B2B Marketing Plan

Step Your Game Up With a Better B2B Marketing Plan

Ready to take your marketing to the next level? A strong B2B marketing plan can help you attract, convert, and delight more leads on your website. For B2B businesses, building your audience consists of creating a coherent brand and talking to your audience about the things they care about in your industry. There are many different ways you can do this, but sometimes, when you’re researching new tactics or discussing strategy with a marketing professional, things can get confusing.

We’re here to help. As marketing professionals ourselves, we know that we throw around a lot of acronyms and terms that to someone outside the industry can sound like secret code. While at first, they might seem like industry jargon, these marketing buzzwords hold a lot of meaning. Stick these terms in your back pocket to look smarter in your next marketing meeting:

  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization. This is every inbound marketer’s secret weapon. If you want to bring people to your site, you have to know how to play by Google’s rules. SEO helps you create web pages that are designed to work with search engines to help you rank higher in results
  • CRO – Conversion Rate Optimization. SEO brings people to your site, CRO helps turn them into valuable leads. Researching what makes people fill out your contact forms and subscribe to your emails can help push more leads to your sales team
  • CTA – Call-to-Action. CTAs are what is going to tell your visitors what you want them to do and encourage them to do it by grabbing their attention and leading the way.
  • Organic Content – This type of content are pieces that are created by your team based on relevant topics within your industry. Bonus points if you create content directly around things you know your customers have questions about
  • Gated Content – These are highly valuable content pieces, like an eBook or a whitepaper, that have a “gate” in front of them. In exchange for the content piece, you receive some form of their personal information, like an email address, to use in future marketing strategies.

Every good B2B marketing plan includes each of these things in some way. Together they can help you create a website that caters to your audience and generates more of the right leads.

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Is it Time for a Website Overhaul?

Is it time for a new site? Part of your B2B marketing plan might be looking into website redesign. If your site isn’t current, it could negatively affect your brand by appearing outdated or not utilizing the best practices that newer sites are using today. If your competition has a newer site, your audience could choose to do business with them over you.

That being said, a website redesign is a major undertaking, and there’s a lot that goes into optimizing your site for the modern age. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, so if you’re on the fence, here’s how to tell if a redesign is a right choice for your business.

  • Check your speed – is your site loading slow? People tend to leave sites that load slower than three seconds, and even that’s pushing it
  • Create content consistently – are you blogging? Be honest. You should have a new blog up at least once a month that follows best practices to drive organic traffic
  • Be clear with your intention – do you have CTAs that clearly tell your visitor what you want from them? Are they promoting things that your audience would find valuable and helpful?
  • Use hashtags wisely – Do you have active social media accounts that link back to your site with relevant content and posts?
  • Make friends with Google – Are you optimizing the pages and posts on your site to match SEO best practices?
  • Keep it secret, keep it safe – Do you have an active SSL license on your site?

If you’re not doing some of these, or if you’re not sure what some of these are, (which is fine, you’re here to learn!) a website redesign might be a good step forward. For your site to be able to attract and convert visitors to leads, you need to be doing these things to see any success with your website in the modern age.

Get the Green Light to Move Forward

So, now you’ve looked at your website, and you’re thinking, yeah, it needs help. But how do you convince your boss that this is something you should invest in? Having this conversation isn’t always easy, but if you go into it with a plan, it can make reaching your goal easier.

If you know that it’s going to be a hard sell, try starting small to prove the benefits of inbound marketing before you take on more. Sometimes seeing how it works specifically for your business is enough to get the full okay to move forward. Suggest starting with a landing page for a campaign or an email drip to get things moving.

You might even consider a full-on trial run to prove the worth that inbound marketing can provide. Doing things in a trial period for six months makes it seem less binding, and you’ll be able to show how the effects impact your ability to generate leads over time.

When you’re talking to your boss, don’t forget to include stats that can emphasize the ROI of an inbound marketing strategy. For example, inbound marketing brings in 54 percent more leads than traditional outbound marketing. Most bosses are profit-driven, so if you show how a switch to inbound marketing will earn your business more money, you can gain some leverage.

Be prepared for there to be some pushback, and if you do end up with a “no,” don’t give up! If anything, you’ve put it on their radar, so don’t think you can’t revisit the idea in the future.

How to Create a Strong Writing Team

If you do get a yes, congratulations! The next step you should take is creating a strong writing team. Content marketing requires a lot of organic content, so you should pull together a group of strong writers.

You’re going to want to find diverse writers so that you can count on them for different things. Remember that not all writers are created equal. Some writers specialize in punch copy, which is great for websites, and others find success in long-form content which is better for your blog. Check their samples to determine where each person would fit best, and try to avoid hiring writers who don’t have any samples at all.

