b2b marketing trends 2020

Guide to B2B Marketing During Covid-19

Companies around the country are affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, even if business is slower than normal, it does not mean that you should stop your marketing efforts. While you may not see short-term results during this pandemic, your marketing strategy can put you in the position to see results over the long-term. This is especially true once things get back to normal. With that in mind, the following are the steps you should take to improve your B2B digital marketing efforts during COVID-19.

1. Use The Time You Have To Your Advantage

One of the everyday challenges in business is to reach potential clients at the right time. During the pandemic, prospects and clients alike are going to have more free time on their hands. They may have had to shut up shop temporarily and are just waiting to open back up. Others may be working from home, which means that they may be working sporadically throughout the day. You can take advantage of the time your audience has by hosting webinars or producing more long-form content.

2. Re-Evaluate Your Audience’s Perception Of Value

As you know, the pandemic has changed the way we look at a lot of things. Many companies are re-evaluating what is important to them. They are also re-evaluating their budgets and their perception of value. You need to make sure that you stay on the same page as your prospects and clients. This means that you should re-evaluate what your audience’s perception of value is.

Identifying your customers’ current needs

Understanding that customers may not be purchasing products or services from you in the short-term doesn’t mean that you can’t offer value. Put yourself in their shoes. What kind of content will they find helpful during this time? How can you help them? Of course, not all of your clients’ companies may be suffering. Some may be thriving at the moment. Identifying these businesses is essential as you may be able to target them more effectively.

3. Engage Your Audience In A More Personal Way

Most businesses aren’t doing exceptionally well at the moment. Not to mention that people are, in general, somewhat on edge. There are countless reasons for this. People are worried about their companies. They are worried about their health. They are stuck at home under stay-at-home orders. With that in mind, generic sales pitches aren’t exactly going to win them over. Instead, you should focus on hyper-personalization across all channels.

Using hyper-personalization

Hyper-personalization is the use of behavioral and real-time data across multiple channels to personalize the prospect’s or customer’s experience. It’s different than traditional personalization in that you also use purchasing, browsing, and other real-time data. The result? First of all, you’ll get to know what your audience’s current needs are better. Secondly, you’ll create a unique experience tailored to those needs. Such an experience helps you build longer-lasting relationships.

4. Have A Plan For The Future

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t predict the future. Anything can happen, which is why you should make sure that you’re prepared. This means that you should have a plan in place in the event that it lasts longer than you expect. On the other hand, you should also plan for the end of the pandemic. When it does end, you will likely need to make more adjustments to your marketing strategy. Just keep in mind that an effective marketing strategy is one that can adapt to various situations. Using this guide should help you do just that.

Follow these steps to make sure that your digital marketing strategy is effective during the pandemic. It might not be apparent right away, but there are still marketing opportunities that you can take advantage of despite COVID-19.

 

Marketing Trends 2

What’s Trending in Marketing for August 2020

Staying current on marketing trends is especially important to assess whether your marketing efforts are harmonious with today’s evolving world. We know the difficulty of keeping up with these trends given the abundance of information thrown at us every day. The following articles highlight current August 2020 marketing trends that we think are worth paying attention to:

Noteworthy Marketing News

Hulu Launches Beta for Self-Serve Advertising Platform

In effort to combat the negative economic backlash of Covid-19, Hulu has created an opportunity for small businesses to use its platform. Hulu has recently launched a self-service advertisement program eligible for any company with a minimum ad budget as low as $500. The process is simple: a company creates and submits a 15-30 second creative video along with details on budget, date range, and an area to upload the ad to Hulu Ad Manager. Hulu approves or denies within 3 days. Brands also have the option to specify their target market by age, gender, genre and location. Hulu provides approved brands with a simple walk-through of set-up and launch. For this program, Hulu permits a maximum of one version of a creative video per campaign.

As part of its recent Enabling Dishonest Behavior Policy, Google Ads is banning any advertising for “spyware and surveillance technology” in both search and shopping starting August 11. Examples of services include fake passports, fake degrees or diplomas, drug test aids, exam or paper writing services, invalid reviews and clicks, and fake social media endorsements. Examples of unauthorized access includes hacking, cable-stealing, radar jamming technology, traffic signal changers, and phone/wiretapping. Google explains that its list is not exhaustive and only mentioned for example. Google exemplifies spyware as GPS trackers, cameras/recorders marketed for spying purposes, and software that monitors someone else’s texts and phone calls, with the exception of parents tracking underage children. Violators on Google Ads will receive a 7-day warning.

