Powerful B2B digital marketing in 4 grueling steps

The right digital B2B strategy has all the pieces in place before you hit go…

The right digital B2B strategy has all the pieces in place before you hit go…

Digital is still a mystery to many marketers, particularly in the B2B realm. So we thought we’d help by plotting out a four-part approach to conquering just about any B2B digital marketing challenge. The steps appear basic, but each can have a decent level of depth:

  1. Strategy
  2. Creation
  3. Lead management
  4. Measurement

We have a lot to cover, so let’s keep the intro short and jump right in!

1. PLOT YOUR STRATEGY

This is first course of stones you set in place to build your digital fortress. Make sure it’s level and strong, with:

A keen understanding of your audience, including what their interests are and where they hang out online. If you need research to find this out, so be it. Yes, it’s THAT important.

We often suggest including your sales team in this discussion, because they have front-line experience with objections, complaints, happiness and more from your customers.

An attainable goal. We’d all love our stuff to go crazy viral, but that’s really a roll of the dice and quite rare. Fantasies aside, what’s a realistic, attainable goal you’d like to achieve from your digital campaign? Is it to generate leads? Get more eyeballs on your site? Increase foot traffic? Entice elusive new customers with a compelling offer? Remember, digital is highly measureable—so the more specific your goal, the better.

The moral here is to think this through! Many times with digital campaigns, marketers focus on just heaving stuff out there—sending out emails, posting to Facebook, Tweeting! But there’s too often no tie to an overall idea, strategy or goal. Rise above that, and the digital universe will reward you.

2. CREATE MEANINGFUL CONTENT

Digital is a medium, just like anything else, to get your message to someone. Today though, people’s every waking moment is saturated with information, like a wet blanket after a heavy rain. The stakes for standing out are high.

Just think of your own online experience. Most of us waste tons of time online, for sure—but not on stuff we don’t want to see. The simple rule to great content? Make stuff your audience wants to see.

Content can take many creative forms, including:

> eBooks

> Videos

> Whitepapers

> Case studies

> Podcasts

> Blogs

> eNewsletters

> Infographics

> Posts

> Portfolio pages/image galleries

> Webinars

Don’t forget your strategy when you create content, too. Don’t just create things willy nilly—willy definitely comes first. A fabulous (and effective) technique to adopt is creating content for each stage of the buying cycle:

  • For people who don’t know you
  • For people who do, but haven’t bought
  • For people who have bought and you’d like to keep them or sell them more

In addition to content, there’s a plethora of complementary digital direct marketing techniques to choose from. SEO, landing pages, microsites, email marketing, pay-per-click, banner ads, retargeting and social media can all work hand-in-glove with content to catapult response rates. (Again, as long as it’s grounded in strategy.)

3. RESPOND TO AND MANAGE LEADS

In digital campaigns, people download… or click… fill out forms on landing pages… or any other number of lead-capturing techniques. But very few (in the single percentages, in fact) are ready to buy something on the first contact. They need some wooing first.

As part of your strategy, you HAVE to have a mechanism or procedure in place to handle the lead process. For example, is the prospect automatically put on an email list after downloading your whitepaper? If so, there has to be an email marketing campaign ready to launch. You get the idea.

When planning how to manage leads, ask yourself this simple question: What happens next? Step into the prospect’s shoes, and imagine yourself reacting to your campaign. You take a certain action, then what? What makes sense? What would you expect? What would please or aggravate you? Know those answers before you launch anything.

4. MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS

Digital is oh so measureable. You can know, in real time, exactly how a campaign or effort did. The key, as always, is setting up precisely what you’re measuring in the strategy part of the process. Your measurement should be tied directly to your goals. No duh.

Here’s just a sampling of what you can measure, by medium:

Social media – Followers, shares, retweets, likes, pins and more

Emails – Open rates, bounce rates, click-throughs, forwards, unsubscribes and the like

Websites, microsites, landing pages – Unique visitors, visitor flow, bounce rates, most visited/least visited pages, traffic sources, downloads, conversion rates, and more

Blogs – Unique visitors, visitor flow, number of visitors, downloads, comments, etc.

If there’s one lesson from these four steps, it’s this: Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Every action, everything you create or measure, should be grounded in a purpose or meaning.

So often, people mistake execution for strategy. “Just do some posts; we need to be out there!” Then they wonder why response is abysmal.

Digital is amazing, but the digital world is also a very busy place your customers visit, a lot. You have so much competition nagging for their attention. Make something worthy and worthwhile, grounded in solid thinking, and your odds will improve nicely.

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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