50 Experts Reveal the Best B2B Marketing Strategies in 2017
by Mike Khorev
If you are looking for sound business development strategies, there is no greater way to promote yourself than with digital marketing.
There are over 1 billion websites in the world, with more being created by the second. This means that every second, there are web pages being made that are competing for the visitors that you want.
A strong digital strategy can be the difference between a successful business and a bankrupt one. If you are in charge of a small to medium sized company and want to grow your online business, here are the best tips from the industry leaders and professionals on what’s working in 2017.
Melih Oztalay – smartfindsmarketing.com
CEO of a 30 year old marketing agency and we have been in the digital space for 25 years now. For the past 13 years we are 100% digital. You will find that I am a guest author with different publications like Search Engine Journal. I get called to conferences as a guest speaker and radio shows call me as a subject matter expert.
The strategies we employ with our B2B clients is an Inbound Marketing Strategy using the website’s marketing (including blog posts), content marketing, and social media marketing. With Social Media Marketing we focus heavily on LinkedIn. In order to make LinkedIn effective you have to complete daily activities and develop relationships. The activities I would suggest to focus on in LinkedIn can be found with the attached image of 30 LinkedIn triggers.
Steph Taylor – wearewildbloom.com
Steph Taylor is a corporate misfit turned health and wellness entrepreneur and digital marketing guru. She is the founder and director of health and wellness marketing agency, Wildbloom.
B2B marketing should be viewed as one big picture, not as individual tasks in isolation. Focusing solely on one channel won’t give you the results you’re after. You need to combine multiple channels into your sales funnel.
Content marketing: Content in the form of blog posts, guest posts, videos and podcasts are all fantastic ways to position yourself as an expert in your industry. Podcasting is a highly effective way to reach other businesses and create a meaningful connection with a large audience, as they have you in their ears with them for up to an hour at a time. Content will also drive your marketing efforts through other channels.
Social media: Instagram and Facebook are less effective at generating awareness with B2B than with B2C, however it can be worth maintaining a presence on these platforms. Linkedin and Twitter are both very effective ways of reaching B2B customers, particularly by sharing authoritative content.
Paid Linkedin advertising: Linkedin allows you to target people based on the company or industry they work at, which means you can get your content in front of the key decision makers at target businesses.
SEO: It can take a while to achieve any meaningful results, but SEO will provide high quality traffic to your website as the visitors are actively searching for what you have to offer. A successful SEO strategy is highly dependent on the content being created and shared on your website.
Adwords: Like SEO, this provides traffic that is actively looking for what your business has to offer. This works best in conjunction with an offer that will allow you to capture the lead’s details and progress them to the next stage in the marketing funnel.
Email: Once you’ve got the lead in your system, you need to nurture them. Email marketing allows you to automate this stage.
Retargeting advertisements: Facebook and Linkedin advertisements are a great way to retarget people who have visited your website. This is a good way to remind a potential customer of your products and push them across the conversion line.
Sophie Livingston – kickstartcontent.com
Sophie Livingston is a writer specialising in B2B blog posts. She also teaches content marketing to freelancers.
Having a clearly defined niche and a strategy for targeting that niche is crucial if you want to cut through crowded online spaces. The number one tactic I both use and recommend for building strong relationships with loyal clients is email marketing.
To build a worthwhile email list who you can market to, start by publishing quality blog posts that provide added value and speak directly to your audience. Then, use these posts and the organic traffic they generate to promote relevant free resources that are made available following email subscription.
The subscribers you’ll gain will be qualified leads. You’ll know they’re interested in your services and – if they appreciated your free resources – they’ll be open to learning more about what you have to offer.
Natalie Athanasiadis – digitalvisibilitygroup.com
The head of digital in Melbourne for Digital Visibility Group (digitalvisibilitygroup.com)
The best strategy any organisation can adopt is to not have a channel preference, rather they should use a customised combination of all digital channels to smash their goals. Start by identifying your short term, medium term and long term goals. Conversion rate optimisation is one of the most under-used yet effective tools any business can use. Many digital marketers focus on metrics that you can’t take to the bank, such as impressions and clicks. What we suggest is you develop a plan that focuses on customer acquisition while not putting all your eggs in one basket.
Larissa Pickens – floatdesign.com
What really works for B2B Marketing?: In our design studio, we love experimenting with new ways to attract qualified B2B leads. While social media is arguably the most trendy and fun, we’ve found it difficult to reach decision makers through those channels. We’ve scaled back our efforts to focus primarily on LinkedIn. The longer, less glamorous route of content marketing is where we’ve seen the best results. Usually those leads come to us already interested in working together and it becomes more about defining the scope of the project than selling per se. I’m sure this varies by industry, but service-based businesses should consider making the long-term investment in sharing their expertise with content creation.
Cyril Lemaire – traktekpartners.com
Managing Director of Traktek Partners, a full-service B2B digital marketing agency based in Boston.
Implementing website user identification and tracking technology and feeding visitor behavior back into our client’s customer databases has helped them to prioritize lead follow and increase sales conversion rates. By focusing the sales team on the right leads and arming them with intelligence on what the leads were looking at and browsing on their site, our clients have achieved record sales volume and recaptured what would have otherwise been lost customers.
Website analytics tools such as Google Analytics have evolved quickly, become highly robust in functionality and in 2017 I anticipate this will continue. I expect Google will come out with new enhancements to Google Analytics to help companies drive more engagement online, increase leads through their websites and provide B2B users with a more customized user experience.
