Content Marketing Series Part 2
The key to success is to have a B2B Marketing Strategy and plan to achieve it In other words you have to think about what you want to do and then take steps to do it. There are two components – Think and Act. For today’s post we’re going to keep it simple and combine the two into a single entity as we review a Comprehensive Strategy.
A recent DM News survey found that 46% of executives noted that not having an effective strategy is the biggest impediment to achieving their marketing goals. Creating a strategic plan is the first step to overcoming the obstacles in the way of achieving the goals we have set.
Steps In Our B2B Marketing Strategy
Identify The Goals
In our previous post, Build A Better B2B Marketing Strategy, we declared that our three goals were to
- Drive more website traffic
- Capture more leads from our website
- Close more sales from our website
Determine The Target
With our goals in place we need to identify who our potential prospects are. Who are we trying to drive to our site? We can get a 1,000 new visitors to our website but if they aren’t the right people does it really matter?
The foundation of our inbound marketing strategy relies on targeting the right prospects with the right content at the right time. By creating buyer personas we can better understand where our prospects are in the buyers journey and the types of content that will resonate with them.
A buyer persona is a fictionalize representation of your ideal customers. If you’re starting from scratch then its best to start small by creating 2 to 5 personas. These should be focused on who your best and most profitable prospects are.
Some ways to identify your personas includes looking at your current customers, tapping into feedback from your sales team, and finally interviewing customers and prospects. Then you need to ask a lot of questions to further flesh out the personas. You need to understand their typical background, demographics, what their goals and challenges are and how they go about researching and making purchase decisions. Then its a matter of tailoring your content to reach the persona.
Find Engagement Points
To market to a group of people (your personas) you need to identify where they congregate online – forums they use, sites they visit, and social channels they use.
There are a number of ways to find out where your different personas hang out online. You can ask your current customers and even current prospects what sites, forums and social channels they use. You can look at their website to see what social media accounts they have listed on their site, if they have any associations or industry groups listed. You can also research to see where their website is receiving links from. If anyone posts in a forum or on a blog post there is often a backlinks to the website created. Just go to Google and search site: theyredomainname.com and see if where their links are coming from.
Once you have an initial list together you just need to continue updating it as you find new online opportunities to engage.
Connect Their Problem / Opportunity To Your Product / Solution
You’ve done your research so you know that the problems, issues and opportunities your prospects have can be solve or enhanced by the products and services you offer. You just have to connect the two.
In the past we would blast a radio ad, interrupt a TV program with a commercial, telemarket them, etc. Those are outbound marketing tactics though, and we’re going full-steam ahead with inbound marketing tactics. Content provides an excellent vehicle to capture attention from both search engines (to rank for keyword searches) and people (to draw them to us from search engines). As part of our research we know the keywords that our prospects are likely to use. We also know to some degree what type of content they like to consume such as blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, webinars etc. Finally we know that we’re going to have prospects in all stages of the buyers cycle that we need to reach.
We just need to utilize this knowledge to create content that reaches the right prospect at the right time with the right message. When we’ve accomplished this we’ve made the connection between the prospect and our products / services.
Create A Publishing Plan To Promote Content
At this point we know who we are targeting, where to reach them, and what content to use. We just need to make it happen. The most effective tool to ensure that your inbound B2B marketing strategy stays on target is a calendar. It doesn’t matter if it’s paper or electric based, it simply needs to be developed, managed and executed. You can plan out in advance as far as you like but we would at least recommend you do so at least 60 days out.
One of the biggest reasons content marketing plans fail is that people try to create their content on-demand without a plan. You need to understand how the different topics you create content about will work together to advance your marketing. You need to have time to do some research. And you need time for the content to percolate in your mind. There are many times when I thought I had written a great blog post, only to rewrite half of it the next day. After a couple of hours of working on a piece of content your mind will think anything is great just to be done.
A calendar allows you to plan out what content you will create, who it is targeted to, what format it will be, where it published, and what the call-to-action is.
Track And Measure
We already know what our goals are…more traffic, leads and sales. As we learned in marketing 101, though our goals need to be SMART …specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
For example, our goal for this quarter might be to drive 20,000 people to our site, capture 800 leads, and generate 50 sales resulting in revenue of $500,000. We might also have goals tied to our marketing efforts such as to publish 30 blog posts, 5 infographics, 3 videos, 1 white paper, and hold 2 webinars. In the end our overall strategy is made up of collection of strategies and tactics designed to achieve the ultimate goals.
With your B2B marketing strategy in place it’s time to move into the implementation phase. A lot of the work we will cover in this series is occurring at the same time, so as we move through the series we’ll cover topics based on what makes the most sense to us.
Be sure to subscribe to our blog updates to be notified each time a new article in this series is published.
Check Out the Articles in This Series That Have Been Published
Article 1: Build A Better B2B Marketing Strategy
Article 2: Creating Your Comprehensive B2B Marketing Strategy
Article 3: Create Business to Business Buyer Personas
Article 4: The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research
Article 5: The Stages of the Buyers Journey