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B2B content marketing

The beginner’s guide to B2B content marketing

Head of Marketing at Turtl, Karla Rivershaw, gives us the lowdown on B2B content marketing and how best to get your quest started. 👇🏼

The 7 things we'll be covering

  • What B2B content marketing is and why it’s important
  • How to define and reach your audience
  • Style and tone in B2B content marketing
  • How to create an effective B2B content marketing strategy
  • Different content types (and how to use them)
  • How to improve and amplify your content
  • B2B content marketing tools

The basics

What is B2B content marketing?

B2B content marketing is the main way B2B companies generate brand awareness and create demand. Seen in many forms and distributed via many channels, it normally involves a combination of text and imagery that create and further the relationship between the business and their audience.

Why does B2B marketing matter?

So much of the buyer journey is taking place online, separate to sales people. As a result, the content that businesses put out there is massively important. It’s the main way a business can start to build trust and cultivate a relationship with their audience. Producing consistently high-quality, engaging content will keep your audience coming back for more.


Unlike with B2C, B2B content marketing deals with businesses and the decision makers within those businesses. This means that the stakes are higher when making purchasing decisions than they might be for B2C. So it's extremely important that B2B businesses present themselves as being a safe, reliable, option. And one of the best ways of doing so is consistently delivering high-quality content.


But, as much as high-quality content is crucial, we don’t want a preoccupation with professionalism to limit us. We don’t want a perceived “B2B style” to stop us from creating content that feels human and that strikes an emotional chord with our audience. We can afford to be more playful with B2B content marketing, and to welcome in some more creative marketing tactics into our world. 

Audience

How can I define my audience?

Segmenting your audience into personas is a popular way of doing things. B2B businesses often target multiple personas. So it’s worth prioritising them, particularly as you’re starting out. That way you can focus on the key personas you want to target as part of your initial content marketing efforts. 


At Turtl, we break our audience down into the groups of people who have power over whether your product or service will be purchased. So these might be: 

  • The decision makers. These people have the final say on whether your product/service should be purchased).
  • The influencer network. These people are more junior than the decision maker and will create internal demand for your product. 
  • Senior influencers. These people could be the manager of the decision maker, the finance director, or even the CEO.

The job of the content marketer is to cater their messaging to these different groups. The decision maker and the influencer network are probably a good place to start.


The influencer network tends to be the people doing the research on your brand and trying to find solutions for a problem they have. That means the content that you produce for them is more likely to be top of funnel. 


The decision maker content, on the other hand, is more likely to be middle to bottom of funnel. It'll involve helping that decision maker reach the conclusion that they need to buy your product to meet their needs and challenges.

How can I map content to my audience?

When looking at the buyer journey and the audiences you’re going after, you can get pretty specific. Turtl have identified 11 stages of the buyer journey, each with their unique considerations for content requirements. But, when you’re starting out, it's best to keep things super high-level. Then you can fill in the gaps later. The best way to do this is to break your buyer journey down into three stages:

  • Top of the funnel 
  • Middle of the funnel
  • Bottom of the funnel

Focus on how to attract people to your brand. Then educate them on the problem they have and offer them a solution. This approach will give you the foundations you need to hone your content mapping in the future.

A quick word on messaging...

Make sure your messaging resonates with the particular person or group of people you're targeting. 


A good place to start is with the influencer network. It’s quite easy to get into the mind of the influencer and think about why they’re searching for the content and what challenge they are looking to solve.


This will probably be something quite trivial in the list of business priorities , but something that's significant to an individual performing their day-to-day tasks. An example of this would be: "How can I produce content faster?" 


Then, when it comes to the decision maker, you have to take it up a notch. Think about the specific challenges they have and how they might differ from the influencer network. These will probably be executive level concerns, such as: "How can I prove marketing's ROI?"


Speaking to customers and prospects is the best way to discover the most prominent challenges in their daily lives. You can supplement this with keyword research and creating content to combat the challenges found at different stages of the sales funnel. 

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B2B content marketing

Since you're here, why not check out our list of B2B content marketing stats ☝🏼

Style

Balancing a unique style with searcher intent

Successful content marketing isn't about keyword stuffing for the sake of SEO optimisation. In fact,

Google can spot keyword stuffers from a mile away and will penalise you for it, so don’t be tempted. 

Instead, you have to consider the reader experience and have a unique tone of voice. 


That means it's more effective to write naturally, using a clear and consistent tone of voice throughout that reflects your brand. If you do this, you’ll be viewed far more favourably both by Google and, crucially, your readers. They’ll be a lot more likely to return to your site and engage with other content on there. 


At Turtl, we take pride in the fact that we’ve established a very consistent, playful tone of voice on our site. This differentiates us from other B2B brands who take a more serious approach. A lot of the content on our blog ranks well because it hasn’t been written solely with keywords in mind. We write content that we believe people will find engaging. And as a result, they’re more likely to search for those terms.

Strategy

What is a B2B content marketing strategy?

A content marketing strategy is a roadmap to help you on your content marketing journey. And it's so important to have one before you start producing content. You need to set out:

  • The objectives of your content marketing programme
  • The audience you’re targeting
  • The pain points you’re looking to address
  • The types of content you need to create
  • The distribution plan for that content
  • The metrics that will be used to measure the success of those activities

Having a well-thought out plan for what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how it’s going to benefit the business is crucial. It means you can justify why you're producing the content and make a case for it when budgetary decisions are made. This is especially important when you consider marketing is scrutinised more closely than most functions in a business. 

