Imagine you’re the owner of a jewelry shop and you have the highest-quality items around—but you stash them away, in a back room, out of sight. It’d be pretty obvious why your business wasn’t making any sales.
Unfortunately, this is the mistake that many businesses make on the web. Of course, no brand intends to hide from their prospects. But, with an unfocused or outdated digital marketing strategy, that’s precisely what happens.
Luckily, today’s post will help you correct your digital marketing strategy to connect with more customers quickly.
Focus on SEO
In today’s B2B landscape, prospects are faced with more options than ever before. To help them with their purchase decisions, more and more individuals turn to the internet for guidance. If your website isn’t among the first your prospects land on, you’re missing out on a huge segment of potential customers.
For those unfamiliar, the main goal of search-engine optimization (SEO) is to increase your visibility online. Though there are many factors that play into SEO, there are steps you can take to ensure your site – and the content it contains – is structured to show up in organic searches on platforms like Google and Bing.
In recent years, B2B marketers have started to place a bigger emphasis on their SEO initiatives; according to one recent study, 61% of marketers say that improving SEO is their top inbound marketing priority (source).
And for good reason! Organic search has proven to be more effective at driving traffic to your website compared to more traditional outbound marketing strategies.
Consider these statistics (source):
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- 70% of the links that search users click are organic, and most users ignore paid ads
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound leads such as direct mail and print advertising.
To put it simply, if you aren’t actively trying to improve your web presence, you’ll be a step behind others in the industry. If you’re new to SEO, fear not. There are a few simple steps that even the most junior marketers can take to get started.
1. Keyword Research
Think about it: If you want to rank high in Google search results, you need to have a good understanding of what your potential customers are searching for. Here’s how to get started:
- Brainstorm topics, products, and interests related to your B2B brand.
- Under each of those topics come up with a list of keywords.
- Expand these lists through competitive research, website analysis, and open dialogue with customers and employees.
- Once you have a good idea of what people are searching for, refine your list and optimize your website for the most important words and phrases.
The trick here is to drop your marketing speak. Keyword research is not about how you want to position yourself as brand; it’s about how your customers think about and search for your products.
2. Mobile Optimization
The only thing worse than a customer not finding your website, is when they find it, but leave immediately because it doesn’t work on their preferred device.
While you may feel confident in the layout and structure of your website on desktop, it’s critical that your design is mobile-friendly as well. Statistics show that over the past year, mobile has surpassed desktop internet usage:
- In October 2016, mobile devices accounted for 51.3% of website visits compared to 48.7% for desktop (source)
- 51% of smartphone users have found a new company or product when using a search engine on their mobile device (source)
A responsive design is a lot more than just an aesthetically pleasing feature; your site’s mobile configuration can also impact your SEO. With more users conducting searches on mobile devices than on desktop, Google has responded accordingly and will favor sites that cater to mobile users (source).
Make sure your B2B brand is well-represented on the web no matter what channel your prospects use.
3. Local SEO
A large number of online users conduct local searches every day to find brands or products within their geographic region. Consider these statistics (source):
- 72% of consumers that perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles from them
- 86% of people look up a business’s location on Google Maps
- 78% of local searches on mobile result in an offline purchase
This is particularly important for businesses who have a target audience within a specific region.
A great way to improve your local SEO is to register your brand with Google My Business, a completely free tool. My Business allows you to see and adjust how your site is presented in Maps, Google+ and organic local search results. If your business isn’t listed on Google My Business, do it now – studies show that it is the biggest driver of local SEO success (source).
Surprisingly, only 44% of businesses have claimed a Google My Business listing (source). Not only can you quickly boost your local SEO results, but you’ll get a head start over much of the competition!
Once you have a fundamental grasp of SEO, the next step to expand your digital presence is an essential one: create quality content. Keep reading!
Amplify your content marketing strategy
There’s no way around it, the content you create matters. Consider these statistics:
- 68% of people spend time reading about brands that interest them (source).
78% of buyers believe organizations that provide custom content are interested in building good relationships (source).
- Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3x as many leads. (source)
Obviously, content marketing is a vital component of business success – but unless your strategy is completely customer-driven, your efforts will fall short. To drive results, your content must mirror your buyer’s journey.
Prospects and customers go through many phases throughout the buying process – from the pre-awareness stage where they haven’t yet recognized their need, all the way to the decision stage, when they’re finally ready to purchase. Serving hyper-targeted content to accompany each stage of the buyer’s journey is the only way to ensure that your content is relevant and useful to the buyer.
Develop a deep understanding of the buyers’ journey; determine common questions, considerations, and objections they have throughout each stage of the process. Then, create content that speaks to each of these issues and serve it to your prospects at the right point in the funnel.
Learn more here: 3 Ways to Drive Sales with Content Marketing.
Optimize Your Social Media Presence
Though many B2B marketers recognize the necessity of social media, some still question it’s effectiveness as a marketing channel.
However, social media has proven to be a valuable tool that can transform your business if used correctly. Consider these statistics:
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing (source)
- Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversation rate (source)
- 67% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase from companies they follow (source)
If you’re new to social media, or just need a refresher, here are a few tips and tricks to make your brand more visible:
- Create a strategic posting cadence: Believe it or not, timing is a huge contributor to social marketing success. Consider when your followers are most active, and develop a schedule that allows you to reach your audience at optimal times.
- Focus on engagement: Too many businesses focus solely on referral traffic when it comes to social media. However, as more and more content is posted on social media, its potential as a traffic channel suffers (source). Therefore, your goal with every social media post should be to engage – interact with your audience and post content that will entertain and inspire them to share. The more people engage with your content, the more likely it is to expand the reach of your brand.
- Consider paid options: To cut through the noise and boost your visibility, you should explore paid social media options. Social ads are not only hyper-targeted, but often a cost effective option for getting your brand in front of your ideal audience.
For a more in-depth look at successful social media marketing, check out the following article: Increase Your B2B’s Social Media Engagement.
Clean up your data
With people changing addresses, contact info and jobs constantly, it’s easy for your lists to quickly grow stale with inaccuracies. A surprising number of businesses run into trouble because of bad data (source):
- 94% of businesses suspect that their customer and prospect data is inaccurate
- 40% of business objectives fail because of inaccurate data
- 62% of organizations rely on marketing data that is up to 40% inaccurate
With inaccurate customer and prospect lists, your marketing efforts will take a significant hit. There’s no way around it – maintaining clean, accurate data is complex and time-consuming.
The solution? Hire the experts! Invest in a data management solution to handle your data hygiene woes. Consider these statistics (source):
- 46% of marketers admit they do not have the time or resources to implement a data quality management process
- 88% of “very successful” organizations are planning on increasing their budget for data-driven marketing
- 79% of very successful data-driven organizations partner with marketing intelligence providers to streamline the data management process
For more information about the importance of data hygiene, check out our recent post: B2B Marketing Meltdown: The Impact of Bad Data.
As marketers, whether we’re beginners or experts, it’s easy to become stuck in our daily routines. If we don’t stop and take the time to consider whether or not our efforts are truly effective—we will never grow and improve.
So, while these tactics might be old news to you, it’s important to make sure you’re not missing something obvious and hiding from your customers.