry Kim, Founder of WordStream, says “quality content is successful content.”
It’s content that achieves the goal for which it was created. The goal could be to attract prospects or nurture subscribers. Whatever. It’s successful as long as it does well in the market.
11. Weak or No Call-to-Actions
You’re missing out of the power of strong CTAs if you’re using weak or no call-to-actions.
You see, people love to be led. Tell people what to do after giving them the information they want.
Word your CTAs strongly like OptinMonster does in the image below. The CTA is just beside the content and contains the ‘stop’ word. Wow!:
12. Poor Content Promotion
Mashable says 100,000 tweets are shared, 347 website blog posts are published, 48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded and 571 websites are launched to the world-wide-web every minute of the day (and those numbers continue to grow year on year).
On its own, that’s a huge amount of published content. But add to that the social media-sphere and what you have is a never-ending volcanic plume of content being promoted and accessed from a plethora of channels.
So, how do you cut through the noise? How do you ensure your content gets seen?
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers suggests you spend 20% of your time creating great content and 80% of your time distributing that content to reach as broad an audience as possible.
So, what content distribution channels are available for use? There are paid, owned, and earned channels.
Paid channels are the media you have to pay for. Promotion through LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, AdWords Ad Copy, Re-marketing Ad Banners, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and other paid social activity falls under this remit.
Earned media is essentially online word of mouth, usually seen in the form of ‘viral’ tendencies, mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, recommendations, or content picked up by 3rd party sites. It includes news coverage/press mentions, interviews, product reviews, influencer shoutouts, organic and direct traffic, etc
Owned media is when you leverage a channel you create and control. This includes your company website, social media handles, blog, and email list. These channels are used to deliver the brand message to consumers under the brand’s own terms, as well as to market specific products or services.
These channels must be used to effectively distribute your content.
13. Lack of Personalization
Personalization is one-to-one marketing. It’s a customer preference that is ruling the marketing industry now.
Here are some statistics to back this claim:
- 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers specific and relevant to them.
- 80% of customers are more likely to purchase products or services from brands that provide personalized experiences.
- 79% of consumers are only likely to engage with a brand’s offer if that offer has been personalized to reflect previous interactions that the consumer has had with the brand.
Personalized Content Examples
Landing pages can be personalized, emails can be personalized, product demos can be personalized, etc.
Personalized Landing Page from Unbounce.
Customized Email from StoryChief. I received this email after abandoning my sign up process. It’s triggered by my behavior.
Personalized Product Demo from Clearbit.
So, How Can You Personalize Content?
Instapage offers 4 tips:
Marketers can target audiences by variables such as industry, department, job title, geography, gender, age range, and more.An audience can even be segmented by behavior. This makes your emails and website experiences relevant.
- Persona-based personalization
This involves segmenting content by the characteristics of each persona, which can be anecdotal or more data-driven, based on website activity, purchase history, demographics, etc.
- Customer journey-based personalization
This lets you deliver personalized content directly related to a customer’s phase in their journey, helping them progress to the next step.
- Individual-specific personalization
The only way to truly personalize the customer experience is to a segment of one, optimized in real-time. This individualization is possible primarily through machine learning and AI technology. It’s largely influenced by the actions and preferences inextricably tied to that specific customer’s identity.
14. Failure to Optimize Leads
What happens to leads after you capture them? Do they attract more leads or convert into sales?
Here’s an example from the Boston Turner Group of what a lead nurturing process might look like:
As you can see, leads don’t turn into customers instantly. You have to warm them up first, and systematically build a relationship with them before they will be ready to buy.
How do you achieve this? By creating an individualized journey for each lead who comes across your site. That’s the whole concept behind lead nurturing.
But, some mistakes can get in the way. They include:
- Not researching your leads
- Not optimizing your lead magnet
- Not implementing a lead nurturing email campaign
- Not following up
- Not having an effective sales pitch
- Not testing and tweaking your campaigns
Read this for a detailed breakdown of these lead nurturing mistakes.
15. Expecting Results Overnight
I call this the biggest content marketing mistake. Don’t get me wrong. Content marketing is a key part of online visibility, but it’s not a strategy that yields overnight results.
Building a relationship with content takes time. It’s a gradual process. You first have to attract before you can convince and convert. It’s just like building everyday relationships.
If you think throwing up a few 1,000-word posts and promoting on social media is all about it, I’d say you should quit dreaming. Roll up your sleeves. It’s gonna take grease work. It ain’t gonna be easy. But, the hard work pays off. Eventually. Again and again. If you do not give up too early.
Content marketing can increase your bottom-line if you can avoid these mistakes in your B2B Tech business.
So, which of these mistakes are you going to tackle first?
Ready to 2x Your Sales with Killer Content?
Hire Iyabo Oyawale to write for your business today! She is the Founder/Copywriter at CopyVista, a freelance copywriting team, that specializes in B2B tech marketing. She makes one bold promise: “I write engaging long-form SEO content that turns casual users into die-hard fans.” Wanna test this claim? Schedule a free 15-minute call here.