Just as technology evolves with innovation, marketing tactics shift to align with the new ways we communicate information. In our plugged-in world , investing in a robust paid and organic digital marketing program is a non-negotiable part of a successful integrated communications plan for B2B tech companies.
If you’re already running organic social, taking the next step and exploring paid digital tactics can boost brand awareness, drive traffic and conversions, and accelerate customer relationships. Either way – to build a baseline B2B digital marketing program or expand into paid- the simplest and most effective approach is to:
1. Establish your objectives.
2. Find your target audience.
3. Distinguish your company with content.
4. Retarget that audience to strengthen your relationships.
The first steps are all a matter of aligning on your “why” and your “who,” starting small, testing, measuring, and learning as we find the ‘just right’ digital plan. Let’s touch on the four parts of our starter pack to creating a digital marketing strategy that works for your B2B tech company.
1. Establish Your Objectives
Before embarking on your digital marketing journey, determine what you’re setting out to do. The most common goals we see in B2B digital marketing are awareness, traffic, and lead generation, corresponding to three primary KPIs: impressions, clicks, and conversions, respectively. While each KPI is important as they hit different parts of the marketing funnel, determining your primary objective will increase your strategy’s effectiveness.
It’s helpful to think about your objectives in terms of what you want your audience to do and how to get them to do that in the simplest way possible. For example, if you want to increase your brand awareness with a new audience, consider display and paid social campaigns optimized for awareness. Want to drive more people to a specific landing page on your website? Running search and paid LinkedIn campaigns with a traffic objective can hone in on audiences more likely to click the ad and make their way to your website. Your objectives determine your actions in B2B digital marketing, so choose wisely (or find someone to guide the way).
2. Find Your Biggest Fans and Strongest Targets
To identify prospects, start with insights about who they are. List the interests or demographic attributes (job title, industry) you want your target audience to have and any keywords they’d search for or see in their newsfeeds. Take that list and run with it — by run with it, we mean using these same keywords, interests, and attributes to build out your target audiences in your social and digital ad platforms. This allows you to create different audience segments and tailor your content and messaging specifically to those audience segments.
Another option? Look to your competitors. Their social media channels are home to audiences that may also be interested in what your company has to offer. Think as they do and target paid search keywords their followers are engaging with and keywords on their website that could be relevant to your company and target audiences. Additionally, targeting their followers with social ads can help you increase your share of voice as well as test if your ideal customers are who you think they are.
Looking for more inspiration? Find relevant industry events with attendees you want to target. If your potential customers, partners, or investors would attend CES 2024, run a Twitter campaign targeting them with your stellar content using the event hashtags, event location, and social handles of other attending brands. If people click through or engage positively, your assumptions about your audience are probably accurate. If they don’t, then luckily, there are thousands of events each year that could be more relevant to your target audiences
Consider it all your own social (media) experiment. Don’t set it and forget it. If your content doesn’t mesh with one audience at first, try again with different targeting.
The most important consideration when finding your target audience is to make sure it’s not too small or too large of a crowd. If you get too perspective and your audience is tiny, you might miss out on people interested in your company. But if you cast too wide of a net, you’ll risk wasting your budget on people outside your target.
3. Draw Their Attention
Now that your audience segments are laid out, it’s time to appeal to them with content that makes your company stand out. Sprout Social reports that social posts with links to more information are the most preferred type of content on social media. People want to click through and learn more — if your content is worth clicking. Whether via organic social or paid campaigns, potential customers want to be empowered; they want to gain something from you before investing in your product or service.
How is your product or service different than others in your industry? What do you know that others don’t? Turn your competitive differentiators and unique expertise into informative and valuable content for your existing audience and sales prospects. The formats that drive the most engagements, clicks, and conversions are:
- White papers
- Anything personable or conversational (podcasts, infographics, GIFs)
Focus your marketing efforts on content that invites commenting, sharing, and the chance for a conversation. This is a helpful way to learn about your customers and their needs. Not only does this type of content make your company more relatable, but it can also lead to valuable suggestions, stronger relationships, and a customer-centric reputation.
4. Turn Strong Connections into Lasting Relationships
Now you’re ready to leverage your fresh, relatable content and target your new audience segments using paid social and digital campaigns.
First, run an awareness, engagement, or traffic ad campaign targeted at your social followers, your followers’ followers, and the audiences outlined in step two.
Next, follow up with those eager engagers and viewers with retargeting campaigns. You can retarget users with new content or take the relationship to the next level with a conversions campaign. A conversions campaign is how you’ll finally snag an email, employer, location, or all of the above — it’s the information you can use in later marketing campaigns to move prospects even further down the funnel.
Often, you might be running all these campaigns simultaneously in a cycle of launching, assessing, and optimizing. B2B digital marketing is a dynamic practice, so remember to stay plugged in and let the metrics guide you.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Leveraging paid social and digital ads as a marketing strategy can absolutely work for B2B tech companies. To recap:
- Figure out what you want your audience(s) to do
- Have some fun brainstorming and testing your audiences
- Use those audiences to inform what content and messaging appeals to them most and what will drive them to engage through paid campaigns
- Test that content until you find the right audience, and then reach that audience with a retargeting or conversions campaign
All your efforts will ladder up to your larger business goals, like an increase in brand awareness, increased traffic to your website, or an expansion of your customer or investor database, while building a library of content to continue your brand’s story.