By Adam Feiner
Business to business (B2B) digital marketing provocatively communicates your unique value proposition in different formats, to different segments, and across several channels to gain awareness and earn consideration. Consider a company engaging in B2B marketing without first-party data, like a start-up or a business entering a new market. Where would they present their brand and value proposition to gain awareness? What content would they reveal and to whom? How would they respond to interactions with their brand? How would they capture and organize data?
The answers to these questions will define your digital strategy and illuminate your target audience. First-party data, like intent data, reveals information about your prospects that can help you earn consideration and win deals by delivering increasingly relevant content to your audiences. Accumulating first-party data requires that you elicit a response and add it to the profiles of your prospects to enrich personas. This enriched data is used to determine what content to present next. Email, mobile, social and website interactions (i.e., clicks, downloads and demo requests) and self-identified preferences are your opportunities to acquire first-party data. Data is perishable. It takes patience and persistence to build and maintain first-party data.
Your website reflects your digital strategy. Effective website design naturally guides visitors toward information they seek in as few clicks as possible. This requires a customer-centric perspective acknowledging user experience and customer journey focused on need, value proposition and solution rather than products and capabilities. Your prospects should see themselves as they navigate and consume content.
In 2008, the Nielsen Norman Group estimated that visitors will read only 20% of the text on an average page, so sharpen your writing and create engaging videos. Less is more when it comes to web design, and too much information risks confusing visitors and losing their attention. Clearly articulate your value proposition on your homepage to support your keyword strategy, create a site map that simplifies navigation, and make sure your CTAs are present but not intrusive. Your website should capture visitor data with cookies to identify first-time and repeat visitors and employ gated content to enable direct marketing. Once prospects reveal interest and share their email or mobile number, your odds increase. Because Google said in 2016 that over 50% of searches come from mobile devices, optimize for mobile.
Whether you’re creating or refreshing a website, tools like Google Analytics can help identify best- and worst-performing pages. Google Search Console can reveal technical problems skewing results, and you can use visualization techniques (i.e., heat maps) to illuminate how visitors see your site.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO strategy is designed to help website pages rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing. Focus on keywords that decision-makers search. Target low volume keywords with high cost-per-clicks (CPCs), publish highly tactical content for key decision-makers, and leverage social media to amplify content distribution and cover a wider audience.
There are several steps to create and leverage a B2B SEO strategy. First, know your buyer and build personas of individuals inside the companies of your target verticals. Second, understand how they search for what you sell and know the keywords they use. To uncover keywords, utilize available free crowdsourcing applications, search engine auto-complete suggestions and SEO tools (such as SEMRush and Ubersuggest) that search competitors’ keywords to uncover their strategies. When bidding on keywords, do not shy away from high CPCs. Those are likely the words that prospects use when they’re ready to buy. Third, identify the topics and content to share with your audience. This is your chance to differentiate and illuminate your solution. Successful outcomes might include capturing an email address or being mentioned on social media, which takes patience and time. Fourth, use on-page SEO to optimize each webpage for terms that indicate buying signals. Keywords in short URLs, latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords and long content publications help search engines understand what you do and increase SEO rankings. Fifth, publish high-quality blogs to increase your landing page rankings. For best results, select related topics that are impacted by your solution. “Shoulder” topics can draw more links to content. Finally, while it is not easy and takes time to get quality backlinks for your B2B business, they are important. With all the content and research required, this could easily be a full-time job.
A successful social media strategy communicates your unique value proposition to your followers by sharing compelling content that resonates. Your brand’s story should be told to spark interest and engage the right audience. Maintain an active presence to stay current and shape industry dialogue. Social media in your marketing mix can amplify awareness, generate demand and improve content marketing campaigns. No other channel can provide the same immediate impact.
Listen to and monitor your social channels. By listening to your potential customers’ daily conversations, you can begin to see topic patterns, momentum and current market concerns. You can help guide the conversations as the subject matter expert who understands customer challenges and delivers positive outcomes. As you monitor specific prospect activities, respond to unique questions they post to establish credibility and trust.
Centralize your social profiles onto a single platform that enables monitoring and listening simultaneously. Create alerts to keep apprised of instances where your brand is mentioned directly or indirectly. Listening effectively will help you anticipate future campaigns and improve messaging. Listening can keep you ahead of your competition, help you construct an effective influencer program and even build more impactful brand partnerships.
Effective digital marketing authoritatively communicates your value proposition to an identified audience, guides them toward your unique content and website and educates and differentiates. Purposefully present your brand and value proposition where your audience will gain awareness of it. Become a trusted partner with relevant content and help search engines understand what you do. Listen to your audience and guide the conversations by responding to questions as a subject matter expert. Enrich your first-party data by eliciting responses and capturing information that can help you deliver more relevant content. Gain awareness, earn consideration and find in-market buyers for healthy digital pipelines.
Feature Image Credit: getty