Maybe business is booming, but more likely with effects of the pandemic and all of the other factors fanning the flames of this dumpster fire known as 2020, your business has been upended in more ways than one.
Do any of the following sound like your current state?
- Trade shows and conventions are shuttered or virtual – robbing you of the opportunity to demo your amazing new solution in-person and close big sales.
- Revenue plans went out the window as your organization redirected the focus from thriving to surviving an unpredictable year that derailed even the best laid growth plans.
- In-person customer visits are harder to come by, making it more difficult to connect with new customers and nurture existing relationships.
Now is not the time to wait and see if things get better. It’s time to evolve and make up for lost momentum.
With many traditional B2B marketing channels now flipped on their head, this is your opportunity to explore new ways to reach your target audiences, uncover leads and fuel your sales pipeline. It’s your chance to think big picture about your brand and reimagine the customer and prospect experience.
It’s Time to Double Down on Digital
Your prospects aren’t at trade shows. They aren’t at networking events. They aren’t even at the office. They’re home and they’re in front of a screen. All. Day. Long.
B2B marketing friends, this is a rare opportunity. Never before have we had a more captive, digitally engaged audience than right now. Your audience is consuming lots of content online – make sure they’re consuming your content.
How do you do that? So many options…Digital targeting, webinars, content marketing, email campaigns. The list goes on and on, but let’s start at the beginning – your website.
Make Sure Your Website is Ready for Guests
Consider this: Nine out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions.1
Let that sink in. Most B2B buying decisions are influenced by online content. No pressure, but that means your entire digital presence must be optimized for success. That’s a big ask, so for now let’s just start with your website.
Your website is your digital home and now more than ever it needs to be ready for guests. That means you need your website to be the best it can be so it leads your prospects from the top of the sales funnel to that ultimate destination – the closed deal.
“But my B2B product/service/solution is too complicated to be encapsulated on a website. It requires a salesperson to convey the true value,” you say.
We’re not suggesting you take humans out of the equation, but we do believe (and research backs this up) that your website needs to be as self-service as possible and that it must accomplish a few key objectives:
- Clearly communicate what you do
- Convey how your solutions will make your buyer’s life better
- Overcome objections buyers may have
- Offer proof that your solution works
- Demonstrate your expertise in your space
- Capture leads
- Lead prospects to a sale
Those are some pretty high-level goals, but if you can say your website does all of those things, you’re on the right track. If not, it’s time to evolve. Maybe your website is a total teardown, or maybe it just needs a fresh coat of paint. Whatever it’s state, now is the time to make sure it’s ready for the big party.
It’s Time to Rethink Your Engagement Strategies
Obviously in-person events are off the table for now, but enthusiasm for virtual events is waning, too. Zoom fatigue is real. To get your prospects to engage with you in a virtual environment, you need to give them a clear and compelling reason. We find one of the best carrots is to offer something that will help them be more successful – something that will make their life better in a meaningful way.
Webinars aren’t new, but they are getting a second look in B2B marketing as a valuable way to build up your reputation as a thought leader. With in-person educational events on hold, your prospects may be seeking out virtual opportunities to learn. Leverage your subject matter experts and present content that helps your audience add value to their organization.
One caveat here: limit the self-promotion. Your new product launch on its own is not a reason to host a webinar. And never under any circumstances do a bait and switch. Don’t promise a webinar about how people will learn three ways to improve their e-commerce experience and then spend the entire time pitching your solution. You can mention your solution during the webinar, but keep it minimal so it doesn’t feel like a sales pitch.
We’ve seen traditional trade shows go virtual this year, which presents a whole new set of opportunities. It was always a creative challenge to get people to stop by your physical trade show booth. How do you get people to stop by your virtual booth? Account-based marketing could be your answer.
Focus on engaging with current clients and qualified prospects through a highly targeted campaign that leads them to your virtual space and ultimately down the sales funnel. We’ve had success with targeted email campaigns that engage with clients by offering valuable thought leadership assets and incentive gifts for sharing their time with us.
People are watching lots of video, and not just baby panda videos. B2B buyers are watching product and solution videos, and more importantly making purchasing decisions after watching those videos. Studies show that after viewing a vendor video, 65% of executives will visit their website and 39% will call the vendor.
Video is a great vehicle for product launches, demos, expert insights and more. You might even consider evolving your blog into a vlog (video blog) if you have subject matter experts comfortable speaking on camera.
Podcasts are a relatively untapped medium in the B2B marketing space, but savvy marketers are starting to realize their potential. With U.S. podcast listeners expected to surpass 100 million this year, the potential of podcasts shouldn’t be ignored. A podcast is a way to connect with your audience at a conversational level so Q & A’s with subject matter experts and interviews with industry thought leaders are good candidates for your podcast.
If your B2B marketing strategy doesn’t include a multi-media component, evolve that strategy. Videos and podcasts are both valuable engagement tools and neither need high production value. They do, however, need to be compelling and authentic. Remember, people want to buy from people – even in a digital environment. Here’s your chance to feature your people.
Wait-and-See Time Is Over
Yes, 2020 has been really hard and at times overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything to improve our situation. We can choose to get creative. We can choose to evolve.
As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
We can change. We must change. If you’re a B2B marketer, changing your digital and customer engagement strategies could be your organization’s key not just to survival, but to growth.