It's worth pointing out...

There’s a difference between content marketing strategy and content strategy.  Content marketing strategy is generally limited to marketing activities. 


Content strategy, on the other hand, is the how and the why for your business’ entire content ecosystem. It’s way more cross-functional than something solely relating to marketing concerns. It defines and prioritises what needs to be created, updated and overhauled across every customer touchpoint. This is a key distinction to bear in mind!

How do I create a B2B content marketing strategy?

There’s so much to consider here, so I’m going to go through four key stages which are all really important when it comes to creating an effective B2B content marketing strategy.

  • Who

First and foremost, you need to be clear on who your content is for. As we discussed earlier with buyer journey mapping, you need to have a really clear understanding of the personas you're targeting. This will influence the type of content you produce and your distribution channels.

  • Why

Once you've documented who you're targeting, you need to start mapping out your goals. It’s always a good idea to map this back to any overarching marketing or business goals. 

 

Before you start mapping out specific pieces of content you need to produce, make sure you’re clear about what you’re setting out to achieve. Is it brand awareness, is it lead gen, is it sales enablement…?


This  will help you to identify the stages of the buyer journey that you are looking to support. And remember… it might not be feasible to support all of the stages from the beginning. 


To start, you could focus your efforts on a couple stages. For example, some top of funnel activity to create brand awareness and engagement. Then some bottom of funnel activity for sales enablement.


Once you’re clear on which parts of the funnel you're going to support, you’ll have a much clearer idea of the sort of content that’s required.


At the top of the funnel, you might want to think about producing blog posts, social media content or videos. At the bottom of funnel, it might be case studies, proposal documents or customer testimonials.

  • Where

Once you know what you’re planning to publish, you can start thinking about which channels are best for distribution. This will be informed by your persona research. 


Go back to your target audience and ask yourself where these people are hanging out. This will give you the answer about where’s best to publish your content. For example, if you’re creating a blog post, it might be best going out on social media. And perhaps you could also incorporate it into an email newsletter.


Make sure your content is seen by the people you want it to be seen by. Wherever your target audience is, that’s where you want to prioritise.

  • How

A lot of content marketers often stop short of this step, but it’s one of the most critical parts of content marketing. 


Now you have a clear idea of who you’re targeting, what you want to achieve, what you plan to produce and where you're going to push it, you need to set goals for individual content pieces. So if you’re planning to create a blog post, what are you trying to achieve? Is it the number of reads, ranking for particular keywords, backlinks…? 


This is crucial because it provides a feedback loop. And without setting specific goals, there’s no way of judging whether or not a piece of content has been successful. If it has been successful, you can do more of it. If it hasn’t, it’s time to tweak it, optimise it, or completely overhaul it until you find a better formula. 

Content types

Is blogging everything?

Sure, blogging should be a part of your thinking. They're a great way to test if there's demand for what you're talking about. But if you get loads of engagement on a particular topic, you should be thinking about repurposing. For example, you could write a report off the back of a popular blog, create an infographics or host a webinar. The list is endless. So don't let your blog be the beginning and the end of your thinking.

Improving & amplifying your content

How to use organic and paid

There are so many options when it comes to promoting your content. But organic social is maybe the most obvious.


It's great because it’s free and it can be really effective. That is, if you do it right. At Turtl, organic social is the channel that has influenced the most number of deals out of all the channels that we use. 


That's because we use the people within our company to amplify our content. We take this approach because people buy from people. So using everyone on your payroll as an influencer is one of the most time and cost effective tactics to promote your content. 


Promoting other people's content also helps to build trust with your audience. That's because it helps position your company as thought leaders, rather than as sales people exclusively pushing branded content. 


If you have a limited database, though, organic alone just won't cut it. That means you need to be thinking about paid tactics too. Here are some of the best places to start out:

  • Third parties

Building up credibility on Google and ranking for certain keywords is a long  game. Over time, you'll build that organic traffic to your site. But if you are looking for quicker wins, using third parties is a really effective way to do it. 


This year at Turtl, we’ve worked with a third-party vendor on a webinar at least once a month. We’ve been building relationships with vendors who have access to an audience similar to an audience we would like to reach. From there we can promote webinars or other pieces of content we’re working on, and thus increase our reach.


Our database is pretty good at this point but it can always be better. It’s really worthwhile to add new data into the mix; otherwise you’re just marketing and remarketing to the same pool of people. This is only going to get you so far.

  • Industry publications

If you have a really specific job title or industry that you’re focused on, there might be industry publications out there that you can partner with to help amplify your message and content.

  • LinkedIn

This is a really good channel for advertising as you can get super granular in terms of who you’re going after, right the way down to individual brands if you want to do something a bit more ABM-focused. 

Metrics

What should you be tracking?

It’s so important to look beyond simple vanity metrics when measuring whether content is successful. Vanity metrics are ones which just don’t dig deep enough and only tell you part of the story. A lot of content marketers will use metrics like impressions, clicks, or downloads to measure whether content is successful. But are these really the most accurate metrics to determine success? 


Take downloads, for example. A download doesn’t actually tell you whether a person has read the content. It tells you that they downloaded it, yes. But perhaps they opened it and then closed it straight away without reading any of it. Or perhaps they opened it, planned to come back to it later but never did. 


