B2B digital marketing can be a little tougher than B2C, but what is for sure is that a digital marketing strategy is essential to any successful campaign.
But what digital marketing strategy trends and ideas will prove the most successful into 2016? We compiled some of the top strategy ideas that B2B businesses are focussing on in 2016.
Content marketing – cut through the noise
Blogging is still a superb way of finding your audience. Content that appeals to your audience, and answers their common queries is a very valuable and useful inbound marketing resource. But now, longer or different forms of high quality content could be what your brand needs to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level.
High quality content is useful in solving pains and challenges that your audience faces, which can really make your brand stand out against competitors.
Long forms of content that prove very effective include:
Downloadable guides also allow you to capture user information, in order to channel certain prospects further down the marketing funnel. Note that your content doesn’t necessarily have to be written word, and that imagery or video is more popular than ever – especially with the rise of mobile devices.
Content taking a longer or more in-depth format helps increase the perceived value of your content and brand, also enhancing the authority a potential customer associates with your brand.
Content should aim to provide knowledge around what it is you have to offer, rather than existing purely to promote your product or service. Tying this into how your company can help solve pain points, and how you are an industry leader that a customer can put their trust in, is intrinsic to generating leads through your content. With long-form content, it’s more possible to show you know your stuff, and other businesses can trust yours.
B2B and more industrial companies are beginning to catch-up with consumer brands, who have been using social platforms to their advantage for some time.
Many B2B businesses may not initially see social networks as a place their audiences hang out. Some B2B businesses may see this as a waste of valuable time. However, this is ill-informed nowadays, and if you’re not active on social media, you’re missing out on remaining a thought leader within your industry.
Take Caterpillar for example. They utilise social sharing throughout the website, and have multiple social profiles with differing approaches. This ensures they have their audience in mind for each, and optimise content for each channel involved.
Responsive web design is a necessary component of any B2B digital marketing strategy that wants to appeal to customers where they digest content. Your website and content should be flexible, in order to fit around customer habits. And those customers are going to be searching the web and browsing sites via their smartphone or tablet device. A responsive web design ensures you can reach them there.
Often, a mobile-friendly web design can go neglected for B2B businesses. The idea that B2B customers are only going to be accessing and browsing the web from a PC is very outdated by now. iPads, iPhones, and phablets are used very commonly in many different businesses.
Once your website is mobile, you need to assure any other content you create works with mobiles. Ensure your blog is mobile, and that any images or infographics you product are viewable on mobile devices.
Additionally, any posts you make on social media need to look presentable and clickable on social media. If you’re spreading images or infographics for example, ensure they are optimised for each network. For instance, Pinterest supports long, vertical images – but Twitter will not display it in the same way in the feed of your customer.
Alongside this, email marketing needs responsive email templates so that customers can open and view them on their tablet or smartphone.
Paid search advertising
Paid search engine advertising is not a marketing strategy to be sniffed at. Accorind to Marketo:“93% of B2B buyers use search engines to begin their buying process.” Can you afford to not be seen at the top of the search results when someone is searching for a product or service like yours?
Marketers can access customers at the exact moment they are looking for their product or service through Google AdWords. Make the most of it. There’s less need for interruption-based tactics, such as cold-calling.
Display advertising can be effective, showing ads as banners across the web, and in search results. Alongside this, Google AdWords has a new function named Customer Match, allowing targeted ads when you upload your customer email lists.
Remarketing is proving to be an effective advertising strategy, allowing you to get your message in front of potential customers who have already visited your website before. The ability to place your brand in front of those who have already expressed an interest in your company is very powerful indeed.
Remarketing works by displaying targeted adverts to people who have visited your website, or even certain pages. For instance, if a potential customer looks at a certain product on your website, and exits on this page, you can create ads around this product to display on Google’s Display Network. This encourages them to reconsider, or even remind them that your product and company exists.
The messages match the customer activities, encouraging revisits and conversions or actions that they were previously close to taking.
Whilst businesses may underestimate social media as a marketing tool, social advertising is another avenue that B2B marketers can use very effectively. For example, LinkedIn allows you to advertise to people of specific industries or job roles, which is a very unique and promising strategy.
Facebook advertising is also worth considering. Sidebar advertisements can be highly targeted towards specific online activities or interests. With many B2B businesses, the buyer personas often have a number of specific interests that can be entered into Facebook.
Sponsored Social Posts
Content is still a great way to find an audience through SEO, but there are ways to improve your audience, and target it further. One way, is through sponsored social posts.
By sponsoring your social posts which promote your content, you can find a wider audience with specific interests, or match certain demographic criteria. This puts your organic content to great use.
On many platforms, you can select an audience for your post by demographics, interests, and other criteria. Your content can be targeted towards this certain market, and it will be displayed in their social feeds. This can be done on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more.
If people can’t see them, you may not reach objectives. SEO is still incredible effective, but sponsored posts can help you reach objectives designed for more specific buyer personas.
Marketing automation is the next hot thing for digital marketing trends in 2016. Automated marketing messages and campaigns are going to shape the next few years of how brands interact with customers.
Marketing automation will tie together a number of things:
- Email marketing
- Content management
Automation allows marketers to capture, nurture, and close leads through a tied-together system, creating a more effective marketing funnel overall.
Before you invest in expensive software or platforms, it’s important to find our what you can do right now, and see what works for your business. If you use a sales CRM, there a number of ways to integrate this with other tools. It may have additional apps or add-ons available.
Email marketing is increasingly important to automation, managing to generate new customers, and encourage customer retention by keeping them in the loop. Targeted emails prove to be much more effective than sending the same email to every single contact every campaign. By picking and choosing campaigns specific to certain audiences with particular messages or offers, you can provide extra value to your customers.
If you’re looking to get started or outsource your digital marketing strategy, then the team at Xanthos can help. Get in touch today and find out how we can help grow your business online.