In a world where everyone is inundated with ‘content’ 24/7/365, it has become increasingly difficult for businesses to get their voices heard and engage with customers. For the B2B company or those selling essential services that don’t have the same appeal as an entertainment or lifestyle brand, it can seem like a futile exercise when trying to get attention with such stiff competition.
I’ve met a number of business owners who feel that creating their own content is a waste of time and money; preferring a return to ‘old fashioned’ methods of selling like cold calling, print advertising and direct mail.
While these methods are still relevant and when used appropriately can deliver excellent results, I do think that creating customer-focused content needs to be part of the overall marketing mix. Not least because customers expect it and having seen your advertisement, picked up your direct mail, or hung up on your cold call, will head online to research your company or product in more detail.
Customers want content
Digital transformation has had a huge impact on the way customers buy products and services. Buyer behaviour has changed with customers, on average, almost 60% of the way through the decision-making process before they contact a sales person or company. For B2B sales almost half of purchases involve more than four people in the decision-making process, these key stakeholders all require content to help them through the sales cycle.
What I think many businesses fail to recognise is that different content works at different stages of the sales cycle. The attraction stage is only the beginning and often traditional advertising or marketing activities can be more effective than trying to reach customers in an overcrowded digital marketplace.
However, once a prospect does show interest they enter the ‘research’ phase where they activity look for content, but often find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information, options and complexity involved.
This is where many businesses misunderstand what they are creating content for, and how it engages customers. Your content doesn’t necessarily have to compete with everyone else’s if you’re delivering the right content to help customers make a buying decision. In fact, your content can become an antidote to the overwhelming amount of content everyone else is creating.
Using video content to engage customers
Video content is a very effective way to deliver content at this stage of the sales cycle. Creating short, memorable and engaging clips that cut through the noise and gives your customers clear, concise information that progresses them towards their purchase.
This can take the form of ‘best practices’ information helping customers self-qualify and decide whether they’re ready for your product or services. It can walk them through benchmarking exercises to compare different options (playing to your businesses strengths), and breaking down barriers to conversion.
Video content can also be targeted specifically at other stakeholders, providing your buyer with content they can share with key decision-makers addressing friction points and demonstrating value. It’s the perfect format for getting content in front of people quickly - much more accessible than a text-heavy document or presentation - and conveys key information more succinctly.
Further through the sales cycle, there are other opportunities to use video content to engage customers. Product walkthroughs, guides to onboarding or implementation, customer testimonials, after-sales and customer support information; all helps to make it easier for customers to buy.
All of this content adds value and is designed to provide customers with practical support. Yet it may seem very dry and boring - best practices, pitfalls to avoid, ROI etc. are not the most fun, exciting subjects to explore and may not sound very engaging either. Which is why using video content can be a real differentiator. While the core content may be practical, a video can inject personality and individuality into the subject, reflecting your brand, company culture, your people, and really engage your customers.
By Rob Edmonds, managing director at NRG Digital
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