Social media advertising through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest will continue to grow as companies realize their audiences are more engaged on social than other digital marketing avenues. However, I predict Twitter will experience double digit decline in active users, become irrelevant to advertisers, and will get bought by another digital media company.
There will be a growing trend in personalized display & intelligent B2B online marketing through the use of session and user identification tracking technologies. As marketers find it more difficult to engage prospects through email marketing, it will be important to drive interest through re-targeting and capturing user online behavior to inform targeted display advertising.
Steven Dubin – PRWorkZone.com
STEVEN V. DUBIN, president of PR WORKS, knows the news business. His newspaper career started by covering the Boston Celtics for the New Bedford
Standard Times, Steve and Larry Bird shared rookie years. From there Steve progressed to editing and marketing positions in several publishing companies, including Mariner Newspapers.
Here are some trends we see, in particular to B-B marketing
Our PR/Marketing clients tell us that they dont give a damn what channel
we use, they just want new CUSTOMERS.
LinkedIn is much misunderstood. Considered a panacea by some and a nuisance by others.
You probably have a LinkedIn profile. You also probably question why. Maybe because everyone else seems to have one as well.
The real VALUE of LinkedIn? Two components groups and the sales funnel.
Yes, groups within LinkedIn can help you target your niche audiences. For example, one of our clients manufactures green products used in residential and commercial building and renovation. As a relatively small company, they don’t have the budget for a major media advertising campaign or other big-ticket rollouts. How do they reach their core prospects and referral sources?
Right. LinkedIn is among the tools we are helping them access. They’ve tapped into LinkedIn’s robust array of groups specifically formed for facility directors, commercial real estate investors, green building leaders, etc.
With a bit of research, we helped our client join these groups. The next step is to post news, research and other information to these groups on a regular basis. Another way to connect is to START discussions with a question or ask for feedback.
Our client continues to expand their relevance, visibility and viability to key prospects.
LINKEDIN SALES FUNNEL:
The LinkedIn Sales Funnel and drip campaign develops warm leads upon developing a know, like and trust relationship with a targeted group.
- Taking LinkedIn from passive to PROACTIVE the reason for the Microsoft merger
- Create a System vs. Serendipity
- LinkedIn profile enhancement Maximize to emphasize benefits.
- Prospect profile development Choose Title, geography, industry, etc.
- Expand core connections Friend 5 Connection requests per day.
- Draft Messaging System A multi-touch drip of 4 6 touches
- Conversations to conversions On the fourth contact request a 10 minute phone call or coffee meeting to determine how you can help each other.
- Export LinkedIn contact to Email
Ian Wright – britishbusinessenergy.co.uk
Founder of British Business Energy – an energy comparison service.
In 2017, I think paid Google search (PPC) remains far and away the best marketing channel for any B2B brand, especially those just starting out.
You can get started quickly and see how your various ads/landing pages perform.My number one tip is to make sure you budget for losing money off the bat. You want to get ads up quickly, to start finding out conversion rates. This means setting your CPC spend well above what you’d likely want to see in the long run.A second tip is to track conversion rates based on ad positions, I worked with one company that upped all its bids to position #1 and saw its conversion rate more than double! Often people who click on the first result are in a hurry to find a solution to their issue so are more willing to buy.
Michael Shearer – selecthub.com
Partnering with 3rd Party Industry Resources: Having managed marketing programs at multiple B2B companies, working with 3rd party companies that provide industry research, lead generation and other vendor/buyer relationship tools should be a de facto practice for any B2B company, especially software companies/resellers. These industry resources often outrank vendors organically and generate the bulk of search traffic – B2B companies have to tap into this channel.
Consider it at least a practice in extending your SEO efforts beyond just your company website. Here’s a good article explaining this piece as well:
Danyal Effendi – purevpn.com
Danyal is a Digital Marketing Professional with 6+ year’s global experience. He is currently working at PureVPN as Digital Marketing Manager.
The must to adopt digital marketing strategy for B2B companies in 2017 is the Marketing Automation. It helps in the alignment of sales and marketing team. Through automation, sales team can be provided all the available information about the customer in real time that helps them in closing more leads.
The best way to implement marketing automation includes customer segmentation, A/B Testing and drip emails. B2B Companies can develop detailed customer profiles on the basis of data and can gain better understanding of their potential customers. With the help of marketing automation B2B companies can learn about their target users through web pages, email, online forms, paid and social campaigns. They can be able to understand what there need is and what type of content they like. Different segments and persona can be created, which help in engaging more leads with sales team. Through A/B testing, marketers can discover which thing is working for which persona or segmentation.
Using the data from marketing automation, and analyzing with ROI from recent campaigns, companies can optimize marketing campaigns and align with the sales team to generated more engagement and conversions.
Lindsey Havens – phishlabs.com
Lindsey Havens is the Senior Marketing Manager with over 10 years of experience in Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Lead Nurturing/Generation, and Analytics. With a unique blend of marketing and communications experience coupled with a background in behavioral and situational analysis, she brings metrics-driven results and the ability to focus sales and marketing efforts in a direction that offers the highest potential for long-term, sustainable growth.
There are some great digital marketing tools that can help B2B’s in their marketing strategies. Google Trends allows you see the latest trends, data, plus visualizations on what’s trending in your area right now. It’s a great option for planning a strategy when starting a business, researching competitors, or when you are creating a new campaign. Another tool worth mastering is Ahrefs Site Explorer, a SEO tracker you can use to see exactly where your competitors traffic is coming from. You can see their ranking for specific keywords in Google Search, and exactly how many backlinks are going to their site. Their “Content Explorer” allows you to find the most shared content on the web as well.
