Digital marketing, by itself, is a pretty big subject covering many different marketing tactics, methods, and strategies. So, it is understandable that many marketers are confused on what marketing tactics to adopt, leading to the resistance to change and stuck in the same strategies (that are often not working anymore) over and over again.
So, in this guide, we will cover just 5 best practices for B2B digital marketing you can focus on. While there are other effective tactics and methods available, these five can act as the proper foundation of your digital marketing before expanding to other strategies.
Without further ado, let us begin.
1. Future-Proof Content Marketing
This strategy is also known as compound content marketing, which in essence, developing contents that are compounding over time rather than decaying. The idea is to develop contents that will be relevant for an extended period of time. The result of this is a continued flow of traffic after the content has been published. The longer time period you can get the content to ‘work’ for you, the more successful you are.
So, how can we develop a compounding content? Here are some of the key principles:
- Know Your Audience, Offer Long-Term Relevancy
There is always that one (or even several) question your audiences always ask again and again. This is an opportunity to develop contents containing the answers to those questions, which will have the chance to be always relevant.
There are also evergreen topics related to your industry. For example, if you are a SAAS company specializing in cloud, an in-depth piece of content covering the basics of cloud storage can be considered evergreen
- Avoid Being Overly Specific
The best compounding contents should address common and specific buyer questions. Yet, avoid specializing too much into one niche. Aim to be broad with your advice that can fit several types of audiences. For example, general marketing tips can be considered as broad, while specific SEO strategies might not be timeless and should be avoided. Reviews, instructions, and process breakdowns generally fit this description.
- Offer Practical Information
Your content should not only be relevant, but also actionable. Practical content that is also timeless is always popular. Mix up the length of your content, various media from infographics to videos, and aim to always be accessible and actionable.
2. More Emphasis On Mobile Marketing
Wait, isn’t mobile marketing more for B2C businesses? Not anymore. According to a study by Google, 42% of B2B customers use their mobile devices for product research at work, among other interesting statistics. We can expect these numbers to continue growing in the years to come, and so mobile marketing will be even more important in the B2B environment.
Mobile marketing strategy should be an integral part of your overall B2B marketing plan for 2018 and ahead. What specific tactics can we use to amplify our mobile marketing tactics? Here are a few ideas:
Visual contents like images, infographics, animation, and video contents are more effective for mobile. Video content, in particular, will continue to grow in importance. By 2019, video contents are expected to make up 80% of all internet traffic. We are even more sensitive to load times on our mobile devices compared to the desktop, including video streaming times. Aim to optimize the load speed on all digital marketing elements.
Obviously, all websites, landing pages, and contents should be mobile-responsive.
You might want to reconsider the device targeting options for your advertising campaigns.If you see an increase in mobile traffic, exploit the opportunity.
3. Don’t Neglect Email Marketing and Drip Campaign
Email has been one of the oldest platforms ever since the rise of the internet. Yet, even with all the new technologies, methods, tactics, and platforms, email marketing is still one of the most reliable and effective marketing tactics today. Many over the years have predicted the death of email marketing, but it never happened, in fact, email marketing is now even more important than ever in the saturated digital world.
Yet, that’s not saying email marketing hasn’t evolved over the years. There are many developments that have affected how we do email marketing: now we can use behavioral data to make each of our email even more personalized. The marketing funnel has drastically evolved into the new digital marketing funnel and email marketing is the ONLY digital marketing method that can address every stage of the buyer’s journey.
So, there are two key best practices for the modern B2B email marketing:
To ensure your email is read amidst the saturated inboxes of your audiences, your audience should be able to relate to the content. Specifically, you have to give them the right message to answer the right problem at exactly the right time. Depending on their current position in the buyer’s journey, you should tailor the right content to truly appeal to their needs.
Since providing the highly-personalized content at the right time will be really difficult when done manually, you should have an email marketing automation tool to assist you. With this, your email marketing campaign will evolve to what we call the drip campaign. Check out our previous guide on drip campaign here. (link)
With the advancements in technologies, especially artificial intelligence, we can expect further evolution from email marketing for even more personalization and automation.
4. Adopt Account-Based Marketing Tactics
Account-Based Marketing (ABM), as the name suggests, is a tactic concentrating your marketing (and sales) resources on specific target accounts, using custom-tailored campaigns to target each account in a personalized way. ABM is still a relatively unpopular marketing tactic, yet it is actually a very powerful marketing method in a B2B environment. According to Marketo, 97% of B2B businesses that have tried ABM found out that ABM has a higher ROI compared to their other marketing strategies. Yet, the same study also mentioned that when done incorrectly, ABM won’t show any significant result at all.
So, what is the ABM best practice for a B2B organization? Here are our tips:
- Target The Right Accounts
This is the first, and arguably the most important step in setting up a successful ABM campaign. You should utilize all the available data and intelligence you have gathered to find the right high-value accounts. Revenue potential and LTV are obviously the first ones you should focus on, but market influence, the potential for higher profit, or other factors can also be considered.
- Prepare Your Personalized Content
Another important key to ABM success is developing valuable contents that can address the specific problems of your target accounts, especially significant business challenges.
- Know The Right Channels
Different target accounts and key roles within them might frequent different channels, and so you should consider the most effective channels for specific roles, companies, or industries.
Cooperation Between Sales and Marketing
Coordinated execution is another key to ABM success, and so you will need to align your sales and marketing teams to properly execute the campaign.
5. Understand and Utilize Qualified Lead Velocity Rate (QVLR)
Many say the most important aspect of marketing is measuring the right things. Qualified Lead Velocity Rate (QLVR) is a metric to measure our qualified leads growth every month. Qualifying our leads can be a lengthy and costly, yet very important process, and according to Jason Lemkin, venture capitalist, measuring the growth rate of our qualified leads is the most important B2B marketing metric to predict future revenue and growth in real time.
Calculating the QLVR is pretty simple: subtract your qualified lead this month with last month’s and divide it by qualified leads last month, times 100 %
QLVR= (Qualified leads this month – qualified leads the previous month) / Qualified leads the previous month x 100%
QLVR is a very helpful indicator of your revenue. The idea is, your target QLVR should be about 10% to 20% higher than your desired growth of Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). This way, you can always expect a positive growth in revenue.
If the leads keep coming in according to your measured QLVR, yet your sales growth doesn’t grow as much, there are two possible issues:
Your sales team is not effective, and it’s time for some changes. Measure revenue-lead ratio (revenue divided by leads) for the sales team as a whole and for the individual sales representative.
If your MRR isn’t keeping up with your QLVR, and yet you don’t see any problem with your sales team (after you’ve investigated them), then the problem is your product or service. You simply can’t compete within the current market, and you’ll need to make some improvements.
As you see, QLVR can be a great indicator of when you should make changes. It is generally a good idea to monitor QLVR for at least two or three months before deciding on big changes. Sometimes, it’s just a down month and you’ll need to endure.
These five best practices for B2B marketing are based on a single principle: understanding your audience’s behavior. In this highly saturated market where it is really hard to get your voice heard, understanding your audience’s needs, answering them, and continuing to adapt are the keys to successful digital marketing.
As we have mentioned, there are obviously other marketing tactics you can try. Yet, these five best practices can act as the strong building block of the whole marketing strategy, allowing other tactics to be effective as well.