As e-commerce stores continue to flourish and people spend more and more time on the internet, content marketing is becoming an even more efficient way of communicating information and connecting with consumers. Currently 86 percent of B2C companies are using some sort of content marketing; however, despite the amount of companies using this strategy most B2C businesses only have approximately 28 percent of their marketing budget spent on content marketing. Furthermore, only 55 percent of B2C companies intend to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. Viewed comparatively, 91 percent of B2B companies use some sort of content marketing which tends to make up approximately 33 percent of the marketing budget for these companies, and in the next year 68 percent of B2B companies intend to raise their content budget.
The high percentage of intended growth in content marketing for both B2B and B2C companies shows the acknowledgement of importance of this marketing strategy for all businesses. However, the existence and growth of this technique is clearly used more by B2B companies. Why? Don't the two distinct types of companies have similar goals (like to attract and maintain a customer base)?
Here are three ways that B2C businesses can take further advantage of content marketing like B2B companies:
1) Know Where Your Target Audience Is Active
According to Forrester Research, "(B2B) buyers are online, in social channels, on YouTube, going to events, and evaluating options on mobile devices. Understanding the customer journey across these touch points is essential to the success of any marketing program." Nowadays everyone is online – both businesses and consumers – and it's important for B2C companies to acknowledge this. It's no longer acceptable just to have a website and expect your consumers to come to you. A study from IDG Research Services published at the end of 2012 identified that 95% of users use at least one type of social media site. With numbers like that it's hard to argue that creating and maintaining an SNS presence is not an essential part of running a successful business, be it B2B or B2C.
2) Create Content Consumers Want to Share
"Content marketing is all about creating great content and sharing it." Once a company develops a social media presence, the best way to maintain it is by interacting with their fans/followers. An example of a company doing this well is Petflow.com, a company which specializes in the home delivery of pet food. The company uses images feature cute, humorous images of animals accompanied by text that often go viral on social media sites like Facebook. It's important to post content that the target audience you're trying to reach will enjoy. While B2B companies construct articles, e-newsletters, blogs, case studies, events, etc., B2C should focus on the best way to reach their consumers by understanding exactly who their consumer is. By conducting surveys Petflow.com was able to determine 85% of their customers were women over 40, which helped them to better target their marketing efforts.
Read more about Petflow.com's successful content marketing by clicking here.
3) Measure the Results of Your Content Marketing Through Accomplishment of Your Goals
It's important to try out different types of content marketing to see what type your target audience responds to. Depending on your company's goals content marketing could be used for anything from directing traffic to your main website/increasing the amount time spent on the site to driving sales. Whatever the key goal of your company's content marketing is, it's important to identify what works and what doesn't. Don't be afraid to try different things until you figure out what techniques will help you to meet your specific goals. While B2B companies would profit from sites like LinkedIn where the community is targeted to help business professionals connect, B2C companies would be more likely to benefit from something like Petflow's strategy of viral image sharing.
All in all both B2B and B2C companies can benefit from content marketing, it's just a matter of knowing your target audience and understanding how to reach them.
What do you think of content marketing? Do you believe that companies should be putting more, less, or the same amount of funding into this type of marketing?