How to use B2B Marketing Techniques to win Customer Attention

Posted by frank harris on 14/02/19 10:23

How do you increase customer engagement?

customer engagementEveryone in B2B marketing is competing to capture the attention of our best prospects and customers, and that’s not easy. We’re bombarded daily with information from all sides and individually choose to let in what we care about in the moment and block out anything that just creates overload.

 

With research and buying habits from our personal lives influencing our professional lives, there’s a battle for attention that’s getting tougher to fight every day. Just like we disregard a commercial on TV or an ad in a magazine due to its lack of relevance to us, we also block out communications from brands that don’t resonate or address challenges we’re facing.

 

Engagement is the new currency in B2B marketing. When we can capture and hold the attention of our personas, we have a real opportunity to nurture and mature our relationships.

 

Here are four things to consider when trying to build trust with your audience:

  1. Focus your efforts on those you want to engage

The notion of mass communication has been proven to reduce engagement and ultimately dilute performance. Getting people to read your latest eBook or visit your website is fine, but if none of them have the potential to turn into customers, have you really achieved anything?

 

A better way is to get specific with whom you want to reach. An Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy can help focus your efforts on personas that have the highest propensity to engage with your message and turn prospects into customers at a higher rate.

  1. Target for engagement

To target for engagement, you first need to build a target account list involving your sales team. In doing so, you should answer these questions:

  • What companies are most important to achieving your revenue for the year?
  • Who are the 20% that are going to drive 80% of your results?

You can take a few different approaches to build this list: Engage a predictive analytics company; identify the vertical industries the sales and marketing teams are already targeting; or understand how strategic accounts are included in your target account list.

 

Whatever path or combination of paths you choose, you need to collaborate with your sales team and ensure they provide insight on the list based on their experience in the field.

 

Once you have your target account list, begin marketing to these accounts to increase your awareness among them. You can’t control when those accounts will evaluate solutions like yours, but you can make sure that you are top of mind when they do and that you deliver relevant, contextual content that keeps them engaged and helps throughout their journey.

 

Consider continuous campaigns that will keep you in the game but reduce waste through specific targeting.

  1. Measure by engagement

Most marketers want to focus on an attribution model that shows revenue optimising for channel and assets - and that’s a good thing. But don’t lose sight on indicators that can provide key insights into what drives that attribution.

 

Before you begin your engagement-focused campaigns, take a benchmark for 30 days to understand how your accounts are currently engaging with your campaigns. This will be imperative to understanding the impact of your marketing on those accounts.

 

Then, as your campaigns launch and complete, measure the engagement you achieved with your target accounts. The accounts that increased the most represent the lowest-hanging fruit for deeper-funnel campaigns that drive those directly attributed results.

  1. Enable sales to identify and act on engagement

Around 80% of website visitors aren’t from accounts that are likely to buy your solutions. So, focus on what matters most to the ones in the 20% - accounts that are engaged and most likely to turn into sales opportunities.

 

When there are spikes in engagement from an important audience, capitalise on and convert that engagement into business results. This can be easy to do when you have known people in your database, but it proves trickier when those triggers are anonymous.

 

It’s critical to be able to identify both types of spikes and supply sales with the intelligence they need to get ahead of the competition.

 

Leads alone are no longer adequate for your business. With limited attention spans, we must be able to drive deeper engagement with our target accounts and turn that engagement into actionable insights.

Then, we can determine our campaign performance and enable sales teams to act. Engagement - through relevance, timing and enablement - is how we will deliver the best results.

 

For more on best practices in B2B marketing for small businesses just follow the link below>>>

 

A Guide to B2B Website Marketing  for Small Businesses

Tags: b2b marketing, b2b customer leads, behavioural marketing, b2b customer experience, b2b marketing tips, b2b web personalisation, b2b behavioural marketing, b2b integrated marketing

Personalisation in B2B Email Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 08/11/18 15:25

email personalisation 1018Everyone likes the personal touch. It’s the nice feeling when someone you wouldn’t expect remembers your name or when the barista hands you your usual coffee before you order it.

 

Good B2B Email marketing is no different. It creates lasting relationships with customers by letting them know they matter and treating them as individuals.

 

Personalised emails receive 14% higher click-through rates and deliver 58% of email revenue (DMA, 2015).

