10 Key Components of a Winning Digital Marketing Plan
For a B2B company to succeed today, they will need to make their online presence felt. In the past, events, conferences, magazines, and advertising could get companies in front of prospective buyers. While these tactics are still important, it is vital that they are supported by a comprehensive digital marketing plan.
Modern B2B buyers are less likely to be swayed by expensive advertising campaigns. Instead, they are more inclined to conduct their own research online regarding potential tools and services that can help their business grow. Research has shown that buyers will complete as much as 60% of the traditional sales process before the sales rep is engaged. This time is spent researching vendors online, weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of each offering.
An effective digital marketing plan can make all the difference when it comes to swaying key decision makers towards your product or service. To give your digital marketing plan the best chance at success, it is important that it contains the following components.
1. Value Messaging
Your company’s value messaging will be the foundation on which your digital marketing plan will be built. Your digital marketing content should speak to the needs of potential buyers and introduce the value of your product or service. Before you create any content, you should be clear on your company’s value messaging.
2. Content Types
There are many types of content around which to base your digital marketing plan. Some of the most important pieces include:
- Blog Posts: Blogs have an important role to play in B2B companies. You can use your blog to get across your company POV. Easy to update and maintain, blogging can also drive your SEO strategy. If you want to build an individual within your company’s leadership into something of a thought leader in your field, your blog is the ideal platform for regular opinion pieces which can achieve this aim.
- Case Studies: Case studies will lend some credibility to your product or service. By demonstrating the proven potential of your product, you are much more likely to win new business. The biggest fear of key decision-makers is introducing software that doesn’t deliver ROI. Case studies that showcase the success of your product can help to allay these fears. Ideally, you will want to create case studies for each industry you are targeting.
- eBooks: eBooks provide a chance to go into more depth on a particular subject and educate potential buyers. By building up a reputation for thought leadership in a particular area, you can start to develop a degree of trust with prospects.
- Newsletters: Low cost, with proven ROI, newsletters are becoming an increasingly popular component of a digital marketing plan. To get the best results from email marketing, you should segment your database to deliver targeted content to the right people.
- Webinars: Not only will webinars help you to generate leads, they can also help to build a relationship with potential buyers. By providing high quality and engaging webinar content, you can start to realize these benefits at relatively low cost.
- Infographcs: Infographics can be used to transform a complicated premise into an easy to consume piece of visual content. By providing an embed code alongside your infographic, you can also start to realize some SEO benefits. Remember, 90% of the information that comes to the human mind is visual in nature. Make the most of our love for visuals by making infographics an important component of your digital marketing plan.
- Press Releases: Press releases can be picked up by other publications, bringing some welcome attention on your company. You can also help to build links which will help your SEO strategy. Take care as you put together press releases. They are not necessarily cheap and, because they are so common, it might be difficult to stand out. Research by Dan Zarrella has shown that press releases with embedded pictures and links to video content can increase engagement by 18% for pictures and 55% for videos.
- Landing Pages: Much of your digital marketing plan will be based on driving website visitors to landing pages where they can fill out a form and download free content. Some tips to boost conversion rates include streamlining the form fields, creating powerful calls to actions (CTAs), and including customer testimonials on the page as social proof. You should A/B test each element of your landing pages to help uncover what works best.
3. Marketing Automation
Equipping your team with the best marketing plan software is vital. Marketing automation tools and services like HubSpot, Eloqua, and Marketo can act as the system of record for your team. Using these services you can manage each campaign, create landing pages and emails, track website visitors, and send alerts to your sales team as leads are generated.
4. Sales Enablement
Sales enablement is an area that continues to grow in importance. Sales enablement is concerned with the systems and processes that equip sales reps with the right content whenever and wherever it is needed. Sales enablement software is also an important component of your digital marketing plan because it ensures your content investment is not wasted.
5. Content Management
So much of your digital marketing plan will center around high-quality content. Unless your content management system is sufficiently equipped to handle a high volume of content your marketing plan will suffer. Look towards content management tools and/or systems to integrate with existing workflows and systems. Your content management should also be able to integrate seamlessly with new processes and systems in the likelihood of a re-org.
6. SEO strategy
The higher you place in search engine rankings the better chance you have of success with your digital marketing plan. There are a number of items to consider as you develop your SEO strategy. Consider the type of search terms potential buyers would use as they search for the type of enterprise software you offer. Once you have gathered a list of keyword search terms, you can start to develop the content required to start climbing up those search results. SEO content will take the form of blog posts, how-to guides, glossary pages, and best of lists.
7. Social Media Strategy
Social media has an important role to play in your marketing plan. Research from IDG Connect shows that 86% of B2B buyers currently use social media in their purchase decision process. Effective social media tactics can help you to promote your content. If you mention a high profile company or thought leader positively in your content, it is always a good idea to tweet at the person. If they return the favor by sharing your content, it gets your content in front of a brand new audience. Kissmetrics put together an awesome graphic which we use to guide our publishing schedule.
Tools like Google Analytics will be an important component of your digital marketing plan. Marketing automation services like HubSpot, Marketo, and Eloqua also provide analytics around conversion rates and email open rates. Google analytics is where you will want to spend most of your time however, detailed analytics on page visits, bounce rates, and referrer information will inform your SEO strategy and can help pinpoint weaknesses in your content strategy.
9. Lead Nurturing
Creating high-quality content and building the automated infrastructure that will see website visitors convert into leads is the first part of your marketing plan. You will need to implement a lead nurturing program for those qualified leads which do not immediately convert. Once again, marketing automation software can be useful here in setting up some automated email workflows where you can share your latest content offerings with leads. This content can help to establish product preference long before your prospects are ready to buy.
10. Digital Marketing Plan Goals
Setting some goals around your digital marketing plan will help you understand what constitutes a success. Setting goals around the number of leads generated is all well and good, but ultimately you will be judged on revenue generated. Use the industry average for marketing contribution to revenue to gauge the success of your digital marketing plan.
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