Business to Business (B2B) marketing practices are changing. Here we identify the latest trends and best practices of 2017. And as a hint – it’s all about content marketing, putting effort in and making content compelling for readers to enjoy! Furthermore, fill content with search engine optimisation (SEO) rich keywords, so that when key search terms are typed in search engines such as Google, your page ranks higher in the search engine results pages (SERPS). Why is this change occurring you may ask? It is because anyone in the market for a B2B product or service is researching online! What follows is a look at how content marketing fits into the overall picture and the five best practices and key trends for B2B marketing in 2017.
What is content marketing?
First of all, content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand as such as the focal point, but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. Content marketing has become extremely important in recent years when compared to other marketing activities available. Content marketing is a great tactic for B2B marketers because the long customer journey means customers will want to do plenty of research before purchasing and compare several different providers.
Today in B2B marketing, you need to give your leads or potential customers a reason to trust you. No lead will convert on your landing page, let alone become a customer, without trusting your offer. This ultimately starts with content – your branding messages. Take for example, when it comes to web content, buyers have little patience for obstructions and typically do not trust websites full of distractions such as:
- Poorly written content or unhelpful content
- Poor quality designed websites
- Intrusive or unpleasant calls to action
- Lack of contact information or contact forms
If you want to be seen as credible, you have to dish out authentic messages that genuinely empathise with your audiences’ needs, and put the spotlight on what solution you offer. Then your audience will be more willing to trust you.
Mobile and Smartphone Content Compatibility
There has been a momentous shift to mobile, thus a key trend for B2B marketers is to have a mobile responsive site – a website that is compatible with any device, from smartphone to tablets. For example, Google can tell us now that most businesses have a mobile responsive site, so you could say it is no longer a trend. However, changes that will affect B2B marketers in 2017 (particularly those who do not know about them) include Google's new mobile-first index and potential penalties for pop-ups. Even if none of your customers are arriving on mobile devices, you still need a smartphone responsive site because of Google's 'mobilegeddon' update, as otherwise you'll be getting penalised. Over half of B2B businesses have mobile sites, but really all should have mobile responsive sites.
It is a misconception that businesses don’t need to be on social media, for reasons of it is too hard to manage or it is not where B2B marketing is happening. So wrong! It is about being on the right platforms at the right times. B2B businesses tend to get the best results from LinkedIn and Twitter, but are present across a wide range of social networks with YouTube and Slideshare also standing out as particularly effective.
If you have learned a lot from your industry experience and now have high-level knowledge, talk about it. Sharing your expertise builds trust and can generate leads (think webinar registrations or subscriptions to blogs). Successful strategies embrace opportunities to showcase industry knowledge by:
- Publishing blog posts
- Recording podcasts
- Hosting webinars
- Posting LinkedIn articles.
Among B2B buyers, web and email content tend to rank among the most successful channels, but webinars are not far behind. Look for opportunities to share content that allows your audience to engage and get in touch with you and more importantly buy from you!
Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to undergo repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions, often manually – talk about arduous and labour intensive. However, there is technology like marketing automation that makes these tasks less time consuming. Marketing automation is pretty close to the perfect technology for B2B marketing. It can provide an automated way of scoring and nurturing leads with relevant content along the journey down the sales funnel. Yet many businesses are not fully exploiting marketing automation since they are at an early level of maturity.
Use these five points as a checklist as you head into 2018. It is true more than ever, content is king. It helps with SEO tactics, lead generations and so many other factors outlined above. The best method forward is having great content that is authentic, offers a true solution to a problem and is sharable.
These are trends in B2B marketing we have seen that are shaping the way in which we do business. Business owners are on the go, so you must have a mobile compatible website and content, especially for Google, so your content and website rank higher in SERPs. And lastly get automated, not only does this decrease time, it can neatly organise a myriad of variables, from sales leads, to actual customer behaviour, saving your business time and effort at the same time getting highly valuable insights so you can better your business decisions.