Website copywriting: 16 best practices for 2018

It’s no secret that I love a good website copywriting project.

In a lot of ways, website copywriting is like a puzzle with a set number of pieces and a variety of possible solutions.

My job as a copywriter and content marketing strategist is to find the best one.

Building on the puzzle metaphor, what are the pieces that go into website copywriting ‘puzzles’? What do we need to consider  when writing content for a website?

The way I see it, there are four main categories…

The 4 Parts of the website copywriting puzzle

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): you’ve got to follow the latest conventions to make sure the website content you write is easy for search engines to find and rank.
  • User focus: that last point might have made you think that writing for search engines was the way forward. It’s not. Taking user experience into account is vital if you want links, shares, engagement and brand trust.
  • Conversion rate optimisation (CRO): making visitors to the site happy is one thing. Making them do what you want them to (click, engage, buy!) is another. Conversion rate optimisation takes research, data, and a lot of testing.
  • User experience (UX): how is your written content going to work with the rest of the site? The design, the build, the flow, the customer journey…How are you going to make sure website visitors find the ‘right’ content, in the right format, and at the right moment?

Click here to skip to…

Website copywriting best practices: SEO

Website copywriting best practices: User focus

Website copywriting best practices: CRO

Website copywriting best practices: UX

…or scroll down to read the entire article.

Website copywriting best practices: SEO

Not that kind of long tail

1. Break it up: 

Search engines make assumptions about the way we write things, and what that means about how important that content is. H1 and H2 text are considered priority, so make sure you include regular, keyword rich titles (H1) and sub-headings (H2) in your written content.

Bullet points and lists are also favoured by Google, so try and include them where possible.

2. Sort your meta descriptions

Take control of the meta data attached to your written website content, and you’re on a quick road to boosting your SEO.

Your meta data:

  • Describes the content of each page of your website
  • Advertises your content to search engine users
  • Displays relevant keywords to entice people to click

If you don’t fill out your meta data, Google will auto-generate some that’s almost certainly going to be less effective.

This article, on the SEO value of meta data, by Stone Temple is a handy reference guide.

3. Use bold font

Make it as easy as possible for visitors to your website to see what you want them to do, and keep their eye moving down.

Draw their attention to key points in your written content by using bold text.

See? Made you look.

4. Think about long-tail keywords

When you’re thinking about the keywords to include in your content, cast your net wider than the basic – often highly competitive – short-tail keywords.

Use keyword tools like the aptly named Keyword Tool to identify keyword phrases you could easily rank for, then build content around those.

Website copywriting best practices: User focus


1. Make it easy to read

There’s a number of ways to make your written content easy to read:

  • Front load: start off with the important information to grab attention and let readers know what to expect from the rest of the page.
  • Summarise: in content like blogs, white papers, articles and case studies, include a summary. Online readers tend to start at the intro, skip to the bottom, then scan the middle bit last.
  • Break it up: paragraphs of no more than three lines, and plenty of interesting images (not bullshit stock ones) will keep your audience engaged for longer.

2. Sort your brand tone of voice

A consistent brand tone of voice is so important. Prospects should know what to expect from your content, and it should be tailored to what matters to them.

Warm and approachable? Witty and relatable? Formal and authoritative?

Decide what works for your market and stick with it.

3. Cut the sales spiel

According to DemandGen’s 2017 B2B Content Marketing Preferences Report (here), 72% of B2B consumers are turned off by content that sells to them.

Things you can do instead of opting for the hard sell:

  • Include calls to action that are visually attractive and compelling
  • Incentivise conversions by offering exclusive content and offers in exchange for data
  • Align content and customer journey to move prospects down the sales funnel

4. Make it useful

Internet users are getting increasingly demanding. They’re used to content that offers value and asks nothing in return (nothing they can pick up on, that is…).

Focus on creating engaging, informative content that gives visitors to your website what they want. Particularly hot right now in the world of B2B content marketing:

Case studies
– E-Books
– White papers

Plus, you can make your best content available as downloadables – think of all the lovely contact data…

Website copywriting best practices: CRO


1. Include a CTA above the fold

Sometimes, you just can’t be bothered to scroll. We’ve all been there.

Include an attractive, prominent call to action above the fold on your website (the area that’s visible without scrolling down) to capture those visitors whose fingers are just too tired to travel.

2. Test your text

A big part of conversion rate optimisation is testing, adjusting, and testing again.

