Are you not generating the volume of quality leads your sales team need to meet business objectives?
Do you feel that your campaigns are falling short on expectations?
Are you fed up with not being able to articulate your marketing return on investment in monetary value to your board?
If you answered yes to any, or all, of the above – congratulations, you're a Marketer! And you're not alone.
Marketers across the globe are facing the same challenges day in and day out as our previously comfortable landscape continues to change, and rapidly at that. There are 4 key actions you can take to turn things around. I’m not promising they are going to be easy or achievable overnight, but I can guarantee you the sooner you address them the sooner you will secure longer-term success.
Forget The Term “B2B Marketing”
I acknowledge that there needs to be some distinction between marketing to a business and a consumer but what irks me about this is that at the end of the day, you are still marketing to a person. The only differentiation is that the person is going to make a decision for the business and not for individual consumption. Personally I believe the actual term “Business To Business” marketing is flawed, but I’ll leave that rant for another day. Marketing is about connecting a person, not a building. So stop addressing a nondescript business and begin engaging with the people in that business.
Focus on the People
In order to do this effectively though, it is paramount that you understand who these people are. Creating a buyer persona profile can help you keep a person in mind when developing your marketing campaigns and ensure that you are tackling their specific needs and preferences. For a deeper understanding of how to develop your buyer personas click on the link at the bottom of this post to download the Creating Great Content eBook. There is an entire chapter dedicated to the buyer persona profile that will help you on your way.
Build a Website
As buyers, we no longer accept cold calls for a product that we are very unlikely to need (at that point in time), we skip television advertisements and pay very little attention to billboards. And when last did you use the Yellow Pages as anything more than a doorstop? So why then, I ask with tears in my eyes, would you ignore the powerful business generation potential of your website?
Websites that Attracts, Converts, Closes and Delights Customers
Websites have evolved beyond the ‘nice-to-have-brochure-site’ to a ‘must-have-marketing-platform’. To do this your website should have certain characteristics:
- A user-friendly content management system that allows you to create and publish content across your site and blog without IT department intervention.
- Allow for the creation and tracking of call-to-action buttons, landing pages and forms that promotes your content and results in lead generation.
- Integrates with your CRM, email and social media management enabling personalisation of content and one-to-one conversations with your prospects and clients.
- Comprehensive reporting capabilities that allows for in-depth insights on marketing effort results and success.
Your website needs to be considered, and managed, as an extension of your sales and marketing forces. A team player that works around the clock. It’s caffeine? Content! That bit is up next.
Invest in a Content Marketing Team
Content is the single biggest driver of traffic to your site. Without the traffic, you don’t have the opportunity to generate leads and without leads there are no sales. For your website pages to show up for those search terms that your target audience is using to find solutions like yours (remember: buyer persona) you’re going to need to create content, a lot of it, and frequently.
A team who understand SEO
Content also needs to be optimised for search engines in order to ‘be found’ so it’s a good idea to ensure your content creators have a good understanding of search engine optimisation and can apply the principles to the content they work on. Successful content marketing often requires several people collaborating on objectives, concepts, design, copy and creation.
Or get Help From People Who understand SEO
If you do not have an internal team available, a good option is outsourcing to an Inbound Marketing agency as they have teams with the necessary skill-sets and can generally implement and execute quicker on campaigns and programmes due to previous experience. Content marketing is not a once-off exercise, it is a long term commitment to generating compelling content that will educate and inform your audience, helping them discover the solutions to issues they encounter and building trust with them.
Claim Your Social Media Space
While there are a few big players in the Social Media arena, they may not all be a perfect fit for your business. Again, consider your buyer persona. You will know their preferred platforms to spend time on and how they evaluate solutions and suppliers via this channel. Social media is the way you promote your content, delivering it into the streams and news feeds of your target audience.
And then WORK it!
Naturally that audience isn’t going to miraculously appear as soon as you register your Twitter handle or claim your LinkedIn page. Expanding your reach beyond those in your immediate circles takes time and dedication. Encourage all your key employees to participate in social media sharing and don’t be afraid to share curated content either. Sharing information builds your authority on your particular subject as your audience know they can rely on you to alert them to news, resources or information that they would find valuable.
So that wraps up the 4 actions B2B marketers can take to ensure continued success. What else would you add to this list? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.