As the world continues to adjust to the lasting implications of the global pandemic, more and more companies are rushing to adapt sales and marketing processes to centre on digital marketing channels. But why?
This article will answer this question by breaking down online marketing, the various types of marketing channels, and how to win market share.
Let’s start with the advantages. Prioritising digital marketing channels can be more beneficial than traditional marketing channels such as print, telemarketing, and broadcasting in many ways:
Although creating strategies takes time, digital marketing can often be more
cost-effective as many materials can be repurposed and adapted with little to no additional spending.
While many digital channels take time to yield results, other channels such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can produce qualified leads quicker than traditional marketing methods. This allows marketers to start assessments and necessary adjustments much faster.
Implementing marketing channels online and developing long-term strategies such as search engine optimisation (SEO) spreads awareness. This combined with the shareability of certain channels helps companies build relationships with a broader market of leads.
Digital marketing channels equipped with audience insights can generate more qualified leads than traditional methods which may have a broader focus.
Online marketing channels can easily be measured using integrated tools such as Google Analytics. This allows for variables such as site visitors, time spent on pages, and statistics such as conversion rates to be tracked. Marketers can use analysis to test which strategies are most profitable and deserve development.
To make the most of digital marketing, marketers should continuously evaluate strategies and current trends. This is crucial to ensure the correct list of marketing channels is being employed to meet goals.
Below we will explore 10 marketing channels that are the most effective for producing results in the digital space and are valuable as demand strategies.
Content marketing is one of the most successful B2B marketing channels as it allows for companies to leverage industry knowledge in a way that creates value for leads and establishes nurtured relationships with them.
A variety of content should be produced for specific audiences with the following in mind: their interests, activities, and the potential issues they are currently facing.
Content marketing strategies should be planned out with a content map to ensure that time-sensitive projects such as trending topics are prioritised and also so that content is published at a regular frequency to avoid overwhelming prospects.
To boost engagement and sharing across other channels, successful content marketing strategies consist of a multitude of formats ranging in goals and length:
Content topics with high engagement can also be repurposed into multiple formats to boost their reach at a low cost. Due to its versatility, content marketing remains an effective marketing channel for 2022 and the foreseeable future.
Thought leadership is content created with the interest of sharing valuable industry expert knowledge with others rather than pushing for a sale.
Not only does this help to create and nurture relationships with leads but it also serves to demonstrate the knowledge of a company and the quality of its services and products. Companies can leverage executives to share content and benefit the brand’s image by extension of the good standing they earn.
Thought leadership content is powerful, genuine, builds credibility, and according to a DemandGenReport study, is something that 96% of B2B buyers look for to inform their buying decisions. Thought leadership can also help to improve search engine rankings and boost organic traffic to websites and linked content.
As a result of its potential, developing thought leadership posts as part of a content marketing strategy is a strong tactic for 2021.
Email marketing is one of the most versatile B2B marketing channels. Emails are a fantastic vehicle for delivering content, updates, or offers to prospects and existing clients.
While cold emails can be an effective lead generation tool, they require a detailed approach and continuous refinement to truly be successful. Cold email cadences should be personalised and informed with knowledge of the specific target audience they are written for.
Not only does this include the body text of an email, but also the subject line which should grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to read further.
Before making a demand, such as to book a meeting, an introductory email should first determine and confirm the prospect’s interest and present them with an appealing offer.
Email content should also be optimised in length and design to ensure that emails adapt to and load easily on mobile devices.
As a result, email marketing can be a great way to reach out to audiences, boost content, and spread awareness of a company and its services.
To best match the interests and preferences of target segments and changing trends for consuming content, it is important to employ multiple types of marketing channels.
Video marketing has seen a boost in engagement with Google reporting 70% of B2B buyers and researchers consuming video content during the buyer’s journey towards making a purchase. In addition, according to a content preferences study by DemandGenReport, 91% of buyers prefer interactive visual content.
With video marketing quickly becoming one of the most dynamic formats for B2B marketing channels, marketers can benefit from the popularity of video content and the variety it brings to their marketing.
Given the potential for creativity, videos can be used for a variety of purposes:
Repurposing content: Videos can be used to condense long-form content or webinars into short accessible videos.
Boosting brand awareness: In a more traditional sense, videos effectively promote a brand and its culture.