We really need to dig deeper. We need to understand how people are reading that content, whether there were certain parts that they engaged with more than others, at which point they bounced off, whether they interacted with any of the elements within it… 


These are the sorts of things that will help you to figure out whether what you’re doing is working or not, or indeed whether there are specific parts which readers engaged with more and so might warrant a spin-off piece of content. But you won’t know any of this crucial info if you only place emphasis on these vanity metrics.

Tools

Starting your B2B marketing journey

Every content marketer needs a toolkit to do their job properly. But this doesn't need to be overly complex. Google Docs is a great way to create and collaborate on content. And the trusty Excel spreadsheet is helpful for strategy and planning.


After that, there are lots of other tools you could potentially look at, such as:

  • BuzzSumo. This is great for helping you figure the kind of content that's out there and what's popular, as well as giving you some ideas of what you might want to write about. 
  • Canva. This is a tool we use a lot. It's brilliant for creating beautiful promotional materials like social cards or email banners without a designer.
  • Turtl. We produce lovely interactive content, far more interesting than the pdf. And you’re able to track and measure exactly how people are actually reading your content beyond downloads, as well as having the ability to personalise that content as well.

B2B content marketing examples

Turtl has a host of customers doing some really cool stuff in terms of B2B content marketing. For an example of some great, high-impact content, check out this from Cognizant: After The Virus.


HP also did an amazing campaign a few years ago with Christian Slater called ‘The Wolf’.  


If you're still thirsty for more, here are four other examples of top-notch B2B content marketing

For more B2B content marketing tips, check out the posts below 👇🏼

email signature marketing

The best email signature marketing platforms (in 2020)

You’re one of us now. That’s because you’re ready to take the plunge with an email signature marketing platform. The good news is, it’s gonna be a game changer. The bad news is, you’ve still got umpteen options to choose from.


But we're not gonna make you read this whole blog to find out which is right for you. God forbid. So before you start, think about your budget. Also think about what you actually need an email signature marketing platform for. Then check out the key takeaways below and skim through the players that fit the bill... 👇

Email signature marketing: The contenders

  • HubSpot & Drift are best suited to small teams and budgets. But the latter adds more marketing value.
  • Mailtastic, Terminus, Opensense, Newoldstamp, Xink & Templafy combine email signature marketing and email signature management in one platform. With plenty of integrations to choose from, they're ideal for big business using multiple email systems. And they can help you realise major revenue gains.
  • CodeTwo provides marketing and management but only for the 365 suite. They’re probably the best bet for Microsoft evangelists.
  • Wisestamp & Exclaimer are perfect for enterprise-wide signature management. But they don’t focus on email signature marketing. So if you’re just after more brand control and consistency, they’re your guys. 

Mailtastic 

Kendrick told us to be humble. We ignored him. So here we are, up first…


The benefits of Mailtastic’s platform are two-fold. One, you can centrally manage all employee signatures from one place. That’s great for brand consistency and GDPR compliance. Two, you can create measurable email signature banner campaigns on pretty much any email system you want. These help serve up relevant content, offers, events & more to audiences you want to target. 


In-built metrics like impressions and click-through rate (CTR) mean you can review the performance of your campaigns. Then you can tweak your messaging to boost conversions. Our customer success team will also help you switch-up your email signature marketing tactics, using sender and recipient-based campaigns to get the best results. Best of all, we recently released a free version of Mailtastic. That means you can try before you buy. 

Terminus (formerly Sigstr)

What once was Sigstr is now Terminus Email Experiences. And like with most email signature marketing players, you can run multiple banner campaigns at the same time. You can also access pinpoint audience targeting as standard. 


But Terminus takes its ABM functionality to the next level. With opportunity stage email signature marketing campaigns, users can push “stage-specific” ad campaigns to prospects through the funnel. Nifty.

Opensense

Opensense is an end-to-end email signature marketing platform. It ticks every box on brand management too, boasting “beautiful email signatures on every device”. It also offers a host of integrations including HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo & more. 


Before this article, Opensense was also the only email signature marketing platform to list competitors on its site. Sorry guys. Helpfully though, they offer comparison tables with other big players in the space. These include the likes Exclaimer, CodeTwo, WiseStamp & more.

Newoldstamp

Newoldstamp gets the job done. If you’re a freelancer looking to make your personal brand crisper or you’re looking to sort your whole team’s email signatures out, they’ve got your back. 


Like Mailtastic, Newoldstamp also frees you up from design and tech teams and puts email signature marketing back in your hands. And with a recommendation from Forbes, it’s a platform worth considering. 

Wisestamp

Why bother designing your own email signature banners when you can steal ones that work? Wisestamp gives you the chance to do that and more. With their free email signature generator, you can be up and running with a slick set of signatures in matter of clicks. 


They’ve also got loads of helpful email signature how-to guides to de-stress your experience. But if it’s marketing functionality you’re after, there are better alternatives. For Wisestamp, the focus is management. And it does that well.

Exclaimer

Exclaimer centres its offering around the Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua of the email world: Outlook and Gmail. But like Wisestamp, email signature management is the key focus of its functionality.


Although you could use it for email signature marketing campaigns, it won’t give you the granular insights the likes of Terminus, Opensense and Mailtastic can. That said, Exclaimer has great reviews on G2, so it’s still worth a look.

Xink

Xink hits all the key features of a good email signature marketing platform. It lets you take control of your brand. Then it lets you measure the impact of email banner campaigns you create. 


