IntegratedB2B https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com Scandinavia’s no. 1 international B2B marketing blog Wed, 02 Sep 2020 07:55:49 +0000 da-DK hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.2 Customer acquisition or retention: which is better for B2B? https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/customer-acquisition-or-retention-which-is-better-for-b2b/ Wed, 26 Aug 2020 12:53:29 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3882 Many marketers believe that both the strategies of gaining more customers, increasing market penetration or customer acquisition, and selling more to existing customers, retention or loyalty strategy, are equally good. However, the loyalty strategy is often the chosen route due to the cost of acquiring new customers. You’ve probably heard it before, “it costs 5x […]

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Many marketers believe that both the strategies of gaining more customers, increasing market penetration or customer acquisition, and selling more to existing customers, retention or loyalty strategy, are equally good. However, the loyalty strategy is often the chosen route due to the cost of acquiring new customers.

You’ve probably heard it before, “it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one”, but is this still true? Was it ever true?

The true cost of retention strategy

To get right to the point, no, it’s not true. When Dr. Byron Sharp looked into it, there was no hard evidence to back these claims, yet the statistic is not wrong in its entirety. Acquiring customers can be expensive, but if nurturing existing customers is your key strategy, then it will cost your business a lot more. In fact, according to the B2B Institute, when B2C campaigns choose to focus on brand loyalty, they under-perform on every business metric.

Funded by LinkedIn, the B2B Institute is a think tank researching what the future might hold for B2B marketing and decision making.

Recent research from the institute references Dr. Sharp’s work and shows that this age-old saying about acquiring new customers might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Rather, customer acquisition strategies tend to be more effective than loyalty strategies in B2B. But, if that’s true, why do over 64% of B2B marketers still believe that businesses grow by increasing customer loyalty?

It all goes back to two statements deemed as “common knowledge”:

These bits of “common” business knowledge produce millions of Google research and were even taught during my education. Therefore, loyalty must be the way. Yet, data shows that few companies have low market penetration and high loyalty.

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That’s not to say that you should throw customer loyalty out the window. In fact, you need to find the right balance between short-term sales activation (which often falls under customer acquisition tactics) and long-term brand building. According to the B2B Institute, this balance is 46% brand building and 54% activation.

The problem is that many people in the world of B2B believe that branding activities only work on irrational consumers, when in reality, by participating in advertising and other acquisition techniques, you are working to increase the proportion of adopters who will make the leap and adopt your product or service on their own. Therefore, if you want the benefits of loyalty, then your company needs to focus on market penetration, because with market penetration comes all the benefits that we associate with loyal consumers.

In the world of personalized, 1:1 service, you might think that loyalty strategies would work better in B2B, but once again, current research suggests that B2B might be more like B2C than you think.

But B2B and B2C are different?

While B2B and B2C are often regarded as two fairly different groups, they relate more than some think and can often learn a thing or two from one another. Recently, I performed a case study on a B2C company and its brand under the context of the question: does brand loyalty still exist today, and does it really matter?

The conclusion? Yes, it still exists, but no, it doesn’t really matter. This statement may come as a surprise to you. It did to me. Think about how many times you’ve taken that stamp card at the coffee shop, signed up to get airline miles, or given a company your email address to get a discount. If you’ve done any of these things, then you’ve participated in or signed up for a company’s loyalty program. So, of course you’d think that retention and loyalty work best since they worked on you!

Yet, the case study showed that many of the customers interviewed were first time visitors to the business. How is this related you might ask? Well, it means that the brand likely wasn’t pursuing a loyalty or retention strategy. In fact, when asked, the brand’s team explicitly told me that they don’t target a particular group.

Although there was a clear target market for this company, those who might initially appear to be outside of this market still ended up becoming paying customers. Had the company decided to only focus on one target group or to only nurture existing consumers, it would have missed out on entire groups of customers!

While the company in question didn’t follow the precise split suggested by the B2B Institute, it did use reach strategies to communicate both with buyers and non-buyers. In this approach, a company doesn’t intentionally address one audience over another, but rather addresses everyone because everyone has potential. According to the B2B Institute, these types of reach strategies tend to not only be the most effective, but could also be better, in general, than tight targeting.

Start using your voice

If you’ve followed our blog for some time, then you have definitely heard us talk about voice. Whether it’s Voice of Company, Voice of Industry, or Voice of Customer , all play an important role in B2B marketing. But now, the B2B Institute brings in another aspect of voice that is equally as, if not more, important: Share of Voice (SOV).

If you’re unfamiliar with SOV, it is typically defined as a company’s share of all category advertising expenditure and tends to have a positive relationship with rate of growth. This “rule” about setting your SOV over your Share of Market (SOM) has been around for over 50 years and still holds true in B2C today. In addition, early market research suggests that B2B tends to react to SOV in the same was the B2C does.

One of the core ideas to have come out of this new research is that B2B companies could learn a thing or two from B2C. That doesn’t mean that trends like personalization, account-based marketing, and retention should be put completely on the back burner. Instead, B2B needs to learn how to balance this long-term nurturing with traditionally short-term methods in order to expand their customer base and grow. 

This blog post referenced research from the B2B Institute’s “5 Principles of Growth in B2B”


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The renewed importance of thought leadership in 2020 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/the-renewed-importance-of-thought-leadership-in-2020/ Tue, 18 Aug 2020 12:46:08 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3673 No-one would blame you if you were to rapidly re-evaluate your marketing priorities in 2020. We are facing an unprecedented rate of change that will surely affect the way business will be done in the future. But already now, I believe a new foundation for business is being established. Let’s face it. Even at a […]

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No-one would blame you if you were to rapidly re-evaluate your marketing priorities in 2020. We are facing an unprecedented rate of change that will surely affect the way business will be done in the future.

But already now, I believe a new foundation for business is being established. Let’s face it. Even at a time when digital communications is the norm for most, many have still relied on face-to-face meetings for effective collaboration or to truly seal a relationship.

Out of necessity, however, this belief is currently challenged, and many are already adopting – and beginning to cope with – a new reality.

Doing business at a distance

While this might seem like a relatively easy change for some, there are some key factors that marketers need to address to maintain good relationships from a distance.

A strong brand is more important than ever, at a time when it is nigh on impossible for your salespeople to represent your company in person. Keeping your brand messages on-point and consistent amidst market uncertainty is key to winning the trust of your target audiences.

But the specific type of brand communications I want to highlight here is thought leadership.

