Digital marketing is a broad category of marketing activities that utilize the web, mobile and display mediums to communicate with your current and potential clients.
There are a vast number of strategies and tactics available to the digital marketer, which can get a little overwhelming when you’re just getting started. Take a look at SmartInsight.com’s overview for 2017:
That’s a lot of stuff! The best thing to remember when you’re just beginning to look into digital marketing is that you don’t need to do everything to make a significant impact.
Let’s take a short look at some of the big ideas in digital, and how to take some steps to launching your online presence.
1. Stay in contact with CRM and Email Marketing
Customer Relationship Management
CRM may not at first glance seem like a digital marketing activity, but used correctly it can be the basis for some of your most effective sales tactics online. Your CRM may take the form of a SaaS program, which lets you store contacts and track tasks related to them. Having an organized, active CRM will give you a strong bank of leads to nurture and convert.
Once your CRM is up and running, you’ll want to start building a database of customer contacts. Make sure you’re tagging your customer with relevant data – how did they come to you? What services are they interested in? What part of the sales funnel are they in? With that information, you can build personalized, targeted email campaigns to educate your customer with material they are specifically looking for.
2. Be there when they need you with Content Marketing
Adoption of a content marketing strategy for B2B companies over the last several years has been tremendous – in Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 B2B content marketing survey, 88% of B2B companies have utilized content marketing in the last year.
Having great content not only promotes you and your brand as an authority or thought leader in your industry but is also a phenomenal way to optimize your website for search. Clients aren’t always ready to convert on the first contact. They may not need what you’re selling right then or may still be in the process of reviewing their options. Content marketing offers a variety of ways to make sure you have presence and authority online, to make sure your brand is easy to remember and find when a lead goes looking for more information. If your competitors are creating content and you’re not, that competitor may be the one the client is getting their educational resources from, and who they’ll probably remember when it comes to making a purchase.
One of the realities of search marketing these days is this – you can’t trick your way into being number one in search rankings. The days of keyword blasting and bot schemes are over. One of the best ways to improve your place on the internet is to create and distribute content that is both keywords tailored, and high quality. The higher quality the content, the more authority Google will recognize on your site and the higher you’ll rise in search rankings.
A website with an extensive content on it is also an invaluable sales tool in an of itself. Having blog posts, white papers and other educational resources act as a digital sales rep, ready to educate your potential customers 24/7. It also gives you more ways to gather information about your customers and where they are in the sales funnel. A client that downloads your ebook can then also be added to an email campaign with more information on the service or product they are interested in.
3. Be where they are with Digital Advertising and Retargeting
Digital advertising platforms are numerous and always evolving. The details of digital ads can get into the weeds fast enough, so in this article, we will focus on just the broad category of ad retargeting and what it can do for your business.
The most dominant element of digital ads is the ability to target and track your results. You can select your keywords (display ads) or target attributes (social ads) upfront and can get reporting or can use your internal web analytics to see who clicked and how they behaved once they did.
With display advertising on a retargeting platform, any time a client visits your site or searches for your selected keywords, they will be tagged in the program. When that person goes to another site that has an AdSense or other ad serving program running on it, your ad will be served to that visitor, creating a second touchpoint and increasing brand awareness with your client. Your ads will follow them around, creating more opportunities for the customer to be directed back to your site and content.
4. Show off your knowledge and culture through Social Media
Social Media can be one of the more fickle digital channels to nail down, especially for B2B. You want to make sure you’re using it both as an ad platform but also as a place to post items that nurture an audience by showing your character and company culture. For B2B, one of the most efficient platforms you can be utilizing is LinkedIn. This a fantastic place to post your content for free on the Influencer platform, network with members of your industry or lead targets, and continue to promote your brand in a professional social setting.
Social media has to be a choice you make based on the people you want to reach. Posting and communicating with your audience is free, but is often very time consuming with an unpredictable return. Make sure you’re selecting platforms that lend themselves to the services you offer, and maybe take a pass if you are not seeing the interaction or reach that would make all that time writing and posting worth it. It’s not worth devoting resources towards something that may never reach the audience you want to sell to.
These four categories are very high-level views of the digital marketing options available to the B2B business. Digital marketing is a medium that you can do as little or as much of as you want. Try a few things, see what works for your service the best.
The most important thing to do is to make sure you’re measuring, tracking and learning from what you do. If you sink a bunch of money into search, and after six months you do not see the return, maybe review your marketing budget and change it up, try some retargeting, try driving more traffic to your blog. Learn as much as you can and make sure you’re planning for success up front.