Social Short: Twitter Ad Engagement Drops, Snap Minis Launch, more brands pause Facebook Ads

Twitter’s ad revenues have fallen in the past years though daily active user rates have increased. However, Twitter’s CFO Ned Segal is confident in the rebuilding process of Twitter’s ad server. He expresses optimism for the future of advertisements on Twitter through the advantage the platform has for live events.  Snapchat reports a 17% increase in revenues. Though its audience is largely younger, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel found that the average number of users on the Discover page are in their thirties. Additionally, the platform has benefited from the increasing Facebook ad withdrawals. Twitter has also taken action against QAnon content, suspending thousands of accounts for sharing or associating with any “conspiracy theory-ridden content”.

Improving your Marketing Program

Lessons Learned: Buyer Persona Gone Wrong

Before a company can establish a solid marketing plan, it must be aware of the specific target markets or customer profiles it has the best chance to attract to its product or service. Creating a buyer persona is essential to effective attraction marketing. In order to perfect your approach in buyer persona launch, here are some common mistakes to avoid.

30 Ways to Boost Instagram Engagement & Following

Looking for ways to boost your social media brand presence? Knowing how to increase brand engagement on Instagram, the latest and hippest social media platform app, is a great start. People are online all day due to working from home. Virtual shopping has risen due to restrictions and pandemic fears. As we have geared toward a more online world, your brand’s presence on the web is more important now than ever. According to Forbes, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business or brand, and 200 million users on Instagram visit business profiles daily. 70% of users turn to Instagram to look up a brand, and 60% learn about new products using Instagram. Now is the time to catch up with the competition that is already using these trends to their advantage.

Istanbul, Turkey – December 15, 2018: Person holding a brand new Apple iPhone X with Instagram profile on the screen. Instagram is an online mobile social networking service, launched in October 2010.

5 Ways to Improve Your B2B Marketing Strategy

B2B marketing can be a challenging endeavor, especially if you don’t have a clear cut marketing strategy in place. To have any hope of running a successful B2B marketing campaign, you’ll need to establish what your goals are. Once you’ve done so, you should implement marketing strategies that will support those goals and help you achieve them. The following are five B2B marketing tips that you should use to help improve your marketing efforts.

Free Digital Marketing Tools To Cope With COVID-19

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

No in-person events until 2nd half of 2021, marketers say

According to a recent Marketing Land survey of 300 people, 3 out of 10 people responded that they anticipate attending in-person events in the first half of 2021. In another survey, 70% of respondents plan to attend solely online events until a Covid-19 vaccine emerges.

U.S. Mobile Ad Spending Update

In March, E Marketer’s Mobile Ad Spending Report forecasted that the pandemic would cause a 20% increase in mobile ad spending, but they have now updated this expectancy and reduced it to 4.8% growth. Among mobile advertising results, location-based advertising has suffered, and gaming and streaming video apps have done well. This year’s lost growth in mobile ad spending will affect overall spending through at least 2024.

COVID-19 Is the Asteroid That Struck American Small Business

Positive news regarding the virus is 78% of small businesses report being able to survive 7 to 12 months or more with existing cash on hand, and 57% could last over a year. Restaurants suffered primarily, as there were over 133,000 business closures total and of the 26,000 Yelp restaurants that have been closed since March, 60% were now permanently closed. A majority of 92% of businesses report pivoting strategy in at least one way form the pandemic. The most common change was a creation of delivery channel, and 96% of businesses reported planning to keep some new services and channels post-pandemic, while 43% will maintain all changes. Find out more on Search Engine Land.

 

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5 Ways to Improve Your B2B Marketing Strategies

B2B marketing can be a challenging endeavor, especially if you don’t have a clear cut marketing strategy in place. To have any hope of running a successful B2B marketing campaign, you’ll need to establish what your goals are. Once you’ve done so, you should implement marketing strategies that will support those goals and help you achieve them. The following are five B2B marketing tips that you should use to help improve your marketing efforts:

email marketing metrics 31. Streamline Your Email Marketing

Effective email marketing is vital to your ability to convert subscribers into leads and leads into customers. It’s estimated that 83 percent of B2B businesses have an email newsletter strategy. In addition, 40 percent of businesses believe newsletters are the most important component of their content marketing efforts. To get the most out of your email marketing strategy, you need to streamline it. This means that you should segment your email list so that you can personalize your messaging and target subscribers more effectively. Doing so will help ensure that your email campaigns are relevant to your email list, making it easier to nurture your leads.

