Marketing nowadays looks a lot different than in the “Mad Men” TV series universe. Instead of spending hours and hours (who has time for that now?!) coming up with the idea that your client will like, selling it, airing on TV/Radio and just moving to the next campaign, you need to build long - term relationships. Especially in the B2B sector.
We are surrounded by so many ads that we’re becoming more and more “immune” to them. If something isn’t (or at least pretends to be) tailored to our needs and values, we will just ignore it. Luckily, technology can help us with avoiding that! But nothing comes for free: it will require from us much more work and a vast set of skills.
How to avoid getting lost in the sea of all of these marketing tools and channels? Prepare a detailed plan that will guide you step by step to achieving your goal - and that’s exactly what digital marketing strategy in business is.
Recently, we’ve attended a very special marketing event in Cracow called #digitalfest. We had a chance to hear there out some presentations about marketing & sales strategy in the digital era, given by the biggest names on the Polish market. Based on the knowledge we got from there, we’ve prepared for you some tips on which elements should your digital marketing strategy include, to find some clients online.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy in Business?
Following the HubSpot, a very powerful marketing & sales tool definition, digital marketing is the series of actions you take to help you achieve your overarching marketing goal. Your digital marketing campaigns are the building blocks or actions within your strategy that move you toward meeting that goal.
So as you see, a digital marketing strategy is something that gathers all of those small steps you need to take to improve, for example, your website traffic, brand visibility or/and lead generation. Choosing the one, clear goal of your digital marketing strategy is crucial as it will look completely different in each situation.
For example, your goal is to increase your website traffic. If you want to do so, you can buy some ads (digital or classic ones i.e. in the paper), post your website address in various places on the Internet (other sites, social media) and/or built an SEO optimized blog, which will bring you traffic from the search engine. But if your goal is to increase your lead generation - actions you need to focus on are a bit different. In this case, optimizing your website Call to Actions, include a Chatbot strategy and coming with newsletters, that will “warm-up” people, who already had some contact with your brand seems to be much more important.
Of course, those goals will often come together - for example, it is much easier to generate leads with high website traffic than without it. So it is good to set one main goal (increase lead generation by xx %) and smaller ones, that will get you there (increase website traffic by xx%, raise the number of LinkedIn followers by xx%, etc.).
After setting the goals you choose the channels that will help you to achieve them i.e. website, newsletters, blog, ebook, social media - there are so many of them! But choose wisely. If you don’t have a 20 + marketing department, it is good to focus only on channels, that you are familiar with and/or has the highest potential among your target audience. For example, you can be an excellent Youtuber in your private time, but it is proven, that for the construction business professionals newsletters are a much better form of communication than videos. Then you set those goals in time: months, quarters or year. Example: I want to have +20 LinkedIn followers monthly. And there you have it! Your own digital marketing strategy.
Why is a digital marketing strategy important?
One world: KPI. What is it? It’s, in other words, your goal, that you want to achieve. Setting up the right Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is the most efficient way to measure your marketing activities. Sometimes it is hard to tell if your efforts are bringing the right results - especially in inbound marketing, where the award for your work comes after time. KPIs will tell you if you’ re doing good or not.
For example, your KPI for this quarter (you set it BEFORE the quarter - not during) is to have 1000 Unique Users on your website monthly. Then you monitor that KPI: are my current actions bringing me closer to that goal? If after quarter you see, that you’ve achieved your goal - great, it means, that you work paid off! If not - some amendments have to be made.
Digital marketing strategy is a perfect place to have all of those KPIs gathered, see have some of them affect the others, etc. Without the right digital marketing strategy, you won’t be able to set the accurate KPIs, and vice versa. Simple as that.
Now that you know, what digital marketing strategy is and why it is so important - let us tell you what kind of elements/channels you should include in it. Enjoy!
#1 Leverage chatbots
For starters: what is a chatbot? It’s a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. It has to work both ways: each time a user writes/tells something to chatbot it has to answer him/her back. So as you see, it makes communicating with your potential clients much more efficient, without the need to hire someone for answering some standard, simple questions! But remember, that it won’t work right standalone - treat it more as a supplement of your marketing actions.
We can distinguish 3 main reasons to consider implementing chatbots in your digital marketing strategy:
- content distribution - it is proven, that using chatbots on your website or directly on Facebook Messenger is more effective than mailings or newsletters. And it is cheaper, because it works automatically, without engaging the content team! You can set some alerts that each time, a new blog article appears, the user gets the notification straight to his messenger. This is a strategy used by TechCrunch, where you can choose, how often you want to receive information about the new content.
- customer care - Chatbots can help you with shortening your response time and rising up the satisfaction level among your customers. For example, someone is asking your chatbot, what are the prices for your services. Chatbot can easily help the user, by sending a link to your pricing & blog article explaining, why it is worth to buy your product. In that way, not only user saves time that he/she would spend on searching your website for the answer, but also receives a proof WHY he/she should trust you with his/her money. It’s called “warming up” a lead, and chatbots are perfect for that. These kinds of bots need to be constantly updated & developed, to fulfill each of the user's demands and just in case - they need to have an option to connect the user with a real person.
- building engagement - Chatbots are great tools to implement some gamification features. They can automatically respond to your users' comments, offering them some premium content for their effort. Basing on their actions or answers, they can also offer the most suitable content and knowledge. You can make quizzes on chatbots as well!
There are plenty of free tools that will help you with creating Chatbots - you just need to have a clear goal, of what you want to achieve with them. One of the good examples is Chatfuel.
#2 Polish your Google Company profile
How do clients usually find your company’s website? Sometimes, they copy their address straight from your business card or advertisement, but this option is pretty rare. In most cases - they Google its name. That’s why your Google Company profile has to be spotless!
