As marketers in the B2B space, the challenge is in allocating marketing budgets strategically to ensure the highest potential return. Moreover, marketing should be considered the effort of creating awareness for your business. It’s how prospective clients are exposed to your business and ultimately evolve into buying clients.
According to Forrester’s “Focus B2B Marketing Budget Gains on Business Outcomes to Succeed in 2014” report, B2B product and service marketing budgets range between 13% and 6% respectively. Interestingly, B2B companies with less than $25 million in revenues represented the higher end of the scale with 13.9% marketing spend.
Regardless of where you lie within this scale, the important thing to note is allocating a marketing investment budget is absolutely essential to create awareness and relevancy. Current marketing investment trends continue to evolve but within those executional tactics the tried and true remain which include the following: content marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing and allocations to upgrading websites.
Here are 10 Ways to Make Your Marketing Dollars Work Smarter:
1. Upgrade your website:
Your website should be considered your marketing homebase. It is essential that it is “viewable” on all digital platforms like mobile, desktop, laptop, etc. What used to be recommended is now required. In fact, companies are not guaranteed to have a presence in search results, done via mobile, if their website is not mobile friendly. An investment in an adapative and responsive design for your website will ensure that your website will show up in the search results when someone is looking for your solution.
2. Invest in cohesive branding
Think of how we easily we recongize major brands by their logo: The swoosh? Nike. Golden arches? McDonald’s. We even connect colors with particular brands, such as green and gold with John Deere tractors. Regardless of your love or hate relationship with these brands, they show up cohesively across all customer touch points in a professional manner. Remember that a professional appearance not only builds recognition online and offline, but also builds trust. An additional benefit to having cohesive branding is the ability to build brand equity overtime, one that could be monetized in multiples of your revenue.
3. Content marketing strategy
According to Smart Insights, who polled more than 600 marketers, the lionshare of focus for marketers in 2016 is on content marketing (53%). Providing quality content online to build apparent authority and expert insights is the objective of content marketing. The name of the game is adding value, which builds subject matter expertise; something your customers and prospects love.
4. Community Management / Social listening
An often overlooked component of marketing is community management and social listening. Monitoring what is being said online is critical to not only protect your brand but also to create engagement with your customers. Additionally, by closely monitoring you can mitigate the compound effect of bad press. Instead you can turn that into an opportunity for client recovery, a very powerful strategy to help gain visibility that you are a brand that cares. But the most important reason for managing your reputation online is because many people take their customer service issues directly to social media.
5. Video Marketing
2015 was the tipping point for video marketing as the go-to medium for engagement. Daily video playbacks on Facebook totaled 4 billions videos per day in early 2015. By the end of that same year, views had doubled. There is no doubt that incorporating video into your marketing outreach is an effective way to create engagement.
6. Strategic Partner Marketing
A strategic partner plan offers the ability to cross promote and potentially accelerate market penetration. Partnerships come in a variety of ways whether it’s financial, marketing focused, supplier relationships, etc., The optimal scenario is where you complement your strategic partner to the extent that you gain a competitive advantage with your aggregated offering.
7. Guest Blog Posting
Blogging is still a relevant way to find your audience. Guest blogging is a great way to drive traffic back to your website, increase sales, and grow your brand. The important thing to remember is that your guest blogging outreach should be carefully targeted towards blogs that your perfect customer is likely to read, and that are credible.
One of the newer outreach methods is podcasting. There is a very low barrier to entry if you are interested in starting a podcast about your niche. You can create a platform where you offer expert advice. By including a social syndication backend to your podcasting you can ensure that your content will circulate through the web on a consistent basis. Don’t want to take on another marketing task like podcasting? Go on a podcasting tour, researching the top 10 podcasts in your field. It’s a great way to connect to influencers in your space.
9. Google AdWords
Google AdWords can be a great complement to your social media strategy. By leveraging keywords, specific to your industry, you can be the solution to your perfect customer’s problems. One of the big benefits, is that unlike direct mail or print, Google Adwords results can be closely monitored and measured.
10. App Marketing such as Quora
Resource apps like Quora are a great way to establish credibility. There you can do searches for keywords in your industry and provide answers to your prospect’s most challenging situations. It is also a good source for market research as a way to test a potential idea or marketing campaign.
Tapping into the power of Digital Marketing, a B2B company can gain relevancy that is not only cost effective but can also leave a blueprint online to further build brand equity.
Best selling author Pamela Herrmann & Patty Dominguez are the Co-Founders of CREATE Buzz, committed to helping small businesses get customers and keep customers by taking the overwhelm out of technology and online marketing. Pamela is the author of, “The Customer Manifesto – How Business Has Failed Customers & What It Takes To Earn Lasting Loyalty”. They co-host The Morning Would Show bringing the latest in marketing tips and strategies.