Let’s be honest, how often did you see an advertisement for a product you never knew before on the internet, and actually purchase it? Pretty rare, right? To succeed in digital marketing, we must first acknowledge the fact that it is very, very saturated, and so you must do your homework to get ahead.
So, in this guide, we will share 5 of the best marketing trends and strategies for B2B technology companies that will help you get ahead in this saturated market of 2018. What are they? Let us begin.
1. Valuable Content
Not only the digital marketing field is really saturated, most internet users are now highly resistant to disruptive advertising. (Let’s admit it, we all hate PPC banners!). So, many marketers are now moving towards inbound marketing (link) to address this fact.
The core of inbound marketing is content (link), and yet, the amount of digital content being generated every day is also mind-blowing. Even in B2B technology market alone, there can be hundreds if not thousands of new contents published every single day.
To ensure an effective content marketing, here are some key principles you can follow:
Know Your Audience, Deliver Value
The first step in creating valuable contents is truly understanding your target audience, their needs, their problems, and the solutions. If your audience doesn’t get enough value, they simply won’t convert.
Even if the audience doesn’t immediately convert, by providing valuable contents they will have a positive impression of your brand. Not all of HubSpot’s or KissMetrics blog readers convert as their customers, but so many now perceived them as the experts in digital marketing.
Since you are a B2B business, you might need to target different stakeholders in a company who could be involved in the decision to purchase your product. Know each of them, their problems, goals, and motivations, and create personalized content for each.
Also, make sure your contents are as unique as possible. Not only for SEO purposes but if you can provide unique information no one else can (well, at least until they copy you), you are right on track.
Refine Your Storytelling
We all love stories. Even if it’s an informative content, you can use storytelling elements to make it more engaging. First, make sure the content flows properly. Just because it’s a technical content, doesn’t mean it should be static and boring. Next, you can use elements like success stories from people using your solutions to enhance the content. Don’t neglect the creative element of content creation.
Centralize Your Content
While it is a good idea to personalize your contents and use many different promotion channels, you should have a centralized digital experience for all of them. Simply create a “resources” or similar page on your website as a content delivery platform. Make sure it is easy enough to navigate and not too cluttered.
2. Influencer Marketing
Again, since the market is so saturated, it is extremely tough to get your voice heard amidst the noise. Also, we have mentioned how customers are increasingly desensitized to traditional marketing efforts like advertising.
This is where influencers can help you. They already have a loyal following, credibility, and, obviously, influence. So, how can you develop an effective influencer marketing program? Here are the key steps:
Building Your Own Credibility
Influencers in a B2B industry and especially technology are relatively more careful than in B2C industries. So, before you can cooperate with them, you will need to be an independent expert in your respective niche. As we have covered in the previous discussion, one of the best ways to do this is to develop high-quality and relevant contents.
Share your white papers, webinars, videos, or other contents to social media channels or message boards that influencers frequent.
Determine The Right Influencers
The best way to determine the right influencers for you is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Which bloggers, publications, industry experts, or even peers your target buyers often identify with? To find the answer, you might need to do a little bit of homework. Connect with your existing customers and prospects on social media, and see which influencers they are following. You might also want to check message boards or groups.
The hardest, yet the most important part of influencer marketing is to actually connect with your influencers. This is why you need to build credibility, which will make this a much easier process. There are many different approaches for this step, and discussing it here won’t give it much justice. Refer to our previous guide on influencer marketing here. (link)
3. Maintaining Existing Customers (Increasing Customer Retention)
There are many studies that already suggested how customer retention can be more important than new customer acquisition, especially for a B2B business. Yet, many B2B tech companies overlooked this amazing opportunity.
You will need to build an infrastructure that facilitates marketing efforts to your existing and active customer base from upselling, cross-selling, and increasing retention in general. Here are some ideas:
Build Customer Communities
One of the best ways to keep your current customers engaged and talking -about and for you- is to build customer forums, message boards, or communities where they can interact. The key here is to encourage interactions, but avoid getting in the way. If you can do this properly, you can even encourage customers to be advocates for your brand.
Excellent Customer Service
Nothing shows your credibility more for an existing customer than your service and support, even more if you are selling subscription-based products or services. Maintain and improve your customer service and support team as well as you can.
Keep existing and active customers in the loop of your marketing automation. Depending on your niche and product, you might need to design a separate nurturing programs from your customer acquisition programs. For active customers, generally you can give more infrequent information.
4. Marketing Automation Tools
The marketing automation tools are there for your benefits, and if properly utilized, it can be a really powerful method especially to contact, nurture, and generate leads.
In technology companies, the sales cycle can be really lengthy or really short, and marketing automation can help you qualify and nurture leads while utilizing your assets elsewhere.
The most basic (and effective) marketing automation strategy is an email drip campaign, and you can check out our previous guide on it here. (link) Here are some key tips you might want to apply:
Marketing automation is, above everything else, about optimizing your budget. Budget constraints are always a major issue for any marketing strategy (well, unless somehow you have an unlimited budget). So, when planning your marketing automation strategy and choosing the tools, the first thing you should consider is whether it will save you money.
Qualify Your Leads
In a B2B environment, one of the best applications for marketing automation is to qualify your leads. Qualifying leads can be a really long and expensive process, and marketing automation tools can help you optimize the processes.
Keeping Up With Your Customers
Thanks to technology, customers have so many options to interact with businesses (including yours) in a really fast manner. This can be a good thing, but can be overwhelming when not managed correctly. This is where marketing automation tools can help you to keep in touch with your customers without spending more money to expand the team.
5. Optimizing Video Content
We can’t deny the importance of video contents nowadays, and a study by WordStream has highlighted many benefits.
So, how can we fully utilize video contents in a B2B tech company environment? Here are some ideas:
Explain Technical Terms In Entertaining Ways
With videos, we can present an otherwise boring content in a more entertaining way. Use this to your advantage. Not everyone is willing to invest their time on reading your white papers or datasheets, but most of them won’t mind watching an engaging video that is only a few minutes long.
Just because you are a B2B tech business, doesn’t mean your videos should be boring. Focus on telling compelling stories with each videos, for example, a video of how you provide a solution for a specific customer. Behind the scenes contents are always interesting, such as how your company started, an interesting story of your team, etc. Also, you can always use fun and humorous elements to make your videos more engaging.
Animated Information and Infographics
While developing video contents can be difficult and expensive, you can get around that issue by using animated contents.Also, there are more opportunities to incorporate your branding and/or design elements in an animated contents. For animated tutorials, keep in mind that it is generally better to keep them short between 2 to 15 minutes long. If you want to explain more complicated things, you can always break it down into a series.
There are two key elements to the success of a B2B technology company: new customer acquisition and increasing customer retention. One is equally as important as the other. These 5 strategies we have shared are aimed on those two aspects, and the balance between the two.
There are obviously other strategies that can be effective in a B2B technology environment. Yet, these five can be a good start before you plan other tactics.