Making a statement that a B2B business has a lot to gain from an effective digital marketing strategy in today’s context may sound a bit passé. While most discerning marketers already know this, the burgeoning number of enterprises wanting to hop onto the digital marketing bandwagon provides enough reason to take a deep dive into this subject and resurface with facts, renewed assertion and belief that this is really the way to go. This is further corroborated by the statistic that close to 25% of online leads generally get converted, as compared to just 1.5% of them generated and fulfilled purely through an offline sales channel. That’s the power of digital. What’s more, B2B marketing strategies can go beyond a traditional sales funnel in building credibility, reputation, and goodwill.
First and foremost, and logically enough, when an enterprise takes the digital marketing route, it’s important for the business to be found among the 1 billion odd websites that currently exist. Of course, with a systematic, scientific and steady approach, the task isn’t as daunting as it may seem. A business website needs to compete and jostle only with those websites within a defined category, and not with all and sundry.
The primary task lies in conducting an evaluation of the existing website and analyzing it on several parameters including keywords, backlinks, navigation, UI/UX, and fresh and original content. An adroit implementation strategy and ongoing monitoring can make a world of a difference to an otherwise staid or prosaic website – not just in terms of ranking but also on parameters such as traffic, engagement, page views, and quality of leads. This is exactly what we’ve been doing consistently and successfully at Ethinos Digital Marketing over the years. Call it our secret sauce for B2B digital marketing. So I’ll share with you a few examples where our cutting-edge and atypical strategy has contributed not just in meeting stated objectives, but exceeding them, while working around challenges with aplomb. And then I’ll go on to discuss some approaches that can help you nail down your B2B digital marketing strategy.
1E – An Enterprise Offering Complete Software Lifecycle Automation:
Challenges: Preliminarily analysis revealed that their website lacked high quality backlinks, and had inherent issues related to crawling and navigation, and UI and UX.
Objective: To improve rankings for branded/non-branded keywords of 1E, and improve traffic for important brand keywords.
Strategy: A phase-wise execution was initiated by Ethinos, which included keyword research, keyword short listing, competitor analysis, and tracking algorithm updates. 16 out of 23 keywords were finalized for ranking in the top 50 results on Google. The website was made SEO friendly by following Google guidelines. On-page recommendations were provided along with content suggestions for guest blogging. On-page elements on the website were strategically tweaked so as to enhance and maintain the keyword density and overall theme for the keywords related to ‘Software Lifecycle Automation’ and ‘Windows 10 Migration’. Off-page recommendations were given for building high-quality backlinks. A comprehensive off-page campaign was carried out to target high volume keywords and for link building.
Result: The SEO plan designed and implemented by Ethinos resulted in 24,511 visitors in the month of June 2016 which has been a staggering improvement of 146.14% as compared to 16,772 visitors in the month of November 2015 before the initiative.
A Top 10 Global IT Enterprise:
Challenges: SEO was to be initiated for the client’s multilingual and multiregional websites across 6 geographies. Competitors from the tier 1 bracket were already outranking the client for many of its services. The existing websites had several crawling and navigation errors.
Objective: The aim was to improve rankings for short tail, long tail, branded, non-branded keywords along with gaining improvement in traffic for important business keywords. For every quarter 20% , 40%, and 60% of the total keywords were expected to rank in the top 10 search results.
Strategy: To begin with, the websites were made SEO-friendly. The process kicked-off by removing unnecessary orphan pages, eliminating UI/UX errors, and unwanted plug-ins. A phase-wise execution was initiated which included keyword research, keyword short listing, competitor analysis, tracking algorithm updates, On-page recommendations, localized content suggestions as per language and region, webmasters training, and Off-page recommendations. 32 out of 50 keywords were finalized for ranking in the top 50 results on Google. On-page elements on the website were strategically tweaked to enhance and maintain the keyword density and overall theme for the keywords related to ‘Cyber Security’ and ‘BPO’. A comprehensive off-page campaign was carried out to target high volume keywords and for link building.
Result: The SEO plan designed and implemented by Ethinos resulted in 477,636 visitors in the month of June 2016, which is a marked improvement of 165.21% as compared to 289,108 visitors in the month of November 2015 before the initiative.
Aspect India – The World’s Leading Enterprise Cloud Contact Center & Workforce Optimization Solution:
Challenges: The existing website lacked high quality backlinks, and had inherent issues related to crawling and navigation, and UI and UX. Besides, the web pages and related domains were riddled with duplicate content and had thin/low content hinting for Google panda penalty.
Objective: The primary objective was to improve rankings for Aspect India for highly competitive keywords, and to improve traffic, leading to conversions.
