Better B2B Marketing 49 - How to get the best from B2B digital marketing
How to get the best from B2B digital marketing
1/06/2024

Surely all marketing is now digital marketing, right?

For many companies, digital marketing has become the way they would describe all their promotional activities. Whatever their marketing department does, it is created and delivered online or on screen.

Though lots of marketing can still rely on ‘offline’ activity like networking, events, trade press and printed brochures, it is true that digital marketing touches every aspect of promotion.

As such, digital marketing’s role for companies who target other businesses with their products and services – business-to-business or B2B – has become vitally important.

As East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency – working with companies across the UK to deliver their B2B digital marketing – we thought we’d take a look at what it takes to get the most from marketing made up of 0’s and 1’s.

Getting the best from your B2B website

An effective website is increasingly critical for any modern organisation which operates business-to-business. Whatever you produce or sell – whether you’ve a big client base or a small one – customers will likely look you up online.

As well as helping to build trust, many companies rely on their websites to attract new business – either by being found in searches or giving their marketing and business development teams a place to direct customers to.

It’s vital to have a website which clearly and succinctly communicates who you are, what you do and what makes it good.

Your website can be both the first and the lasting impression you leave on customers, so it needs to look and feel the way you want. Functionally, it must also provide visitors with the information they need to encourage enquiries and sales. Neither design nor function are more important that the other.

The litmus tests for a good B2B website are perhaps:

  • Is it immediately obvious what you deliver?
  • Is it clear where you need to click to access further information?
  • Does the website explain how you can satisfy your customers’ needs? (rather than just talking about how brilliant you are)
  • Is your website modern and up-to-date?

Regardless of how effective your website is, it will require effort to ensure your potential customers discover it online…

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for B2B digital marketing

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the actions you take to ensure your website appears more frequently and higher up in search results.

SEO is broadly made up of relevance (the content within your website), authority (how respected your website is) and structure or technical SEO (how well your website is built).

STOP!

Before embarking on SEO (and PPC) it’s important to ask “are our customers searching online for what we deliver?”

Whilst almost everyone uses the internet to search for products and services, in some B2B sectors – particularly those with high-value purchases or providing professional/technical expertise – Google plays a much smaller role.

Before you employ significant resources into SEO, PPC and wider digital marketing, it’s wise to use online tools to see if people are searching for what you deliver in suitable volumes.

If not, then other elements of your digital and non-digital marketing mix may be more important.

If enough potential customers are looking online, SEO is important…

Relevance

The single most important element of SEO is whether your website contains content which helps address a user’s search. You need to include content (text, images, video etc) which directly addresses the needs of your target audience.

You can improve relevance by including keywords (individual words or longer search terms) which your target audience might enter when searching. However, don’t artificially ‘stuff’ your content, as Google will know!

Authority

Authority is a measure of how respected your website is as a source of information. It is primarily demonstrated by backlinks (hyperlinks) from other websites.

The most effective link-building strategy is to share content (such as press releases) with third parties who may publish them online with a link to your website.

However, beware of purchasing links or creating them on low-quality listings websites, as this can be a negative for search engines.

Technical SEO

There are many tools which can help audit your website to assess SEO attributes such as page titles, crawlability, broken links and page speed.

Your URL (webpage address) structure is important and should help show search engines the topic and importance of pages. It’s critical your website is hosted on a secure (HTTPS) server with a relevant security certificate.

Google evaluates all websites ‘mobile-first’ so having a mobile-friendly website, optimised for all devices and browsers, is crucial for SEO.

Paid search (PPC) for B2B digital marketing

Whilst waiting for SEO to ensure your website appears high up in Google searches, you can use PPC (Pay-Per-Click, also known as Paid Search or Google Ads) to help you appear at the top instead.

Here’s a few tips to help:

1 – Conduct thorough keyword research

Before launching your Google Ads campaign, it’s important to identify the search terms being used by your prospective customers.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush or Ahrefs can help identify the keywords that match your target audiences. However, common sense and personal experience are also very important.

2 – Create compelling ads

The most effective search ads highlight the features and benefits of what you deliver. You can use short phrases to quickly communicate as much info as possible. It also helps to use an active voice such as ‘get’ or ‘discover’ to encourage clicks.

3 – Optimise your landing pages

If the page you direct clicks to is poor, your campaign could end up discouraging customers, rather than encouraging them to act.

Your homepage is typically too broad. Instead, specify pages which relate more closely to the keywords being targeted. People have a limited attention span, so make sure the information they want is immediate, the page loads quickly and has a clear call-to-action (CTA).

4 – Set the right ad scheduling

In B2B digital marketing, there are times (typically office hours Monday to Friday) when others may be more likely to search for your products and services. Concentrating your campaign and budget in this time can attract clicks from businesses who are more ready to buy.

5 – Use remarketing ads

It might be unlikely that someone enquires or buys from you on their first visit to your website. Remarketing Ads display on third party websites to those who have recently visited your website, convincing them to return.

Content marketing for B2B digital marketing

As touched on, content marketing is a massive part of modern digital B2B marketing – and non-digital B2B marketing too.

Content can achieve a number of objectives – including demonstrating your expertise, engaging with your client base and improving your SEO.

Content marketing for SEO

When someone puts a search term into a search engine, it compares it to the written content of your website. If you have lots of text on the subject, Google is more likely to show your website in search results.