Thought leadership is more than just a type of business communication; it’s an important competitive parameter. But at a time when urgency becomes top of mind for business leaders, some might say, “Who cares about thought leadership? We need to keep our revenue streams up and sell! It’s all about the short term and no-one has time for this intellectual, long-term thinking!”

Does this sound like you?

Think again. Leadership in times of uncertainty is vital. Not just the leadership we expect from our political or business leaders. We all have a part to play in helping others move forward with confidence, and this is the right time to be focusing your resources on thought leadership.

Consider the following:

  1. Do you want to help your customers achieve reassurance and confidence in the future?
  2. Will doing this benefit your business?

I’m sure that for most, the answer to both is a resounding yes!

Five reasons why thought leadership is crucial for doing business at a distance

1. Slow and steady wins the race

Nurturing your customer relationships takes time and this has not changed in light of the current situation. Equally, having a firm foothold in your industry and being viewed as the industry leader has not changed either. This is why thought leadership needs to remain top priority as an element of your content marketing strategy. To be successful, you need to earn the trust, build credibility and be consistent with how often you publish. This is not something that can happen overnight.

2. Close the gap from a distance

Content can be used to stay connected with your existing and potential customers. But not just any old content. There is so much content out there, so how will you ensure that you cut through all that noise? Targeted, relevant thought leadership pieces that showcase your know-how are a sure-fire way to remain close to the accounts that matter. Your goal is to become the trusted authority in your field and inspire others to achieve success just like yours by partnering with you.

3. Use what you’ve got

Tap into the minds of your talent. They hold a treasure trove of technical knowledge that can be used as a foundation for thought leadership pieces. Whether it be an article for a well-known, widely-read industry magazine or a white paper highlighting the intricate details of food ingredient processing (as an example), a valuable thought leadership opportunity awaits. Set up an interview and watch as the knowledge flows freely in a matter of minutes.

4. Do away with propaganda

This is such an important element of thought leadership that I can’t emphasize it enough. To be a true thought leader, you need to move away from self-promotion. Unfortunately, a lot of what marketers think is thought leadership content is actually promotional. It’s tempting to throw in lines about how great your products or solutions are, and you might ask why it’s worth investing in content that doesn’t even mention your company? The point is that by positioning yourself as an industry-leading company, your technologies or products are inherently positioned there too. Propaganda undermines your industry-level messages, so leave the promotional, benefit-based communications to sales enablement, campaigns, product websites and similar.

5. Sharing is giving

We encourage children to share when they play, right? Let’s keep doing this in our professional capacities! A central premise of thought leadership is that through sharing your knowledge, you gain credibility. You have the credibility to be seen as a leader in your field, and the expertise you share could be just the thing that could help someone with a challenge or an opportunity. They’re likely to thank you for it – and they’ll almost certainly remember you!

Dare to go the distance

It’s a difficult time for many as we navigate this new world together. For most, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime circumstance, which can naturally send anyone spinning wildly out of control.

But instead of clutching any sales opportunity with a white-knuckled fist and relaxing your focus on thought leadership, do the opposite. As the dust settles, what will set you apart is your ongoing commitment to thought leadership – standing strong in the face of uncertainty while others abandon the long game.

Stay in the game. Now is the time to invest in thought leadership, more than ever before.

Need help with creating thought leadership content?

At cylindr, we help industrial and technology companies create thought leadership content. We can help you to write industry-focused content and to plan an effective content strategy to get maximum effect from your content.

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Big, Long, Amazing Ideas https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/big-long-amazing-ideas/ Sun, 02 Aug 2020 11:50:00 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3666 What they are and why we need ’em Ad agency creatives know what it’s like. You’ve come up with a fantastic idea for an ad, a one-liner or an image that, at first glance, seems to nail the brief. Right now, you’re feeling great. Like you can walk on water. Like the whole world is […]

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What they are and why we need ’em

Ad agency creatives know what it’s like. You’ve come up with a fantastic idea for an ad, a one-liner or an image that, at first glance, seems to nail the brief. Right now, you’re feeling great. Like you can walk on water. Like the whole world is going to applaud your uncanny creative abilities.

But the thrill is short-lived. Find out why being in it for the long haul pays off.

At first, the client is admiringly receptive and loves your idea. Then the questions start: “This is awesome. But what if we also wanted to say yadda yadda or blah blah.” “Can we do a version of this for our trade show stand in Munich?” “Could you do another couple of ads like this, so we can see how it might work across our product range?”

The problem is this: Your precious concept, ad or one-liner isn’t a Big Long Idea. Instead, it’s a one-off wonder.

Your brilliant idea works just fine in a single context or two, but it’s not powerful enough to support an entire campaign or if you’re working at a corporate brand level, an entire company in the long run.

The Ad Machine

Those of us who have been in the business for a while, are probably pretty good at making sure that every idea we take forward in a creative process fits the bill for a Big Long Idea. But I know that’s not necessarily the case for newer entrants to the world of advertising. So how can creative newbies consistently come up with Big Long Ideas instead of Small, Short Ones?

Some years ago, I began to think of each communication concept our agency created as an “Ad Machine.” In other words, to be a Big Long Idea, there had to be an underlying, easily repeatable structure – one where you could replace a few of the elements, yet keep the strength of the central concept alive and well.

Let me give you an example. It’s that series of ads again from BBN’s partner agency in Milwaukee. Their creative team came up with the fantastic idea of focusing on copper sulfate as a heavy metal – and playing on the music world to give it a creative spin. The campaign, which ran in 2015 and featured pseudo heavy metal rockstars, delivered a technical B2B message in an eye-catching and entertaining way.

What makes this campaign a Big Long Idea? A simple Ad Machine approach that says each new one-page ad idea (as one of the media formats in which the concept was executed) should show:

  1. A heavy metal rock star figure
  2. A ‘cool’ headline with a rock edge that encourages farmers to reduce metal content
  3. Consistent color palettes, typefaces and basic layout

Having defined their Ad Machine in this way, I imagine Bader Rutter’s creative team could have kept on coming up with new, consistently strong and on-message ads until the cows come home.

When one-offs work

Are there exceptions to the rule of the Big Long Idea? Of course!

Try a Google Image search for VW’s famous Think Small ads, for example. For many of the concept’s versions, the central idea was the same every time; nothing was replaced. The picture of a small car on a big, blank background was the same every time. The only thing that changed was the body copy at the base of the ad, telling a slightly different part of the storyline each time.

The VW ads were consumer-focused, of course. So what about the B2B world? Take the well-known McGraw-Hill Magazines ad – also known as the Man in the Chair.

Source: © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Reproduced with the permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

It’s a single, hard-hitting ad that works in a B2B world. Its message is so powerful, in fact, that no other versions are even necessary to get the point across.