Strategy: The website was made SEO friendly by following Google guidelines and replacing content that was duplicate with something unique and relevant. A new design was suggested in line with the latest trends while keeping in mind the SEO factors. Low quality backlinks were hived off. Off page activity included high PR and local listings. ‘Hreflang tags’ were diligently implemented to avoid duplication of content while achieving rankings in the respective geographies and providing content in the desired language. Social media activities were boosted to achieve improvement in traffic. 20 out of 25 keywords were finalized for ranking in the top 50 results on Google. On-page elements on the website were strategically tweaked to enhance and maintain keyword density and the overall theme for the keywords related to ‘Call Center Software Solutions’. A comprehensive off-page campaign was carried out to target high volume keywords and for link building.
Result: Ethinos successfully achieved improvement in month-on-month traffic and keywords ranking. 60-70% of the total keywords have maintained rankings in the Top 10 results. The Indian website has become the 2nd highest traffic driver to the main domain. These initiatives met the required expectations related to lead generation to the site. The SEO plan designed and implemented by Ethinos resulted in 5,500 visitors in the month of June 2016, which is an astronomical jump of 518.37% as compared to 1,061 visitors in the month of November 2015 before the initiative.
Aureus Analytics – Bringing The Power Of Big Data Analytics To Insurance And Banking:
Challenges: The existing website registered low engagement rates for the products and services pages. Also, the quantum of traffic was a far cry from what its competitors were enjoying.
Objective: Improving ranking and traffic to Aureus Analytics was firmed up as its prime objective, besides the goal of improving the rankings for the keyword ‘Net Promoter Analytics’.
Strategy: SEO suggestions for blogs and infographics were recommended along with publishing 2 blogs on monthly basis. Infographics were created specifically for low ranking keywords. 11 out of 18 keywords were finalized for ranking in the top 50 results on Google. A comprehensive off-page campaign was run to target high volume keywords and for link building.
Result: The enterprise website ranked in the top 10 place on the keyword ‘Net promoters analytics’. This was in stark contrast to the situation a couple of months before, where it ranked beyond the 400th position. The SEO plan designed and implemented by Ethinos resulted in 3,363 visitors in the month of May 2016, which is a remarkable improvement of 218.37% as compared to 1,540 visitors in the month of November 2015 before the initiative.
Aurionpro – A Solutions Provider That Helps Enterprises Accelerate Digital Innovation:
Challenges: In this case the enterprise website was not ranking on search engines like Google, and the traffic was significantly less as compared to its competitors.
Objective: The main objectives were to create brand awareness, improve rankings, and increase traffic to the website.
Strategy: Content suggestions for blogs were recommended. On-page recommendations were made for increasing ranking. The on-page elements on the website were strategically tweaked to enhance and maintain the keyword density and overall theme for the keywords related to ‘digital solutions for Banking and Finance’. A comprehensive off-page campaign was run to target high volume keywords and for link building. 12 out of 20 keywords were finalized for ranking in the top 50 results on Google.
Result: The SEO plan designed and implemented by Ethinos resulted in 14,861 visitors in the month of May 2016, which is an improvement of 145.92% as compared to 10,184 visitors in the month of January 2016 before the initiative.
These case studies provide ample proof that seeing is believing. We can now move on to enumerate the 8 digital marketing strategies that a B2B enterprise should never miss out on.
1.) Take Cues From The Decision-Making Process:
While B2C marketing communication is hinged on the fact that a consumer’s buying preferences are driven by emotion, B2B digital marketing communication revolves around rationality and logic. With emphasis on features and functions of B2B products, the nature of the products and services that the B2B businesses offers, and the audience that they cater to, defines how their digital marketing strategy is crafted. The tone of voice here is generally formal, business-like, and perhaps sombre. B2B digital marketing caters to a very specific target audience which may not be more than a few hundred at the most. B2C digital strategies on the other hand, are directed to a much larger audience.
2.) Plan Long-Term:
B2B Marketing involves developing deep level relations with customers. For that reason, many a times, the first line of online activity is aimed at existing customers. Customer relationship management is of importance, especially in B2B business. The B2B marketing team needs to collaborate with the sales team in order to build a long-lasting customer relationship. B2B marketing strategies are devised keeping in mind that the decision-making process involves higher level of involvement as compared to B2C products and services. B2B digital marketing caters to an audience that is familiar with industry-specific jargon, and the usage of such jargon generally helps emphasize the communication. On the other hand, B2C communication seeks eliminating any kind of jargon in its messaging.
3.) Deploy Content Marketing In The B2B Businesses:
Nine out of ten B2B organizations that follow B2B digital marketing strategies rely heavily on content marketing for promoting their products, services, and brand image. 46% of organizations who use content marketing confirm its effectiveness. Blogs, articles, and infographics are all part of the content marketing delivery model under the B2B digital marketing strategy. These serve as vehicles to present information to other businesses about their products and services.