Integrating with Microsoft 365 and G Suite, Xink also offers a 14-day free trial. So you can get a good idea of how the platform will work for your business before splashing the cash.

HubSpot

These guys have thought of everything. Which isn’t annoying at all. In a similar vein to their top tier templates, HubSpot’s email signature generator adds value. And for free. 


But HubSpot’s platform is probably best for individuals and small teams looking to get a handle on their email signatures. That’s because you’re not gonna get campaign analytics at scale. Nor will you get the advanced audience targeting several competitors provide.

Templafy

Templafy’s Email Signature Manager sits alongside a tonne of great template management tools in the company’s library. It provides an enterprise-wide solution, ticking every box on compliance and security. And the marketing functionality is there too. 


With Templafy, you get multiple email signatures per user. And you can easily manage email signature campaigns in a clean dashboard.

CodeTwo

As a Gold Partner, CodeTwo has Microsoft 365 signatures on lockdown. It provides central email signature management as standard and allows you to automate email signature marketing campaigns. All in a secure, compliant environment.


As you’d expect, you can track the impact of your email banners with in-built analytics. Admins can also choose to either create rules for email signature consistency or put the power into individual users’ hands.

Drift

B2B marketing cool kids got themselves in on the email signature marketing game in 2018. While offering similar management x marketing functionality as other players, Drift promises its tool is “100% free”. And its email signature playbook gives Drift admins complete control over company signatures.


With a seamless integration with Gmail, Drift is certainly a no budget contender to be reckoned with. And you can simply troubleshoot any issues you have with the platform in the Drift Help Centre.

B2B content marketing

B2C vs B2B content marketing: What’s the difference?

5 things to expect from this blog

  1. 1
    Learn why comparing content marketing in long and short sales cycles is more helpful than comparing B2C and B2B.
  2. 2
    Discover how B2C and B2B content strategies cater to different buyer journeys.
  3. 3
    Understand the significance of decision making in B2B and B2C.
  4. 4
    See how B2Bs are humanising their messaging. 
  5. 5
    Find out about content promotion opportunities in B2C and B2B marketing.

Marketing traditionalists will tell you B2B is a black sheep. Galaxies away from the world of Don Draper, B2B lurks in the shadows, producing dull copy for dull products. For a time, that was true. Maybe. But now, the tables are turning. 


B2B content marketing started by borrowing from its sexier sibling. Over time, it developed a style and swagger of its own. So much so that leading voices began whispering about the helpfulness of comparisons at all.


As Head of Marketing at Turtl, Karla Rivershaw, explains, it’s no longer a case of B2C versus B2B content marketing. Rather, it’s a case of content marketing in long sales cycles vs short sales cycles, because of growing overlap between the two.

Aims and objectives

Typically, B2C content marketing is targeted towards a short sales cycle, whereas B2B content marketing is targeted towards a longer sales cycle.


This means that in B2C, content marketing encourages the consumer to act on impulse and fulfil a need. It does this by playing on the consumer’s emotions, connecting them to a feeling about a brand or product. Take this Nike ad, for example. 👇🏼

It’s able to do this because shorter sales cycles have shorter funnels. Pricing is typically much lower than products with a longer sales cycle, making the final purchasing decision much easier. 


To attract customers, B2Cs also tend to cast a wide net because their product/service has no set persona. This is because the motivations behind buying mass market B2C products differ hugely. 


On the other hand, B2B content marketing usually tries to build trust with the consumer. By creating content about a niche across the full buyer journey, B2Bs can convince customers to make larger, more significant purchases.


They do this by homing in on the wants, needs and challenges of hyper-specific personas, a tactic also known as spear fishing.


Of course, there are many B2Cs and B2Bs that don’t fall easily into either category. For example, car sales have a long sales cycle because of the price and significance of the purchase. Meanwhile, webinar tools like Livestorm have a short sales cycle because they’re low-cost, low-risk purchases. 

This is why it makes more sense to create goals around your individual sales cycle, rather than setting goals as a B2C or as a B2B.

It's also worth remembering...

There are similarities in the post-sale processes of B2Cs and B2B. B2C, for example, focuses on driving repeat business, community management and creating customer loyalty. In B2B, it’s about retention and upsell. But both do their best to keep customers in the pipeline and turn them into brand ambassadors. 

Content strategies

One of the biggest differences between B2C and B2B content marketing is that in the former, the decision maker and the end user tends to be the same person. In the latter, the decision maker and the end user are different people.


So in B2C content marketing, you’re persuading one person to buy your product/service. In B2B content marketing, you’re convincing a decision maker that your product/service is a smart business call as well as being beneficial to end users in their business.


Other differences in content strategy include: 

  • B2B is more reliant on sales enablement because of the longer sales cycle. In shorter sales cycles, this isn’t as important.
  • B2C is often more community based because the products and services are cheaper and more tangible. This makes them more accessible, giving content creators more freedom.

Decision making

Although B2C content marketing is more impulse based, B2B content marketing must be more considerate of a range of buyer emotions. That’s because the significance of B2B purchases tend to be greater than B2C purchases. 


Take buying a coffee, for example. If you buy it and hate it, it’s not the end of the world. You make a mental note to avoid that coffee shop in future. On the other hand, if a key decision maker decides to purchase a SaaS product for a six figure sum and gets it wrong, their livelihood could be on the line.


