5 Essential Disciplines For The B2B Marketing Professional
No matter what your specific industry is, if you’re in B2B, there are several very useful disciplines and points of action that can help you implement campaigns successfully.
Utilizing specific resources and tools when planning and implementing your campaigns can assist with facilitation and will also help you track results more effectively.
While some of the best resources for research are commercial in nature, there are also several free versions that allow you to view data and brainstorm without spending much of your budget.
If you haven’t taken advantage of the free data that you can view in Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or other social media platforms, you aren’t doing all you can to view and track the outcomes of your campaigns.
If you are a beginner to Google Analytics, take their free Academy certification course that explains the basics. The way Google explains aspects of their platform makes it really easy to understand, and they use a lot of real examples that help you remember how to set things up in your own accounts.
ikewise, while Facebook doesn’t offer certification, they do have a pretty good support section for Page Insights.
Some of the best data to track on any analytics platform is the path of the user, namely, how did they get to your site, where did they go, and what did they do before they left.
By using traffic performance reports and conversion tracking, you can better understand user behavior to get the most out of your data. Once you’ve identified key areas where your marketing strategy is working (e.g. your content about a specific topic always has the most traffic), then you know where to point your future efforts.
Social Media Scheduling
Social media can work for almost any company, provided that they are using the right platform(s). Consider using one of the several social media scheduling tools out there that do the scheduling for you, like Edgar, Buffer, Hootsuite, or DrumUp.
These all have features that allow you to either manually schedule social media messages at a specific time, or lets you place your content in a “queue” which is sent out at a designated time.
While these can be set manually as well, many of the tools offer suggestions: HootSuite’s scheduled times is based on when your followers are most active. Of course, many of these tools also offer analytics and search capabilities, but I’ve found that pre-scheduling content makes social media a lot less daunting to those in B2B marketing.
This is helpful because it allows you to build up a post arsenal of content that can be sent automatically. With just a few hours of prep work ahead of time, it’s easy to maintain a consistent social media presence where content is being posted every day.
URL Campaign Tracking
Some of the best tracking for your online campaigns will come from what your URLs can tell you. Consider making Google’s URL builder one of your main browser bookmarks and add UTM codes to everything.
Once Google spits out your URL with your UTM codes, shorten it with Goo.gl or Bit.ly to gather even more data, as well as making your URLs shorter in content.
URL Shorteners like Goo.gl and Bit.ly can also be used with promo code tracking as well. Some ticketing sites, such as Eventbrite, will give you a custom URL with the promo code added so when a user clicks, they are taken to the registration form that already has the promo code filled in.
Of course, these are just a few of the many URL tools available today– consider trying other options that will make your URLs work for you by providing you with more data and making your customers’ lives easier.
The reason why URL tracking is key for all B2B marketers is because, like analytics, it gives us the opportunity to track users’ behavior and how they navigate your website and online presence.
For example, if you know that social media is the biggest driver of conversions for a specific product, then it may be worth the budget to run paid Facebook or Twitter campaigns for that product.
SEO Audit Tools
Even if your speciality is writing website copy instead of doing SEO, you should still be utilizing SEO or audit tools to help you identify what’s working in your content and campaigns.
Tools like Screaming Frog, Moz’s Open Site Explorer, UberSuggest.org, Majestic, or SEMRush can all be used for research in various areas of your marketing department, beyond SEO. PPC, content, advertising, and sales can research the language or keywords that have the most traffic and conversions.
While the most robust SEO and audit tools are paid, consider this investment for your entire department very worthwhile. The insights and research on what’s getting the most clicks is worth considering when it’s time to tweak or create your own B2B campaigns.
For instance, if you see that your site is getting a lot of referral traffic from non-profit sites from your work with the community, consider what other organizations you’re involved in and see if there’s a partners page to have your link added.
This may be a little corny to consider “idea generation” as a resource, but when it comes to marketing and advertising, they may be your best bet. You may also consider ideas from non-traditional sources.
Oftentimes, I’ve found that people new to the project usually have the best spin on the idea. Pull in some coworkers from other departments if you’re stuck on a slogan or ask the intern or newest employee to sit in on a brainstorming session for your next social media content calendar.
When people feel comfortable sharing, the greatest ideas are born. Ideas given in a no-pressure environment will build on each other; leading to the winning material that is going to make your campaigns stand-out from the rest.
Ideas are organic thoughts coming from your own employees and colleagues rather than a regurgitation of what was done in years past or by competitors. By considering them one of the most important tools in your arsenal, you are creating the types of marketing that is going to make an impact.
What’s great about all the tools mentioned is that they can be tweaked to fit your time zone, target audience, country, language, or industry trends. By harnessing the power of ideas and using SEO tools to research them, custom URLs to make sure they are being tracked properly, and analytics to see the fruits of your labor, you’re able to achieve a well-rounded B2B marketing campaign.
This will not only ensure that your budget is being spent wisely, but it will also provide you with concrete data on how your efforts affect the bottom line.
Images via Pixabay; screenshots taken September 2015