The digital landscape is constantly evolving. To remain relevant, businesses and marketers need to constantly pay attention. What’s hot today could be gone tomorrow, and tomorrow’s big thing may not even exist yet.
In an effort to understand how B2B businesses are utilizing digital technologies and tactics, Wpromote surveyed B2B marketing professionals all across the U.S. This report’s data provides actionable insights into where B2Bs are allocating marketing budgets.
The following is a summary of the top B2B digital marketing strategies and technology, ranked based on effectiveness, relevance, and ROI.
Paid Search and Social Media lead the charge for B2Bs. Of the B2B marketers surveyed, 73% planned to increase their budget in paid social and 45% planned to invest more in paid search in 2020.
These numbers aren’t surprising because these tactics were also noted as the most impactful at driving leads and revenue.
Among all of the social advertising channels out there, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube are seeing the lion share of B2B marketing investment, whereas platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok are far less utilized.
B2Bs are turning to content marketing more than they ever have before. With trade shows and in person events normally a major part of many B2B companies’ marketing strategies, 43% of B2Bs are reallocating this budget into content creation.
Furthermore, content marketing was deemed the second most effective digital marketing channel in terms of business impact, just short of paid advertising.
Video has become the clear favorite type of content for B2Bs with 75% of respondents noting that they produce video content regularly. Other effective types of content include blog posts, white papers, case studies, infographics, and webinars.
Blogging is utilized to drive visitors to a website, while whitepapers, videos, and other tactics allow businesses to engage with their audience and grow their prospect database.Whitepapers and webinars are also considered excellent methods for establishing authority and credibility with your target audience.
But quality content doesn’t come easy, as any business who has attempted content marketing can attest. Nearly half believe creating meaningful content is a challenge. In our experience as a digital agency, the most likely cause of an unsuccessful content strategy is the lack of investment and strategic approach.
Why Content Marketing?
So, why are so many B2Bs turning to content marketing? The answer to that question is easy.
Content marketing is a valuable, long-term strategy for B2Bs to gain online visibility and generate quality leads. Also, it’s very versatile as can be used to:
- Attract new website visitors that are unaware of your brand
- Engage with prospective customers that aren’t in the buying mode yet
- Compel unidentified leads to convert and provide you their contact information
All with very minimal effort on your end once the up-front work is completed.
Once you begin creating content, it will live forever until it is no longer relevant or needs to be updated. This allows you to create even more content, compounding your efforts and turning your website into a library of resources to attract, engage, and delight existing and prospective customers.
Search Engine Optimization
32% of respondents noted that they are planning to increase budget for SEO in 2021, indicating that it is an important part of their digital marketing strategy.
While SEO has changed considerably over the years, it’s just as important today as it was in the past. What has changed are the methods used to achieve top rankings in search engines.
Put simply, SEO has become much less a technical challenge and more so a content challenge. Tweaking meta code on a website is still important, as are building links. But those tactics alone are not enough.
Providing exceptional user-experience, creating quality content, and building online influence are now equally critical components. And unlike the early 2000s, you cannot farm the most critical elements to SEO out cheaply overseas.
CRM & Marketing Automation
B2B marketers have really begun to warm to the idea of using automation and predictive technology throughout their marketing strategies. Out of all the marketing teams surveyed, 50% are using some form of AI technology with 48% having an automation system in place.
Marketing automation is considered the digital marketing technology most likely to deliver significant, measurable ROI. Given that the typical marketing automation software investment exceeds $10,000/year, demonstrating ROI is critical, especially for SMBs.
Marketing automation technologies such as Hubspot, Marketo, and Pardot bring greater organization and ROI to digital marketing activities. They allow companies to trigger automatic communications to prospects, alert sales personnel when a prospect is in the buying mode, and tie revenue to specific marketing channels.
This technology used to only be available to large corporations with large budgets, but it is now affordable to businesses of almost any size.
Among all the respondents for the report, only 27% noted that they were planning to increase budget for email marketing in 2020. This drop of 8% from 2019 indicates that traditional email marketing is beginning to take a back seat to more automated processes.
B2Bs are using email marketing in several ways, including to stay top-of-mind with existing customers, educate prospects about different topics related to their products or services, and drive more traffic to their website.
If you aren’t currently using email marketing as a serious marketing channel, we still highly recommend it as it’s a very cost-effective channel that can generate a great ROI.
Other Notable Takeaways
As digital usage has skyrocketed in 2020 and B2B buyers expectations are becoming more advanced, there is growing need for B2Bs to have eCommerce functionality and modernized websites.
Of the B2B marketers surveyed, 69% noted that over 40% of the website traffic now comes from mobile devices, making optimizing their website for mobile friendliness a high priority. Additionally, 79% of the respondents indicated that customers can purchase products or services on their website which is a huge step ahead for the B2B industry.
If you’re not yet taking content marketing and marketing automation seriously, you’re already behind the curve. Companies will continue to differentiate through content while using marketing automation and CRM to tie all activities through to sale.
Artificial intelligence tools are becoming increasingly advanced, and in the short future they will be a necessity for all businesses who want to compete in the modern marketing world.
The statistics in this post come from a recent report by Wpromote. You can read all the results here.
Learn More About B2B Digital Marketing
Digital marketing for B2Bs is unique. B2B buyers have their organization’s needs, interests, and challenges at the forefront of their minds and require different approaches compared to B2C buyers.
WebStrategies specializes in creating strategic digital marketing plans for B2Bs that are focused on driving new leads and converting them into closed business.
Want to learn which digital marketing tactics and technology are best for your B2B company? Click the button below to contact us!