So yes, it can be done. But in the world of B2B advertising, you’ll need a lot of talent and a ton of luck to succeed if developing one-off wonders is your aim! Start with the intention of creating a Big Long Idea, and you’ll more likely to please your clients time and time again.

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Keeping a close eye on your communications https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/keeping-a-close-eye-on-your-communications/ Sat, 01 Aug 2020 13:42:00 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3677 While we are all adapting to doing business and maintaining close relationships with our stakeholders from a distance, there are, of course, some factors that make connecting and communicating with people challenging. But maintaining transparency and compassion through communications can help you stay top-of-mind for customers, clients, partners and employees alike. How can you ensure […]

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While we are all adapting to doing business and maintaining close relationships with our stakeholders from a distance, there are, of course, some factors that make connecting and communicating with people challenging.

But maintaining transparency and compassion through communications can help you stay top-of-mind for customers, clients, partners and employees alike. How can you ensure this?

With an emotional cocktail of feeling threatened, uncertain and having a lack of control, people are reacting first and thinking later. This approach is not only detrimental in life itself, but also to your B2B marketing activities.

Self-isolation and working from home offices present B2B businesses with an ever-greater challenge to effectively communicate with its stakeholders as they batten down the hatches, go into panic mode and decentralize.

However, if you stick to two communications themes at this poignant point in time, you can ensure business success on the other side of all of this uncertainty.

The two themes are transparency and compassion. Here’s a quick overview of how they unfold in internal communications, as well as external communications.

Internal Communications:

The most effective communications start from within. Your employees are your brand ambassadors, so it’s important that they are kept informed. Communication can help to put their mind at ease, making external communications easier.

  • Communicate early and often. Even if the full extent of the situation is not yet clear, say what you know.
  • Be compassionate. Try and see the situation through the lens of your employees to understand their anxieties and respond accordingly.
  • Be open, honest and transparent to remain credible.
  • Utilize whatever technological resources you have on hand. Tools like MS Teams, Yammer and Skype are more important than ever. The more channels, the better your reach.
  • Demonstrate how and why decisions have been made, and what information you have used to make this decision (the latest government advice for example).
  • Let your employees know when they can expect a further update.
  • Keep the message succinct and straightforward to avoid confusion.

External Communications

  • External communications are different from internal. They are typically less frequent and messages are more refined.
  • In all messaging, put people first.
  • Shape communications to focus on what’s important to your customer. Understand their buyer persona to flesh out how doing business from a distance is impacting their role and business.
  • Be open, honest and transparent to remain credible.
  • Be compassionate rather than focusing on sales messages.
  • Keep the message succinct and straightforward to avoid confusion.

If you need help with your internal or external communications, we have extensive experience in writing them. And because times are tough, we have special offers to help you at this critical time. Get in touch with cylindr today.

Thanks to our colleagues at Fifth Ring for providing inspiration for this blog post.

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What is a copywriter and do you need one? https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/what-is-a-copywriter/ Tue, 28 Jul 2020 07:36:56 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3848 When I tell people I work as a copywriter, I’m usually faced with a blank look or a slight nod of the head, followed by the question, “So what do you do?” Truth be told, I didn’t even know what a copywriter was when I applied for the job! What I’ve learnt is that we […]

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When I tell people I work as a copywriter, I’m usually faced with a blank look or a slight nod of the head, followed by the question, “So what do you do?” Truth be told, I didn’t even know what a copywriter was when I applied for the job! What I’ve learnt is that we are a special breed, not everyone is good at it and that I’ve developed a skill for life.

I delve into the nooks and crannies of what a copywriter is – you can decide whether this is a skillset you would like to get a hold of.

A copywriter is marketing speak for someone who writes content such as articles, reports, blog posts, newsletters, emails and website text. It also helps to know that in the marketing world, copy is another word for content. Essentially, a copywriter is a content writer. And despite what it sounds like, it has nothing to do with copying anything or copyright law.

A unique skillset

Being a copywriter is not as easy as it sounds. It requires excellent communication skills, especially in written form, a creative mind and a thick skin. I mention thick skin because our work goes through many reviews and drafts before the final is given the stamp of approval. We need to be ready to be critiqued and questioned about our writing decisions.

I’ve often pushed back against using cliched statements such as “It’s in our DNA” and “We are an innovative company”. Yet they tend to slip in from time to time. What I’ve learnt is that sometimes there is actually no better way to say it. So, in it goes!

Marketing experts

Having a deep understanding of the subject matter is important, but it’s also required that copywriters understand the marketing principles that set the foundation for a robust content marketing strategy. Tone of voice, search engine optimization (SEO), buyer personas and the buyer journey are just some of the considerations when copywriters write.

Need a fresh-eye?

Copywriters possess skills in editing and proofreading. Say for example, you have written a magazine article for a global industry magazine and need someone to give it a once-over before submitting it to the editor. A copywriter can do just that and make suggestions for improvement as well.

From scratch versus transcreation

We can write something from scratch, doing our own research to find relevant, supportive articles or documentation to back up what we are saying. We can also take already developed content and lift it – this is known as transcreation.

I have frequently ‘lifted’ otherwise dry and highly technical content so that it is easier to understand by the lay person. For someone who avoids lifting weights at the gym like the plague, I sure have done a lot of lifting as a copywriter.

Tapping into experts

I have interviewed industry experts and then written articles or blog posts about the topic at hand. From here, I draw out the key messages and back them up with some impactful quotes to truly capture the essence of the interviewee.

My list of interviewees includes the lead of a UN sustainability program, engineers, a Deloitte consultant, a handful of researchers, and a sales and marketing expert. Not only does this require excellent rapport-building and interviewing skills, but also the ability to develop an angle to present and spread the knowledge of such experts or thought leaders.

Many copywriters are “ghostwriters” for subject matter experts (SMEs) across a vast range of industries. This means that, while publicly an article or blog post is attributed to an SME, that a copywriter has written it – oftentimes with the input of the SME, but sometimes without much input at all.

Getting to the point – fast

Writing concise content is tough but is a skill that copywriters possess. When you have a limited number of characters to write a compelling tweet, you learn to get straight to the point. Getting the point across with as few words as possible is an art form.

It is easy to do a brain dump on a complex topic, expecting the reader to understand and read everything. This is especially the case with engineer-speak or scientist-speak. It’s a good idea to always pose the question, “How does this add value to the core message?” as well as, “Will the text work without it?” I dare you to leave it out if your answer to the latter question is yes. Because I would.

