In a new study, 48 percent of B2B decision makers polled said B2B advertising is boring, and only 22 percent feel B2B advertising prompts them to take the next step in the purchase funnel.
In other words, current and traditional B2B advertising isn’t doing its job. In the same survey, 82 percent of decision makers said they wished B2B had the creativity associated with B2C. Eighty-one percent said they feel they would make better decisions if B2B advertising was more engaging.
The way forward with B2B advertising is clear: make it more creative and engaging for the audience.
As we’ve said before, even in B2B advertising, you’re talking to people, selling to people, not machines. Your content needs to speak to those people.
How do you engage them?
BayCreative specializes in creating engaging content for B2B clients, so we’ve offered an 8 step checklist below.
8 Step Checklist to Focus on Your B2B Audience
Crafting Engaging B2B Ads and Content May Mean Engaging an Expert to Help
- First and foremost, create content for a specific audience. That seems common sense, but so often, B2B content is created once, for all audiences, even though your audience is actually segmented. And because it’s created for all audiences, it comes across as too technical or too dumbed down, and the pain points don’t relate to the decision maker reading the content, or the messaging is simply off. Engaging content relies on knowing the specific audience you’re targeting and tapping into their hopes, fears, pain points, and situation.
- Create content of value for the customer. Teach them something, or show them something they didn’t know.
- Create stories that highlight your product/solution’s features and benefits, rather than list them. Case studies and videos are particularly good for this, but white papers and eBooks work well, too.
- Include numbers that tell a story of why your product or service is such a valuable option for the company. That tangible evidence of value will have them wanting to know more if you’ve targeted your content correctly.
- Share data. In the “2017 Content Preference Survey Report,” 76 percent of B2B buyers said that more data and research content would improve the quality of content provided by B2B vendors.
- Consider tying your content to current events. People are interested in current events, so your content is more likely to engage them if it’s tied to current events.
- Create a consistent, seamless brand message. The audience will become familiar and comfortable with your story and want to continue following it.
- Keep it simple and easy to read. There’s no reason to show off how smart you are. You’re creating content to connect with the audience, not to inflate your own ego. Don’t write like an MBA. Write it right at the level that’s appropriate for your audience, and that’s usually going to be a lower level than you think. When you’re writing for a B2B audience, you want to be professional, but you don’t have to use overly technical language. Revise your content one more time to simplify concepts and explanations.
In the end, engaging B2B decision makers through advertising comes down to the same as engaging B2C audiences: expert, compelling storytelling that revolves around them. If it’s all about you, or the message is off target, you’ll lose them—from the marketing piece and likely from the sales funnel, too.
The BayCreative Team can help you craft engaging and persuasive content that moves prospects down your sales funnel. When you’re ready to tell your stories, please let us know.
In Demand Gen’s “2017 Content Preferences Survey Report,” nearly half of B2B buyers said they rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did the previous year. And 77 percent of respondents said they used white papers for that research.
When asked reasons why they selected a particular vendor over others, 66 percent of respondents in Demand Gen’s “2018 B2B Buyers Survey Report,” rated “Demonstrated a stronger knowledge of the solution area and the business landscape” as significant; 65 percent ranked “Provided informational content that was easy to consume” significant.
Finally, 56 percent of respondents in that survey said thought leadership content such as white papers was important when they visited the website of potential solution providers.
So, do you have white papers on your website?
A white paper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. It’s not an overtly promotional document—the best white papers won’t mention the producing company’s solution until the end—but many or all of the features needed for the solution can be found—twist ending!—in the solution sold by the company that produced the white paper.
Why Would You Want to Produce B2B White Papers?
For any B2B company, producing a white paper offers several benefits:
- Generate new leads: In Demand Gen’s “2017 Content Preferences Survey Report,” 76 percent of buyers said they were willing to register and share personal information in exchange for white papers
- Increase your company’s profile as a thought leader: By identifying and solving industry-wide problems, you show that you know your stuff, that you’ve paid attention to the industry and are an intelligent player in it
- Present you as an attractive option when researchers, the government, or the media are looking for someone in your industry to talk about a particular topic: That means added exposure for you
- Increase your company’s visibility in the marketplace and the regard people have for your company: If you present real solutions to real problems, the audience will come to trust you, which can have a profound affect when it’s purchasing time
- Set your brand apart from your competitors: By highlighting the features that are unique to your product/solution, you’re showing how it’s different from the competition’s
- Perhaps most important: As mentioned, buyers rely on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions. White papers allow you to present clients and prospects with the research they’re seeking—and to suggest solutions to common problems that tilt the field in your product/solution’s favor; you can discuss the solution in such a way that using your solution becomes a no-brainer
The goal of your white paper should be to inform and persuade based on facts and evidence... not tell the world why people need to buy your product right now.
