If it seems like B2B marketing trends change at lightning speed, it’s because that’s how it is. Companies that are looking to get ahead in their marketing game need to constantly have the finger on the pulse of new technologies, methodologies and strategies.
But what if you are just getting into digital marketing? Despite what modern shiny-looking resources on marketing will have you thinking, many B2B businesses are still using the traditional model and thriving.
If the recent pandemic situation taught us anything, it’s that change and adaptability is the Number 1 skill to survive. Digital has exploded in the last year, with many traditional businesses looking for a way to focus their marketing online.
If you are one of those businesses — good on you for thinking forward! And if you are looking for B2B digital marketing essentials to get you started, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the 5 aspects of digital selling you NEED to focus your attention on.
Digital VS Traditional
2. Website optimisation and SEO
3. Content marketing
4. Digital ads and retargeting
5. Social media presence
Traditional marketing is a form that each of us has been exposed to one way or another. In the case of B2C marketing, it’s things like print ads (billboards, magazines), broadcast (radio, TV) or direct (telemarketing, phone calls, mail). With B2B it’s slightly more complicated and much less focused on the individual consumer (duh). B2B traditional marketing includes:
While all of these are perfectly valid ways to market your product and increase revenue (we shouldn’t tell you, you’ve probably been doing it!), it would be a mistake to dismiss all the wonders of digital marketing.
While it requires a slightly more unified approach and a bit more effort, the big payoff is improved customer relationship and retention, increased brand awareness and higher ROI.
It might seem a little complicated at first, with the abundance of marketing trends, but it all simply comes down to testing, measuring and learning.
None of the following 5 strategies should be your main and only focus. Together they will contribute to the increase of your leads, lead quality, and overall revenue better than standalone.
Email Marketing is a tried and tested method of spreading brand awareness, starting business relationships and acquiring leads. According to HubSpot, over 80% of marketers employ email marketing for various purposes. If you are not one of them, well, you should be.
It doesn’t have to only mean cold emails either. 83% of B2B companies use email newsletters to keep in touch with their customers and improve retention rates and more than half say it’s critical to their companies’ success.
While you could argue that email marketing is often overused (just see how many cold emails you are getting in a day!), it’s still one of the best ways to stand out and grab your prospect’s attention right away.
Here are a few good rules of thumb when writing an exciting effective email:
A good customer relationship management software or CRM goes hand in hand with email marketing. It provides a wide pool of opportunities that can help in fostering new leads and conversions.
Companies which rely on an active, organised CRM system can easily access information and also track potential clients.
Learn how to find and track potential leads here.
Your website is your business card and a powerful tool that can come in use at any stage of your buyers’ journey. Nowadays people, especially in the B2B sector, will look for every shred of information to make an informed decision.
You should never compromise on having a good website. It needs to provide unique selling points, details about the services provided, reviews and former testimonials whenever possible.
However, beware heavily designed and overwhelming websites. All your graphics, pictures and transitions won’t matter if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and the prospect is as good as gone.
The best rule is to have a comprehensive, simple and professional looking website with a clear call-to-action on every page.
If you don’t have the resources and time to invest in a good website, a landing page can be a good alternative.
Landing pages are comprehensive single web pages that usually highlight the best values of a given service and have a clear CTA. They are mostly used to generate leads and opportunities, but the call-to-action can be almost anything — from downloading an e-book, to booking a meeting with a sales agent.
This leads us to the next point — your audience must be able to find your website and/or landing page, and this is where Search Engine Optimisation or SEO comes into play.
Being more SEO friendly means more relevant people will be able to discover your business and engage with its content. Apart from relevant keywords in strategic parts of the website (like the blog and website text), it also involves on-page SEO and technical SEO tactics. These include everything from image alt-text and meta descriptions (what your visitors can see) to structured data and site speed (what your visitors can’t see). Off-page SEO is also at play here, which refers to external linking strategies and social sharing — SEO tactics that take place off your website.
