If you own a business-to-business services company, getting in front of the decision maker can be a tough proposition. IT services, payroll, commercial insurance, distributors and many other businesses need to sell to the top executives in a company to make the sale. However, their time is valuable, and they generally can see right through sales pitches. It is important to use the right approach to make your business stand out.
LinkedIn Survey of Business Executives
Frog Dog did a study in 2015 about the social media habits of top-level executives. They surveyed top level executives specifically about their use of LinkedIn. LinkedIn, which has 115 million US users, estimates that about 3.5 million of its users are C-level executives.
The Frog Dog study found that 79.9% of executives were active users, who logged in multiple times per month. Of that, 22% logged in every day. The most widespread use was to connect with colleagues. But the research also found that executives at smaller companies often used LinkedIn to recruit for their company, while executives at larger companies used the social platform to read industry articles.
Content is King
Engaging content is the best way to get the attention of an executive. If your company is providing something of value that helps their business, it lends credibility to your organization. If you are providing valuable information to an executive, they are much more likely to take your call, or better yet reach out to you.
Like any content marketing strategy, it is important to develop a customer profile. In this case, your customer is a high-level business executive. What are their needs? What type of content will appeal to them?
One way to do this is to research your target businesses individually. What types of articles are they sharing or commenting on? What interests and business skills do they have listed on their profile? This information can inform what type of content will be appealing to them.
Appealing content for executives often falls into these categories:
Current trends in their market
Valuable industry research
Data and statistics that benefits their business
What problem are you solving for their company? Will your service save their company time or money? Will you increase efficiency? Will you help them grow their business? If your content can speak to these core business needs, you are likely to get the executives’ attention.
C-Level executives don’t have a lot of time. Do not expect them to read a 2,000-word article, unless it is vitally important to their business. Therefore, it is important to catch their attention early, and make the article easy to skim.
Numbered lists are appealing articles
Bullet points and a lot of white space
Highlight or bold the important information
Another way to reach executives is with video ads. Create 15 or 30 second video clips that go through the important parts of your content. Link that video with an associated blog article to provide further reading if they are interested in what you have to say.
Nurturing the lead
After you are connected, you want to nurture your lead. This can be done through email marketing. But if you are including C-level executives on your email it is important to remember a few things:
Segment the C-level executives to a special distribution list
Send a custom e-mail newsletter just for that audience
Pay attention to your subject line: Give them a reason to open your email
Pick out the best content for these newsletters, and keep them shorter than a general newsletter. You can be providing great content, but it may never be getting opened if your subject lines are not engaging your audience. Give them a preview of what they can expect to read, as opposed to using a teasing subject line.
An example would be: “5 Trends Affecting Business IT Budgets in 2017”
Instead of: “Is your business prepared?”
Both subject lines could be used for the same article about IT Business Trends. However, the second example is "clickbait" and doesn’t give enough information. An executive wants to have an idea of what they are clicking on, or else they will just delete the email.
Putting it all together
Targeting C-level executives can be intimidating. But they are usually pragmatic business-people who will happily give your business a chance if they think it can help their company. By providing content that shows your company’s expertise and high level of service, you can open the door for yourself.
It is important to keep the target profile of an executive in mind when creating content. Understand they are busy, but will give attention to information that will benefit their business. Regularly posting quality, engaging content will keep you in front of the real decision makers, so when they are ready to make a change, your business will be their first call.