B2B marketing is best described as business-to-business communication through various methods, with the main method being content. There has been a massive shift in the marketing world over the past 5 years, and leading into 2018 it is only going to continue to evolve. Meaningful content that ticks all the boxes; value, creativity, and steps towards actionable change, is at the forefront of B2B marketing.
The internet is becoming more crowded every single day, in fact as of 2015, over 2 million blog posts are written every day, and as we lead into a new year this is only going to increase. This highlights the importance of developing relevant content that will benefit your readers in real-time, and stand out from the crowd of competitors.
B2B marketing is about more than just publishing words on a blog and hoping that your audience will engage and grow. You need to make sure of a variety of different factors.
1. You need to be sure you are writing about what your audience wants to read;
Demographic targeting is a successful way of ensuring that content is targeted at the main demographic visiting your website. It is important to make sure that the content that is developed is relevant to their interests and search habits. Many analytic websites help you to really understand your who is viewing your website, and it is important to utilize this information to get the most out of the content you create.
2. Your content needs to be creative and add value
It is thoroughly important to develop new content ideas regularly, and develop content that is likely to stand out from a mountain of blog posts. Essentially, the main aim of content is to drive leads and appeal to other businesses, and providing content that adds value to your reader’s lives is an effective way of achieving this.
But it is important to have a strong content strategy. At Website Fix, we help our clients by developing a successful content strategy based on their target demographic and industry. In the past we have helped many businesses stand out from the crowd, and achieve authority in their industry.
3. You need to make sure you are educated about what you are writing about
Make sure you thoroughly understand what you are writing about because: a) this will help you stand out from the crowd and be seen as a leader in your industry and b) you want to make sure you understand the facts before trying to educate others.
4. “Quality over quantity”
It is important not to just create noise with content; it needs to provide knowledge and actionable change for readers. If you are spending your time writing content that no one is going to read, you will essentially be wasting your time.
5. Marketing your content
Email is one of the most effective ways to market your content and engage with your audience, so setting up a mailing list on your website and encouraging people to subscribe is effective. Email Marketing tools such as MailChimp allow you to develop and track email campaigns to send to your subscribers. It is important to make sure that when you are sending out emails that they are mobile friendly as studies have shown that 54% of emails are opened on mobiles.
There are many platforms available where you can promote your content. Popular social sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat, are user-friendly and used by millions of people daily. Each platform has a general demographic and you should be making sure that you are using the correct platforms for your target audience ie. If you are a wedding planner, platforms like Pinterest and Instagram would be a great option for you because these sites are image based, and a place for people to gather inspiration.
There are other options you can consider when promoting your content;
Boost your post: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to ‘Boost’ your post, and for a relatively small amount of around $5-$10 you have the potential to share your post with 100’s of people. This is where it is important to know your target audience well, as you will be targeting them with this type of promotion.
Hashtags: Hashtags are the keywords that are included at the end of social media posts (#______) on platforms like Instagram, and Twitter, to help to increase post visibility within your target market. This is a free and effective way of increasing the reach of your posts, but it is important to make sure you are using hashtags that are most relevant to your industry and content. There are many platforms that help you to find relevant hashtags, for example Top-Hashtags.com, where you can search a term and find out the most popular hashtags.
Content Platforms: Leading into 2018, it is also beneficial to look into off-site content platforms such as Medium, Quora, StumbleUpon and Reddit. When executed correctly, this can be an effective way of diversifying your audience, by connecting with readers who may have otherwise not found your website, it can also be an effective way of increasing discoverability. These platforms are designed to share your content with people who have already submitted their interests, meaning it is more likely to be read and consumed by people who will value it.
It is important to make sure your content ticks all the boxes, to ensure that it is as successful for your business as possible. If you want more tips on content strategy, we have developed a FREE eBook called “50 Actionable Tips for Your Business Growth” which you can download Here
If you’re in pursuit of some proven ways to get quality traffic to your online store to increase your sales, then this is the post for you. Online traffic is not some divine right for any site, each store or portal must work hard to attract visitors and to keep them coming back. Quality traffic requires even more effort on the part of the site, engaging with prospects and customers on a regular basis, being seen on the right sites or social media platforms, and putting out attractive messages to engage the target audience.
1. Ensure your advertising lands smartly
Paid advertising remains one of the primary method of attracting traffic to most online stores. You will already know the keywords essential to your business success, but should focus on using advertising to lead customers to high-impact and high-performing pages or products that are proven sellers.
