Whether you are an experienced marketing professional or new to marketing, a quick intro to digital marketing is a great place to start. In this 10-minute guide, we’ll provide a high-level introduction to the world of B2B digital marketing.
A B2B Website
All digital marketing starts with a well-designed website. Your firm’s website is often the centerpiece of a larger traditional and digital marketing strategy. If you don’t think a website matters for your B2B firm, here are two statistics to chew on:
89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process.
B2B researchers, on average, do 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site.
If your company doesn’t have a website, how will these 89% of your potential audience find you?
A great B2B website has a professional polished design, clear branding, and a well-crafted value proposition. It also has the following features:
- Lead Capture Tools – calls-to-action and easy-to-complete online forms
- Blog – the easiest way to add new, educational information to a website
- Content Offers – whitepapers, guides, case studies, ebooks, infographics, research, etc.
- Links to Current Social Media Accounts – up-to-date LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Landing Pages for Ads – either a well-designed home page or a unique page built primarily around specific ad messaging.
A website is often the central hub of a digital marketing strategy because it hosts the blog, captures leads, serves as the landing page for email campaigns and digital ads, and enables your audience to connect with your firm via social media. If you are shopping for a new website, download the B2B Website Buyer’s Guide.
If you think LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are just for connecting with high school friends and sharing personal opinions, think again. These, and other, social platforms are an excellent way for B2C and B2B firms to connect and engage with their audience (regardless of age or professional experience). So, does your firm need to set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Yelp? The answer is no. (Phew!)
For B2B firms, we typically recommend a LinkedIn and a Twitter or Facebook page. However, you will know your audience best and can determine which social media channels are the most appropriate for reaching your audience. The key factor is to establish social media profiles that your marketing team can update regularly (post at least a few times a month) and optimize with professional branding and images.
All social media channels allow B2B firms to reach their audience in three ways:
- Organic – share updates, news, articles, videos and other relevant information with your existing audience.
- Paid Updates – pay to share information with a target audience (typically articles or videos).
- Paid Ads – pay to advertise to a target audience.
It’s best to use a mix of both paid and organic posts on your social media channels. You can start out by posting your latest blog, podcast, or video blog to your firm’s LinkedIn page and then paying to boost the post to your target market via the “Sponsored Updates” feature. It should be noted that social media does not necessarily drive leads. It does, however, increase brand recognition, engage your current audience and potential clients, personalize your brand, build your authority, and extend your audience reach.
We call this an oldie, but a goodie. Email marketing isn’t new anymore, but it’s a necessity for all types of businesses. In the B2B industry, email newsletters are a great way to stay in front of your current clients (think retention and upsell). Email newsletters can be sent daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly. Anything longer than quarterly isn’t very effective for client retention.
A common question about B2B email marketing is what to include in the emails? Here are a few ideas from our digital marketing team on what to include in your next newsletter:
- Recent blog posts
- Industry trends or breaking news
- Company highlights
- Current specials or promotions
- Content offers
- Credibility pieces (like guest articles on well-known sites or certifications)
- Links to your social media pages
When it comes to email marketing, we advise against purchasing lists from email list vendors. They can rarely provide the right audience and if that audience doesn’t know your firm, their first interaction with you (a cold email campaign) will not set the best impression. This advice does not extend to trade show lists where your company had a booth, speaking engagement, or other type of presence.
Pay-Per-Click Ads (AdWords or Bing)
Paid advertisements on search engines like Google (AdWords), Bing, and Yahoo are a great way to start driving potential clients to your B2B website. Whether you have an established website or a brand-new website, pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns enable you to target specific search terms (or keywords) that your ideal clientele is typing into the search box. Ideally, a PPC ad campaign is run concurrently with an organic inbound marketing strategy (blogging) to garner the best results.
Retargeting ads are shown to users who have visited your website. The beauty of retargeting ads is that they are shown across a network of websites and are designed to entice users to re-visit your website and complete an action that they may not have completed on their first, second, or third visit.
A retargeting campaign is often inexpensive to run and enables your B2B firm to stay top of mind with potential prospects. They may not have been ready to close the deal the first time they visited your firm’s website, but by staying in front of them, your firm will be there when they are ready to become a new client.
Banner ads used to be simple, like purchasing billboard space. You find a site your clients use, you contact the webmaster, and you purchase ad space. With advancements in software technology, algorithm updates, and intellectual innovations, banner ads are a whole category unto themselves. Now, a business typically works with a vendor to purchase ad space on their behalf and to report back on the number of people who have seen their ads and clicked through to their website. Below are a few common terms regarding banner ads:
- Google Display Network – advertise on Google’s network of websites.
- Programmatic Ads – uses software platforms to automatically purchase digital ad space.
- Account-Based Marketing – uses software to reverse-engineer via IPs to target your ideal list of potential clients.
Digital banner advertising campaigns work fantastically for certain businesses, yet aren’t the right fit for other firms. Ideally, banner ads should be a component in a comprehensive marketing strategy where the value proposition and target audience is well-defined.
That’s your 10-minute intro to digital marketing. It’s not a comprehensive explanation of all things digital marketing, but we only had 10 minutes!
Have questions about digital marketing for your B2B firm? Contact us for a consultation with our B2B digital marketing experts.