Buyers have become really good at avoiding marketing messages and sales calls. It’s hard to get past the gatekeepers. Voicemail, receptionists, and email filters are just a few of the barriers that industrial sales reps need to overcome for their message to be heard. At the same time, there’s a wealth of information that’s so easily accessible online. Buyers can simply search Google to find just about anything they want to know about the products or services they’re looking for instead of engaging with a company salesperson.
On average, customers complete nearly two-thirds of their purchase decision-making process on their own before talking to a supplier sales rep, according to research from the CEB Marketing Leadership Council and Google. This change in buyer behavior has forced a shift in marketing and sales practices led by an increase in online content.
Consider the impact that the evolution of Internet technology and the availability of online content have had on the buyer’s journey in recent years:
Publishing frequent thought leadership articles that answer your ideal prospect’s common questions is an essential part of any company’s marketing plan. A business blog is one of the simplest and most effective ways to provide information to qualified prospects in their online searches. Here are seven reasons why a business blog should be a part of your inbound marketing strategy.
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Articles written by your in-house experts present your company as a thought leader in your industry and earn the trust of potential prospects who find your articles useful in their online research. This is especially true for buyers in complex industries like manufacturing, where price points are high, buying cycles are long, and, according to Google, up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic.
Use your blog as a platform to showcase your expertise on a given subject. Inject your knowledge of the industry into your blog posts to help make a clear distinction between your brand and your competition.
A good content marketing strategy can shorten the sales cycle considerably, and a blog is an excellent platform for delivering educational content as well as for capturing leads. Blogs also demonstrate that your company is relevant, informed, up to date, and willing to offer your expertise to help buyers rather than just sell to them.
Each article you publish is a new page of content focused on answering questions that a visitor might have on a specific topic related to your business. Research shows that websites with blogs have 434% more pages indexed by search engines. The more blog posts you publish, the more opportunities search engines have to display your content in their results. In other words, business blogging helps you rank in search engines, and your posts are found more easily when people search for your industry-specific topic.
B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads, and small businesses with blogs have nearly double that success. That’s because, while your helpful blog article begins to answer the questions that your visitor has searched for in a search engine, it likely will not explain the whole solution that only you as the expert can provide. Your blogs should contain calls to action that direct the visitor to provide their name and email address to access additional premium content or request a consultation.
Written articles, specifically “how-to” and “case studies,” add credibility to your website and brand, according to research from Social Marketing Writing. This makes sense, considering how searchers look for answers to questions and solutions to problems related to their work. When brainstorming blog topics, think about the kinds of content that make a blog “credible” in the eyes of a person looking for help with a pressing issue.
Name the biggest problem your customers have. With that problem in mind, write a detailed blog post that provides practical and non-product focused solutions. Solve your customers’ problems with insightful and informative articles.
Successful public relations can get your article published in relevant trade publications. You can also post your content to social media. But your company blog is a platform that you own and control entirely. Instead of crafting your content for social media only, use your remarkable blog content to inspire the updates you share to your social media channels and include a link back to the full post for more information. Once your readers get there, the value of the information will entice your readers to take a desired call to action.
It takes an ongoing commitment to consistently publish to your company blog, and the results can be realized long term. That’s why marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13 times more likely to see positive return on their marketing investment, according to HubSpot. You'll want to measure performance by using marketing analytics to improve your blog.
As your articles appear in the search results of your potential customers, your company blog will become an effective way to drive traffic, convert leads, and, ultimately, grow your business.