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B2B Online Marketing Content: How Much Should You Give Away?

by Jennifer Beever on May 18, 2011

Today quality online content is a good way to attract qualified buyers who need information about certain problems, solutions and products. But a big question B2B marketers have is “What content do I give away, yet not give away the store (and potential sales revenue)?”

Why What How

The answer comes down to three questions B2B marketers can answer for their buyers. Why should I do “it”? ;  What should I do to accomplish “it”? ;  How do I do “it”? (“It” could be install a software system, improve a website, repair a piece of equipment, etc.)

B2B Service Marketer – Answer Why and What

If you are a service provider who actually does the “How” and gets paid for “it,” your content should focus on the “Why?” and “What?” For example, a commercial lighting installer might put out information about the cost-savings, environmentally-friendly impact, and employee productivity increase that you get when you install new lighting systems – the “Why?”. The lighting company might also provide information on its recommended 7-step process for planning a lighting upgrade – the “What?”. But the lighting installer does not share how it installs and wires the system – that is what they are paid to do.

B2B Product Marketer – Answer Why, What and How

If you are a manufacturer of a product, your content can answer all three questions. For example, a bearing manufacturer can talk about why its prospects should buy its products, what problems the product solves, and how to do repairs using the bearing in another process such as doing a repair or building things that use bearings.

In the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, he uses the example of a concrete industry organization called the Concrete Network. The Concrete Network’s ultimate goal is to increase demand for concrete, so its content includes blogs about why concrete might be an appropriate material in a variety of uses, what can be done with concrete (floors, counters, furniture, etc.), and how to use concrete. One of the things that makes this example really stand out is that the concrete industry is a mature, traditional industry, yet The Concrete Network is achieving success using new marketing tactics that include blogging, online press releases, and other social media messaging.

So when you push your content online to attract qualified buyers, make sure it’s high quality. Give away as much as you can without diluting sales revenue. The more you give, the more prospects you’ll attract and have an opportunity to convert.

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