It’s become abundantly clear that marketing no longer follows the principles that once brought success in the pre-digital age. The obsolete, unilateral approach of attracting prospects through promotional sales materials is no longer credible, and has been replaced with social, engagement-oriented marketing strategies. To be a leader in this new reality, B2B marketers must keep a few key maxims in mind to help guide their way, and ensure that target audiences view their brand identity in the most positive and credible light.
Here’s how it’s done:
The 10 Commandments (of B2B Marketers):
1. Be Original, About 3-5 Times Week
The best way to show prospects and existing customers the true identity and voice of your brand is by frequently posting original content. Authentic content, whether it’s in the form of a blog post, white paper or infographic, defines the point of view your company conveys externally, and sets the tone for all of your marketing activities. Inbound marketing, or promoting your brand through original, informational content, brings customers closer to your brand, draws their attention to your website, and builds up a favorable reputation in their minds. Additionally, original content can be can be optimized for search engines to attain better online rankings for your website.
2. Sharing is Curating
Given the time-related challenges of generating original content, curating interesting and engaging articles on an occasional basis play a distinct role in your marketing mix. Monitoring, selecting and publishing relevant articles (especially from thought leaders) across social channels is a great way to show consumers that you follow trends, and care about providing them with valuable research. This can help establish a company’s thought leadership online, and potentially enable a brand to connect with other industry experts.
3. Calculate Your Social Media ROI (Yes We Can)
Simply put, there’s no point in investing so much effort in social media marketing if you fail to measure the results. The easiest way to measure success is by tracking the number of website conversions that come from your social media activities. A B2B-oriented social media marketing platform such as Oktopost makes it simple to monitor conversions, and even provides you with information on the specific social post that a lead originated from. If your primary business goal is to generate sales, avoid getting caught up with metrics such as likes and shares, and focus on the metrics that matter – with an emphasis on conversions.
4. Don’t Post and Pray
Content may be king, but distribution rules the land. Do your research, find out which social channels, forums and blogs your prospects are reading, and put a clear distribution strategy in place to reach them on these target-rich points. Carefully tracking your activities is the most intelligent way to understand which channels attract qualified leads, and can ensure that you are distribute content solely to those platforms that help meet your goals.
5. Lend an Ear to Your Audience
What are your target prospects’ needs, concerns and thoughts? To write high-quality content that will be appreciated, marketers must first understand what their audience wants to see, read and learn. Use this information to write blog posts and white papers that offer best practices, insight on helpful features in your product, and tips for improving strategies.
6. Be a Good Social Neighbor
The days where content was all about making a direct sales pitch are long gone. Today, the objective of content marketing is to show prospects that you have their best interests in mind. Whether you initiate captivating discussions in relevant LinkedIn Groups, share a useful article about your industry on Twitter, or just post photos from your latest company retreat to a Facebook album, non-promotional engagement is key. Once a prospect comes into contact with this content enough times, it will build up a trust level in their minds that is essential in the critical moments of the purchasing decision.
7. Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
Publishing original and curated content isn’t only about attracting new prospects; it’s also about maintaining good relationships with your customer base. A core element of B2B marketing is the need to continuously maintain existing relationships, post-purchase. Given that B2B services can be costly, and may entail monthly or annual renewals, consumers expect these companies to supply a constant stream of useful, relevant content. In addition, make sure that you check your company’s social profiles on a daily basis in order to address concerns or complaints posted by customers in the most timely and efficient manner.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Experiment
Have an out-of-the box idea for a blog post topic or webinar? Give it a shot. Much of content marketing fits the tried-and-true description, but this doesn’t mean you can’t try something new. For example, try taking a more personal approach to your next blog post by writing in the first-person. In today’s social sphere, prospects are eager to learn what exists beyond a company’s corporate identify, and are interested in learning more about team members’ personalities, thoughts and opinions on the industry and trends.
9. Connect with Those Who Know (Your Product) Best
There’s no better way to promote a B2B product than to shift the spotlight to customers who use it daily. Reach out to them, listen to their feedback and suggestions, and check if they would be willing to write a guest post for your blog, host a webinar, or share a quote about their experience using your product. When prospects conduct pre-purchasing research, they are always on the lookout for reviews, case studies and other content that highlights how others have leveraged your product to achieve their business goals.
10. Stay Aware at All Times
As a marketer, you should always be aware of the latest news and trends in your industry. Follow 5 or more blogs written by influencers in your industry, set up Google Alerts to track mentions of your company, competitors and keywords, and closely monitor Twitter hashtags for trending industry topics. Publishing time-sensitive content is key to engaging your audience and letting them know that your organization is always in-the-know about breaking news related to your field.