2. Enhance Your Online B2B Marketing Presence With SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is essential to putting your business in a position to be found by potential B2B clients. Many businesses will begin searching for information or solutions through Google. If you have a strong SEO strategy in place, your website will receive more exposure on Google’s SERP (search engine results page). This will bring in more organic traffic from Google. To receive the most exposure on Google’s SERP, you will need to rank high on their page. Most people will click on one of the top three results and rarely ever go past the first page. By optimizing your website for SEO, you will boost your page rankings. The following are a few SEO factors that contribute to Google’s page rankings:

  • Keyword use

Keywords help provide Google with information about what your website content is about. You need to use keywords that are relevant to your content and that are competitive, meaning that you have a chance to rank well compared to other websites ranking for the same keywords. Your keywords also need to match your user intent to ensure that they are actually being used by people who are in your target audience. Finally, you’ll need to properly optimize your site using these keywords, such as by using them in your titles, headers, body content, anchor text, alt image tags, meta titles, and more.

  • User engagement

High user engagement indicates that the content is of high quality, which is why Google pays attention to certain factors that indicate high user engagement, such as social signals (shares and likes), comments, and backlinks.

  • User experience

User experience is another element that indicates quality. Technical issues, such as slow-loading pages, hinder the user experience. As such, you need to make sure your website is technically sound.

8 Ways That You Can Improve Your SEO

3. Know Your Audience

One of the ways in which B2B marketing differs from B2C marketing is that B2B clients are much more specific. B2C companies tend to have more general audiences that they can market to. Because B2B companies have to target a more specific type of client, you will need to figure out who exactly your audience is. To do this, you should develop your buyer personas. Buyer personas are representations of your ideal clients. They help you define the different types of clients that make up your target audience. You can then use your buyer personas to guide all of your marketing efforts. For example, when creating content, you can make sure that the content you’re creating is relevant to at least one of your buyer personas. Additionally, you’ll be able to make sure that you address your entire audience by making sure to create content that’s relevant to all of your buyer personas.

4. Measure Your B2B Marketing Online Performance

Not all of your marketing efforts may achieve the success you were hoping for. However, the only way to judge your marketing performance is through various analytics tools to monitor key metrics. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine what is working and adapt accordingly. The ability to adjust your strategy mid-campaign can help ensure that you’re not wasting resources on tactics that aren’t effective. In the end, measuring your online performance is critical to achieving a high ROI on your B2B marketing.

5. Take Advantage Of Referral Marketing

Capturing leads and converting customers requires you to build trust. One of the best ways to build trust is through another customer’s referral. Implementing a referral marketing strategy can help you attract new leads through word of mouth of existing and past customers. To do so, you should give existing customers an incentive to provide referrals, such as a discount on a product or service.

These are five B2B marketing tips that can enhance your marketing campaign. Keep in mind that you should continuously monitor and adjust your B2B marketing strategies as needed. Doing so will help ensure that you’re not pouring resources into tactics that aren’t working out for you and will help you achieve a higher ROI in the long run.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

30 Ways to Boost Instagram Engagement & Following

Looking for ways to boost your social media brand presence? Knowing how to increase brand engagement on Instagram, the latest and hippest social media platform app, is a great start. People are online all day due to working from home. Virtual shopping has risen due to restrictions and pandemic fears. As we have geared toward a more online world, your brand’s presence on the web is more important now than ever.

Why Instagram?

According to Forbes, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business or brand, and 200 million users on Instagram visit business profiles daily. 70% of users turn to Instagram to look up a brand, and 60% learn about new products using Instagram. Now is the time to catch up with the competition that is already using these trends to their advantage.

Here is a compilation of our 30 best marketing tips for businesses to grow Instagram engagement and following in 2020:

Instagram Profile and Posting Habits

  1. Get to know the Instagram app and master how to use its basic features such as uploading posts and stories.
  2. Write a compelling Instagram bio and integrate it into your brand personality.
  3. Keep posts visually consistent to meet your brand’s style guide and tone.
  4. Incorporate categorized pinned stories on your Instagram page so it is easily navigable and can be used as a resource for sharing your brand identity to consumers.
  5. Optimize captions using brand hashtags and relevant hashtags with high popularity. (Determine if a hashtag is trending by typing the hashtag in the instagram search bar to see how many posts come up with the hashtag.)
  6. Use tools such as Hashtagsforlikes to optimize hashtags to use for your business sector.
  7. Create and promote a specific branded hashtag for a campaign. Encourage others to share the hashtag with it theming around a relevant, trending topic that consumers are passionate about.
  8. Use local hashtags and geotags on posts in order to attract local users on Instagram in a similar way SEO works for the web.
  9. Post consistently with both posts and stories, including videos, polls, and other interactive elements to keep followers engaged and entertained with your content. 
  10. Start conversations using Instagram stories stickers and polls.
  11. Schedule Instagram stories to generate more views.
  12. Keep in mind that 40% of Instagram videos do not have sound on, so ensure you caption relevant verbal content.
  13. Convert instagram followers into email subscribers by making your Instagram a business account and promoting your email subscriptions in your Instagram posts and stories.
  14. Monitor your tagged photos to ensure a good reputation, and un-tag your account on posts that are irrelevant or spam, so they do not appear on your profile.
  15. Add a link to instagram stories in order to generate website traffic.
  16. Use humor through gif’s and memes to execute your brand message through a creative angle.

