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The Blink of an Eye: Content for Short Attention Spans

By Nick Price

The B2B buyer is different. Seventy-four percent of buyers conduct more than half their research online before they ever talk to a sales person. Ninety percent of the time, the contemporary B2B buyer will not respond to a cold outreach. With these two stats in mind, it is increasingly important to nurture prospects before reaching out to them directly.
The most successful way to do this is with strong brand and demand efforts. A powerful digital presence that couples poignant and clear messaging with smart targeting will allow your organization to influence prospects without inundating them with cold calls or emails.
Content Marketing and the Human Attention Span
If three-quarters of your buyers are doing their own diligent research before wanting to speak to sales, you need to have strong and helpful content targeted to those prospects when they are exhibiting the most propensity to buy. But as we’ve seen, buyers have different needs and tendencies. People consume information in many different ways. As such, content must be adaptive. Your content must be published in several distinct formats. If you couple this with the fact that research conducted in 2015 showed that the average human attention span has diminished to an average of just 8.25 seconds, so marketers must act fast.
B2B marketing content needs to be diverse. Whitepapers and eBooks are great, but aren’t always effective. Consider that Sixty-five percent of the world’s population are visual learners, which means that long-form written content may fall flat for a significant portion of your audience, especially at the top of the funnel.
Infographics: All You Need to Know in One Big Gulp
Infographics are one of the most powerful ways to show your audience a solution to their problems. They are useful for compressing a great deal of information into a small and easily understandable space. Done right, the visuals and the text work hand-in-hand. If you’re not creating infographics but have written whitepapers, look closely at your text. An infographic can likely be culled from your existing content and posted with the more in-depth information in the paper. A prospect that downloads both is that much more likely to be a quality lead.
Video: Sound and Motion
Video is also a powerful tool for B2B marketers. But good video is not necessarily easy. With over 4 billion videos being viewed on YouTube every day and the number of people watching videos rising by 40% year over year since March 2014, it’s a challenge to get your video noticed. It has been proven that the first ten seconds of the video are the most important so you want to catch your prospects early. Create a “hook” by combing visuals and music; use a leading catchphrase. A good video promises to deliver…and then delivers.
Video has several unique advantages over longer-form content. It can easily and quickly show prospects how your business can add value. More importantly, a video with a strong message can help establish trust and credibility in your company by providing helpful information in an easily consumable –and often entertaining—format.
Getting to Yes
Why is it important to communicate with even the most distractible of prospects? Research has shown that seventy-four percent of buyers choose the sales rep who was first to add value and insight. This is why it’s essential to reach a potential buyer while they’re actively researching a product.
Video is one of the most powerful ways to get your message to prospects who may not have the time to read about your product. What’s more, video has proven to get more clicks in display ads, emails, tweets, LinkedIn and Facebook posts.
Finally, it was revealed recently that seventy-three percent of B2B marketers believe video has helped increase their return on investment for their marketing efforts.
As for infographics, according to the CMO Council, 65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets such as infographics are core to how their brand story is communicated. Backing this up, recent research shows that infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. Clearly, visual information that is concisely presented resonates with a B2B audience.
With the business world getting increasingly younger and the B2B buyer becoming increasingly demanding, video, infographics and other forms of visual content should be part of your marketing mix.
Image via Lachlan Donald

Nick Price

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