16 Highly Effective Digital Marketing Ideas for B2B
Getting to grips with the latest digital marketing channels is a challenge in B2B. And digital marketing ideas for B2B don’t grow on trees.
Often, the products and services you’re offering are more technical than their B2C counterparts, meaning it’s easy to let the latest marketing techniques pass you by.
We understand. Honestly, we do.
Time and time again we hear arguments that the world of B2B isn’t adopting new methods of marketing.
Well, 2019 may be the year that changes. The biggest B2B-focused channels are starting to incorporate some exciting features, which means it’s a great time to get digital marketing ideas for B2B, as there has never been so much to get stuck into.
Our guide below compiles some of the best digital marketing tips, trends and ideas for B2B in 2019. Let’s dive straight in.
- 1 Think about your audience
- 2 Start using video marketing
- 3 Consider going live
- 4 Finally start looking at the data
- 5 A new approach to email marketing
- 6 Automate what you can
- 7 Implement a scoring system for leads
- 8 Remember that people buy from people
- 9 Podcasting – you can’t escape it
- 10 Start doing real content marketing
- 11 Think about EAT
- 12 Turn completed projects into stories
- 13 Create clever content
- 14 Take advantage of influencer marketing
- 15 Analyse your website
- 16 Take CRO seriously
Think about your audience
Let’s be honest, it’s 2019 and most businesses have started their journey into digital marketing. But whether this is the first year you’ve been actively marketing online or the tenth, it pays to consider who your audience is.
Now, you may have some knowledge of who visits your website, but are they the people that turn into profitable customers?
In the world of digital marketing ideas, it’s easy to chase getting more visitors to your website. But at the end of the day, knowing your customer inside out, including what they search for online – whether that results in tens or tens of thousands of visitors to your website, will effectively turn visitors into customers.
Start using video marketing
Can you afford to ignore it?
In years gone by, we’d probably argue that it wasn’t an essential part of the B2B marketing mix. However, all of the signs point to 2019 being the year that video becomes an integral part of mainstream B2B marketing.
That means video isn’t just reserved for big budget productions. Videos are much more approachable for small businesses thanks to the developments in camera & audio tech (read: iPhones!), and the benefit of them is clear:
- Facilitates deeper connections with customers
- Produces easily digestible content
- Enables better & more preferable brand positioning
The best idea when it comes to video: consider it as part of your content creation process. Write your blog or content you’ve identified as helpful to your audience, then use this as a script for an influential figure within your business.
Consider going live
LinkedIn is a good judge of the B2B marketing landscape.
Well, forgive us for stating the obvious.
But when you look back over the last few years, especially when it comes to LinkedIn’s introduction of native video in August 2017, they’ve been pretty spot on.
Now, they’ve turned to live video.
As of February 2019, a beta has launched trialing the introduction of B2B focused live video. The challenge will be engaging your audience enough to visit the website at a specific time to consume your content, but the live element could be enough to do that.
The reason this could be so successful for B2B brands is that personal selling is arguably the most effective way of generating more business. So if there’s a way of generating content that feels more human i.e. no fancy video production, the connection between the viewer and creator is heightened.
Why does connecting with your audience matter?
Well aside from the obvious (higher potential conversions) it increases the sharability of your content, meaning it could naturally find itself in front of more people. Being relatable is paramount in building relationships with your target audience, which could (and should) yield a much desirable outcome given your brand capitalises on this opportunity with high quality products/services. Speaking the language of your audience has never been more important.
Finally start looking at the data
We’re in an age of marketing where the phrase “content is king” makes us shudder, due to the sheet volume of blogs being written every day.
And forgive us for being cynical, but sometimes there’s just no point in writing them.
This is where analysing the data you have available is gold.
In fact, Kirsty Hulse recently analysed the different types of content created over the space of a year, alongside how effective they were.
Having this level of insight into what works is invaluable to your B2B marketing efforts, as you can then double down on the most effective, and cut losses where needed.
A new approach to email marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most effective B2B marketing techniques out there. In fact, in a recent survey carried out by Wordstream, 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation.