For new customers, make sure there is a discount offer or other deal prominently displayed on the landing page to encourage them to shop, and ensure you get their email address or social media following as part of the deal to encourage repeat business.
While not every e-commerce landing page is oriented around a lead gen form, this one from Groupon does a really good job of illustrating an easy path to victory. The user lands on the page and are given incentive to provide their email as seen in the picture above.
Read more on this: 11 elements of a successful website
2. Mix your sales and informational posts
With more marketing, advertising and engagement performed over social media, there is a strong need to provide a mix of information, insight, offers, and fun – depending on the store, to maintain the interest of your followers.
Any business should share unveiling of new products or services. Highlight the company’s or product appearances at trade shows, festivals or other events. Even highlight staff in action – either at business or company social events – to give a human face to what can often appear a totally automated process.
Any posts should contain those high-focus keywords, but don’t make them stuffed with keywords and salesy pitch that are clearly not meant for a human to read. Tell stories, use emotion and drama to hook readers, make them shareable and interesting, with plenty of imagery or video.
3. Reviews are free advertising
According to a research some 90% of people read an online review before visiting a site. Ensure your reviews are searchable and shareable, as an independent opinion is considered far more valuable than the typical marketing text. If you have some amazing reviews, why not show them up on your site?
You can also provide a feedback link between buyers who have completed an order and those who may be considering one, creating higher quality traffic. Your positive reinforcement is more likely to nudge a prospect into a sale, which is why it is essential to have social media sharing buttons on reviews to help people share these opinions.
4. Business buyers love data
Any e-commerce store selling to the business sector should make maximum use of statistics and data. Ensure adverts and social media posts highlight these, as most business buyers either have to, or love to, justify their buying decision with a data point.
These could include a customer satisfaction rating, an efficiency or productivity improvement score. You can also use some of your own data points, such as most popular products or “used by x% of our clients” to create relevant data points. By speaking the language of your business buyers, you are more likely to attract quality traffic and increase sales.
5. Be part of your community
Stores focused on any particular vertical, market or niche should be an active part of the that community. From participating in online forums and social media groups dedicated to the area, to attending trade shows or conferences, a virtual or physical presence creates awareness that transcends Google search. Top notch social media marketing can help grow your online community.
Ideally, any store e-commerce efforts would be competent in all five of these areas to increase the quality of their traffic. However, a focus on quality over volume will always coalesce around the areas of most interest to the store and its customers, focus on those first and others later.
Social media is a vital part of online marketing. But creating social media content that reaches your audience takes a little bit of work. Here are 6 tips for businesses trying to promote their brand on social media.
1. Do Your Research
Research goes a long way in helping you deliver the most effective social media content. It is important to understand the size and characteristics of your audience, as well as their online behaviour.
Your Target Audience
Think back to your previous customers, and what you know about them. Can you identify any common demographics, values, experiences, expertise, or social environments?
If you have the contact details of your customers, consider sending out a survey. You should also examine the way users interact with your competitors on social media. Write down everything you notice about these customers and take note of any commonalities.
Some experts suggest that compiling these characteristics into a customer avatar is a useful way for business owners to target their content. It may seem a bit odd, but many business owners find that giving their customer avatar an identity – a name, age and occupation – helps them create better social media content, as they can design a focused campaign with a specific person in mind. This is a lot less difficult than imagining the detail among a group of people.
Once you know a little bit about your target audience, you can use Facebook’s Ad Manager to estimate the size of that audience.
Take a look at the latest research on peak traffic times in the specific countries or regions where your business operates, or the popularity of different social media platforms across different age groups. There are a number of blogs and websites that publish research about the online behaviour of social media users. Gather as much research as you can about the online behaviours of your target audience and use this to help you create a social media strategy.
Checkout our Social Media Management services if you’re seeking professional help
2. Tailor Your Content for Different Channels
It is important to understand that what works best varies across each social network.
For example, on Facebook, story-driven content that sparks conversation tends to be the most effective. Using humour works in most scenarios, but it’s also important to have some variety among your posts. For instance, the recent poster by WebsiteFix has a a bit of humour and also convey the message.
Break up the promotional posts every now and then by sharing an image, story or video that will resonate with your target audience.
