Summer in Minnesota is my favorite. Warm weather, green grass and puffy, white clouds flittering across the sky; it’s fabulous.
In particular I’m excited for the month of August because there are 2 great events happening in Minnesota.
Event #1 – Explore Minneapolis August 16-17, where digital and social media marketers are gathering to explore the latest in online marketing and I’m presenting on Optimizing for B2B Audiences.
Event #2 – The “Great Minnesota Get Together”, where mini-doughnuts, Sweet Martha’s Cookies, and Corn on the Cob are must-have’s on the list.
What do these 2 events have in common? It might seem like nothing, but let me explain: One of the key challenges most B2B Marketers face is selling a product or service where multiple end-users and decision makers are involved.
In fact, according to Oracle’s 2012 B2B E-Commerce Survey, 28% of B2B transactions have 5+ decision makers. This is where knowing your audience, creating a roadmap and anticipating customer needs is a must.
Each year when our fair-going family sets our sights on the State Fair, it’s critical that we plan ahead. Each person has a slightly different interest in going and goal they want to accomplish. What we come up with in the end is a map of how we’ll move throughout the fairgrounds ensuring each person is satisfied, reaching their culinary or entertainment objectives.
For my 7+ years with TopRank Online Marketing, I have and continue to be intrigued by our B2B clients. From marketing to technology to healthcare, they provide products and services that transform businesses and some literally save lives.
Within each company, there is a story to be told and we consider it our greatest achievement to identify that story and create content that informs and compels audiences to action, impacting our client’s bottom line.
Here’s an approach to Optimizing for B2B Audiences and that I’ll cover in my session at Explore Minneapolis:
1. Know Your Audience
This is the most critical piece to the puzzle. Without understanding your audience and what problems they are looking to solve, what motivates them and the influencers involved in the purchase decision, the most brilliant campaigns can prove ineffective.
A couple ways to access audience data include:
- Reviewing current customers, titles, company size etc
- Tapping your organization from reception to sales to product folks
2. Create a Customer-Centric Content Plan
Map out the buying cycle including level and type of hunger your audience has through different phases of awareness, interest, consideration and so on. Know the type of content most likely to compel your audience to the next stage of the buying cycle, whether blog posts, whitepapers, videos or webinars.
3. Diversify Content on Social Networks
It’s not enough to have one Sweet Martha’s cookie stand. The landscape is too crowded and cookie-lovers are only so forgiving for long lines. The same is true for B2B companies who do well from investing time to diversify content across multiple channels and ultimately reach a greater number of people.
Back to Step 1, you may find that you need touchpoints across 2-3 channels to break through and get someone to make contact. OR there may be a sub-set of your audience that is more likely to consume and engage in LinkedIn. Ensuring key messages are broken down and made available in a variety of channels is not only helpful in growing your online footprint, but its creates frequency with users in early stages of a buying cycle.
4. Always Be Auditing
Doing anything worthwhile only once doesn’t make sense. Alas multiple trips to the State Fair and a choreographed route from beginning to end. Be sure you are routinely auditing the spectrum of marketing assets including Keywords, Website, Content Performance, Conversion Opportunities and Offsite Channels as well.
5. Always Be Testing
Some of the best results come out of testing.
Even though we have our plan of action for the fair, we do veer off course to try new things and find that we are rarely disappointed.
Create a compilation of industry resources your audience can find nowhere else, try a TwitterChat, do some A/B testing. Determine what you can test, what the goal is, execute and report back until you find the perfect recipe.
If you’re hungry for the latest in digital and social media marketing from the likes of Jason Falls, Jay Baer, Kevin Hunt from General Mills and Scott Gulbransen of H&R Block; join us for Explore Minneapolis.
Would you like to attend Explore Minneapolis for Free?
Share your favorite B2B Marketing tip in the comments below and the TopRank team will vote for the winner. Three additional commenters will win a free copy of Lee Odden’s new book: Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing.