Content Marketing as One of the More Powerful Tools for Software Vendors
Software buying has changed over the past decade, and the purchasing journey has fundamentally changed as prospects engage with sales reps much later in the cycle, or are looking outside of the traditional process for guidance when making a decision. Most of the IT buyers now use social media for news and information on tech developments each month, creating an opportunity for vendors to provide relevant content to potential customers.
Content Marketing for IT
In a highly technical and complex market like enterprise software, sales messages that span across several departments and topics are harder to convey in short posts on Twitter compared with long-form publishing in a blog post or LinkedIn article.
At the same time content should be relevant and useful. Sales-focused messages are perceived as pushy and don’t work. In fact LinkedIn’s survey found that 60% of buyers are most interested in non-branded, non-sales focused content about industry developments and trends.
Using Content to Differentiate
Content marketing is well suited to the B2B technology businesses that are looking for new ways to connect with their target audience, and a great tool to differentiate their company from competitors. In the enterprise software industry different products might seem very similar in what they try to achieve but provide different functionality to users. That is why it’s important as a software vendor to provide in-depth explanations or comparisons for your product or service.
Brochures and short promotional material don’t provide much context. Content marketing, on the other hand, allows you to put your solution into any story and the proper message across.
Content as a Validation Tool
Content marketing needs to be seen as a validation tool. When your sales team calls out to clients, the customer is able to look you up and see instantly that your company has the required expertise to provide the product they need. Or, it might act as an introduction to your company, easing the path for a future sales call.
Finally, it is also useful further down the sales cycle when the client is weighing up his options. A customer will always choose the software vendor that has proven experience in their industry.
If you were a health organization purchasing a new document management system, you would look for someone who knows the ins and outs of the health industry. The more successful vendor is the one that has lots of case studies and information online about their work in that industry, in addition to their perspectives on the future strategic direction of the health industry and how that impacted document management processes.
Specialization in the software industry is not rare as once a product takes hold in a particular sector, other customers within the same sector might follow. This is mainly due to established credibility and content marketing is what enables this phenomenon.