If your potential clients will see a company without the address, photos, phone number or any reviews - they will get suspicious. Isn’t that company a scam? Fill all the blank spots and monitor all the reviews that appear. If they are good - wonderful! If not necessary - answer them. The Internet is all about dialog. And who knows - maybe you can change some not entirely satisfied client to your brand ambassador? It is all possible if you only dedicate yourself to it!
#3 Start sending personalized newsletters
We wrote in the Chatbots paragraph, that the messages sent by them have higher open rates. But that doesn’t mean, that newsletters became the song of the past! It all depends on your target audience. Maybe you want to reach people who aren’t that active in social media, or don’t have their accounts there at all? Still, almost everyone now has an e-mail address. But how to distinguish your message from the sea of emails that we get every day? One word: personalization.
The well-done personalization goes way far than just using your receiver name at the beginning of the e-mail. If you have your website optimized well, beside declarative data (things, that people write about themselves) you can use behavioral (how they interact with your website & newsletter) and transactional ones (prior purchasing). The ideas for personalization here are endless!
We will give some right away. If you see, that someone is viewing your website often, adding items to his/her cart yet not buying anything - you can send him/her personalized email with a discount code. If someone recently bought a laptop on your website - sent him an email promoting accessories for it. If the user shared his/her ZIP code with you - you can send him/her an e-mail with information about promotion happening near his/her place of living. It is possible to automate all of that with the right marketing automation tools. You can also create themed newsletters and sent completely different blog posts to people, with different interests. It’s good to define your target audience as well as you can and then think, what kind of content will suit them the most.
#4 Invest resources in content marketing
Many business owners are wondering how to raise the number of their clients online. The first thing that comes to their minds is: bring them to my website and convince, that my product is valuable enough to buy it. But how to get them to my website in the first place? One of the best ways to do it is to invest in content marketing. Blog posts, ebooks, videos, white papers, case studies - you name it!
Designing a good content is not easy. We are all living in the era, where thousands of media and companies fight for our attention. We won’t dedicate our time to something, that won’t bring any value to us. That’s why defining our buyer persona (target audience) and answering their needs specifically is crucial, to effective content marketing. For example: if we are running a construction business and our goal is to get more clients, articles like “Where to look for the right construction company?“ or “5 factors you need to take into consideration while choosing the construction company” are exactly something, that our potential client is looking for.
One of the biggest advantages of content marketing is, that it is often cheaper yet more effective than traditional paid ads. Sure, it requires a lot of knowledge and talented content designer behind the wheels, but in the industries where projects are pretty expensive & last for years (i.e. software development or construction) it definitely pays off better. Why? Because one good, optimized article (more on that in the next section of the article about SEO) on the niche, that you want to hit may bring you thousands of views from Google without investing any extra money in it!
Also promoting blog articles, ebooks or case studies is easier as it doesn’t look like a “hard sell”. You can write about some matter and go to places like Quora or Reddit and engage in the discussion with the community. In the world, where we become more and more ads immune - it’s another great advantage.
But remember: you have to be patient. Content marketing is definitely something, that you should include in your digital marketing strategy but it takes time, to see the results. But I assure - when they'll come, they will amaze you!
#5 Take care of Search Engine Optimization of your website
As we already said, content marketing is something worth investing it - especially in the B2B industries. But is there a way to increase your website/articles visibility even more among your potential clients? Yeah, but it requires some analytical & technical skills and is a constant process, that never stops. It is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it's all about adjusting your content and graphic materials to please Google algorithms and acquire the highest possible position in its search results.
What are some easy tips to make your website better SEO - optimized:
- Create unique content. You know your business, you are passionate about it and want to reach new potential clients? Grab a keyboard and write about it! If you know your target you are perfectly aware, of what kind of things they are interested about. By doing some basic SEO research using tools like Ubersugest or AnswerthePublic you can find topics, that no one properly covered before & people are looking for and create a great piece! Blog articles are proven to be one of the best ways to keep the user on our website longer & make him/her want to come back - and that's our goal!
- Don't duplicate your content. Make sure each meta description on your website is unique and there is no two the same copy anywhere. Google robots hate duplicates - and that's actually good, as it is better from the user perspective. If we are looking for something, we want it to be unique, elaborated and/or shown from a different perspective - no copy-paste EVER!
- Take care of proper back and internal links strategy. How do Google robots know, that some website is trustworthy? By the number of other websites that refer to it! That's why it is extremely important to work on acquiring backlinks from other sources (by guest posting or sponsored content) and link internally between your articles. For example - if you have an article about the best food tech apps, you can link it to the other article, where you wrote about what functionalities should a good food tech app has. That way, you will keep users longer at your site & increase your SEO visibility.
- Use keywords smart. With the tools mentioned before you can find the right keywords for your website, article, etc - it should be connected with your industry in general. For example - if you are running a construction business, find keywords connected with finding the right contractors, best construction materials or best construction software for estimating. Make sure, that keywords you've chosen are included in your content meta description, title, and headers. IMPORTANT: your most important keywords also have to be included in the "head" section of your website. Even though it is not visible for the users, it is for the Google robots.
And we could go on and on about other things you need to take into consideration while optimizing your website by SEO. If you are interested in reading more about it, just let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will definitely write some more!
Running a business these days without a specified digital marketing strategy is simply a waste of money. The money you could earn by taking your business internationally. Making clients coming to you, instead of constantly chasing them. And finally, building a brand, that despite any challenges or fuck ups that always happen in business - will survive, because of the people who will stand by your side.
So what are you waiting for? Some people say, that you shouldn't start marketing before your product is ready - that's wrong! Build a brand, make sure, that there is a demand for your product, ask people, what needs would they like to have fulfilled AND THEN - start to make it.