Whenever you read a marketing piece or go to a conference, you will hear that the B2B buyer journey is getting longer and more complex. With so many advertising platforms available, it’s certainly a challenge to keep up with the space and create high-converting campaigns.
In this post, I’ll summarize best practices that you should always keep in mind when creating successful multi-channel B2B ad campaigns.
Define Your Audience
Even though it might seem easy to define who your audience is, in reality this is a process that should be done very carefully. This is especially true for the B2B space, because the person researching often does not have decision-making power. So, multiple peoples’ inputs are needed to get anything done; according to Harvard Business Review, the number of employees involved in B2B solutions purchases averages 6.8 today and it is expected to keep rising.
If we already know we will have multiple stakeholders, then the best thing to do is get organized. There are multiple templates that can help you create your buyer personas, one of my favorite is Hubspot’s interactive “Make my persona tool” and Marketo’s cheat sheet for creating your marketing personas.
Even though this is a time-consuming process, it will help you stay organized for the next step –identify where your audience is and how to reach them. This is when taking your time to collect as many details about your audience will pay off.
Align Offers to the Stage of Buyer Journey and Advertising Platform
At this point, we have identified our buyer personas and where they are. The next step is to show them ads with content or offers that align with their stage in the funnel.
Brighttalk’s chart makes very easy to associate the stages of the funnel with different content pieces:
It’s important to call out that not all advertising platforms work well with all types of content, nor they are great for every stage of the funnel. Your audience and funnel stage will influence which advertising platform to use. Here are some suggestions:
Suggested Advertising Platforms for Multi-Channel B2B Campaigns
Don’t forget that different ads serve different purposes – for example, a display banner on Google Ads works as an awareness tool, while direct sponsored content on LinkedIn works the best as a middle of the funnel tactic.
Develop Relationships by Lead Nurturing
This is where we see a lot of companies failing. Just because one person downloaded a piece of content doesn’t mean they are ready to talk to sales or convinced that you are the best option for them.
The “2017 Lead Nurturing and Acceleration Survey Report” from Demand Gen Report found that almost half of companies (46%) are aware that their lead nurturing initiatives have space for improvement.
Talking about the importance of lead nurturing in B2B can be a whole post on its own. Here are some statistics an articles to learn more:
- “Only 2% of the customers buy at the initial meeting” by CrossRoads Marketing
- 28% of respondents said they receive a 20 percent of greater increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads by Demand Generation
- Nurtured leads makes 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads by The Annuitas Group
- 79% of marketing leadsnever convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance – source: Marketing Sherpa
- 30 Thought-Provoking Lead Nurturing Stats You Can’t Ignore by Hubspot
Bonus Point: Tag Everything and Re-market in other Platforms
So, what about if you’re able to get a potential customer to your site, but they don’t convert? If you are using UTM strings and have different pixels installed on your website, you can retarget on another channel where they are more likely to convert.
As an example, let’s say you are looking to target marketing directors in the technology industry. First, target them with a LinkedIn ads campaign. Tag your ads with UTM strings so you can use them to create audiences on other platforms, like Facebook. Facebook ads are significantly cheaper and can be used to direct potential leads back to your site. You can also use UTM tags to run Google Ads remarketing and show target audiences a case study or report to guide them toward conversion.
Don’t Focus on Last-Click Conversions
Considering B2B companies have such long sales cycles that involve so many people, this is critical to show success. There might be a channel not generating demos or form submissions, but they are responsible for capturing high value users who later convert on another platform or channel.
Multi-channel advertising is complicated but not impossible. You should always go back to basics: who your audience is, where they are located, and what information they need. Above all, the goal is to always make them come back to your site.
What best practices do you use when creating successful multi-channel ad campaigns? You can also reach me out on Twitter.