There are many parts to your B2B online marketing jigsaw. And like any other jigsaw, if you look at one piece in isolation it can be hard to make sense of it. To know where it fits you need to have the bigger picture.
This seems to be one of the commonest difficulties people have with online and content marketing; people will pick up a single piece, like blogging or Twitter, for example, and try to work out what they need to do with it, without understanding how it fits with their overall approach. So, let’s tip out your B2B online marketing jigsaw box and see what pieces we have.
Actually, before we tip out the pieces, we’d better have a good look at the lid. This is the picture we’re trying to construct. The purpose of marketing is to understand your market, to work out ways of providing what that market wants, and to promote your solutions. Too many companies focus their marketing, particularly their online marketing, almost exclusively on the third of these elements. The big picture of your B2B online marketing should take all of these into consideration.
Piece 1 – Your Website
For most businesses a website will be a central feature of their online marketing. There are plenty of options for getting this set up and the one you choose will depend on a number of factors:
- Your IT skills
- Your design skills
If you are setting up your business and need some ideas on how to get a website set up, have a look HERE.
However you set it up, your website will probably be the foundation of your online marketing. It is the one place where somebody can find all of your products and services, your business philosophy, your key marketing messages, testimonials and your contact details. Serious business customers will make a judgement about you based on how your website looks and what it says. The main priorities are to have content which connects with your audience and helps them find what they need.
There’s usually no problem with convincing a business that they need a website. It seems to be a standard feature of the business set up check-list. The biggest danger with the check-list state of mind is that a website can become mainly informational – without businesses thinking through the precise role that they want it to play in generating more sales.
Piece 2 – Your Blog
While the need for a website seems obvious, blogging in B2B online marketing can be more of a puzzle. Through blogging you are trying to demonstrate that you have something interesting to say about the things your customers care about. Through your blogging strategy you are seeking to build awareness of your capabilities and build trust in your organisation. With each post you are progressively building your profile as people who have the experience, understanding and skills to deliver the solutions your target customers are looking for.
B2B purchase decisions are rarely ‘spur of the moment’. Businesses take time to weigh up potential suppliers before deciding where to spend their money. Through skilful blogging, which isn’t trying to sell, you will be building relationships with potential customers well in advance of the purchase decision. You even have an opportunity to influence the customer’s decision about what it is they need. On the other hand, you could always just hope that your sales brochure turns up on their desk at exactly the right moment.
The secret is to write something that they will want to read – which means writing it from their perspective rather than yours.
Piece 3 – SEO and B2B Online Marketing
Understand your target market and understand the things they type into Google. Once you understand this you can include the most relevant keywords in your content to ensure it gets found by the people you want to find it. Another powerful reason for blogging is that you can create content optimised for a wider range of more specific searches than you could with just a brochure website. The purpose of B2B online marketing is to use the internet to reach a wider range of potential customers than you could through traditional marketing. Incorporating the most effective keywords into your content is essential – do you know what yours are?
Your web developer should help you with the SEO on your site and a copywriter certainly will when they produce the content. If you use WordPress for your blog and/or your website, install a good all-in-one SEO plug-in.
A Whole Load of Pieces Called Social Media
The nature of your business and the people you are trying to reach will determine the social media tools you use. LinkedIn is often the easiest to grasp in B2B as it seems a natural extension of face-to-face networking. I also recommend Twitter, which can be harder to grasp but very powerful when you get it right.
Whatever tools you use: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, etc etc, just remember the focus is on engagement, not on selling. Social media tools can help a wider range of people find your content. You can also use carefully curated content from other experts to demonstrate that you understand the needs of your audience. Social networks are also a great place to deepen your understanding of what the market needs.
And a Load of Other Pieces Called Content
I focused on blogging above but there are many content alternatives: video, slideshares, infographics, photos. The same rules apply though: it’s about building awareness, engagement and winning trust; it’s not about pumping out sales messages. You can also use specific pieces of content (eg white papers, e-books) to collect contact details that you can use in targeted email marketing: better to send your emails to people who have shown an interest rather than a list you bought somewhere.
So, if you’re struggling to understand how to get results from a particular aspect of content marketing, try looking at it in the context of the bigger picture: how you understand what your customers want and how you make them aware that you are the people they can trust to deliver the solution.
I’m a copywriter and content marketing specialist based in South West England. Call me on 01823 674167 to see how I can help you win more business. Click on the ‘Follow’ tab to have future posts delivered straight to your inbox.
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