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Best Practices
For B2B Marketing
1. Don’t Expect Any Single Technique To Be A Silver Bullet
In a 2016 report from Forrester Research, B2B
marketers looked ...
2. Pendulum Swinging From ‘Inbound Marketing’ To . . .
Laura Ramos, a Forrester VP and principal analyst who
co-wrote the ...
Blasting out content that’s rich in SEO terms but
poorly written may get initial attention from
prospects, but it doesn’t ...
Jonathan Franchell, a partner at B2B firm Ironpaper,
advises advertising on LinkedIn and Twitter--not
Facebook. “When peop...
A key aspect of content marketing is capturing
referrals. If you want to read a white paper or an
ebook, for instance, you...
Discerning your target customers’ titles and
types of business is important. But learning
about their pain points can real...
Once you attract a lead, using marketing automation
software is key. However, human intervention is
essential, Stanten sai...
As the demise of cold calling illustrates, taking an
aggressive stance with customers doesn’t work.
Instead, give them roo...
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8 Best Practices For B2B Marketing

A look at how content marketing fits into the overall picture and the eight best practices for B2B marketing.

8 Best Practices For B2B Marketing

  1. 1. Best Practices For B2B Marketing
  2. 2. 1. Don’t Expect Any Single Technique To Be A Silver Bullet In a 2016 report from Forrester Research, B2B marketers looked at 17 different marketing tactics. Not one got a thumbs up from the majority of marketers. “When marketers ask, ‘What works?’ the answer is, ‘Nothing in particular,’” the report concluded. Still, the best of the bunch was content marketing, which was rated very effective for brand building and awareness by 47% of respondents. Some 45% also thought content marketing was very effective for generating “demand, leads, or pipeline opportunities.” The closest competitor was “website,” which scored 47% for branding and 42% for generating leads.
  3. 3. 2. Pendulum Swinging From ‘Inbound Marketing’ To . . . Laura Ramos, a Forrester VP and principal analyst who co-wrote the report, said the pendulum has swung recently from so-called inbound marketing to account- based marketing. What’s the difference? The former takes a build-it-and-they-will-come approach. The latter identifies and targets prospects. B2B marketers should be “disproportionately giving more marketing effort to those accounts you feel are good candidates [and] are showing the right buying patterns,” Ramos told CMO.com. Rather than taking a broad-brush approach, she added, marketers in the segment are asking how they can target better. Tapping big data for predictive marketing analytics is key, Ramos said. Such technology can’t predict the future, but it can predict fairly accurately which accounts are likely to be more productive than others.
  4. 4. Blasting out content that’s rich in SEO terms but poorly written may get initial attention from prospects, but it doesn’t reflect well on your brand. But creating compelling content is easier said than done, said 87% of marketers in the Forrester study. Above all, writing for content marketing should be clear and free of jargon, said Scott Gillum, president and channel market practice leader at gyro, a B2B marketing firm. “We make it very easy for the audience to find what they’re looking for or get the payoff for what’s promised,” he told CMO.com. The methods of creating such content vary. Some hire in-house writers or heads of content strategy to ensure a constant flow of quality content. Others work with third parties. Whatever the case, it’s important to track content creation and connect those efforts to sales. 3. Maintain A Constant Flow Of Quality Content
  5. 5. Jonathan Franchell, a partner at B2B firm Ironpaper, advises advertising on LinkedIn and Twitter--not Facebook. “When people are on Facebook, they’re there for personal reasons,” he told CMO.com. “You have to make sure that what you advertise is relevant to their experience.” Altitude Marketing’s Stanten agreed. “When I’m on Facebook … I’m not looking to buy a new enterprisewide software system.” Franchell favors LinkedIn for its ability to target potential customers by title. “For B2B lead generation, it’s really important to understand the roles of the people who you’re targeting,” he said. Twitter, he said, is a great tool for building “top-of- the-funnel visibility.” Not everyone discounts Facebook. “I think it’s going to become a very important platform for B2B,” Gillum said. “They’re getting a lot smarter at helping advertisers get in front of the right audiences. 4. Use LinkedIn And, To A Lesser Extent, Twitter
  6. 6. A key aspect of content marketing is capturing referrals. If you want to read a white paper or an ebook, for instance, you’ll likely have to fill out a form listing your name, address, company, and title, at the very least. The problem is that more online activity is happening on mobile. Have you ever tried to fill out one of those forms on your smartphone? That’s why Franchell recommended creating a truncated form for mobile. But why stop there? Franchell also recommended gamifying the process. For instance, Ironpaper recently launched a shopping cart-like experience for a client that made the sign-up process more fun than a standard form. “Business buyers are typically so accustomed to filling out a form and answering questions,” he said. “It can be kind of a dull experience. So make it more visual. B2B leads find it fun, just as B2C leads do.” 5. Make Those Forms Easier To Fill Out
  7. 7. Discerning your target customers’ titles and types of business is important. But learning about their pain points can really help convert them to a sale. A key part of the signup process, Franchell said, is letting potential customers identify what’s causing them the most hardship. “We simply let them volunteer information about pain points and struggles and interest in potential solutions alongside the downloading of an ebook,” he said. “Then we can send them more information." 6. Find Your Customer’s Pain Points
  8. 8. Once you attract a lead, using marketing automation software is key. However, human intervention is essential, Stanten said. “What we’re finding is that companies are going out and purchasing the Cadlillacs of marketing automation without thinking through who’s going to manage it and who’s going to track it and test it,” he said. “They’ve got this great-looking car, but they don’t understand how to drive it.” Similarly, Stanten said marketers are often overwhelmed by the amount of data they need to process. “You have to make sure you’re measuring the right thing,” he said. For example, a client’s CEO was so stuck on his company’s slipping SEO rankings that he ignored the fact that qualified leads were up. “He was so fixated on where he was with certain keywords,” Stanten said. “But ultimately what we’re looking for today is overall lift.” 7. Use Marketing Automation Software, But Keep The Human Touch
  9. 9. As the demise of cold calling illustrates, taking an aggressive stance with customers doesn’t work. Instead, give them room to discover your company. For instance, wait a few days after a prospect has downloaded a white paper before contacting them, Stanten recommended. At that point, a nudge via email directing the prospect to a related blog will show whether they’re really interested. “If they click through, they’re a little more qualified, a little more interested in what you have to offer,” he said. Engaging a second time with your content also retriggers a new cookie that will let you retarget the customer. “They are a little bit more down the funnel, so it’s a little more brand-centric,” he said of the messaging. After that, give prospects three nudges over three weeks, Stanten suggested. After six weeks, it’s time to write them off. “Stop bugging them and move on,” he said. 8. Don’t Badger Your Prospective Customers

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