But Producing an Effective White Paper Requires an Investment
Selecting a compelling, persuasive topic, researching, and writing a white paper, though, eats up a lot of time. Time that many B2B companies (big or small) just don’t have.
Fortunately, you can work with an agency like BayCreative to develop and produce high-quality white papers that speak to, and subtly persuade your audience. BayCreative, a full-service B2B marketing agency, has produced technical land business white papers for some of the largest companies in the U.S... and we can do the same for you.
So if you're looking to build your company's authority (and client list) with white papers, please let us know when you’re ready!
Not to brag, but we’ve helped a lot of enterprise, mid-market and SMB companies tell their B2B customer success stories. Doing so is always fun, and it helps our customers show prospects how the vendor’s solution has solved a problem that a company similar to the prospect’s company was having—and that they likely have themselves.
It’s important to show prospects that their peers are getting benefits from your solution, and to do so in their own words, because studies show that 53 percent of B2B buyers rely on peer recommendations before making any purchase decisions.
But there’s commonly one challenge we come across when building those stories: The customer has a challenge communicating the measurable performance improvements (metrics or key performance indicators [KPIs]) they’re seeing as a result of the new solution/product/service.
They may say "sales have increased", or they "definitely have better relationships with their clients and prospects", but they’re not able to give tangible data that supports those claims. Sales increases could be attributed to a number of factors, they’ll mention. Or they’re not sure how much interaction they had with clients and prospects before the implementation.
And therein lies the problem: They don’t have enough “before” data for a great before-and-after comparison. And without strong, tangible data to support your solution’s impact, your success story will be weaker than it should.
For Convincing B2B Customer Success Stories, Start Early—Before The Implementation
But you (or we) can fix that problem easily enough. It just takes forethought.
You need to start collecting data before the implementation even begins. Early in the process have your marketing people ask the client questions like: "What are your specific goals?" and "What do you hope to accomplish with this solution?"
Based on their responses, you’ll be able to figure out two or three areas that should improve after the implementation. Look at those areas and collect metrics associated with them. Write those metrics down for later. Then, after the implementation has been successful and the customer has (hopefully) been getting those anticipated results, go back and get those same metrics, which will now show improvements.
That will make for a persuasive before-and-after comparison.
Other Roadblocks to Compelling Data—And How to Overcome Them
Sometimes, the lack of before numbers isn’t the problem. I have seen a variety of reasons why a customer hasn’t been able to provide solid measurable performance results: Some clients try to keep performance metrics confidential; others don’t invest in measuring performance results as well as they should; for others, the solution hasn’t been implemented long enough for good performance metrics; and, in some cases, the performance metrics aren’t that good, so they’re hesitant about divulging them.
I'd like to offer two quick tips if you’re having trouble getting great metrics from a customer:
- Consider waiting longer; if you do, will you be able to better measure impact and KPIs?
- If they’re concerned about revealing confidential numbers, or if the numbers aren’t really that impressive, consider using percentage improvements. An increase in sales from 50 to 60 a year might not sound too impressive, but a 20 percent increase in sales does!
BayCreative: We Get Them Talking
At BayCreative, we’re experts at drawing out the kinds of metrics that create strong B2B customer success stories. So if you’re looking to build your library, and tell some great stories, please let us know.
According to WordStream,
the conversion rate of a typical website is about 2.35 percent
. If you had a salesman performing that poorly, you’d probably encourage him to find another vocation.
But too often, companies leave their underperforming website on staff rather than invest the time and effort in building a better website. So the website sticks around, its behavior basically unchanged for years.
And that’s a mistake.
No matter the size of your business, a modern, optimized B2B website is essential for finding those prospects who are seeking your solutions, to help establish your presence in the marketplace, to extend your reach, and to help decision-makers select and buy your products and/or services.
