Digital B2B marketing is complex, no one would deny you that, but there are a lot of companies that are making it harder for themselves than it needs to be. They either undo their own efforts or put all their resources into dead-end methods, both affecting their potential results and giving them the impression that it “doesn’t work.”
Thankfully, digital B2B marketing does work, if you employ the right strategy. Sadly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there are hundreds of mistakes B2B marketers make all the time. Here are six of the most common and how to easily avoid them.
Thinking Guest Posting Is About Quantity, Not Quality
As a marketing medium, guest posting has become more complicated over time. It once was that you could churn out a bunch of posts spammed full of links, then send them off to content farming websites to join thousands of other posts just like it. Thanks to evolving algorithms and more savvy internet users, those days are long behind us.
Michael Kano, a B2B writer at Essayroo and UKWritings, has these wise words for us: “It doesn’t matter if you can produce seven articles a week, if they’re not good quality they won’t be accepted by the highest traffic sites that accept guest posts. Then, even if you do find a site to accept your backlink-concealing Trojan horse, the chances anyone would be inspired to read and click through are slim to none. That means, if you want to use guest posts for your B2B marketing, you’ve got to invest in quality, not quantity.”
So instead of writing loads of guest posts a week, stick to writing original guest posts for a high-quality, trustworthy website whose audience you are familiar with. Save your other posts for your portfolio.
Sometimes B2B marketers miss out on opportunities because they’re trying too hard not to be B2C marketers. While there are certainly different tactics and mediums to use, there are specific channels that serve both, despite your preconceptions otherwise.
Take Facebook: the archetypal B2C platform, right? Surely Facebook is only for sharing cat pictures and parents posting their kid’s graduation photos, right? Well, not quite. The benefit of being the largest social media platform (yes, even in 2020) is that, in all likelihood, the vast majority of your customers will use Facebook, meaning not marketing there is a huge missed opportunity. On top of that, Facebook themselves indicate that business decision-makers are two times more likely to be active daily than the average user.
Perhaps the reason many B2B marketers avoid Facebook is they don’t see the immediate results they’re expecting. Employed properly, Facebook can be a powerful tool for B2B marketing, but the results may take weeks or months to show. Use it as part of a balanced marketing diet and you will notice the effects.
You don’t have to work hard tailoring all your posts for Facebook. But if you leave a link to your posts on Facebook, then forget about it, you may see some surprising spikes in traffic emanating from the social media giant now and then, when people come across a post they find relevant and share it.
Following the Pack
While following your audience onto Facebook is certainly a good idea, don’t make the mistake of jumping onto social media just because other marketers have. When it comes to marketing of any variety, it’s easy to fall back on a set path without questioning whether it’s worthwhile for your specific business and customer base. This is especially true of social media marketing, where the first step seems to be setting up accounts on the big four (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram) regardless of whether your audience uses those platforms.
This is where audience research is really important. There’s no point putting your energy into an Instagram account if your target market doesn’t use it. This goes for selling internationally as well; you may find that your main platform in one country is barely used in another. The lesson is to take nothing as read and don’t spend time and resources on strategies you don’t have evidence for.
It is true that B2B marketing is getting a lot more casual these days, and social media does now provide a lot of tools for businesses. Nonetheless, using any social media still takes a lot of time and effort, so only use social media if you’re sure it’s going to benefit you drastically.
Being Too Broad
The author Kurt Vonnegut once outlined his rules for writing, one of which was to write to please just one person. “If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” The same is true for B2B marketing: if you frame your marketing to have as broad a reach as possible, your content will be less engaging because of it.
This is because your message becomes too diluted. The more people you’re trying to appeal to the less specific you can afford to be, which means you both draw in people that won’t be interested and lose out on others who are. If, on the other hand, you can hone your marketing with specificity towards a narrow group, you will reach fewer people but make more sales.
If you do have multiple markets you want to reach, develop separate targeted campaigns for each one. Use product and industry keywords to draw in users looking to solve specific problems. Specificity allows you to connect more deeply with your customers by showing them you know their challenges and have the answers to overcome them.
As mentioned before, suiting your article to the website’s existing audience is very important, so being specific as well as doing both these things will guarantee that your content is interesting, and will be read by the right people.
Not Testing Enough
“You should be A/B testing everything,” says Flow Dan, a tech blogger at Academized and OXEssays. “A/B testing is a gift that will improve your reach, boost engagement and grow revenue, and it’s free!”
For some reason, there are a lot of companies out there that aren’t fully taking advantage of A/B testing. It doesn’t cost you any money—free services include Adwords and Google Optimize, amongst others—and it could make a huge difference to everything from CTR to conversions. Try a simple trial replacing one or two words in your adverts and see what difference it makes.
These days, the internet in general changes all the time, including SEO, so keeping on top of these changes is something that is sure to make a great difference when you try it.
Being A Tech Magpie
Magpies love to adorn their nests with pretty shiny things that serve as little more than decoration, just like many B2B marketers. It’s all well and good investing in technology to improve your services, but sometimes buying a new tool is not motivated by an actual business need.
Before you invest in a tech solution, make sure it’s solving a legitimate problem you can’t solve otherwise. Then, make sure you know how to use it and how it fits with your current tech system. Then, and only then, should it be clear you need to buy the tool. Anything else is just wasted money.
There are free versions of most important software tools, like keyword research tools. You then pay to get slightly more information, like search volume. And most other trustworthy tools offer a free trial, for you to get an understanding of how to use the software and whether it would benefit you. But anything extortionately expensive just isn’t worth investing time or money in.