So the challenge in B2B is to establish a much deeper emotional connection with the consumer to guide them through to purchase. High-quality, long-form content around the product itself and the wider field helps achieve this.


In B2C, a white paper listing the benefits of ¾ shorts versus versus knee-length shorts is likely to stall the buyer journey. That’s because the consumer has already decided on the type of shorts they want.


Instead, Facebook and Instagram posts about the shorts are likely to elicit an emotional response in the consumer. If they look good on the model, they might look half as good on you. 

Messaging

We all know the stereotype. B2C is fun, energetic and emotive. B2B is dry, serious and boring. But these days, that’s not the case. More and more B2Bs are recognising … well ... that they’re selling to human beings, not robots. As a result, they’re creating messaging humans like, just like B2Cs.


Despite the generally conservative B2B senior leadership, marketers at the likes of Gong, Mailchimp and Monday are changing the conversation. They realise that prospects and customers want to be entertained as well as informed when they’re in a professional space.

And as a result of this, we’re likely to see a greater uptake in lighthearted messaging from B2Bs in the future.

Content promotion

Transplanting the success of B2C content promotion to a B2B environment is tough. One look at the channels B2Bs have available to them by comparison to B2Cs will tell you why. In B2C, you have:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • Newsletters
  • Live video streaming
  • Display ads
  • Billboards
  • TV ads
  • Physical promos

The list goes on. And on. And on. Whereas B2Bs have to be much more selective and truly know where their audience is. Popular channels include:

  • Email marketing
  • Webinars
  • LinkedIn
  • Blog content
  • White papers
  • Reports
  • Google search

The main reason behind the difference is channels is that B2C products tend to be front of mind in both professional and personal contexts. B2B products, on the other hand, only really capture the imagination during the working day. 


For example, a SaaS provider is unlikely to get traction by pushing their latest white paper on TikTok at 7pm. On the other hand, a B2C trainer ad is likely to prove a welcome distraction to consumers at, say, 11am.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is an important sub-strand of both B2C and B2B content promotion. But there are big differences in the way that each space deploys the tactic.

 

In B2C, things are explicit. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian endorse products on their personal social accounts for a price. In B2B, things are subtle. Micro and nano influencers feature on webinars, guest on podcasts and speak at events. Often, they’re experts in the same field as the company they’re collaborating with and refrain from direct product plugs.


In many ways, this gives B2Bs the upper hand. Audiences are so overwhelmed by B2C influencer marketing they’re becoming desensitised. And cynical. As a result, the light touch B2B approach gets more credit and continues to resonate with audiences. 


Inevitably, the B2B influencer market will become more saturated, so now could be the golden age for content marketers to cash in.

So, what's the difference?

The gap between B2C and B2B content marketing is closing. And fast. B2Bs are working hard to humanise their products and the experiences they serve up to consumers. But because of the freedom and flexibility afforded to B2Cs, they’re always one step ahead of the game. 


Borrowings between the two show no sign of stopping either. Maybe those best placed to leverage them are those in B2B2C, as they switch their approaches depending on the context facing them. 


In future, the lines will surely be blurred further. And the historic status quo of “cool” B2C vs “boring” B2B will be a distant memory.

Thirsty for more B2B content marketing insights? Then check out our stats post

b2b content marketing

20 B2B content marketing stats for beginners

Starting your B2B content marketing journey is tough. Is it a case of locking yourself in the garden shed and writing three blogs a day until your arthritic fingers give out? Or should you take a more strategic, targeted approach to your content? Well, the best place to start is by copying what works for other B2B marketers. And, of course, learning what doesn’t.


In this blog you’ll find stats which should help get your content marketing engine up and running. We’ll be covering:

  • Content production
  • SEO
  • B2B content marketing strategy
  • B2B content marketing challenges
  • B2B content marketing metrics
  • Social media

B2B content marketing stats

Content production

Ah, staring into blank space and hoping, praying for a spark. A feeling every writer is familiar with. But overcoming it is clearly in the content maestro’s arsenal...


That’s because:

  • Small businesses post new content one to four times per week while larger organisations often post new content several times a day. (HubSpot)

And...

  • The average blog post takes around four hours to write and is around 1,200 words long. (Orbit Media Studios)

Even those who spend longer pushing through the brick wall reap the rewards.

  • 38% of bloggers who spend more than six hours on their blogs report strong results. (Orbit Media Studios)

Smashing the keyboard like a maniac seems a lot more pointless now, huh?

SEO

SEO is a helluva topic. It can fry your brain. It can make you tear your hair out. It can get you to question what’s real and what’s imagined. But you have to get your head around it. 


That’s because:

And...

  • The first five organic results on the Google search engine results page (SERP) account for 68% of all clicks. (Zero Limit Web)

That means having high-ranking answers to these search queries is crucial. To do that...

  • Focus on high quality content, getting backlinks and pleasing the RankBrain algorithm. After all, they’re Google’s three most important ranking signals. (Search Engine Watch)

And remember...

  • The average length of blogs ranking at either #1 or #2 on the search engine results page (SERP) is over 2,450 words. (serpIQ)

So to rank, you may have to spend more time than the average content marketer does on their content.

Content strategy

Any content strategy should be underpinned by data. After all, it’s the only way you can know that you’re answering the questions your target audience is asking.


That's why...

Still...

And...