Once you’ve built your team, it’s better to keep them working all in one place — especially if they’re remote. While having remote writers can be better for your budget, they can be harder to manage because the only interaction you have is through the web or on the phone. Having them all work within the same software allows you to keep track of everyone’s progress.

Make sure you give everyone the same rules so that your content can all flow together. Create a copy style guide and make reading it part of your onboarding process, so you know that everyone is aware of the rules.

Creating a strong, balanced team of writers takes time, but once you get things in order, you’ll be able to have a steady stream of quality content going up on your site.

How to Turn Your Team’s Ideas into Great Content

Eventually, your ideas for content pieces might slow down, or you feel like you’re really stretching. This is normal, and when it does happen, reach out to members of your team or colleagues for ideas on what to write about.

However, often their ideas don’t follow the process that you normally take when creating content. Whether their notes aren’t clear or their idea isn’t fully fleshed out, there are ways you can turn their thoughts into a strong content piece for your website.

Before you ask them anything, create a bulleted list or outline that details exactly what you’re looking for from them. Giving them structure will help them give you more necessary information and make the process quicker and easier to get through.

Ask leading questions that will give you the exact information you’re looking for. Sometimes people can get distracted by their own ideas or just not realize that you need more details. Leading questions allow you to steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go.

If you have someone write content for you who isn’t normally a writer, make sure they have a clear and early deadline. You won’t want to wait until the last minute to edit a piece that needs a lot of work. But don’t be a jerk about it either. Encourage the things they did right rather than the parts where they struggled. This will help them understand exactly what you’re looking for and what to do in the future.

If you’re following a certain stylebook, like AP style, don’t beat them over the head with it. It’s not their job to be an expert in it. It’s yours. Give them a few small guidelines to stick to but keep the obscure rules to yourself.

In the end, be kind, they’re helping you get out of a rut so don’t be the evil editor no one wants to work with. Non-writers are your friend, and together you can continue to create great content.

How to Give Your Content Pieces New Life

As your content ages, it doesn’t have to die! Unless it’s completely irrelevant now because something changed or it’s no longer timely, you can repurpose your content to give it a second chance at driving traffic to your site.

To start, try and always create evergreen content. These are pieces that are continuously fresh and relevant for your readers no matter what, so they can constantly be used. Whenever you create a new blog post, create an email newsletter that announces it and includes a couple of relevant blogs to drive traffic to your site.

Social media is one of the best ways to repurpose content. You can easily put up a post that discusses your posts or schedule weeks or months in advance. Your social media channels can be a steady source of your content for followers so even if your post is older, it’s still being put in front of readers.

If you want to turn your blog into something new, consider creating an eBook on the topic, or submitting the idea as a guest blog to another content marketing site. If your piece has a lot of helpful information, work with your design team to create an infographic. These are great pieces to share through email and social media! You might even be able to think of a “spin-off” idea that floats off of the original post.

No blog post can last forever, but if you work on repurposing your content, your pieces will have a sustained impact on your site and business longer than a static post would.

How to Use Social Media Like a Pro

Speaking of social media, how is it currently integrated with your marketing? You need to include social media in your B2B marketing plan if you want to drive organic traffic continuously. 20 percent of organic traffic comes from social media, so if you don’t have an account yet, let’s go get started.

Not sure which to choose? Here’s some advice. While Facebook has the most users, the changes they’ve made recently have put the priority on content from friends and family, not businesses. This means that you’ll have to work harder to have eyes on your content. May we make a suggestion? Get an Instagram account. The platform is going rapidly, and while you may think it’s just for the kids, most people follow a business account, so you should jump on it while it’s hot.

And don’t tell us Instagram is too hard because, in reality, it’s not as long as you know who you’re talking to. For example, KZ Gear has a very successful Instagram account because they’re able to share content that resonates with their audience without being overly pushy about their product.

With Instagram, you have a unique opportunity to interact visually with your audience. You can show your followers who you are as a business and what your culture is all about. If you need to gain followers, consider running contests to boost engagement with your content, or look into sponsored posts to try and find your audience.

Remember that not everything is going to work, so pay attention to what gets the most likes and comments and use it to your advantage! Instagram lets you create an emotional connection with your audience by interacting with them visually. Use the 80/20 rule, or your version of it, to create a feed that delights. Share content that inspires and shows what your audience cares about, then the rest of the time, share posts that include your product or service and talk about what you do.

After you hit “post,” make sure that you’re paying attention to and responding to comments on your photos. A brand that engages is a human brand and one that your followers are more likely to trust. Talk to your customers and find out what they’re thinking about, then show it through your photos. You might even consider working with an influencer to gain even more attention for your brand.

Overall, Instagram doesn’t have to be a mystery, and it can be rewarding if you do it right. Want to learn more about creating a solid B2B marketing plan? Check out the posts below.

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