The Marketing Boutique

Content Strategy For Corporate Communications

Corporate communications need a concrete content strategy, prioritized by purpose and audience. But the corporate communications program is typically reserved for large companies. Generally, small and medium-sized companies are usually focused on lead generation. In contrast, large companies will invest in media relations, hosting news events and distributing press releases to the media to garner coverage.

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Everyone loves a good B2B case study. Case studies provide valuable insight into how your company work’s during a specific project. It also gives you the opportunity to show off your problem-solving skills. Trade magazines, popular industry blogs and your customers all enjoy reading about how you ‘saved the day’ for a particular client on a specific problem.

Case Study: Public Relations Tactic

This public relations tactic gets your product success stories into the editorial columns of print and electronic media. It also helps to build your brand leadership and increase the trust factor. Finally, it lets readers learn how you helped solve real-world problems.

Case Study: Lead Generation Tactic

We’ve written several case studies, and in addition to submitting it to trade magazines for possible PR exposure, case studies make excellent lead generation tactics. You’ll need a landing page, optimize the page and then promote it from time to time to give your landing page proper placement on search engines. A case study can produce more leads and newsletter subscriptions than a year’s work of blogging. So, don’t dismiss this opportunity.

Elements of a Good Case Study

You’re probably wondering what makes a compelling and interesting case study? Here are some guidelines for identifying PR-worthy customer case studies that can generate awareness, credibility and leads for you.

Tell a Story in Your B2B Case Study

Yes, every case study is a story and a great story begins with a great headline. When brainstorming on your headlines consider all elements, blog post title, newsletter and social media. Each medium may require editing the headline so don’t make it too long.

Before you decide, try the writer’s formula we use to create compelling headlines, which are as follows: ask “Who, What, When, Where, and How.”

Setting Up

  • Results – The most critical thing to show is that you did solve the problem. No grey areas here. A reliable B2B case study includes numbers, facts, images of the positive end-result you did for your customer.
  • Problem/solution – Case studies should start with the customer’s issue and how you solved it. You can also outline different solutions and offer proven reasoning as to why your company as the optimal solution. Write from the customer’s perspective. Do include why the customer selected you, this writing style enhances the credibility of the story.

Timing

  • Current project – A current case study is more valuable than one that is old. In reality, we’re all busy and sometimes spending time on writing is not a priority. The point that I like to stress with my clients is to write a case study that has value. However, the product must be installed and operating. Or the service needs to be used and that the customer is satisfied with the solution.

Make it Special

  • Unique project – When submitting your B2B case study to an editor, it needs to be attractive by way of the project that needs to be unique so that the publication’s audience wants to read the feature. From cutting-edge technology, changing in-house processes, the value of timing, understanding the competition, and how you used the data – these have higher news value. You can also review the editorial calendar to get a good idea of what is the focus and spin based on a particular topic to arouse the editor’s interest.

Creative Writing

  • Illustrate the expertise – Editors view case studies as suitable teaching devices for their readers. They do welcome case studies that educate as well as inform.
  • Photography – Make the effort to visit your client and take photos. Take more than you think and add variety. Vertical, horizontal views, with people and without people – all are necessary. If you can bring on a professional photographer to develop dramatic photos. With some drama in your photos, it will help get your story picked up by the trade magazines.
  • No advertorial – The focus of the story must remain on what happened. A case study is not an advertorial; it is a review of the facts, written engagingly.

Brand Building

  • Customer quotes – You’ll need your customer’s buy-in before you begin to write about the case study. You’ll also need a quote. Sell them the idea that you’ll be promoting their business, so its’ a win-win for both, you and your client. Case studies where the customer remains anonymous don’t carry as much weight and are harder to sell to a publication. Especially in today’s modern marketing, transparency is essential.
  • Support brand positioning – Leverage your brand leadership by including key messages. Also, include a brief company background and additional resources readers may be interested in sourcing.

Marketing Funnel

Now that you’ve written your first case study, its the time to promote your content. Create a landing page, set-up a dedicated email list and create a series of newsletters through marketing automation that relates to the case study. You may want to write a blog post as well as a press release and reach out to your trade magazines.

Need help identifying and developing B2B case studies for PR placement and sales support? Contact me at cecilia@themarketingboutique.net.

The Marketing Boutique is a business-to-business marketing communications agency. We specialize in providing strategic marketing communications thinking and implementation to marketers of industrial, technical and commercial products.

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As a small manufacturer, you probably hear it all the time from marketing consultants, “You need to get started with content marketing.”

You’ve probably landed on my blog because you’re now looking for advice and insight on the value of content marketing.  You want to make sure that how content marketing – an additional marketing expense – will help your business.

I don’t blame you! I see it too often where content marketers don’t understand manufacturing companies are not coaches, fitness instructor or wellness experts – who can write content on feel-good subjects or personal musings of the day – and make a sale.

But let’s stay on this point for a moment. The ease in which a blog post can be written for a B2C company while not giving away competitive intelligence is brilliant. What can small B2B companies take from this for their content marketing program? It shouldn’t be complicated.

Let’s clarify a few things about content marketing:

  1. Content is king for Google
  2. Quality content doesn’t mean boring content
  3. Keyword rich content will optimise your site, not necessarily make the sale
  4. Still not interested? There are plenty of other tactics you can do, such as Google Ads, Facebook Advertising, developing videos for YouTube, and creating short stories on Facebook are some examples.

Now that’s you’re ready to start on your content marketing, here are a few steps to get you started.

Add Content Marketing To Your Marketing Plan

The content marketing program should be an integrated part of your marketing communications plan. Have a goal for the program, with quarterly or monthly topics you’ll want to write about.

Build a Content Marketing Team

You’ll need a graphic artist, someone who likes to take photos, a proofreader and of course, someone in senior management who will review the content before it goes live. Ideally, bring in a consultant who will help push your content marketing program into motion.

