May 02, 2016

The Right Ways to Reach Your Customers

Today we welcome Carrie Scheetz, tradeshow and events specialist, who manages Quanex’s marketing automation system and sales team lead alignment. This post will explore the best ways B2B companies can reach their customers.

In a world where we’re constantly inundated with information, it’s difficult to sort through the clutter. A 24-hour news cycle, a social media feed, endlessly arriving emails. Consumers interact with an overwhelming amount of content every day—how do they find the good stuff?

And for the past several years, the problem for marketers has been reversed—how do we stand out in an increasingly big crowd? In the B2B space, it can be even more challenging. Our materials must cut through everything else our customers encounter in the digital space—from the presidential election to pro sports to big entertainment news.

Reaching B2B customers with the type of information they desire—useful, educational and relevant content that is light on the sales pitch—is a daily challenge.

Content Types—What Gets Read?
Demand Gen Report’s 2016 Content Preferences Survey offers new data and analysis on how B2B customers prefer to receive their information.

It’s become increasingly common for buyers to do their homework before ever contacting a sales person—and Demand Gen notes that readers have become more used to discerning truly valuable content from the “straight sales pitch.”

Accordingly, case studies have become one of the top resources where B2B buyers access information; 73 percent of respondents reported reading case studies when researching purchases within the past 12 months. Case studies join webinars (78 percent) and white papers (82 percent) to make up the top three ways buyers report researching a purchase.

We can all recall some successful projects we’ve helped our customers complete; working with them to complete a case study can make for an effective and trustworthy resource for potential new buyers. If you are not able to go through that process, even asking for a testimonial will add credibility to your company and product.

Expertise Direct from the Experts
We’ve written in the past about how looking beyond the marketing and sales departments within your organization is one of the best ways to source useful and relevant content for your customers. Tapping into your company’s subject matter experts (SMEs) and picking their brains for story ideas is a great way to source new ideas for valuable content.

This can be taken a step further by optimizing your SMEs’ presence on LinkedIn. Demand Gen notes that 85 percent of respondents report occasionally or frequently reading and sharing content on LinkedIn—up more than 10 percent from the firm’s 2015 report.

In fact, LinkedIn ranks second only to email in Demand Gen’s top channels for sharing business-related content. Encouraging and helping your SMEs to keep their profiles active and up-to-date is a reliable way to stay engaged with your customers in a direct and effective way.

What are some effective ways you’ve found to reach potential buyers? Let me know at Carrie.Scheetz@Quanex.com.