  • Only 9% of marketers believe their content strategies are excellent. (SEMrush

That means by nailing yours, you can really set yourself apart from the competition.

Content challenges

Yes, content marketing success requires a lot of elbow grease. But many common challenges are easily solved.


For example...

  • 52% of bloggers also say it’s becoming more challenging to get content engagement. (Orbit Media Studios)

To level-up engagement, marketers need to start pleasing Google as well as their readers. They can also work on their amplification strategies and try mapping their content to the buyer journey. Download our ultimate guide below to learn more 👇🏼

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B2B content marketing

Also...

  • 47% of marketers say budget is their biggest blocker to scaling content. (marketing charts)

But a lot of B2B marketers don’t maximise the budget afforded to them. For example, plunging money into Google Ads without working on your organic search efforts will skyrocket your costs. Scaling before you’re ready can do more harm than good. 


And...

  • 43% of marketers say uncertainty over the effectiveness of their content hampers development. (marketing charts)

The outputs of modern content marketing shouldn’t be uncertain. To make sure you can show ROI, you need to decide on your content marketing metrics, which we’ll come to next. 


Finally...

  • 38% of marketers reckon translating content ideas into reality is a significant problem. (marketing charts)

Content calendars regiment blog production. They give you a clear sense of your aims and expectations and, crucially, deadlines. Check out Trello's template for inspiration.

Content marketing metrics

It’s soul destroying to write great content that gets no traction. It also does you no favours come your performance review. But fear not. There are simple ways to check if your strategy is working and make changes to stay on the right track.


For example...

  • Organic traffic is the most popular content marketing metric, used by 76% of marketers. (SEMrush)

If your content is getting people to your site, then great. With more visitors comes more brand awareness and potentially more conversions. But traffic isn’t the only piece in the B2B content marketing puzzle.


So, don’t forget...

  • Lead generation is the second most popular content marketing metric, used by 62% of marketers. (SEMrush)

This means people who become interested in your product/service as a result of your content. Lead gen tends to come through a combination of your organic search and paid ads strategies.


Finally...

  • Conversion rate is the third most popular content marketing metric, used by 47% of marketers. (SEMrush)

Conversion rate doesn’t just mean customers who have bought your product or service because of your content. It could mean that they’ve downloaded an eBook you included in your blog as a call to action (CTA) or signed up to your newsletter. Basically any desired customer action is up for grabs here.

Social media

At the beginning and throughout your content marketing journey, socials are a key distribution channel. And for B2Bs, LinkedIn tends to be the best place to hang out. But pushing your content out thoughtlessly can really murder a vibe. So make sure you’re ticking the boxes you need to generate traction.


For example...

  • 50-100 characters is the ideal length for a LinkedIn status update. (Sprout Social)

And...

  • The best times to post on LinkedIn are between 8-10am and 12pm on Wednesdays. Thursdays at 9am and between 1-2pm also perform well, as do Fridays at 9am. (Sprout Social)

Finally...

  • Long, text-only LinkedIn posts up to 1,300 characters with emojis can get serious traction. (Espirian)

All of this will help your content reach relevant audiences and make your brand more authoritative.

B2B content marketing stats: Key takeaways

  • B2B content marketers need to invest in high-quality, long-form content to appear on SERPs
  • Content strategies and calendars help B2B marketers build momentum
  • Content marketing metrics are crucial to demonstrating ROI
  • There’s an art to pushing your content on socials

Learn how you can get more traction on your blogs

email signature marketing

Email signature marketing basics (plus ROI calculator)

Thousands of targeted ad impressions, ramped up lead generation and free money. These are just a few of the lauded benefits of email signature marketing. 


But what data underpins this? And is email signature marketing really worth your investment? Well, our calculator is here to help you answer these questions and find out whether it's a B2B marketing hack worth using.

The basics

What is email signature marketing?

email signature marketing

Email signature marketing allows companies to use employee email signatures as ad space. Through banners, animation and text, email signature marketing drives traffic to relevant content and offers on your site. It also improves brand consistency with automatic company-wide updates to email signatures.

What are email signature marketing platforms?

Email signature marketing platforms give marketers centralised access to every employee email signature. This means they can send targeted ads to segmented audiences. Here, they can measure campaign analytics like click-through rate (CTR) to determine campaign success. This allows them to optimise future messaging and increase conversions.

Do email signature tools do the same thing?

Email signature tools have been around for some time. Though users can manually change banners and ads, campaigns can’t dynamically change to meet the needs of segmented audiences. That’s because APIs aren’t enabled.


It’s also challenging to track the ROI of email signature tools. Even UTM codes don’t provide visibility on impressions vs CTR, meaning users can’t track the quality of their campaigns. Further limitations include:

  • Poor usability. Technical expertise is required to update email signatures. 
  • Single system functionality. Tools don’t work with multiple email systems.
  • No focus on customer success. Email signature tool providers focus on tech support.

Who can benefit from this B2B marketing hack?

Statista estimates that 306.4 billion emails are sent every day. That means anyone can realise the benefits of this emerging B2B marketing tactic. But larger companies are likely to see greater ROI. After all, the more emails you send, the more ad space you can leverage. That means more impressions, click-throughs and conversions. 

Calculating ROI

Is email signature marketing a safe investment?

Leveraging email signatures as a B2B marketing channel makes total sense. You own your company emails. That means free ad space. Nobody can raise prices or bid higher than you for a search term. So any investment you make won’t be lost down a Google Ad sinkhole.