Hire someone who knows how to write

If you decide to split the writing between many departments, that’s exactly what you’ll get. A bit of this and a bit of that, inconsistent writing, overlapping topics, delays due to staff turnover, or change in a department.

For best results, hire one who can write for the web as well as can write up about maintenance, machinery, construction, motors, and in a light and interesting voice.

Original content is important. No point in spending all this time and money on someone else’s content.  

Forget consistency, know your limitations

Before you start, understand your limitations. If you’re the president and want to review all content before it goes live on your website, you may not be interested in reviewing a monthly blog post. Instead, you may be comfortable with committing to 6 posts for the year.

Write For Your Customer

Write content for your customer. You don’t have to spend too much time or overly invest in the buyer’s journey as long as you write content that your customer will find interesting. Do add a call-to-action and the option to subscribe to your newsletter. Once you’ve developed your content marketing, you can then to move to invest in the nurturing funnel.

Invest in an FAQ for voice search

Unsure where to start? Start by answering some of the questions your customer or the general public has about your product. Your answer may be picked up by Alexa or your smartphone!

Interested in content marketing for your company? Contact us, we’re your team!

Social selling for B2B has lots of potentials. It’s time to bring proper learning practices and knowledge of this method to your sales team. Get them the social selling training because as you’ll read in this post, social selling is effective.

How Effective is Social Selling?

  • 78% of salespeople using social media perform better than their peers (source)
  • Sales reps who viewed the profiles of at least 10 people at each of their accounts were 69% more likely to exceed quota than those who viewed 4 or fewer (source)
  • Social sellers generate 38% more new opportunities than traditional sellers (source)
  • 90% of top salespeople use social selling tools, compared with 71% of overall sales professionals (source)
  • 62% of employees at large companies agreed that social selling enables them to build stronger, more authentic relationships with customers and prospects
  • Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing
  • 63.4% of Social sellers reported an increase in company sales revenue, compared to 41.2% of non-social sellers (source)
  • Sales teams who embrace social experience report 18% more pipeline (volume) and 28% velocity increase (source)
  • The majority of social sellers with long-term training in place (78%) hit their revenue goals in the past 12 months versus those without formalized training (38%) (source)
  • Salespeople leveraging social selling experience a 31% higher ROI than those who stick to traditional tactics (source)
  • Content shared by employees receive 8x more engagement than the same content shared by company/brand channels (source)
  • Brand messages are re-shared 24x more when shared by employees vs. brand/corporate accounts (source)
  • 90% of an employee’s social audience is new to the brand (source)
  • Messages reach 561% further when shared by employees vs. the same messages shared via official corporate social channels (source)
  • Employees have on average 10 times more social connections than a brand does (source)
  • 54% of salespeople who use social media can track their social media usage back to at least one closed deal (source)
  • Sales reps who leverage social selling in their sales process are 79% more likely to attain their quota than those who don’t use it (source)
  • Sales teams that use social selling techniques exceed their quota 31% more than non-users (source)

New Customer in social selling

Today, customers use the internet to help them identify their problems and form their own opinions about solutions. Your future customer has better access to information thanks to social sharing, blogs, content marketing, and the global connectivity of the Internet. We can engage with the company through many digital touchpoints during their research.

What’s changed in B2B selling is our prospective client now jumps between reviewing, asking friends for referrals to choosing a solution, going up and down the sales funnel many times. B2B purchases can now use social media to find, evaluate, and contact your salesperson in their own time, at their own pace.

CEB’s research estimated that about 60% of the purchase process is already completed before a B2B buyer approach a salesman. Potential customers now go to the negotiation table with a much better understanding of their problem and how it can be solved, backed up by statistics for better leverage.

Steps in B2B Social Selling

  1. Set-up the right social media platforms
  2. Listen and find the right prospects
  3. Create content that provides value!
  4. Post a social media update daily
  5. Network and connect with your prospects
  6. Engage and nurture your prospects (According to Linked’s research, prospects feel the most motivation to return a reach out when the sales rep has provided them with some type of value in return for their interaction. Be willing to create content that helps your prospects even though this might not bring in immediate revenue.)
  7. Start a content marketing program and this could mean a daily posting on your Business Page on LinkedIn and three daily tweets on Twitter and Facebook and a weekly blog posting on your site.
  8. Retain your customers and prospects with a newsletter, content and events.

Make Your Brand a Valuable Resource

A good way to build brand trust and connect with your target list online is to develop great content. It’s not just developing interesting content, you then need to promote the content and get your audience to engage with your content.

If you’re thinking that it sounds like a lot of work – you’re right. But, according to a social selling study performed by LinkedIn, buyers that are active in social media are open to hearing from salespeople and welcome input from industry experts. Therefore, try to position yourself as an expert in your industry.

How to help your brand provide value when social selling:

  • Become an industry expert: Share answers or provide insight into how your processes are different
  • Provide quick and easy how-to guides and video tutorials that are practical for your leads
  • Build conversations by becoming an active listener and acknowledging those that engage with your brand

All this content is to help you when you reach out to your targeted audience, your lead list and you’ve got some brand muscle behind you.

use SOCIAL MEDIA as a:

  • Brand Maker
  • Sales Tool
  • Community Builder
  • Customer Service and Support
  • Lead Generator
  • Shared Effort with sales and marketing team
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When I meet clients to discuss their business blog, they are usually frustrated by the lack of interest and engagement their customers and audience have with their content.

I can certainly understand their disappointment. After all, with all the facts and positive reviews on the value of content marketing and how it can shorten the sales cycle and increase lead generation, why then it is more difficult for some companies to develop a successful content marketing program?

The number one reason is that their content is stingy.

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