Businessman in front of his computer looking shocked

Many B2B marketers go year after year with their marketing on autopilot. They run ads in the same magazines, promote themselves on the same social channels and push out the same sales messaging.

If it’s working, that’s great.

However, the tides are turning. B2B buyers don’t want to be sold to and are getting better at tuning out ads. This means that what worked in the past may not work now.

Here are five mistakes that will harm your B2B content marketing results in 2015:

1. Bad writing

In 2015, good writing will be more important than ever to differentiate yourself and engage your audience. This doesn’t just apply to your blog, but across all of your channels.

During the keynote session at meshmarketing Toronto, Ann Handley stated that, “writing is the lifeblood of our content marketing”. If you cover the logo on your website, would you sound different, or would you sound just like your competitors? She recommended writing useful, empathetic and inspired content to engage readers. And of course, be concise.

2. Not being human

As B2B marketers, we sometimes forget that we’re marketing to people – not “leads” or “users”. Spiceworks refers to this robotic content as “marketing to the Borg”.

To be successful in 2015, you need to bring some life into your marketing. This means having conversations with your customers to find out who they are, what they like and what challenges they face. It also means speaking to them in their language, not marketing jargon.

3. Focusing all your social media efforts on LinkedIn and Twitter

LinkedIn is still the #1 B2B social network and can help you connect with high-quality leads. However, savvy B2B marketers are branching out to other networks to gain an edge over the competition. According to the research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, the most successful B2B content marketers use seven social channels, while the least successful marketers use just four social channels.

Here’s a chart of the most effective B2B social media platforms:

Graph comparing effectiveness of social media platform

Instagram and Pinterest are on this list, because images are becoming more powerful – even in the B2B space. A single image can tell a powerful story. In addition, Google is now ranking images, which can drive lots of traffic to your content.

What social networks will your audience use in 2015? What opportunities do you have to innovate and engage your audience on new channels? 

4. Driving without a roadmap

Although most B2B marketers are creating content, only 38% think it’s effective. If you’re not getting results, it might be because you don’t have a content strategy. Publishing without a strategy is like driving without a map. You’re likely to take wrong turns and waste time along the way.

The Content Marketing Institute and MarktingProfs reported that B2B marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy “are more effective in all aspects of content marketing” than those who don’t have a documented strategy.

For tips on improving your content’s results, read “10 Steps to an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy”.

5. Not telling stories

The more social the web becomes, the less willing people are to click ads or pay attention to traditional marketing. In fact, you are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training or summit Mt. Everest than click a banner ad.

Stories are becoming more important to engage today’s B2B buyers.

Yesware published an interesting article about storytelling for sales. According to the article, “A series of experiments performed by neuroeconomics pioneer Paul Zak found that stories that are highly engaging and contain key elements — including a climax and denouement – can elicit powerful empathic responses by triggering the release of oxytocin. Often referred to as the “trust hormone,” this neurochemical promotes connection and encourages people to feel empathy. When released in the brain of your prospect it can help to build trust in your brand or product, and in doing so increase sales.”  

Where can you illustrate some of your key points with stories? How can you tell stories with words, videos and images to connect with your target audience?

Now is the time to look at your upcoming marketing. Are you doing anything that no longer works? Do you have opportunities to try something new? How can you innovate, so you can better engage your audience and drive sales in 2015? 

3 Ways to Apply This Information to Your Marketing

  1. Read “10 Steps to an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy“. Marketers who document their content marketing strategy achieve better results.
  1. Download Content Marketing Quick Fixes to learn 10 things you can do improve your B2B content to make more of an impact in 2015.
  1. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.