How to Leverage Content to Fuel Your B2B Marketing Efforts

Engaging content is not only important for B2B marketing — it’s expected. Today’s B2B customers — a whopping 94% of them, in fact — are using online content as research when deciding on a purchase, with 67% of B2B customers say that a business or brand’s digital content is the biggest influence on their decision to buy. Also, more than 70% of B2B marketers report that they can prove, with numbers, how effective content marketing has boosted their audience engagement and increased qualified leads. In this article, we’ll discuss the top three most effective types of B2B content — written articles, optimized social media posts, and video — and how to leverage each to get more qualified leads and engagement.

Written content

We’ve heard it for years: content is king/queen. But just how effective is written content in this visual world? Let’s look at some statistics. A reported 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information from an article rather than an advertisement. And 81% of businesses report their blog as vital for their B2B lead generation. On top of that, 82% of B2B buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from a vendor before purchase. With these kinds of stats, it’s no surprise that written content is a crucial part of any effective sales and marketing strategy.

But customers don’t want to wade through pages of content to find useable morsels. They are looking for content that adds value, addresses their specific business needs, and is both engaging and convenient to access. B2B customers are typically looking for ways to improve their return on investment (ROI) and make their workflow more efficient. Address those needs with well-written and well-researched landing pages, newsletters, blog posts, LinkedIn articles, eBooks, how-to guides, case studies, and white papers.

And don’t just diversify your content: diversify your message. Include content that addresses all stages of the B2B buyer journey, from awareness to consideration to decision. Consistently publishing well-thought-out written content in a variety of formats and channels will not only widen your audience, it will establish your brand as a thought leader in your field.

Optimized social media posts

Your company’s social media platforms are like the loudspeakers of your brand, spreading your message far and wide. Social media is used to distribute content, like the type mentioned above, but it’s a great tool for sharing bite-size thought leadership content, posing questions, sharing polls or surveys, highlighting a story or thought, and more. Social media posts are an effective way to start conversations, attract leads, and broaden your audience.

LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are the most popular social media platforms for businesses, though you might also use others like Pinterest and Snapchat, depending on your industry and audience. But whatever the platform, social media is vital for B2B marketing. In fact, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support their purchasing decisions. And a reported 45% of businesses have acquired customers through LinkedIn. Businesses that are on Twitter generate twice the amount of leads than those not on the platform. And keep in mind that the most successful businesses are on five or more social media platforms!

We know social media is effective for B2B marketing, but how do you make your posts stand out among the crowd? The most effective social media posts use eye-catching images and videos. In fact, posts with images are proven to double your social engagement! But not just any images will do — your audience wants to see that you’re authentic and creative. Consider re-posting photos of happy customers using your product or service. Share behind-the-scenes shots of your team and sneak-peeks of new products. Post photos of company events and trade shows. Get creative with images or gifs to show your brand’s personality. Give a face to your brand — keep it positive and authentic, and watch your audience respond.

Video

Video marketing has seen a tremendous increase over the last few years. And although written content is still very relevant, studies show that 59% of B2B decision-makers prefer watching a video over reading content. And B2B prospects watch an average of 1.5 hours of online video a day! Plus, video helps with SEO (search engine optimization). Some studies suggest it’s 53 times more likely to rank on Google than any other content. So it’s no wonder that 85% of businesses are planning to increase their video marketing budgets this year alone. What types of videos are most likely to reach B2B consumers?

Share the excitement of a new product release through video. To build interest and anticipation, you may want to provide small “sneak peeks” in several short videos in the days or weeks before the release. How-to videos also are extremely popular as they show current and prospective clients how they can use and benefit from your products and services. Webinars are a great entry point for leads who are looking to understand your product or industry better. Quick interview-style videos or podcast snippets (with video of the guests) can help your business share quick tips or insights from industry leaders and subject matter experts, elevating your authority and credibility in the industry. Live streaming videos also are a great way to encourage real-time engagement by getting up close and personal with your audience. These are just a few of the many ways to use video in B2B marketing; the wider variety of videos you use, the more chances you will have to engage with a larger audience.

Looking for more ways to grow your business? Need support securing meetings with potential customers? It may be time to consider outsourcing some of your lead generation activities. At Roikings, we serve as an outsourced sales team that takes care of all the details, from marketing to setting up appointments with qualified leads. We’ll help sell your business so you can focus on what you do best: running your business. Contact us today to get the conversation started.

What Successful Campaigns Have in Common

Marketing trends and technologies are constantly changing, but the fundamentals of a great marketing campaign are tried-and-true. So, why — out of the 94% of B2B marketers using content marketing — do only 9% rate their marketing as effective? Here are the three basic tenets of a successful campaign that may be missing:

Have a plan

Successful marketing campaigns have intention and purpose. As part of a larger marketing strategy, a campaign should be laser-focused to accomplish measurable goals. To do this, you need to define the goal of your campaign and your target audience. Let’s break this down.

