According to Forrester research, B2B interactive market spending will increase to $4.8 billion in 2014.
Your goal, as a marketer, is to use those dollars wisely and ensure your strategies are attracting a large audience. One of the biggest challenges to B2B marketers is finding that perfect strategy that rides the line between being entertaining and informative.
What will draw in that new customer and keep him? Luckily, with an accurate analysis of what works well and what doesn't work at all, you can make sure you are appealing to your audience and taking care of their needs.
Remember to do the following:
- Know your audience -- Every marketer must know the marketplace. Demographics play a key role in what tone to take with your audience. Age, gender, income, social class, and lifestyle are highly influential in how a customer will respond. Keep these in mind when creating your plan. Use the tools at your disposal to see what email messaging works for you in certain demographics. Use Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) on your website. Many times, the things that seem like surefire methods miss the mark. Other times, those little details that seemed inconsequential brought in your biggest on-site audience. Know your data, and use it to grow your business.
- Engage your audience -- See which landing pages are serving up high bounce rates via your analytics tool. Don't guess! Know what performs well, and what needs change. You have a limited amount of time to truly grab your new customers, so use it wisely. Be direct in your messaging, especially when email marketing, and then test that marketing strategy. Videos that explain a product or service can be a great tool to concisely communicate to an audience, and they decrease bounce rate at the same time. Animations and pictures help to split up pages with large amounts of copy into reader-friendly chunks. It is also crucial to make sure you have the latest news possible. No one wants to read yesterday's news.
- Entertain your audience -- Gamification is the next big thing. Like the leader boards at a sporting event, leader boards in business are a universal way to convey to your fans and customers that a "game" is actively being played, and they are a major part of it. Reward users with points, or prizes, for carrying out simple tasks. You're depending on the social network of business, so make sure that your customers are recognized on social sites for their skills. A demonstrable, fun reward for a specific activity can easily be socialized with others. You can create an almost limitless set of attractive visual objects that can be "sewn" on to a user's social graph, such as a Facebook wall or Twitter stream, so that you can maximize their participation. More recognition means they will be more likely to communicate how great your site or product is to all of their contacts. It's a win-win situation.
- Respect your audience -- It seems simple, but remember this. Do not add users to a mailing list without their permission. Do not say a product is free to get people signed on, and then charge for the product. Do not send big, bold sales letters promising the earth and all the treasures upon it. Do not play annoying ads over videos. Recognize what strategies would send you bolting the other way -- chances are, your potential customers feel the same way. Think about what you enjoy about your browsing and site experiences, and incorporate those into your plan. Remember that a solid and unique business model and reliable research form the true foundation that can lead you to your goals.
If you're going to spend more on B2B marketing strategies -- and it seems apparent that we all will -- make sure your dollars count. Maximize the return on your investment by truly putting yourself in your customers' shoes.
The more engaging you are with them, the more engaging they'll be with you.
Photo credit: activerain.com
About the Author: Louis Rix is the marketing director for Netcars.com, one of the fastest-growing online automotive sites in the UK. He is also director of Carfinance247.co.uk, the UK's leading car finance broker.