It has become common place in the last few years for B2B companies to add digital marketing channels to their marketing strategy. One example of that is the presence of these companies in social media platforms. Most of these B2B companies advocate that this expansion of the use of communication channels helps them reach out to their market more easily, quicker and cheaper. When asked why they invest in Digital Marketing channels, most of them mention the need to be seen, to increase brand awareness and to communicate more effectively what they offer. Few, however, have as a primary and direct goal the generation of sales leads and ultimately an increase in the top line. Why? There seems to be the belief that in B2B, sales are generated by sales people and not by digital marketing channels. This concept is correct in one point: digital marketing channels are not, at this time, replacing sales people especially in complex, long term buying processes. Digital marketing channels are nevertheless becoming one more source of leads and sales. Companies who fail to recognize this will lose a golden opportunity to see their revenues soar. So how to generate sales in B2B using Digital Marketing channels? Let us start at the beginning of all digital marketing channels – the website.
The Company’s website: Your Company’s window
A successful B2B Company which seriously wants to use digital marketing to increase their sales must start by optimizing their website. Websites have evolved from basic, simple pages into complex and all including encyclopaedias of a Company’s products and services. However a Company website should be a general window shop of what that Company offers, not a catalogue of information where a customer gets lost and bored pretty quickly. Customers nowadays do not have the patience or the time to spend a lot of time in your website. If your objective is to generate leads, you need to focus on creating a landing page that is more focused in your customers’ needs and wants and that will be the answer to solve your clients’ problems. Then, just put a “call to action” on that landing page (ex: your Company’s email, a form for the customer to fill out to reach you or request a quote, a phone number to talk to a sales person, etc., etc.) and watch the magic happening. Do not get me wrong: General web sites are essential and important but they do not work as a primary source of leads when compared to a good, focused and intelligently build landing page.
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing: Be visible
When a Company invests in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), the results expected are that the Company’s website will show in the search results of a prospect or customer looking online to solve a problem. The most important concept and what so many times companies get wrong are the key words that trigger the results or your Company ad to show. Whether this effort is paid or not, keywords that are too broad, too narrow or that just miss what your Company can truly offer, will lead to a waste of your Company’s money and time. Plus in paid ads, it is essential that prospects are directed to a nicely built and relevant landing page.
Google display networks: Target ads
When your customers are surfing the web, most of the time they are not looking into your page or your competitor’s page. They might be checking the news, a blog, in you tube watching a video or a movie preview, in a forum doing a research on a topic, seeing train or plane schedules, etc. By using google display networks, you will be able to reach a prospect by carefully selecting where to put an ad to your Company, in all sorts of websites not directly related to your business but that your prospects visit.
Remarketing: I will follow you
This is probably one of the most controversial internet advertising techniques nowadays. Did it ever happen to you that you go into Amazon, E-bay, order a pizza online or go to a specific Company website to browse for a product and then after you leave that website, an ad of a Company or product you were seeing keeps following you everywhere? This is called remarketing. It is very simple to do. When you visit a Company’s webpage, you are “tagged”. From then on, a google add of that Company shows when you are surfing the internet and if you click on it you will be directed to that Company’s webpage or to that Company’s landing page.
Getting your attention with Facebook
Companies were quick to see that it was essential to be on Facebook – by far, at this time, the social media platform with more users and that reaches farther in the world. KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are followed closely by digital marketing managers: How many likes does my page have, how many followers, etc. This can be misleading because a big quantity of “likes” and “followers” do not translate automatically into more sales. Likes and followers are important of course but companies should focus as well on great and relevant content that will, with time, build trust for your brand.
Another very useful tool is Facebook advertising. Based on the profile of a certain user in Facebook, an ad of your Company will show to that user with links to your website, a landing page, your Company’s Facebook page or wherever you want to take the Facebook user to.
Great! Am I all set? Not quite…
Do not forget the most important part of all these activities: Track and evaluate what you set up. With all probability you will not get it right the first time you try. I do not mean to discourage you but you cannot forget that not only things change quite quickly through time but also that the real indicators of a successful campaign are things like:
- Number of leads I am now generating;
- From which channels;
- How much in sales are my activities generating?
- How much are my digital marketing activities costing?
- Is it worth it? – How much profit are my digital marketing campaigns generating comparing to other marketing channels?
These are just a few questions, among others, a digital marketing manager should be asking to measure the success of what is being implemented.
A second important point that derives from the previous point, is to not go overboard with the investment in paid digital marketing advertising. No doubt you should have a great landing page, perfectly fit to your target market – you should invest sufficient time and money on it. However it is better to start with a small investment on your ads, see what works and what does not work to attract your prospects to your landing page and then adjust and increase your budget on what works and reduce or eliminate your investment on what does not work so good.
Now it is up to you!
Go ahead and give it a shot! Start small and then go big but only after testing it, looking at the KPIs and being absolutely sure something works for you and your Company. I would really like to know what you have tried (either it was mentioned here or not) and also the results you had.
Looking forward to your comments and I wish you lots of success in your digital marketing efforts!
 Details of the activities here presented are from “Digital Marketing – A Practitioner Approach”, Won, COO, ClickTrue, 2014
 See the example in “Industrial branding in the digital age”, Lipiäinen and Karjaluto, 2015
 See the example in “The One Thing You Must Get Right when Building a Brand”, Barwise and Meehan, 2010
 See the example in “Brand Performances in Social Media”, Singh and Sonnerburg, 2012
 See the example “9 ways to measure digital marketing success” @ https://www.mainstreetroi.com/9-ways-to-measure-digital-marketing-success/