Comedic creativity

Creativity is a huge part of being a copywriter. Coming up with catchy headlines and sub-headings, teaser text and social media posts that ‘hook’ a target reader is a tough gig. Most smart and catchy headlines have already been used ten times over. References to pop culture and pun-ny captions may be funny to native-English speakers, but may not fly with a Dane (or the wider global audience).

However, I’ve found using lyrics from songs quite effective. “Here comes the sun” and “Another one bites the dust” are just two examples used in a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report and cement manufacturing equipment brochure text, respectively.

Music is universal and the reference usually works a treat. Besides, a little hit of humor never hurt anyone. Take Snickers® as an example. The brand has run a successful campaign based on getting hangry (angry when hungry).

Spelling and grammar go out the window, but it works so well here

Storytelling magic

Most copywriters are also storytellers. Storytelling is not just for children. As adults, we remain connected with the magic of storytelling. It is known that storytelling is essential for building brand identity, creating emotional and human connection. It’s essentially the hook – by pulling at heart strings of customers (in a B2B or B2C context), brand loyalty is built. We are more likely to connect with a message if it makes us feel something.

Personality shines

This job ad caught my eye recently. “We’re looking for people who hate advertising yet work in advertising”. It’s daring and cheeky, but it perfectly demonstrates the personality of the Copenhagen-based agency. Cutting to the chase, no bulls–. With a bit of fun sprinkled into it.

How’s your content hygiene?

We can see and feel that there is a lot of content out there. Some of it is really good while others are just downright terrible – riddled with sales messaging, spelling errors and generally poor reading hygiene (think long sentences, a lack of subheadings and complicated words for the sake of complicated words). A skilled copywriter is highly versed in spelling and grammar in both English-American and English-UK.

Defining the humble copywriter

So there you have it. A copywriter is more than a writer. We possess the ability to translate complex information into digestible pieces. We’re negotiators, marketing experts and creatives who play an invaluable role in your marketing and sales machinery. And with targeted content at the core of account-based marketing, you sure will need at least one talented copywriter to support you.

If you are serious about content marketing and really getting your message across, a copywriter is your best bet. Want me to write for you? Meet me – I’ve worked as a copywriter and have progressed to senior copywriter status working at cylindr, a B2B marketing agency in Copenhagen.

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How to use LinkedIn when events are cancelled https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/how-to-use-linkedin-when-events-are-cancelled/ Fri, 10 Jul 2020 08:46:19 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3838 This is the final blog post in a three-part series covering B2B marketing and LinkedIn. In this post, I take a look at how LinkedIn can be used for lead generation at any stage in the buyer journey in the case of events being cancelled. The current pandemic has really pushed us all to our […]

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This is the final blog post in a three-part series covering B2B marketing and LinkedIn. In this post, I take a look at how LinkedIn can be used for lead generation at any stage in the buyer journey in the case of events being cancelled.

The current pandemic has really pushed us all to our limits, personally and professionally. For some of us, it’s brought about uncertainty and a downturn in revenue, cutbacks and general malaise. For others, it’s been a welcome shake up – a chance to reassess where they’re at, where they’re going and take a long, hard look at themselves through a new lens.

Events such as trade shows have long been a great lead generation opportunity. But with events being cancelled all over the globe, we’ve been forced to rethink how we generate leads during a time when it’s needed more than ever.

Think differently

The future is unpredictable (and always has been) – we don’t know how the coronavirus will play out. While it is good to remain optimistic and start planning for events that may go ahead, what is a new way that you can connect with prospects in the midst of the pandemic?

The obvious answer is to use what is right under your nose. LinkedIn is one way to get as close to the real thing as you can get with all of the lockdowns and social distancing that’s fast become a part of the norm. Coupled with account-based marketing or ABM, it’s a sure-fire way to get back in the game and start generating leads.

Bring your ABM-game

So how can you use ABM in the context of LinkedIn for lead generation when events are cancelled?

Let’s say you’ve got a database or customer relationship management (CRM) system that has a list of companies you’d like to target as prospects. This list of companies can actually be imported to LinkedIn, giving you a kick-arse ABM target list.

From here, identify the specific job titles that you would like to target at each of these companies. You can do this by using specific ads that address their pain points. Retargeting on this list is also possible via LinkedIn.

Once you’ve done this and still, there is silence on the other end, don’t give up! You can use LinkedIn automation to initiate a connection request with each of the people you are targeting on the list.

Once people start accepting your connection request, LinkedIn has a capability to send out a series of strong and strategic messaging in bulk, saving you time and reducing labor-intensive, manual processes.

There is also intelligent marketing technology that can easily create a list of contacts if you have no existing database or CRM system. You can employ ICP and IP tracking software on your website.

The wonderful thing about using these LinkedIn techniques in place of actual physical events like conferences and trade shows is that they can be used in all stages of the buyer journey. This counts for the buyer retention stage as well.

Want to know more about ABM? We cover it in this free introduction to ABM eBook.

Related blog posts

You can also read the other posts in this blog post series.

Best practices for sharing content on LinkedIn

How to interpret your LinkedIn company page analytics

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It’s time to reconsider your strategic value proposition https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/its-time-to-reconsider-your-strategic-value-proposition/ Tue, 07 Jul 2020 18:17:47 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3750 In the current business environment, which brings a new level of difficulties to almost every business, sales teams are having to look closely at their company’s strategic value proposition. Does it reflect the current strategy? Is it the right fit for the customer? Does it align with current buyer behavior? Now is the time to […]

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In the current business environment, which brings a new level of difficulties to almost every business, sales teams are having to look closely at their company’s strategic value proposition. Does it reflect the current strategy? Is it the right fit for the customer? Does it align with current buyer behavior?

Now is the time to re-evaluate. But when speed of reaction to market dynamics is the essence, there’s no time for a protracted process. What’s needed is a rapid, pragmatic approach.

Not only is your value proposition important for the one-on-one conversations your sales teams have with customers; it’s also important for your strategic marketing and communications. Your value proposition must quickly and clearly convey what you do and why you do it better than the competition.

Tell the story of your value proposition well enough on your website and it could be just the thing to draw a potential new customer in. With 15 seconds to capture the average reader’s attention, you haven’t got much time to tell them why they should stay. If you don’t get their attention, they’re more than likely to move on to the next option – your competitor.

Defining strategic intent

Sales teams, quite rightly, speak often about the value proposition. It’s something they need to be quite certain about as they explain in just a few sentences how the service or product they are selling benefits the customer.