Increasing your Instagram following

  1. Optimize SEO on instagram by paying vital attention to your Instagram handle and name. It is very important that your handle (@…) reflects your business industry. Try to make it short, sweet, and with relevant words. The account name should reflect the account handle and industry because it is what Instagram checks its searches against when users type a word or emoji in the search bar.
  2. Partner with micro influencers.
  3. Run a contest, giveaway, or raffle entry through your account page.
  4. Invest in Instagram ads, which targets customers with personalization and buyer persona techniques.
  5. Create “savable” content, or posts that are aesthetically pleasing, informationally useful or relevant. This will entice followers to save the content to their library and increases the chances of further brand awareness. Simultaneously, creating desirable content provides people a reason to continue following your page and share your content.
  6. Participate in popular conversations on accounts with high following and public relevance in order to get your instagram handle out there and quickly generate new followers.
  7. Encourage followers to re-share your Instagram stories through incentives of discount promotion codes and/or contests.
  8. Open up about your business with a weekly featured vlog of the day in the life of an employee, an interesting biographical picture and captioned story of the founders, or inspirational quote from the CEO.
  9. Follow relevant accounts and users following competition in your industry to gain followers back.
  10. Promote your Instagram on other social media accounts. Feature your Instagram account in your Twitter and Facebook bios, and make a post promoting your Instagram page with a link.
  11. If your Facebook has many likes or followers already, consider linking your Facebook and Instagram together to boost your Instagram following.

6 Social Media Trends to Follow in 2020

Keeping Track of your Instagram Performance

  1. Ensure your account is in business mode to automatically receive valuable insights and analytics on how your posts are doing.
  2. Regularly test and analyze new content to post to your Instagram.
  3. Use a free follower tracking app to regularly unfollow accounts that do not follow yours back in order to maintain a good follower/following ratio while continuously following new accounts.

We hope these 30 tips with various resources serve you well on your journey to becoming an Instagram lead-generation powerhouse. Happy “gram-ing”!

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6 Tips for Choosing an Advertising Agency

Marketing your company is a must if you have any hope for success. Unfortunately, marketing your company effectively can be very time-consuming and can require a significant amount of resources. It’s why many businesses choose to outsource to an advertising agency. There are many reputable agencies out there to choose from; however, there are also plenty of agencies that can do more harm than good. To make sure that the money you spend on an agency will actually translate to real results, use the following tips to hire the right advertising agency:

1. Find an Advertising Agency That Focuses on Cultureadvertising agency

There are a lot of different factors that you should consider when comparing advertising agencies. However, one of the most important ones is the cultural fit. Make sure that the agency you hire shares the same core values as your business. A good agency that shares your values will be more collaborative and innovative. You should be able to get some sense of their culture by observing their work environment as well. If people seem active and cheerful at the same time, it’s a good sign.

2. Consider The Agency’s Talent

Arguably as important as an agency’s culture is their talent. Without talent, their culture will only take you so far. You want to work with an agency that isn’t conservative. This means that they’re not always looking to play it safe. You want an agency that’s ambitious and that is constantly looking to improve its abilities. You’ll also want to make sure that they are technologically literate. Speak with their HR team to learn about the types of people they tend to look for and hire. You should also look at their turnover rate. A high turnover rate tends to be an issue. It means that they’re either not hiring the right type of talent or that their talent tends to look elsewhere because the agency is a bad fit.

3. Don’t Rule Out Agencies Based On Location

Don’t limit your search for an advertising agency to your location. Location no longer means that much. After all, you don’t need to have in-person meetings with your agency all that often. In today’s connected world, it’s easy to keep in touch using email, online chat, video conferencing, and by phone. Additionally, it can actually benefit your company to look for an agency that’s outside of your area as it could provide you with an outside perspective. Such a perspective can really help freshen up your marketing efforts. By limiting your search to your location, you’ll limit your access to quality agencies and unique perspectives.

4. Don’t Rely Solely on RFPs

RFPs (requests for proposals) can be quite helpful, but you shouldn’t base your decision solely on an RFP. Many agencies excel at RFPs but only because they are opportunistic. When you review an RFP, speak with the agency’s leadership to get a feel for how passionate they are about the work that they do. Ask them about some of their greatest successes as well as some of their failures. The way an agency talks about their past failures can be very enlightening. After all, you’ll want an agency that is willing to reflect on its failures and learn from them.

