If it’s not converting, it’s not performing.
The usual metrics for B2SMB content performance aren’t enough anymore. Content marketing is evolving, and everyone, including your competition, is getting better at it. Even if your content seems to be performing well by the usual standards—website visits, click-throughs, time-on-page—it can and must do more.
During my keynote at CEB’s 2017 Marketing to Small Business Summit, I showed a slide that illustrated how the goals of content marketing have changed. Even back then, it was clear that we needed to start “selling stuff” with our content. This meant using content to attract, engage, nurture, convert, and retain SMBs. Here we are in 2019, and too many marketers are still struggling just to attract and engage.
There are two reasons why this is now more problematic than ever.
- Content, for most products and services, is critical for helping brands align their sales and marketing with the way SMBs buy today.
- Marketers who aren’t producing measurable ROI with their content are finding it increasingly difficult to get funding for more content.
With this in mind, here are 7 reasons why your B2SMB content may not be delivering:
Too much focus on SEO
Effective SEO is powerful, but too often the tail wags the dog.
- Content written to interest Google may result in high rankings, but it doesn’t provide value for the reader and can lead to high bounce rates and reduced traffic over time.
- SMBs often don’t know what they don’t know. It is important that your content topics go beyond the top search terms to teach the reader something new.
Your content is mediocre
Today, you must not only stand out from your competitors, but also from media companies and bloggers who make their living creating compelling content and set a high bar. SMB owners and decision-makers are among the busiest people around. If your content isn’t grabbing their attention and changing their POV, at best it is ignored. More likely, it’s wasting the reader’s time and harming your brand.
You’re not using subject matter experts
One way to create content that excels is to engage with real small business subject matter experts (SMEs)—people who work with SMBs every day. External SMEs can add value, credibility, and authority to your content and help position your brand as a trusted resource for the ideas and solutions SMBs seek.
You’re not distributing and promoting your content
“Build it and they will come” doesn’t work anymore (if it ever did). You need to put as much effort into distributing and promoting your content as you do into developing it. Start with paid social, which provides incredible targeting, and drive them to your content on platforms you control, such as your website.
You don’t have content for the entire journey
Some brands have content for the beginning of the journey, while others have it for the middle. Few have both, and even fewer have content for the end of the journey that goes beyond features and benefits, promotion, and price. Research shows that most SMB buyers are around 2/3 of the way through their buying journey before they engage with a vendor. Your content is your opportunity to attract and engage them before they reach out to you, nurture them and build trust in your brand as they pursue their journeys, and generate incremental demand for your product or service at the end. This requires focused content for the entire ride.
Sales is not on board with your content
Many brands do a good job with content for the early stages of the journey, but seem to think the job is done once leads are turned over to sales. The content generates initial interest (demand) by focusing on the outcomes the SMBs are looking for. Then sales struggles because they don’t have the end-of-the-journey content to continue the conversation. The best practice: arm them with content for the end of the journey that deals with common objections and provides social proof in the form of customer stories.
Your content experience is substandard
Your content experience is what your readers see, think, and feel when consuming your content. Is it relevant to them? Is it attractively presented? Is it easy to read and understand? Does it provide a path to next steps or otherwise lead to deeper engagement?
Great content is essential to almost any B2SMB marketing strategy, but it requires an ongoing commitment of time and resources. In most organizations, this is only justifiable if it contributes to the bottom line. Most brands can do much more to attract SMBs with relevant and helpful information, keep them engaged throughout the buying journey, and provide the tools necessary to ultimately close the sale. They need to step up their content programs to ensure they’re delivering tangible results.
Do you want to get more results from your content? Set up a call with me and I’ll show you how.