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B2B Content Marketing best practices for Vietnam

Content marketing has become a hot topic in B2B circles. But what makes B2B content marketing effective and what are the best practices in Vietnam?

One size never fits all in marketing. And this is especially true for B2B.

You’ll need a bespoke marketing strategy for attracting, acquiring and engaging new clients here in Vietnam.

To pull that off, here’s what you’ll need to do:

Understand your audience and their intent

While B2B customers are human too (!) and should be communicated to as such, they’re also cautious, prudent, rational, and make logical buying decisions motivated by facts, figures and the promise of real ROI.

According to 2019 B2B Buyers Survey report:

  • 74% of respondents said they conduct a detailed ROI analysis before making a final decision.
  • 65% were more likely to opt for brands that demonstrated a stronger knowledge of the solution area and business landscape

This doesn’t mean that you should forget about your brand — be sure to be creative and play into people’s emotions too.

It does mean is that you’ll need to adjust your content and messaging to cater to B2B buyers’ specific attitudes and preferences:

  • Demonstrate your industry-specific expertise with educational articles and industry insights
  • Showcase the functional and financial benefits of your services and products
  • Lean into case studies, press releases and testimonials to lend credibility to your claims

These are, of course, the absolute basics.

To really fine-tune your marketing communications, you’ll need to thoroughly research your target audiences and industry norms.

For best results, you should be producing detailed buyer personas. These are characters based on real research, which embody the characteristics of your various customers.

Work with your sales and service teams to personify these characters with as much nuance as possible. Don’t just settle for their age or job title.

You should be able to determine what they’re wearing, reading, buying, and feeling. The more detail, the better.

The goal here is to be able to pinpoint the precise emotional and rational pain points that compel your target audiences to make or decline a purchase.

Interview as many of your customers or prospects as possible — at least 7 to start with. Below is a free tool from We Create Content to get you started.

These base questions will help you learn about their mindset, job roles, challenges, search habits and buying processes.

An example buyer persona made in HubSpot’s free tool — Make My Persona

To keep your messaging on track, speak directly to these pain points wherever and whenever possible.

Detailed buyer personas will also help you immensely with it comes time to distribute your content across various digital channels.

The more precise and granular your buyer personas, the more effective your targeted ads and paid marketing will be.

Clearly, it’s worth getting your buyer personas pinned down early on.

You should also map out typical buyer journeys for each of your personas.

Consider that the intent and chief concerns of someone stumbling onto your page from a Google search will differ wildly from someone gearing up to make a final purchase.

If you want to produce genuinely compelling, high converting content, you’ll need to be able to speak to these various concerns.

That’s where having well-documented buyer journeys will come into play.

They’ll enable you to produce niche content specifically tailored for readers situated at various stages along with your sales funnels.

Nail your buyer personas and map your buyer journeys and you’ll be well equipped to produce the right messaging for the right audiences and precisely the right time.

Elements of a B2B content marketing strategy

Building a brand image

From the get-go, it’s crucial that you establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry.

Communicate your values (as well as your value proposition) in case studies, blog posts, ebooks and other types of in-depth content.

Keep in mind that customers want to know that you’re trustworthy as well. That means providing statistics, concrete numbers and proof of tangible results.

This stage isn’t about closing a sale, but rather providing your customers with free tools and actionable insights. It’s about building relationships.

Associating with experts

In Vietnam, influencer marketing is immensely popular. When done right, it can be a highly effective tool.

Similarly, B2B SMEs or enterprises can collaborate with industry experts to improve brand awareness and gain credibility in their respective industries.

From a content perspective, you can try experimenting with creative or interactive formats like webinars, roundtables, podcasts and online courses.

These are all great ideas for generating organic buzz, as your participants and partners are likely to share your work with their respective networks, essentially becoming independent evangelists for your brand.

Choose your channels wisely

We’re big believers in making the most out of your owned media channels.

