2022 is over and 2023 has just begun. And, the new year is a time when many businesses look back at their marketing and plan a fresh assault for the year ahead.
In 2022, as well as helping our clients use marketing to improve their bottom-line, we’ve shared ten Better B2B Marketing blogs.
So, to welcome 2023, we thought we’d look back at some of the hints, tips and advice we’ve shared:
Let’s dive into Part 1…
How to develop the right B2B marketing strategy
As a full-service B2B marketing agency, we spent much of the first months of 2022 helping clients identify the right marketing strategy for the year ahead.
So, we thought we’d share some advice on the best approach for your business.
Identify your goals
This may sound obvious but it’s hard to judge success – and if your marketing is taking you in the right direction – without a clear objective.
Establish a budget
There are two key ways most businesses establish budgets.
The first is to identify all the marketing you want to do, then price it all up and agree the cost. The second is to look at what you can afford – or what you’re willing to risk – and agree a level.
If you’re looking for double-digit growth, your marketing budget needs to have a realistic chance of delivering it.
Analyse your prior marketing
Chances are you’ve already delivered more marketing than you think. So, before making decisions about the future, take time to analyse what you’ve done before with a fresh perspective and identify what worked and what didn’t.
Understand your customers
Many businesses have never taken time to formally identify who their customers are. Creating a target persona (of an average customer) is a great way to focus your marketing and ensure the methods you choose satisfies their needs.
Choose the right tactics
Consider your growth strategy. Will success come from new products or simply finding more customers like those you already serve?
Prioritise the most appropriate marketing
The mix of marketing you choose will depend on your goals and budget:
Direct Marketing (email and mail)
You’ve likely identified who your target customers are. Going straight to them with direct marketing (e.g. email, mail, telesales) is a strong tactic.
Your website is your shop window. Identify any weaknesses and include actions to improve them.
LinkedIn remains the primary platform for B2B. It’s good for updating your followers, sharing successes and commenting on developments. However, don’t over estimate its effectiveness or underestimate the resource needed.
Digital marketing is a broad term. Search engines will be the first place many businesses look to research what they need. Being found can be critical to your success.
Content Marketing & PR
The watch word is ‘value’. Whether it’s a blog, press release, video, guide or infographic, the success of your content marketing will ultimately depend on how useful, informative or engaging customers find it.
Sales aids such as brochures, datasheets, presentations and videos have a strong role to play. Like all marketing, a consistent look and feel is essential.
Events, Sponsorship and Advertising
In B2B marketing, trade events can be a great way to meet customers and encourage them to spread the word about what you do. Sponsorship and advertising can be another way to rapidly increase brand awareness.
Whilst choosing the right mix of marketing is critical, so is communicating the right brand and message. Create a few concise brand messages and include them in all your marketing.
Stay the course
Once you’ve chosen the right marketing methods, a Gantt chart is an excellent way to plan. It will enable you to see the path ahead and take actions in advance.
Reed more about developing the right B2B marketing strategy here.
Getting the best from SEO for business websites
In Spring 2022, we also explored SEO for B2B marketing.
Search Engine Optimisation is all about maximising your website’s chance of appearing on page one of Google for the terms typed into search engines by your target customers.
‘On-page’ factors are those which can be affected within your website itself. These include relevance (the content of the text and images), the structure of the site (how search engine friendly it is) and speed & security.
You need to carefully structure the written content of your website to include your target keywords, queries and phrases. Realistically, your website can only top Google for certain search terms, so you’ll need to decide which keywords are most relevant to your customers.
Perhaps the clearest indication of a page’s subject and relevance is its page title or ‘title tag’ which appears in the browser tab. Your title tags need to be different for every page of your website as duplicate title tags confuse Google.
Search engines need to be able to navigate your website. Things which can hinder this include broken links, inaccessible content, missing image tags and duplicated title tags.
Page speed is a critical factor. The average time a user will wait for a web page to load is just two seconds and Google will also down rank slow websites. Get rid of non-essential elements that are slowing down your site like deactivated plugins, needlessly large images, excess animation or inline CSS.
A website security certificate is essential to your SEO.
The primary ‘off-page’ factor for SEO is authority. Authority is how well respected your website is as a source of quality information.
This can be achieved by creating and sharing content such as press releases, blogs and other updates or explainers. When someone publishes it, always ask for a backlink to your website!