But the value proposition is more than a sales proposition. When defined properly, it encapsulates the company’s strategic intent, “which in its simplest form is an expression of the firm’s unique and superior value offering,” says George Tovstiga in Strategy in Practice, A Practitioner’s Guide to Strategic Thinking (Wiley).

Tovstiga attributes the concept of value proposition to Peter Drucker, Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad in the early 1990s. Drucker then discussed it further in his “The Theory of Business” (Harvard Business Review), in which he considers three core elements of business:

  1. The external competitive environment
  2. Internal basis of competitiveness
  3. Core purpose and aspirations

A rapid approach to value propositions

Tovstiga himself incorporates Drucker’s core elements into his own concept of a strategic value proposition.

When I work with B2B companies to develop a strategic value proposition, I often base the process on Tovstiga’s concept. Although his motivation was to use it as a broader strategic framework, I find it equally useful for sales and marketing purposes.

A simple, yet effective framework for gathering input for your value proposition. (Based on George Tovstiga’s value proposition framework.)

The good news is that in some cases, it does not have to be a complex, lengthy process.

Recently, I worked on a value proposition for a B2B company where most of the information I needed was gathered in an afternoon session with the company’s CEO, Sales Director and Marketing Director.

During this meeting, they all got the chance to tell the story of:

  • The market they operate in
  • What they sell and to whom
  • Why and how customers buy
  • How the company differs from its competitors

The overarching question we attempted to address was:

“What space do we want to own in our customers’ minds and the marketplace?”

In this particular case, they were all aligned in their thinking, which made the process of analyzing the information relatively straightforward. That’s not always the case, however.

In many cases, a more structured information-gathering, data analysis, and discussion process is required, which is likely to involve more workshops. This process allows people to share and discuss diverse, sometimes conflicting views, which then need to be resolved and assimilated into usable messages.

But back to the ‘aligned’ management team. Following the initial workshop, I deconstructed their input into the relevant sections of the model, arriving at something like this:

An example of how a value proposition workshop can be summarized.

This is partly an analytical task, but also creative. It’s during this process that clear pictures begin to emerge of potential value propositions, as well as key messages, which I’ll talk about later.

Bearing in mind that the objective is to express the differentiated offering, this is the point where I begin to articulate the value proposition into the following framework:

  • Target audience
  • Audience needs
  • Name of brand/offering/company
  • Type of offering/common terms of reference
  • Unique features or benefits
  • Outcome/advantage
  • Reason to believe

I often find it useful to summarize this in a table format to clearly show the messages. It might look something like this:

Usually, I try to create three to five versions of this table to inspire and challenge the prevalent thinking. Once there is agreement on the individual elements, I then put them together into a statement that neatly describes the differentiated value offering.

It might end up something like this:

For XXXX suppliers that prioritize high-quality products and seamless production integration,

COMPANY is the full-service XXXX specialist who will meet you face-to-face to determine the right solution for your unique needs,

because our XXXX and XXXX gives us the unrivalled flexibility to create XXXX solutions of the highest proven quality.

How can you use the value proposition?

We’ve arrived at a value proposition that everyone agrees with. Now, how exactly do you use it?

First and foremost, it provides a consistent way of presenting the value your company offers. It should be top of mind for all customer-facing staff and at the heart of everything your sales and marketing teams are doing.

Here at cylindr, we create a lot of content for B2B companies. The job is always so much easier when, as part of the briefing, we can refer to a strategically sound, well-articulated value proposition. Without it, it’s easy for the communications to drift at the whim of the individual team driving the campaign.

It’s also a good internal communication platform. Ideally, everyone in the company should know the value proposition as well as its strategic foundation. In fact, I’m sure when you get it right, it will form the basis of many fruitful discussions within the company.

Uncovering key messages

But it’s not only the end result that is meaningful. The process itself also provides valuable content, such as key messages for the strategic narrative.

For example, as I was working on deconstructing the input, several consistent key themes and supporting messages emerged. So, in addition to doing the value proposition, we arrived at a large library of messages that could be used in many different sales and marketing contexts.

This became the basis for a messaging platform. Our mantra for this was “five key points we want to be known for”.

Within each of these points, we could unfold stories that all connect to the strategic value proposition.

Source of inspiration

A question that many executives ask is whether they should be creating the value propositions themselves? Why get external help?

You’re all intelligent people. You have good salespeople and you understand how to communicate with others.

But there are several challenges to consider when it comes to doing it yourself:

  • First, it takes time – preparation is vital. You don’t just turn up at the workshop without taking a fresh look at your business environment and the key challenges facing the business. Experienced consultants can conduct this initial research quickly and efficiently to find the right starting point. Then, following the workshops, time is needed to analyze and deconstruct the input from key stakeholders. It involves separating and synthesizing ideas and already now, expressing key messages briefly and accurately.
  • Second, this process should be done at arm’s length, without any hidden agendas, so that the messages are as unbiased as possible. This is just one of the ways that the business may be seen in a new light, giving rise to fresh, creative ways of expressing the value proposition.
  • Third, harnessing the power of words. The power of a value proposition comes from the words themselves. It takes a skilled writer and communicator to come up with a value proposition that clearly expresses the essence of the business with energy, enthusiasm and relevance. The same goes for the key messages.

Need help with your value proposition?

If you’ve got your act together, creating a value proposition doesn’t have to be a long and tedious process.

At cylindr, we help you to create and tell the story of the value you offer your customers. Sometimes, all it takes is a few simple steps, some insightful analysis, and creative thinking. Ready to have a closer look at your value proposition?

Find out more about our strategic storytelling services.

(Feature image by Harry Sandhu on Unsplash.)

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Best practices for sharing content on LinkedIn https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/best-practices-for-sharing-content-on-linkedin/ Tue, 16 Jun 2020 12:59:56 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3814 If you’re in B2B marketing, you’ll naturally understand the importance of creating great content. But great content will only be seen and shared if you distribute it effectively. This is part two of a three-part blog series relating to using LinkedIn in your B2B marketing. Here are some best practices for sharing content on LinkedIn. […]

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If you’re in B2B marketing, you’ll naturally understand the importance of creating great content. But great content will only be seen and shared if you distribute it effectively. This is part two of a three-part blog series relating to using LinkedIn in your B2B marketing. Here are some best practices for sharing content on LinkedIn.

Social media allows you to share your website content, whitepapers and blog posts with your followers, their followers, and millions of more individuals across their platform of choice.

While Facebook and Twitter have a casual, social networking approach, don’t forget that LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. It’s okay to be conversational, but the content you share on your company page should be aligned with your brand and company values.