Keith Baumwald – leverag.com
Keith is a B2B marketer with over 10 years of experience working with agencies, startups and large corporates and has been working as an independent consultant for the past 2 years in New York, London and Berlin.
Facebook lead ads
Lead ads are one of the newer and least utilized ad formats on Facebook. They are especially valuable for those in the B2B space. The real advantage of using Facebook Lead Ads is the ability for potential leads to fill out a form within Facebook without having to click through to a lead generation form on an external website. Facebook will also pre-fill the users’ information (name, email, phone, etc.), so the amount of friction involved to complete the form is greatly reduced. I have seen clients reduce their cost per lead by as much as 300% without a drop in the quality of leads. In addition, Facebook’s platform allows companies to automatically import their leads directly into other CRM tools like Mailchimp, Zapier and Salesforce.
Bottom line: With a mix of good ad copy and targeting, B2B companies can dramatically reduce their cost per lead while taking advantage of this still relatively new channel.
Brianna Valleskey – braveinkdetroit.weebly.com
Brianna executed B2B marketing strategies for tech companies both in the midwest and in Silicon Valley.
Best actionable tips for B2B marketing in 2017 and beyond:
Messaging: You must clearly define what your business does and how it will help the businesses of your target customers. I get countless emails from polite sales people who want to tell me about their product or service; they say they can help my business (usually with some combination of buzzwords including predictable revenue, maximum ROI, and low-hanging fruit.), but never actually explain how their product or service works. Clear communication is key. Take the time to effectively craft what your company does, how it does it and why it does it. Human brains love stories. They will be much more likely to resonate with your pitch if your can give them an authentic, articulate story to follow. When your messaging is clear, your sales go up. You should be able to explain how your company helps other companies in 1-2 sentences. If you can’t, hire someone who can.
SEO & Content: If you have a website – and you want people to find it – you must format the pages for search engine optimization. Find long-tail keywords that you want to target, then utilize them in the meta data, page headers and body copy. Start a blog on your website. This not only helps you tell the story of your company, but blogs with educational content and practical advice provide immense value for your customers and prospects. The more quality content you have, the better your website will rank on search engines. If you don’t bolster your website with SEO and content, I’m sure your competitors will.
Thought Leadership: This is the most powerful point of leverage for B2B companies today. Being a thought leader builds your credibility as a company and as an expert in your industry or field. Make connections with industry publications and offer to write editorials or guest articles. Create value for your industry and the greater public by sharing your expertise. A very effective way to do this is to analyze the data from your own product or service and then use it to tell a story. For example, if your company offers a dialer system for sales teams, you could collect data on the average amount of time sales reps spend on the phone. Then write a press release about your findings to send out over a newswire; offer to write posts for industry blogs about your findings and how people can use the data; and reach out to upcoming conferences or events to see if you can participate in a breakout session or panel where you can share the data and educate people about what you learned from it.
Mike Khorev – braveinkdetroit.weebly.com
Mike helps small and mid-size businesses drive leads, increase sales and grow revenue online. He designs, develops and executes integrated digital marketing campaigns across paid, social, organic and digital channels.
Using Automation to Increase B2B marketing ROI
We use Dynamics CRM and Click Dimension to automate lead nurturing. Aside from saving marketing and sales from repetitive tasks like following up, data entry and email marketing, we also were able to improve ROI and increase MILs to MQL conversion rate. There are few tactics that are very common in email nurturing and yet still so many marketers overlook those:
Follow-up sequence that builds upon the content they’ve read on the site or assets they downloaded. We include a call to action to bring them back to our site to watch a webinar or read the use case. Develop separate follow-up sequences for different personas — one for prospects and one for customers — because the focus changes after their first purchase. Think of the experience you want each visitor to have before and after they make a purchase or become your customer.
Setup and monitor lead scoring that tracks every prospect’s action on the site, email opens and clicks and digital assets downloads. Once the leads hit a Lead Score threshold, pass them to the sales team for a call, chat, and closure.
These are simple in principle and at the same time remarkably powerful when taken together. It will help to nurture your new-found leads into customers, and once that happens, upsell/cross-sell with more products and services!
Chris Allen – firmtree.com
Founder of Firmtree as well as a digital marketer with 8 years experience in with B2B marketing.
Digital marketing in 2017 should start with developing personas for the target markets. A thorough analysis will reveal data on items such as firmographic trends, pain points that customers experience, features that they’re seeking, service expectations they have, familiarity with the product or service being offered and how soon they may purchase.
Next keyword research should be performed to understand what queries users are making in search engines. These keywords should be prioritized by search volume and opportunity they present to bring in a qualified web visitor.
Armed with personas and keyword research a marketer can begin to develop a strong content marketing campaign. The content should answer questions users have, speak to their pain points, and have a strong call to action to get the users further into the funnel.
Don Traxler – RevSpark.io
One of the most successful and most untapped B2B marketing techniques for 2017 and beyond is the *combination of Reverse IP Identification combined with LinkedIn Outreach*. This is still a very untapped method, and works like a charm. Imagine being able to identify the company name that has been visiting your client’s site, and then taking that information to reverse search for applicable people within the company on LinkedIn who could have possibly been the person visiting the site. Since this shows their intent for your services, connecting on LinkedIn with a quick hello can immediately start the sales process on these leads. It’s a win-win!
