Online marketing is constantly evolving, and it can be hard for B2B marketers to keep up. But this is no time for laggards. With more people working from home, boosting your online presence is critical. Just look at webinars, 39% more people attended online events in 2020 than in prior years. And the B2B business outlook for 2021 and 2022 suggests that marketers will continue to accelerate digital growth with search, virtual events, podcasts, and LinkedIn replacing traditional marketing tactics.
With so many digital channels and brands competing for attention, where should you focus your B2B online marketing strategy and efforts? Here are four areas that you may want to consider as part of your digital marketing mix.
Use online content to inform, engage, and influence
In B2B business marketing, content is king. Sharing valuable and relevant information online such as blogs, videos, infographics, webinars, podcasts, and eBooks, can help inform customers while building trust and engagement. Custom content is so powerful that 78% of CMOs view it as the future of marketing. People also feel more positive about a business after reading its shared content. Content also generates leads—three-times as much as traditional marketing and at a lower cost.
Any content marketing must be backed up by strategy. Consider your goals. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website, elevate your brand through thought leadership, reach new audiences, or generate leads? Your content should also be informed by your audience and the kind of content they respond to.
As you plan your strategy, it’s important to develop content for each stage of the B2B sales funnel—awareness (infographics and blogs), evaluation (white papers, case studies and eBooks), conversion (demos, webinars, and testimonials), loyalty and advocacy (podcasts, blogs, etc.). Finally, have a plan to promote your B2B content through email, social marketing, and earned and paid media.
Importantly, be prepared to commit time and resources to producing quality content. Prospects and customers respond to better content over more content.
Check out this blog for more tips on content marketing for local businesses.
Automate your email campaigns
It may seem old school, but email continues to dominate B2B marketing and is a great way to boost your online efforts.
Studies show that 87% of B2B marketers use email to share digital content and nurture and convert leads. And for good reason. Email delivers a captive audience—subscribers have opted in to receive your updates in their inbox. Unlike most social media, you can personalize your messages and measure the response. The ROI is also significant. For every $1 spent on email marketing, business can expect an average return of $38.
When you automate your email campaigns, you can take your business to the next level and convert a prospect to a customer. Any business can map out an email sequence that drives engagement and conversion. For instance, when a prospect subscribes to your email list or fills in a form on your website, start a dialog with them. Your first auto-generated email should introduce your company, describe what makes you unique, and offer a reason why the subscriber should stay engaged (tease them with information about the kind of content and offers you plan to share). Always include a call to action such as schedule an appointment, a free assessment, or something else.
Your second email (automatically sent three-four days later) can dive deeper into the services you offer and the problems you solve. You could point to an online asset like an eBook or white paper that explains how you solve customer pain points. Again, include a call to action.
Now that your subscriber knows a little more about you, focus the final email in the sequence solely on your special offer or promotion and make it time bound. Give your prospects a reason to take action today.
But don’t stop there. Automated email campaigns can also be used after a purchase to glean feedback, upsell, cross sell, share content, and keep the engagement going.
For more inspiration read Earn more Sales with Marketing Automation and be sure to check out my earlier post: 4 Email Marketing Mistakes You Might Be Making, and How to Avoid Them.
Invest in B2B social media marketing
Social media isn’t just for B2C marketing, it’s a powerful tool for advertising, brand-building, customer engagement, and lead generation. Yet many B2B brands struggle with social media whether through a lack of content, not knowing how to effectively engage with audiences, or what options they have for doing so.
Take LinkedIn for example. The platform continues to be the most effective social network for business and accounts for over half of all B2B traffic and 80% of leads, but LinkedIn has more to offer than its newsfeed. The LinkedIn InMail feature lets brands deliver informative and promotional emails to a targeted list of LinkedIn members. This is a great way to reach new audiences, by job title and industry. Executives can also establish thought leadership through LinkedIn articles.
A little-known feature of LinkedIn is LinkedIn Live. This streaming video service lets brands broadcast live content to the platform and attracts a much higher engagement than native broadcasting. Use it to launch new products, spotlight employees, demonstrate expertise, or promote an event. You can also tap the power of your business’ network with LinkedIn Polls—a great way to get to know your followers.
Clearly, LinkedIn has a lot to offer B2B brands, but which social media is best for B2B? Other channels add value too, especially when it comes to branding. To help you decide, look at what your competitors are doing. If they’re having success on Twitter or YouTube, then you can too.
Enhance your SEO efforts
Search engine optimization (SEO) can seem like a daunting practice but it’s invaluable for promoting your B2B business online.
Done well, SEO ensures your website has a strong search ranking. The higher you rank on Google and Bing, the more traffic your website will receive. It can be tempting to invest in paid SEO (where you pay when someone clicks on your ad next to a search result), but organic search could generate better dividends. For every click on a paid search result, organic search generates 8.5 clicks.
Key to this conversion rate is content. High quality, long-form content (which creates more opportunity for the inclusion of key words) is ranked higher by search engines. Informative website product copy sprinkled with keywords and phrases can also help you rank better.
Perfecting SEO takes time, but as you produce more content and other sites link to that content (known as back linking) your ranking and site traffic will increase.
If you’re new to SEO, here are some useful tips for increasing B2B SEO traffic.
For more marketing and sales tips, check out these articles from the Fundbox blog.