B2B PR 2023 - The New Rules
B2B PR rules - Based on our experience working in and with emerging and established B2B technology firms, here are the guidelines for executing a successful technology marketing plan.
Technological marketing is a developing specialization; new technology products are being introduced on a daily basis, and they all require some sort of marketing, whether it's incorporated into the product itself or through a high-touch sales strategy that necessitates a lot of outbound operations.
Businesses collaborated with and for technology firms, assisting them in defining their digital marketing strategies and learning a few things along the way. Here are some success rules to help you get started with your own technological product and marketing plan.
The article covers the importance of data, knowing the technology category you’re in, and how you should think about investing in tactics based on the average value of your typical client or customer.
There are three major forms of B2B technology marketing strategies: SaaS Marketing, Enterprise Technology Marketing, and those in-between — they all have somewhat different methods, but the rules should apply to all of them in some manner.
COPYRIGHT_MARX: Published on https://marxcommunications.com/b2b-pr-rules/ by Keith Peterson on 2022-05-21T06:37:32.071Z
New Rules of Marketing & PR: B2B Doesn't Have to be Boring - David Meerman Scott
Identify Your Category
Below are what you need to do and understand under rule no. 1.
The Significance Of Categorisation
Although it may appear apparent, identifying the category in which the technological product or program you intend to market is critical before proceeding. If your product does not fit into any of the current categories, you may need to create a new one.
If you view software as one big category with everything beneath it, you may have HR software as a sub-category, as well as Marketing Software, but inside each of these categories, there may be more and more sub-categories. For example, CRM software and SEO software are two examples of marketing software.
As the world becomes increasingly crowded with technology and products, more and more of these categories emerge as businesses seek to establish their niche. Knowing which category you belong to is critical to your marketing approach.
Why Recognizing Your Category Is Important
Humans prefer to categorize things because it helps us make sense of our surroundings. This is also true for products, and although though many technological items are software, we nevertheless classify them in the same way.
So, if the technological product you're selling isn't in a clearly defined category, it may be difficult for consumers to a) comprehend it and b) find it. As if you were looking for a book in a library, you would start by looking in different sections.
The alternative is where unicorns come in, as they typically define new categories. In the product world, this would be represented by an iPad and tablet computing.
Once a new category has been created, others will seek methods to create additional categories within the current ones, such as children's tablets, luxury tablets, and drawing tablets.
Defining your category is very essential for B2B SEO strategy since when people search online, they generally utilize these categories as a beginning point for a search.
SEO And Product Category Definition
One of the most common mistakes we see businesses make is attempting to redefine an existing category or failing to recognize that they even belong in one at all.
This is sometimes shown in the designation of a product as a "platform" or "hub." For example, if you offer HR software and decide to call it an HR platform, you must explain what a platform is extremely clear in your marketing – especially if you want to rank high for SEO – since people will be searching for HR software, not HR platforms.
There should be a broader education component surrounding a new category that explains the difference so that you can develop and then start ranking for this category utilizing SEO - sometimes this comes down to PR.
Creating And Promoting A New Category
The most successful businesses create and control their own categories. The same is true for products and services; HubSpot is a fantastic example of developing a new category in Inbound Marketing; as a result, Inbound Marketing Agencies are springing up all over to serve this new category.
The most common error in technology marketing is attempting to create a category only via message. Changing the name of a technological product isn't enough.
Technology Marketing Is Propelled By Content
Content is the lifeblood of technology marketing. Whatever marketing medium you choose, you must have content in order to execute properly.
Just as a website would not exist without the words and images on the page, a Google Ad campaign would not be successful without a well-designed landing page, and lead nurturing would not be possible alongside marketing automation without the content to use in email drip campaigns and automation workflows.
B2B SEO is only successful if you have a solid content marketing strategy in place. Using the tactic mentioned earlier about using cluster content and pillar pages, you can get your pages to rank higher – this is what we call a content-led SEO strategy, and it is what we use for all of our B2B technology clients.
Advertisement Content For Re-Marketing
Another application for material such as guides and reports is in a re-marketing campaign that targets previous website visitors who did not convert the first time around.
Content may be far more convincing and engaging than a basic advertisement with your company logo and top-level messaging.
Because downloading content does not demand the same level of commitment as getting in contact, they are not yet ready to do so - they are still in the early stages of their purchasing process.
The cornerstone of every effective B2B technology marketing strategy is content, and SEO plays a significant role in this. Material for SEO is a more practical approach to copywriting than thought leadership content.
SEO content is aimed at certain phrases or themes and is planned using search data and in-depth topic research, whereas thought leadership material is generally impromptu or connected to current events.
Lead Nurturing Content
If you have a big database of existing leads that are going cold, you should consider utilizing marketing automation, such as an email drip campaign, to nurture and advance those leads along the marketing funnel.
An email drip campaign, on the other hand, necessitates the usage of the content in those emails; otherwise, you have nothing to give leads at an early point of the purchasing process; the CTA must revolve on content, not get in touch or schedule a demo, which occurs later in the funnel.