Linda Pophal – stratcommunications.com
I believe the best strategy for B2B companies would be the same as for any company, in any industry, of any size–and also the same for companies engaged in traditional marketing. Despite the advent of the Internet and various online social channels for companies and individuals to get the word out about their products and services, the basic fundamentals of marketing, or advertising, have not changed. You could literally pick up any textbook written on the subject, regardless of the publication date, and would still find the basic principles to be relevant today. One of my favorite books is Ogilvy on Advertising which was first published in 1983.
The steps in the development of the best strategy are:
– Select and learn everything you can about the target audience (those who are in a position to make a buy/no buy decision relative to your product/service) you hope to connect and compel to some desired action.
– Analyze the competitive landscape – what are the other alternatives to your product/service that your target audience has to choose from?
– Determine how you will position what you have to offer relative to your competitors – you don’t want to *copy*/be the same as your competitors, you want to find, and claim, a position that will be *better than* your competition in some way that is meaningful to your audience based on what you’ve determined (through your research) is important to them.
– Choose the channels you will use to reach your audience. In this case, we’re talking about digital channels so, generally, this will include your website which would be the hub of your activity. Everything else you do will be designed to drive traffic to your website to generate some desired action. The other channels should be selected based on both the audience they reach and the state of mind the audience is in when the message is presented. For instance, although Facebook has the largest audience of the social media channels, it sends to be a very social social media site.
When people engage with Facebook they’re generally in a personal, rather than professional, state of mind. Consequently, Facebook is generally not the best channel for B2B marketers. LinkedIn, on the other hand, despite its smaller audience, is a good place to reach business people who engage with this channel primarily from a professional standpoint. Pew Research has studied the various channels and offers very useful information on the demographics of their users.
– Finally, measure and monitor the success of your various efforts. There are a wide range of analytics, and analytics tools, you can use to do this. Make sure you’re using them and continually making adjustments to your marketing and advertising efforts to focus on what works best *for you*. There is no one size fits all strategy.
Thomas Wooldridge – thomaswooldridge.com
Sneaky trick: Here is a little trick that works extremely well. The major difference from B2C to B2B is your potential client is often mentioned on public media.. Look up your industry trade papers, blogs, social media, and read up on people or companies that are being featured. See if there is any information you can use as a way to communicate with them. Often times there is a call to action that can provide direct emails, phone, or even social media contact info. The most effective method is read on their particular pain point or any other difficult problems they are currently working. Then simply mention how you have the solution to their issues. This way your leads are not cold but warm. Knowing your leads and trying to build rapport without actually meeting them will greatly increase your chances of converting them into sales.
Allen Greer – fuzeinc.com
The founder and lead digital strategist at FUZE Digital -Miami-based full-service digital marketing agency serving clients around the globe.
One of my favorite B2B tactics for gaining new leads was brought to my attention by Gary Vaynerchuk. Surprisingly it’s a cold email tactic but if done correctly it really works. We’ve tested this approach with several of our B2B clients.
*Here’s the approach:*
Most cold emails make two key mistakes. 1) the content is self-centered and does too much boasting about the sender, instead of the value it brings to the prospect. 2) the target is often a busy person who will rarely open cold emails: CEO, Founder, etc.
Using Gary’s approach, it’s far more powerful to: 1) focus your content on value. for example, send a strong case study that shows how your product helped another company. 2) target lower level execs like marketing directors or managers who are eager to impress their CEOs by helping the company grow.
Lead off the email with a statement like, Does your CEO know… and fill in the blank with the value your product offers and link to a video or case study. Make the email short and sweet and close with a polite request for 15 minutes to discuss how your product or service can benefit your target.
David Hunter – epicwebstudios.com
Local search with Google My Business is the best price on the web, it’s free. For small, local businesses, this tool is essential and simple to setup but has great deal of impact. We mandate clients to use GMB and assist them with setup. Google Adwords is superb for return on investment. Google has been top boss in the Pay-Per-Click game for almost 20 years, now. They know how effective their flagship product is and they want you to pay for the privilege. Fortunately for everyone, every single detail can be tracked, measured and reported upon. If you have the knowledge of and stomach for real-time bidding, AdWords will kill it for your project and bring proven ROI in just a few days.
Additionally, email marketing is still working harder and racking up consistent wins. Other than GMB, email marketing is one of the best values on the internet: it can be targeted, timed and delivered to specific audiences with precise messaging to obtain stellar results.
Kyle Golding – thegoldinggroup.com
The best approach is to a successful digital marketing campaign today is Push/Pull Market Influence: Push your differentiation message out via digital/social marketing channels and then Pull in feedback, buy-in and loyalty from your audience by listening, engaging and creating relationships. This two-way conversation is much more relational and collaborative than transactional. Push/Pull Market Influence is a slower process but develops deeper, more loyal audiences who are more likely to become repeat consumers, brand influencers and ambassadors. When you reach that level of marketing relationship, the Push is less important (lower external cost) and the Pull (increased internal effort) becomes very powerful. The benefit to a business is you can control brand image by staying true what got you to this point: being authentically who you are and actively listening to/engaging with your audience. All factors you have complete control of.
Olga Kołodyńska – livechatinc.com
Marketing Specialist at LiveChat
We truly believe SEO is one of the best online strategies when it comes to promoting your content and generating traffic for your website. Since we’ve decided to focus on SEO, our blog has reached 100,000 views. Some people may think that writing content with a specific keyword in mind is pointless, but I think it’s pointless to write a content that nobody will read. Choosing the right keywords, using related ones, describing pictures in your post and creating engaging titles are the basic principles to succeed in content marketing and rank high in Google.
