With lockdown measures eased across the UK, many business-to-business companies in particular have returned to near normal operations and are keen to do all they can to return sales to pre-coronavirus levels.
With a greater proportion of the UK working from home – after months of enforced lockdown – the internet and digital marketing have perhaps never been more popular and potentially critical to businesses.
As our clients and other businesses look to life after lockdown, we thought we would take a look at B2B digital marketing and how it might be used to businesses’ advantage right now.
Regardless of your product or service, perhaps the most important question right now is, are your typical customers ready to begin buying again?
For example, if you supply in leisure or tourism, your fortunes are unlike to change until the sector is fully open for business. If you operate in sectors including essential products, manufacturing, engineering, energy or technology, you’re hopefully already experiencing an upturn.
Google trends is a free online tool which allows you to see how frequently individual search terms and topics are being searched on the UK’s most popular search engine. Whilst it does not tell you the number of searches, it shows you the trend over time.
It’s long been an essential tool used by SEO experts and marketing agencies like ourselves to identify and compare the keywords and search terms businesses and individuals are using online to find our clients’ products or services. As SEO is best when it is targeted, we can focus on the search terms that are most likely to drive the right customers to your website and business.
Following the COVID-19 lockdown, Google Trends allows you to see how searches for your particular area of business have changed – and if they have started to recover.
For example, if we input the search term ‘marketing agency’ for the UK over the last 12 months, we can see it rose steadily from November (potentially due to the partial resolution of Brexit), peaked in late February as businesses planned for the year ahead then slumped to 55% as the UK entered lockdown. It is now rising slowly but steadily to levels above 2019 as businesses search for expert help to fight back from lockdown.
Try inputting both broad and specific terms relating to your business to get a feel for how the volume of searches has changed and if the recovery has begun. If you need a second opinion, get in touch.
Assuming search volumes are rising, paying to appear in search results (variously known as Paid Search, Google Ads, Pay-Per-Click or PPC) can be the most immediate way to grab those looking.
Google Ads (and other search and social media platforms) allow very specific targeting. To make the most of your investment, be as specific as possible with the keywords, users and locations you target.
Though your next enquiry, sale or client might potentially come from ‘anywhere’, now is the time to target those most likely to convert based on your previous experience and sense of the current market.
If you need an experienced digital marketing agency to help you establish a successful campaign, contact us.
Almost without exception, digital marketing drives customers to you via your website. With many operations, offices and other physical premises closed to visitors, your website may, more than ever, be your shop window.
Around 50% of visitors enter most businesses’ websites via the homepage. Try to objectively look at your homepage and see what information it communicates to you in the first 10 seconds, as you scroll down.
It should advise who you are, what you do, what sets you apart and how to navigate to more information. If it doesn’t, some basic improvements may be time or money well spent.
As web designers, we can help.
Social media has seen an unprecedented boom in use during lockdown as people keep up with developments, communicate with others and fill their time.
LinkedIn remains the most focused social media platform for most business-to-business organisations and professionals. During the early stages of lockdown the nature of posting changed and it was important to show solidarity for the struggle against coronavirus and its impact on all of us.
With the easing of lockdown measures, social media use remains high but posting has returned to more familiar professional and company updates.
However insignificant a small development in your business may be, it is likely more effective as a social media post than an out-and-out sales message. Now is a good time to keep existing and potential customers up to date with what’s going on. In a period where many businesses may unfortunately cease trading, it helps prove you’re alive and kicking!
If you need help with social media marketing, get in touch
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Eager to capitalise on more customers now searching online, we’re often asked by businesses if SEO has any quick fixes to elevate their website up search results.
Unfortunately, to be truly effective, SEO is a medium-to-long term activity which requires activities on a number of fronts.
However, one of the most important factors is fresh content. Search engines prefer websites which change, evolve and grow with fresh information. If your business’s website has been largely untouched for any period, it’s popularity with Google will begin to fade.
Regular news items and updates are an answer. However, it is longer format blogs which can have the most immediate benefit.
Choose a specific subject close to customers and write a blog in excess of 1,000 words. It’s important (particularly in the title) to include any specific keywords or search terms you wish to target. However, don’t try to artificially ‘stuff’ the piece with repetitive keywords as Google can tell!
Particularly if the blog is genuinely interesting or useful you should start to see it appear in Google Analytics or Google Search Console results as a page which is attracting people to your website.
Repeat this each month or more and you start to see a relatively dramatic impact on the appearance of your website in search results.
As a marketing agency, we create long format blogs, regular updates and content marketing for businesses in many sectors, all experiencing the same swift results.
It’s not all about digital!
As ever, digital is only part of the marketing mix and its importance depends on your business and your customers.
Marketing is largely about consistency, quality and momentum, so the earlier and longer you do the right things, the bigger and better the results.
However, don’t neglect other forms of marketing such as direct marketing, PR or advertising. It may seem like the whole world is online but other media is still being consumed and relative normality may return quicker than we expect!
If you need an experienced full-service B2B marketing agency to ensure you benefit from the right steps, get in touch.