Paid Social Content
Many people make the mistake of marketing material such as blog posts rather than more helpful and instructive lead generation items such as an ebook or white paper.
Paid social campaigns require content to create top-of-funnel leads, even if the goal is simply to raise awareness about your product or service — content is, once again, the gasoline behind the strategy.
Make Use Of Data To Support Your Content Strategy
Search data from search engines like Google and Bing may be a valuable resource for technological content marketing initiatives. Rather than producing content based on what you believe your audience wants to read (or what you want to write about), you may respond to the questions they are asking online.
This strategy not only assists your potential buyers in finding the answers they seek online, but also portrays your firm as a valuable instructional resource, increasing your exposure online as you begin to rank for certain search queries.
Another advantage of this strategy is that you may start talking to potential buyers far earlier in the B2B buyer journey, while they are at the ‘problem identification stage, rather than waiting until they start looking for answers.
Helping someone at this early point in the purchasing process may result in a far better relationship and degree of trust since you are assisting them without any obligation to purchase.
Using the autosuggest tool integrated into the Google search engine is a great method to uncover article ideas quickly. Start entering a question about your product or service, and Google will show you a selection of the most common searches — test it in Incognito mode to avoid getting personalized results.
What Exactly Is Search Or Keyword Data?
Search data is often presented in the form of keywords and monthly search volumes (MSV); the act of analyzing this data is known as keyword research, and there is a specific method for doing so.
This keyword data provides an estimate of how many times a search is done in a certain geographic region; however, it is not an exact science and takes some thought to connect the search with what is known as intent - since this is not evident from a lot of search data.
For example, if you search for "email marketing," you may be seeking information on what it is in general, how to do it, or even a tool to help you accomplish it.
Creating A Content Plan Based On Keyword Data
Building a content marketing plan for a technology business based on SEO data generally takes the shape of what we call a "content cluster," a phrase developed by HubSpot to describe their approach to inbound marketing.
A content cluster centers around working on a longer piece of pillar material on a general topic, then generating smaller pieces of cluster content around that theme and linking them all together, as seen in the picture below.
Relying Excessively On Search Data
Although search data may give some fantastic insights into how to run a content marketing plan to help SEO, it is not prudent to rely only on statistics.
If you don't have access to search data, a simpler option is to select certain "key themes" - these are topics that strongly correlate with your value proposition, such as "technology marketing" or "b2b marketing" for us.
Within these main themes, there are sub-topics like "b2b digital marketing" and "SaaS marketing" — you can then construct a content strategy around these pillars and clusters.
Answer the Public is a fast tool built by an SEO service that may help you with this. You can enter some phrases in there and it will give you an overview of all the questions people are asking about those issues.
Data Comes First, Creativity Comes Second
The data on your CRM system is the most neglected and 'unsexy' element of any technology marketing plan. Most businesses are so focused on generating quality leads that they fail to organize, categorize, and automate their data to ensure a scalable solution.
When it comes to personalization, one typical error we find is organizations sprinting before they can walk. Personalizing website or email content necessitates the use of data.
You may personalize your marketing material for each section based on the location of the website visitor or the stage in the funnel they are in.
Changing website content to match location is simple and does not require you to store any information in your CRM software; however, if you want to set up some personalized email drip campaigns, you will need to have the data in your CRM and it must be standardized and organized so you can act on it confidently.
Use Conditions To Automate Data Processing
One of the greatest places to start when organizing your CRM data is by implementing some simple data automation, such as assigning a persona based on job title, i.e. if the contact's work title is 'x,' assign persona 'y.' You may then provide marketing messages depending on the personas you've identified in your CRM.
Another example is setting lead status based on information obtained via web forms. So, if someone enters a budget of more than £10,000, you can immediately mark them as a qualified lead in your CRM, making them a priority for your sales staff.
This is the fundamental idea behind lead scoring. There are several requirements for this, but at the most basic level, you should consider the essential data points to gather.
Establish Basic Data Standards And Lead Qualifying Requirements
Having a set of basic data standards is a smart habit to get into when looking at your marketing data and, indeed, your CRM data as a whole. This is standard practice in certain major organizations, such as law firms and professional service businesses, where customer data is critical.
Minimum data requirements include things like having an email address, first and last name, and if you don't have these three things, the contact is destroyed after 7 days or in certain circumstances archived; another frequent technique is to do this depending on activity (i.e. when did you last have contact).
If a contact falls into this category or bucket, you should usually have someone personally go over the data and make any necessary adjustments or give it a last check before deleting it.
Data Requirements For Lead Qualification
When it comes to designing things like lead capture forms on your website, defining the data you need to qualify a lead is critical.
If a qualified lead for your firm is a company with more than ten employees, that is a data point you should aim to capture on what we term a ‘sales-ready form' – these are forms that, when filled out, auto-qualify the lead and send it right to your sales team's queue or email to be handled.
