In this article, you will learn how to create a simple, but highly effective content marketing strategy that will attract IoT buyers to your website.
All you need to do is to answer five different types of questions related to your product or service in the form of articles or videos on your website.
What is content marketing and how does it lead to more leads and customers?
For every content marketing success story out there, there are hundreds of companies that invest much time and resources in creating content without getting more traffic, generating more qualified leads, and increased revenue.
Content marketing is a term that is often misunderstood, and a large proportion of companies mass-produce large amounts of content without substance because everyone else is doing it.
Both managers and marketers struggle to understand and implement content marketing, and in this article I will explain exactly how content leads to increased sales.
First, you need to understand how most people buy today, and why content is such an important part of your sales and marketing strategy.
The modern buying behaviour and the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)
There is no question that the internet have a huge impact on your decisions, and the first thing you will probably do when you buy something of higher value is to Google you for information about the solution.
Where the first moment of truth is the purchase itself, and the second moment of truth is when the buyer experiences the product or service, Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) describes the steps from a "stimulus" to the actual purchase being made:
ZMOT applies to every market, whether you are buying a jet engine, a (smart) refrigerator, an IoT product, or a credit card. This applies to both B2C and B2B.
In the “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth - B2B”, the internet is described as the new trade fair, where your website and digital channels replace stands, receptionists, brochures, and salespeople.
In other words, ZMOT is about reaching the right buyers with the information they are looking for, at the right time, in the digital channels they are most active in.
Suppose you are buying a car, but you are unsure which brand, the price you should give, where to buy the car, and whether to have a used car or a new car.
Therefore you start searching in Google:
- cheap family car
- family car with plenty of space
- family car with sliding door
- family car with large luggage room
- family car with space for three child seats
- car for family of five
- cheap family car under 400 000
- new or used car
- used family car
- used car age or km
- used car diesel or gasoline
- used car electric car
- used car mileage or year model
If you had been a car dealer, you probably would have noticed that none of these searches contain the name of a particular brand.
This behaviour also applies to IoT companies.
Potential customers are looking for online questions and answers. In order to be competitive, you need to understand the questions buyers ask so that you can answer them in the best possible way on your website.
In other words, you have to be the most helpful resource in your industry and help buyers make the right choice through your content, even if it means They do not go for your solution.
Doing this will make the sales process easier, they will know you, and have already received answers to their questions and objections before they actually contact you.
However, if you do not produce this content, you may not be able to contact these buyers in the first place.
How does content marketing really lead to more leads for increased sales?
The simplest explanation I have of how content marketing leads to increased sales is the following:
- Your company becomes more visible in search engines . By producing relevant content and providing the best answers, you have more opportunities to appear in the search engines.
- You get more visitors. Since you have multiple articles that are visible in organic search or that can be shared on social media, more visitors to the site will want to read or view your content.
- You get more leads. Once someone has landed on your website, you can exchange some of your content with visitor contact information. This could be offering a newsletter subscription, ebooks, webinars, or even a physical event.
- The sales department receives more qualified leads to follow up. When you have multiple contacts who have converted to your site, you can use automation to further educate those contacts so that potential customers gain the knowledge, confidence and trust they need to buy your solution.
- More customers and increased sales. Now that you have many contacts in your CRM system who know about your company and solutions, this increases conversion from lead to customer.
The question is: "What should I write about?"
This is where the five big questions you need to answer on your website to get more IoT customers.
The Five Big Questions IoT Buyers Are Asking
Writing good content can be demanding, and it can take a lot of time and money to do it in a way that actually provides a return on investment.
The most common question is: "What should we write about?"
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that complicated.
You and your colleagues are getting questions from prospective buyers on a regular basis that can be converted into an article or video that helps you create indexable content that can be found in search engines.
"The big 5" is a super simple, but effective concept from the book "They Ask, You Answer" from author and speaker Marcus Sheridan.
Sheridan previously ran a company that sold swimming pools to private individuals in the United States. When the financial crisis came in 2008, the company was approaching bankruptcy.
To increase sales, Sheridan concluded that he could market his products by answering all questions from buyers via articles on his own website. He spent every evening writing up good answers to the questions he got from potential customers.
Sheridan later identified that there were five categories of questions he received on a regular basis that contributed to increased sales.
These five types of questions can be used as a useful framework for identifying what your company should write about.
The five categories are:
- Best Practices
Everyone wants to know what things cost. The challenge in B2B is that solutions are often tailor-made, and there are different prices for different customers, industries, number of users and more.