Think about LinkedIn as more of a thought leadership platform. The content on your LinkedIn page should be about your organization or your industry.

Try not to over promote

“The Content Marketing Institute promotes the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your content should be about your customers and promotional material should be limited to 20 percent. Most of your posts should provide your customers with useful information that will help them solve a problem and address a pain point. Blogs, videos and case studies are great ways your business can distribute useful content,” advises Jackie Fedeli in a SharpSpring article.

By providing high-quality content about your organization or sharing industry knowledge, you are demonstrating thought leadership and putting a stop to propaganda.

Some examples of promotional posts could be:

  • Awards and recognitions
  • New business acquisitions or partnerships
  • Upcoming or recent speaking engagements
  • Trade shows or events that your business will be attending
  • Press releases

Post a mix of content related to your company’s unique offering, whether it be service or product, and limit content that is overly promotional.

LinkedIn is a unique space for networking and sharing high-quality content. It doesn’t necessarily need to be your own content, either. If you come across content from a credible source that relates to the industry you serve or your customers, share it!

Such content is also fitting for personal LinkedIn profiles and you can use a service like Sociabble or Bambu to encourage your employees to share the articles, videos and blog posts on their personal profiles.

Using hashtags on LinkedIn

Fedeli shares her expertise on hashtags: “Hashtags are like your keywords. You want to include the relevant terms in your post, but you don’t want to go overboard. Think of it like SEO; keyword stuffing causes posts to look spammy and unprofessional. The same may be said about hashtags.”

“The social media management platform, Hootsuite, suggests a maximum of five per post. Try to work one or two hashtags into the copy of your post and put the rest at the end. If you can’t fit them, it’s ok to put them all in the end. Don’t cram in a hashtag if it doesn’t fit. Remember: Avoid keyword stuffing,” shares Fedeli. It’s common knowledge that overdoing it is penalized by the algorithm.

“Once you have hashtags in mind, search those hashtags on LinkedIn and confirm they are existing hashtags that hold your intended meaning. An acronym in your business or industry could also be used by another type of organization and have a completely different meaning. Pay attention to the type of content that is trending with that hashtag. If it doesn’t match your type of content, choose something more relevant.

“The goal is to use a hashtag that is popular or has an established following to increase visibility of your post, but there is no rule against creating your own if you want to start a trend.

“If you are holding a large event, such as a conference and you’re expecting several posts regarding the event, consider a tag with the conference name and year and include it in posts regarding the event. If other businesses are taking part in the event, ask them to use the hashtag in their posts. Keep an eye on this hashtag to see what followers and attendees have to say.”

When do I post on LinkedIn?

Let’s imagine that want to promote an upcoming webinar. It’s okay to promote your webinar with multiple different posts. Craft a series of posts with relevant hashtags and custom images to promote the webinar (remember to include the registration link!).

It is a good idea to post each of these on different days of the week and different times of the day to reach different audiences. Spreading posts out also allows you to mix in other content so visitors to your page will not see a string of posts promoting the same event.

There are a lot of articles online that claim to have researched the best times to post to LinkedIn. One school of thought is that because it was a business-related platform, post during business hours. But there’s no hard and fast rule on timing that applies to every campaign and every piece of content. Using a one-size-fits-all approach hasn’t ever helped anyone really.

You’ll find hundreds of articles that suggest best times to post, but if all marketers are following those, then your posts would only get lost in an ocean of posts, competing with each other for attention.

A curated and measured approach is most effective, and you can achieve this through looking a little closer at your analytics. For a detailed description of how to use your LinkedIn analytics more strategically, see part one of this blog post series.

Targeting your audience

There are a staggering 630 million profiles on LinkedIn, so targeting your audience makes a lot of sense if you use LinkedIn ads. Considering the number of senior-level decision makers on LinkedIn (currently about 180 million), it can be a great space to market your B2B products and/or services.

LinkedIn targeting allows you to reach specific audiences and filter out those who you don’t. If you produce content in English and Spanish, for example, you can target each piece separately to users based on their preferred language.

There are many more targeting options if you want to reach organizations based on size, industry, or an individual based on job function. If you are a B2B food ingredients company, it may be worthwhile to target your posts in the food production industry.

“One caveat to targeting is that it is a filter and applying too many can narrow your audience more than intended. It may be a good idea to choose between industry and job function rather than selecting categories in both – unless your content is very specific,” warns Fedeli.

Showcase pages

Fedeli adds, “If your organization is large and works with a variety of different types of businesses, has multiple lines of business, or a separately branded division, you may want to consider creating LinkedIn Showcase pages for those segments. This allows users to follow the pages and content most relevant to them.

“If you decide to set up Showcase pages for product lines or business segments, you won’t necessarily need to target these pages because they already have a specialized audience.”

Employees as social media marketers

“Having employees linked to your profile establishes credibility for your business. Encourage your employees to join LinkedIn and list your company as their current employer if they have not already done so. Help your employees get started by hosting a LinkedIn lunch and learn. Make sure they know the basics of LinkedIn and how important they are to your LinkedIn marketing strategy by encouraging them to engage with your posts.

“A recent LinkedIn blog post says that only 3 percent of employees share company content, but they generate 30 percent of all content engagement for a typical business. When employees share your content, it is visible to their network, and if their network engages with the content, it can potentially reach their connection’s networks,” says Fedeli. That’s the point of networking, right?

Human experiences perform well

This post on LinkedIn gained 1442 impressions!

Fedeli says, “In my experience, posts that showcase pictures of the people in the organization get more likes than articles. If you host a company-wide team building or charitable event, share pictures with your followers. Your employees are more likely to share images that they can relate to.”

Some things to remember

LinkedIn is fast becoming THE online business tool for B2B marketers.

To make the most out of this social platform remember to:

  • Utilize LinkedIn best practices
  • Develop your own connections with your profile and share and target content via your company’s page.
  • Connect with employees and let them be your advocates.

And don’t forget, just like SEO, social media best practices change over time, so be sure to stay up to date with the latest trends to keep your LinkedIn marketing strategy relevant.

Stay tuned for the third blog post in this series, which looks at how you can use LinkedIn when events or shows are cancelled. And if you need any help with content creation, content marketing or social media management, the team at cylindr can help! Reach out to us today!

Thank you to our partner, SharpSpring, for input to this blog post.

