Tag Archives: B2B Marketing

How Digital Marketing Ramps Up Results for Manufacturers

15 Aug

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Having a solid trade show presence as your biggest marketing tool is no longer enough. In order to stay relevant and profitable in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, B2B manufacturers need to step up their digital marketing game.

Digital Marketing Provides Data-Driven Results

Just like traditional marketing (think: trade shows, flyers, and mailers), digital marketing means following leads, generating conversions—and ultimately, getting the sale. But here’s where things diverge: a solid digital marketing campaign allows you to deploy a more precision-based tracking system than traditional marketing channels are capable of. In other words, you can choose where to spend your advertising dollars based on hard data that results from a well-executed digital marketing plan.

With the right marketing strategy, you’ll get a clearer picture of your ROI, reliable metrics that allow you to manage your budget and set future goals, and the potential to keep your sales and marketing teams accountable with data-driven performance monitoring.

Your Customers are Digitally Present

Today, nearly everyone has access to the internet, even at work —and in many cases, that internet is in their back pocket, accessible to them at any given moment. According to GlobalSpec’s “2017 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” 61 percent of industrial professionals visit at least six and often 20 or more work-related websites each week. This translates to at least 50 percent of industrial employees spending six or more hours on websites while at work, and a full 31 percent logging nine-plus hours in work-related activities online. When it comes to finding components, equipment, suppliers, and services, 68 percent use the internet as their primary resource.

Most buyers depend on a vendor’s digital resources (like whitepapers, blog posts, and videos) when they’re at the beginning of their decision-making process—and they hold off making contact with suppliers until much later in the buying cycle. Having a reliable digital marketing strategy equipped with plenty of high-value content means you’ll be better prepared to communicate with your customers while they’re moving through the early stages of the sales funnel.

You Get Better Leads—and More of Them

When you provide relevant, quality content on your website—especially gated content like white papers and webinars, which require the contact info of the customer for access—your site becomes a lead-generating mechanism.

So, the more traffic your website receives from potential customers looking for specific content, the more leads you’ll develop.

But what about the quality of those leads?

Once again, digital marketing provides the benefit of data-driven information. With marketing automation tools like SharpSpring, you can qualify the leads you get using a point-based scoring system: a completed contact form earns 25 points, while a visit to your “About Us” page might only garner 5 points. Essentially, each of your customer’s activities on your site is tallied up for a final score that determines whether they are considered a “quality” lead—and whether they’re worth following up with in the future.

Your Digital Marketing Strategy is Scalable

As you develop, execute, and tailor your digital marketing plan, you’ll become more comfortable with the data and the overall strategy. You’ll get a better sense of what works for your business, and what doesn’t. Ultimately, deciding where to spend your marketing dollars will become second nature.

Since a digital marketing plan is easily customized to suit your business goals, your campaign strategy should align with your needs along the way. It should afford you the ability to ramp up the tactics that are working for you and scrap the efforts that aren’t producing the results you want.

If you need help strategizing for your next digital marketing effort, give us a call to discuss.

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Get Social at Your Next Trade Show: How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Event Marketing

10 Aug

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Even in an increasingly digitized marketing world, a well-executed trade show presence is an indispensable part of a solid marketing strategy for any B2B company. And just because trade shows are a more traditional way of getting the word out about your product or brand doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the benefits of real-time communication and instant exposure made possible through social media.

Social Media Plays a Key Role in B2B Marketing

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B report, 68% of B2B marketers incorporate trade shows and similar in-person events as part of their marketing plan—but just 36% report that their events are effective.

A well-executed social media campaign can dramatically change that.

When done with a bit of planning and creativity, social media can help maximize visibility and attendance at your next big event. As an added bonus, it offers a convenient platform for repurposing your content and leveraging your trade show investment long after the event wraps up.

Check out a few of our favorite tips on getting the most out of your trade show through social media:

Customize Twitter Hashtags, Livestream to Engage Event Attendees, and Follow Up with LinkedIn Connections 

Depending on your level of participation in your trade show, you may have access to a list of contacts for partners, key speakers, and potential attendees. Leverage your contact list with these steps:

  • Follow them on Twitter and add them to a Twitter List
  • Create a company-specific hashtag and use it alongside the event’s official hashtag to tweet about your upcoming event
  • Start tweeting early—even as early as a few months before the event—to build relationships with partners, key players, and attendees and to increase the visibility of your event.

During set-up and while the event is taking place, engage employees and booth visitors with photos and video—and then use your hashtags to get your content where you want it via live tweets.

Twitter Tip:

If you think you’ll be too busy to manage social media at the event, consider using a social media management platform or hiring a social media partner to schedule bulk tweets beforehand. Then, add to those with live tweets as often as possible during the show.