First, specify the goal of your campaign. What’s its endgame? To create buzz about a new product? To establish your brand as a trustworthy voice in your industry? To increase your social media engagement? Now make your goal measurable (e.g., increase email click rate by 10% for the next quarter). If you can’t measure it, it will be nearly impossible to know whether it was successful or not. With this in mind, be sure you have the right tools to track your progress.

Next, establish your target audience for the campaign. Will you target your typical audience, a subset, or an entirely new audience? Where are they on the buyer’s journey? Are they familiar with your brand, or is this their introduction? Are they looking to be entertained, educated, or engaged? Once you answer these questions, you can craft your copy and design to reflect these nuances.

Use the right channels

Even a great marketing campaign can fall flat if it appears in the wrong channel. What channels does your audience frequent? Are they primarily on social media (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) or do they prefer email or other channels? It’s important to figure out where and how your campaign’s audience interacts with brands. Look at your buyer personas and establish where they spend their time and how they consume information. Are they scrolling through social media? Reading print magazines? Listening to podcasts? Downloading online resources? Once you have this pattern dialed in, you can decide which channel works best for your campaign.

Of course, the wider the net, the wider the catch: distributing your campaign across multiple channels may increase your audience reach. But before you cast your net, consider whether you want a wide audience or a more focused approach. Not every marketing campaign will lend itself to every channel, so be discerning.

When identifying the right channel for your campaign, look at past engagement for insights. For example, have you gotten a lot of hits on Facebook ads for similar campaigns? Is your email open rate generally lower than average? Have print ads historically driven more traffic to your site? Listen to this data — it will tell you where your audience is and how they like to interact with your brand.

Be measurable and adaptable

Speaking of data, it’s imperative that you monitor the success of your campaign and that you’re ready to adjust your sails if necessary. The data points you track will largely depend on your campaign goals and expected outcomes. Some data points you may consider include:

  • Web analytics
  • Email open and click-through rates
  • Bounce rates
  • Downloads
  • Social media likes, shares, and comments

These metrics provide insight into audience engagement, which will help you determine if your campaign is resonating with your intended audience. But don’t wait until your campaign is over to measure and track — do it in real time! Doing so will allow you to be nimble and adjust your message if it’s not working, or double down on messaging that’s really hitting the mark.

You also may need to quickly adjust your campaign to address current events. For example, when COVID-19 hit, did you find yourself scrambling to switch from in-store to online promotions? Knowing how to stay flexible with your campaign messaging while sticking to your brand values and voice is key to a successful campaign.

Don’t have the time or manpower to manage a successful marketing campaign? Roikings helps businesses find qualified leads by acting as an extension of your marketing team. We will create, manage, monitor, and adapt your marketing campaigns to match your audience and meet your sales goals.

Contact us today for an appointment.

Not Getting Noticed on LinkedIn? Here’s Why (and What to Do)

The latest statistic shows that nearly 675 million people are on LinkedIn. And since content on the platform has the potential to reach up to 12% of the world’s population, it should be included in every company’s marketing strategy. But what if your LinkedIn presence is stagnant at best, and virtually nonexistent at worst? If your company’s not being noticed on LinkedIn, there are a few probable reasons why, and relatively simple, yet effective, ways of turning that around. Here are the likely problems (and solutions):

Possible problem #1: You haven’t completed a LinkedIn company page for your business

Businesses with LinkedIn pages get up to 30% more views than those that don’t. But to be effective, your page must be complete with all relevant details, including a concise and compelling “About” section that includes industry-specific keywords for searchability. Other fields you’ll need complete on your company profile are a link to your website, industry, company size, location, company type, year founded, and your company’s specialties.

Adding a logo and on-brand cover photo to your LinkedIn page also is recommended, as well as relevant hashtags (up to three are recommended) in the “About” and “Specialties” sections to make your business page more searchable. Completing the “Life” section of the page enables you to highlight your company culture and brand values. This section is especially important if you are using your LinkedIn page to hire because it provides visitors a snapshot of your employees’ daily work lives and helps differentiate your company as a good place to work.

Possible problem #2: You’re not posting or publishing articles regularly

How can your followers and LinkedIn users engage with you if they have nothing to engage with? Not posting or publishing articles regularly means your LinkedIn strategy is dead in the water. Instead, experts recommend posting or publishing a new article at least once a week (a change that is proven to give you at least twice the engagement than you had previously). Not sure what to post about? Go to your page’s analytics to learn more about your followers and visitors. You can then use these insights to plan your content strategy and keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t in terms of engagement (e.g., likes, comments, shares, etc.).

When planning your LinkedIn content, it’s important to add images and videos to catch a user’s attention as they scroll through their news feed. Also, remember to add about three to five industry- or topic-specific hashtags to each of your posts so that those interested in these topics can find you more readily — this will give your company a wider reach in terms of audience. And if you have raving fans and brand advocates, use them! Ask them to share your articles and post about your company in their feeds and groups.