Email marketing is one of the most effective tools out there. Once your customers decide they want to get your emails, you’re halfway to winning their hearts and gaining their loyalty.
The biggest value in email marketing is that you can segment your subscribers and send them personalized campaigns. I remember one time when we wanted to share the results of Customer Service Report 2015 with our customers. It brought up to date on current customer service trends in different industries. But who wants to read the results from Automotive industry when they work in Education, right? That’s why we created a newsletter “Did you beat the Average Customer Service in 2015?” and segmented it to different industries. Each industry got the information that actually concerned them. We increased open rate from 11% to 25%.
William Gadea – idearocketanimation.com
William Gadea is the Founder and Creative Director of IdeaRocket, a maker of animated videos for business.
Video is highly impactful on paid social media, but many companies are still not realizing that because of mobile and open office environments, 85% of video views are without sound. When they put up their narration-heavy home page video without captions they wonder why it doesn’t get results. To really take advantage of your social media buy you need to use text to convey your message. Captions are of course one answer, but a better response is to really integrate text into your video by using a kinetic typography style where the animation of the text takes center stage, and characters or other elements are just playing a supporting role. If you do that, your Facebook video won’t need clicking or sound to really do its job for you.
Jennifer Winter – degree53.com
Marketing manager at Degree 53
B2B marketing needs a slightly different approach to B2C, as there may be less instant transactions and companies need to build trust with their clients, which takes some time. B2B requires more persuasion and building brand awareness.
It’s important to be clear on the business objectives, which will be the foundation for all marketing activities. These will depend on what stage the company is at – building brand awareness, lead generation, recruitment, forming partnerships or changing the company image. It could be a mix of a few goals, so it’s important to make sure each activity is relevant and will be suitable to achieve that goal.
As behind every business are real people, it’s important to keep your communication human and make sure they can relate to it. To make it easier for your team, you need to define your customer profiles and who your target audience is. Is it the CEO or the product manager? Is it the CIO or a marketing manager? Many companies fail to define the decision makers personae and make their messaging too generic. Smaller product issues won’t be important to CEOs, however how your products and services can solve bigger problems will. Make sure to tailor your messaging according to these profiles, highlighting the benefits of your services/products and how they address their challenges.
Email: Segment your audiences to make your activities more targeted and specific to the recipients. This will show higher open rate and conversion.
Paid advertising: choose the (trade) publications your clients read and also appear in (if similar industries). There are lots of industry-specific magazines and websites that can help with a range of advertising opportunities online and offline. Adverts and banners work well for brand awareness, but hosting reports or webinars with the help of those channels will help you with getting more targeted leads. Also, banner ads tend to perform better when they’re part of an email newsletter than on a website. They go directly to people’s inboxes and there’s a bigger chance of CTR.
Swapnil Bhagwat – orchestrate.com
Swapnil Bhagwat is Senior Manager – Design & Digital Media and implementing digital, social, marketing, design and web strategies for the group companies. He is an MBA graduate with work experience in the US, UK and Europe. Swapnil has worked for more than a decade across a range of businesses for the global markets.
The foremost task is to define a digital marketing mission which should fit into the grand marketing plan. The overriding objective that you want to accomplish through digital marketing should be defined which is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). The realistic KPIs for achieving the predefined mission should be ascertained for them to be specific and measurable. Ascertain the methods to identify each KPIs. Assess the competitors’ strategies for content, SEO, and social media. Formulate a strategy that suits your mission and break it into short term goals.
The next task is to identify the target customers and to develop a customer persona. Understand their preferences, pain points, problems, and the questions they want to be answered from their age, gender, education, and location. Dig deeper through Audience Reports of Google Analytics to identify and understand the characteristics of the persona of your target customers. Define the total budget allocated to run the digital marketing campaign. Select the channels of communication you want to use for the fulfillment of your mission. Take the help of analytics to optimize the
KPIs. Run the digital marketing campaigns and analyze the results periodically and adjust your strategies to optimize results.
Keli Wells – verylargebits.com
Co-founder of Very Large Bits, a dynamic video rendering service for the marketing industry.
Dynamic video is especially effective for B2B businesses interested in adopting an account based marketing strategy because it empowers businesses to personalize their brand strategy by targeting individual customers and micro-segments with unique viewer-specific videos catered to each client’s needs and interests.
The dramatic increase in customer engagement shown through views, likes, clicks, and shares of personalized marketing campaigns has proven to be a very effective and cost-efficient tool for authentically connecting with clients and rapidly growing brand awareness. Marketers also avoid the latest ad blockers by integrating their creative content and brand placement directly into each dynamic video.
Nick Leffler – exprance.com
A comprehensive strategy is the best way to reach new clients for a B2B company. A comprehensive strategy means combining many different methods of digital marketing to achieve results. To reach B2B clients, you’ll have to reach the people who make decisions with content that’s valuable to them.
A blend of great content and lead magnets with landing pages, email, and social promotion can have a huge impact over time. Not only will they have a huge impact on how you reach clients but they will continue to work after the heavy lifting is done. By creating helpful content and building trust will help you with the final sale and understanding if the client is right for your product or service.