The kinds of website content you should be testing for effectiveness:

  • Titles
  • Meta data (titles, descriptions, keywords)
  • Subtitles
  • Calls to action
  • Button text

There are all kinds of little tricks to remember, so work your way through your content, do your research on each, and optimise for conversion.

3. Make your contact details prominent

Now I know my traditional B2B vendors are going to like this one, so let’s get right down to it:

GET A BIG OLD PHONE NUMBER AND PLONK IT RIGHT AT THE TOP OF YOUR WEBSITE.

Yes. 

It’s human. It works. It shows you’re available to customers and prospects when they want you.

It’s good to include your email address too, but the phone is the big thing.

Told you you’d like that.

4. Include social proof

There’s a bit of a cross-over here – two things that are working really well for B2B content marketing right now (and for the foreseeable future, too):

  • Social proof: customer reviews, client logos, press mentions, ‘wisdom of the crowds’ social proof (“89% of manufacturers recommend us”, “Britain’s number one supplier”)

(Some great examples of social proof in action by HubSpot)

  • User-generated content: reviews, testimonials, interviews, case studies, dynamic FAQs, social media campaigns

Including content from your customers in your own marketing helps you engage your target audience, build trust, and takes some of the pressure for content creation off your own shoulders.

Website copywriting best practices: UX


1. Make it clear there’s more to see

Website copywriting needs to integrate with the design and build of a website to get you the best results. One of the first ways to get visitors to your website engaged?

Let them see that there’s more below the fold by including written homepage content that either:

  • Requires them to scroll to continue reading
  • Tells them to scroll for more info
  • Links to content further down the page

2. Consider ‘hidden’ content

User experience is all about how visitors to a website navigate and use it. Don’t just think of your visitors’ actions – think of their indecision and their waiting times, by creating:

  • Rollover text: grab the attention of users who aren’t ready to click
  • Hover text: introduce more info without crowding your website
  • Loading text: a neat line or two between pages shows you’re an attentive brand
  • Thank you pages: do what your mum taught you, and say thank you!
  • Error messages: be friendly, tell users how they’ve gone wrong and how to fix it

3. Use clear links

Much as your website might be populated with bee-yootiful content (especially if I wrote it), some visitors just aren’t interested in reading. They’re busy, they can’t be arsed, they’ll come back to it later – whatever.

So, don’t make them.

The key objective of your website is to get visitors to do what you want them to.

The key objective of visitors to your website is to find out what they want as quickly as possible.

Make sure your links (text and buttons) clearly indicate what will happen on the click. So instead of:

Click here to download”

…write something like this:

“Download our 2018 guide to UX copywriting

In short, descriptive link text is great for:

  • UX: tell users what you’re giving them, then give it to them. Simple!
  • SEO: how’s Google supposed to rank your content if you’ve got 15 links on your page, all reading “here”?
  • Accessibility: make it easy for visually impaired consumers using screen readers to browse

4. Value at every stage

I lose hours browsing my favourite sites.

Why? Because for every article I click on, there are tonnes more interesting links to click. Down the side, at the bottom, in pop-ups…wherever I look.

While your website might not be quite as appealing, there’s no reason the same principles can’t work for you:

  • Group and clearly label related content using tags and categories
  • Recommend related content whenever possible, both as links and downloads
  • Create content to appeal to consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Link to more relevant content: don’t let your web pages be a dead end

The second visitors to your website get bored or frustrated?

That’s the second you lose them.

The Short Version

Website copywriting is a specific skill, and needs to take into account:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • User focus
  • Conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
  • User experience (UX)

The good news is that, generally speaking, what’s good for one of these categories is good for the others.

Nicely broken up text? Good for Google, good for readers.

Clear links to related content? Good for consumers, good for Google, good for conversions.

Long-tail keywords? Good for SEO, good for consumers.

While website copywriting may be as much science as it is art, it’s not alchemy. The advice you need to follow is common sense, backed up by data and evidence.

Study the basics, stick with them, and your website copywriting standards will sky-rocket.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of website copywriting best practices, but it’s a good start. What else would you include? Tell me below in the comments 👇🏻

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6 Ways To Sort Your B2B Content Marketing Before That Expo

I’ve been thinking a lot about trade expos recently. Yeah, that’s what I do with my spare time.

