Technology has permanently altered the business-to-business (B2B) marketing landscape. Gone are the days of outbound tactics like cold calling, print advertising, and trade shows. Today, savvy B2B companies of all types and sizes leverage inbound and content marketing tactics to generate high-quality leads and provide ongoing value to existing clients. Companies that want to leverage inbound marketing to drive sales often work with a B2B content marketing agency to increase efficiency and scale their business.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable information and materials to attract and engage a business’s target audience. The ultimate goal is to drive profitable customer action by increasing brand awareness, generating leads, and building customer loyalty. Content can take many different formats, from articles and posts to YouTube videos and webinars. By providing helpful and informative content that addresses the pain points of a target audience, a business builds trust and credibility.
Many assume content marketing is a relatively new phenomenon that developed alongside the internet. While content certainly plays a role in successful digital marketing strategies, it actually traces back to the late 19th century. Companies like John Deere and Michelin began creating and distributing content in the form of farm equipment manuals and travel guides, respectively, to educate, inform, and drive profitable customer action.
What Does a B2B Content Marketing Agency Do?
A B2B content marketing agency typically specializes in creating and distributing content for businesses that sell products or services to other businesses. Some of the services a content marketing agency may provide include market research, content creation, article distribution, and reporting and dashboards, to name a few. By providing authoritative content that addresses the pain points, interests, and needs of a target audience, the agency helps the client establish itself as a credible thought leader in their industry or niche.
Digital Marketing Strategy
One of the first activities a marketing agency will work on for a client is strategy. By setting expectations up front in a strategy document, both the marketing agency and the client establish clear and realistic goals. Additionally, it ensures that everyone involved in the initiative is on the same page and understands how progress is made.
A digital marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how a business will use various digital channels, such as social media, email, search engines, SMS, reputation management, and a website, to achieve its goals. The strategy document typically includes the tactics an agency will use to reach and engage the client’s target audience, recommendations on the topics and formats of content to be created, how performance will be measured, and efforts to optimize and improve results continually.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a long-term strategy that involves on-page and off-page marketing techniques such as keyword research, content optimization, meta tags, and backlink building. Over time, these techniques will improve the quality and relevance of a website for both search engines and visitors. However, SEO is a technical and complex activity, as search engines regularly update their algorithms and ranking factors. To achieve and maintain a good ranking, a business must continuously monitor, test, and fine-tune its tactics.
Offering SEO services alongside your current offerings can benefit both you and your client. Search engine optimization can help your client’s business appear on page one of Google, increasing their visibility and driving more website traffic. And, since SEO is an ongoing process, it can generate recurring revenue for your business.
Website Design and Development
A business’s website is the home base for inbound traffic generated by the digital marketing strategy. While it is important for a website to accurately represent a business, it should also be their hardest working salesperson. When a business has a well-designed and properly-structured website, it works in conjunction with content marketing and SEO tactics to attract and retain customers 24/7/365.
Web design and development is simply building a website. From planning and designing to coding and testing, B2B content marketing agencies are experts at creating sites. Businesses assume they need to hire a team of programmers and coders to get a great website, but that’s not necessary. Modern websites that convert are user-friendly, responsive, and optimized for search engines. Working with a content marketing agency on your website ensures your storefront on the internet and digital strategy are always in sync.
Content Creation and Distribution
Fact: content is the workhorse behind inbound marketing. Unfortunately, that reality is a double-edged sword: content needs to be well-researched, properly structured, and distributed through the right channels at the right point in a customer’s journey to have a positive impact. If you don’t have expert content creators in-house, it’s better to conserve resources until hiring a professional is feasible. Hours spent writing an article that gets zero traffic is time you could have spent on your area of expertise.
Professional B2B content creators research, produce, and optimize written, visual, and audio content to inform, educate, entertain, or persuade a business’s target audience. To create effective content, one must: have an in-depth understanding of a business’s target audience; understand how different topics and keywords play into the buyer’s journey; and be aware of the ins and outs of distribution channels. Like SEO, content marketing is an ongoing process that requires regular analysis and optimization.
When it comes to reputation management on the internet, businesses have two options: let others drive the narrative or take back control. Even if a company does 100% brick-and-mortar sales, it still has an online presence that should be proactively managed. Whether that involves responding to feedback on Yelp or updating business hours of operation on Google Maps, the goal should be to build trust and credibility with prospects and existing clients alike.
Much like other areas of business, being proactive is key to successfully managing your reputation on the internet. The right content marketing agency can assist, whether that is by creating and promoting positive content, building relationships with key industry influencers, or even generating positive customer reviews. Businesses that carefully listen to feedback and incorporate it into their overall strategy are the ones that break away and lead the pack.
Reporting and Analytics
“Data, data, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” Today’s modern businesses often find themselves stuck in the same predicament as the sailors in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s original poem: the digital age has produced an overwhelming amount of data, with no useful or actionable information. If a business doesn’t have the right tools and processes to collect and analyze data, it will be impossible to gain meaningful insights that drive it forward.
Reporting and analytics should be the foundation on which your digital marketing strategy is built. In addition to measuring the effectiveness of content marketing campaigns, website traffic, and search engine optimization efforts, a robust reporting and analytics dashboard will help identify areas for improvement and track progress over time. Inbound marketing is one of the best long-term investments a business can make in itself; regular reporting and analytics will measure and prove a return on investment.
Successful B2B marketing agencies are experts at reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time, whether that is a C-suite executive at a Madison Avenue advertising agency or the founder of a tech startup in the Bay Area. If you’re looking for a marketing partner to help you save time and scale your agency efficiently, reach out to the content professionals at AgencyHub and get started today!