As my friend and pro B2B Internet marketer Rick Short said, ‘B2B marketing managers should invest in the development of non-volatile skills. They need to understand how the pieces fit together and not necessarily which button to hit.’
From my vantage point, B2B Internet marketers should focus on strategy development and solving the business problem at hand. For most, this means generating leads (or Internet sales) and nurturing these leads all the way through the online B2B buying process.
The below figure demonstrates our approach to B2B Internet marketing:
Your goal should be to establish yourself, or company, as a credible provider of solutions to client problems. Start with a blog and generate two to four posts per month. Use simple formats like this three-part approach:
- Description of the problem
- Recommended solution
- Results achieved
Remember, blog content is different than website content. Blogs allow you to talk about the problems your company solves. This is great for the search engines and will get your content ranked for problem-based long-tail keyword phrases. Since the B2B buying process starts with the identification of a need and a search for solutions, ranking for these terms gives you a competitive head start.
Once you’ve created content, repurpose it for use across different platforms.
- Capture that same thought on in a video and upload it to YouTube.
- Convert it into a presentation and post it to SlideShare.
- Use it as the basis for your newsletter or email blast.
- Turn that thought into a portion of a webinar.
Distribute content through social media:
- Tweet your blog post on Twitter.
- Post a link to your blog or video on Facebook and Google+.
- Share content through your LinkedIn profile update and group discussions.
Grow the strength of your brand by creating a bigger following:
- Subscribers (blog, YouTube channel, SlideShare page and newsletter)
- Followers (Twitter),
- Friends (Facebook and Google+)
- Connections (LinkedIn)
- Attendees (webinars)
Create content silos and sequence information so that it aligns well with the needs of prospects as they wrestle with problems. Disjointed website content creates doubt in the minds of prospects causing them to hesitate before making a buy decision. Make sure your content tells a complete easy to understand story.
The job of your website is to sell. Add calls to action appropriate to each phase of your prospect’s B2B buying process. Asking a prospect to buy too early is a big mistake. Your goal should be to make the decision to buy from your company easier. Do this by demonstrating value and reducing buyer risk.
To be taken seriously in social media you have to participate. Interact with other bloggers leaving comments on good posts and referencing other articles that you either agree with or take exception to. People won’t engage with you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or YouTube unless you interact with their content – so interact!
The lifetime value of a customer is calculated by revenue generated and referrals produced. Social media allows you to share the experience of satisfied customers with prospects. Ask happy customers to help promote your brand.
- Add testimonials to your website where appropriate. These can be textual or in video format. See a B2B Internet marketing testimonial below.
- Encourage clients to comment on your Facebook or Google+ posts, retweet case studies, and provide recommendations on LinkedIn.
Social media gives unhappy customers a voice too. Addressing negative social media feedback head on showcases your dedication to customer service; whereas, burying your head in the sand and ignoring negative comments demonstrates apathy.
The final step is to define and monitor success metrics. Use Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and social analytic monitoring tools to track important metrics. Small tweaks to a page, form, or messaging strategy can make a big difference.
At the end of the day, knowing the jargon of Internet marketing and which button to push is nice; but developing a sound B2B Internet marketing strategy and knowing how each of the above tactics can be used to accomplish your business goals will deliver a higher ROI.