2017 Looks to be a challenging year by any means. Keep the pedal to the metal and keep your compass pointed true north. It’s no small task to be successful in B2B marketing in today’s complex world. It can be especially difficult if you are in the competitive ach payments industry.
Marketers are inundated with information on how to beat the competition and stay out in front of the pack. Here are several tips to help you jump-start your B2B marketing plan for 2017. Dominating search engine results pages, testing, ROI, and attribution are essential goals.
Google was busy in 2016—when are they not? They changed the SERP game by changing their core algorithm to include RankBrain and Panda. They also shifted visibility to paid advertising.
• RankBrain – An artificial intelligence that helps Google process search queries. Huge amounts of written language are embedded into mathematical entities that are easy for Google’s algorithm to understand.
• Panda – A Google algorithm that lowers the ranking of low-quality sites. Panda first surfaced in 2011. This has given marketers plenty of time to clean up their sites.
Search Engine Marketing Won’t Get Any Easier
The reality is that search engine marketing isn’t going to get any easier. Consider how fast technology is growing and expanding with robust systems integrations and B2B marketing that’s account-based. It’s nothing short of a battle being fought uphill. As a progressive marketer, you’re going to have to focus on several areas to make sure you’re hitting the target for 2017.
1. SERP domination.
2. Testing that helps your company gain insights for maximum conversions.
3. Capitalizing on attribution rights. This prevents anyone, fraudulently, claiming their work is their own when it actually belongs to someone else.
4. Sales funnel integration. You’ll need to know how to reach customers wherever they are in the sales funnel with the right messaging. You can never assume that everyone in the funnel travels a linear path from top to bottom. You can also never assume that only one person is in control over their journey.
There are simply too many factors in today’s world that influence ultimate decision making. The average deal, it’s rumored, involves more than eight decision makers. That’s an increase from just several years ago.
There’s No Such Thing as a Linear Path
Everyone has a different approach to buying products and services. Few people look at one website and wait for a response. People talk to friends, engage in social media, and review a host of other websites before making a buying decision. They read reviews and ask questions—and then they may decide, or not decide, to make a purchase.
The fact remains that 70% of buyers have made up their mind before they even reach out to a company’s sales department. People gather information as they see fit, and under their own terms of engagement. Some take forever, and some leap frog from start to finish. So their path is far more “critical” than linear.
You can see why it’s critical not to focus all your B2B marketing on one single person who may not be the primary decision maker in the funnel. Imagine placing pressure on one person to get your message to all the right people in just the right format. That’s placing a lot of faith in one person—and it’s not likely to happen.
Marketers have to think in terms of getting their sales message across to all decision makers and influencers, and on their terms as well.
Gaining B2B Marketing Dominance in 2017
• Dominate search queries.
People are looking for your product or service, or there’s a strong chance you wouldn’t be in business. Keep focusing on building brand recognition, trust, and credibility with your audience. Educate, build trust, and move your candidates through the sales funnel much quicker.
If you’re testing different messages for your paid ads, make sure you understand what your customer is looking to achieve. Of course, paid search offers insights about terms that drive traffic to your site.
• Test, test, and test some more.
Every time someone visits your site, it provides an opportunity to learn more about them, to connect on a deeper level, and to educate. Conversion rate testing doesn’t have to be complicated. Make sure you have a thorough grip on analytics.
Analytics can offer up a ton of insights as to how visitors arrive, and what they do on the site. You can always circle back and determine if page design elements are meeting high standards. If not, how can you simplify things to improve a visitor’s experience? This should help you nail down problems with bounce and exit rates. Both of which can ding your site in the eyes of Google.
• Determine why visitors aren’t converting.
It may be as simple as them no knowing what they’re supposed to do on a particular page. Revisit your call to action and make sure it’s crystal clear. Don’t just ask questions—ask smart questions. If they’re not converting, there’s a reason.
Remember, every element on your page can change a visitor’s behavior. Study a competitor’s page as well. If the site ranks well, there’s a reason. It’s those small wins that can lead to huge gains.
• Attribution insights are invaluable.
What are the elements driving prospects deeper into the sales funnel and helping them get closer to making a buying decision? You’re familiar with the term “touch point.” Well, it may take up to eight touch points to generate a lead that is ready to sign up.
• Google Analytics to better understand behavior across various touch points within the funnel.
Find out what channels have the greatest impact on visitors, and what elements tend to drive visitors upward toward the top of the sales funnel? This is where you can also focus on keywords and those the make the greatest impact.
• Examine, more closely, the number and quality of leads coming from phone tracking.
Digital is powerful, but when it comes to ROI and B2B phone calls are still big drivers of leads. Phone call leads are actually more qualified than other leads, like those from an online form. These leads are already closer to making a commitment when they pick up the phone.
Through analytics, you can also determine which keywords are driving those phone calls. Track calls from targeted SEO pages, and utilize the data to build a robust content marketing strategy. Track both from website forms and from qualified prospects who were willing to pick up the phone.
• Create content that will attract readership.
Certain content can draw in readership like a magnet. This content includes blogs, videos, eBooks and guides, whitepapers, infographics, eNewsletters, podcasts/webinars, reports and case studies. This type of content can also position your company as being an expert in its field.
This is where you brainstorm premium offers that prospects are willing to exchange valuable information for. Calls-to-action have to be right on the bullseye. Use engaging images, text, and banners—be persuasive.Landing pages, the right type, can convert customers, eliminate distractions, and simply the entire
Landing pages, the right type, can convert customers, eliminate distractions, and the entire sales funnel process. And don’t forget those important lead-capture forms. Customer information is critically important.
Managing Leads That Convert
Knowing exactly who your customers are is an essential element for staying ahead of the curve. Know where you customers are and how you can supply them. As such, content marketing will be the difference between where you and your competitors stand. So, creating quality content requires expertise and time.
It’s virtually impossible for companies to rely completely on their sales or marketing staff to write all the content needed to move the needle. Content tells your customers what they should know about your industry.
Differentiated Marketing – Why Bother?
Top performing companies are very realistic about what content marketing can achieve. And they have a sound idea of how long positive results will take to realize. There’s no silver bullet. They know they have to tell a differentiated story.
This type of story is one that no one else is telling, and it has to be delivered consistently over time. Don’t make the mistake of expecting overnight results. It is rare for this to happen.
It’s Getting More Difficult to Buy Attention
Today, you can no longer buy attention. You have to earn it. And you have to earn it every day. You’ll have to earn it tomorrow, next week, and next year. Just being good enough won’t cut it. You’ll have to learn how to produce great content.