The pandemic forced people to stay inside, but it didn’t keep them from shopping. People are buying everything from groceries to insurance via the internet. As a result, online channels have taken on a new level of importance for both personal and business purchases, and the impacts may be long lasting. If your online presence is less than stellar, you need to act now.
The Surge in Online Shopping
Digital Commerce 360 says that online retail sales increased 32.4% in 2020 compared to the previous year. In the first quarter of 2021, online sales were up 39%. That’s huge, but the trend wasn’t limited to retail.
During the pandemic, many people wanted to shop for insurance, but meeting in person wasn’t an option. As a result, insurance purchases have gone digital. For example, Investopedia says that the pandemic is expected to boost demand for life insurance in 2021 and beyond, and LIMRA found that 98% of respondents from financial services companies say their customers are increasingly interested in shopping online and using video engagement tools.
Workers have been stuck at home, too. According to the NCCI, only 6% of workers primarily worked from home before the pandemic, and three in four workers never worked at home. By May 2020, more than one in three workers were working from home. When these workers need to shop, they go online, too.
Are Your B2B Marketing Strategies Keeping Up?
When you want to learn more about something, you probably go online. Guess what? So does everyone else. People are researching online. They’re also buying online. And don’t forget—companies are made up of people.
The takeaway is clear: B2B buyers are online. The challenge is getting them to look at your website.
These days, not having a strong online presence is like forgetting to put up any signage at your business. You’re basically making your company invisible, and that’s not smart if you’re trying to attract customers.
It’s time to upgrade your online B2B marketing strategy. You can do it in 10 easy steps.
Set up a blog and post new content every week.
If you already have a blog, that’s fantastic. You still need to make sure you’re posting regularly. That means every single week.
And yes, having a blog really is important in B2B marketing. The blog is the thought leadership and SEO workhorse. It facilitates a positive and enlightening user experience for top-of-funnel visitors. These visitors want information, but they want to stay anonymous for the time being.
Start tracking and monitoring website traffic using Google Analytics.
Your blog can be written to attract traffic through search engines for certain long-tail keywords. This way, it will increase organic traffic over time. You can also promote your blog in social media and email marketing, or through Facebook ads and other paid options.
To see how successful these various B2B marketing strategies are, you need to look at traffic acquisition by source. You can do this using Google Analytics. The results will help you tweak your digital marketing strategies.
Repurpose your articles.
Once you have great content, you want to squeeze as much value out of it as possible. Your blog posts can be republished on your LinkedIn profile and in your Google Business page. This will help you find new audiences, and it will enhance the performance of those channels.
Promote thought leadership content via social media channels.
Blog articles can also fuel social media.
For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is the go-to site. LinkedIn has more than 774 million members, and there are more than 2.9 million LinkedIn Groups, many of which are dedicated to specific industries. The numbers are impressive, but the conversions are what really make LinkedIn a quality lead generation strategy. HubSpot found that LinkedIn has the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate, and it was about three times higher than Twitter or Facebook.
There is a catch, however. LinkedIn Groups don’t allow overt selling. If you want to use LinkedIn Groups successfully, you need to provide a steady stream of content that other members will actually want to see. If you have great blog articles ready to go, you can do this.
Create ungated collateral.
You’ve probably come across content that can’t be accessed unless you fill out a form. If you really want the content, you may be willing to hand over your information, but if you’re on the fence, you’ll probably pass.
Offering ungated content – no form required – is a good way to reach visitors who are on the fence. For example, you can offer members of a group an instant download for an overview PDF available. This might not convince your target audience to buy from you, but it will get a branded piece of content onto their desktop, and that could remind them to return to your site. If you can convince them to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, you’ll have another reason to stay in touch.
Take care of middle-of-funnel visitors.
Your top-of-funnel visitors may only be interested in reading blog posts anonymously, but what about visitors who advance to the middle of the funnel? They’re digging deeper into their research, and they’ve started to develop some preferences for who they want to work with. If they’re still checking out your site, it looks like you’ve made the list.
Nevertheless, you still don’t want to be overtly salesy at this point. This is a good time to introduce white papers, infographics and buying guides to inform the buyer’s journey. You’re helping your visitors to know what they should be looking for before they start comparing you to their other options.
Nurture your leads.
Once you’ve generated leads, you need to nurture them into actual B2B sales. You can do this with gated content. At this point, visitors are getting deeper into the buying process. Have them fill out a form to access the content they know they want. This will generate an online lead, and you can follow up with a nurturing email sequence.
Cater to your bottom of funnel visitors.
At the bottom of the funnel, you have visitors who are close to being ready to buy. You need content that will convince them to take that final step. This is the time to offer case studies, testimonials and statistics about your results. Let them see exactly what it is they stand to gain from your services.
Pre-answer every question that could come up in closing a sale.
Your bottom-of-funnel visitors are nearly ready to buy, but they probably have questions. If they don’t get good answers quickly, they might look elsewhere. Answer their questions before they even ask them with a one-sheet checklist that shows how you stack up in key feature areas, along with other detailed pieces of content.
Keep your B2B marketing strategy going.
We talk about internet trends for a reason. The internet can change daily. Likewise, your performance can see-saw. One month, you might be ranking high for key search terms in Google. The next month, two competitors may publish a bunch of online content and kill your rankings.
You have to stick with it. If you’re in a competitive space, your site can become irrelevant quickly if you get discouraged and stop posting new content.
Improve your B2B Marketing
Great B2B Marketing is easy if you have a strong content partner. Count on IIM for blog articles, infographics, white papers, case studies and more. Contact us to learn more.