Business to business? Business to consumers? Here’s why content marketers must talk to both audiences.
“You’re nobody till somebody loves you.” Frank Sinatra sang it, and it’s more true than ever when it comes to content marketing.
The business case for content marketing is clear when business-to-consumer companies take to Facebook and when business-to-business companies concentrate on LinkedIn.
But whether you’re selling widgets or whisks, you need to talk to both audiences. Business-to-consumer companies need to have a content conversation going with their business partners, suppliers, vendors and industry influencers. And business-to-business companies need to have a content conversation going with the public, their communities, and ultimate consumers.
Awareness and influence.
Awareness warms up cold calls and cold leads. When any potential customer has a general idea of what your company is and what it does; if a potential customer has heard of your company; if a potential customer has seen your company’s content in good company via a social media newsfeed, your sales conversation has already started.
“Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of you” is a conversation that’s already underway.
“Who are you?” is a conversation that has yet to start.
Influence warms up the relationship even more.
Your reputation is built among those who know what you do well enough to recommend you to others who might be interested. Any consumer could also be an influencer with a friend, relative or co-worker who might be your next potential customer. Any business connection could pass your name on to a consumer who might turn into your biggest fan.
These “opposite channel” influencers have even more credibility because they are highly unlikely to be getting anything for mentioning your company. For instance, if your lawyer recommends you speak with a certain financial planner, you’d be wise to wonder if the lawyer received a referral fee – and that self- interest undermines the credibility of the recommendation. Another member of a community theater board recommends you to the same financial planner, and the possibility of a referral fee doesn’t even occur to you.
“Opposite channel” influence also adds nuance to your reputation. Business partners know how you treat people when the public isn’t looking. Consumers have strong impressions about whether or not your company is a good neighbor.
They’re going to talk. So give them something to talk about.
If you’re a business-to-consumer company, consider these topics for cultivating a conversation with your business partners:
- Metrics about your company’s growth
- Observations about industry trends, such as bulletins from trade shows
- Customer feedback and stories
- Highlights from customer polls and surveys
If you’re a business-to-business company, consider these tactics for growing relationships with consumers:
- Behind-the-scenes videos and how-you-do-it content, such as this video of a long-discontinued Kellogg tradition: the factory tour
- Employee stories of innovation, advancement and accomplishment Community service and citizenship, with a focus on the community, not on your heroics
- The “whys” behind a timely topic, such as income tax tips in early April or water safety tips when concerns about lead-tainted water are in the headlines.
You only need one channel besides your company website to promote content to the “opposite” audience. Be where that audience would be pleasantly surprised to find you, a friendly face that stands out in that crowd.