4 Essential Elements of a Winning B2B Digital Marketing Strategy
Every B2B brand knows the importance of a marketing strategy. But not every brand has the necessary time or resources to plan for and develop a structured strategy that will help them meet their organizational goals.
So, what’s the secret to building a winning B2B marketing strategy?
Here are four essential elements to craft a winning digital marketing strategy for your B2B:
The Right Goals:
Set realistic, specific, and quantifiable goals. Make sure your goals represent your organization’s overarching objectives and individual departmental objectives (as needed). Your outlined goals will dictate which outcomes to measure so you can determine if your strategic approach is working and adjust accordingly.
The Right Team:
Have the right people at the table. There is a multitude of tactics to choose from in digital marketing and your B2B marketing team should be comprised of more than your internal team. With new technology, platforms and opportunities arising so frequently, an extension of your internal team will bring a fresh, outside perspective to challenge “We’ve always done it this way.” Break down silos in your organization and involve all critical internal stakeholders to create an integrated, cohesive strategy.
Start by holding a meeting with leadership from each department. Discuss their needs and how digital marketing can provide a solution to their challenges. Let the marketing experts take the lead, but use everyone’s input as a guide.
The Right Platforms:
Implementing the appropriate platforms is critical to achieving your desired outcomes. You’ll need a Content Management System (CMS) – such as WordPress – that will empower you to enhance your digital presence, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to keep your contacts organized in one place, and a robust marketing automation platform to streamline additional components of your B2B marketing strategy like social media and email marketing campaigns.
The Right Execution:
Organizations that are serious about digital marketing for brand building, lead generation, and target audience engagement are partnering with designers, developers and digital strategists who have the expertise to create beautiful, relevant web experiences that resonate with site visitors and the knowledge of the ever-changing B2B marketing landscape to drive the right people to your beautiful site.
While there are still a few weeks before 2017 begins, now is the time to make any changes needed and solidify your digital marketing plan to ensure a successful year!
4 Things We’re Thankful for in Today’s Digital Marketing World
It keeps us on our toes.
Digital Marketing is always changing. Even the most experienced digital marketer can wake up shell-shocked from a Google update that took place over night while they were sleeping. It happens. And just like anything in life, we must find out how to work with the ever-constant changes taking place online. It keeps us striving to learn more and perform at our best to keep our clients successful.
We get to help others achieve their business goals.
By far one of the most awarding part of our job is more than just seeing the result of a brand new live website. When that website starts working it’s magic to bring in your targeted users, increased browsing sessions and most importantly, high conversion rates…that’s when we get excited. It’s a subtle pat on our back to prove we did our job right, the first time. As digital marketers, our job is to help others run successful online marketing campaigns, and when they do, it’s awesome to see.
It’s never boring
Like I said, we’re constantly kept on our toes. Aside from the constant updates, the technological advancements being introduced to the market is exciting, too! With the new craze of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and live streaming video, there’s always something new to play with and learn to see how we can incorporate it into our client’s marketing.
It’s becoming more accepted.
At one time, our hardest job was convincing business owners they needed an online presence. Today, that’s not the case – thankfully. Now that digital marketing has become more accepted and understood by businesses small and large that they need it to keep their company alive, it makes it even more fun to come to work every day. And when we find fun, new updates or tech tools, we cannot wait to share them!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?
6 Things to Remove from Your Healthcare Website
Did you know that Americans spend more time searching for healthcare-related information online than anything else? Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations don’t take their website seriously and end up being hated by Google and their patients! Keep your healthcare website running as a powerful platform that attracts and engages users by removing the 6 elements described below.
6 Things to Remove from Your Healthcare Website
Messaging matters. Your brand message is what will set your apart from your competitors and other businesses alike. Too often, healthcare and hospital websites are filled with the same generic messaging that lack any empathy or emotional value. Words such as “leading”, “innovative”, “world-class”, etc. are common messages smeared across more websites than you can imagine. The best website messaging provides value to both your current and potential patients as well as your brand and immediately tells users how you can help.
Text-heavy web pages
Web users don’t read, they scan. So it’s important to understand how to properly create content for your web pages that users will enjoy and understand. This is especially important in the healthcare industry, as many websites are full of advanced terminology only doctors can understand. In order to help keep your patients and users focused on the content that matters, you should utilize page headings, sub-headings, bullets, and paragraphs to direct users right to the information they want. Your content should also utilize imagery to complement text and entice users to learn more.