What I’ve been thinking is this:

For the amount of time and money B2B vendors spend on preparing for, and exhibiting at, trade expos, they don’t half shoot themselves in the foot with their content marketing.

I’m not just talking flyers and posters, before you get your knickers in a twist about how much those leaflets cost you.

I’m talking digital.

Why? Cos crap B2B content marketing costs you money

I often visit trade expos – they’re a great way to find out what’s going on in the trade sector, and they’re a great hunting ground for new clients.

But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: B2B brands that come off really well at expos are often total B2B content marketing disasters.

At the end of the day, you might say it doesn’t matter what I think – after all, I’m touting for business. And you’re right.

What matters is what B2B consumers think.

And here’s the rub: shoddy B2B content marketing is costing you money. Let’s look at six ways to stop your business throwing money away at that next expo.

1. Refresh your website content

Visitors to the expo will look at your website. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you don’t, they won’t.

I’m not saying you have to have a complete website overhaul. Sure, you might need one, but there isn’t always the time.

What you should make time for is a website content refresh. Take a couple of days (even one – I’m begging you) to:

  • Remove any outdated and irrelevant pages
  • Replace any outdated and irrelevant info
  • Update as much awful imagery as possible
  • Proof-read your content for errors, clunky phrases and general bullshit
  • Check your links to make sure they all work

My general rules are:

  • Have as few pages as you can get away with
  • No page is better than a shit page
  • If your content is rubbish, get rid

Your website may still be terrible after you make these changes, in which case a new one should definitely be on your to-do list, but it will definitely be less terrible.

2. Improve your contact page

 

I can’t tell you how many B2B websites I visit, both before and after trade expos, only to find that their contact page in particular is a hot mess.

Let’s break it down, nice and simple:

Things that make me not want to contact you / sad that I tried to contact you:

  • Ugly / broken down contact pages
  • Contact pages with a form but no other contact details
  • Contact forms that take me to a weird/blank/rubbish page
  • No confirmation email – did it send? Will I hear back?
  • Contact pages with only an ‘info@’ address. Who am I talking to?
  • Contact pages with only a ‘sales@’ address. I don’t want to be sold to

Things that make me happy to contact you:

  • Neat, clean, attractive contact pages
  • A variety of contact options: phone, email, contact form, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • A clear ‘thank you’ page that tells me what to expect next
  • A brief confirmation email that tells me I’ll get a response, and no spam
  • Email addresses with names in them. Tell me who I’m contacting!

Plenty of these are quick fixes, so get them sorted before the expo comes round.

3. Sort your email marketing

 

A lot of the time, the most a B2B brand will do to market their attendance at an event is write a blog about it, then send that out to existing customers.

Not very exciting.

But if you can get ahead, it’s worth really putting some effort into promotion. Email marketing’s still the most successful outbound channel for B2B brands, so here’s a few quick ideas on how to shout about your upcoming trade expo:

  • Expo round-up email: if you’re going to be attending a few expos over the course of the year – particularly in different regions – write up a list. Blog it, and email it to your mailing list. Include links to that list in later emails, even in your email signature.
  • Specific expo emails: blog in advance of each specific expo, making sure to feature the name and location prominently, plus your stand number/location. Email it out. Try to be excited!
  • Target confirmed attendees: let the confirmed attendees of the trade expo know you’re going to be there. Also use direct mail and social media (expos often have their own hashtags).
  • Incentives: what’s not to love about a bit of bribery? Incentivise visits to your stand and get folks to fill out their data for a chance to win a prize. Post expo, you’ve got all that lovely data – get emailing.

4. Prepare some case studies

If there’s one thing all the big B2B content marketing reports have shown going into 2018, it’s that case studies consistently come out on top in terms of preferred content types.

In fact, 78% of B2B buyers cited case studies as an important part of their decision-making process. B2B customers love a good case study. Why?

  • Relatability: case studies are the perfect way to demonstrate the potential ROI your product or service can achieve. B2B buyers want proof, not promises.
  • Focus on results: B2B consumers are looking for products and services that offer them quick, quality, cost-effective results. Case studies are real-life examples of what results can be achieved, and where.
  • Benchmarking data: benchmarking data is high on the list of priorities for 2018’s B2B buyers: 62% said they want more of it in the content they get from B2B vendors.
  • Story-telling: B2B buyers want to situate themselves in relation to others, especially businesses that share the same pain points as them, so they can better predict their potential growth. Salesforce is a brilliant example of storytelling in B2B content marketing.