Joe Mulvihill – jna-advertising.com
User experience (UX) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) are two of the most important digital marketing strategies to maximize the value of your B2B efforts. Ensuring your website is easy to navigate and your information is engaging and easily digestible will lead to improved website performance, and will cut through the noise that often bombards your target audience. A/B testing is another great way to move the needle and identify ways to incrementally increase the output of your digital campaigns. I recommend always having a test active, whether it be landing page oriented, ad copy, or design element testing.
Content customization is an especially important digital marketing strategy in 2017 and beyond as you try to grow your traffic and reach. Content feeds into all your digital campaigns, so the messaging strategy is especially critical in B2B situations. Be cognizant that everyone is busy, so capturing attention is critical. This target is different from consumers–they are the subject-matter experts who can often see through flowery marketing gimmicks. It’s important to be succinct, save them time, and demonstrate how your product or service can directly benefit them. Carrying that messaging strategy into your social media promotion and landing page strategy for paid search is key. Keep it simple but balanced to arm them with enough information to make solid business decisions.
Adam White – seojet.net
The most effective way to do SEO in 2017 and beyond is to first make sure your business builds brand trust with Google. This means you need to build a lot of links to your homepage that use your brand name or some version of your URL as the anchor text. This is so critical because once Google trusts you as a brand, it is so much easier to get top rankings on your inner pages. Those that are stuck on page 2-4 of Google usually fail to move up to page one because they have not built enough brand trust. If you look at the big brands online (Amazon, Apple etc) they all have one very similar trait. 80%-95% of their homepage links have their brand or their URL as the anchor text. Google loves big brands and so your focus needs to be to copy the homepage backlink profile of the big brands and let Google know that your brand should be lumped in with them as well.
Deborah Sweeney – mycorporation.com
One of the most successful SEO strategies a company can implement is to create strong content for your website and beyond. Write content for your site, have others write content about your business, and write content about others that make you an expert in the industry. Link back to pages on your site so that you can generate interest to more than just the homepage. Build depth around your site and the content with deeper links to generate strong, natural traffic. Make sure you’re focusing on developing content that relates to keywords and search terms relevant to your industry and that a consumer would use to search for a company like yours. If you don’t already know what these words are, do some research to determine which words consumers are using to find you and then use those keywords in your content and social media strategy.
Charlotte O’Hara – charlotteohara.ca
In 2017 and beyond, businesses should ramp up their video content as part of their digital marketing strategies. Whether you run a lean, one-person business or are the head of a larger corporation, nearly every business will see better engagement from video content. We’re seeing more of this across social media through Instagram Stories (RIP SnapChat) and Facebook Lives, as these are a great way to connect with the business’ audience and humanize the brand. Another great way to incorporate wide content in digital marketing strategy is through live workshops and webinars. Whether you offer a service or a product, these live video events are a great way to promote your offerings and increase sales. You can promote these webinars to your email list, on social media, and through your website.
Bryan Koontz – guidefitter.com
Bryan has an extensive marketing background and has founded several successful companies over the past couple decades.
As digital marketing and SEO continues to grow, the mantra “content is king” is preached by marketers and agencies alike. However, this need to constantly produce can strain business workflow and diminish the end product. Because of this, I see digital marketing shifting towards a greater incorporation of user-generated content (UGC) over the next five years.
Here at Guidefitter we’ve created the Braggin’ Wall which allows our users to share their recent hunts and favorite photos with our online community of hunters and outfitters. We’ve found that when users post their photos to our Braggin’ Wall, or upvote someone else’s pictures, they often share these finds with their other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. This has had an unprecedented expansion on our reach and organic visibility, both from social media and traditional search engines.
Michael Mignogna – minyona.com
CEO of Minyona, a digital marketing agency based in Baltimore, MD, but serving clients nationally. I specialize in SEO according to Google’s best practices, centered around strong content written for human beings. I pride myself on being able to communicate, in layman’s terms, what digital marketing is, what it isn’t, and whether or not it might be beneficial for businesses of all kinds.
This may seem completely counterproductive for a digital marketer to say, but the best digital marketing strategy is ridiculously amazing customer service. If you want to get business online, SEO and advertising may bring new clients to your website, but if, once they’re on your website, they don’t get that social validation that comes from having amazing reviews, you simply won’t experience amazing ROI. There are many companies out there that businesses can hire to help them obtain more reviews and showcase them beautifully on their websites. One of our clients uses Broadly, and it works very nicely and looks great too. The bottom line is this: Get good reviews and showcase them on your website. A good digital marketing agency can advise you in terms of how to make that happen.
Beth Adan – threegirlsmedia.com
Senior Publicist & Graphic Designer at Three Girls Media, a public relations and digital marketing firm.
Increase Local Engagement by Using Location Tags: *Instagram allows you to tag photos taken from a specific geographic area. When you use this, customers can see that you are a local business and you are more likely to be found when users are searching for images in their location. Create a hashtag to use with your images as you snap photos around your community.
If you already know of hashtags or are attending an event, make note of these to use with your Instagram images.Make a Connection by Showcasing Local Landmarks: *To show your local customers that you are part of their community, share photos that show landmarks that are easily recognizable in your area. Part of your marketing strategy should be community involvement, and Instagram goes hand in hand with this. Snap photos of your team doing community service projects, use hashtags and tag your location for maximum visibility.
James McCarthy – boldtask.com
CEO of Boldtask, a web design and marketing agency located in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida.