 

Bombarding your personas with irrelevant email content is not only inefficient and costly, it turns the customer off. They become disengaged, key messages don’t get through and your email communications become part of the inbox.

 

By identifying which of the 4 stages of maturity, as defined below, you are at, you can ensure you are practicing all appropriate personalisation techniques, and look ahead to grow your email results.

1. Broadcasters

Your current strategy may already include

  • Utilising personalisation tags in subject line and salutation.
  • Changing the ’from’ address which appears in the inbox to a person who is familiar to the customer - people are far more likely to open an email from an individual.
  • Utilising location, age or gender in the copy to help them recognise that you appreciate who they are.

Even this of personalisation can improve the batch and blast broadcaster. Personalisation helps you show your customers that you know who they are and that you care - even if you’re still largely sending a ‘one-message-fits-all’ approach.

 

Also consider:

  • Over familiarity - most people are happy to be addressed by their first name but reconsider this if you have a formal relationship.
  • It does take more time to create personalised emails but they are more efficient at creating engagement and revenue.

2. Segmenters

Your current strategy might already include:

  • Basic information about the customer - name, gender, age and location to target content.
  • Customising images and content in email by using dynamic content blocks.
  • Creating a library of dynamic content to increase email production.
  • Being explicit about personalisation, but just be relevant.
  • Not over-complicating your segmentation. Get confident of the ROI and build from there.

Consider:

  • Introducing an email preference centre to allow customers to tell you what content they’d like to receive in their emails.
  • Personalisation within your subject lines that goes beyond the customer’s name. Integrate the name of the product they were interested in last time instead.
  • Segmenting your data to experiment with creating new segments and test them.
  • Your customer’s journey and develop an email programme that will be useful to them, depending on how long it’s been since they showed interest.
  • Using email to invite personas to help you build their profiles by supplying relevant information.

 3. Recommenders

 

Recommenders not only produce relevant content but also personalisation to encourage their next move. By analysing behavioural data, use trends to provide personalised recommendations and encourage them to move closer to the purchase, e.g.

  • Research commonalities between customers to predict future trends - ‘people who purchased this product also bought this product’.
  • Look to cross-sell or upsell to loyal customers and move customers up into higher value segments.
  • Have an emails set-up based on customers’ behaviours.
  • Segment your data beyond recency, frequency and monetary value as these have limited predictive ability.
  • Prioritise customers by how they engaged to predict who your next customer is.
  • Target lapsed customers with engagement incentives. The DMA found that a 10% increase in revenue could be attributed to re-engagement programmes.
  • Set limits on the number of times you can send an email within a timeframe

4. Predictors

Predictors can use data from their business to create seamless email communications that take into account all of their customer’s online and offline behaviours. Using sophisticated data-capture mechanisms, they have a near-complete view of the customer which allows them to create a fully personalised experience by:

  • Using data from both offline and online to fully integrate a single customer view.
  • Cutting your data based on customer personas which predict what the customer is likely to be interested in.
  • Having a clear idea what email plays in attribution and how it helps other marketing channels.
  • Knowing when customers have the highest propensity to purchase and coordinating commercial offers.
  • Giving personas the same high-standard of customer service in mobile, online and offline.
  • Deciding what data to keep and delete.
  • Email forming part of excellent customer service to make customers lives easier.
  • By remembering that as personas engage more frequently, they are likely to make more
  • transactions and generate more revenue over time.
  • Using social media integration within your email content to show customers how their friends have interacted with you, which products they’ve liked or can recommend.
  • Ensuring that email strategy is aligned with social, direct mail, web and offline for a seamless, consistent experience.

Finally

Whatever stage you’re at, email personalisation can be integrated and will undeniably improve the ROI and engagement levels.

 

Personalisation doesn’t need to be a daunting and long process, even the minimum of investment will make your email channel more efficient and less reliant on volume as your individual campaigns work harder.

 

As those involved in B2B Email marketing know, retaining existing customers is far less costly than attracting new ones. It’s personalisation and relevancy that help you create this lasting relationship that encourages loyalty.

 

For more on this and other reasons to move from Batch & Blast, download my FREE eBook from this link>>

 

Lead Generation using  your Website and SEO

Tags: b2b email marketing, b2b customers, b2b customer experience, b2b small business email marketing, b2b email lead nurturing

How to Build an B2B Online Marketing Community

Posted by frank harris on 18/10/18 10:12

b2b online marketing communityWhat differentiates you from your B2B online marketing competition? Your product and its features? The relationships you build with your clients? I think that every category has, somehow, become commoditised.