Get some case studies up on your website, and get some printed out for the expo.

Moving forward, make sure you and your customer-facing staff are routinely gathering data from every job you work on.

5. Dig out your technical info and prepare to bare

Potential suppliers, partners and customers want to know exactly what you’re selling, how it works, and what the benefit to them is going to be.

Technical info is what’s needed. Clear, well-presented, precise technical data.

The type of data you’re going to need to have to hand will vary depending on what your business does – it could be anything from material safety data sheets to product specification charts.

Whatever.

Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Make it attractive: smudgy print-outs and cheap, shiny flyers from the print shop down the road won’t impress your audience. Quality paper, sharp printing, nice design. Spend a bit, eh?
  • Make sure it’s well written: whatever writing you’ve got on there, make sure it’s clear, concise, customer focused, and checked for any spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Include your contact info: put a name, an email address and a phone number at the bottom. Be specific: no one wants to talk to info@.
  • Make it visual: it can be hard to generate interest in B2B products and services. Invest in some quality imagery to drive engagement. Folks recognise stock shots, and they don’t like them.

6. Invite customer questions

Anyone who’s known me for more than 10 minutes will know that I’m a big fan of Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask, You Answer approach to content marketing.

TAYA is a way of targeting long-tail keywords while building trust in your brand by answering every question your customers put to you.

Publicly. In written form.

Stick with me.

I’m of the firm opinion that businesses can build an entire B2B content marketing strategy around They Ask, You Answer.

And expo attendance is the perfect way to kick-start it.

  • Email your mailing list: let them know you’ll be attending the expo. Ask them to email any questions they want to ask you, and promise them a detailed answer, in person, on the day.
  • Promote your TAYA approach: let folks know you’ll answer whatever they want to know in as much detail as you can while at the expo. No pussy-footing, no bullshit, no bluff.
  • Have a TAYA box at the expo: every question you get asked, write it down and stick it in the box. At the end of the expo, you’ll have a whole heap of blog ideas based on real customer queries.

They Ask, You Answer isn’t just a great way to gather important data – it’s a brilliant conversation opener at trade expos.

Why?

  • It’s customer-focused.
  • It’s 100% free of sales spiel (something 74% of B2B consumers say turns them off).
  • It allows you to get right into the nitty-gritty of what makes your business so good

That last point in particular is amazing for B2B brands with complex products or services.

It’s often hard to communicate your USPs in a few words, and this method gives you more words to play with and a captive audience.

The Short Version

B2B content marketing might not be vital for your business yet, but it will be. B2B consumers are becoming more demanding, and increasingly active online.

Attending trade expos is still a great way for B2B brands to attract new business. Refreshing your online marketing efforts before you attend one will help to maximise your investment.

Customers want easy to read, engaging content from B2B brands that:

  • Is visually appealing
  • Is easy to navigate, if hosted online
  • Contains benchmarking data
  • Has detailed information
  • Includes real-life examples
  • Is customer-focused, not salesy

Spend some time before you attend trade expos making sure your online presence is up to scratch, and that you’re really giving the modern B2B consumer what he or she wants.

Did I miss anything off? How does your B2B business prepare for trade expos? Tell me in the comments if you’ve got any bright ideas 👇🏻

Need some help with B2B content marketing? Give me a shout.

 

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7 B2B Content Marketing Quick Wins for 2018

B2B content marketing quick wins 2018

Without wanting to buy into a stereotype, it’s fair to say that a good number of trade and industrial B2B brands are still resisting the pull towards anything resembling a decent content marketing strategy.

At the companies I speak to, there are one or two people singing the praises of content marketing.

But, their tune’s falling on deaf ears.

We’re too busy.

We don’t have the budget.

Our customers aren’t interested.

Blah, blah, blah.

Getting the board on board

B2B content marketing

Look at this headless guy. He doesn’t have time for your B2B content marketing bullshit.

So what should you do if you’re pushing your board to…well, get on board with content marketing?

Lie down and accept defeat?

Not a chance. Listen up.

What the dinosaurs more traditional members of staff in your business probably don’t realise is that content marketing isn’t some new-fangled theory.

B2B content marketing applies many of the same principles that have worked for service-based businesses for decades.

If you’re trying to make a business case for content marketing in your company, chances are your bosses want proof it’ll work.