Possible problem #3: Your employees aren’t engaging with your content

Okay, so your LinkedIn page is solid, your content calendar is pristine, but people still aren’t engaging? It’s time for some page maintenance. For example, are you responding to comments on your posts in a timely manner (or at all)? Are you thanking those who share your articles and mention you in their feeds? Is your content compelling and what your target audience is looking for? All of these are important questions to ask.

Further humanize your brand and gain more followers by enlisting engagement from your employees. Encourage them to share company posts and articles, as well as more personal moments like photos of company events and testimonials of their work life. You can also encourage — and even employ — your team members to participate in LinkedIn Groups, where they can act as subject matter experts on your industry, answering questions and engaging with others in those communities.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you just plain don’t have the time to create and maintain a LinkedIn presence for your business, you’re not alone. At Roikings, we help small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs start — and maintain — their LinkedIn conversations to attract more qualified leads.

Contact us today for an appointment.

How to Define Your Target Market

Bringing a product or service to market is much more than building out the product or service itself. The notion “if you build it, they will come” isn’t a sound strategy. To increase conversations that lead to sales conversions, you need to target the right businesses and individuals who are likely to purchase your product. In short, you need to define your target market. But how? It starts with research.

Product or service benefits

Take a closer look at your product or service. It was built and defined with a specific intent — typically to solve a problem or address a need that you’ve identified. For example, you could ask yourself:

  • What problem does my product or service solve?
  • What want or need does my product or service meet and for whom?

You can’t build your target market definition off these data points alone, but they do provide good baseline information into not only your intention for the product or service, but also the knowledge you have garnered to this point about the problems and/or needs that your product or service addresses. Keep in mind that the original intended use of your product may not be the only one. There may be additional uses or solutions that your product may be associated with that you have yet to discover!

Current Customers

If you have an existing product with at least a handful of customers, you’ve already got a gold mine of information. These are individuals or businesses who have seen value in your product or service and made that conversion to paying customer. What can you learn from this group of people that will help you target additional similar prospects? Start by asking questions like:

  • Who are my current customers?
  • What industries are my customers in?
  • What are some key demographics of my customer base (e.g., age, gender, job function)?

Also explore the buyer journey with your existing customers to learn more about how they learned about you, what type of communication they preferred, what their pain points were, and more. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers for some of this information, if appropriate. The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to replicate the outreach to attract more prospects. You also will be able to use this data to inform lead searches, narrowing down the pool of prospective buyers to only individuals or businesses who match your chosen criteria. This information also will help you refine your messaging and offers.

Website and social media analytics

Website and social media analytics hold a treasure trove of information that you can use to better understand your existing audience. For example, you can explore who’s visiting your website, what they are looking at, and how they are engaging. Social media provides an additional dimension to your existing audience by providing insight into who is following you, liking or engaging with your posts, mentioning your content, and more. You also have the added benefit of being able to review their profile for added context. Digging into this data will provide valuable insights that will enable you to better define your target market.

Analytics tools can help you sift through relevant information including traffic sources, average time on site, bounce rates, device used, location, and more. You can use this information to help build your target market profile.

Social media platforms are another place you can find out more about your target audience. Pay attention to who engages with your posts (e.g., likes, shares, and comments). Make note of which posts garner the greatest engagement. Are they informational how-to videos, articles, humorous memes, inspirational messages, promotions, or something else? Since every social media platform is different, looking at analytics on each one is a good way to find out about a wider audience. And since each platform has its own basic, built-in analytics dashboard, you can get insight on your followers and those who engage with your posts.

Competitive analysis

Your competitors are likely going after similar prospective buyers, so it’s important to look at not only their messaging and tactics, but also their customer base as well. Doing some market research on your competitors is key for targeting your audience. You don’t have to go after the same audience (though you may wish to), but it’s valuable information to see how competitors in similar verticals position themselves, what their messaging looks like, and how their customers are responding to it.

So, how do you find out your competitor’s target audience? First, look at their website: do they have industries listed? Testimonials? Is there content geared toward specific industries or contact points, like CEOs or sales professionals? They’ve likely done market research themselves to find out who their audience is; why not use it to inform your own market research?

Another place to look is their social media. Although you can’t tap into their analytics tools, you can check out their posts and see what type of engagement they’re getting. You may have to dig a bit deeper and check out the profiles of individuals who seem to be engaging the most with their posts. If using LinkedIn, for example, you’ll likely look at the person’s professional title, current company, industry, and activity. These informational breadcrumbs create a clearer picture of your target market and main buyer personas.

Looking to grow and scale your business, but don’t have the time (or team) to focus on marketing and sales? Let Roikings be your sales team! We have the experience, skills, and tools to thoroughly research your market, define your audience, and craft compelling messaging. Not only will we generate leads for you, but we’ll help you manage and develop those leads while you focus on your business.

Contact us today for an appointment.