While video content is all the rage right now, auto-playing media on websites is not. Auto-playing media is actually a distraction to web users and only ends up frustrating them as they now have to find out where it’s coming from and how to get it to stop. However, more than likely your users will end up leaving your website and head over to another that doesn’t distract them from finding the information they need. Allow your website users to make their own decisions on whether or not they want to watch a video or not by providing a link or embedding a video that only plays once a user hits play.
Have you ever been engaged in an interesting blog post or web page only to get hit with a pop-up ad that restricts you from finishing the sentence you were on? You’re not the only one. Like auto-playing media, pop-up ads are a major distraction to our web users and will only encourage them to head over to another website. Remember, the goal of your healthcare website should be to inform and educate users on the ways you can solve the problems, questions, or concerns they have and pop-up ads simply don’t provide that value.
Cheesy stock photos
Imagery is a crucial component for any website, but even more importantly for a healthcare website. Most healthcare imagery tends to leave a generic and unattractive impression. Using compelling images that speak to your audience, relate to the healthcare issues you solve, and help improve your message will help you stand out among your other healthcare competitors and stay memorable among your web users. If you can use real life images from your organization, great! If not, there’s plenty of options out there that aren’t the same cheesy stock photos that do nothing to properly represent your company or brand.
While many web users are weary of giving out their personal information, even more are willing to do so if they are receiving a valuable offer. However, don’t scare your web users away by forcing them to fill out their entire life history in your sign-up forms. In reality, all the information you need from a new user is their name and email address. Maybe their company name and/or phone number, depending on what they are signing up for. If you have their name, email or phone number, you can get the rest of the information you need by reaching out and getting to know them. Shorter form lengths not only make users feel more comfortable in providing you with their information, but it also takes less time to fill out than filling out numerous form fields. This may also help when you finally reach out to learn more about this user and the problems they are having.
At the end of the day, your healthcare website is too important to ignore. If you’re finding yourself too busy to keep up with your website, it might be worth getting help from an outside agency. A comprehensive website analysis will show you what you can improve on. Contact us today.
B2B Web Design Best Practices
Developing and designing a website is a very intricate process that many aren’t aware of. Each site made requires in-depth research into your target audience, your current clients, your competitors and the standards of today’s websites. And including it into your overall digital marketing strategy is a whole other process that still needs to work in tandem with each other. In order to do so, we’ve compiled a list of best practices to ensure your B2B website is as successful as your business.
Users come first.
When launching a website project, it’s easy to get distracted by the more ‘fun’ aspects the project, like design and layout. However, before you start brainstorming design ideas, it’s important to put yourself in your user’s shoes. Remember, they are the ones that will be visiting your website and exploring the different pages, content, and additional information so you want to make sure the experience is one they enjoy.
Consistency is key.
Website design that lacks consistent branding is stressful and confusing to users, especially those just finding your website for the first time. You want your brand to be memorable and the only way to do so is by staying consistent. This involves using the same brand colors, logos, and messaging on every single page of the website. This also applies to images, iconography, typography, and videos as well. A brand’s story should be evident and supported in the design.
SEO is essential.
As mentioned before, your website and overall digital marketing strategy needs to be all encompassing. You simply cannot have one without the other. This why it’s critical to implement the best SEO practices on your website as it’s being created, not after. Not only will this ensure a successful launch day, but it will also keep your site in the good graces of Google.
With so many design ideas and options to use on your website such as parallax scroll, video animation, and layout formats, it’s easy to want all these fun and fascinating features. Flashy, complicated websites typically deliver a poor experience and end up being visually noisy. Effective websites often have simplified layouts that are easy to navigate and enable each design element to shine.
At the end of the day, a successful B2B website is one that is functional. While you want to give your users an unforgettable experience, you want to ensure they aren’t being interrupted or distracted by irrelevant clutter that can cause them to head back to the search engines.
Easy Engagement Tricks to Boost Your Social Media Content
One of the main goals of social media marketing is providing value to your followers. But far too many companies feel that value is blog posts, e-books, and educational resources. Now, don’t get me wrong, that does provide enormous benefits but there are even more easy ways to increase the value of your content and increase engagement at the same time. This sort of value reflects the human and appreciative side of a business.