5. Don’t Make Low Prices Your Main Priority

If you’re working with a limited advertising budget to begin with, you might be tempted to go with the agency that offers the most affordable rates. However, keep in mind that like with most things, you get what you pay for. If you go with the cheapest agency, it may result in lower quality work. They may even cut corners, which is the last thing you want when it comes to implementing a successful long-term advertising strategy.

6. Look Into Their Track Record

Do a little research into an agency’s past and current clients to get an idea of how effective they are as an advertising agency. If the agency has been around for a while, take note of its long-term clients. Clients that have stuck with them for a long time are a good indication of the agency’s quality and commitment. If an agency has a large turnover when it comes to clients, it’s often a bad sign. Be sure to ask the agency for references that you can contact as well.

Interactive Speaking & Marketing Consulting Experiences

Outsourcing your marketing efforts is generally a good way to save money over the long run and to ensure that you have an experienced team that you can rely on. Unfortunately, not all advertising agencies are reliable or even reputable, for that matter. As such, make sure that you use these six tips to find an advertising agency that will work closely with you to help you achieve your specific marketing goals.

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Inbound Marketing B2B 1

6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs B2B Inbound Marketing

There are many B2B companies that continue to advertise using more traditional methods, such as TV commercials, magazine ads, cold calls, and more. While traditional marketing can be effective, it’s a good idea to implement a variety of different marketing strategies. This includes inbound marketing. The main difference between inbound marketing and traditional marketing (often referred to as outbound marketing) is that with inbound marketing you’re putting yourself in the position to be found by prospects, whereas with outbound marketing, the goal is to find prospects and to advertise to them directly. If you haven’t implemented an inbound marketing B2B strategy yet, the following are six reasons to do so:

1. Increase Brand Awareness

As any company knows, increasing brand awareness is critical to growing your business. Inbound marketing provides numerous opportunities to generate awareness for your brand. Having a website that you post content to that’s optimized for SEO (search engine optimization) will help to increase your company’s page rankings on Google, thereby increasing exposure to Google’s users. Establishing a social media presence will help you engage with followers, who will then share, like, or comment on the content you post to social media, which helps drive exposure even further. Inbound marketing also tends to have a snowball effect when it comes to brand awareness. The more you continue to create content and post, the more awareness of your brand will increase.

2. Build Brand Authority

While generating brand awareness is certainly important, you will also want to build the reputation of your brand as a company that clients can trust and depend on. Inbound marketing can achieve is in many ways. First of all, by creating relevant content that addresses the needs of your target audience, you help to build authority within your industry. The more authority you have, the more trusted you will be. You can also generate authority by engaging with followers on social media, such as by addressing questions and participating in relevant discussions.

3. Generate More Leadsinbound marketing b2b 2

Without leads you cannot generate sales. Inbound marketing encompasses a variety of different tactics that can help you generate more leads. These tactics include SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. Effective inbound marketing strategies are capable of generating high-quality traffic to your website and ensuring that the content that’s available on your website will help to nurture visitors through the buyer’s journey, enabling you to convert your leads and eventually turn them into customers.

4. Educate Your Prospects

The more a prospect knows about their own needs and challenges as well as the solutions that will best address those needs and challenges, the more likely they will consider the product or service that you have to offer. Inbound marketing gives you the opportunity to create content that will educate prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey. The idea is to let your prospects find the information that you offer and educate themselves at their own pace. This way, they do not feel the pressure to purchase until they are ready to choose a solution. The ability to educate your prospects will not only help get you closer to a sale, but it will also build your brand authority.

Similar Article: Top 3 Ways to Maximize Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

5. Improve Understanding Of Your Audience

You can learn a lot about your audience via inbound marketing. For example, you can gather information on prospects and customers through your opt-in forms, through questionnaires and surveys, through social media engagement, and by tracking their online behavior. You can use this information to better understand who your customers are and what their needs, goals, and challenges are. As a result, you’ll be able to develop buyer personas that you can then use to more effectively target your inbound marketing efforts.

6. Increase Long-Term ROI

Even if you run very successful outbound marketing strategies, there will always be one major drawback: more traditional marketing efforts tend to be short-term strategies. This means that once a campaign has finished, you’ll have a good idea of what the ROI was for that campaign. The thing about inbound marketing B2B strategies is that they are long-term. Even if the ROI seems low at first, it will grow over time as you adjust and improve your tactics. For example, the content you post to your website will live there forever. Which means it can have an impact years after it’s been published.