 

When you produce an innovative product, it isn’t long before your competition catches up. This leaves little for the customer to base buying decisions on apart from perceived value.

 

Also, there’s a lot content out there. Marketers are pouring more and more into content strategies, but most of the time they simply add to the content which most consumers are becoming more accustomed and immune to.

The Challenge?

If traditional marketing is old hat, how do we create a unique positioning to become the go-to supplier for our products and get a step ahead of the competition?

 

You can do it with excellent customer service and great retention strategies, but the best ways are through emotional and psychological bonds marketers can build by creating a sense of community.

 

Marketers have now realised that it’s possible to build a flourishing B2B online marketing community around values and beliefs which initially attracted them to your brand.

Why should marketers build a community around their products and brand?

  1. To Increase Perceived Value - When you increase the perceived value of your product, you increase the actual value.
  2. To Create a Content Experience - If someone visits your website and then returns on a mobile or tablet, can you identify them?
  3. To Move to The Next Stage in the Customer JourneyDespite GDPR, we’ll still give our email addresses in exchange for value. But creating an experience is key to delivering a deeper level of engagement. Marketers should build a destination so that prospects feel like they belong to a thriving community where people share their values.

What is a B2B Online Marketing Community?

The popularity of LinkedIn groups and email for discussing industry interests show that people value coming together with others in different ways. These groups are based on shared interests, values, and a desire to share content they feel is relevant to them.

 

People like asking for advice, and develop camaraderie knowing that there are people with similar experiences facing similar challenges. Thus, they build long term loyalty and trust.

 

But size isn’t always important. A micro-community with only a small number of members can be very successful if it has the right audience that is engaged.

 

How to create communities

  1. Identify your Customers

It’s important to know who your personas are. Beside demographic information age, income, and occupation, understand their lifestyles, attitudes, and beliefs. Develop your buyer personas - fictional profiles of the people who you want to sell to. They help you understand their point of view and the problems they need solving.

  1. Your Values

Besides knowing what makes your customers tick, it’s essential to understand your company’s values. An established company has developed values over time, and even a start-up has an idea of how to do things. However, values may not be explicit. Putting them into words is a good way to get them crystal clear.

  1. A Sense of Belonging

When you know your values, use them to create a sense of belonging by showing your personas how they relate to their worldview. They may not appeal to everyone, but that doesn’t matter as it can be helpful to alienate some people to strengthen the community’s sense of belonging.

  1. Opting in

Creating a shared purpose brings your customers closer. You can communicate messages using quality content e.g. online blogs, videos and articles. While some content should be freely available, customers must opt in to your community to access others.

 

Opting in is not onerous - just means providing a name, email address and perhaps signing up to your newsletter. Quality content that helps personas solve a problem is the key to encouraging them to opt in.

  1. Logging In

Logging in is a step up from opting in. People log in to access services like Facebook and Netflix - and it indicates they highly value the experience.

 

From a marketing perspective, it’s useful when customers log in because you gain more valuable data and can track people across different devices and anticipate where they’ll go and what they’ll do next. 

  1. Experience and Engagement

Once logged in, people need to feel they are getting value from the experience. They’ll return and make a long-term investment of their time in the community.

 

When developing a community, quality Not quantity is key. It’s better to have 100 members who regularly log in and contribute, than 1,000 occasionally.  Recruiting a community manager can initiate conversations, draw attention to relevant content, and introduce new members.

  1. Monetisation

Your community’s developed, your customers know and trust your brand, and share an outlook. So, you now know more about your potential customers and have an effective channel for sharing new developments with them.

 

Content develops the conversation. Don’t push too much sales information on the community immediately. It’s important to keep using great content to develop discussions, so your customers feel they are getting value. Once they trust you, they will like you, and your brand will come to mind when they have a problem to solve.

Conclusion

Brands need ongoing engagement, a way to continue the community conversation to build advocacy, engagement, and lifetime value.  You can communicate with prospects at different stages of their life cycle and promote the right content, at the right time, and in the right context - and to the right people. For more on developing content follow the link below:

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: b2b marketing agency, small business internet marketing services, b2b small business marketing, b2b online marketing, b2b customers, small business marketing strategy, b2b customer experience

What’s changed with your inbound marketing database recently?