I believe that high quality SEO activities can generate improved rankings for keywords I care about, with increased traffic as a result. Now, SEO isn’t just one or two techniques, it is an interconnecting web of on-page improvements, and off-page link building, but when they are done well, the benefits can be larger than anything I’ve seen from social and paid ads. Some of the best actionable tips I can provide are as follows: download a high quality website audit tool (like Screaming Frog), regularly run site audits to see instances where your site is not in line with SEO best practices (pages missing meta data, images missing alt-text, posts missing H1 title tags, etc.), and then updating the site to include the missing items. Working to improve your website’s mobile load times, using a combination of image optimization, Accelerated Mobile Pages, and limiting the use of things like autoplay video can also improve your site’s ranking performance. And, of course, creating a HARO account to help generate high quality backlinks doesn’t hurt either.
Gwen Montoya – gwenmontoya.com
Look for ways to share more than you sell on social media and in email marketing. Don’t just tell your audience what you sell over and over, share news and tips that will improve their business and workflow.
If somone takes the time to read what you wrote on social media or allows you to take up space in their inbox, you owe it to them to be useful and helpful. By sharing and curating the best information, you’ll also build trust and improve your reputation with your clients and potential clients.
You can do this by finding and sharing articles from leaders in your field or create your own blog posts and videos.
Morea Pollet – piedmontave.com
Moréa Pollet is the Marketing Specialist at Piedmont Avenue Consulting. In addition to Marketing, Moréa advises business professionals and business owners on business operations, administration, business development, and event management.
Throughout the years strategies always change and evolve, however, one that never gets old is Networking. When it comes to B2B one of the best ways to generate new leads is getting out there, meet people, and create connection. Depending on how good you are at it, it can be a slow process but any real connection you make – not pushing for sales – will last and follow you, introduce and refer you to new client. Take a Marketing Agency for example; their biggest clients are not the one they send an email to thanks to a database they bought or because they googled you around. They get the project because they know someone or they meet the right person and created a relationship with them. Networking works today and will work for several years after that. People you are meeting today might be your customers in a couple of years.
Jake Knight – bayareasellmyhome.com
Real estate investor who markets nearly exclusively online.
We have found that combining two tools is the most effective digital marketing strategy right now.
The first example is using the results of your paid ads to formulate your content strategy. If you run a paid campaign for at least 4-6 months and regularly test, you should be able to pinpoint the highest performing keywords. Create content around those keywords, as you want to rank as high as possible for them.
The second example is leveraging social media promotions to compliment and enhance your SEO strategy. Each time we create content, whether it be a video or long blog post, we “boost” it on Facebook and Twitter to our demographic. Google recognizes the interaction on social media and knows that we are an important resources for users, therefore they will elevate our search rankings.
Minuca Elena – minucaelena.com
Minuca is a freelance writer specialized in creating expert roundups. Her value packed posts help websites draw traffic and earn backlinks and become trends on social media. She also helps bloggers connect with influencers.
‘ As Google’ algorithms become smarter every day, it’s best to stop trying to game the system. Forget PBNs and other black/gray hat SEO strategies. Follow these steps to increase your ROI:
1. Choose a quality hosting. Amazon found that even one second of load-speed could cost them $1.6 billion in sales. Also, remove any unnecessary plugins and compress your images.
2. Come up with a nice professional design. Free themes look cheap and ugly.
3. Focus on content marketing . Write in-depth content, and make it visually appealing. Create infographics, include videos and screenshots in your posts. Gone are the days when the only picture in the post is the top image. Write for people not for algorithms. Learn how to structure your articles correctly.
4. Include content upgrades in your posts. This technique will help you convert more readers into subscribers.
Sid Bharath – thinkific.com
VP of Growth at Thinkific, a B2B online course platform.
We run multiple webinars every week and we attract attendees through various promotional methods – content marketing, advertising, email marketing, influencer marketing, software partners, and affiliates. Depending on the source and type of audience, we tweak our webinar content to match their requirements. At the end of the webinar, we offer a limited-time deal with a free trial of our software.
The reasons webinars work is because they’re highly engaging and interesting events. They allow us to actively interact with our audience and answer their specific questions, versus other forms of marketing which are more passive and don’t involve interactivity. More importantly, we can pack in way more value into a webinar than a blog post or a social media post and even if people don’t sign up for our product at the end, they still leave with a very favorable impression of us and are more likely to consider us in the future.
Sam Warren – rankpay.com
Manager of marketing and partnerships at RankPay, a top-rated SEO service that helps thousands of small businesses earn higher search rankings.
Instead of recommending a particular channel or tactic to pursue, I advise digital marketers to begin their journey with some serious research.
Getting to know your target audience is critical to building any marketing campaign. It’s no different with B2B.
Create a few customer persona’s. Give them names, business objectives, etc. Try to have some fun with it, this is the easy part.
Next, do some digging and figure out where these targets spend their time online. Is it on a particular subset of forums? Maybe they do a lot of paid promotion on Facebook? Or maybe they don’t use social at all but they frequently publish sponsored content in a handful of industry publications.
Once you know where you’ll find your audience, you can pick which channels (social, PPC, organic) will be the most effective way to reach them!
David Harouche – multimediaplus.com
One of the most important digital marketing strategies for retailers is to have social media integrated into your training and communications of associates. Especially since so much staff are mostly not at a desk or in an office, CEOs often think that their staff is following the company’s social media, but it’s often NOT the case. Customers know what’s going on on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. but the associates don’t.