Inbound marketing has often been touted as essential for B2C companies, but it can be just as beneficial for B2B companies if properly implemented. These are six reasons why you should implement an inbound marketing B2B strategy. And once you do, you’ll realize that there are many other benefits over the long run as well.

30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips

Tailoring The B2B Sales Funnel To Meet Your Needs

When it comes to the B2B sales funnel, there are three main stages: awareness, consideration and the decision stage. The funnel represents the journey that the customer takes from start to end. However, the B2B sales funnel isn’t necessarily set in stone. It can be modified to fit your business’s needs as long as it contains aspects of the three main stages. By customizing the sales funnel to meet your company’s specific needs, you’ll be able to identify what stage your customers are in more effectively, thereby making it easier to determine who they need to be in contact with and what actions need to take place.

With all this in mind, the following is an example of how the B2B sales funnel can be slightly modified. While still retaining aspects of the three main stages, the following B2B sales funnel consists of five stages.

1. The Lead Generation Stage

The lead generation stage is a part of the awareness stage. It’s during this stage that leads who may not know who you are or what you do are introduced to your company. They may not even know what their exact pain point is at this time, which means presenting a solution during this stage is premature. Instead, your goal should be to attract their attention and to establish your authority within your industry by producing high-quality content and establishing a presence online in the form of a website as well as social media pages.

2. The Lead Nurturing Stage

The lead nurturing stage is an extension of the awareness stage that ends up moving into the initial part of the consideration stage. It’s during this stage that you nurture your leads by continuing to educate them about your company and to inform them about the problem or pain point that they have. It’s during this stage that you will begin qualifying your leads.

Not all leads will be good prospects. Using lead scoring software, you can score leads based on actions they take during the lead generation and nurturing stages. For example, if they are spending a lot of time on your website, have returned multiple times, and have downloaded a free eBook and filled out a form, then you might want to qualify them as they have indicated a certain level of interest in your company.

When you qualify a lead, you need to make sure that they have expressed interest in one way or another, have a need for what you’re selling, have a budget to afford what you’re selling, and have the decision-making power within their company to actually make a purchase.

Read More: How Marketing Automation Can Improve Your Lead Nurturing Process

3. The Initial Meeting Stage

Once you have qualified a prospect, it’s time to engage directly with them. This is the initial meeting stage. Depending on how you structure your sales funnel, this initial meeting can come in a variety of different forms. For example, it could be a discovery call, a direct sales pitch, or a formal product or service demonstration. The idea is to establish the groundwork for a relationship and build trust with the prospect. They may not be ready to buy just yet. This stage is the second half of the consideration stage.

4. The Closing Stage

The closing stage is the stage in which you close the deal. It’s essentially the decision stage. At this point, the prospect should be making the decision to do business with your company. To ensure that you close, you want to align your priorities with theirs, secure their commitment, and continue to nurture the relationship with them until they make a decision.

5. The Retention Stage

Whereas standard sales funnels tend to end at the decision stage, your business with a new customer doesn’t end with the purchase. Remember, retaining the customer is of vital importance, which is why there should be a retention stage. Nurturing your relationship with your customers after the decision stage will help ensure that they continue doing business with them. Additionally, the stronger your relationship grows, the more likely they are to refer your company to other potential customers. This is a more cost-effective way to attract new leads since you’ll essentially be able to skip the first stage due to the referral.

This example shows how you can modify the standard sales funnel to create a funnel that better represents your B2B needs. As long as it retains some aspects of the standard three stages and the funnel is modified to help you better understand what part of the journey your customers are on and what their needs are, it should remain effective.

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b2b email marketing

Exploring The Differences Between B2C and B2B Email Marketing

How you market your brand depends greatly on who your audience is, which is why b2c (business to consumer) and b2b (business to business) marketing are very different strategies. As such, your email marketing strategy is going to depend heavily on whether or not you’re marketing b2b or b2c. The following are some of the differences between b2c and b2b email marketing to keep in mind:

Optimal Send Time

Knowing when to send your emails has a big impact on whether or not they’re opened. B2c customers are more likely to check their emails in the evenings or on the weekends since they are busy working during the day. B2b recipients are more likely to open them during work hours since they often check their work email regularly throughout the day.

Spam Filters

Spam filters work a bit differently with b2b and b2c customers. B2b customers often use filters that check for certain keywords before deciding whether to inbox the email or automatically sort it into the junk folder. With b2c customers, it’s more about building a good sending reputation with minimal complaints.

