How to Build Your Business Beyond Your Network

Most people I speak to, say their businesses are built on referral.
This comes as no surprise.
Building a pipeline of cold prospects is hard. It takes time, money and effort.
Referred business on the other hand, requires just one thing. A good network of contacts who believe in you and what you do.
What’s more referrals tend to convert quicker and more often than any other lead.
The problem is referrals can only grow your business so far. At some point you have to start proactively marketing yourself outside your network.
Content continues to be the cornerstone of B2B marketing, however, recent research suggests as much as 95% of all branded content gets little to no attention.
When you consider the sheer scale of daily content creation, that’s an awful lot of wasted time and money.
And chances are good, it’s your time and money that’s being wasted.

Buyers have Become Expert Content Blockers

It’s no secret that today’s B2B technology businesses operate in some of the most fiercely competitive and challenging conditions in the history of commerce.
Not just because of the noise you’ve got to compete with. But because buyers have become adept at shutting the noise out. Having developed a form of selective attention, they can instinctively identify content worthy of their time and tune the rest out.
This is proven. Banner Blindness has seen click through rates on online display ad marketing continuously decrease from 44% on the first banner ad to .05% .
As we’ve seen, content, the cornerstone of B2B marketing, isn’t fairing much better.
It’s not that B2B businesses can’t create compelling content. Most have everything they need to do so. The problem is the continued focus on campaigns that promote their products and services.
This ultimately results in salesy, me too copy and content that does little to:

  • Distinguish you from your competition.
  • Emphasise why you are your market’s perfect partner.

Worse, with little to differentiate one supplier from the next, larger, more recognisable brands are winning the lion share of business by default.
Not because they are better, but because they feel like the safest option.
The problem is, when you focus on WHAT you do, you fail to answer the most important questions every buyer subconsciously asks when gauging the suitability of a supplier.

  1. Is what you’re saying of personal interest to me?
  2. Can I trust you to do what needs to be done?
  3. Are you the kind of people I can work with?

Supplier Choice has Got to Feel Right

Neuroscience confirms, how a buyer feels about you is critical.
While the features and benefits of your service may appeal to the grey matter, B2B supplier selection is the domain of the heart and gut.
Buyers are drawn to those people and businesses they feel understand them, have their best interests at heart and who are driven by similar principles and values.
To be successful in this emotional environment B2B businesses must stop selling and start producing content that:

  1. Demonstrates empathy for your audience’s current situation and the obstacles that frustrate their forward momentum
  2. Tells authentic stories that connect on a deep emotional level
  3. Clearly communicates the values and principles that drive your business

Product and service quality will always be important. But, how you communicate, the messages you choose and the stories you tell, will be the true measures of your success.

Ideas for Killer Content

If you want to create content that engages and attracts your market, you have to focus on the things they care most about.
The real question isn’t what should I cover in my content? But what information or insights will my market value?
To get into the right mindset, forget about your marketing objectives for a moment and think instead of the content you like to consume.
If I could put a piece of content in front of you right now, what would it be about? What would it help you achieve?
If I was a gambling man, I’d guess your answer would entail insight that would either help with:

  1. Overcoming a particularly sticky problem
  2. Gaining faster progress towards an important goal

Ever wondered why you are so quick to anger when in the car and another driver does something stupid or selfish?
People are hard-wired for forward momentum and anything that gets in the way of our forward progress typically causes, frustration, anger and fear.
Content that either kicks off momentum by getting your audience unstuck or helps to build greater momentum is the sweet spot of all great marketing campaigns.
People gravitate towards those who help them. When your content offers the much needed help most of us need on a daily basis, it not only engages but it also attracts.
What’s more, when delivered in the format of a story that tells of your personal experience, it will answer the 3 critical questions outlined above:

  1. Is what you’re saying of personal interest to me?
  2. Can I trust you to do what needs to be done?
  3. Are you the kind of people I can work with?


When thinking about what you should write about consider these questions:

  1. What one thing could you tell your audience that would serve them best right now?
  2. What short cuts can you give them to their biggest goals?
  3. Can you take them through a step-by-step process that once completed will take them a few steps closer to achieving their goals or overcoming their challenges?
  4. What stories can you tell them that will instil the belief that your approach to their problems works?
  5. What are the biggest mistakes that your target market is making right now?
  6. How can you convince them that what they are doing is wrong and adopt a new process that will serve them much better?
  7. What are the misconceptions that are getting in the way of their success?

Next time…

You’re probably thinking no thanks. First it sounds like a lot of hard work and second, with so much competition, is it really worth it.
The answer is yes and in the next article we’ll give you a formula that will enable you to get your content into Pole Position quickly and easily.

How did we do?

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If you didn’t find it useful we’d like to hear from you too.

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