Now, we’re not going to bore you with the usual headline stats that you’re given when it comes to email marketing…
…like you should send on Tuesday’s at 10am, and use emojis in your subject line….oops…
…instead we’ll focus on something more constructive.
We’re all happy to put our creative hat on when it comes to Mailchimp (*other email services are available), but should we be adding block after block to our emails?
There’s an argument brewing that looks at whether plain text emails are more effective than HTML-designed emails.
Plain text emails look more personal, and potentially encourage higher response rates as a result. Ian Evenstar, CEO at UNINCORPORATED noted:
“For sales inquiries, cold outreach, and networking follow-ups, plain text email is by far the best option. Customers and prospects want and deserve one-on-one communication.”
So plain text emails may be a great idea when it comes to your B2B marketing strategy. Or at least a worthwhile test!
Automate what you can
Automated marketing sounds a lot more complicated (and scarier) than it actually is.
While there are many automation tools out there, such as HubSpot and Salesforce’s Pardot, it’s likely your email marketing provider already has this ability.
Before we get into the details, it’s worth thinking of a good use case.
For example, it could be as simple as someone signing up for a newsletter on your website but they don’t hear from you for 6 months.
Having a series of emails that welcomes a subscriber, before taking them through some more information regarding your product or service, could result in instant engagement / sales.
All for the same effort it takes to create and send a weekly newsletter.
Experiment. Refine. Improve. You could get some great results.
Implement a scoring system for leads
One of the common problems B2B marketers face is attribution. Unless there’s a method of tracing sales all the way back to the original enquiry (whether it came from marketing or not), it can be difficult to prove how effective your marketing is.
That’s where lead scoring comes in.
As we mentioned earlier, there are tools out there that can track how users are behaving on your website. This can gather information on their journey to conversion, and associate a lead score.
For example, say someone clicks through from your latest email campaign. They land on a product page, before having a look around your experience / past clients, download a PDF specification, finally requesting a callback from the sales team.
That’s a pretty hot lead, right? Well, at least Tim Holt agrees.
Coming up with a set of parameters that result in a “hot” lead can help when it comes to pulling together that next board report.
Remember that people buy from people
Think of the last time you needed to purchase something, but weren’t exactly sure what you required.
It could be anything – a new tyre for your car, a new chair for work…anything.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait for someone to get back to me when I’m researching what to buy.
If there’s live chat, I’ll go straight there.
No live chat? Fine – I’ll call if I have to.
No phone number? I’ll go back to Google and find someone that makes it easier to buy what I’m looking for!
That example, perhaps unsurprisingly, isn’t limited to just me. Research suggests that 42% of customers prefer to use live chat on a website, as opposed to 23% for email and 16% for social media. This is further evidence that promptness are two key elements today’s customers seek.
Podcasting – you can’t escape it
Well…isn’t this the hot topic of the last few years?
Podcasting continues to grow in popularity.
According to The Drum’s report on podcasts, 23% of adults in the UK have listened to a podcast in the past month, and 76% of them say they’ve acted on an ad or sponsored message they heard in the show.
Which means its response rates probably mean it’s the most effective method of marketing out there right now.
That’s a big statement, we know.
Of course, we can’t take anything for granted, but podcasts certainly hold a coveted place in the market.
Advertisers can effectively hit the 16 to 34 demographic, with two thirds of UK listeners in this age bracket.
With adoption so high, are you ready and able to start creating podcasts?
It might be easier than you think. Simply repurposing other content, such as relevant blog topics or videos may be all that’s required, with some input from senior members of your team or experts within your space.
Start doing real content marketing
Earlier we discussed looking at the data you have available to you, encouraging you to research what works best for your audience.
While that’s great for businesses that have implemented a range of content techniques, for those that haven’t it can be difficult to know where to start.
Sometimes the best idea is to look at what you’re competing with when it comes to your content. Is everyone writing 2000 word articles, or are they producing infographics?
If the majority of competing websites are producing visual content, maybe writing isn’t the best strategy.
