When something is working, it’s so easy to get into a rut. As marketing professionals, we tend to stick with what works because our attention is always split between multiple projects and responsibilities. However, to stay competitive in digital marketing, we need to continue to try new strategies and research the latest trends to find more things that work for our clients or organization.
Below are some of the top B2B digital marketing strategies that marketers need to try in 2019. While these won’t work for everyone, they do have the potential for many organizations to reach and engage with more of these target audience.
Live streaming over the last few years has proven two things: 1) it can work for almost any brand and 2) social platforms likely prefer live streaming compared to scheduled or traditional types of content. At Search Engine Journal, I did a case study where we did a weekly live streaming show (#SEJLive) plus live streams on speaker panels at a few of the SEJ Summit conferences. We found the following:
- Average post reach more than doubled for live videos.
- Post engagement for live videos was 178% higher than average.
- Facebook referral traffic increased 213% when comparing the two months we did Facebook Live.
Other stats from livestream further prove that online views in all industries and demographics enjoy live streaming videos:
- 45% of live video audiences would pay for live, exclusive, on-demand video.
- 78% of online audiences are already watching video on Facebook Live.
Live video is already a part of the majority of internet users’ lives. Why not include it in your B2B marketing strategy?
Here some ways you can incorporate live streaming into your existing social media marketing strategy:
- Interviews and discussions with industry experts
- Company news announcements
- New product tutorials or walkthroughs
- Sale announcements
- Customer spotlights or interviews
- Internal discussion about industry topics
- Industry news coverage
Facebook is likely the largest live streaming social media platform, outside of YouTube. Twitter also allows live streams with multiple hosts, and Instagram does live streaming as well. Even LinkedIn is slowly rolling out live streaming.
On all of these platforms (though not sure about LinkedIn), you can save your live video after the stream is done and then republish it elsewhere on your other channels.
In addition, if you have an exclusive or customer Facebook group that you manage, you can also go live in the group. This is a good idea to provide tutorials or exclusive content to group members.
Reddit and Quora Marketing
Reddit may seem a little scary to marketers that haven’t had a lot of experience with it. There are few stories out there of brands that have tried to get involved in Reddit and utterly failed, causing them to be made fun of by the users, thus never showing their face on the popular discussion platform again.
However, Reddit users aren’t against brands being on the platform, they just want brands to not attempt to conceal themselves or pretend to fit in instead of being upfront and transparent about what they’re offering and how they can help their fellow Reddit users.
There are subreddits (channels) about almost anything on Reddit, so it is possible to find members of your target audience for any industry. If you aren’t sure about creating organic brand awareness and engagement on Reddit, the platform also offers paid advertising options.
Quora is similar to Reddit, but bases its content on users asking questions and other users answer them. They have started offering advertising options recently, so if brands find that answering questions on the platform isn’t being received warmly by users, they can try an advertising campaign instead.
Quora also prefers users to be extremely transparent about who they are, past experiences, and who they’ve worked for. This helps increase credibility when it comes to answering questions that they are knowledgeable about.
On the flip side, Reddit allows users to have anonymous accounts and many users go by fake names so nobody knows who they are. Because of this, moderators are strict about subreddit rules.
There has been a rise in the amount of easy email newsletter content that is being created for users covering a variety of topics. For instance, Inside.com now has almost a million active email subscribers for their variety of email newsletters based on different topics, like technology, San Francisco, or marketing.
Currently, the subscription is free, but they have advertising in their emails. To remove the advertising, they offer monthly subscriptions ranging from $10-25.
Another popular newsletter service is The Skimm, which is mainly targeted to women and brings the top news headlines each day to inboxes in the morning.
The success of these brands shows that online users don’t necessarily hate email, they just hate emails that aren’t useful or interesting to them.
Is there a gap in newsletters or free information being provided to people in your industry? If so, that’s an opportunity for your brand to create a thoughtful and easy-to-understand email series that can offer industry education. Not only is it providing a useful service, but it’s also setting up your company up as a thought leader in the industry.