Leverage Live Streaming: Offer Contests, Product Demos, and Giveaways to Engage Your Followers

Take some time to learn how livestream works in advance of the event. Whether you’re using Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or YouTube, do a few livestream trial runs beforehand: stream a production run, a project completion, or a customer testimonial to liven up your social feed on a regular workday.

By the time the event rolls around, livestreaming will be second nature!

At the Trade Show

Take advantage of the real-time opportunities for livestreaming during the event. Ask customers for testimonials, interview employees about their trade show activities, and engage partners in conversations about the benefits of your product and your company.

Livestreaming offers a great way to bring the trade show to those that couldn’t be there in person, and allows you to add some action and authenticity to your social presence.

After the Trade Show

Repurpose your livestream content to create a trade show recap that highlights your customers’ experience with your product and your company. Clip short snippets from the stream for future posts when you’re looking to show off your company’s personality.

LinkedIn for Long-Lasting Trade Show Connections

LinkedIn can be a bit cumbersome to use in real-time at the event, but it makes a great follow-up tool to reconnect with key players and potential clients long after the event shuts its doors.

If your contact is already a LinkedIn connection (and in limited cases even when they aren’t), you can use the “InMail” feature for direct messaging. Shoot your contacts a brief note thanking them for their time and interest, or simply to say that you’re glad you had a chance to talk and you’d like to keep in touch. You can also use the message as to segue way to offer access to a white paper or an invitation to an upcoming networking event.

If your contact is not yet a LinkedIn connection, go to their profile and click on the ellipsis at the top right. Click “Personalize Invitation” and write a brief message in the text box before sending your connection request.

Follow the above tips to integrate traditional in-person marketing strategies with the far-reaching capabilities of social media. If you need help designing and deploying your social media strategy, reach out to us for advice!

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New Content Marketing Ideas for the Rest of 2017

18 Jul

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B2B marketing is becoming more about hard data than ever before. Forget the vanity metrics – the content marketing that you invoke should be cost and time efficient, focused on the data, and directed by modern standards. Here are some of the best marketing ideas for your business to take you through 2017.

Help Customers Instead of Selling Them

You are already dealing with a longer sales cycle when it comes to B2B. Lead nurturing is essential to success, so don’t even try to close any deals on initial interaction. This is the time to showcase your self as an expert in your field. Eventually, your target customers will convince themselves they need you.

In the first stages of your sales funnel, focus on giving value to the most important buyer types in your profiles. Make sure that you are putting yourself forward as a transparent individual and your business as an authoritative solutions provider. This will make your customers more likely to convert when it is actually time to put all cards on the table.

Pick Up on Long Tail Keyword Variants

There is no need to jostle for the top spot on Google with your industry’s leader. They likely have a marketing budget that dwarfs yours, and they will be able to simply buy you out of any position for generic keywords. Use your industry niche to focus your keyword ranking efforts in a more specific direction.

The advantages of longtail keywords are numerous and immense. However, you must be sure that you are looking for the appropriate kind of results. You will generate less overall search volume, but the volume that you do generate will be more qualified.

Focus on Interactive Content

Making sure that your blogs rank, even with longtail keywords can be difficult if you are not using interactive content. This may cost a bit more, and you may not be able to spread the word to as many prospects, but that is exactly the point. You will have to focus your buyer’s profiles and fixate your efforts on specific customers, which will give you better results in the end.

Interactive content also ensures more personalized content to more qualified leads. You will be able to promote your content directly to those accounts rather than trying to come up with marketing slogans that fit everyone. Believe it or not, the former is easier than the latter.

Focus Your CTAs on Information Grabs

One of the most important aspects of any B2B marketing campaign is the notion of customers opting in. At some point, you must convince your customers that it’s their decision to choose you rather than the other way around. One of the best ways to do this is to gradually take your customers step-by-step through gradually more in-depth information grabs.

Although all you really need is an email to start, from there, you can continue to provide value through newsletters, viral videos and other exclusive content. Properly deployed, these tactics will have your prospects looking forward to your emails. They may eventually forget how they got in touch with you – all they know is that right now, you are an essential part of their world. This is where sales come from.

The tips above will certainly give your marketing campaign a boost if employed in tandem. Keep your ear to the street for new marketing techniques that will show themselves as the B2B market evolves.

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How Today’s B2B Marketers Are Pushing Customer Centricity

13 Jun

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Placing the customer at the center of your business strategy is best for all companies, not just the B2C world. Creating a positive sales experience for clients throughout the entire funnel now can mean the difference between success and stagnation. The effect is quantifiable: B2B companies with marketing based centrally around the customer reported an average of 31% more growth in revenue. An additional report found that customer-centric marketing increases return on marketing (ROM) by up to 30%.

