April 01, 2014

The Role of Content Marketing in Buyers' Purchasing Decisions

Determined to make the most informed purchases possible, customers are spending ample time researching companies before ever consulting with a sales representative. In fact, 68 percent of respondents in the “2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey,” conducted by marketing publication Demand Gen Report, stated that the number of sources they use to research and evaluate purchases has increased substantially over the past year. 

Whether the customer is an enterprise, SMB or end user, large purchases account for a substantial chunk of any company or individual’s budget, so choosing the correct product or service is critical. Any error in a costly purchase can cause financial damage in more ways than one as the money that is spent on the original purchase is essentially wasted and additional funds must be expended if the product needs to be replaced. Thinking about purchasing from this angle, it’s no surprise that consumers are taking more time to research vendors and their offerings.

If you are on the selling end of this equation, that means it has become imperative to craft accurate, thoughtful copy that elucidates on your product or service—especially with buyers taking a closer look at you more than ever before. Content marketing is the tool you need to ensure that potential buyers gain valuable insight into your core competencies and competitive advantages.

Content marketing—or organically selling your products and offerings through the creation of custom copy—can help you highlight exactly why buyers should purchase your product or solution, without making an overt sales pitch. For instance, let’s say you own or manage a hardware or office improvement store and want to appeal to contractors looking for tools and equipment as the bitter winter ends and construction season ramps up. But to you, advertising your low prices seems a bit hollow.

By originating and disseminating custom copy, you can round out your message to consumers. You can build content around statistics, concepts or events—for example, did you know May is National Home Remodeling Month?—to engage prospects with information that provides value. Instead of simply purchasing a half-page newspaper ad touting your great prices, craft a piece of content on your blogging platform about how forward-thinking stores—like yours—are looking for more efficient ways to track inventory and make sure items in hot demand are always in stock.

Businesses are starting to get the message. According to Econsultancy, 54 percent of brands cite increased engagement as content marketing’s top benefit, and numerous studies prove a connection between engagement and sales. So as companies and buyers scour the Internet looking for information about a solution—what will they find when your website, blog or social media site pops up?

That’s entirely up to you.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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