Thought leadership: Videos are another format for thought leadership posts that are often more engaging and likely to be shared across social media.
Videos make perfect content for other marketing channels such as sharing across multiple social media platforms and proprietary websites when appropriate.
Videos can also be embedded in content to introduce complex topics, make content more interactive, and promote higher visitor retention rates.
Social media is one of the primary B2B marketing channels where companies can interact directly with potential clients and actively grow their audience.
LinkedIn: B2B marketers are able to take advantage of the relationship users have with LinkedIn. Although similar in many ways to other channels, LinkedIn encourages its users to invest time on the platform, either to grow networks and find job opportunities, or to consume useful content. As a result, it is a particularly effective platform for B2B marketing, with 80% of B2B leads being sourced from LinkedIn.
Twitter: Twitter is one of the best platforms for direct conversations with prospects and has over 330 million active users. Through the use of hashtags and trending topics, B2B marketers are better able to implement social listening and learn what solutions and products are most suitable for their target audience.
Instagram: Video and other creative assets such as infographics are best suited for Instagram. With over 200 million business accounts visited daily (Instagram, 2021) marketers have the opportunity to take advantage of Instagram’s strengths and reach out to B2B buyers in a visually appealing manner. Instagram is a good platform for promoting company culture with behind-the-scenes videos and photos that provide potential buyers with a better understanding of a brand’s values.
Focus: B2C social media content is normally focused on standing out and creating something different from competitors whereas B2B content should accentuate how a business is better than its competitors.
Content and resources: Both B2B and B2C audiences respond to visual content. However, 85% of B2B audiences use social media for business-related content and prefer long-form content such as whitepapers, articles, and case studies that demonstrate thought leadership and valuable industry insights.
Goals and metrics: B2C social media strategies are focused on creating and harnessing virality to increase awareness and sales. B2B social media content, on the other hand, should focus on lead generation above virality. Improvements in website traffic can be used as a metric for success for social media content.
Each platform develops over time and has its own uses and benefits. To succeed, marketers should keep track of which social media channels are trending and are the most effective for their business. Content should be created with each platform in mind to play to its strengths.
As a result, social media is a very efficient channel for promoting content, thought leadership posts, and client reviews. Including testimonials is an excellent way of demonstrating credibility to followers who are yet to become buyers and could find social proof persuasive.
To take advantage of the potential of social media, it is important to map out posts in a similar way to content marketing strategies, aligning social tactics to the overall content calendar. This facilitates the promotion of marketing campaigns and recently published or repurposed content.
Another reason that social media is an essential marketing channel is due to its primarily mobile format. As mobile usage is predicted to rise to three hours a day per B2B worker due to the influence of the global pandemic and changing workforce, social media is one of the most effective B2B marketing channels for reaching prospects outside of the office.
In the same way that social media benefits marketers by reaching prospects even after working hours, out of all the types of marketing formats available, podcasts are unrivalled at adapting to offline consumption across various marketing channels.
Podcasts are an efficient format for breaking down complex topics and creating thought-provoking discussions in an accessible way. Marketers can boost the effect and reach of podcasts by collaborating with and featuring industry experts from other reputable B2B companies.
This can result in interesting debates, added credibility, and audience growth that is mutually beneficial.
In short, podcasts are another way of delivering thought leadership that appeals to listeners who have a busy lifestyle and prefer consuming audio content on the go.
As live events continue to struggle post-pandemic, on-demand events are another appealing channel for B2B marketers as they reduce attendee drop-off rates and screen fatigue.
On-demand events in the form of webinars are an opportunity for sharing knowledge on important and trending topics without the need for attendees to commit to a specific time and date. This also allows for content to be watched more than once as marketers can leverage webinars as another form of content marketing. Just like podcasts, webinars can benefit immensely from guest experts and their new or shared audience.
Longer webinars can also be repurposed and atomised into smaller videos and podcasts when possible, making them a valuable and relatively low-cost investment.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is one of the most efficient B2B marketing channels for quickly attracting visitors and potential leads that are already searching for keywords related to a company or their product.
Guided by detailed keyword research, marketers can create focused PPC campaigns based on the search intent of target accounts to bring their company and its services to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
This also means that if companies win the automatic bid that takes place for ad spaces, marketers can benefit from the potential of visitors being driven to websites 24/7.
