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Online B2B marketing campaigns: push it out and hope for the best

Ok, so your boss has just tasked you with your next online B2B marketing campaign. Where on earth do you start? We’ve all been there, panic stations to the ready. Are you going to push it out and hope for the best, or are you going to put your strategic hat on and really think about what you want to achieve and how?

At Modern, we enjoy the nitty gritty behind B2B campaign planning and bringing together the mix of organic and paid channels to deliver the best results. We map out the activity, prepare a forecast analysis and determine what will and won’t work. Interestingly though, we often find that some marketers don’t know the answers to some of the most obvious questions. I mean, they’re obvious to us, but are they obvious to you?

Here are the four strategic questions you should be asking yourself before kicking off with your next online B2B marketing campaign.

1) Who are the targets?

This is a crucial element of your campaign. We often have briefs sent to us that don’t specify a particular target audience, and are very vague, but in fact, it’s easier and simpler to be single-minded and focused. It’s no good wasting your time and money targeting any old Joe Bloggs who lives down the road, as your return on investment (ROI) will be almost non-existent.

Start to list the different types of businesses that will gain value from your offering. Which sectors and geographical locations do you need to target? Do they need to have over a certain number of employees or over a certain amount of annual turnover? By doing this, you can start to build an image of your target audience.

Once you’ve identified the businesses, research specific people within those businesses. What departments will your targets work within – IT, HR, legal, finance, marketing? What job titles are they likely to have? You get the picture.

There are plenty of ways to research the targets for your campaign, however I’m a big fan of Avention, which has the most comprehensive company data in the world, and LinkedIn, for obvious reasons.

2) What are the objectives?

Your objectives are what will keep your campaign focused and grounded. They describe your intended results and what you want your overall ROI achievement to be.

You’ve heard of SMART objectives, right?

  • Specific – a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable – quantify or suggest an indicator of progress
  • Achievable – be realistic
  • Relevant – align with your campaign
  • Timely – when the objective can or will be achieved

By using SMART objectives, your campaign is more likely to succeed, as they are clear, specific, and you’ll know exactly what needs to achieved, and by when.

Do you want to generate more website visitors? Do you want to promote a specific product or service? Do you want more content downloads? Do you want to raise awareness of your company? The possibilities are endless. Different objectives will shape the kind of activity you do, so being clear upfront ensures that you choose the right activity.

3) What are the key messages?

The messaging over the course of your campaign needs to remain consistent, clear and strong. Really think about what you want to drive home to your target audience. This is usually where the client pushes back on us and we recommend the key message and supporting messages. An effective campaign is built around clear messages, which state a problem, a solution and the action needed to get to that solution.

Keep your target audience at the forefront of your mind at all times. Your campaign message should resonate with them and leave a lasting impression, as well as be relevant and memorable.

Each message you deliver throughout your campaign should be consistent (talk about the same subject at each touch point) and reflect your brand. Highlight what is relevant to your audience and be sure to mention or link back to your company in case people don’t know who you are just yet. This makes the messaging memorable and helps position you in the market and in the minds of your audience.

If you want to be cleverer around the context of the messaging, think about where you’ll promote the campaign, and then tie that into the messaging. For example, you could have an ad on LinkedIn with a corporate toned message, but have the same ad on Facebook with a laid back tone to appeal to that audience, and perhaps have a little more fun it.

4) What is the online strategy?

As the old saying goes, “you only get out what you put in”, although this isn’t always necessarily true when it comes to online marketing.

Have you tried social media advertising, including remarketing? The share of marketing budgets spent on social media is expected to more than double over the next five years, from 11% today, to 23% by 2020. More than half (52%) of marketers say Facebook is “the most important social network they use to grow and market their business.” LinkedIn came in second place with 21%, followed by Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus. According to Smart Insights, there are over 2.3 billion active social media users, with Facebook dominating the social landscape.

Think about which social media networks your target audience are more likely to use. YouTube rakes in more than four billion views per day, making it the second most popular search engine in the world. Why wouldn’t you want to exploit social media with these kind of statistics, they’re all there to be used – even in the B2B marketing space, and it’s an inexpensive way to promote your business.

There are other forms of online advertising, including:

  • Google Adwords (pay-per-click advertising) – This type of advertising is focused on keywords entered into Google, and enables businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. Effective when you’re experienced and know how to use it correctly.
  • Banner advertising – This is where you simply put a banner with a catchy image and headline onto a relevant website, and users who choose to click the banner will end up wherever you want to direct them (for example, your website, a landing page, a submission form etc.).
  • Newsletter advertising – It does what it says on the tin. You ask relevant companies (who you could work in synergy with) if they are willing to sell ad space in their newsletter. This way, you will have access to their subscribers, who ideally should be your target audience also.
  • Native advertising – This is a type of ‘disguised’ paid media, where the ad mimics the natural form and function of the user experience that it has been placed within.

So in other words, online advertising should be an essential element to your marketing mix and online campaign. If you haven’t familiarised yourself with its full capabilities yet, then I highly recommend its time you start.

Summary

Remember that the success of your online B2B marketing campaign relies on your ability to craft the right message, at the right time, to the right people, and be delivered in the best way possible. And don’t forget, all things are difficult before they become easy.

If you’d like help crafting your next online B2B marketing campaign, please do get in touch with us at Modern, we’d love to help.

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