These refer to platforms that you have complete control over:

  • Websites — Your website will always serve as your main content hub, so make sure it’s presentable, informative and user friendly. Remember to clearly state your service offerings and always feature prominent CTAs.
  • Email — Email marketing is an irreplaceable part of any B2B content strategy. 93% of B2B marketers use email. Mailchimp estimates that B2B email open rates can be as high as 90% compared with 14%-25% in B2C marketing. See how this compares with email performance in Vietnam.
  • Social Media Pages — Social channels can be used to measure and improve your brand awareness, as well as to generate leads for remarketing campaigns. Never underestimate the effectiveness of a good social media post.

If you’re not getting the kind of engagement you hoped for on your owned channels you can always carry out a competitive analysis.

Investigate the search terms that your pages are ranking for and figure out where your competitors might have an edge.

Additionally, you can always gain a quick boost in engagement by deploying paid ads or other outbound mechanisms.

Remember to drive your target audiences back to your owned channels where possible, not just to promote your product or services outright.

Optimize your content with the topic cluster model

When you’ve invested considerable time and resources into your content, you’ll want to be sure that it’s actually doing the work.

That means driving up web traffic and generating leads.

To do that, your content needs to be getting read.

Ultimately there are two ways to make this to happen: paid channels or ads and SEO.

Ads are great for getting your content “out there” and into view, but they’re far from economical.

To maximize more bang for your buck, you should always strive to produce content that’s highly visible on search.

The competition for first-page ranking can be pretty intense, especially if you’re trying to win popular short-tail keywords. Keep in mind that long-tail keywords, while less popular, will usually demonstrate higher intent. So be strategic about which keywords you aim to win and always conduct serious keyword research before you put digital pen to paper.

Of course, there’s more to SEO than just keywords.

Enter the topic cluster model.

Over the years search engine algorithms have evolved drastically to improve user experiences.

Rather than focus entirely on keywords, most search engines now associate various themes and topics to serve results based on presumed intent.

Results bearing greater relevance to both the topic and intent of a given query are given priority and served closer to the top of the search results page.

Most search engines will also factor in a website’s trustworthiness and domain authority when determining search ranking.

The more popular the site the more trustworthy it is deemed. Likewise, the more backlinks referencing a site, the more domain authority it is awarded.

To improve your search ranking, it’s no longer enough to simply game keywords.

We recommend adopting something called the topic cluster model. This is a simple formula for structuring your content in an SEO friendly way.

Coined by Hubspot in 2016, this model involves writing an expansive “pillar page” article on a single essential theme or subject.

You then produce a series of shorter, more focused blogs called “topic clusters” that cover related sub-topics in greater depth. All of these articles and blogs are linked together to produce a dense web of semantically-related content.

Most modern search engines will detect the thematic relationships between these pillar pages and topic clusters, awarding the host site with an improved search ranking as a result.

Produce topic cluster models around the right strategic keywords and you’re all but guaranteed to see quicker results than producing blog content haphazardly.

Figure 1. Image Source: Hubspot

Here in Vietnam, B2B enterprises are already catching on to the benefits of targeting longer-tail keywords with topic cluster models. Luckily, there’s still plenty of room for growth.

Here’s an example

Netsale.asia is one of the leading dropshipping services in Vietnam. When you enter ‘Dropshipping Vietnam’ into the search bar, their article titled ‘Is the dropshipping model in Vietnam possible?’ ranks first:

The article itself covers a broad topic, but links to smaller articles with smaller topics such as ‘Benefits of a drop shipping sales model’ or ‘4 principles to identify reputable suppliers for long-term online sales’.

While this is not strictly speaking a topic cluster model, it applies precisely the same principle to great effect.

Conclusion

In some respects, content marketing for B2B is a demanding body of work.

It requires you to position your brand as an industry thought leader, to produce genuinely informative, educational content, and to prove your credentials to sceptical prospects as they move through the sales funnel.

The upshot is that if you approach your content marketing efforts with creativity and a bit of strategic rigour, you’re all but guaranteed to produce some excellent, well-differentiated content.

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. If you’re struggling with brand positioning or having a hard time building out buyer personas, mapping buyer journeys, or simply producing quality content, get in touch with We Create Content today.

We’re more than happy to share our advice and insights on B2B content marketing in Vietnam and are always happy to chat.

Originally published at https://wecreatecontent.asia on January 13, 2021.

A content marketing agency for business growth. Based in Vietnam with clients all over the world.