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How to interpret your LinkedIn company page analytics https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/how-to-interpret-your-linkedin-company-page-analytics/ Fri, 22 May 2020 10:40:58 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3789 There is no doubt that LinkedIn is the most successful social media channel for B2B marketing. Whether it’s used for content marketing, recruitment or account-based marketing, the opportunities stretch far and wide. In this three-part blog series, I will cover how to make the most of your LinkedIn company page analytics, best practices for distributing […]

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There is no doubt that LinkedIn is the most successful social media channel for B2B marketing. Whether it’s used for content marketing, recruitment or account-based marketing, the opportunities stretch far and wide.

In this three-part blog series, I will cover how to make the most of your LinkedIn company page analytics, best practices for distributing content on LinkedIn and how to use LinkedIn when B2B events or shows are cancelled. This blog post is the first of three and delves deep into LinkedIn analytics.

If you are a company or business, operating locally or globally, a LinkedIn company page is a must-have. LinkedIn has around 690 million users in more than 200 countries and territories globally. In fact, B2B companies identify LinkedIn as the number one lead generator when it comes to social media platforms. It’s a free space for you to distribute thought leadership content, invest in paid advertising, recruit new employees and showcase your value proposition to the wider global audience.

As with any marketing effort, analytics and measurement is essential for checking your effectiveness and return on investment (ROI). What’s the point of dedicating resources to something that is not generating awareness and sales leads?

Measuring success

Company pages on LinkedIn offer analytics that can be used to measure how effective your page is in reaching your target audience. We’re all familiar with likes, shares and comments – it’s been part and parcel of social media interaction since social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn became a part of popular culture. But when it comes to interpreting the other metrics offered by LinkedIn, it can be difficult to know exactly what it all means.

What does it all mean?

LinkedIn analytics offers three high-level metrics: visitors, updates and followers. What is the difference between a visitor and a follower? Put simply, a visitor is just dropping in for a cup of tea, whereas a follower has moved into your home. Followers want to keep a close eye on what your business is doing. Ideally, as part of your LinkedIn strategy, you should aim to convert those occasional tea-drinking visitors into devout followers.

Here’s an overview of how each metric is broken down into even more detailed information and what it means for your company page. Just remember, as a default, the LinkedIn analytics provided are for the last 30 days. In some cases this can be adjusted to cover a longer or shorter timeframe for your reporting purposes.

VISITORS

This metric is broken down into highlights, metrics and demographics. Overall, this section offers valuable insight as to when you get the most visitors to your company page. For example, visits may spike on a Thursday and dip on Mondays. It’s probably safe to say your best day to post is Thursday. Pairing this with checking what type of post it was that performed so well, for example, a blog post, a video, or a photo of your office dog, will help guide what content is popular amongst your audience.

Visitor highlights shows high-level data for the last 30 days. It displays the number of page views, unique visitors and the number of custom button clicks (the custom button can be a call-to-action such as click through to your website). The percentage appearing next to each highlight shows your performance compared with the previous 30 days, with green indicating an improvement and red indicating a decrease in performance.

Visitor metrics offers a more detailed look at the highlights and can be aggregated for mobile or desktop usage. You can also play around with the different filters, including time range, page (all pages, home, about, insights or people) and metric (page views or unique visitors).

The visitor demographics function categorizes your page visitors according to their job function, location, seniority, industry and company size.

UPDATES

Updates refer to the posts you publish on your company page. They are broken down into highlights, metrics and engagement.

The update highlights function looks at your standard engagement metrics of reactions, shares and comments. The percentage appearing next to each metric indicates the performance of your updates compared with the previous 30 days. It’s good to have a yard stick, right?

Update metrics is where you have the chance to see how your organic posts performed against your sponsored/paid posts (if applicable). You can also see if your updates are being viewed on a desktop computer or on a mobile device.

Update engagement goes into quite a lot of detail. It shows how each post has performed in terms of the metrics shown in the table below.

The definition of each metric as defined by LinkedIn

FOLLOWERS

When a person follows your company page, they are essentially subscribing to receive updates on their news feed. Unfortunately, you can’t see your list of followers for a company page, the way you can see your personal connections on your personal LinkedIn page, but you can certainly tap into their demographics.

Follower demographics offers a valuable overview of who is following your company, meaning you can tailor your content to suit your target audience’s needs. This is a key component of account-based marketing or ABM. Instead of publishing generic content that hopefully (fingers crossed) resonates with everybody, targeted content to a specific role at a specific company addressing a specific pain point is imperative.

The follower demographics can also be a good foundation for developing your buyer personas, so that you are developing content that is targeted.

In this section, you can see follower highlights, metrics and demographics.

Follower highlights shows your total number of followers and the number of new followers in the last 30 days. An arrow indicates how your gain of new followers has performed compared with the previous 30 days.

Follower metrics shows an overview of new follower activity and can be selected to aggregate organic and sponsored posts.

Follower demographics reveals information on:

  • Location
  • Job function
  • Seniority
  • Industry
  • Company size

COMPANIES TO TRACK

This is a useful section to see how your company page compares with other companies within your niche. As a content marketing and ABM specialist, we’re likely to see other companies that specialize in the same areas in this section. It shows how these companies are performing in terms of the following:

  • Total followers
  • New followers
  • Number of updates
  • Engagement rate

This can be used as incentive to further refine your LinkedIn strategy and can be a source for inspiration, seeing what types of updates they are posting, how frequently they post and which updates perform the best.

What next?

Stay tuned for part two of this three-part LinkedIn blog post series, helping you to unravel the intricacies of this popular and effective social media platform. Next up is best practices on how to share content on LinkedIn.

If you need any help with LinkedIn, whether it be creating the updates for your company page, enhancing your company LinkedIn page or writing content to distribute, we can lend a helping hand. Contact us today for a quote.

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The 7 steps to improving your digital B2B experience https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/7-steps-to-improve-your-digital-b2b-experience/ Thu, 23 Apr 2020 10:55:07 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3740 In the midst of uncertain times, growing numbers of B2B companies are amping up their digital content strategies and seeing positive results. What is the ultimate digital B2B buyer experience and how can you achieve it? Because the digital world not only dominates our everyday life and decision-making, B2B companies know they can no longer […]

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In the midst of uncertain times, growing numbers of B2B companies are amping up their digital content strategies and seeing positive results. What is the ultimate digital B2B buyer experience and how can you achieve it?

Because the digital world not only dominates our everyday life and decision-making, B2B companies know they can no longer afford to deliver subpar digital experiences to their buyers when it matters most. That’s why so many B2B companies are prioritizing the effectiveness of their digital engagement efforts to increase the probability of buyer engagement, increase overall buyer satisfaction and overall return on investment (ROI).

So, if you’re ready to see the same outcomes and embark on your own digital B2B buyer-experience transformation, you’ve come to the right place.

