If you don’t have a documented B2B marketing strategy yet, you’re not alone. But you could be missing out on a tactic for planning, implementing, and measuring an effective strategy that propels your business toward your growth goals.
Only 37% of B2B marketers have documented strategies, even though 89% are using content to generate leads and boost sales. Producing content for the sake of producing content will not help to shape an effective or profitable marketing strategy. Without proper documentation, your business could be missing out on opportunities to mix and use content in ways that will help more customers move along the buyer’s journey.
What are the benefits of creating a B2B marketing strategy? Read on.
Documenting any strategy or plan can hold your business accountable while you implement the strategy. B2B businesses invest months building a website and blog that ranks high on Google. A documented strategy allows copywriters, content marketers, and other members of your team to reflect on their next steps and the goals for the overall strategy. Physical copies of your strategy can also be a motivational tool, keeping your business moving forward after your strategy was put together.
When your strategy is documented, it is easier to share with your team. New and current team members will have the same materials to reference and your plan will be consistently communicated as it is being implemented. Keep your strategy, along with your editorial calendars and other documents, in a single folder online that can be shared with a few clicks.
Maximizing Your Resources
Inbound marketing saves B2B businesses money and boosts ROI. Social media, content marketing, and other inbound strategies reach a larger audience with lower costs and less time than traditional strategies. A documented strategy allows your business to see where those resources are going and what is yielding the highest return. Social media and search campaigns can be adjusted by bids and budgets daily, so you can put your money into strategies that customers will respond to.
What to Include in a B2B Marketing Strategy
You will not be able to measure the effectiveness of your strategy if you don’t have standards or goals to measure your results against. Before you start to talk tactics or specifics, look at the big picture. Why are you creating a marketing strategy in the first place?
Throw out the following questions when brainstorming goals with your team:
What is currently working for your company and what do you want to change?
A B2B marketing strategy doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. If your company is making strides with your current marketing strategy, assess what is working best and include these insights in your goals. Change and adjust what can help you accelerate your growth.
How much do you want to grow?
Growth can be measured in sales revenue, but you may want to include other growth goals that you can achieve before closing the sales. It’s not enough to ask yourself if you want to generate more leads; you have to ask yourself how many leads you want to generate through different marketing tactics. Where do you want leads to come from? How do you want to reach out to those leads, and how many do you expect to become customers and supporters of your brand?
How will you know that your campaign is successful?
Set a measurable and realistic goal that you can come back to at the end of your campaign. By now, you’ve read about SMART goal setting. Once you have created your goals, the pieces of the SMART acronym can be used as a checklist to ensure that your goals are appropriate.
If you don’t make your goals for the campaign, put a plan in place that will help you assess what you can improve on the next time you create a marketing strategy. Your team can still find success by moving forward with more knowledge about your customers and how to reach them, even if you didn’t hit your desired numbers the first time around.
Not all customers are the same. You may have products that you want to sell to customers in different locations, holding different roles in their company, with different online behavior. Reaching out to different customers requires different strategies, but before you dive in with a plan, you have to get to know these customers.
This is where buyer personas come in. A buyer persona is a description of a typical customer. Buyer personas may include the following information:
- Demographics (age, location, gender, etc.)
- Job position
- Interactions with coworkers (who they report to, who they manage, etc.)
- Relationship with your business or competitors
- Needs and goals for their business
- Questions they are trying to answer
- Priorities when looking for a product
- Preferred method of communication
Use market research and information about past and current customers to create a handful of buyer personas. Once you have a good idea of what type of buyer personas you want to target, reach out to people that meet the buyer persona description and conduct further research to get insights that can help you when you are creating marketing messages and content.
Content Plan for Each Buyer Persona and Step of the Buyer’s Journey
Different buyer personas have different needs, and conduct different types of research before making a purchase. All of your buyer personas will have something in common; they research and read content along the buyer’s journey for information, services that fit their needs, and companies who produce those services.
Consider the mix of content you are going to deliver throughout your campaign. Different types of content are more appropriate for different parts of the buyer’s journey. For example, informative and more general blog posts may be more appropriate for first-time website visitors. Instructional videos that feature your product are more appropriate for leads who are familiar with your products and are trying to make a decision about purchasing your product over a competitor’s.
Content on your website should be your first priority, but do not forget about producing content that can be shared on other websites or platforms. Include a social media content calendar in your overall strategy, and consider writing content that can be shared on other websites (Forbes, Huffington Post, etc.) Blog posts and other content on established sources can build up your reputation as experts in your industry, and reach a wider audience that will visit your website.
Content is the bulk of content marketing, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed while you are planning. Stay calm, and stay organized. Once you figure out the different types of content you want to create and where to distribute the content, create a calendar that shows when each piece of content will be written and shared. A physical calendar will help your team meet daily or weekly deadlines and keep the campaign moving smoothly.
Tactics for Measuring ROI and KPIs
How do you know what content is providing the best returns and which aren’t worth your effort? Measure return on investment (ROI.) ROI isn’t the easiest metric to measure, especially when social media are content marketing are involved. Measuring ROI, however, shows you where to allocate your resources in order to see more sales and profits. When marketers make the effort to measure ROI, they are 17 times more likely to see a stagnant or increased ROI in the next year.
In order to measure ROI or any other key performance indicators (KPI,) set up measurement tactics before your campaign begins. If you are not already using Google Analytics to track interaction with your website, you should get familiar with this useful measurement tool. Collect data from the moment you begin your campaign so you can easily track website views, conversions, and growth at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Have a plan in place for gaining insight from your customers, not just their data. Reach out to leads and buyers with surveys and focus groups to hear what they have to say about the ads and content that you put out during your last campaign. A mix of qualitative and quantitative data will give you the best picture of how your campaign helped you reach your goals (or fall short of them,) and what you can do moving forward.
Create an Effective B2B Marketing Strategy with Digital Squad
Ready to document your digital strategy and start working toward your growth goals? It’s time to recruit the experts.
Digital Squad is a top SEO and digital marketing agency that builds strategies for long-term success. We partner with one client per industry and put them on the map with results-driven content and targeted marketing. Before we start to produce content, we sit down with you to talk about buyer personas, your overall strategy, and where you currently stand in the industry. Then, we’ll use our expertise in optimised content creation and distribution so that potential leads will see your business online before your competitors.
Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.