Marketing is a crucial aspect of any company’s long-term success, and it’s always evolving.
To keep up, you have to stay on top of the most effective B2B marketing strategies—you’re never too old (or too young!) to learn something new.
B2B marketing has become a big part of customer engagement and attracting the attention of the right people. It means more B2B companies are doing it, and it can be harder to stand out amongst the crowd.
That’s why we’ve reached out to six B2B marketers and asked them to share their number one marketing tactic.
These individuals have been in the trenches — they’ve experimented with content, SEO, and social media. They know what works and what doesn’t.
If you’re not seeing the results you want with your marketing, or if you’re just in need of some new perspective, have a look at what’s working for these B2B marketers.
Create Content That’s Useful and Searchable
You already know that content is essential. The way forward is clear: To grow your presence, you need to have great content on your website.
Content entertains us, helps us make decisions, and keeps us in the know.
But determining what kind of content to create? Not so easy. It requires a lot of planning, effort and time. Here’s how Kevin Indig approaches content creation.
“My number one tactic is crafting content for organic search and thought leadership. The latter has a higher chance of creating natural links. The former will drive more traffic. Both are necessary for a good content mix.”
—Kevin Indig, G2
He points out that though Google has started providing answers directly instead of just sending people off to other sites, the search engine is still the biggest driver of traffic—50%, compared to 25% from Facebook. So you need to make sure your content is searchable … and worth searching for.
For your content to have an impact and drive potential customers to your website, it needs to do something for them. Using your authority to provide thought leadership on topics that are relevant to your audience is one way to offer value while increasing your brand’s reach.
Show Off the People Behind the Brand
Sure, business isn’t supposed to be personal, especially with content.
People respond well to authenticity. They’re looking for real human experiences and real value. And if you provide content that takes more than it gives, it won’t earn you trust (or revenue). Instead, show the human side of your brand to help your audience identify and connect with your company on a deeper level. That’s Mandy McEwen’s top tactic:
“Leverage the HUMAN element of your company by producing more video content. Be real, come from a place of value, show the humans behind the brand, and HELP PEOPLE.”
—Mandy McEwen, Mod Girl Marketing
Humans connect to and trust other humans. Shoot videos using real people in your office that your audience can relate to, with all the mannerisms and quirks that illustrate the human side of doing business. You don’t necessarily have to have fancy equipment either — you can easily make videos using your phone or your computer’s built-in camera.
Once you’ve connected to your audience, you’ll be able to generate content that they enjoy but that also converts.
Practice Social Listening
When a customer stops doing business with you, it’s usually because of the service you provide. If you don’t listen to their needs, they don’t feel valued. So they decide to move on.
That’s where social listening comes in. Here’s what Liz Duff has to say about the importance of social listening in 2020:
“2020 has been a year of grey area, where personal lives and professional lives are crossing over in rare ways. The more we know about the environments we’re working within, the more effectively we can connect people with messages and resources they need. On a human level, the more we listen to the other, the better we can assist our community.”
—Liz Duff, SalesRight
Social listening not only gives you information about what your customers need but also equips you to respond to what they’re saying. Those who expect a reaction need to know that you’re there and ready to listen.
Actively seeking out brand mentions, even at a micro level, gives you better insight into how to offer a more valuable product, improve customer service, stay ahead of the competition, and manage your brand’s reputation online.
That’s another advantage of social listening—getting ahead of negativity.
Things happen. Your brand is made up of humans, after all. But even one mistake can fill your social media feeds with negativity. Yes, it’s easy to ignore some negative messages, but if the negative messages start to overpower the positive ones, then you’re going to have an uphill climb to regain your good reputation.
Social listening is a perfect opportunity to spot potential issues and uncover new ways to serve your customers.
By listening to what your customers are saying, you can address their concerns to keep negativity from spreading, determine whether anything further should be done to resolve the issue, and look to improve in the future.
Use Replies to Generate Content
One of the best ways to engage with your audience is to respond to their comments.
Regardless of the comments you get, it’s your job to acknowledge them. People don’t leave comments so they can be ignored.
Make the effort to respond promptly—whether there are three or 100 comments, your willingness to respond to each one goes a long way in establishing a relationship. You’re not only letting your audience know that you’re reading their comments, but you’re encouraging them to come back for more.
The best part? It doesn’t have to stop there. It’s time to view each comment as the beginning of a content creation opportunity. That’s what Nancy Myrland does:
“When someone in your community asks a question on social media, give them your best and most helpful thoughts. Then take that information and copy it over into a document, expand upon it and add more of your personality, and turn it into a blog post.”
—Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media
Take questions and comments and turn them into lemonade. Use the comments you get as inspiration for a blog post or a thread on Twitter. Because the content idea came directly from your audience, Nancy says, you know it’s information people are looking for.
When you turn an answer to one person into a public post or discussion, it not only serves you, but it can also help others who might be struggling or in need of inspiration.
Be Obsessed With User Behavior
You’re most likely using Google Analytics to understand how your website performs. It’s easy to get distracted and spend too much time focusing on a few key metrics. But without going in-depth, you won’t have enough data to gain insight into your users’ behaviour.
There is an aspect of Google Analytics that’s often ignored: the Behavior Flow Report. This information can show how a user moves from one page to another and what actions they take when they’re on your website.
It’s important to look at this because it will reveal any problems with the user experience—and whether users are doing what you want them to do in order to convert. Alina Benny puts it this way:
“Having an unwavering focus on user behavior is the only way you can combine SEO and CRO in 2020. Most marketers tend to operate assuming these are two different functions. In my opinion, they feed valuable data into each other.”
—Alina Benny, Nextiva
What links and search terms are bringing users to your website? Where are they landing, and where do they go next? Learning how visitors behave allows you to provide an experience that’s in line with their goals—and yours.
When you learn how to understand the behavior of your audience, you’ll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the website and apply that to future updates.
Utilize Semantic SEO
Most businesses seem to know that SEO is an integral part of their online marketing efforts, even if they don’t fully understand how it works or how it’s evolving. Meanwhile, more and more content is battling for attention in the organic search results.
You may think of SEO as targeting a certain keyword and making sure it appears multiple times throughout your content. But that’s not enough.
Search engines need context to understand a query and to gather relevant results. Context is created using words and phrases that expand on the original query. This is called “semantic SEO,” and it’s Andy Crestodina’s biggest tip for growing traffic:
“For any page targeting any phrase, the most effective approach to search (and growing top line traffic) is semantic SEO. That means going far beyond the primary and secondary phrases. It means incorporating all of the adjacent phrases, the subtopics, the related questions.”
—Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media
In order to use semantic SEO, marketers need to have a deeper understanding of why people are searching for content so they can place related phrases—beyond the main keyword—within the content. The idea is to address other questions the reader may have about the topic, rather than just answering the one query they typed into Google.
Producing valuable content that aligns with the searcher’s intent can bring powerful benefits. For one, when search engines understand the context of your content, the better its chances of ranking on top for multiple queries, despite ever-changing algorithms. And potential customers will associate your brand with finding the answers they were seeking.
Don’t we all want that?
Broadening your idea of SEO is a must if you want to grow your audience.
Wrapping it Up
B2B marketing is multi-layered and constantly evolving. As a marketer, you’re going to have to continually experiment with new tactics in order to figure out what brings the most success.
The six experts we consulted shared six different tactics, which goes to show there’s no one tried-and-true formula for B2B marketing. Take their advice, try these tactics out for yourself, and see what works for your brand