Next gen-apps, include a live feed of social media so that sales associates, who are being trained and communicated to via iPads and tablets, always know what’s going on. They are then more able to engage with customers and increase sales, loyalty, cross-promote and more. It’s also valuable in times of crisis. Staff can be communicated to and respond almost immediately.
Robert McGuire – mcguireeditorial.com
Among our clients whose B2B marketing strategy is built around SEO, it’s easy to get frustrated when content isn’t climbing to page 1 on Google search. We’ve had luck by turning our attention specifically to the content that has made it to pages 2-5 without any promotion or linkbuilding effort and then working to dramatically improve that content. It’s sort of like the skyscraper approach, where you create content that is at least one floor higher (i.e. more developed) than your competition, except it’s delayed a little. You look at what among your average blog posts get a little bit of ranking on its own, and then you build the skyscraper on top of those posts by greatly expanding what it includes, adding useful graphics, images, links, data and background. Those are much more likely to pop to page 1 than putting out another so-so blog post.
Kevin Sides – shipmonk.com
At ShipMonk we use advanced marketing automation to nurture leads. Timing is everything when it comes to winning business, so if we get a leads that’s not quite ready to get started we enter them into various journeys to keep ShipMonk top of mind and make it easy for them to get started when that time comes.
We don’t just drop leads into these journeys without setting expectations, so they understand they will be receiving touches from us in the form or emails, text, postcards and the occasional phone call.
All of our marketing automation journeys are tracked to see the response rate and how much business was won as a result of nurturing the lead.
We have automation journeys that have earned over $1,000,000 in business.
The biggest challenge with automation is timing and content. You want to make sure you’re providing leads with information relevant to your business and something they can benefit from whether they use your company or not.
MA fails when marketers forget than and try to sell too much along the way.
Lauren Fairbanks – stuntandgimmicks.com
Lauren runs a content marketing agency that works with B2B companies in the manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and transportation/logistics industries.
B2B companies have unique needs when it comes to marketing. The B2B sales cycle is usually 6-12 months, with some industries clocking in at a full 18 month sales cycle. Given those long sales cycles, B2B marketing needs to be able to provide multiple touchpoints to keep customers engaged with the brand and educated on company products and services.
That’s where content marketing comes into play. Content marketing is simply the best use of marketing spend for B2B companies. It helps improve search visibility and brand awareness. It provides an easy way for sales people to re-engage old customers or customers that haven’t made a purchase. And it helps build thought leadership, something that’s incredibly important for B2B companies – especially those in complex or highly regulated industries.
Liz Palm – dprgroup.com
Director of marketing for DPR Group, a high-tech PR and marketing agency. She advises B2B clients on best practices to not only drive sales, but also to create effective content marketing and public relations campaigns.
I’m a huge advocate of B2B companies using high-value content to drive any digital marketing campaign, especially those that will fill the top of the marketing funnel. From remarketing/retargeting ads and digital promotion through trade media websites and newsletters to social media posts and SEO, the common factor is the necessity to provide value.
It has been established that 70% of the buying cycle is complete before a prospect ever contacts a vendor. This is the ideal opportunity to use industry trends and research, wrapped in thought leadership from internal subject matter experts, to deliver insightful and helpful information to those prospects-targeted through the advertising parameters. The content can be in the form of tips sheets, white papers, webinars, case studies and more that are securely hidden behind a registration wall to capture your prospects’ contact information.
But do your due diligence to make sure the content is new and thought-provoking or you may take your company out of the running. If done properly, you will establish your company as experts in your respective field and likely secure a spot on the short list when it’s finally time to buy.
Nicole Delorme – tigriseventsinc.com
I’m a big fan of social media marketing because you get to have a two way conversation with your audience. It’s a great way to hear your customers and get their feedback in real time. In my experience, it’s best to choose 1-3 social media sites to focus your efforts on rather than trying to be active everywhere and spread yourself thin. For our company, Instagram and Facebook have been key, but it really depends on your industry and where your target customers are active.
We use Instagram Insights to determine our strategy for promoting pictures from our live events on Instagram. Insights is an analytics tools that helps us learn about our audience demographics and discover what time of the day is best to post in order to get the most engagement. All our posts include 30 hashtags, which is the maximum allowed. We write hashtags as a comment instead of within the photo description so it stays hidden to our audience but still allows us to take advantage of the increased visibility with hash tagging.
My focus is SEO. From technical SEO to On-page Optimization and Content Marketing. I have taken a website from online obscurity to being ranked #1 for certain keywords with little or no budget.
This is how I did it.
I started with Technical SEO. I crawled the website with Seocheckup.com, you could use MOZ site crawler as well. This helps you to first detect technical issues, crawling errors and On-page troubles. Unless these issues are fixed, you will struggle with visibility via organic seacrh. Trust me.
I crafted search optimised meta data info for the home page and all major categories. These info were not mere sales copy to advertise the business. They were short direct sentences optimised for keywords and they had call-to-action. That settled the On-page issues.
I then moved on to defining the brand’s audience which guided my content marketing strategy. They were a financial tech company, processing online payment for small businesses. So, I created SEO content stratefy that focused on solving problems for small businesses, especially tech-related small businesses.
I created the SEO content, shared with popular tech blogs, promoted on social media and the company’s email list which had been inactive before then. It was only one magic blog post a week. It worked!.
Whatever digital marketing strategy you want to deploy, think content, think relevance of the content to the audience and the business, think content promotion, think collaboration. It is not always fat budget for campaigns.
April 2, 2017
February 5, 2017