Is a half dressed man pouring milk over his head really anything to do with B2B growth campaigns? Going on the journey to lift your B2B marketing to another level might leave you with worthy, well thought through campaigns which tick most of the boxes – but still leave you with dull campaigns and one key box unticked – grabbing attention. We’ve outlined some of the steps to build your business growth along an engaging, attention grabbing content journey:
1. Get to know your audience…be patient
How many different roles are you selling to? How much of a grasp does your marketing and sales team really have of prospect roles, their attitudes and their buying processes? Invest time in building pictures – or buyer personas – of these individuals. Use research, customer interviews and surveys and don’t underestimate your internal staff knowledge. This critically gives you the basis for personalisation of your marketing contacts with them and enables you to have that must have of effective marketing – saliency with your prospects.
A buyer persona is basically a detailed description of your target customer or client. This is a fleshed out profile, including what their challenges are, demographic information and what their general interests are likely to be, especially in terms of media consumption (events/journals/websites etc). This is all written as if your ideal customer were an individual person. It helps you gain a better understanding of your customer’s needs and the problems they are facing.
2. Have confidence in your brand story
To gain trust and, ultimately, the sale, it’s up to you to establish your trustworthiness and authority on a subject for which the customer needs a solution. So, your content marketing efforts should aim to establish your brand as a thought leader. Easy to say, harder to do. Do you know what your customers think of your brand anyway? What expertise do you have now or do you need to develop to establish yourself with a more compelling market positioning and proposition?
Whilst differentiation around a single core benefit may often be tough (or even impossible, depending on your sector) in B2B, you still have a number of pillars to build a differentiation story or at least a different emphasis from your competition both in WHAT you offer and HOW you go about delivering ROI and the solution benefits.
3. Use creative to go beyond simply worthy content
Blogging and content creation is critical to attract and convert customers as more customers use the internet to make buying decisions or at least add you to supplier short-lists. But consider too how creative your campaign should be to stand out from the crowd. Technology is a prime example of a sector that has long been labelled dull, uninspiring and devoid of creativity. The communications of tech brands are often serious and worthy, but rarely does anybody love it. Here’s a couple of examples of B2B campaigns I love that go beyond ‘worthy’. The first is a low budget, video production. Video gives you the chance to bring your brand personality to life and create emotional connections with your prospects. This piece provides some humour & inspiration in the otherwise ‘dry’ sector of, yes, early payment discount automation (click image to view):
4. Think CX – customer experience – across all channels, offline and online, not just your website
When someone visits your website, what do you want them to see? What customer experience would you like them to go through? When they’ve been to a company event you’ve run, where online do you want them to go next? These are just a few of the topics covered by the practice of Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO.
CRO is the method of using analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of your website. Once you have data on the above metrics, such as where people go on your website, you can then determine where the drop-offs are and what to do to prolong that engagement further or maximise their chance of converting into a lead before that point.
As intelligent SEO is becoming more commonplace, keeping visitors on your website and converting them once they have reached your homepage is just as crucial as getting them there in the first place. As your strategy evolves to be more content focused, blogging and content creation can be used to keep leads coming back to your website, pushing them down the funnel.
5. Don’t underestimate email marketing
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to generate leads in B2B. Email has become a way to push prospective customers and clients further down the funnel by nurturing their engagement with your brand. Using that data from your buyer personas to determine what their problems are, you can take a cold lead from the initial awareness stage (first interactions with your site) into the consideration stage, to getting on the phone with your sales team in the decision stage.
Lead nurturing has been made even easier in with marketing software, helping you market in a more streamlined and efficient way, freeing up your time, while not compromising the quality of the content you are producing. Marketing automation allows you to nurture your leads through the entire buying process, delivering highly-targeted, personalized messages that address their issues directly in order to drive engagement aimed at pushing leads further down the buyer's journey.
6. Make social media a higher priority
Too many companies have simply ‘a presence’ on social media rather than highly targeted and optimised paid SM campaigns to generate qualified leads. How much is your presence simply keeping resources tied up? What ROI is it generating? The best way to go beyond this is to start measuring Social Media ROI by:
- Identifying clear and achievable social media KPI’s. What are you looking to achieve with the campaign? Do you want to to drive revenue or build brand awareness? This will help determine exactly what success looks like for your social media marketing.
- Setup analytics to track success against specific criteria. Your ability to retain and convert your leads depends on how informed you are about their behaviour on your website. Nearly every single goal is measurable and Google Analytics is a free tool that you can use to set up trackable goals and monitor how often visitors complete the actions you want them to.
- Benchmark against your competitors. Compare your social media efforts to your competitors and you can uncover areas of opportunity for your organization to stand out and be different from them. Learn what platforms are most successful in reaching your target persona for the campaign and personalise your activities to grab their attention and solve their problems.
7. Start scaling up your martech to execute content
Whether it’s Pardot, InfusionSoft, HubSpot, Marketo or Act-On or any other, they’re worth having a look at. Before diving into execution mode, make sure you have a firm understanding of your target market. Who are they and what kind of content and experiences do they demand? Whether you analyse audience activity or evaluate how your internal teams leverage sales collateral, you must use your marketing technologies to inform your audience decisions. From here, you can take advantage of personalization capabilities across your favourite tools.
Moving from ad hoc posts to martech enabled content leaves your marketing resource to spend more time on things like research, strategy and service development. It also makes your blogging and content production more effective with a higher ROI. According to Hubspot, the martech platform, B2B companies that blog 11+ times (yes, 11!) per month have almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. These blogs are SEO-focused and optimised, intended to rank well on search engines, increase traffic and address their audience’s biggest challenges. They are often backed up by more premium content such as ebooks, which convert that traffic into leads for the business to nurture into clients and customers.
Lack of strategy and investment is the primary reason why online content fails to achieve the desired result. Pouring milk over someone’s head is unlikely to be the answer to your own business growth challenges, but do consider some new creative appropriate to bring your brand to life as part of your B2B growth strategy…. and go beyond the worthy.
How Fire NBM can assist you with prospect and account based marketing:
· BRAND INSIGHT, POSITIONING AND PROPOSITION DEVELOPMENT
Our experienced researchers conduct brand perception surveys, insight programmes and phone interviews for businesses to discover what challenges their prospects and existing clients face, what they are looking for in service and product providers and how they make their buying decisions. Our strategic marketers and creatives then bring this to life!
· CREATIVE DEMAND GENERATION Fire NBM works with companies to develop B2B prospect personas, content marketing strategies, brand propositions, campaigns and creative execution. We assist clients to optimise the best mix of outbound and inbound techniques to drive new business growth and our social media specialists ensure messaging and content works well across all digital media, with our our content team including qualified journalists.
· PR AND MEDIA IMPLEMENTATION We plan and implement the optimal mix of digital and offline media for integrated, multi-channel, inbound and outbound campaigns, making your B2B business growth initiatives more productive in terms of new leads and ROI.