A website should typically contain at least three sorts of forms: a simple email subscription form, a content download form, and a contact form. You may then create another level on top of this to collect more data, which will serve as your ‘sales-ready’ form.
Work Your Way Backwards From Revenue
When it comes to marketing expenditures for technology businesses, underinvestment is a typical error. Especially when considering a client's lifetime worth or average order value.
Your technology marketing approach should be based on the average order value of your users or clients. Budgets should also be assigned depending on this.
We'll go over some of the most prevalent marketing strategies employed by B2B IT firms, as well as how they may give a high return on investment.
PPC For Rapid Lead Generation
Using sponsored advertising or paid social advertising, such as running text advertisements through Google Ads, is one of the greatest methods to create leads in a short amount of time and has a fantastic way to track investment vs outcomes.
The advantages of running a campaign on the Google Advertising platform include the ability to easily measure the effectiveness of your ads and observe how this relates to new business secured.
Because of this, performance marketing is highly popular in e-commerce, but it can also be very successful in a B2B marketing plan when utilized properly alongside keyword research.
Let's assume a new customer is worth £50k to your company, and you're prepared to spend £5k on Google Ads to get that new client.
You are aware that the average cost per click (CPC) for your target keywords is £5 and that a conversion rate of 2% is to be expected.
You may then predict that by investing £5k on PPC, you will receive 1,000 clicks and 20 leads (2 percent), 10 qualified prospects from those 20, and if even one of those leads develops into a new customer, you will have more than accomplished a terrific ROI.
This is how performance marketing works and why it is so popular - the problem is in determining which keywords to bid on and matching them with the appropriate landing page and content.
SEO's Value And Potential ROI
For £5,000 per month, you can hire a successful SEO agency to handle your SEO strategy. This is something that many businesses overlook because they don't see the value in it, or they know it's essential but find it difficult to credit new clients to SEO effort.
SEO, on the other hand, can have one of the highest ROIs of any marketing activity you will ever undertake - especially if your average deal value is high. Winning just one new customer who finds you through Google may pay for an SEO agency for years.
For example, if you spend £5,000 per month for two years and win one transaction worth £1 million throughout the duration of their agreement with your company, you've spent roughly £100,000 on SEO and returned £1 million in income to the company, resulting in a tenfold return.
This is an extreme example, but it illustrates the importance of SEO for a technology firm, particularly an enterprise IT company. Consider how much you are willing to pay to get a client. Yes, you are front-loading the costs, but that is how the system works, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Make It Simple For People To Purchase From You
To be honest, this is a bit of a broad one, but it should be at the center of any technology marketing plan.
Too frequently, we consider all of the reasons why individuals do not convert and what alternative strategies we could employ to get more quality leads. But, in reality, you should be thinking about how you can make it as simple as possible for potential consumers to purchase from you.
A Simple To Use Website
This is basic knowledge, yet it bears repeating. If a website is difficult to access, sluggish to load or has unclear information, it will be tough for anybody to contact you, even if they believe you are the appropriate firm.
An easy-to-use website guides users to the information they need to make an informed decision. You must consider all of the questions a buyer may have about your company and how you will respond to them.
Educate To Facilitate Sales
When it comes to technology products and services, there is frequently a lengthy educational process that must take place before a consumer realizes your solution is the solution to their problem.
This may be as basic as showing how multiple systems interact with one another and discussing the entire ecosystem as opposed to simply how your own product interacts.
This is another area where content can help; by creating material that explains the essentials and provides valuable guidance, you are educating your consumers, and by educating them, they can make a better-educated decision.
It can be infuriating for a sales team to have to explain the importance of their solution before they can sell it. By producing more educational content through your marketing strategy, you can answer these questions earlier on, allowing your sales team to focus on selling the product rather than the solution.
Respond To Your Buyer's Inquiries
Can I put my faith in this company? Who have they previously collaborated with? Is the answer I'm seeking available from them? What is the price? How long will it take to put it in place? Will it work with the software I already have? These are all common questions that a technology buyer may have when researching a firm.
You must guarantee that the material on your website covers all of these concerns and that the solutions are easily accessible.
Trust is one of the most significant hurdles for B2B customers; do they trust your company? Can people believe what you're saying and that you'll keep your promises?
One of the simplest and quickest methods to create trust with potential customers is to include things like logos of firms you've already worked with and testimonials from prior clients.
It is not enough to have these parts buried away on your website; they should be front and center, ideally at the top of the page.
What Are The Business Rules In B2B?
Rule #1: People First.
Rule #2: Make it Easy.
Rule #3: Be Where Your Customers Are.
Rule #4: Empower with Knowledge.
Rule #5: Extend Value of Your Sales Team.
What Is The Rule Of 7 In Advertising?
- Know the client
- Get the correct Marketing blend
- Keep your message consistent
- Keep your brand in line
- Follow the ROI usage
- Allow sufficient time to work
- Track with committed customers.