So how do you get proof it’ll work with no buy-in and no budget?

Let’s talk B2B content marketing by stealth.

Be Your Company’s B2B Content Marketing Ninja

Right, so sneaky does it.

Here are 7 B2B content marketing quick wins you can pull out of the bag and use to I TOLD YOU SO the relevant people when the time comes.

Maybe you’ll only want to implement a few of these, maybe you’ll want them all.

Something is better than nothing. Always.

1. Customer reviews

Is your business collecting customer feedback?

If not, you’re missing out on an absolute wealth of free content.

This year’s report on B2B consumer preferences by Demand Gen noted that buyers are getting busier all the time.

A third of respondents (34%) said they have less time to research the brands they purchase from.

But three quarters (75%) of them said that the trustworthiness of the content they read in order to make a purchasing decision is more important than ever before.

So how do prospective customers get trustworthy information about your products and services?

Customer feedback and peer-generated reviews.

More than two thirds (68%) of buyers said that’s what they look for when deciding who to buy from.

Give them what they want.

ACTIONS: 

  • Encourage customer-facing staff to ask for feedback every time
  • Add an email signature inviting feedback to all outgoing messages
  • Call up happy customers and ask them to write you a review
  • Join a site like TrustPilot and add a widget to your website’s homepage

 

2. Case studies

If there’s anything a B2B consumer likes better than a review, it’s a really in-depth review.

Yes, it’s our old friend, the CASE STUDY.

Going back to that report by Demand Gen, the humble case study came out on top in two categories:

  • 48% of respondents said case studies were the most valuable type of content to them
  • 78% of respondents said they’d used case studies to research their B2B purchasing decisions in the last 12 months

case studies B2B content marketing

Source: Demand Gen

Now, I’ve always loved a good B2B case study, so I’m happy if not very surprised by the news that case studies are the number one content format for B2B businesses in 2018.

And the best thing about case studies? They’re SO EASY to source information for.

They’re just stories.

Everyone loves a good story.

Start collecting information for case studies as standard, and you’re sitting on a mine of brilliant content.

ACTIONS: 

    • Download this free case study questionnaire I use to source information
    • Get on the phone to your latest happy customers and interview them
    • Write up those case studies for your blog
    • Share your latest case studies with your email list

 

3. They Ask, You Answer

They ask you answer Marcus Sheridan

I’ve always been a fan of the straight answer.

You ask a question, you want an answer – not a load of pussyfooting around.

In 2017, I read this book: They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.

Marcus was on the verge of bankruptcy and had no money to market his business with. None.

So what did he do?

He transformed his business by blogging.

He started answering customer questions. All of them.

Every. Single. One.

Marcus answered all the questions his customers were asking on his blog.

And, by answering every question he received openly on his blog, Marcus got his website to the top of Google page one for a huge number of longtail keywords.

The result?

Marcus’s business is now the number one in its industry for the whole of the US.

ACTIONS: 

  • Add a widget to your website inviting customers to ask any question they like
  • Encourage customer-facing staff to actively invite questions
  • Set up an email address internally so staff can ping these questions over to you
  • Start answering the questions on your blog. Nothing fancy, just give people answers

 

4. FAQs

OK, so if you read that last one and thought, “I don’t have time to blog!”, then here’s a good one for you:

Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Are there questions your customers keep asking?
  • Do customers come to you saying that your competitors wouldn’t tell them X, Y, Z?
  • What can you tell consumers to make them buy from you, not someone else?

FAQs are great for customer care, they’re great for building trust in your brand, and they’re fantastic for boosting your SEO.

Why?

Because consumers will be typing their questions into Google.

And if that question – and its answer – is on your website, guess what’s going to pop up in their search results.

Lovely old you.

ACTIONS: 

  • Get yourself an FAQ plugin for your website. I like Heroic FAQs
  • Start answering some questions
  • Uh…that’s it!

 

5. Online chat

This is one that usually has B2B clients running for the door, but bear with me.

Automated chat functions are big, and they’re getting bigger.

Customers really, really like them.

Econsultancy got the data on how customers respond to live chat, and the stats are definitely compelling.

  • 79% said they used it to get quick answers to questions
  • 73% of customers who used live chat were happy with it
  • 46% agreed it was the most efficient communication method
  • 31% said they were more likely to buy after using it

And, as content marketing expert Neil Patel has it, the info is even more encouraging.

