To effectively market to a B2B audience, sending blanket content out to potential clients at different stages of their buying journey will have minimal effect. You may draw in one group that the content addresses in their journey, but the message will be diluted because the content is for a generic, wider audience.
Targeted content – that is, content that speaks to a specific prospect at a specific stage in their buying journey–to drive a specific response from that group–has a much better chance of connecting with your prospect and creating positive engagement.
Targeted content is content that is created for a niche audience.
While we are proponents of personalizing content, it needs to be correctly targeted in order to deliver it to the right person at the right time and at the right stage of where they are in their buying journey.
When creating targeted content, you need the right messaging that will move prospects through each step in their buying journey and informs them at each stage.
What Should Targeted Content Do?
Each stage is different and messaging should be crafted to address that stage, so depending on the stage, your prospects will need content that:
Brings awareness to your organization
This helps prospects understand what your company does and that you have knowledge of their market and its unique challenges
Encourages further discovery
With prospects who are aware of your company, this content is designed to draw their attention to the fact that your company has the solution to those problems.
Drives competitive comparisons
When your company can communicate its knowledge and expertise, as well as how it is used in conjunction with your products and services, it allows you to differentiate yourself
Moves them to the point of buying
Providing the right information at the right time ensures that the target has all the information they need in order to choose your products or services to purchase.
The tone of your message will vary depending on where your target buyer is in their journey. Also, how often you communicate it and the way in which you communicate your message will vary as well. For B2B content to be effective, it needs to connect with the niche audience it is designed for.
A one-size-fits-all content approach will rarely work
The goal of targeted content is more customer acquisition and retention due to specific content aimed at a person or group that has the ability to take action.
Great content that’s properly targeted at a specific audience and a specific buying stage help them move to the next stage in their journey until they have made a purchase.
How to Create a Targeted Content Strategy
You need to know your niche targets. That means you need to do your homework and learn what makes your subject tick – what they care about, what they fear, what they desire and what keeps them up at night. The goal here is to identify your potential customers’ most important characteristics. The key here is not to focus on the companies, but the actual people themselves. How do you do this?
Gather Information to get a picture of your ideal buyer
Start by gathering some basic information. Interview your existing customers, talk to customer-facing colleagues, and mine your databases. You will be looking to identify two main types of characteristics–demographic and behavioral.
Job title and role
What motivates your buyer
Buyer expectations – outcome expectations
Role in the purchasing process – are they a champion, influencer or decision-maker
Their knowledge of your services and capabilities
Armed with this info, you can now start to build out your buyer personas in order to craft targeted content.
Buyer personas are detailed profiles made up from the demographic and behavioral information collected. In building out the persona, it should clearly illustrate who your buyers are, what their pain points are, which factors are most important to them, and what stage they are in the buying process.
This could be the most important step that makes sure the content you create connects with your targeted buyer, which is why demographic and behavioral research is so important. And because there are multiple buyers in an organization and multiple stages of a sales funnel, multiple personas need to be created to represent the various types of buyers you’re targeting.
This will ensure that you craft content that’s customized for their needs at the time of engagement. When you have clarity about who you are writing for, the unique challenges they face, and what outcomes they expect, it becomes much easier to create targeted content that engages with your audience.
Peter Drucker famously said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” All of this targeted content must be measured and analyzed in order to be optimized. Content that can be sharpened and improved to match the buyer persona it targets will add longevity and ROI to the targeted content campaign.
There are many ways to measure content performance and some content even has built-in analytics.
Continually measure and optimize your content — your targeted content — and you will find yourself engaging with your prospects more often than your competition.