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The Future of B2B Marketing is Now

Are you maximizing digital to drive your business forward in the current environment? Many B2B companies have been sluggish to adopt emerging digital marketing and sales approaches in recent years. The past several weeks have brought dramatic changes in many ways. No doubt about it, people are thinking differently and behaving differently. Trends will continue to shift in the coming months. One thing is clear: activity on digital devices and channels is up. Companies need to embrace opportunities to capture, nurture, and close customers via digital channels. The businesses that assess now and act decisively will have a tremendous opportunity to innovate and evolve how they connect with their target audiences in meaningful and fruitful ways.

Let’s explore challenges and opportunities across three below categories: audience behavior, the sales funnel, and websites.

Audience behavior

 

Challenge

We know we are in an environment with severely reduced in person and group meetings. New business budget dollars are being shifted, and pitching in person at the office and networking after hours is not happening. Trade shows and conferences have been cancelled. Even so, we know that we need to continue pitching and networking in the present moment. Connecting with decisions makers and nurturing them throughout the sales journey will be occurring more and more in digital environments. Preparing accordingly now will position you to thrive in the coming months.

March 2020 reallocation of marketing budgets

Opportunities

        1. Virtual Presentations – how can you better prepare to pitch via web conferencing platforms like Zoom to new prospects and nurture current clients via email and social to their next purchase? Tighten up slides in your presentations. Less copy. Bigger fonts. More impactful visuals. Utilize charts, graphics, and imagery to depict your narrative as you verbalize it to your audience.
        2. Webinars, live streams – in lieu of speaking engagements and group presentations, host an online presentation where you invite members of your existing network. Or attempt to reach beyond your current network by promoting across social platforms to capture a new audience.
        3. Social media – Just like the rest of the world, B2B decision makers are spending more time online, inclusive of social media. This fact provides increased opportunities to create connections via posts, shares, and engagements on LinkedIn as prospects and clients are consuming the latest in industry articles and trends. There are opportunities across other social channels as well. Facebook and Instagram are important, but for those just getting into the game LinkedIn would be where you should start.

 

Today’s sales funnel

 

Challenge

As behavior has changed, ways in which we are able fill and nurture our sales funnels have changed. In this new environment, how do we start relationships with decision makers that we may not be able to meet with in person? How do we develop trust and gain commitments through primarily digital communication methods? How do we find new audiences to expose to our products and services while also still nurturing those that are aware of our offerings?

Marketing Sales Funnel

Opportunities

      1. Upper funnel awareness – We must continue feeding the top of the funnel and do so in a more targeted way than ever before. We want to strive to put the best quality in our funnel, so we are not wasting time with junk leads. Whether you go for an account-based marketing approach or target specific industries based on job titles and interests, there are plenty of opportunities to target at scale across the web. Leveraging your 1st party data to creative look alike models of your best customers is a great way to drive potential buyers with the strongest ROI.
      2. Nurturing – Once you drive traffic and engagement to your website and social channels, be prepared to nurture them. Nurturing can happen in a variety of ways across a multitude of digital channels. Video is thriving and here to stay, but more on that later. Retargeting your audience through digital video, display, and audio are all options. Bring users back to your site to consume more video, step-by-step infographics, invitations to webinars, native ads promotions, recent case studies/white papers, or touting client testimonials. Your best approach is producing quality content consistently that your audience values and continues to return to consume. E-newsletters offer up the opportunity to exchange contact information for content that means something to the user. Test, learn, and repeat when it comes to understanding what brings people back to your page for more.
      3. Video, video, video – Video is key right now. You need to figure out how to generate and deploy volume in the coming months. Digital video streaming consumption has exploded over the past two months. Users are expecting video content and gravitate to it more than other forms. Users on social are more likely to stop scrolling when encountering video compared to static images or copy only posts. Seek efficient ways to develop video content at scale that can be deployed across platforms, geared to drive users to act.
      4. Lower funnel efficiencies – effective organic and paid search provides the opportunity to capture some low hanging fruit based on keywords that fall squarely in your wheelhouse of products/services provided. Understanding your current SEO and paid search performance is crucial. Optimizing for conversions and website actions will lead to more relevant users landing on your site. Know what your target audiences are looking for on search. Understand it and develop content to answer their questions.

 

Website

 

Challenge

Interactions previously occurring in person are shifting more and more to the digital space. Users expect to be able to find sites relevant to their needs and to be able navigate sites seamlessly across devices from desktop to mobile. Is your site prepared to drive traffic and maximize these increased digital touchpoints? Are you consistently evaluating your site and its performance via Google Analytics and other measurement platforms that can provide insights?

Consumer Journey Digital Marketing

Opportunities

      1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO exercises can be extremely key to understanding what your audience is looking for online and the content you need to deliver to them on your website. Understanding search behavior is a key that allows you to develop captivating content. Knowing specific keywords your audience is querying is key to developing content that they will care about. If you don’t have a solid grasp on what is driving web traffic, better yet converting web traffic, then get a team member or partner to dig into Google Analytics, Google Ads, or SEM Rush to share what queries are bringing users to your site and what content they are spending time consuming.
      2. User Experience (UX) – Improving website user experience is easier to say than do. In simple terms, can the user find what they came for as they navigate your site? Are you providing clear direction that directs a user’s journey on your site? Tell them exactly what they need to do to take the next step in their decision-making journey. Make your lead forms highly visible, short, and simple to complete. The goal is to reduce any potential friction across your site a user could experience, from load times to navigation bars. Put users in position to move down your sales funnel to a purchase decision.
      3. Maximize your website content – How is your website and social media channels educating, differentiating, and communicating value when traffic lands on your site? Ask what can be done near term and where do you need to focus long term for success in the future? Adding recent and relevant case studies, client testimonials, blogs, and additional content aimed to resonate with your target audiences. Be prepared to track your website user traffic to see where users are spending time and finding value in your content. This provides an opportunity to learn and create more content that your audience is engaging with. Use content to keep users on your site once they arrive, nurturing them towards a contact touch point and purchase decision.

     

 

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