You don't necessarily have to give an exact price for what things cost, but you can still discuss what factors affect the price for the buyer.
Here are some cost-examples from IoT companies:
- Internet of Things: How Much Does it Cost to Build IoT Solution in 2020?
- How much does it cost to turn the average house into a smart home?
Some will argue that they do not want to reveal their prices to their competitors. The likelihood is that they already know. If you have been in competition with another company you will often hear what the prices are anyway.
Another counter argument is that answering this question scares away some buyers. My answer is that you frighten more by not answering this question and you risk attracting the wrong type of customers who may not have the willingness to pay for your product.
What are the common problems your target market has, and what are the solutions you can offer them?
Buyers are looking for good answers to their questions, and they want to reach a conclusion that will solve their problem as quickly as possible.
In some cases, the buyer will not know that they have a problem, and here you can help them identify what the problem is and come up with good suggestions for solutions.
You can also talk about your own problems by discussing the various advantages and disadvantages of the solutions you offer.
Examples of this could be discussing topics such as:
- Five Most Common Problems IoT Devices Will Encounter in 2020
- IoT Security: Real Problems and Solutions
Why is your solution not the best solution, and when is it appropriate to use an alternative solution or competitor?
This builds a lot of trust as this positions you and your company as a trusted advisor who gives the buyer the best advice, even if it results in your solution not being chosen.
What are the available options for buyer? What factors should they consider before choosing? Under what conditions is a solution best?
One thing is to attract buyers by producing lots of content for the awareness phase, but how can you influence those who have progressed further in their buying process? These are buyers who are aware that you exist, but they are comparing your product you up against a variety of other options.
The purpose of this type of content is to both define which alternatives exist in the market and to position the solution as one of the best alternatives.
With content that compares different solutions, you have to answer all the questions the buyer wants to know, and you have to be 100% honest with your answers. If not, the consequence may be that prospective buyer will become even more critical of your message in the future.
You are likely to scare away some potential buyers, but you will also be much more likely to get the buyers that are best for your company as a customer.
Here are some examples of comparison articles:
4. Best practices
When you and I are going to buy a solution, we naturally want to find the solutions that are considered the best on the market. You want to know the positives and negatives about the product or service you are researching.
This is reflected in the way many people search to find the solution that works best for us. Just look at some of these examples that came up through Google Suggest:
- Best Small Business Accounting Program
- Best Equity Fund
- Best Camera for YouTube
- Best Mortgage Rate
- Best Business to Work in
- Best Family Car 2019
- Best Tablet
Here are some examples of topics you can write content around:
1 ) Competitors
Let's say you are running a company offering smart home solutions. Would it not it be better to write a blog article listing all the companies in your market so that searchers land on your site when they search for "smart home company"?
Some examples of such searches can be:
- smart home companies near me
- home automation companies
- best smart home devices 2020
2) Best tools and technologies
If you sell products, there are always alternative solutions to the product you offer.
Some examples of such searches can be:
- best IoT consumer products
- best smart home system
- best healthcare IoT companies
- best smart city companies
3) Best of
Are there certain aspects about your product that you can learn and who will help the buyer get the results they want?
Some examples of such searches can be:
- best practice IoT security
- best industrial IoT platforms
- best IoT platform
We all want to take the right the choice when investing in a product or service, and one of the factors that weigh most is what others have said and experienced in their purchase.
We read reviews of a product in the online store, feedback on Facebook or Google, review various quotes on a supplier's website to make ourselves confident that we are making the right decision.
Obviously, if a reader finds a number of complaints about your company online, it will reduce the likelihood of them buying from you.
In practice, this means that you have to write content that either mentions the products you sell in an objective way, or you collect genuine quotes from satisfied customers and display them on your site.
Here are some examples of review articles:
- Best smart home systems for a connected domicile
- SmartThings V3 Review | Can You Use This Smart Home Hub For Home Security?
Conclusion and next steps
"The Big 5" is a simple framework to get started with content marketing and start producing relevant content for your IoT company.
By starting to answer these five big questions, I can guarantee that you will attract more visitors, generate more leads, and gain more customers.
I also highly recommend purchasing the book to get a deeper understanding of the Big 5 concept, and use it as a starting guide for implementing it in your own IoT company.
Nettly are experts in customer acquisition for industry 4.0 companies. We work with IoT companies that are shaping the future to improve client acquisition, grow their pipeline, acquire more customers, and navigate long sales cycles.