Even having a newsletter that goes out weekly or monthly with the top news stories can be more useful to email subscribers then promotional emails or notices about new developments within the company. An email newsletter is also a prime opportunity to promote the content that the company is creating, such as a section for the latest blog post and upcoming events or webinars.
Mixing in your own content with content from other useful media outlets is a great way to showcase your content to subscribers while also providing a service that users appreciate.
More Useful Content
Over four million new blog posts are published every day. While it’s likely that many of these aren’t high-quality pieces of content, the sheer volume of content in all industries makes it more competitive than ever. This has likely been said for years, but publishing poor quality or unhelpful content is no longer acceptable for B2B brands. It’s time to step it up!
Implement a dedicated content strategy plan that can set the precedent for all of your content creation going forward. Once you have the process in place with the editorial calendar and content publishing and promotion process, it becomes a lot easier.
Sometimes there is a disconnect between what we think is useful and what customers actually find useful. This is a cognitive bias called The Curse of Knowledge. I think it’s so important for marketers to understand and remember this bias because it truly affects the content we create and how we position ourselves to customers.
In order to be useful to our customers and clients, we need to actually have useful services and create content that the audience is looking for. Because content marketing is so competitive, if we don’t have what users are looking for, they’re just going to go to a competitor who understands them better.
Furthermore in most cases, longer, more in-depth content does better than shorter content. Buffer cited Medium research that the average ideal length of a blog post is 1,600 words– or about seven minutes of reading.
The only exception to this would be news style content- this is usually best served in 300-400 word posts that get to the main points and don’t add content for content’s sake just to make it longer.
If you haven’t done any content downloadables lately, now is the time. Many people think this means ebooks or case studies, which can be the case. However, there are several other different types of downloadables that are extremely useful to your audience that may not take as much time or development as a long-form ebook would.
A good example of this would be a template for a regular task in your industry or a short guide to completing an action.
Megan Minns is a business coach and consultant that focuses on self-care and awareness to help self-employed business owners succeed. She has a wealth of free downloads on her site, which all require a subscription to her email list to download:
This not only benefits the reader, because they get access to exclusive and useful content from Megan but also helps Megan grow her email list, which will hopefully convert to paid clients or program members.
Your organization can offer a one-page PDF that could come in a variety of options, including:
- Checklist of supplies for a new strategy, event, or piece of equipment
- Guidebook to help customers make a decision
- Educational overviews about industry terms, strategies, or processes
- Compact how-to tutorials to make a process easier
In more cases, downloadables are easy to implement. Once the document is designed and ready for distribution, the sign-up process can be set up and embedded on a separate landing page or identifiable box for the offer. Then, once users enter their email address, they can immediately receive their free downloadable. There’s even a paid campaign option on Facebook that allows users to enter their information right on the social platform, without having to go to a separate landing page.
Exclusive Communities and Facebook Groups
If you are a SaaS or product-based company, consider building an exclusive gated online community or an exclusive Facebook group. These types of communities are extremely helpful to users because it lets them ask questions and interface with other users and employees who can help them use your products or services.
The users in these communities also can give you valuable feedback that you might not get otherwise, because they feel invested in the product and willing to go out of their way to share questions or suggestions they have. They are incentivized to give back after experiencing high-quality interactions with other customers or help from your employees in the group.
These groups can be used for a variety of purposes. Some SaaS companies simply have them for people to ask questions and then promote new product developments. These types of discussion groups also usually bring regular industry questions because people know that others in the group are likely similar to them and might have good insight.
Another reason why an exclusive community can be useful is that it allows you to give exclusive content or if information to a specific tier of your customers.
For instance, Facebook groups allow you to do live streaming so you could do exclusive hangouts or interview sessions that the rest of your customers aren’t privy to.
Depending on what your goals are for the group, you can choose to have it be paid subscription free option that is only offered to current customers.
Don’t let what’s working for you in B2B digital marketing be an excuse not to try (or at least research) something new. You might find a strategy that works extremely well with your current strategies, thus growing your audience and online engagement.