The words digital marketing usually paint the same pictures. People’s minds immediately go to social media, email and websites. They see rooms filled with pie charts, computers with five screens and longwinded discussions about syntax in 140 characters. And in many cases these images are pretty accurate.
But B2B digital marketing efforts go way beyond day-to-day marketing activities. Every facet of your client’s digital experience affects your marketing efforts. ‘Everything is marketing’ is a phrase that’s oft repeated in marketing circles and you can drop the word ‘digital’ into that phrase too.
When you create a digital marketing strategy or build an online presence, it’s vital that you build a cohesive style and message across every online activity. Because marketing doesn’t just happen when people first encounter your business. Your clients and social community members will be your most valuable promoters. They will also be the most fickle. Their opinion can be changed by a single experience.
It’s often suggested that first impressions occur in the first 10 seconds of meeting someone. Online, we use a blink test to measure a page’s effectiveness in less than five seconds. While subconscious decisions are made in that time, conscious ones take a lot longer. And they are far more likely to change. It won’t matter that you’ve tweeted an insightful comment on an industry topic if your bio sends a different message. And writing an amazing blog post only provides value if the reader can get from the blog to other useful content or to a contact page with ease.
Ditto for great content posted to substandard websites. A brilliantly crafted infographic won’t build up enough good will if your homepage looks like it was built in 2001.
Even later in the cycle, while you’re providing a user with a superb service or a solid stream of valuable content; all it takes is one mistake to turn things sour. While you may see your social media presence as pure marketing channels, your clients will no doubt see it differently. They will contact you on Twitter with customer service problems or mention actual experiences in LinkedIn discussions. Every response in these public situations needs to be treated with both PR precision and customer service courtesy; all the while matching your marketing message.
When you interact with clients, prospects or peers online; you need to assume everyone is watching and your brand message should permeate every interaction.
It’s not just the public interactions with clients and prospects that require a marketing touch. B2Bs often rely heavily on consultations and quote requests, all of which are being handled online through email, live chat and even hangouts. Once again, poorly formatted emails, ill thought live chat comments or other missteps can turn a potentially valuable client into just another incomplete lead.
While your sales team will have their own vital skills for avoiding this kind of mishap, it is important that they’re strategy lines up with the businesses marketing message.
Everything Digital Is B2B Digital Marketing
When done well, B2B digital marketing often involves heavy production of high quality content and the building of effective relationship. Both of those functions rely on strong sentiment from existing and potential clients. Their social shares will increase your reach and their positive commentary will help you to make a sale. It’s vital that your other online functions and interactions boost your marketing efforts by offering a cohesive service. If they don’t, all those extra screens and pie charts will be missing a vital ingredient.
Social Media may be only one part of a digital marketing campaign, but it is certainly not something you want to ignore. To get you started, you should read our free whitepaper on the The Definitive Guide to B2B Social Media.