Publishing new content on your website – often through your news or blog page – also shows search engines that you’re active and current. If you fail to update your website with new content, it may slowly slip down search results.

Pages or blogs with over 1,000 words are much more likely to appear in search engine results.

Ensure your website content is easy to read and of genuine quality. Regular well-written blogs are far more effective than infrequent ‘keyword-stuffed’ articles.

Content marketing to demonstrate capabilities and expertise

Much of B2B digital marketing is about trust, as businesses tend to buy from the suppliers in which they have most faith.

Content marketing and website content can help engage with potential customers by demonstrating your industry knowledge and leadership.

The attention span of busy professionals is short, so a handy tip is to split articles into bite sized chunks with catchy subtitles. Let your expertise do the hard work and avoid making every other line a sales-pitch!

Though it is best to publish your blog on your website to help SEO, you will also need to share it with a wider audience to build awareness of your expertise.

If you wish to share something genuinely newsworthy – such as a product launch, new employee or award win – it could be most effective to make the article a press release.

A press release tends to be written in the third person (they) rather than the first person (we), as if the author is a third-party journalist. As such, the reader reads it on merit.

The press release can be sent to interested websites and trade publications who may publish it. This will contribute to your website authority, particularly if it is accompanied by a link.

Sharing it across your company’s social media accounts (especially LinkedIn) and including it in your company email marketing are also successful tactics.

Social media for B2B digital marketing

Social media is a fundamental part of B2B digital marketing. Most people – including business decision-makers – use social media on a regular basis. When you post consistently, it helps to raise your profile and enhance your online presence.

LinkedIn

Where Facebook, Instagram and X (formally Twitter) are predominantly about what we do outside of work, LinkedIn focuses on what we do from 9-5.

As such, LinkedIn is a powerful resource for B2B digital marketing.

Around 50% of senior professionals in most UK sectors are active on LinkedIn. Once thought of as simply a place to look for your next job, it is increasingly a location where businesses discover products, services and new suppliers.

As a B2B company or organisation, you can use LinkedIn to:

  1. Increase awareness of your company amongst decision-makers and influencers within target organisations (i.e. to encourage enquiries and sales)
  2. Communicate your company’s capabilities, strengths, successes and persona
  3. Demonstrate your company’s industry leadership in terms of expertise and innovation
How to us LinkedIn successfully

Successful B2B social media is about getting potential customers to trust that you will provide a great product or service.

Many companies post news and company updates on LinkedIn, as well as longer articles and content which demonstrate their knowledge and leadership.

The most successful social media posts typically report on something which has happened. These might include:

  • New customers, case studies or completed projects
  • New products, services or innovations
  • New staff and existing staff profiles
  • Achievements (awards and quality standards)
  • Events or meetings attended (post-Covid)
  • Other developments within the business such as new equipment, facilities or staff initiatives
  • Charity or community involvement
  • Press releases and blogs (especially if they have been published by a third party)

Social media is a visual medium, so it is the images which accompany posts which are seen first and encourage users to read further.

The updates and images you post reflect your business, so ensure they are of suitable quality and represent the strengths you want to communicate.

If you’ve run out things to say, engaging social media posts can also be created by sharing updates or articles written by others. By commenting upon them, you can demonstrate your expertise and leadership.

There is no limit to how frequently you can post on LinkedIn. Once a week is generally the minimum but two or three times a week tends to work best.

As LinkedIn is a professional network, it is most effective to post within office hours and on weekdays.

Ensuring more people see your LinkedIn posts

If a user likes or shares your company’s update, it is more likely to appear in the feeds of their own connections.

This can be used to your company’s advantage:

  1. Ask your staff to regularly like and share your company’s posts.
  2. Ask key members of your team to grow their connections on LinkedIn by proactively asking individuals within target organisations to connect with them. They can use the search function to identify job roles or companies and invite up to 100 people per month to connect
  3. Once connected, you can then invite existing contacts to follow your company page

Other digital marketing channels and analytics

We’ve outlined the key elements – website, SEO, PPC, content marketing and social media – which make up a modern B2B digital marketing mix.

However, there are many more areas of digital marketing, including those which are no longer regarded as purely digital.

For example, though delivered digitally, email marketing is now part of a normal (non-digital) marketing mix. Likewise, though content marketing is most frequently shared or published online, it too is regarded as being more holistic.

A significant element of digital marketing is analytics.

All forms of digital marketing typically provide an unprecedented level of information and statistics which can be used to analyse and evaluate their effectiveness.

One of the leading examples is GA4 – formally Google Analytics – which helps you see who has visited your website and what they did whilst they were there. This can help inform the improvements you make to your online presence.

However, beware as it is easy to fall into ‘analysis-paralysis’ – looking for stats to definitely support or inform every decision. Unfortunately, this rarely provides the best results alone as many areas are inconclusive or open to interpretation.

Instead, you need to have a good balance of advanced digital skills, all-round marketing experience and a thorough understanding of who your customers are and how they behave.

Get greater results from your B2B digital marketing

The key to B2B digital marketing is to understand its relevance in your overall marketing mix and how to get the very best from it.

As East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, we work with businesses across the UK – in sectors including manufacturing, engineering, technology, logistics and business services – to help them evaluate and prioritise the digital marketing which will deliver more sales and customers.

You can find out more here

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