Originally posted on https://www.section5media.com/ultimate-guide-b2b-marketing/
Digital marketing seems to be moving at the speed of light. This is often apparent when developing a new digital marketing plan for a new year, and all of a sudden, a new technology or statistic release comes in and changes everything. In fact, new trends and strategies pop up on a quarterly, yearly, and even monthly basis, and eventually transform the way we connect, attract, and market to our audiences.
Still, keeping up with the changes as they come is only part of the game. If you want to succeed in this rather competitive, fast-paced industry, you need to keep your business ahead of the game. We’ve created this guide to help you with B2B Digital Marketing in 2019, so that you can bookmark it and refer to the most important aspects time and again.
But first, here’s a bit of a background on the B2B Marketing landscape
B2B buying has almost always been tricky, and this isn’t going to change any time soon. Even with all the digital resources and tools available today, most business owners and B2B marketers are yet to change their overall B2B strategy. In fact, according to a study by Gartner, 77% of B2B buyers still think that making a successful purchase is time-consuming, sometimes even painful.
Many B2B owners understand that the digital transformation has changed the traditional business model, including the way buyers search and find B2B vendors. In the traditional model, there was only one main buyer and followed a more controlled, predictable path. Marketing included some salesy materials, with printed marketing collateral.
However, this isn’t true anymore. The new B2B journey has a multi-person, looping path that’s full of twists and turns. Plus, the new B2B buyer behaves as a B2C consumer does, and expect the same level of service and purchase experience. This means that you need to have a buyer’s journey that guides your target audience through the different stages, features exceptional digital experience, and keeps them as lifelong fans and customers.
In a nutshell, your B2B marketing strategy for 2019 should, therefore, include demand generation, lead generation, as well as retention and recovery. To achieve this, here are the top B2B strategies to have in place.
1. Great Web Design
Your website is one of the key, if not the most valuable marketing asset for your business. It ideally plays a major role in each stage of the buyer’s journey, considering that 50% of all the B2B customers of today expect the supplier’s site to be helpful. This number is set to increase as more millennials and Gen-Z assume the role of buyers.
As the virtual storefront or hub of all your online activities, your website can not only showcase your products and services, but also display customer testimonials, blog on a wide variety of topics in your niches, and even collect visitor’s email addresses and other information. Having a great website design will help you reach these goals and more.
In general, your site needs to meet the following criteria to be successful in 2019:
- Fast loads speeds: should take less than 3 seconds to load.
- Responsive: Keep in mind that over 60% of the total online traffic originates from a mobile device. Go out of your way to provide a superior mobile experience.
- Secure: Make your site HTTPS by buying an SSL certificate.
- Professional design: modern buyers are easily put off by a site that has poor navigation or design, and will simply leave it. Others (46%) will leave a site that has no clear message.
- Actionable: You site needs to have engaging contact forms, a clear call-to-action, and authority builders like awards, testimonials, and affiliations.
2. Display Advertising
Display ads commonly run through the Google Display Network and are a great way to complement any ads campaign to increase your brand awareness and drive more visitors to your website.
Keep in mind that at the beginning of your B2B buyer funnel is a “see” stage, where prospects come across your business usually from your marketing efforts. Display ads are some of the most effective “see” strategies.
For those who aren’t familiar with display advertising, display ads are generally text, image, and video ads that are displayed on websites that participate in the Google AdSense program. You’ve probably come across them in some of the websites you visit.
Display ads are quite reliable for two main reasons:
- They are contextual, in that they are displayed on websites that are relevant to your page’s content
- They make use of the cellphone theory, which argues that consumers will subliminally consume what’s around them when they are distracted. Eventually, these subliminal messages seem familiar and they can, therefore, remember your company by simply taking in the message from an ad while they’re doing something else.
3. Search Engine Optimization
SEO is unlikely to go out of the best practices list for digital marketing any time soon. Most B2B buyers rely on Google search when looking for the best and most reliable products or services. In fact, 71% of B2B searches will start their search using generic Google searches, and researchers will do 12 searches on average before engaging a specific brand. As such, your business, along with its competitors, have about 12 opportunities to rank your site at the top of the search results and grab the attention of these buyers.
SEO ideally fits both the lead generation and demand generation categories, based on what phrases and keywords you optimize for. If for instance, you optimize a blog post for “what is b2b marketing”, it’s highly likely that you’ll grab the attention of a person in their early stages of the buyer’s journey. You can switch the focus to “b2b marketing company reviews”, and you will be more likely to catch the attention of buyers in the “do” or purchase stage of their journey. This is also known as optimization for search intent. The bottom line is that optimizing your website for search is something that all companies need to do.
