Do Your B2B Communications Drive Business… or Belong in the Toilet?

April 8, 2013

B2B communicationsUnlike modern art, B2B communications are pretty cut and dry. Whereas artists will always find ways to argue the virtues of a hanging a toilet bowl in a museum (I’m looking at you Marcel Duchamp, because for the life of me I can’t figure out why “The Fountain,” pictured here, is so widely heralded as an icon of twentieth-century art), when it comes to B2B communications there’s far less room for debate.
Sure, we can all evaluate the merits of someone’s writing, but to be successful, B2B communications need to do a lot more than just read well. They also need to help you achieve your business objectives.

Specifically, there are six things that B2B communications need to do drive business. Miss any of them and you risk seeing your communications and content get flushed down the the proverbial toilet:

1) Convert your target audience. Every communication or piece of content needs to have a conversion goal and be designed to ensure that conversion happens. For instance, a newsletter’s conversion goal might simply be to get people to open it (which typically means coming up with a really engaging headline that piques their interest). A landing page’s goal, by comparison, might be to get a user download a free trial (which typically means communicating the value of that trial). No matter what your goal, there are ways that you can convert leads with your communications and content using hooks, calls to actions, and triggers. Your number one job is to make sure that you include them in all of your B2B communications.

2) Align with your brand aspirations. Simply put, your communications need to be on point and match up with your company’s brand aspirations, i.e., your mission, vision, and values. After all, any communications that you put out into the world need to reflect what your company is all about. If they don’t, you’re missing an opportunity to shape the world’s perception of your business.

3) Consider your buyer and his or her situation. I’ve written about this point many times before. Your content always has to be written with your buyer in mind and where he or she is in the buying process. If you don’t understand your buyers and what they are facing right now, how will your B2B communications ever resonate with them and help move them down the path to purchase? The answer is that they won’t. Just think of how many times you’ve ignored something directed at you because it actually didn’t reflect any understanding of who you are and what you need.

4) Be optimized for search. The simple reality is that if you want to find something, the first place you’re going to look is on Google. As such, you have to optimize your content and communications to make sure that they are showing up as close to the top of the first page for specific search terms as possible. OpenView has a variety of resources that can help, including our eBook on identifying keywords.

5) Include viral features. Great B2B communications need to be shareable and promote interaction. That means embedding social sharing tools into your content, allowing for commenting, and incorporating surveys, polls, and other tactics that getting people to interact with and share your stuff. Getting your communications and content to go viral is no easy feat, but if you can pull it off, the benefits will be huge.

6) Be easy to find on your site. This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s amazing how many companies bury their best B2B communications and content on their sites. Your content needs to be easy to find so that as soon as someone comes to your homepage, they can easily navigate to whatever is most relevant to them. Check out this report to learn more.

Creating effective B2B communications isn’t easy, but if you take the time to ensure that all of them do the six things listed above, I guarantee that you will see dramatic improvement on the impact they have on your bottom line. Unlike urinal art, that’s pretty hard to ignore.

Content Marketing Director

<strong>Kevin Cain</strong> is the Content Marketing Director for <a href="">BlueChip Communication</a>, Australia's leading financial services communication firm. Before joining BlueChip, Kevin was the Director of Content Strategy for OpenView.