What content motivates SMBs to buy?

How do small and midsized businesses (SMBs) learn about products and services for their business? Specifically, what content formats work best to generate awareness? What types of content do they use to conduct research on your offerings? Which formats are most effective to close a sale? What makes content effective?

To find out, we recently surveyed more than 500 U.S. SMB principals. Please join us for a 30-minute Fastcast at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday, May 24, where you’ll get firsthand SMB insight on these topics:

Who are SMBs most likely to learn about your offerings from?

You. When first learning about new products and services, SMBs are most likely to learn directly from vendors like you, via your full range of sales and marketing outreach. Peers and colleagues are a close second, followed by business news media, review sites and blogs.

However, information sources vary in importance with company size. For example, peers are less important among SMBs with 20 to 99 employees; instead, they are most likely to learn about new business offerings from vendors; business news media; and external advisors like accountants, attorneys and technology consultants. Among the largest SMBs – those with 100 to 500 employees – analyst reports just edge out vendors, followed by business news media.

What content works best at each stage of the sales cycle?

In aggregate, SMBs are most likely to learn via content about your offerings from the resources section of your site – for example via your blog, or articles, infographics, interactive tools, podcasts, reports and other elements. Online reviews are next, followed by email newsletters and video on your website.

SMBs are most likely to use online reviews to conduct product research, followed by video, your resource center and e-books or guides. They are also most likely to use the same formats to make a final purchase decision.

How prospects want you to keep in touch…

When SMBs are researching a product or service, but are not yet ready to buy, the plurality (32%) prefer to have an in-person meeting with a salesperson as a way to stay in the loop. 29% prefer to receive an email newsletter. Direct mail and “occasional emails from a salesperson” are tied for third, at 23%.

…and how your customers want to hear from you

The plurality of SMBs (28%) prefer occasional emails from a sales representative as a way to stay in touch with their vendors, followed closely by an email newsletter (27%) and “occasional in-person meetings” (25%).

As SMBs get larger, they prefer higher-touch outreach. SMBs with 20 to 99 employees prefer occasional calls (57%), emails (56%) and in-person meetings (55%). The largest SMBs, with 100 to 500 employees, prefer hearing from you via text messages (53%), in-person meetings (52%) and YouTube (50%).

Learn more about SMB content preferences

That’s just the beginning. In our May 24 webcast, you’ll get insight on:

  • SMB format and channel preferences at the awareness, research and purchase stages of the sales cycle.
  • What SMBs want in your content.
  • The role of peers and third parties in SMB buying.
  • How effective SMBs find their current vendors’ content.
  • Differences in SMB content preferences by company size, respondent age, business outlook and more.

Register today for our 1 p.m. EST May 24 Fastcast to get valuable insights you can use right away to improve SMB engagement and conversion via content marketing.

Want regular SMB insights?

Subscribe to the Bredin Report for monthly research and advice.

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.