4 steps to develop a strong B2B digital communication strategy
|Posted by Nancy van Heesewijk on January 9, 2019|
Faced with today’s ever-evolving digital B2B marketplace, where 94% of buyers research online when checking out service providers, it can be tricky to identify your optimum targets – especially when you don’t want to just reach them, but convert them. The question many of you are asking is how do I become the proactive solutions provider necessary to increase my numbers?
STEP 1: Listen & Learn
Before you can develop a strategy, you need to: listen, learn, challenge and analyse the data on your website, social media channels and other digital platforms where your content appears. Taking the time to do this will provide you with a feel of your company’s values and help you determine what you want to achieve in each digital area.
Your content should match the purpose of the platform so it should not be identical. For example, content posted on your LinkedIn page should be different than what is published on your website or in an online journal. A best practice is to evaluate, create and test the tone of voice and archetype “brand personality” wherever your content appears. In other words, you want the brand to stay consistent, but the tone needs to “speak” to the customer via content market personalization. In addition, review touch points for quick- and long-term interactions with (potential) customers. Are you talking to everybody (e.g. website) or to a select few (e.g. influencer blogs)?
Once you’ve analysed the data and have an understanding of how each customer is engaging with your content, identify “personas” for your different customer types based on their values, tone of voice and touchpoints. Then, create a profile for each and develop the customer journey. The goal is to drive them through a “funnel” from attract (awareness) to convert, to close and finally, to delight. As with all strategies, the starting point is the objective from which the goals and KPIs are derived. Not all your customers are the same or looking for the same thing. Some are ready to buy, some are browsing, some are educated in what they want and some aren’t quite sure. Develop a separate strategy for each persona.
STEP 2: Think & Develop
Now that you’ve identified your personas, it’s time to conduct a competitive analysis by creating a competitive profile matrix to identify Critical Success Factors and a SWOT analysis based on the needs, pain points and benefits for each customer persona. You are working towards the perfect fit which will define the value proposition, the tone of voice and the stories that will work best. You are laying the foundation of a strategic and creative plan of attack that will determine how your company is presented on its website, what social media content is needed and which are the key stories you want published in the media.
STEP 3: Engage & Build
For your communications strategy to be successful, it’s important to open up the bottom of the funnel. This will improve the number of leads by not only attracting more people (awareness) but also pushing them through the funnel. This requires analysing your website to make sure visitors are led through it in a faster, easier way, that forms are easy to fill in and that the site is mobile-friendly in terms of navigation as well as copy. A / B versions can be used to test the “best case” scenario. Customer behaviour can change over time, so remember to test the chosen version on a regular basis. Eye tracking is an excellent tool to see what works well, and what appeals most to your visitor.
Also, don’t forget about your employees. Some may already be your influencers. See what and how they are communicating on their personal channels. You can appoint them as Company Brand Ambassadors who have an important role in acquiring and retaining prospects through their own social media activities. Remember to make sure that their communications also reflect the brand personality.
STEP 4: Show & Tell
The steps taken above define the content criteria. Looking at each persona and their customer journey, you can create the framework and pipeline for your communications. Evaluating the data will provide you with an understanding of where and when to publish to gain the most effect. For example, LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter, however not everyone on Facebook is using LinkedIn so publishing to only one platform might restrict your leads. Research also shows that business people tend to read LinkedIn like a newspaper in the morning and most want to see case studies.
Consider not only which time of day or of the week to post your content, but also look at combining and developing communications opportunities around events and media features. It is also important to develop content that can be optimized for each channel whether you’re interacting via an Augmented Reality app, or creating an infographic targeting mobile users, or sharing a slide deck.
Having a strong B2B digital communications strategy is a necessity today. It amplifies your messages and content. Plus, it complements face-to-face contact, tradeshows, customer events, meetings and direct correspondence that still have a place. Integrated into your media relations work, it becomes the norm to post, to Tweet and to create content that can be adapted for sharing on multiple channels. Contact EMG if you’re ready to personalise the B2B customers’ buying journey and make the most out of today’s marketing arena.