Ashley Zeckman

Learn Where Influencer Marketing Fits in the B2B Customer Journey

Ashley Zeckman     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

influencer-marketing-b2b-customer-journey

When you lose a potential customer to a competitor it can leave you reeling with questions and wondering what they did to set themselves apart and how they did it. Companies that work hard to be the best answer wherever their customers are looking and build trust and credibility early in the sales cycle are typically those that win new business when it comes time for customers to make a decision.

One way that brands can begin building trust and credibility early on with prospects is to incorporate influencers into content meant to represent different stages of the buying cycle. In fact, recent research has found that 51% of marketers believe that incorporating influencers into their marketing helps them get better customers.

Before we jump into how to incorporate influencers into different types of content, it’s important to take a step back and recognize that the term “influencer” does not just apply to popular brandividuals that many companies are all chasing after to add to their marketing campaigns. True, there are many powerful brandividuals that can help advance your brand message but you also need to consider incorporating niche industry experts, experts from reputable brands, your own customers and even employees into these content campaigns.

Let’s dig in and discuss how to incorporate influencers to attract, engage and convert more B2B customers as well as a few ways to get started.

Incorporate Influencers to Attract Customers

When potential customers are not aware of your brand, incorporating influencers into early stage content meant to attract can be an incredibly effective way to stand out in a sea of content.

The correlation that prospects make between you and the influencers that you include in your content provide instant credibility and begins building necessary trust to move prospects to the next stage.

What type of influencers add value at the attract stage?

  • Brandividuals
  • Industry Experts From Reputable Brands

Incorporate Influencers to Engage Customers

Once a prospect reaches the engage stage of their buying journey, they are aware of your brand and frequently consume content that you create.

They may not be ready to purchase, but they consider you to be a reputable source for information and may often share your content within their organization and with their social networks.

When a prospect is at this stage in their journey, contributions from influencers on specific topics that provide a lot of value is the best way to incorporate influencers.

What type of influencers add value at the engage stage?

  • Niche Experts
  • Industry Experts for Reputable Brands
  • Internal Experts

Incorporate Influencers to Convert Customers

This is the final stage in the customer journey leading up to purchase. At this point, your prospect may be weighing their options between you and your competitors. An endorsement from an influencer at this stage can be incredibly impactful in determining whether you or another brand wins the business.

An example of the influencer content used in this stage often comes in the form of endorsements in working with your company, or testaments of the quality of your products or services.

What type of influencers add value at the convert stage?

  • Current Customers
  • Niche Experts
  • Industry Experts From Reputable Brands

4 Tips for Incorporating Influencers Into Your Content Marketing Strategy

#1 – Start Small

If it is the first time you’re working with one of these influencers and have just begun building the relationship, keep your asks simple and straightforward. Once you’re able to show influencers value from their initial collaboration, they’ll be more likely to work with you on more complex projects in the future.

#2 – Include The Right Mix of Influencers

As we discussed above, there are different types of influencers that you can work with to meet specific objectives. Depending on the stage of your content asset and overall goals for the program, you’ll want to include a good mix of influencer types that will best help you provide value to your prospects.

#3 – Always Strive for Authenticity

While it may be tempting to provide influencers with a laundry list of specifications for their contribution, you’ll be more successful if you allow influencers to add their own personal flavor to the content. Why? One of the reasons that influencer marketing can be so effective is that if done well, your influencers will be motivated to share the content with their community. They have worked hard to build their own followers that are used to receiving information in a particular way that they know and trust.

#4 – Make it Easy for Influencers to Amplify the Message

One of the biggest mistakes that we see many companies new to influencer making is failing to create a frictionless way for influencers to share their contribution. Let’s face it, putting together an influencer content marketing campaign can be a lot of work. It’d be a shame to go to all of that work only to have it not meet campaign goals because you missed an essential step.

Take the time to create social messages for each individual influencer and provide them with additional creative assets that feature their contribution so that they are proud to promote their involvement.

Incorporate Influencers to Skyrocket B2B Content Marketing Success

Each company will need to determine the exact mix of influencer types that will be the most impactful at the different purchasing stages. There is no one-size fits all solution for incorporating influencer marketing but there is a vast amount of opportunity that is being left on the table because many brands aren’t sure where to start.

To help you get the most out of your B2B influencer marketing program, we’ve created the helpful guide below to help you get started.

Learn how influencers can skyrocket your B2B content marketing success

Header image via Shutterstock

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.