Posted by frank harris on 23/08/18 15:37

Inbound-Marketing 0718

 

So, you guessed it, GDPR has clicked in, and you’ve cleaned up your inbound marketing contact database.

 

What does an unhealthy database or email list look like? Simply it’s one where the recipients don’t expect your email. This means they’re likely to delete it without reading it or even worse report it as spam or to the ICO.

 

So, identifying these contacts in your list is where you’ll be focussing your attention.

 

When you first uploaded your database to your CRM or inbound marketing email system the chances are you were asked a series of questions in regards to it.

 

For many CRM and email marketing providers the quality of your list is essential, as they don’t want their servers blacklisted for sending spam. The questions they ask you are usually along the lines of:

  • Does everybody on this list have a prior relationship with your business?
  • Do you have an unsubscribe list?
  • Did you purchase, rent, or lease the list from a third party?
  • Will the people on the list be expecting your email?
  • Have you emailed these contacts within the last 12 months?

These questions are pretty self-explanatory. In the context of this article the first one is probably the most important. You’ll have a much healthier inbound marketing database if the contacts on the list know you and have a prior relationship with you.

 

In that way if the contacts have signed up to hear from you or have filled out a form to download your content, i.e. they have initiated a relationship with your business. This is the best way to build your database, growing it organically with people who are interested in your business and have chosen to hear from you.

At the end of the day a contact, who you’ve inspired to request to hear from you regularly, is going to be much more valuable than someone who is receiving your content just because you’ve purchased their details.

 

So to maintain a healthy list you want to be publishing regular content that encourages new subscribers to sign-up to hear from you regularly.

 

You can also use this content to keep in touch with your database regularly so that they get used to hearing from you and expect to receive your emails on a regular basis.

 

Thirdly, don’t hide the unsubscribe option away or worse still leave it out of your emails. If people really don’t want to hear from you, it’s much better to let them unsubscribe than to annoy them with emails they’d rather not be getting.

 

That’s covering the bases of growing and nurturing your list, how can you go one better? The answer is you need to prune it.

How to improve/update your inbound marketing database

As time passes, the quality of your inbound marketing database will diminish. People change their jobs, their interests evolve, they change email providers or unsubscribe from your list. The changes are likely to be affecting around 25% of your list every year. That’s why you need to be running regular campaigns to re-engage your existing contacts and develop new contacts. It is similar to pruning a tree, clears out the dead wood to help it bear more fruit. By clearing out your email list you’ll get better results from it.

 

Re-engagement campaigns are the most effective way of pruning your database. The idea is to reawaken inactive subscribers and identify the email addresses in your database that should be removed. It’s much better to clear out inactive email addresses than kid yourself that your email database is bigger than it actually is.

 

You want to focus re-engagement campaigns on stale contacts. Stale contacts are the ones that have been on your list for a long time, but aren’t engaging with your emails by opening, reading or clicking through from them. Ideally you want to get into the habit of running these campaigns regularly to keep your database clear.

 

The first step is to create sub-list of contacts that haven’t been engaging with your content. How strict you are on this will be down to your business. If you haven’t done this before, a good starting point would be to send regular emails to identify and create a list of anyone who hasn’t engaged with your emails in the last 6 months.

 

When you’ve done this you’ll want to design and write an email with a well-crafted offer to attract these inactive contacts to engage with you again. Remember they haven’t been engaging with you recently – so your offer is going to need to grab their attention and reawaken their interest – make it good.

 

After you’ve sent your email you’ll need to assign time to study the open and click-through-rates to understand which contacts to keep and which is to be removed from your lists. The first time you do it, removing contacts will be as painful as throwing out a beloved item of clothing that you haven’t worn in two years. It’s tough, but you need to make the space for something better. Don’t worry it’ll get easier the more you do it – especially when you start seeing the improvements in your engagement rates.

Get started today

I’ve outlined what you need to do to keep your inbound marketing contact database healthy and I’m sure you’re keen to take action.

 

First, work out how you want to segment inactive contacts, e.g. those that haven’t engaged with your emails in the last 6 months and create the appropriate list.

 

Design the offer that is going to attract them back in - perhaps with exclusive content or a great offer to relight their fire. Remember it has to be good to get them to re-engage.

 

When you’ve decided on the offer, it’s time to craft an email that’ll stand out in their inbox and motivate them to take the next step.