Of course, it’s not a case of simply copying them. If visual works – how can you create something 10X better than that?
The main idea is to consider all of the options available to you, rather than just written content.
Source: Timecamp Blog
Think about EAT
No, not the cafe. Though their chicken balti hot pot is to die for…
EAT stands for
The acronym first cropped up in Google’s quality raters guidelines, so it’s pretty important if you’re into SEO!
Equally, if you’re not, it can be a good measure of how good your content is.
Research suggests that if content is created by someone that genuinely demonstrates each aspect of EAT, the quality of your content can translate into improved rankings.
While that’s up for debate, the principle isn’t. Ensuring your content is written (or ghost-written) by someone that has genuine expertise in the field could play a key role in its ultimate success.
Turn completed projects into stories
“By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with enterprise without interacting with a human.” (Source: Gartner Customer 360 Summit 2011)
According to a report by Kristen McCabe, a whopping 68.6% of B2B marketing teams deem reviews very valuable for their business.
Which means case studies have become the best way to demonstrate your expertise to people that aren’t yet ready for interaction.
When you think about it, it makes complete sense.
Someone considering purchasing a product or service wants to make sure it’s suited to an application similar to theirs.
This is essentially social proof.
Buffer’s guide to social proof argues, “in situations where we are uncertain about what to do, we would assume that the people around us (experts, celebrities, friends, etc.) have more knowledge about what’s going on and what should be done.”
This is undoubtedly applicable to digital marketing transactions, where an expert opinion in the form of a product review can make or break you. A credible source vouching for your services will skyrocket your sales whereas warranted criticism can tarnish your brand reputation.
Create clever content
Earlier we recommended you look into all of the different types of content available to you, and choose the type that is most appropriate for your audience.
Forgive us for joining the dots here a little…but we also mentioned a blog by Kirsty Hulse, which identifies that interactive content is the second-most linked to type of content, just behind product guides.
Kirsty states that while interactive content can either fly or flop. There are no guarantees that any given content will thrive just because it has an audience-engaging layout. Other integral components such as relatability, efficacy, and functionality will have to complement your creative content.
Start with a reliable foundation. Build on it.
Take advantage of influencer marketing
Ah the buzzword of the last few years. Influencer marketing is still alive and kicking, and could be surprisingly useful for your B2B marketing efforts.
A great example of influencer marketing within the B2B sphere is Cate Trotter. She is the Head of Trends at Insider Trends – a retail-focused publication that gathers tens of thousands of visitors every month.
Partnering with people such as Cate can provide businesses with a way of aligning their products with a reputable industry figurehead, instantly improving the sentiment towards what they offer.
When done right, the results are pretty spectacular. Newscred found that B2B influencer marketing delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of content marketing.
Analyse your website
To quote a phrase by the lyrical genius that is Ice Cube,
Otherwise it’s “Bye, Felicia.” for you…
Our point here is that before you start thinking about content marketing and increasing the amount of ‘things’ you’re doing, it can be worthwhile taking a look at what could perform better.
Simply taking stock of the data you have available can be enlightening, providing a view on how you could create more engagement without creating anything extra.
This analysis blends seamlessly into our final digital marketing for B2B idea…
Take CRO seriously
Another acronym, we know, sorry. It stands for Conversion Rate Optimisation, and is the process of continually improving the effectiveness of your website.
Having a baseline of analysis sets you up perfectly for experimenting with website changes, in an attempt to generate better results.
You may uncover something completely unexpected – such as visitors responding to a particular header image, or a particular layout of product page displaying information in a more digestible fashion.
We hope you enjoyed reading through this guide, and can take some of our digital marketing ideas away to implement as part of your own marketing campaigns in 2019.
Content marketing featured heavily throughout, with its success relying on effective strategies. For help creating these strategies, contact the team here at Bubblegum Search.
We’re a versatile digital agency helping you formulate a content marketing strategy that drives user engagement. Our award-winning copywriters and designers create compelling, high-quality content optimised for natural search terms to add genuine value to your business.
For more information, get in touch today.