The ultimate digital B2B buyer experience

The digital buyer experience is the combination of activities and interactions a buyer has over time with a B2B company’s digital spaces, information, services, and people. To provide the best overall digital experience, a B2B company must consider and examine its current digital engagement opportunities.

Your digital B2B engagements should strengthen the emotional, psychological, or physical connection a buyer has with your brand. These digital interactions take many forms, ranging from opening and clicking links in emails to sharing one of your company’s social media posts. It can also include your buyer service efforts—like chat bots responding to inquiries—or even maintaining brand reputation. It encompasses all the digital platform touchpoints you have with your current and potential buyers throughout their digital buyer journey.

It can be overwhelming to get started because digital B2B engagement covers so much ground. But have no fear, here are the seven steps to follow to improve your overall digital B2B experience and engagements.

Step 1: Define your digital B2B experience goals and activities

The first step in developing your buyer-centric digital environments is defining your goals. Digital B2B goals are major milestones from buyers’ perspectives and are organized as part of the digital B2B buyer journey.

Each goal should include activities for buyers to complete. Activities can be as simple as browsing product details or as complex as renewing a yearly delivery contract.

Determine how your company defines a satisfactory digital buyer experience. Then communicate and elaborate on those definitions with your team so everyone can align and guide your overall digital improvement efforts.

Step 2. Personify your audiences

B2B companies have to think about current and prospective buyers, international and local buyers, employees and partners, the media, researchers, and even government agencies when it comes to their digital audiences. To cater to those diverse audiences’ needs, prioritize your audience personas for each phase of the buyer experience journey.

For example:

Step 3. Map out your B2B buyer’s journey

You can view a buyer’s purchase, from awareness to decision-making, as an extended buyer journey. To better grasp the digital experience you provide, approach your digital environments from a buyer’s perspective to see how they may feel using that platform as an engagement tool. Ask yourself, is this site informative, attractive, and easily navigable?

Physically map out buyers’ digital journeys to understand the different paths both current and prospective buyers might take when exploring your company’s digital offerings. From there, you’ll be able to dissect the different phases of the digital buyer lifecycle, including their pain points and obstacles—and address them accordingly.

Though most of the journey is dedicated to prospective buyers before they make a decision, it’s important to understand that a buyer’s digital experience—even after making a selection—plays a role in long-term brand loyalty.

Step 4. Create content that counts

Quality matters, especially when it comes to B2B web content. To ensure relevant content is available to your virtual B2B audiences, figure out what they care about at each part of their journey. For this, conduct a content audit either manually or with automated software. A content audit helps you analyze how buyers behave online, identify content gaps and drop-off points, and point out what content or features are most used.

Other common content issues you may want to evaluate in your digital environments include:

  • Too much information/not enough information
  • Inconsistent branding
  • Inappropriate tone
  • Broken links
  • Spelling or grammatical errors
  • Inconsistent or outdated information

Step 5. Consider platform performance

B2B buyers expect to be engaged anywhere and everywhere they do research and buy. So, to put the odds in your favor of buyers browsing your offerings, your B2B company should embrace an omni-channel strategy. An omni-channel strategy engages buyers across a number of digital channels including websites, email, social media, mobile apps and ads, and more.

If your channels are organized in silos, then you’re disenfranchising your marketing and sales efforts. To align your sales and marketing efforts, B2B marketers need to ensure all their channels offer consistent, relevant content and an enjoyable experience. When done right, you’ve seamlessly weaved digital touchpoints together to create an elegant buyer-centric journey.

If you’re struggling to figure out where to start, your initial efforts should focus on your two primary channels: your website and your social media platforms.

  • Website—Your website’s design and interface are crucial to how buyers perceive your company. You could say a B2B company’s website is “the ultimate brand statement,” a major component of the buyer’s experience, and can greatly influence a buyer’s decision to purchase.
  • Social media—B2B companies are making greater use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to meaningfully and informally engage buyers. To both prospective and current buyers, how your company responds to their likes, comments, or questions makes all the difference. So, does your social media stack up?

If your primary channels have strategies in place, you can start working on your secondary digital channels, like email campaigns and thought leadership white papers.

Step 6. Measure your engagement efforts

Measurement is vital to understanding what works and what doesn’t when it comes to digital buyer engagement. If you create a measurement plan, you can categorize the metrics you want to track, which platforms are used when, and what success looks like for each. It’s important to set benchmarks along the way and keep your team involved too, so you can continuously improve engagement opportunities.

If you decide to use a digital analytics tool, it can provide both qualitative and quantitative data to help you identify the digital content or functions buyers are actually looking at, searching for, and using.

Other valuable patterns and insights to measure include:

  • Return on investment and sales
  • New versus returning buyers
  • Which markets, industries or personas are most interested in your different offerings
  • Activity completion time (e.g., how long does it take to read your website pages)
  • Searching for more information or registering for webinars
  • Contact points: calls, emails, likes, shares, etc.

Step 7. Optimize the digital B2B experience

Now that you’ve collected, analyzed, and measured your digital buyer engagement data, you have a clear understanding of the digital journey problems to be solved. You can use those insights to optimize your digital presence.

Optimizing means updating your website and social media content and features to provide targeted, relevant information and resources for your buyer’s needs. To start, form an implementation plan by listing and prioritizing these insights and mitigation strategies. For instance, you may learn that having a contact button is more effective at getting leads than an email address.

The digital buyer engagement bottom line

As buyers are increasingly dependent on B2B companies’ digital engagement efforts, if you’re not measuring engagement efforts, you’re missing out. Digital engagement insights can help improve your digital buyer experience and potentially your overall brand.

In general, your digital environments should:

  • Appeal to a targeted range of visitors
  • Be intuitive, attractive, and uncluttered
  • Provide easy architecture and navigability
  • Contain relevant content about your products, special offerings, contact information, and relevant accreditations (e.g., industry certifications or awards)
  • Afford engagement opportunities (e.g., purchase and contact buttons, links to blogs and social media, chat bots)

For a spectacular, long-term digital buyer experience, don’t look at buyer journey mapping as a one-time activity. Rather, make leveraging data to gain awareness of what buyers go through a part of your marketing department’s culture. Regularly assess your buyer engagement data to see how your company compares with the competition and industry-wide benchmarks.

Getting personal

Essentially, what has been discussed here is a personalized approach to marketing. What’s required is some investment in doing the research before taking the leap and targeting your messages to individuals within an organization or business. This approach is called Account-based marketing or ABM.

Read more about ABM and why it’s the next step you need to take. You can download an introductory guide to ABM as well.

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