If your website isn’t doing those things for you, it might be time for a redesign. B2B website best practices are evolving constantly, and your website needs to evolve with them.
In this post, we’re offering some best practices for when you do redesign your site.
What Your B2B Website Needs
- These days, you have to have a responsive design to your B2B website, meaning it automatically adjusts the layout to the device it’s being viewed on. That way, your website will have a mobile-first feel to it. Also, write your on-page content for mobile devices—keep it concise and break it up with white space and bullet points.
- Your B2B website needs to be search engine optimized so it appears high in the list of results when a prospect looks for your product/service on an online search engine. SEO has been a staple of websites from the beginning. But, like website design best practices, it’s constantly evolving; that means you have to constantly be re-approaching your site content and off-site SEO factors.
- Related to that is the need for consistent, quality content on your B2B website. A good website is more than just a storefront with a list of products. By including regular blog posts and other content such as case studies and white papers, you turn your website into a library of content that showcases your knowledge.
- When you think about content for your B2B website pages, don’t just fixate on text. Include compressed video, pictures, infographics, and more. Be sure to fill in the alt tag and description boxes for those content pieces, because that will help with SEO, as well.
- Use consistent messaging throughout your B2B website.
- Keep navigation easy. Set it up so that the end user can reach any page within three clicks, make the path to that final destination clear, and ensure the user has clear choices and can easily get to where they want to go within your site.
- Don’t load your B2B website up with plug-ins and large photo and video files that bog down load times. The longer the page takes to load, the more likely the visitor will grow impatient and leave the page.
- Put a clear call to action (CTA) on every page, preferably on the top half of the page. Don’t leave visitors wondering what to do next.
- Continue to maintain, update, and analyze your B2B website to ensure it continues to work for you.
Work with an Expert to Squeeze the Most Out of Your Newly Redesigned Website
Our biggest recommendation for creating an effective B2B website? Work with an established website design company that knows what it’s doing. The above list doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of best practices, but the right agency will know all the tricks for building a website that brings eyes to your site and increases conversion rates.
BayCreative is one such agency
. We’re a full-service B2B marketing/branding/creative agency based in San Francisco but we have clients across the United States... many of whom we’ve worked with to create great websites.
For more tips, download our FREE eBook, “
7 Steps for Successful Website Redesigns
website design and development,
Now that you’ve got your positioning statement
, you have the foundation for all marketing materials you produce. That foundation will help you create strong brand messaging across all B2B marketing materials.
Brand messaging refers to how you convey your value and your unique value proposition and the language you use in your content. If you select the right language and focus on the right aspects of your business, you can make it stand out from the competition—and ultimately motivate the audience to buy your product/solution.
How do you pick the right things to focus on in your B2B marketing materials? How do you ensure you have strong brand messaging? Read on and we’ll provide some tips.
It’s not easy to choose the right digital agency. But since 1998, we’ve been making the choice easier by helping B2B marketers out there make better decisions (with better results) for their brand and growth.
PowerPoint is one of those handy tools that just won’t go out of style. Marketers lean on it for practically everything they do, and it’s no wonder. PPT files open and present from almost any device and they’re easy to edit. And with support for vector-based graphics and animation, your slide deck can be anything from simple explanation, to a detailed demonstration, to high-quality looping video.
Get the most out of your slides by making sure they are built with the highest quality design and attention to detail.
At BayCreative we take PowerPoint creativity to the limits. We apply our 20 years of B2B marketing experience producing thousands of slides to get the very best possible. Often, people looking at decks we’ve produced have no idea they’re even made in PowerPoint. And, some of the decks we’ve produced:
- Keynote presentations at large events
- Fully integrated with video and audio
- Interactive, self-navigable decks
- Looping animated decks for passively viewed screens (lobbies, trade shows)
- Sales presentation decks with easily customizable slides
- Refined story flow and messaging
Regardless of your specific need, let BayCreative take your work to the highest level of quality. And make sure you’re getting everything you can out of your PowerPoint presentations.
To find out more about what BayCreative clients say about our PowerPoint/presentation work and their experience collaborating with our agency, check out the BayCreative presentation examples in our website portfolio: http://www.baycreative.com/work-type/powerpoint/
Please keep us fresh-in-mind.
All the best!
- Team BayCreative -