Gone are the days when companies had a preferred channel and method for reaching customers. Especially for those in the B2B space - managing multiple channels is key to B2B marketing strategy in 2019, as customers are searching the web on their laptops, checking email on their mobile phones, and reading a favorite publication on their iPad. Your customers are everywhere, so you need to be, too.
“Engaging customers in the future will require a multichannel sales strategy powered by smart digital investments, which caters to the different needs of first-time and repeat customers,” reports a recent McKinsey & Company article.
It’s definitely time to change things up in your marketing plan - here are five of the most important strategies to help you reach your customers wherever they are in 2019.
1. Deliver Customized Content
Stellar content is the best way to make a great first impression on new leads. Demonstrate your expertise with blog posts that share useful information in an engaging way. Rather than traditional ads, give your audience a tutorial, a new idea, or helpful facts to draw them in. Craft the voice of a caring expert who takes them by the hand and distills the complex information they find themselves bombarded with.
Bring them content that meets them on the customer journey – wherever they’re at. Speak to their biggest challenges and pain points. Convince them you understand the issues they’re facing and how to surmount them. Target potential customers at each stage of the funnel with content that speaks directly to them.
Don’t worry about giving too much away. “The best advice I can give to B2Bs is that your edge lies not in keeping your intellectual property under wraps but in out-educating your competitors,” says Zen Media Founder & CEO Shama Hyder in an Inc. article. Being too vague would be a much greater downfall than being too vocal about your expertise.
2. Use Next-Product Algorithms
The most successful companies are using algorithms that leverage machine learning (ML) and vast amounts of data to determine which product a customer is most likely to buy next.
ML can build a complex profile of each customer that incorporates not only personal information but also social, geographic, and economic data that pertains to the customer’s location and demographics. It can also give advice on how to approach a particular customer.
These algorithms leverage intent data, which illustrates what choices they are most likely to make. You can then pass your leads along to the sales rep who’s best suited for them.
3. Integrate Voice Search
Using the power of voice search will help you connect with customers. And because voice search will become exponentially more important in the next five years, it’s time to become one of the early movers in using this technology.
“Voice search drastically improves user experience – and because of that, by the year 2020, half of all online searches will be made through voice search,” says digital trends expert Gabriel Shaoolian in Forbes.
How to optimize for voice search? Most importantly, write how you speak. Think of questions that users may ask that will serve as long-tail keyword phrases and research them. Think short, simple, and conversational, says Shaoolian – jargon-free, except for, say, a new word they’re looking up. Then, create a “featured snippet” for your search listings, he advises – a short summary of your post that includes your full-sentence keyword phrases. Google will then be able to target your long-tail keyword phrases more effectively.
4. Leverage Interactive Tools
Reach your customer base on a human level through interactive content. Give a voice to your company by creating a podcast that they can tune into while driving to work. Take a survey on what your customers want to know more about.
Incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into your marketing to create a more interactive experience, too. Sure, sometimes speaking with an actual human is best, but having a chatbox to answer certain questions can keep leads engaged, as well. They’ll get quick answers to targeted questions, which could also benefit relationships with existing customers.
Regarding real-time human-to-human interaction, most customers prefer to speak to a sales rep before buying a product the first time. After the first purchase, this becomes far less important:
AI can keep things interactive while minimizing hassles for both customers and your marketing team.
5. Tap Into Influencer Marketing
Influencers have a powerful voice for amplifying brand advocacy. They have a great deal of social clout with your target demographic. Today’s customers are wary of spokespeople who directly speak for their brand.
“Influencer marketing is much more personal than the old approach, and it operates on a trust already established,” explains Hyder. This holds especially true in the B2B world, where companies deliberately reach out to peers and authorities to find out what they have to say about a potential purchase.
In the B2B world, expertise is definitely preferable to fame – but an expert with a large following is best.
Now that you have these five relatively new tools in your toolbox, you’re ready to skyrocket your marketing success! These techniques coupled with a genuine passion for what you do are guaranteed to take you to the next level.