Market leaders in all major industries are making a push to this new customer centered marketing model. Here are some of their best techniques.

More Efficient Data Aggregation

Leading companies are making huge investments in full scale teams of marketing analysts to helm new software packages based around datacentric CRM. Many of these companies are taking their entire analytics operations online to take advantage of the wealth of resources in spaces such as the Oracle Marketing Cloud.

These aggregation strategies are also accompanied by engagement strategies. Companies such as Juniper Networks have taken great pains to close the gap between their marketing and sales teams. They are using the precision data they cultivate from social media and information grabs to ramp up their marketing campaigns with an eye to continuous improvement.

Customers Are Now Top Marketing Executives

Do not take that subheading seriously if these customers are not actually titled within the company; however, this is to the company’s advantage, because they do not actually have to pay their most insightful workers! Companies such as Wells Fargo are paying more attention than ever to the customer journeys they initiate with their sales funnels. They are developing personas around these journeys and segmenting their investments in advertising around these more detailed personalities.

For instance, the same company may run three completely different marketing campaigns on the same social media network depending on the age, gender, income, hobbies and other psychographics of its audience. Most top distribution platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are more than robust enough to accommodate these segmented, customer centered efforts.

Redesigning Internal Company Functions

Many new strategies run into friction at the top executive levels. Old-school executives have a problem moving into new patterns of marketing. The most efficient companies are restructuring their entire hierarchy to represent a more socialized approach to change.

Cross functional teams that involve several departments into a single function are more common now than ever. Many companies are employing or outsourcing the role of traffic controller to monitor the movement of data between departments. The role of executives has been scaled back in the sense of actually executing individual strategies, although they still retain the ability to change the overall vision of technical focus points within the company.

Considering the Customer Narrative

Marketing teams are now taking the lead in sponsoring digital transformation rallies around companies. These rallies are focused more on driving value than clicks – the old quality over quantity platitude that actually means quite a bit in the world of customer centric marketing.

Many companies have created a new role, the CX strategist, to keep marketing campaigns aligned directly with customer objectives. Although many technologies are quite able to follow the movements of customer segments, it still takes a human touch to apply the data streams that are created into a viable program. This is especially true because of the highly transient nature of customers in B2B product industries such as high tech, fashion and entertainment.

With more focus on the customer than ever, you can expect personalized solutions and companies that are very interested in what you have to say as a patron. It is definitely a good time for the consumer, and things are only looking up.

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Dos and Don’ts of Content Marketing

1 Jun

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Content marketing is an important element in an overarching marketing strategy. And according to statistics by the Content Marketing Institute, you aren’t alone in your efforts if you employ it as a tactic; about 90 percent of small businesses and B2B companies do. However, as the Content Marketing Institute also notes, only six percent of B2B marketers rate their organization’s efforts as being “very effective.” Bridging the gap between effort and results means taking a hard look at your content marketing strategy to make sure you’re doing what you can to make it effective.

DO: Have a Strategy

Just like any other business action, your content marketing efforts need a definitive strategy. Even if you aren’t sure what your strategy should be, you should at least have something. As strange as it might seem, even a bad strategy is better than nothing at all. At least it gives you a benchmark from which to measure success and failure. You can also use a bad strategy to build a better one by tweaking the parts that aren’t performing as expected.

DO: Fund Content Marketing

Even the most iron-clad and proven content marketing strategy isn’t going to work as effectively as you’d hope if it isn’t funded well. Just like other efforts within your business, the more money you earmark for content marketing, the better the results you can expect. As the Content Marketing Institute points out, the most effective B2B content marketers spend more than twice as much on content marketing as those that are least effective – 39 percent and 16 percent respectively. Fortunately, more than 50 percent note that they plan to increase spending on their content marketing budget over the next 12 months.

DON’T: Put Content Up Without Thinking it Through

Yes, content marketing involves producing lots of content, but it shouldn’t be just any old content. Your content should be very engaging and targeted to the audience that you are appealing to. It needs to be informative and well written. It needs to leave the reader with valuable knowledge that is in-depth and encourages them to reach out to you for more information.

DON’T: Forget to Develop Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are an effective way to put a human twist to your content marketing. By developing a generic “person” who represents the behaviors, concerns, needs and choices of your ideal customer, your content marketing strategy will be sharper and more focused.

ER Marketing handles all aspects of a successful marketing strategy by crafting one that meets your unique needs. We’d love to show you how we can help you! Contact us today!

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