Read more about getting the best from SEO for your business’s websites here.
The 9 most frequent digital marketing mistakes and how to avoid them
In April, we looked at nine mistakes to avoid when it comes to digital marketing.
Here are just three:
Under or over estimating digital marketing’s importance
There are three questions companies should ask themselves when investing in digital marketing:
- How big is your potential opportunity to grow through digital marketing?
- How realistically can you capitalise on this opportunity?
- Is digital marketing the best use of your resources?
As every business has finite resources, it’s important to understand the potential of digital marketing before committing.
Building a website and hoping customers will simply find it
Many of us have heard businesses say they will simply ‘get a website’ to sell their latest idea or product.
In the early years of this century, this was possible. However, much has changed. Google has become highly focused on quality and competition has become fierce, even for niche local markets.
Websites must be well designed to ensure that search engines understand and value them. And, even a well-built website needs to be promoted and optimised.
Digital marketing provides many businesses with an unrivalled opportunity for growth but it rarely happens without the right strategy and investment.
Dipping into social media
Social media marketing is arguably even more productive for small-to-medium businesses than big brands.
Posts need to be engaging, interesting, varied and of value. Whilst you may ultimately want to use social media to sell your service, repetitive sales posts can quickly turn social media users off.
Building your personal connections and sharing your company updates are important tactics. However, you may need to invest money to increase the number of people who see your posts.
Fortunately, social media advertising is highly targeted and many decision makers are active on LinkedIn.
Discover all 9 digital marketing mistakes and how to avoid them here.
Top tips to help grow businesses through marketing
Which marketing will deliver the best results? What return can I expect? How much should I spend and where?
Whilst it can be difficult to give answers, there are tactics and behaviours which massively increase the chances of success.
So, in summer 2002, we shared 9 top tips to growing your business through B2B marketing:
- Be strategic
- SWOT the Opportunities
- Be different
- Be consistent, be persistent
- Maximise your return-on-investment
- Always create a brief
- Benefits, not features
- Three critical elements – Functionality, Keep it Brief, Call-to-Action
- Monitor, evaluate, improve
Find out what each of these means here.
Using marketing successfully for transport and logistics
Whether it’s the increase in deliveries to our front doors, keeping shelves stocked in local retailers or the global movement of materials and components – logistics is critical.
So, during the warm summer, we looked at a few marketing hints and tips for one of the key sectors we support:
Define what you do
Logistics is complex and it is tempting to try to be all things to all people. However, the ability to stand out is key. If you cannot define what you do in a simple sentence or statement, it may be harder to build awareness.
Know your customer
Some logistics providers specialise in handling particular goods. Others target a particular step in supply chain logistics.
Whilst it might be that almost any business could benefit from what you deliver, its best to be realistic. Think about the individuals who make enquiries and who make the buying decisions in the businesses you target.
Whenever you create a piece of B2B marketing you can ask yourself if it would reach and appeal to them.
Stand out from competitors
Think about what your customers value most. Think about the qualities of your business which you’re most proud of.
A Unique Selling Proposition (or USP) doesn’t always have to be that unique. It’s just the quality or attribute you believe your target customers will value most – and should become the focus of your marketing.
Develop the right plan
A full-mix marketing strategy is always best. Don’t entrust your success to just one channel but don’t spread yourself too thinly either.
Chances are you could list the companies or brands you might wish to work for. If that’s the case, being direct with your marketing methods may provide the best results.
Most potential customers will visit your website at some point. It should be easy to navigate, informative and clearly communicate what you do and why you do it well.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can ensure you feature higher than competitors in search results.
A strong social media presence is an increasingly powerful marketing asset, with LinkedIn very effective at reaching decision makers.
Content marketing is about creating written, visual or audible content which you target customers choose to engage with. The most effective content is typically aimed at helping your audience.
Engaging content – disseminated through digital marketing, direct marketing, public relations and social media – can reach deep into your target audience and build brand awareness.
Testimonials and case studies are a powerful way to quickly build trust.
Often there are companies which could be transformational if your business won their work.
At its core, ABM is simply about tailoring your marketing to the individual, not the broader target market. With persistent account-based marketing, you can ensure your name is the very first they consider.
Read more about successful marketing for transport and logistics here.
NEXT: What we learned in 2022, Part 2…