Digital & Social | 5 minute read
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been something of a digital revolution in B2B sales. With face-to-face interactions no longer an option, the B2B industry migrated to a new system of remote interactions and digital self-service.
Research from McKinsey shows that over 75% of B2B buyers and sellers prefer the new digital reality, which means now is the time to take stock of your digital strategy.
Having a website is an essential part of almost every brand’s online landscape. But, what else can you – and should you – be doing to raise your profile and generate and nurture leads in an increasingly digital world?
With 68% of online experiences beginning with a search engine, anything you can do to boost your page ranking can impact your bottom line. That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) – improving your website with keywords your target audience is searching for – comes in.
Effective SEO can help your brand get on that hallowed first page of Google, which will help improve the quantity and quality of your site’s traffic. In fact, SEO can drive 1000% more traffic than organic social media.
When your brand appears higher in search results, it can become your main source of leads and help lower the cost of lead generation by 61% compared to outbound leads.
Another SEO tool you can employ to boost your search engine rankings is backlinks. This is where another website links to your website within its content. There are several ways to acquire backlinks, but the most popular methods are:
- Sharing your content to encourage other businesses to use it in their own blogs and whitepapers (with a link back to your original article)
- Creating guest posts for other sites and including a link to your site in your ‘author bio’
- Online PR coverage, which more than often includes a backlink when mentioning your brand.
PPC and Google Display
As the name suggests, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is where you are charged every time someone clicks on your ad. Whereas the goal of SEO is to get on the first page of Google, PPC ads are there already.
The benefits of PPC include generating targeted leads more quickly and cost-effectively (as you can target particular demographics by gender, age, location). You also have the ability to track and control your PPC campaigns (measuring clicks and conversions) which allows you to tweak ads that aren’t performing.
It’s said that you can increase brand awareness by 80% through Google paid ads, and that the return on investment (ROI) for paid advertising is £2 for every £1 spent.
Another option for creating brand recognition is Google Display, which is where your ads are shown across the almost three million partner websites in their Display Network. As with PPC, you will pay a small fee every time someone clicks on your ad.
Remarketing is where you strategically target people who have already shown an interest in your company, (such as visitors to your website or active leads) with relevant messaging based on their previous interaction with your brand.
Through channels such as paid ads, email marketing campaigns, and social media, remarketing communications can help generate new leads and nurture existing leads through the sales funnel. In fact, one study found that conversion rates increase the more consumers see an ad within a remarketing campaign.
Did you know that 53% of the world’s population is on social media for nearly two-and-a-half hours each day? So if you’re not targeting social media as part of your digital strategy, you’re missing out on a huge potential audience – even in the B2B space.
Paid promotion options include pay-per-click ads and sponsored posts. The likes of LinkedIn and Facebook will help you target your audience by matching your database with user accounts on their platforms. Alternatively, you can share content organically (e.g. for free) on the channels your target audience uses the most. The best organic posts are those that give value to your customers, whether that’s in the form of insights, offers or advice. The more value you can give, the more attention your post will receive.
Digital tracking tools help remove the guesswork from your marketing efforts and let you make evidence-based decisions about your digital strategy. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console let you track your website traffic so you know how many visitors you get, whether they’re new or returning visitors, and how they got to your site (referral traffic). SEO focused dashboards like SEMrush and Moz are good for understanding how customers are finding and using your website too.
As for social media, the likes of Buffer or Hootsuite can give you real-time data about new followers and what posts they react with the most. This information is invaluable as it lets you focus on the content that’s working and make changes to the parts that are underperforming.
You may have heard the phrase ‘content is king’ and it’s true. A sandwich may be packaged beautifully but unless the filling is deliciously more-ish you won’t buy it again. The same is true of your content, which should ideally include the following more-ish ingredients: value for your visitors, keywords for SEO purposes, and quality, to encourage people to share it online.
A content-led approach to your marketing can support your social media strategy in giving your leads and customers the information they need to make an informed choice about your brand. As such, it helps your audience engage with and trust your brand, which in turn strengthens your relationship.
So, as you can see, there are more ways than ever to capture your buyers’ attention and nurture leads through each stage of the sales funnel. With 70% of B2B decision-makers reporting that they’re open to making purchases in excess of £50,000 either remotely or self-serve, thinking digitally is the future of B2B. It all begins with a website, of course, but where you go next can make a huge impression on your bottom line.