4. B2B Content Marketing
Content marketing is key to any digital marketing strategy, including B2B marketing. It goes beyond simply creating blog posts on your website about your product or service. It sets the stage for a discussion on more general topics, especially those you choose based on your market’s interest such that it has a bit more appeal in comparison to the product content that aims to explain or solve more specific problems.
When creating content in 2019, you have to keep in mind that it’s all about the preferences of your customers rather than the product itself. This is ideally what grabs their attention in the early stages of the buyer’s journey. It’s also much easier to have your customers do a small action like reading a blog post than getting them to make a purchase or review a product.
Content is also shareable, and it can help you gain more web traffic tying nicely into SEO campaigns. You’ll generally be more successful with content marketing if you’re offering valuable, informative, and authoritative content, apart from selling your products or services. It helps to build their trust and set you up as a thought leader in the industry, which is significant when it comes to breaking into an established market.
There are a few types of content marketing pieces that you should focus on in 2019:
- Blog posts: In the demand generation stage, blog posts are aimed to make the buyer aware that your products exist, and make them interested. You can therefore identify the problems that your product solves, and then integrate them into engaging blog posts. Bonus points if you can tell a story that creates an empathetic connection – B2B customers love that.
- Infographics: the human mind is easily drawn to images. They are much easier to understand and fun to look at. Ideally, using infographics helps you condense a lot of information into one, easy to comprehend snapshot.
- EBooks: the most effective way to use eBooks is to offer the reader an actionable takeaway and valuable resources such as tips, checklists, and actual guides. Avoid making the eBook overly about your products or services as this can easily turn off the buyer.
- Video: in the last few years, the popularity and effectiveness of video has skyrocketed. In fact, 72% of internet users would rather use video to learn about a product or service. The good thing about video is that it can be used in both marketing and customer service efforts.
5. Native Advertising
When you pay a third-party website to feature your content, you’re doing native advertising. The whole point is to organically advertise your product or brand naturally within an external environment. Unlike the conventional advertising that’s design to distract, stand out, or interrupt the user, native advertising is fundamentally designed to blend in and promote you to a new audience.
Although it’s been around for over half a decade, native advertising is still as successful as ever, if not more. This is because many B2B buyers don’t like the traditional display ads, and are much more likely to explore and consume the native ads efforts.
While native ads shouldn’t replace your entire content marketing efforts, they should definitely be added as a key part of your B2B marketing strategy. Be sure to find publications that are relevant to your business or brand and you’re good to go. Creating native ads is quite a straightforward process, so long as the content isn’t deliberately promotional.
6. Email Marketing
Email is widely regarded as the spine of any successful marketing strategy, mainly because it delivers custom messages directly into the inbox of a customer or prospect.
If you haven’t done this already, you need to have a newsletter subscription on your website or social media page. When people are subscribed to your newsletter, you can begin sending them a set of auto-reminder emails. The main goal here is to earn their trust by providing them with educational and insightful information. Make sure that your design and produce your emails carefully, since they’ll go a long way in convincing your prospects and subscribers that your content is something they want to check out.
With time, you’ll obtain more subscribers, and you’ll be able to increase your conversions significantly. Why? Well, people who buy via email tend to spend 100% more compared to those who don’t. Surprisingly, it converts more than social media (about 3 times more), and is definitely worth tapping into.
7. Social Media Marketing
Social is a critical component of every B2B marketing strategy. It lets businesses connect with their customers authentically, and gives you a fun, informal platform to let your brand’s character and personality shine through. It also allows your business to develop a personality, or more importantly a brand that gives your business life of its own and can make traditionally boring business fun.
What you have to keep in mind when it comes to social media marketing in 2019 and beyond is that different types and lengths of content perform better on some than others, and some platforms encourage the use of hashtags while others don’t.
For you to truly leverage and succeed in social media, you need to be able to integrate it with all of your marketing activities including those discussed above, since it has now become a huge part of the digital corporate culture. It’s essentially a place where everyone in your organization can further its reach, and build its networking power. So, encourage everyone to go social.
Don’t forget to check out what your competition is doing with their social media marketing, and use this to further define your strategy.
If you are ready to have the professional team at Section 5 Media take a look at your B2B marketing campaign Contact Us here.