In the B2B world, digital marketing is a whole different ball game. The tried and true methods used for consumers marketing usually don’t work in B2B marketing. There’s notoriously less traffic volume, downloads, and inbound leads – well, that is, for most B2B companies.
Here is a break-down of digital tactics, tips, learning and best practices.
The success of digital marketing strategy relies heavily on your ability to identify the right buyer profiles, their needs, and how to ‘speak’ to them. The how, when and why are important. You’ve got to connect with your prospects on the platforms they read, at the right time, and add value through educational content.
The Multi-touchpoint Campaign
Digital marketing is a combination of art and science implemented through multi-channel efforts. Successful campaigns can’t happen without the other. Embrace social media, data science & content marketing.
Get the Website Right and Seen
Creating an SEO powered website is a good start. Optimize your website to match what your prospects (and Google) are searching for. Adopt a simplified and minimal website, cleverly keep a clean look while still providing ample information. This can be achieved through less text and more infographics & videos.
To promote the website, publish weekly thought-leadership blogs. Relying on your team’s domain knowledge and freelance writers, your leadership team can produce enough content for a solid website and blog page. Those blogs can be continuously promoted and repurposed on social channels – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter -based on relevant industry trends and events.
Once you got the foundation in place, it is time to promote it.
Ask anyone the secret to an effective B2B digital strategy. A good 80% of them will tell you the golden nugget is email campaigns for B2B marketing. Identify buyer profiles with purchase probability by applying AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning. Implement accounts-based email campaigns with contextual messaging. Automated mass emailing may be avoided which often leads to spammed messages. Rather, take a segmented approach.
Combine email marketing strategy with persona-driven & intent-driven campaigns. Instead of sending broad, content-based emails on a weekly basis, develop tailored emails grouped by different topics of interest. Rather than sending out an email once a week, send out behavior-driven emails based on sales trigger events as soon as relevant actions are taken by target prospects.
The shift to behavior & intent-driven email campaigns will help dramatically increase email campaign performance and opportunity creation rates.
To nurture your prospects through email campaigns effectively, you need a detailed understanding of your buyers, interests, and priorities, and where they are in the buying journey. However, a common challenge is that you may simply don’t have enough data about buyers’ interests and timing. To solve that, you can develop data mining techniques to collect social data.
Apply Social Data in Your Marketing Campaigns
There’s a wealth of behavioral data that exists within social media platforms. To leverage behavior and intent data, create a program that listens for keywords or hashtags from your prospect’s social media activity and monitors real-time social media activities on any lead in your target prospects database. Of course, you can use any social demand generation platform and marketing platform that integrate and have the same features.
On Twitter, you can identify potential buyers based on your tweets and following relations. On LinkedIn, you may find best-fit buyers by looking at their job titles, companies, group affiliations, the influencers they follow, and the articles they share and comment on. On Quora and several relevant user group sites, you may look at which users are asking questions related to a relevant topic category. On Meetup.com, you can track users who attend certain meetups.
Another great indicator of identifying buyer’s intent is to track attendance at industry events. You may research and determine which events your target audience is likely to attend. (This is also a great opportunity to look for events to exhibit/sponsor to generate more leads)
If someone in your leads database is engaging with one of your top competitors on LinkedIn/Twitter, it is likely that this person is entering a buying cycle. Perhaps the person is thinking about adopting a new solution or switching products. You can reach out to those leads and explain your product advantage, win new customers from the competition.
Invest in Videos, Social Media & Advertising
To color your campaigns, invest in informational, short videos. The content themes included product demos, use-cases, and social impact. Promote organically via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These explanatory video clips will help promote customer awareness. The videos can be also featured in blogs; video links may be included in email signatures and campaigns.
Release a new explanatory video every quarter, which you may find more effective than webinars. Each video should be less than 90 seconds duration, can be created with an average of $500 investment.
To get more traction to the website, blogs, and social channels, paid exposure is also required.
This include —
- LinkedIn Campaigns – Promote content through targeted ad campaigns to ideal buyer profiles. Allocate smaller budget to start with – $100+ / day and track results.
- Google Ads – Identify popular search keywords using Google Trends and design campaigns. Allocate smaller budget to start with – $100+ / day and track results.
The result may vary but you will find the most success when integrating LinkedIn and Google ads with their organic promotion of blogs, videos, email campaigns and regular social media posting.
Engage With Your Industry Influencers & Community
Every industry has movers and shakers who are prolific at creating educational and thought leadership content. For example, you may know that your target audience likes to read articles from industry publications such as Venture Beat, Information Week, Martech sites, and corporate blogs from brands like Salesforce, Marketo etc.
Many of these influencers are consistently sharing tips, tricks, and the amazing content they create and/or find. Identify authoritative industry-based websites, where they shared a similar audience. Pitch regularly thought leadership articles and secure publishing spots, product mentioning & back-links to your website and blogs. The key takeaway is to determine which influencers your target audience looks to for this information and track LinkedIn/Twitter activities around them.
Define a collective online/offline approach to cement your growth. This may include regular customer interactions and virtual QBR’s to develop healthy, open relationships.
You may volunteer in community development activities and integrate social impact stories. This helps to establish credibility and positive public relations – keeping you at the forefront of a meaningful press, without spending a cent.
Key learning & tips For B2B Entrepreneurs
- B2B start-ups can be global from day-1 through digital marketing
- Embrace educational content & leverage social platforms/data
- Avoid push-type broadcasting campaigns. Instead, engage in contextual messaging
- High traffic of likes, shares, downloads, views are feel good factors – measurable results in sales leads, pipeline creation, customer wins, revenue, profitability & repeated business is your success card for digital marketing
- Don’t be afraid to have fun and push the boundaries. Be persistent, that’s the beauty of B2B marketing.
Over a two-year period, our team increased inbound leads by 60% and new customer deals have exceeded 130%. We landed higher value deals too, which grew by 80%, as well as a 45% increase in YoY volume deals. Customer retention and repeated business improved by 95% and the brand expanded into 15 countries.