His research found that live chat can increase online leads by an average of 40% (source: chat study by ApexChat).

So again, we’re finding that customers want answers, and they want them quick.

Give them answers!

ACTIONS: 

  • Get a live chat add-on for your website – here are some of the popular ones
  • Let your email list know you’ve got a live chat function
  • Designate a couple of people to handle inbound enquiries – maybe start it off yourself?
  • Read more: Neil Patel does a great job of outlining the benefits of live chat
  • Kissmetrics are also good on the topic.

 

6. Twitter

This is a good one if you (or someone else in-house) decided that live chat is just a little bit too far in the direction of SCARY FUTURISTIC STUFF OUR CUSTOMERS WON’T LIKE.

The other day, I didn’t know which bulb I needed for my bathroom, so I tweeted an LED bulb company.

They responded, I bought the bulbs from them.

I actually did.

Would I have emailed? No.

Would I have picked up the phone? Also no.

Twitter is a handy and effective way of increasing the inbound leads to your business:

B2B marketing twitter

Source: Visua.ly

If you’re thinking you don’t have time for Twitter, remember:

Quality is more important than quantity.

As long as your Twitter profile is on-brand and consistent, it’s a decent lead generation tool to keep ticking over in the background.

Then, if you hear a ping and someone’s tweeted you, just respond.

It’s 280 characters or less; how hard can it be?

Here’s some good advice on leveraging Twitter for B2B businesses.

And, if you want some stats to back up how effective Twitter is for B2B, here’s some of those too.

ACTIONS: 

  • Set up a Twitter account for your business – info, picture, links.
  • Download something like Buffer to help you schedule your tweets in advance
  • Follow customers, competitors, industry leaders, and anyone else of interest
  • Start tweeting: links to your site and blog, answers to questions, photos from in-house

 

7. Embrace The Big Five (wait…make that six)

Finally, back to blogging for a minute.

We all know blogging works best when you’ve got a consistent content marketing strategy going on.

But what if you don’t have one?

And you don’t know how to get one?

A great way to start blogging regularly is to embrace what Marcus Sheridan (remember him from point 3?) calls The Big Five.

Except, for B2B content marketing, I prefer The Big Six (I added one, so sue me).

These are topics your customers are searching for every day.

Things they want to know.

Things that will drive traffic to your website, build trust in your brand, and start conversations between you and your target market.

Introducing The Big 5 (+ one more)

1. Costs and pricing: 

How much will something cost? How much can something cost? What’s the minimum X will cost? Why does your service cost more than your competitor’s? Consumers want to talk money, and being coy about prices never wins business, so get blogging about what your products and services are going to cost.

2. Problems and challenges:

Don’t pretend you’ve got the perfect product or service: no one does. No matter what your customers buy, there’s the potential for problems and challenges. Talk about them. Build trust in your business by being open and honest.

3. Vs and comparisons

When consumers are at the consideration stage of the buying process (that’s mid-funnel to those of you who prefer funnel talk), they may well have a short-list of options. Help them decide on your service by creating content around X vs Y. Everything has pros and cons: give your customers the information they need to make the right decision for them.

4. Reviews

Stats from AdWeek showed that on-site consumer reviews can increase sales conversions by 74%. Interesting, too, is the fact that a few little negative points increase conversions: TechCrunch found that perfect scores can actually reduce your conversion rate as customers start to think they’re fake. So, get some customer reviews up on your blog.

5. Best

Consumers can be pretty simple creatures, and this point is testament to that. Mobile searches for “best” have increased by 80% over the last year alone, and that goes from the lowest price point right through to the highest. So get talking about the best everything that your customers could possibly want.

6. How to

Back to Demand Gen’s 2017 B2B Content Marketing report, 97% of respondents highlighted prescriptive content as their preferred form: things like “10 steps to…” and “3 ways to…” So, blogs on how to do X, Y and Z are a sure-fire way to grab their attention.

ACTIONS: 

  • Cross reference your products/services with The Big 5 (6!) for a ready-made list of blog topics
  • Talk to colleagues to get the information you need for the blogs
  • Start blogging – the cost ones are always a good place to start
  • Or, hire me to do your blogging

 

The Short Version:

B2B content marketing isn’t some kind of hocus pocus.

It can be hard to get buy-in when the board shuts down at any mention of it.