PPC ads are a fast method of promotion as they do not rely on improving website rankings organically, which is typically a lengthy process. This is also advantageous as many B2B keywords are particularly competitive.
As such, the reach of a PPC campaign is only limited by a company’s budget, ad design, and maximum bid that can be made for each ad space.
To make the most of winning valuable ad placements, PPC ads should also feature well-crafted copy and titles as well as a clear call-to-action (CTA) to drive clicks.
At the forefront of developing advertisement technology, programmatic display advertising works in a similar manner to PPC ads but with far greater emphasis on machine learning and AI than other B2B marketing channels.
Programmatic display uses automatic bidding and displays targeted advertisements guided by retargeting cookies from proprietary websites and algorithms to determine the right ads to be placed for each prospect at the right time.
With the right system in place, marketers can also use this technology to identify the most valuable ad spaces to bid on.
As a result, programmatic display is one of the most effective B2B marketing channels for retargeting and should be included in an omnichannel marketing strategy.
Although a far more time-consuming process than other B2B marketing channels, improving the search engine optimisation (SEO) of websites and content is an effective strategy for boosting organic search.
Contrary to paid ad placements of PPC, organic search refers to unpaid listings on SERPs. Maintaining the rankings of content and web pages to claim these listings is a continuous process that requires thorough research.
However, optimising for organic search allows marketers to attract users who are actively searching for products and services, as indicated by their search intent. It is essential that content, apart from being optimised with keywords, is also valuable and informative.
Simply filling content with as many high-ranking keywords as possible will instead result in search engines disregarding content entirely.
If done correctly, organic search as an important ongoing strategy is one of the less expensive marketing channels that can help to boost the overall results of content.
As the hub of all digital B2B marketing channels, efficient website design goes a long way in ensuring that traffic brought in by other marketing channels is not squandered and that repeat visitors are encouraged.
Including keyword research, websites should be fast and easy to navigate so that visitors explore multiple sections and pieces of content. Slow sites can often result in higher bounce rates as users exit early, especially if websites do not have an adaptive format for mobile.
Trust signals are another important website design feature. Awards and client testimonials can be an effective way to demonstrate credibility, which motivates visitors to learn more about a company’s services and products.
To further optimise websites as a primary marketing channel, marketers can consider implementing other features such as chatbots. These help visitors find the content and information they are searching for, which in turn speeds up the lead generation process.
In short, website design optimisation is imperative. If continuously updated and tested, proprietary websites are an excellent nerve centre for all marketing channels to backlink to.
Split channel marketing, also known as multi-channel marketing, is the process of splitting marketing focuses across multiple channels, such as those mentioned above.
Employing split channel marketing allows marketers to develop varied and versatile marketing campaigns on the channels that their target audiences prefer.
The key difference between the two lies in the unification of the individual channels that make up each strategy.
While multi-channel marketing and omnichannel marketing are similar in the range across multiple channels, omnichannel marketing is more personalised in approach. The channels in a multi-channel approach are separate and distinct from one another, both in the sharing of data insights and their buyer journeys, with customers often starting at the beginning again when switching channels.
Omnichannel marketing, on the other hand, is fuelled by client insights and puts them at the centre of an interconnected experience. In this way, an omnichannel approach focuses on eliminating unnecessary effort on the client’s part to make processes more streamlined.
Although omnichannel strategies often require more effort and expense for their development, they are often able to provide a more personalised and client-centric experience.
For companies to successfully win market share, competitive displacement is essential. Competitors’ clients should be the primary focus as concentrating on their needs and interests allows for marketers to develop the appropriate solutions to win their business. This includes, but is not limited to, determining their preferred channels.
Knowledge of the most effective channels for each target segment is crucial for prioritising the development of strategies for each channel and can be informed by market segmentation.
The better optimised that marketing channels are for target audiences, the better they will perform and are more likely to help marketers gain market share.
As B2B marketing continues to evolve, so does the list of marketing channels and corresponding strategies that are the most effective for driving engagement and ultimately conversion rates.
To keep up with changing trends it is imperative for marketers to regularly review and adapt channel strategies to determine which marketing channels are performing the best.
Implementing a client-centric multi-channel approach allows marketers to take advantage of the various functions and benefits of each channel, whilst being able to appeal to the preferences of target groups within a broad audience.