Effective marketing methods have evolved so much in recent years that every year brings the next big idea. As the role of B2B marketing solutions and B2B marketing software grows, here’s what you should be looking out for in 2018.
Inbound marketing has been a huge buzzword this year and its influence is growing. This method focuses on being useful to your customer with online blogs or guides until they are ready to utilise your services. This enables you to build a relationship and create warm leads that are more likely to convert.
There are four stages to the process: attract, convert, close and delight. They evolve as follows:
- Attract: The idea here is to get the right people to come to your website. These are the people that are likely to find value in what you have to say. The kind of people that are likely to become a customer. To do this you need to offer relevant content just when they need it. Use, blogging, content strategy and social media to achieve this goal.
- Convert: The next step is to turn interest into a lead. To do that you need to open a conversation – that could be with messages, forms, or meetings. The important thing is to open a channel of communication where you can provide relevant content – and understand their issues. This uses forms, meetings, messages and customer relationship management systems.
- Close: The next step is closing the sale. The tools you need here are about closing the right leads at the right time. This needs good data and consistent contact management. Use pipeline management systems, lead nurturing, email and predictive lead scoring in this phase of your campaign.
- Delight: The last part of the process is about customer experience. As you’ve built a trusting relationship you’ll need to fulfil their expectations, even after the deal is done. This means engaging with them to hear how it’s going and enjoying their success. Use customer success, smart content and conversations to make this approach effective.
Building and managing a successful inbound marketing strategy requires many relevant tools and skills. And those are developing all the time. Generally, to make it work in the modern market you need to be using at least the following sales utilities.
AN OPTIMISED WEBSITE
Websites are a highly effective tool but there are many things to consider if they are going to be truly successful. First, it needs optimisation to make sure search engines and searchers can find you. Getting it perfect is an art but look to build keywords into the pages and their structures. This will improve your relevance and search presence. Look at keywords, page titles, the meta description, the URL and the readability of the page content.
Modern marketing works to give companies a voice. Your blog is a direct line straight to you, as far as your customers are concerned. You need to use it as a place to provide insightful, useful and well-written content that tells the story of your business. This opens up entry points on the web through which search engines can find you. It will also increase the value searches add to your content – this brings higher rankings.
Social media has to be a part of the strategy but what that looks like for you might not suit someone else’s firm. There are many platforms to consider, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram but it’s worth thinking about which are most likely to be used by your potential customers. Whichever platform you choose make sure you post regularly, and that what you post is relevant. And when people in your communities reply, engage with them.
Paid advertising remains a key pillar of any marketing strategy but, like social media, it needs to be carefully selected. Tools like the complex targeting capabilities available to advertisers mean that investing in ads can give a boost to your visibility and growth.
New technologies allow an impressive level of automation in marketing plans. An automation system works through workflows where customers hear from you every time they interact with your business. You can build in hundreds of trigger points and several types of enrolment criteria to keep track of what’s happening with your leads, and prompt them further along the buyer journey.
CRM (CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT)
These systems use a similar idea to the automation workflows in that they make your data better. They let you keep up-to-date records on customers, based on actions they take. This lets you evolve your contact records and shape your approach to their needs.
There are always new ideas and processes bubbling to the top in the exciting area of B2B marketing strategy so flexibility is key. These are just a few of the ideas likely to be big in 2018. With the right tools, you can adapt and shape your approach to turn every click into a customer.
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