It’s no secret, company websites are a key implement in the B2B marketer’s toolbox. B2B marketers rate websites as the second most effective demand management tactic for building awareness (behind events) in our 2016 Business Technographics marketing survey. B2B companies also expect more than half of their customers to buy online within three years.[i] These trends show just how important it is for marketers to get the website experience right – and to produce Web content that builds empathy to engage buyers.
So, is anyone doing this well today? And, if so, what are they doing to make their content more engaging? In “Empathetic Content: The Key To Engaging B2B Buyers” we looked at 60 corporate websites across 12 different industries to figure this out. Sadly, we found most fail to deliver engaging, customer-focused content. Sadder still, not much has improved since we first undertook this exercise in 2014.
The need to streamline content for mobile devices and showcase product catalogues to facilitate eCommerce transactions certainly contribute to this result, but the resounding finding is that B2B marketers – who write this content – really don’t understand and empathize with their buyers.
All is not entirely grim: we found a few websites that led with thought leadership, took a provocative stance on industry issues, or established a narrative around their target customer. These approaches to content marketing – as compared to droning on and on about your products and services — helps prospective buyers understand that you are not only in tune with their industry and issues, but that you also have other, actual customers who benefit from using your products and services.
Simply put, the customer needs to be the primary design point for your content strategy – and your website is a key way to show that you want to engage in dialogue, educate buyers, and build relationships. Buyers spend more time online researching and buying products, which means your content marketing practices must keep pace.
B2B organizations dedicate three times more headcount to content marketing than their B2C counterparts.[i] Unless you want to waste all that effort — it’s time to revamp content marketing strategy around new ways to engage buyers and show them that you know what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
[i] Forrester’s Business Technographics Global Marketing Survey, 2016.
[i] Source: Forrester/Internet Retailer Q2 2016 Global B2B Sell-Side Online Survey