Twitter is much more instantaneous and news-orientated than Facebook. It calls for headline-orientated posts that are easy to understand and fit within the 140 character limit. A great way to gain visibility on Twitter is to interact with users who are successful in your field. Where possible, relate your content to a recent news story or current affair. For example, if you run a Real Estate franchise, and the market is in favour of the buyer, link your post to a reputable news website. If you’re a personal trainer, be on the lookout for any newly published studies about the benefits of exercise. Be creative, but try to avoid divisive topics unless you’re absolutely certain it will work with your target audience.
LinkedIn is a great platform for long-form content. You can use LinkedIn to host blogs and share research-based content, including news stories and reports. When posting content that communicates mostly through long text, add a little bit of visual content, such as a photograph or infographic.
LinkedIn also features a number of industry-specific discussion groups. Making meaningful contributions to LinkedIn discussions can result in valuable leads for your business.
3. Use Visuals
Images are key to creating effective social media content.
Research conducted in 2013 found that compared with the average text-based post, it is estimated that photos get 53% more likes and 104% more comments. Furthermore, posts that centre on an image have an 84% higher click-through rate for links.
Meanwhile Tweets containing photos will get, on average, 113% more engagement and 150% more re-tweets. Images are also great way to convey a powerful message within the 140 character limit.
So it is clear why photographs make a post more visible. But did you know that they also make the content more memorable? Studies show that when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
The right photographs and the right balance of text-based and visual content will help your brand stand out on social media.
4. Time Your Posts
The best way to reach your target audience is to post content when they are most likely to be online. Peak hour differs across channels, location and demographics. There is a lot of research indicating that the optimal time to post on Facebook is 3pm, and the best times to Tweet are Wednesdays- at noon and again between 5pm and 6pm. While statistics such as these are useful, it is important to learn about the online habits specific to your target audience. For example, the online behaviour of someone working 9am-5pm Monday to Friday will differ from that of a single parent or a University student.
There are a number of options when it comes to scheduling your posts on social media. Some channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, offer a business account, which allows you to schedule posts and measure the performance of your content.
Tools such as Hootsuite or Sproutsocial allow you to manage multiple social media channels at the same time. For example, you could start the week by scheduling posts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Although the content is being scheduled, you don’t want your social media presence to come across as automated, and you should avoid posting right on the hour or half hour. For example, if your research tells you that the best time to post is 5pm, perhaps you might schedule the post for 5:03 or 5:12. If you want to reach people who are online at 5:30, try posting at 5:27, or 5:36.
Facebook has a feature which allows users to announce major life events through their timeline. Some of the default options include graduating from higher education, getting engaged, getting married, expecting a baby, or having a new pet. There is also a ‘custom’ option that allows users to add their own life event.
Facebook Business allows you to target audiences based on specific life events. For example, if you sell pet supplies locally, you can target users in your area who have a new pet. If your business is in the wedding industry, you can market specifically to newly engaged couples.
By marketing to the right people at the right time, you can significantly increase the visibility gained through your content, ultimately leading to a higher conversion rate.
5. Make a Memorable Hashtag
Hashtags are more than a convenient way for users to categorise and filter content. They can be used to build and expand communities who share a goal, a value, or a love for a particular brand.
Ideally, your hashtag is easy to remember, but unique enough that it can generate momentum specific to your campaign. One example of effective marketing through hashtags was Coca-Cola’s mid-2010s ‘#shareacoke’ campaign. As part of this campaign, Coca-Cola produced cans and labels which read ‘share a coke with’ followed by a range of different titles. For example, ‘Share a coke with Sarah’ or ‘Share a coke with Dad.’
Coca-Cola encouraged its audience to tweet their own stories with the hashtag ‘#shareaCoke,’ increasing the brand’s social media visibility by having customers create content.
If you are creating a hashtag campaign, make sure you search the hashtag before you use it in case it is being used by a similar brand or to discuss an unrelated topic. For best results, adopt the hashtag on multiple different channels.
6. Listen and Engage
Improve your social media engagement. Customer feedback is extremely valuable, and one of the appeals of social media is that it allows users to express their opinions – about their favourite TV shows, about news topics, and about products or services they have used. Comments, posts tweets and reviews provide valuable insight to what you’re doing right, and how your customers feel the product or service and be improved.
Social media is also a great avenue for interacting with customers and answering their questions. A positive interaction with a customer goes a long way. Not only is it likely to impress the customer you interact with, but it is also noticeable to other followers or visitors to your page.
Furthermore, activity on a post, including comments, likes and shares, boosts its visibility for other users within your target audience.
When you interact with your audience, you reach a larger number of people, while demonstrating that your brand is trustworthy and cares about its customers.