Personalization And Segmentation

While personalization and segmentation are important for both, they’re a bit different. With b2c customers, you’ll want to personalize products and content based on individual taste. With b2b customers, personalization should be a bit more subtle, such as by highlighting new stories within their industry or providing case studies that match their needs.

How Customers Respond

B2b customers buy from people, whereas b2c customers buy from brands. This means that when you send emails to b2b customers, you should expect a potential reply. Make sure that you include contact information, such as a phone number and who the email is from so that it’s easy for b2b recipients to reply. This isn’t as important for b2c customers.

The Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing Automation

Triggers

Using triggers to automate emails to your b2c customers helps to drive them back to your website. However, email triggers don’t work as well for b2b customers. Instead, use triggers for phone calls from your sales team instead.

Buying Cycles

B2b buying cycles are typically longer than b2c buying cycles. This is because you’re not just nurturing a single type of customer like you would in a b2c situation. Instead, you’re having to nurture a group of decision makers. Not to mention that in b2c situations, customers are more likely to make faster decisions based on emotion.

The Role of Content

Because buying cycles are longer in b2b situations, your customers will benefit more from educational and non-promotional forms of content, such as white papers, whereas b2c customers might be more moved to action by testimonials and case studies right off the bat.

These are some of the differences between b2c and b2b email marketing that you should know before crafting your email marketing campaign. The last thing you’ll want to do is to use b2c tactics for your b2b email marketing strategy (or vice versa) since this will hurt your ability to nurture your leads.

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What’s Trending in Marketing for June 2018

Staying up-to-date on marketing trends is a great way to reflect and verify whether your marketing efforts are in tune with what’s going on in today’s marketplace. We’re aware that keeping up with these trends can often be difficult given the abundance of information thrown at us every day.

The following articles come from popular marketing blogs and highlight current marketing trends that we think are worth paying attention to:

Noteworthy Marketing News and Trends

Instagram’s New Native Payment Feature For Users

According to an article by Josh Constine on TechCrunch, Instagram’s new native payment feature will allow individuals to buy services or book appointments without having to leave the application. Users can now register their credit or debit card as part of their profile and will not be forced to go to a separate website or re-enter their payment information when purchasing a service. For businesses, this exciting feature will lead to higher conversion rates, as people will feel less inclined to quit in the middle of the checkout process and will make Instagram an even more powerful player in commerce. The potential of this feature has also enticed businesses to want to increase spending on advertising their services on Instagram.

Read our article to learn tips on how to use Instagram for your business.

Facebook’s Expansion of Reporting Options For Advertisers

Facebook’s Ads Reporting platform will be updated over June and the new changes will allow advertisers to customize their reports to their liking according to a recent write up on Marketing Land. The platform will also make things a lot easier for advertisers as it will include a side panel so they can edit ads on the same screen as the campaign page without having to switch back and forth between tables. Along with the updated platform, a new “creative reporting” metric will also be introduced and will provide users with useful information on which of the implemented creative ad elements are performing best.

Improving Your Marketing Program

Improve Your Marketing Strategy By Asking These 4 Questions

What separates a successful business from the rest? For Dan Gartlan, it’s the constant improvement and updating of marketing strategy. Updating your business’s strategy will demonstrate to consumers and competitors that you are in tune with the changes in your competitor’s messaging, methods of communication, consumer concerns, and the overall marketplace. In this article, Gartlan challenges you to reevaluate aspects of your business in relation to your marketing strategy by asking four key questions.

6 Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing continues to be a popular form of marketing and given the abundance of emails people receive daily, it’s important to make sure that your email looks good and stands out. Our own Nicole Wagner published a blog posts that offers tips on how to make the best out of your email marketing.

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

Amazon, Homebuilders Unveil Smart Home ‘Amazon Experience Center’ in California

A new partnership between Amazon and Lennar, one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S., plans to shake things up with their efforts to create pre-wired, voice-activated smart homes that will change the future for homebuyers. A recent article on Security Info Watch explores how Lennar plans to integrate Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant program into the design of the future homes they are going to construct. They have already constructed several models of these smart homes across the nation so people can experience what it would be like to live in one. Amazon and Lennar are convinced that this partnership and new creation will allow people to have greater control over their lives and could potentially make doing chores a thing of the past.

Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands in 2018

While you might believe that influencer marketing is solely for B2C brands, Michael Brito asks you to think again. Influencer marketing has proven to be efficient in increasing ROI and reaching audiences. According to Brito, the principles of influencer marketing can be also be applied to B2B markets and the implementation of it for these brands can be explained using the 1:9:90 model of influence, which has been used in the past to find, segment, and activate groups of people. By applying this model and understanding the differences between each group, you can then determine the best way to engage with influencers and encourage them to talk about your company.

social media marketing

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What’s Trending in Marketing

Keeping up with what’s trending in marketing is an important way to ensure that your marketing efforts remain up to date. Not to mention that they can provide insight into how you can adjust your marketing strategies in order to improve your results. The only problem is that keeping up with what’s trending in marketing can be quite a challenge seeing as how the online marketing landscape seems to always be shifting.