Ask a question.
The easiest way to gain engagement on your social media posts is to ask a question. Whether it’s a question about your business, a concept for a new project, or even how their day is going is a great way to get your audience talking. This is also beneficial for your company and customer service efforts because you will gain deeper insights into the wants and needs of your audience.
Conduct a poll.
Just like the benefits of asking a question, using it in a poll makes it interactive and fun for your audience. It’s also a tad bit more efficient because they don’t have to type an answer in the comments, they simply click an answer.
It’s a known fact that visuals are powerful in content. It’s fun, engaging, and when done right, is an effective way to educate your audience at the same time. Whether it’s a company thought leadership video, a corporate video, a webinar or the latest livestreaming trend, video has proven to be a great way to increase engagement on social media.
Feature your fans, clients & employees.
People love attention! When you give back to your audience by showcasing them, your clients, as well as employees, you’re guaranteed to receive a positive feedback in likes, comments, shares, etc. Spotlighting a fan for their loyalty, a client’s project, or an employee achievement is a positive and special way to boost your engagement.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, with the holidays approaching, now is the perfect time to ramp up your social media efforts. This is an easy way to say thank you to your audience and prove to them you’re thinking about them too.
The 6 Key Players Needed for a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy
A successful digital marketing strategy requires a strong team of key players in order to keep your brand visible. The problem is, many companies think they can do this on their own, without proper training or understanding, and no plan for the future. If you’re hoping to up your digital marketing game, make sure you’re equipped with the right team:
You’ve heard it over and over again: Content is King. Even with the most advanced tools and technologies around today, you simply cannot implement a successful digital marketing strategy if you don’t have a content strategy/strategist.
Visibility is the name of the game in digital marketing. A proper SEO & PPC strategy will ensure your website is being indexed and ranked by Google and other search engines, increasing your chances of being found when a user enters a search query related to your business or services.
Because each business is unique, so is the way their websites are used by users. With a UX specialist on your team, you are able to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, even down to a specific targeted user. This allows you to see how others interact with your website, the flow in which they take as they explore, and ensures your website is up to the web standards of usability.
Creative is key when it comes to digital marketing. Users are attracted to visuals, so a talented and skilled designer is an essential player of your digital marketing team. Unfortunately, this is where many companies shy away and resist pushing the creative envelope. A good web designer will take your website to the next level and ensures your website stands out from your competitors.
With all these exciting marketing initiatives taking place, you’ll also need a developer to help you create the powerful lead generating landing pages, blog, and other website updates needed to stay successful. They also provide as an extra set of eyes to oversee any maintenance issues or security breaches that may occur.
The piece that holds the whole pie together. A dedicated Account Manager will not only keep your project on track, but they will also keep both teams in check throughout and even after the duration of the project. When doing something as important as a digital strategy, it is imperative to have someone who can keep communication, timelines, deadlines and deliverables organized and up-to-date.
What’s most important to understand about all these key players is that you cannot have one without the other. There are no substitutions. A successful digital strategy requires an overarching, holistic approach and it cannot be done with missing puzzle pieces.
Why B2B Video Marketing is Still Important
Visuals are powerful.
We know by now that using images, videos, and interactive content increases engagement on websites as well as social media updates. In fact, according to research, 52% of marketers say that video gives the best ROI. If that isn’t enough to convince you to start taking video marketing serious, maybe these interesting tidbits will:
B2B marketers are using video marketing…effectively.
According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, 79% of B2B marketers reported to using video marketing in their content strategy. It’s easy to see why when 62% find it to be an effective tactic.
There’s a place for it.
Actually, this may be why video marketing is in fact so popular. There is an abundance of places online that support – and even encourage – video content. Aside from YouTube, which is still an effective platform for more than half of B2B marketers, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat all provide the opportunity for live streaming.
The B2B audience is there.
With 51% of B2B marketers claiming effectiveness of YouTube, it shows that the B2B audience is there watching. But additional research shows that Facebook is the preferred platform for sharing videos, which is a great benefit for B2B marketers hoping to gain more visibility.
It seems that video marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. So it is key for B2B marketers to include video throughout the multiple channels available and effective for their brand and audience.
