So your shiny new automation system can generate workflows, properties, lead scoring (and predictive lead scoring), reports, smart content, and variable images. So where are you going to put all of this content for the best ROI? Let us break down these channels into bitesize takeaways and give you an idea of the SWOT for each.
The following 8 channels are the main channels used in both inbound and outbound (yes still here) marketing. Find out which one benefits your strategy best.
Time is money. And this content doesn’t grow on trees, so that effort you are making needs to get the best return possible in engagement and interaction from your audience. Don’t waste time publishing your hard work in places that may negatively affect your brand, it not that difficult.
Depending on your industry, channels can work well or badly. Each channel has its own nuances which may be beneficial to a sales manager in the legal software sector (no time for videos), but great for a business marketing manager in the SAAS industry (loves Youtube/Vimeo). Getting this right is important to get the conversion up and prove to your prospects that your company is mature and precise in its strategy, exactly what you want them to feel.
Things change. So that killer post from Buzzfeed dated November 2016 might not be too accurate. The rise of Instagram is causing rifts around the world of social media, and Twitter continues its steady decline into obscurity. Think about what the kids are reading, and think about where your buyer persona is hanging out. Use automation like Buffer to get the content out across a lot of platforms in a very short time.
So here are the different B2B channels, we’re still seeing a lot of traction on the traqditional B2B channels:
- Blog Content
Blog content is worth more than just the plasma upon which it is written. Your leads and prospects will see this content and the value propositions it contains, but so will the search engines. There is no bigger ROI than free, so the organic search that makes Google what it is (fundamentally an advertising company attached to a miraculous data resource of which everyone is a creator) can be harnessed by your company to get eyes on your pages at no cost. Strategy is key. So the creation of this content requires technical precision at the point of publishing, the rise of the semantic web should not be overlooked as mrich media of all formats becomes the leader in content.
This content can go further still. Your business development team will have access to ready information in the hunt for new leads. As they make contact they will be able to publish top of the funnel content that informs leads and offers brand visibility. In the world of B2B your aren’t just saving yourself time but those around you too.
Take insurance. If business development executives are able to offer case studies of previous projects as part of their sales strategy, the literature can be sent out to partners as part of a strategic workflow that can warm leads throughout a nurturing process right down to conversion.
- Social Media
This is like the badge on the front of the car. It will not make the buyer buy. But it will imprint a tiny sticker on their mind of your brand and its value in their lives. You won’t get too much conversion from these channels but you will get a conversation started. Liking, commenting, following, “smiley face with tears of joy” will get you noticed by others in your target industries. Be engaged too. Don’t just give a “thumbs up” like some weirdo at a party telling everyone how much you “like” them, comment, join the discussion, throw out an opinion, get noticed.
Find out what your targets pain points are and publish content designed around solving it. A post from a civil servant about the time it takes to get a signature from upon high will give you an ample amount of information to get something started about implementing process and automation to increase efficiency.
A great email platform should be a staple for any company. MailChimp are leading the way here. And the industry knows that emails get opened and clicked more than any channel. If your email list has not been purchased (please don’t purchase, please stop), these leads are going to be more engaged, know your product better, more easily segmented, personalizable (smart email content) and better for your business.
These leads give you the opportunity to use the tools you have at your disposal to create interesting and thought provoking campaigns. You can reach them at the right time and you can deliver messages that are relevant to them and them alone. This isn’t spam, this is marketing, of the type that can make people smile.
- Direct Marketing
The old-fashioned way is here to stay. Telemarketing is actually used by inbound marketing agencies, so make of that what you will. LinkedIn provides a rich landscape of user generating organic content that talk specifically about themselves and their pain points. What a perfect way to hit prospects with timely messages about your services and solve problems they didn’t know they had. The investment in telemarketing is substantial, but the returns from this tried, tested, ok perhaps occasionally abused channel can bring rich returns from cold contact.
And what was once cold contact can now be expanded upon through workflow inclusion. Those tiny snippets of information that come from the marketing department can be used to add leads into workflows and nurture them over time into genuine MQLs.
- Advanced content
There are those leads that are genuinely close to solving the problem. The tech has offered them what they need. They have spoken to the competition, they just need that killer difference, the one that makes you stand out. e-Books and Whitepapers can get this information to them in a structured and informative way. To get this information you can even trade-off and get some information from a web-form. Let’s say with a very quick question; “do you have a calendar for this project?” *dropdown menu. Those leads that click the first option are ready to buy and should be contacted. They are interested, they are ready, and we have their details. This is the beauty of value adding advanced content; that users are willing to be contacted in exchange for quality, bottom of the funnel material that will genuinely help them make a decision.
The crossover between the old world and the new can be found right here. What Google found was a treasure of the like we may never see again. Essentially a billboard on the motorway that displays a different ad according to what the drivers are looking for at that particular moment of the day (hence the revenues*). Along with less mature platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, ppc has become a stalwart for the acceleration of campaigns across industries with any interest in marketing.
Gary Vaynerchuk has a strategy which could only be possible with the hyper-targeting available via these platforms, goes like this: Create an ad on Facebook, target it so that only the employees at 1 company (your target company) will see it. They will call you.
Events marketing has come on leaps and bounds since the advent of automation. What was once the marketers worldwide hawking stall has become sophisticated, timely, enjoyable. The ability to count down to events with emails and other touch points has made the experience of subscribing to an event that little bit richer. Leads can be segmented by the budget. Workflows can separate one individual from another, and offers and reminders from partners can increase the return for the event itself.
The ability to grow networks through these strategies is still one fo the best ways to build a marketing database, let it never be lost.
- Inbound marketing
Ok so not strictly a digital marketing channel but I feel that there is opportunity here which many are overlooking. From the first touch point through to conversion, and at every step along the funnel, users can now be pitched different products according to the way they use your website, the pages see, the forms they fill-in. This is a marketer’s happy place, a place where no guessing needs to happen, just friendly message sent to people who want to receive them. Platforms like Hubspot are giving us the opportunity to be happier all-round – As users we don’t want to be constantly interrupted with messages we don’t want (I really don’t want the face cream, Andie). We can choose what we receive from the companies we buy into, and that should be the standard.
All of these channels must be considered according to need , time and budget, I hope this breakdown gives you a little more insight but seriously, if you want to know more just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.