The following are a collection of articles that we have curated from some of the most notable marketing blogs on the web highlighting recent marketing trends that we think you should be aware of:

1. Noteworthy Marketing News and Trends

The power of podcasting: How to boost your reputation and search engine rankings

Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past five years, taking on the position that radio once had in our lives. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of opportunity for marketing using podcasts as a result. A recent article about podcasts published on Search Engine Land recommends establishing yourself as an authority within your field through the creation of webinars, video content, a social media presence and more. This helps build credibility so that you’ll have a better chance at being invited onto a podcast. Once you’ve built a name for yourself, you’ll want to pitch podcast ideas that can benefit your SEO efforts to podcast hosts that are relevant to your business.

YouTube’s new TrueView for Reach option makes bumper assets skippable

According to an article by Ginny Marvin on Marketing Land, YouTube recently introduced a skippable option for short-form ads that are called TrueView for Reach, which can be skipped after five seconds; however, advertisers only pay if the viewers watch 30 seconds, the viewer interacts with the ad or the video ends. YouTube has implemented this new option in response to requests for ways to optimize TruView buys based on the different campaign objectives that customers have. One of the beta testers of the TrueView for Reach option, Samsung, revealed that it reached over 50 percent more people at half the CPM (cost per thousand) using the new feature.

Google Switches to Infinite Scrolling Mobile Search Results

Google has switched from having to click from page to page on their mobile SERP (search engine results page) to being able to scroll down infinitely by clicking on a “more results” button. This could potentially change what it means to rank on the first page of SERP according to a recent write up on the new infinite scrolling feature on Search Engine Journal. However, it’s currently in a test phase, which Google will only make permanent based on user feedback.

What other trends are there? Check out these ten ways to use Google Trends to Increase SEO!

2. Growing Your Inbound Marketing

Do You Need to Redesign Your Website?

Your website plays a huge role in your ability to market effectively. If it’s been a while since you updated your website, it may be in need of a redesign. Our own Nicole Wagner did a write up recently sharing some of the signs that a website needs to be redesigned. These signs include poor web rankings, a change in branding, a lackluster conversion rate, an outdated look and a subpar user experience.

Your Company’s Core Values Play a Role in Developing Your Brand Story

Storytelling is one of the most important aspects of marketing. Without it, you’ll have trouble engaging with your audience and connecting with them. We recently published a blog post on developing your brand story detailing how important it is to employ storytelling in order to share what your company’s core values and beliefs are and how that will evoke stronger emotions and build stronger bonds with your audience.

3. Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

Pinterest reports 50% gain YoY in SMB advertisers

The Pinterest Propel ad program has been around for a whole year now and it recently reported a 50 percent jump in small and medium-sized business advertisers since it first went live. Pinterest has made a concerted effort to position their platform as an effective tool for advertisers and also revealed that businesses who are using Pinterest Propel are earning three times as many clicks than those who are not — and are even experiencing an average of 15 percent lower cost-per-clicks within the first 90 days.

Snapchat looks to offer new e-commerce options for Discover Publishers

According to a recent post on Marketing Land, Snapchat is currently testing a new e-commerce option on some of its Discover publisher channels. The new feature will allow users to swipe on products within the Discover platform in order to buy them from the Snap Store. Although they are just testing the waters, the company seems to have great ambition for its store’s future potential. Several publishers have revealed that they have tested the new feature and that currently, Snapchat is not taking a revenue share from any of the products being sold so far during the testing stage.

Facebook & Cambridge Analytica: What we know, what they knew & where that leaves us

Facebook has been all over the news as of late due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Considering the fact that many businesses leverage the use of Facebook for their marketing efforts, you’ll want to know where the future of Facebook lies. A recent article on Marketing Land goes into detail about the scandal as well as Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony in front of Congress addressing the issue of Facebook’s privacy settings and user consent.

The future of retail is Generation Z-dependent — and martech is the way to reach them

A new generation (Generation Z) is coming of age, and like every generation before them, their buying habits are different. Rohit Gupta explains how important it is for businesses to begin adjusting their marketing efforts to better target this upcoming generation by providing numerous tips. These tips include customizing the purchase journey, connecting through social media, preparing for the use of voice recognition technology, and focusing on convenient shipping options.

A GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE MOBILE MARKETING TECHNIQUES