B2B digital marketing is often very different from B2C – and the digital marketing trends that impact B2B businesses through 2016 to 2017 and beyond are also different.
But how can we expect digital marketing to evolve through 2017 for B2B businesses, and what do you need to consider to stay ahead of competitors?
Digital Marketing becomes Mainstream
Even over the past few years, digital marketing is often seen as an additional part of the overall marketing strategy.
However, throughout 2016, digital marketing has solidified itself as an integral part of any business’ overall marketing plan. No longer is it considered an additional element, but it has become
Digital marketing is now incorporated into the overall marketing plan, without any specific distinction that makes it a niche area for improvement.
B2B businesses are beginning to focus on the needs of individual customers, and deliver personalised experiences online.
While B2C focused personalisation is often widespread across ecommerce, this is now becoming a key part of B2B digital marketing.
B2B businesses now look to provide a personalised experience across the entire journey to purchase – ensuring that whatever the customer encounters, it remains seamless and consistent across different channels, promoting the same brand promises and USPs.
Word-of-mouth remains a very powerful and valuable marketing tactic, as referrals often lead to creating long-lasting relationships with loyal customers.
Advocate marketing software platforms offer increased engagement, reviews, and referrals – and more B2B businesses are making use of them to drive business online.
In many cases, referrals add a lot of value beyond the sale, turning customers or clients into brand promoters.
The leads are already qualified, and allows for customer advocacy, including offering badges, events, or awards.
Email marketing has often been expected to decline in effectiveness, but remains a great way for B2B businesses to find leads and grow sales. Mobile devices have become the new inbox that is always on, allowing for direct messaging at any point of the day.
Mobile devices have become the new inbox that is always on, allowing for direct messaging at any point of the day. This means mobile-friendly email messaging is a must, to ensure customers can read emails on any device.
Email marketing in general has become a lot more focused over the years, with segmented lists specific to target industries, rather than e-blasts to thousands.
Personalisation also comes into play, in order to build relationships with clients down the journey to purchase.
Overall, email marketing remains a top digital marketing channel for awareness, acquisition, conversion and retention.
Over the past few years, the customer journey through to purchase has become much longer – with means content marketing has become an even more important asset in attracting customers, encouraging conversions, and retaining customer business.
Now more than ever, B2B businesses are beginning to realise how key content marketing is for online business in the future, and have begun increasing budgets for content marketing.
As mobile devices now account for over half of web traffic, more businesses are exploring mobile marketing.
While many B2B businesses may think that potential customers will be using desktop PCs, many are finding the results show customers are making use of mobile devices on a regular basis.
Many people now look for potential solutions on the go, and this means B2B businesses need to provide mobile-optimised content and experiences in order to appeal to users across different devices.
Social media often gets neglected by B2B businesses, but this can often be a mistake. Many B2B businesses experience great results, especially through LinkedIn and Twitter.
YouTube and SlideShare also offer a great way to present visual content to potential customers, and are increasingly useful due to mobile device usage.
However, it is important for B2B businesses to prioritise specific social media networks, and focus on what is effective. Maintaining and utilising many different networks on a regular basis can often be a big strain on resources.
Visual content is becoming much more popular, with video blogs and digestible content being very popular within the B2C space.
However, more and more B2B businesses are finding ways of generating effective video-based content that helps to generate awareness and business.
Platforms such as Periscope and Facebook Live offer a quick and easy solution to live streams, while YouTube and Vimeo are popular ways to share general video content.
Videos can often cover events, tutorials, demos, Q&As, and behind the scenes footage that potential customers find useful.
More B2B businesses are making use of marketing automation software, in order to nurture leads through the journey to purchase.
Marketing automation software allows for personalised customer experiences, email marketing triggers, holistic campaign management, extensive reporting, and much more.
If you’re looking to improve your online presence, or want to find out more on how we can help your business with marketing automation, get in touch today, and one of the team will be in touch shortly.