If outbound activities like cold emails and calls interrupt the prospect’s journey, content is the one thing that SUPPORTS their growth while demanding nothing in return. The fact that it’s pure value that requires no effort on the part of the audience makes it very attractive to potential customers.
Here are a few things content marketing can do for your funnel:
If you have no digital presence yet, the best way to start is to establish a business blog with relevant information in your niche. Think about what challenges your audience might be going through. What are they thinking, feeling, seeing?
Address their main pain points and offer a genuine solution in the blog articles.
Not only will it help to establish you and your company as experts in the field, it will also increase brand trust and contribute to your SEO. That way, potential clients searching to solve an issue will come across your helpful tips and hopefully stay for more!
Blog content is just a start and also one of the most effective ways to engage prospects at the awareness stage. Each content type works well for a different part of the sales funnel, as illustrated with the table below.
If you are worried about creating different types of content, the good news is, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time!
A very effective content strategy is “Big rock — small rock.” Take your larger pieces apart and transform them into other, easily digestible works.
For example, that long and expensive report that took you all week? Repurpose it into infographics or bullet-point posts on LinkedIn. Have a sizable collection of articles on a similar topic? Combine them into an e-book and hide behind a gate to generate leads.
The possibilities for content are truly endless!
A cherry on top of your digital presence are online PPC (pay-for-click) ads. This will help put your content out in front of many relevant leads all at once.
Depending on your preference, you can use either Google ads or a number of social platform ads, such as LinkedIn.
Click here to learn more about LinkedIn advertising and content options.
Over the recent years, LinkedIn has become one of the most popular platforms for B2B advertising. There are a few key reasons why:
If you think social media marketing is only really effective with B2C companies, think again. In fact, 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when making a purchase.
Sure, social media channels will not bring you a large number of leads, but that is okay. They can play a number of important roles, from engaging with your existing clients to promoting your blog content.
Let’s take a look at a few main ones:
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the king in social media marketing for B2B. Over 700 million users from all kinds of professional spheres use LinkedIn daily to engage with industry news and connect with professionals.
The beauty of LinkedIn is that unlike other social media platforms, people don’t come on here to waste time, but to actually seek value. This makes LinkedIn one of the best platforms for direct engagement. It can be a one-stop for almost all your marketing needs.
Here’s what LinkedIn allows you to do:
The beloved blog platform is a great tool when trying to establish a brand-new blog. If you’ve just started dabbling in long-form content, it can take a while for the SEO algorithm to pick it up. Medium makes it easier for people to find and trust your content, as well as build a small but loyal audience.
Many disregard Twitter as merely a B2C platform — and it’s true that B2C companies usually have the most success. However, its conversational nature makes it a great tool to create a brand image and voice, as well as engage directly with your existing customer base.
And last but definitely not least — a secret bonus ingredient! Before starting on your B2B digital marketing journey, your first step should always be to determine your target audience. None of your digital efforts will be successful if your marketing is for everyone and no one at the same time.
Here are a few simple questions to get you started:
Once you have your Ideal Customer Profile nailed down, all the other pieces of the puzzle (emails, content, ads) will fall right into place.
Read the guide to B2B Market Segmentation
All good strategies begin when companies truly capture the essence of B2B marketing.
And here you have it, the 5 main things you should be focusing your initial efforts on.
Creating a successful B2B digital marketing strategy is no easy feat, but trust us, it is worth it in the long run.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, that’s okay — breathe. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It seems like a lot and can take up a bit of time and resources, but it is possible for small digital marketing teams to implement all the above (and effectively). It’s also essential that you are combining all these marketing strategies together because the power of combination will help take your marketing results to the next level.
Luckily, our team at the UMG has been building a digital presence for B2B companies for a while now, so if you are thinking of getting a helping hand with one, or all of the aspects of this — don’t feel shy to reach out!