Digital marketing mistakes can cause efforts to underperform or fail altogether.
We hear B2B companies often say, "Digital marketing just doesn't work for my company." Do you feel the same way? Do you assume that digital marketing may not be for you because you're a B2B or a niche company? That they only work for consumer brands that have a broad reach?
When we started to dig into the reasons behind this perception, we discovered that some big digital marketing mistakes were made, causing efforts to underperform or fail altogether. I'm going to walk through the top five mishaps that we've found B2B businesses make repeatedly and how to prevent them from happening to you if you choose to give digital marketing another chance.
#1 - Goals are unclear or unrealistic.
It's critically important to have goals. If you take a trip, isn't it important to know where you're going before deciding how you're going to get there? In business, how do you know if your marketing efforts are contributing to your growth if you don't know what goals you're hoping to reach?
To do this, benchmark where you are now, set business growth goals, then determine what it would take to get there. This goal-setting article will help you work through this process, and it provides a useful worksheet you can download and fill out.
Also, it's essential to measure the progress you make towards your goals. Generally speaking, you won't hit your goals during the first month of effort, but you will see progress, and it will build over time, pushing you closer to where you want to be. Progress is a sign that you're moving in the right direction.
#2 - Foundation elements are not in place.
More often than not, people are so excited about getting started that they forget to get all the necessary elements in place to ensure success. They overlook foundational pieces like branding, messaging, website design, and technology — all of which are necessary for a successful and effective marketing plan.
I'm talking about more than just your logo. This is your overall brand. It should be identifiable, memorable, and consistent. Your target audience should learn to recognize your brand across platforms, including your website, social media accounts, sales collateral, and more. If there's a lack of alignment, you will miss the opportunity to create visual recognition for your brand.
Do you have a clear message that speaks to your customers about their problems, not just about your products? One of the most common mistakes we see is companies talking about themselves and not focusing on their customers. If you went out with someone and your date only talked about themselves, would you want to go out again? Probably not. They come across as self-absorbed and disinterested in you. The same goes for company messaging. You must have a clear message about how you help solve problems, not just how cool your products and features are.
Mapping Your Customers' Success
Everyone (including B2C and B2B customers) is shopping online. Is your website clear? Does it look like the rest of your assets? When visitors arrive on your site, do they know immediately that they're in the right place? Do you have the right pages with the right information to nature potential customers should the buyer's journey? Take time to evaluate your website to make sure your branding is on-point, the navigation is clear, and information is easy to find.
This is another critical piece for marketing success. Having the right technology in place will help connect you to your audience. Technology allows you to capture their information and use it in nurturing campaigns. This technology often includes landing pages, forms, email sequences, retargeting campaigns, automation, personalization, and more. Without the right technology, opportunities are missed.
#3 - Keyword research doesn't matter.
Many B2B companies think their buyers aren't searching for solutions online. In some cases, that's true, but it's more often wrong. Many believe this without any actual proof, just anecdotal stories or assumptions.
While B2B customers may not be searching for a specific product name, they are looking for answers to the problems. Before jumping to conclusions about whether or not you should care about Pay Per Click or search engine optimization (SEO), look at keyword performance around the types of products and services you offer.
Some products and services are niche, so search volume might seem low. Don't let that discourage you. Using terms on your website that your audience is searching for is worth its weight in gold. It's better to get a lower number of high-quality leads than a ton of inconsequential visitors.
#4 - Only offering your audience an initial engagement.
We see companies put a great deal of effort into getting someone to their site, but once they leave, they are gone forever unless they decide to come back on their own.
Since B2B businesses aren't selling impulse purchases like shoes or gadgets, it's important to be intentional about getting people back to your site to convert or purchase. Some people may visit your site up to seven times before asking for a quote, pricing, or consultation.
For marketing to work, you have to have a plan to continually reach out to site visitors so that they're reminded how your products or services solve their problems.
#5 - Next steps are hard to find.
One of the first things you learn in sales is to ask for the sale. The same thing applies here. We have to explicitly tell people what to do, be it buy now, download the spec sheet, or request a quote.
I know what you're thinking: this seems pretty basic. But we too often assume people know what to do. Calls to action must be clear, simple, and obvious. If people can't easily find clear next steps or the information they want, they'll leave your site and go to another website that's easier to use.
As you consider digital marketing again for your B2B company, I hope these five digital marketing strategy mistakes to avoid will set you up for success. If you have any questions about these mistakes or worry that you might be making them, we’re here to help. Schedule a meeting, and we can talk through any trouble you're having.