The Lockdown To-Do List for B2B Marketing
Here we are, all thinking about the future and wondering what our businesses will look like in six to eight weeks’ time
Even if this is the new normal, businesses need to get their ‘duck’s in a row’ to tackle the new economy and ensure they are fit and lean to move their businesses forward whenever this lockdown ends and with whatever restrictions the government decide to place on the nation.
Over the past twelve months or so, we have been working on our content and a new range of strategies to help B2B organisation redevelop their approach to marketing.
It’s not been an easy journey as we had to throw out the rule book and dissect the marketing strategies that both us and our clients had adopted over the years or even decades.
We discovered some persistent problems and some certain expectations that, as directors, were allowed to keep thinking simply because marketers hadn’t adapted their creativity to match the change in business consumer behaviour. Read the full story on our blog.
The Lockdown To-Do List
Nevertheless, we have produced a B2B Marketing ‘to-do’ list we believe marketers (if they’re still actively working for you) or certain personnel need to address whilst we’re all in ‘lockdown’ mode.
Firstly, it’s worth reviewing the marketing methods previously used to actually confirm the effectiveness of those strategies.
The To-Do List below is a methodical approach everyone can achieve. It is imperative you are not blindly sending out emails to the wrong people or with the wrong message for their job title. And more importantly, you’re not thinking of sending out loads of emails without having an overall plan.
Stage One- Review your existing CRM data
- Ensure vertical market segmentation has been put in place.
- The field ‘Business Type’ is in most CRM’s, but it’s important to make sure it’s populated/filled in, Architects, Solicitors, Accountants etc.:
- Each data record is to be reviewed to ensure Job title is completedManaging Director/CEO
- Head of Department
- Executive Assistant/Secretaries
- If you are able, further segment the above people into a persona type; sporty, happy outlook, gruff and so on. Typically, your salespeople should be able to answer this if they have met or at least spoken with them.
- If any of the data is incomplete, make an effort to get it updated.
Stage Two - Review your existing content
The problem businesses face is that prospective customers consume information differently. Some prefer written, some audio and some video. Yet we all consume all three, it just depends on the time of day or where we are at the time.
As business owners we don’t have a choice and cannot predetermine if someone likes one form over another. If we make the assumption, we will lose out.
Main content items are as follows:
- White Papers/Reports/Technical Data
- Case Studies/Explanations/Testimonials
- Videos; Intros/How to/Explainers/Interviews/Product/News & Reviews
- Podcasts; As above
- Ensure articles match who they are written for in terms of segmentation, job title and persona (if you can)
- Group your content so you can identify who it could/should be relevant for in preparation for the next stage
- Follow the article structured format based upon Google’s recommendations and Schema formatting (See our article on SEO)
Stage Three - Create adverts
Don’t fall into the trap of posting all your content on social media. It won’t incentivise people to read or to follow you. If you have a database/CRM platform, start with email.
- Create a series of emails, up to six, to be sent to each vertical market and to the respective job title/personas within those companies. If you have the name of a Managing Director and Head of Department, then you will need 2 x 6 emails. MD’s and CEO’s want to know what will increase profitability and income. Head of Departments etc., want to keep their jobs and impress the MD’s and CEO’s, therefore the content needs wo be written accordingly.
- If you have the ability to replace certain fields in the body of your email, that will better personalise the email, then great, if not, you will need to create specific emails to each group.
- The emails need to be viewed as an ‘advert’. You are sending out a snippet of what you have on offer and want to entice your prospect to take a look. Identify ‘what’s in it for them’ and tell them why they should click on the link.
- Taking it one step further, consider video to promote your articles. A short 10-20 second video is far more impactful, and it is what we’re used to, i.e. an advert to persuade us to look at something, like a book or a film. Think film trailers.
- Bear in mind, people lose interest within about eight seconds, so a short intro video is ideal.
- Next up, collate a number of relevant images and create your own ‘memes’ to promote your content. The image used on your article normally is not descriptive enough and doesn’t do the advert justice. Choose an image from stocksnap.io which are free or shutterstock.com, iStockphoto.com or GettyImages.com. The objective is to find images that are interesting, relevant or simply eye-catching and then add your bold text to the image.
Stage Four – Automate everything
Once you have created your content, i.e. your articles, downloads, videos and podcasts and created your adverts, you are in a position to start emailing your prospects (and customers where relevant). Whether you use Mailchimp of Marketo, most Email Service Providers (ESP) and Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) will allow you to upload your segmented data to their platforms.
In addition to email you can always upload all your adverts to social media by using a platform like www.SmarterQueue.com that will post at specified times and enable items to be identified as ‘evergreen’ meaning it will keep posting the same items as long as there are enough of them and will not appear as if you are ‘spamming’ on social.
Automation will probably mean you won't have to do any more marfketing for six to nine months or perhaps even more.
There is very little point in attempting to close a new prospect just yet. We both know how concerned businesses are, even though ‘we’re in this together’. Anyone who has listened to the news has heard about recession, doom and gloom for the future.
Now is the time to get laser-focused and identify the people on your database who you can gradually warm up. And when they’re ready, they will seek you out because you have had the foresight to keep in touch with them with content that is actually helpful and relevant to them and not generic content like many other businesses create.
There is no quick fix to generating income for B2B organisations. We have to flip our strategies and start helping prospects first, especially as we know what they’re going through. So, whether you're selling hardware, software or professional services, I urge you to get organised to maintain your presence and keep visible to new prospects, no matter what happens in the short, mid or long-term.
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About the Author
Nigel is the Founder & Managing Director of salesXchange and has been helping businesses for over 25 years to develop their marketing, technologies and infrastructure to generate more profits, more efficiently. His recent book "Integrate! The Essential Business Technology & Marketing Handbook" can be downloaded from Amazon.