With email signature marketing, senders can leverage strong personal relationships with recipients to drive open rates, CTRs and conversions. This brand of hyper-personalised advertising is much harder to achieve with targeted ads. 


And in cases of cold outreach, a tailored email signature ad reinforces your key messages. An interactive CTA leaves the recipient under no illusions about what the next step in their buyer journey is.

How much could email signature marketing campaigns be worth?

Now it's time to move onto the numbers. But instead of thinking about cold outreach, let’s think about the emails employees send to known contacts. 


Here’s an example. A company has 300 employees. On average, their employees send 15 emails to known contacts per day. There are 220 working days per year. So 300 x 15 x 220 = 990,000 emails per year.


As we’re talking about known contacts, the recipient is likely to open the email multiple times. Let’s say 2.5 times on average. 990,000 emails multiplied by an open rate of 2.5 is 2,475,000 impressions.

The CTR for these impressions is 0.5%. 0.5% of 2,475,000 is 12,375 clicks.


If there’s a 3% conversion rate on those clicks, that’s 371.25 conversions. And if the average conversion is worth £100, that’s £37,125 in untapped annual revenue.


For SMBs and large corporates, these returns are simply too good to turn down. 


(N.B. calculations made according to Mailtastic data)

Real-world stats

To give you an idea of how this looks in reality, we’ve broken down some of our customers’ results with Mailtastic.

  • Cognism increased webinar sign-up conversion rates by 25%, generated hundreds of new leads through eBook campaigns and improved company-wide email click through rates by 10%

In fact, the B2B prospecting solution was so convinced of the benefits of email banner ads that it decided to purchase Mailtastic in May 2020.

  • Desoutter used Mailtastic to drive traffic to a service portal where customers could reorder spare parts. 90% of traffic to it came through email signature marketing

The industrial tool supplier also increased marketing campaign reach and website visits while gaining greater brand consistency.

  • Kaiser+Kraft gets four clicks on email signature banners per employee per month 

With their workforce of 1,100 employees, the German wholesale giant could realise £158,400* in untapped ad revenue thanks to email signature marketing. (*example figure)

Email signature marketing: Key takeaways

  • The B2B marketing tactic has a greater impact for large companies
  • Platforms can unlock hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of additional revenue
  • Email signature tools have far reduced functionality by comparison

Book a demo to see how it can work for you

b2b content marketing trends

9 B2B content marketing trends turning heads

2020 has been wild. And with pretty much every prediction for the year now fossilised, we thought it was time to hit reset. So we asked Turtl’s Head of Marketing, Karla Rivershaw, about the content marketing trends we should be tracking into 2021 and beyond.

9 content marketing trends for B2B

  1. 1
    Live video streaming
  2. 2
    Improved content experience
  3. 3
    User-generated content
  4. 4
    Data-driven content
  5. 5
    Interactive content
  6. 6
    Modular content
  7. 7
    Accessibility
  8. 8
    Content operations
  9. 9
    Conversational marketing & personalisation

Live video streaming

Live video streaming is so successful in B2C because it helps humanise brands. This is also why it presents a really exciting opportunity for B2Bs.

 

We’ve long tried to shake the tag of “faceless corporates”. And live video streaming gives B2B brands a chance to connect with their audience in a personal way. That’s because it’s unscripted and endearing to prospects and customers.


The Content Marketing Institute also estimates that people are 10x more likely to engage with video content and share it.


So B2Bs that embrace live video streaming are likely to get their noses ahead of the competition.

Improved content experience

Many content marketers focus on what they’re writing rather than how they present it. But in the words of Marshall McLuhan, “the medium is the message”. 


And content experience issues are rife in many favoured B2B marketing formats. Often published as PDFs, long-form pieces like white papers and reports create scroll fatigue. That means passive user experiences. 


PDFs also aren’t optimised for mobile. When the average person spends 203 minutes consuming media on their phones per day, this is a big problem.


So to keep readers’ minds in an active state, they must be presented with improved, intuitive content experiences. In 2021, more B2B content marketers will leverage platforms that enable this.

User-generated content

User-generated content is a marketer’s dream. It’s created for you and it's far more persuasive than anything your brand could say. The tough part is nurturing a fanbase willing to create it.

 

And although B2C brands have the upper hand in this area, B2Bs are quickly closing the gap. They’re doing this by moving beyond traditional formats like case studies and testimonials.


Earlier this year, we felt Turtl should get in on the act. That’s why we launched an eCourse called “30 days to unforgettable content”. Our email sequence provided one content tip a day for a month to participants. It then rewarded those who completed the course with a shareable certificate.


By including suggested hashtags and social handles in our emails, we sparked a flurry of user-generated content. Our success owed a lot to making our campaign as simple as possible to engage with. Not only did we add value with our campaign, we also provided a clear path for readers to share their feelings.


We expect content creators to repeat this process and build their own armies of brand ambassadors.

Data-driven content

Data-driven content is already the bread and butter of successful B2B content marketers. Nevertheless, the insights and analytics we use to improve content experience are scaling up.

 

The metrics we use to gauge success, for example, are becoming more granular. This means we can fine tune our content strategies to truly meet the needs of our readers.


Whereas the number of downloads may have been used to the determine success of a white paper, content marketers are now looking into:

  • Which sections are being read?
  • Which sections aren't being read?
  • How long is each section read for?
  • When did the reader bounce off?
  • Where did the reader bounce off?
  • How much was the piece shared?

