Business technology is constantly developing, and in recent decades the rise of digital infrastructures has changed how we think of B2B communication. With rapidly shifting digital frameworks and marketing needs to keep pace. Digital promotion for B2B requires an approach that is both dynamic and flexible.
Successful businesses have always thrived on their ability to leverage technology in both production and communication. The main difference today is the pace of technological change. Audience expectations look towards the cutting edge of technology. Businesses must adapt their digital marketing strategies to meet this challenge. The following themes, therefore, should form the backbone of any b2b communication strategy.
Websites are hardly a novelty, but are of huge importance. Without a website and proper domain name, no business will ever be taken seriously. Contemporary sites must be dynamic, regularly updated and responsive to mobile phones. The Quality of the website is vital – it must clearly showcase your business’s expertise and viability to interested clients. Furthermore, the more time a potential customer spends on your site, the better the chance of their conversion to a sale. The content therefore also needs to be engaging.
If a website visitor does decide to act, the site needs to make it clear what their next steps are and give opportunities to make a sale or to make contact. A business website is a great trigger for customer data and sales leads, so maximising these opportunities needs to be built into the website strategy. An essential checklist for a B2B website should contain:
- Up-to-date content that is relevant, informative and engaging
- Facilities for gathering customer data and sales leads
- Demonstrative content: demos, free trials or further resources
- Positive customer testimonials
- Links to the business’s social media profiles (see below)
- Compatibility with a range of browsers and platforms, including mobile
Above all, your website should demonstrate competitive superiority in digital communication, showing your commitment to technology.
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev via Unsplash
Aside from a dedicated website, the various social media platforms are the main means by which your business showcases itself online. In less than two decades social media has grown from virtually nothing to perhaps the single most widely used online facility. It is estimated that there are over 3.5 billion social media users worldwide. Of course, not all of these are your target audience, but it indicates the prevalence of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and the numbers look set to increase in the future.
The importance of up-to-date content on social media is just as, if not more, important than on your website. Social media thrives on momentary bursts of activity. A successful B2B strategy thus requires a finger on the pulse of current trends and a knowledge of how to drive these interests back to your core offering.
Make no mistake, this requires significant effort. Posts that are irrelevant or repetitive will not engage customers. Focus, therefore, needs to be on content that is informative and engaging. Some examples include:
– Insider information on your industry: news and insights that are not readily available
– Entertaining customer stories, highlighting your company’s relevance
– Responses to customer queries or potential issues
– Updates on your services and products
The movement towards sales must be organic. Clumsy calls to action are off-putting, as is any content that is primarily a sales pitch. The digitally savvy customer is discerning in this medium and needs their interest engaged.
Photo by Alizee Baudez via Unsplash
The other great driver of traffic towards your site are search engines. A high ranking for relevant search terms in Google is invaluable for promoting your online presence and business growth. Search engine optimisation helps you to gain prominence. Search engines are, of course, rather secretive about their search algorithms. Therefore, successful SEO is something of an art and, for the best strategy, it may well be worthwhile to hire, or outsource to, a specialist. Experts in the field know how to wield specific keywords and phrases to improve search engine rankings.
There are, however, a few basic marketing guidelines that any business should follow to improve their visibility online. The more links there are to your site, the more visitors, and the greater presence your site has across the Internet. What drives these links is good quality content. A blog is a great way to pull traffic to your site. A good quality blog will keep readers coming back. The same guidelines apply here as those for your website and social media content. Readers will return if the material is relevant to their interests, enjoyable and practical.
With good content consistently being posted on a blog, your reputation as an industry leader grows, drawing repeat visits from existing readers and new visits by recommendation and linking. All of this improves trust in your business as well as web prominence and search visibility.
An extension to your SEO strategy, PPC is effectively an outsourcing of web-traffic drivers. Ads can be placed with search engines, in which case you bid for keywords to which your ad is the response. Additionally, third party websites can host your ad and receive payment when users click on them. The promotion of your business thus becomes a shared interest.
Over half of companies in the B2B sector use this strategy, so it is worth your consideration. Of course, for both SEO and PPC, the success of the campaign needs to be measured by its results. It is important to monitor how effective your digital marketing strategy is and make dynamic adjustments where necessary. Tools like Google Analytics are very useful here.
With a wealth of strategies available, B2B digital marketing can seem like something of a minefield. Chances are your business already has at least some of these facilities. It is worthwhile therefore to conduct an audit of your digital assets, looking to see which are most successful in generating leads and sales. Google Analytics or other tracking tools can help in identifying customer pathways through your digital offering and give leads for how to streamline these.
It is also important to make sure your digital resources are integrated. Any part of your online offering should be accessible from (and lead towards) any other part. And all content should be synchronised to avoid inconsistencies. Digital marketing is more important than ever though, and with these simple strategies, you should be well-set to leverage modern technologies in your B2B marketing plan.
This article was written by Seamus Dunne of Conversation Piece. Seamus has over twenty years helping businesses develop their B2B strategies. He has also built his own business to become the leading supplier of B2B IP Phone Systems in Ireland.