But, the fact is, B2B content marketing is a proven lead- and sales-generation tool.

There are so many ways to start introducing B2B content marketing into your business.

You don’t need money.

You don’t need much time.

You don’t even need company-wide buy-in, not at first.

Small efforts can make big changes when it comes to B2B content marketing, so try and implement some or all of the tips above gradually over 2018.

Track the ROI.

Watch for results.

I guarantee, if you keep at it, you’ll get some good ones.

Need help with your B2B content marketing strategy? Let’s chat.

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How Inbound Marketing Will Get Your B2B Business Ahead

What makes your business stand out?
What sets you apart from the competition?
What’s your USP?

Like it or not, the answer is often “nothing”.

It’s hard to find a business that’s reinvented the wheel nowadays – why claim to be one of them?

DITCH THE B2B CLICHÉS

B2B website copywriting
Don’t bore your customers with clichés

Great products? Sure, loads of businesses have them.

Innovative solutions? Heard it all before.

Years of combined experience? Yawn.

See also: state of the art facilities, top of the range equipment, industry-leading expertise, first rate project management, exceptional customer service…

Boring, boring, boring.

None of this is unique to your business.

None of it makes you special.

None of it will convince customers to buy from you.

If you’re a B2B business, chances are there are a handful of businesses doing almost exactly the same as you.

You might think they’re decent, you might think they’re terrible.

But, the fact of the matter is, you’re probably both claiming the same things to the prospects who find their way into your sales funnel.

All that guff above, right?

So if everything’s already been said, and everything’s basically a cliché, how can you set your business apart from the competition?

Inbound marketing.

Here are three ways using inbound marketing can get your B2B business ahead.

1. Get found before your competitors

B2B consumers are looking to buy. Will they find you?

SEO, PPC, email, social media…

Whatever you’re using to target prospects who are flitting around the top of your sales funnel, make sure you do it well.

Trade and industrial B2B brands are…shall we say, not exactly renowned for mastering inbound marketing, so there’s a good chance a savvy strategy will help you leap ahead.

Helpful, interesting and optimised B2B content on your blog, website, social media feed and email newsletter can get you on the radar of those consumers in the awareness stage of the buying process.

If you’re grabbing consumers’ attention before your competitors do, that’s half the battle.

And let’s look at it simply: if they don’t know about you, they’re not going to buy from you.

2. Give consumers what they want

B2B content
Give your customers what they want

Inbound marketing is not a game where you want to play hard to get.

If your prospect is floating around the digital marketplace, it’s because they want something.

Either you give it to them, or they’ll go elsewhere.

So what kind of something are we talking about?

B2B Content.

B2B Content is:

  • Authentic customer reviews that help prospects know they can trust you.
  • Addressing how much something’s going to cost – even if you can’t give a straight answer.
  • Giving customers answers to their questions.

And if consumers find the answers they want on your website, your social media feeds, and in your emails, chances are they’ll stick with you.

B2B content case study: Edmo Aluminium Extrusions

3. Give prospects a better online experience

inbound marketing
B2B consumers don’t like shopping online? Fine – so make it easy.

One thing I hear a lot is that trade and industrial customers don’t like Doing Stuff Online™.

And sure, a lot of service-based businesses did just fine before the days of digital marketing.

Paper flyers, an A-board, and a listing in the Yellow Pages? Job done.

But, things have changed.

(I mean, have you seen how thin the Yellow Pages is now?)

Think about how many of the decision-makers you deal with grew up pre-internet.

Not that many, I’ll bet. And the number will get smaller year on year.

So remember that great B2B content we talked about?

Stick it on:

  • An easy to navigate website that works on any screen
  • Informative, attractive email newsletters that are easy to subscribe to (and unsubscribe from)
  • A regularly updated, engaging blog that uses images, tags and categories
  • Responsive and friendly social media accounts

That way, no matter how consumers come to find you, they’re going to like what they see.

TL;DR – The short version

Your business isn’t special. Sure, it is to you, but not to your prospects.

When it comes to online consumers, you’re only as good as what you offer them there and then.

Give them the information they want via easy to read, interesting B2B content.

It’s up to you to keep up with what makes an enjoyable online experience: responsive platforms, cracking website, friendly social media.

Question is: do you want to get ahead, or play catch-up?

What do you think? Is Inbound marketing the key to B2b success? Comments below👇🏻

 

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