 

Then send the email and analyse the results. Remember don’t be afraid to remove those contacts that didn’t engage – it’ll be a weight of your shoulders.

 

For more on how to use your nice new CRM to get the best marketing results, just download my eBook from the link below>>>

 

Nurturing Leads in  Small Business Marketing 

Tags: inbound marketing, b2b email marketing, inbound marketing campaign, small business email marketing, b2b customer experience, b2b crm

Become your B2B Customers Experience Leader

Posted by frank harris on 01/08/18 15:26

knowcustomers

Increase Sales from B2B Customers

B2B customers are increasingly demanding richer and more ‘consumer type’ customer experiences. Streamlined digital access to information, influencers and channels has fuelled this demand, blurring traditional marketing-purchase-service paths, and empowering B2B customers to continuously evaluate organisations and the promises they make around their products and services. As B2B buyers increasingly imitate the shopping habits of consumers, B2B brands need to rethink customer experience.

 

According to a recent Accenture report, less 23% of B2B companies are implementing effective customer experience programmes and achieving higher revenue growth as a result. The vast majority, however, are missing the mark. Those in this group report an average annual revenue decline of -0.1%.

Barriers to Success

So, what’s holding them back? The research found that while 86% of B2B executives consider the customer experiences provided during sales and service interactions to be very important, only 40% put customer experience at the top of their list of strategic priorities. With less than a quarter achieving strong returns from experience-related investments, the rest are either losing money or simply treading water.

 

It’s apparent many B2B companies are just paying lip service to customer experience. One explanation is that initiatives to improve customer experience fall to managers in sales and service roles. The topic is rarely discussed by directors.

 

B2B companies are also less mature than their B2C counterparts when it comes to creating a strategic vision, developing customer understanding, and using digital to effectively engage customers. Simply put, many B2B companies lack the skills and capabilities to change the customer experience in a positive way.

Less than 32% of executives say they are well-equipped with the skills, tools and resources needed to deliver the desired B2B customer experience.

How Leaders of Customer Experience Succeed

The research identified three groups of B2B organisations – leaders, strivers and laggards – with each group characterised by their ability to plan and execute customer experience and deliver annual revenue growth. 23% of organisations are leaders 58% are strivers the rest being laggards.

 

Leaders stand out by consistently and significantly outperforming their peers in customer experience with both strong strategies and execution abilities. These organisations do customer experience ‘right’ and enjoy higher than average revenue growth. Comparatively, strivers achieve an average of 6% annual revenue growth. Leaders also stand out by viewing after-sales service as a critical part of the customer lifecycle, as well as investing in both new digital technologies and traditional customer connection points.

Re-evaluating Customer Experience

Those looking to re-energise their customer experience results should look to refresh their digital strategy, using new digital capabilities as the catalyst across the customer journey. They can do so by following these steps:

  1. Elevate the customer experience to the board: By talking about it at board level and educating executives about the value that can come from getting customer experience right, it is more likely to become a strategic priority. And once it truly becomes a priority, investment will more likely follow.
  2. Identify and develop the skills needed to bring the vision of customer experience to life: Follow the lead of B2C companies by focusing on both traditional and digital capabilities. Research shows that B2B companies that generate the highest returns from their customer experience investments invest twice as much as their peers in traditional capabilities such as contact centres, field service processes and tools, and CRM systems. These leaders also invest more – and more broadly – in digital enablement.
  3. Measure the return on B2B customer experience investments: The value of customer experience can be measured in several ways, including ratings of customer satisfaction. B2C companies often link such customer satisfaction indicators to compensation. There’s no reason why B2B companies can’t do the same.
  4. Stay committed: Once customer experience becomes a priority, it is imperative to maintain investment, even when other business issues that demand attention – and funding – arise. Improving the B2B customer experience is a marathon, not a sprint.

B2B companies that are faking their commitment to customer experience can’t do so for much longer. It’s time for those who say they appreciate the importance of customer experience put money – and attention – where their mouths are. If they don’t, their customers will switch to providers who offer the seamless interactions and multi-channel experiences they now demand.

 

So how do you start? Have you got a great CRM to see interactions? No. Well, read the following to understand the whys, hows and whats of CRMs:

 

Nurturing Leads in  Small Business Marketing 

Tags: B2B lead generation, b2b customers, b2b customer experiences, b2b customer experience

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