Say no one reads chapters two and three but the average read time of chapter four is 20 minutes. You’ll want to target your future content efforts on that topic. By doing this, you can guarantee that your content is resonant. It’s also sure to get ROI. And in the current climate, justifying your content marketing efforts against the bottom line is pivotal.

Get the comprehensive guide to content marketing lead generation below 👇🏼

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B2B content marketing trends

Interactive content

When readers are in an active state, they engage better with content. To achieve this, research shows that readers:

  • Need to feel autonomous. They may prefer to consume content non-linearly, rather than going from A-Z.
  • Need to feel part of the content experience. Interaction makes a two-way conversation.
  • Needs to have their wits tested. However, content that's too complex is a big turn off.

This means moving beyond block text and constructing list posts and how-tos. These content types allow readers to jump back and forth between relevant sections. 


It also means including video content, chatbot popups and polling features which encourage actions on the reader’s behalf. 


For example, a dynamic video how-to will help illustrate static instructions. Chatbot popups can point the reader in the direction of relevant related content. Polling features help transform audiences from readers into contributors. 


This all engages the reader more deeply in your content. And for marketers, these features provide real-time feedback on your audience’s feelings and opinions. This, of course, is data. Data that you can use in future pieces and campaigns.

Modular content

At Turtl, we’re backing modular content to have a huge impact on the B2B space. That’s because it slashes the number of pieces content creators have to produce. 


As we put it in ourselves, modular content pieces are chunks:


Much like constructing a building, these chunks can be assembled to make a longer piece of content or left as shorter pieces by themselves. Content creators can combine various chunks together in different ways, resulting in new pieces of content from the modules. The important part is that a huge amount of content can be created from the same modules – making one set of information stretch as far as possible.


We’re currently using modular content to create proposal documents for clients to help sales enablement. This means the sales team can input prospects’ industries, interests, challenges and desired outcomes into a form. Because we use modules to arrange our content, we can quickly pull together a customised document for the prospect.


As a result, marketers will lean more heavily on modular content in 2021. After all, its power to maximise content budgets and provide optimised user experiences is too good to ignore.

Accessibility

Last year, Turtl looked at the landmark case of Guillermo Robles vs Domino’s Pizza and how it’s likely to change the stance of B2Bs on accessiblilty.


In 2016, Robles tried to order a pizza on the Domino’s mobile app. To do this, he used a screen reader. This technology translates web copy into audio, allowing visually impaired users to order. But on both the mobile app and the website, Robles’ screen reader was unable to translate the copy. As a result, he decided to sue Domino’s. And he won.


Arguing that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses with physical stores to make their online platforms disabled friendly, Robles’ attorneys convinced the court about the importance of accessibility. This prompted a whole series of lawsuits which saw other major US companies caught short on the issue. And the tide is beginning to turn on European shores.


To avoid similar lawsuits, B2Bs must become better versed with accessibility standards. Moving away from PDFs, for example, would be a good starting point. That’s because screen readers can’t understand the content on them. 

Content operations

For B2Bs, content operations provides a scalable framework for content production. It does this by equipping content marketers with a toolkit that allows them to take control of every stage of the content workflow.


Canva, for example, gives marketers the autonomy to create blog, social and ad visuals. This means:

  • Content marketing strategies can keep their thrust
  • Marketing departments can cut needless agency costs
  • Designers can be freed up for strategic tasks

As Canva streamlines content production, strategies can pivot quickly, tapping into emerging conversations.


At Turtl, we’re also working to enable content democratisation. Our platform means anyone can produce a slick playbook or whitepaper. To do this, we hard code brand guidelines into our tools, reducing the need for expert input.


Because of the squeeze on marketing budgets, content operations is becoming a smart investment for CMOs. That means hiring in this area is likely to shoot up.

Conversational marketing & personalisation

Conversation drives action. That’s why conversational marketing is becoming a trending tactic for B2B brands. For example, B2Bs are using popups and chatbots to address users by name. They also make customised suggestions based on their historical engagements with companies. 


Companies like Drift are helping facilitate this shift. With Drift, B2Bs can steer prospects in different directions depending on whether they’re unique or return visitors. This creates tailored experiences for every prospect, depending on their position in the buyer journey.


We can vouch for the impact of conversational marketing too. When we started pushing out a piece called “The 7 types of humour” through our chatbot, the results were incredible. 


To initiate the conversation, our chatbox asked visitors: “Hey, do you fancy a laugh?” When they engaged, the chatbot sent them the piece, which wasn’t linked to our software or services. This was a great hook for visitors, often leading them to our next question: “Hey, do you want to see a really neat trick?”


If the visitor answered positively, they were asked for professional information as well as the type of scenery they like. Once the chatbot gathered this information, it auto-generated a piece of content for them along with their name, company and desired scenery.


From these two conversations, we got a five fold completion rate compared to our previous chatbot conversation. We also got a tonne of new prospects requesting demos. The success owes a lot to being human, building relationships and making any content simple to engage with.

B2B content marketing trends: Key takeaways

  • B2Bs are more successfully leveraging B2C content marketing breakthroughs
  • B2Bs have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to create personalised content
  • B2Bs are getting smart to maximise their content marketing efforts

Want to know the numbers behind our B2B content marketing trends? Then check out our stats post