4.) Work In Sync With The Sales Team:
B2B digital marketing communication takes into account the fact that conversions take a longer time to happen as compared to B2C marketing, especially since it is a high-involvement decision-making process. This keeps B2B marketers involved in keeping their prospects engaged and informed in a way that helps them make an informed decision. B2B marketers work in sync with the sales team to close leads.
5.) Play The Social Media Card:
B2B marketers also benefit from micro-blogging sites as they are great for lead generation. LinkedIn is proving to be a fruitful social media lead generator for B2B marketers, with 57% of all online leads through its pipeline proving to be viable. Facebook comes a close second at 52% while Twitter trails at 44%. B2B marketing strategies concentrate on the development or curation of specific content that appeals to its target audience. Content that is relevant, easily consumed and up-to-date is expected. B2B websites are generally designed to include lead generation mechanisms, which are strategically placed at various pages. 74% of B2B marketers confirm that the focus of their B2B marketing strategies is lead conversion while meeting up-sell and cross-sell targets.
Here’s a case study about our client that deployed a micro-niche targeting campaign on social media to induct women technologists who wish to return to their career after taking a break.
Intuit India- A Technology Giant Offering Online Accounting Software To Help Small Businesses:
Challenges: Women who have taken a career break, for maternity or other reasons, find it difficult to make a comeback as they face a knowledge gap and subdued confidence. The challenge also lies in reaching out to them, and creating awareness about the Intuit Again internship-based recruitment program at Bengaluru.
Objective: The main objective was to reach out to the niche audience, prompting them to enroll for the internship program that offered an opportunity of being absorbed as full time employees at Intuit India. The campaign objective was also to build on Intuit’s brand as a great place to work for women technologists, and bring in diversity that the enterprise believes helps solve customer problems better.
Strategy: Firstly, a campaign as run amongst employees through the social media channels, asking them to refer women technologists whom they knew were on a career break and wanting to make a comeback. The enterprise also organized a live chat in association with the Anita Borg Institute, that helped reach out to the correct audience. A campaign was run on the organization’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages, and traffic from these sites was directed to a specially designed microsite that accepted the CVs of interested candidates. The SVP and MD further helped give this initiative traction by talking about this initiative in his blog. This blog post was then promoted through Intuit’s social media channels. The microsite and Facebook notes also featured real testimonials of women who were absorbed through the program.
Result: The orchestrated campaign attracted 1,957 visitors to the microsite and raked in 125 CVs specifically of women technologists from in and around Bengaluru, who were currently on a career break. The organization selected 11 women for the internship program, of which 5 went on to qualify for being absorbed as full time employees. This initiative in the first season of its launch has been regarded as being very encouraging, and the organization has decided to continue this in the subsequent year as well.
Let’s now discuss the other 3 strategies vital in B2B digital marketing.
6.) Get mobile-ready:
Active online forums that assist a visitor on a B2B website, as well as Contact Us forms are the go-to tools for lead generation. Event sign up options, product demonstrations, and added features such as newsletter subscriptions are known to help B2B digital marketing activities. With encouraging quality of leads generated through the online medium, B2B marketers can consider reducing the number of cold calls they make. Not just websites, but smartphones are a medium that marketers are turning to for lead conversion as part of their B2B marketing strategies. Over 42% of B2B audiences do their research using a mobile phone. The growth of queries sent through smartphones has grown three times as compared to what it was in 2012. B2B audiences who use mobile phones to conduct their search are receptive about receiving information on products and services that businesses offer. Videos that elucidate product features are known to hold their attention.
7.) Harness the power of video marketing:
Video Marketing is proving to be a fruitful channel for B2B marketers. YouTube is one of the largest search engines, second only to Google. 83% of B2B businesses are turning to YouTube as a promising contributor to their digital marketing strategy. This channel is being leveraged, as it is a powerful medium through which brands can share content that is related to their products and services. YouTube B2B marketing strategies cover product demonstrations, expert advice, events, and thought leadership, amongst other things. Video marketing through YouTube has some obvious advantages for B2B organizations. Add to that the fact that retention levels are higher when the audience is engaged through an audio-visual medium. This means better brand recall. YouTube videos can be SEO optimized, which helps to boost rankings. B2B digital marketing strategies can easily incorporate YouTube for lead generating.
8.) Webinars and marketing automation:
Webinars are also making their presence felt as part of B2B marketing strategies. B2B audiences are seeking industry specific expertise across geographies. Webinars are relatively easy to conduct and attend. Already existing content can be repurposed and used as part of webinars. Webinars also present optimal opportunities for B2B marketers to cross-promote their content across channels.
B2B marketers are willing to invest in creating better content as part of their B2B digital marketing plans. B2B marketers are aiming to integrate marketing automation that also helps in converting the leads. B2B marketing strategies think from the perspective of the businesses that they cater to and accordingly organize their digital strategy. Marketers always strive to add value to the businesses through marketing engagement activities that are fueled by analytics and insights.