What to Consider When Choosing a Social Media Platform for Your B2B
When we live in a world where every major social media network counts more monthly active users than the largest countries on Earth, it seems obvious that the only way to stay on top or move forward for your business is to join the social media landscape. But with so many options available to showcase your business, it can be challenging for B2B companies to figure out where they fit in.
Below are a few considerations you should think about when choosing a social media platform for your B2B:
Is your target audience there?
Are the people your prospecting or clients you’re working with using this certain social media platform? And if they are, are they using it for business or for fun? For example, your ideal client may love Instagram, but they don’t care to see you boast about your B2B services when they just want to find inspiration for lunch. Solution? Head over to LinkedIn or Twitter where the professionals hang out and talk biz.
Do you have time to keep up consistency?
Who will be in charge of your social media marketing? Will they have a dedicated title just to social media? Will there be an entire team working together? Do you have the time to keep up with a consistent schedule to stay visible online? One of the worst things you can do for your social media marketing is set it and forget it. Consistency is key.
Do you have content that provides value to your audience?
Social media is a powerful place to showcase your company’s abilities, expertise, and every day “behind-the-scenes” operations. This is a great way for industries who can be considered ‘boring’ to gain a competitive edge and show the more human side of your business. But if you don’t have content that brings value to your audience and followers, then you’re just wasting everyone’s time. Remember the 80/20 rule when it comes to your content (80% educational, 20% promotional).
Social media marketing is a complex matrix of becoming visible, gaining attraction, and engaging your followers. But if you’re at the wrong place at wrong time in front of all the wrong people, your social media efforts will show that.
4 Ways to Publish Content Off-Site
Content is King.
If there’s one thing we know for sure in the marketing industry, it’s that content truly is King. Whether it’s a blog, video, white paper, case study, or webinar, content is taking up more and more digital space than ever before.
So what is a content marketer supposed to do when their killer crafted content quickly dissolves under the abundance of status updates and new content? You find somewhere else to publish your work, expanding the visibility and increasing the chances of it being consumed. Where exactly are we supposed to publish on? Let’s check out 4 ways you might not of thought to do yet:
Right on their homepage, Medium states their platform is a “community of readers and writers offering unique perspectives on ideas large and small.” And that is exactly what you will find when you get started. Anyone from small-time bloggers to big-time influencers like Larry Kim publish unique pieces of content for the Medium audience. One great way to use Medium is to expand on a topic you’ve already used on your on-site blog or a trending topic to increase visibility.
Aside from posting updates on personal and business pages, LinkedIn also allows individuals to publish their thoughts right on the platform for all their connections to see. Because LinkedIn is by far the most popular social media platform for B2B, LinkedIn publishing is a great way for business development and sales teams to share their insights, ask questions or simply share their thoughts to the prospects that matter most.
There are two great ways to use Inbound.org and I’m sure there is even more than I’ll mention. Ideally, Inbound.org is a forum for online users to build a community by asking questions, or answering other peers’ questions by responding with a relevant blog post you wrote. You can also share your content and ask readers their thoughts or suggestions, all while driving traffic back to your site.
The benefits of guest blogging are endless. It provides your audience with a different view and tone of your content when it is published on a relevant platform. At emagine, we frequently guest post on as many blogs as we can, including Crescendo, Mention, as well as being a contributor to Business2Community.com. This provides for a wider range of visibility and increases your engagement and shares.
While blogging and creating branded content on your own site is great and should be done first and foremost, it’s also a good idea to expand your publishing options to increase your chances of being seen online. Have you tried one of these off-site publishing platforms? What were your results?
Join us for Brokers & Beanbags Corn Hole Tournament!
emagine is excited to be sponsoring a team in the first annual Brokers & Beanbags Corn Hole Tournament to benefit the Special Olympics of Massachusetts. Our CEO, Brett Cohen is a proud co-chairman of the event and he also sits on the Special Olympics board in Massachusetts.
Come and support SOMA at the Boston Athletic Club in South Boston this Thursday, October 6th from 4 -8 pm. Here is everything you need to know about the event:
When: Thursday, October 6th, 2016 at 4pm
Where: Boston Athletic Club, South Boston
Emagine Team: Brett Cohen, Kathryn Findlay, Courtney Melo, Ryan Holmes, Todd Milliken & Meara Santoro
There will be food, drinks and a great opportunity to socialize and support a great cause!