Over the last few years blogging has become a recognized marketing tool as a component of a social media strategy. While businesses used to scratch their head as to why they should be fiddling with something that was originally created for individuals, B2B marketing professionals should now realize that a blog can and should play a central role in their content marketing efforts as well as provide the foundation for their social media engagement.
B2B blogs are not only showing up within the websites of more companies, they are providing real and measurable success for those that are doing it well. When done right, B2B blogs offer high value for a relatively low investment compared to other types of marketing activities like traditional advertising.
What are the common factors in a successful B2B blog? A look at these three B2B Blog Marketing Case Studies will show that these companies all have the following two characteristics in common:
- Take a Strategic Approach to Blogs – A social media strategy begins with research to understand how and where your target customers use social media and consume information. You can’t just start a blog and expect results. A long-term perspective on social media strategy combined with the proper research created a blueprint which allowed these companies to plan out an effective blogging strategy customized for their audience and brand.
- Become an Industry Resource – Blogging shouldn’t be about you – it’s about them, your target customers! Become the industry magnet by blogging about topics that would interest them. As more decision makers search for information on the Internet, your blog posts can now be discoverable on a much greater and even global scale. Over time you will become their trusted resource for information, which will naturally lead to more business.
There Case Studies of B2B Blogs (click “The Bottom Line” link for the full original stories)
This is the example that I always talk about when I speak on social media. If an old-school 19th century distributor of mesh and fencing can find something to blog about and generate business, so can your niche B2B business!
What is exciting about mesh and fencing? Nothing. But businesses need it for a variety of reasons and look for tips and advice on the subject just like any given person looks for information on topics that are important to them. What better way to give relevant information out to target customers than through a blog which then lands them on your website?
Louis E. Page was able to deliver content that their target user was looking for and slowly built up a loyal following of potential customers who they were able to build a relationship of trust with. They started seeing amazing statistics: A whitepaper on how to use woven-wire fencing to build a horse paddock received more than 1,500 downloads!
The Bottom Line: Louis E. Page saw a 850% increase in sales leads since launching their blog.
How does a supply chain management company engage in social media through their blog? By following the formula laid out above. Kinaxis first did its homework by hiring Forrester Research to better understand the audience that they were trying to reach in creating their social media strategy. While Kinaxis had already been blogging, and didn’t know if they had been wasting their time or not, the research indicated that they should continue blogging as an important part of their social media strategy. They now saw blogging as something that should be real and sensitive to their readers without being self-promotional.
Even though Kinaxis has already seen tangible results from their blogging efforts, they saw value at further increasing their blogging activities by allowing outside bloggers to post next to internal employees. Now, in addition to articles from 18 Kinaxis employees are posts from 5 leading industry experts, further helping to drive site traffic and strengthen the positioning of Kinaxis as leaders in their industry.
The Bottom Line: Kinaxis reported 2.7 times increase in website traffic, 3.2 times increase in conversion, and 5.3 times increase in blog traffic in 2009 when compared to 2008 numbers.
Hinda Incentives manages corporate incentive programs for a number of clients around the world. Having done its homework, Hinda knew the name of the game in social media is “conversation,” so they looked for where decision makers who might use their service were hanging out. What they found surprised them: there really wasn’t much chatter in social media about incentive programs.
Instead of seeing this as a hindrance, Hinda saw an opportunity. The company took some time to build relationships and launched a blog that has all but created the conversations about their industry, with Hinda at the center, from the ground up.
The Bottom Line: Hinda’s blog traffic has increased steadily in a short time to over 1,000 visits a month and a 15% increase in traffic to their web site with subscribers from more than 30 different customers. More importantly, they have already seen several hundred thousand dollars of sales opportunities from their efforts.
Do you see any other common aspects of what makes a successful B2B blog from these case studies? Want to share more examples with us or explain how your B2B business leverages a blog as part of their marketing efforts? Please chime in and share your blog marketing case studies with us!