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With the coronavirus pandemic upending every industry, the past year was among the most turbulent business climates in recent memory. As we look ahead, companies should expect the new patterns we’ve since adopted to remain the norm in 2021 – and, potentially, beyond.
For B2B technology companies, these shifts in how you approach your business mark an acceleration of trends and technologies that have long been on the horizon.
Face-to-face interactions as applied to sales and marketing are things of the past. Virtual experiences and video conferencing are now routine workflow patterns. A mantra for many years, “digital first” has functionally transitioned to “digital only” for customers and companies alike.
Your digital marketing strategy must keep up with the massive shifts in our industry. In a time of budget cuts, staff furloughs, and persistent uncertainty, your firm has to allocate resources wisely. However, by remaining in tune with evolving consumer approaches and expectations of your B2B marketing efforts, your business goals will remain in sight.
As exhibited by Google’s emphasis on mobile first indexing, B2B firms must ensure their digital marketing targets a primarily mobile audience. That said, with most people working and browsing the internet from home, desktop digital consumption has seen considerable growth as well. Since peaking in April, digital consumption has remained 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
No matter what device your prospects are using to search for your product or solution, your website must be equipped to satisfy their needs. Digital engagement has surged since the pandemic, and your customers should have an equitable, efficient experience with your brand regardless of where they’re looking.
With more people working from home, consumer behavior has also changed the journey toward making a purchase. B2B customers are taking more time to conduct thorough research about the products and services they need.
For marketers, this shift in behavior means your organization cannot only retain a strong presence where your customers are looking. You have to also provide the answers they need once you’re found. Through compelling website content that testifies to your offerings, expertise, and value proposition, you demonstrate that your users have come to the right place.
Among the many KPIs in your digital marketing toolbox, SEO has become an all the more critical means of ensuring your prospects quickly find your organization as they search for solutions to their business needs. For all the changes brought on by COVID-19, search engine traffic remains the most effective tool for inbound marketing.
You can lift your site’s digital profile through updating your site’s metadata and use of keywords, which impact how high your site appears on search results pages. However, you must also ensure your website content remains up-to-date with fresh topics, your latest information, and products. Regularly updated websites are also rewarded with higher search rankings. But for as much as Google helps your customers find your site, it’s up to you to ensure they find what they need once they arrive.
With digital consumption at such high levels, your firm should maintain a presence on whatever channel your customers use. However, your messaging must be consistent.
Whether your prospect is coming to your company through its website or any social media platform, they should easily find useful information about your organization and services. There are three steps toward a customer-centric omnichannel strategy for your B2B company:
1. Use website analytics to recognize visitors and their behavior: By gathering data from your site visitors through cookies, you can gain insights into their background and potential as a customer. Use site traffic data to determine your most popular pages and topics to inform content decisions.
2. Provide multiple formats to suit varying user interests: An expanded menu of website content offerings such as white papers, ebooks, videos, and case studies will serve multiple user needs and keep the customer journey moving forward.
3. Email and social media further customer connection: Whether your prospect has signed up for a newsletter or follows you on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter, your presence across every channel must nurture continued contact.
In the continued absence of in-person trade shows, videos of product demos and webinars will be effective means to drive engagement and draw a closer connection with customers.
Even before the pandemic began, industry analysts expected digital video to account for 82% of online traffic by 2022. According to a 2019 survey, more than half of respondents in the B2B industry said they used video to inform their purchase decisions.
With more of us expected to be home and online for more hours in the day, that pace will likely accelerate. While YouTube continues to dominate the internet video marketplace, Facebook and LinkedIn are the top two platforms for video marketing.
As digital audiences grow more sophisticated with technology, your marketing should reflect what you know about customer needs and expectations. By recognizing the search terms on Google that drive visitors to your brand, your website can then anticipate their questions and provide the answers they need in advance.
Once your customer has shared their email address, you can distribute rule-based content tied to the areas of your site that are most relevant their interests. Once you’ve established the common needs of your site users, you can implement chatbots to answer questions and provide a menu of easy answers. At every step, your digital marketing should underscore the message that your brand is present and ready to help.
Heading into a year that promises many of the same challenges as this one, the ability to anticipate what your customers want is even more critical. By tailoring your digital content marketing to suit those needs, your firm will remain well-positioned to weather whatever lies ahead.
Every customer journey starts on a foundation of brand awareness. Though search engine traffic contributes to the likelihood your website will attract users browsing for a service your website drives, their purchasing decisions are based on a personal connection.READ INSIGHTS POST
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