Marketers say these 3 things changed in the last year
Hands up who shifted their business strategy over the last year? At Workshop, we’ve found that our clients now look at their marketing through a different lens – and for resiliency and results, we encourage it! Although a response to the pandemic, these pivotal marketing changes now look likely to be permanent fixtures of the B2B lead gen world. Let’s jump in.
1 – It’s far harder to pin your prospects down.
If a large chunk of your activity is outbound you may have found that recently, your winning formula hasn’t quite yielded results. If you’re confident you have a valid audience, relevant proposition and compelling message, the where, not the what, may be your problem. When selecting channels, there are now extra layers to consider.
Changed business setups have made getting in touch with prospects tricker. They’re working from home, so we can’t send charming direct mail. Their remote phone systems are clunky, which means calling about a content download takes half a day. They responded to a LinkedIn ad, but are furloughed. And in some cases, leased data turns bad fast due to a shaky job market. But enough about what’s become harder. With a simple tactical shift, you can begin filling that pipeline with leads!
We have three words for you. Do. More. Inbound! The prospecting dynamic has changed, and more often it’s your audience making the first move. So, implementing an inbound marketing strategy comprising integrated SEO content marketing and CRO will ensure that…
You’re visible: Gain high SERPs keywords centred on your core products or campaign proposition, secure solid backlinks from sites where your audience gather information, and show up first for local searches, and you’ll be in front of an intentional audience at exactly the right moment. Paid search is also a great supplementary lead channel for agile campaigns.
You’re addressing your audience: Use content to show prospects that you understand their commercial concerns, know how to resolve them, and are the best business for the job. From specialist blogs and thought leadership whitepapers, to explainer videos and snappy infographics, powerful content that engages your prospect and compels them to move forward with you is the heart of every successful inbound strategy.
You’re persuading them: As said, content is fundamental to inbound lead generation. But a little nudge goes a long way! Optimising your site for conversions by mapping user journeys, updating UX and applying call to actions such as banners, pop ups and AI chatbots will encourage prospects to become fully-fledged leads. A site that makes it appealing and easy to exchange data is an inbound golden rule.
If you’re unfamiliar with inbound, switching focus can be daunting – and even feel passive! But because prospects are already seeking information related to your proposition, if you put in the work to be visible, address concerns and persuade them to choose you, the result is a more qualified lead with a higher chance of converting. And even better, inbound transcends WFH marketing obstacles.
2 – Automation is an essential, not just an edge.
Ah, automation. The marketing buzzword that enthuses and terrifies in equal measure. At Workshop, we’re firm automation advocates and over the past year, we’ve noticed a change in how businesses value the technology. Utilising automation in a sophisticated fashion is becoming as routine as scheduling an email or tweet. The reasons for which are twofold.
- The shift to inbound demands tighter, smarter lead management.
Strategic inbound marketing is fantastic way to diversify lead channels and pull prospects towards you. (Did we mention that?) However, by not being part of a “traditional” audience – i.e., an email or phone list in an automation platform or CRM – you have less control over your message and how prospects are moved through the funnel. Or do you?
This is where automation comes in! It adds shape, discipline, and strategy to inbound lead management. Perhaps to greater effect than outbound given the insight gained through acquiring a lead. For example, nurturing email workflows and smart website content for specific visitors can be automated to keep a lead warm and determine follow up approach. Even with just a handful of inbound leads, delivering the tailored experience required to make a sale becomes chaotically unmanageable. Make the most of SEO and CRO – automate!
- Marketing and sales teams are under huge pressure to generate the numbers.
Over the next several weeks, many of us will jump back in having been out of the business for some time. Some will have slimmer teams, some bigger responsibilities. But all of us will have tougher targets. Automation can help streamline outbound lead generation and inbound lead management – and really intelligently, too.
While marketing automation picks up manual tasks, you can concentrate on developing ideas and having conversations. You’ll quickly find your team is getting more out of lead gen efforts with less time and potentially, budget. But a word of warning. A poorly implemented system can significantly slow you down. More so than if you had no automation at all! (We met a client in this situation and successfully migrated them to an alternative they couldn’t be happier with, managed by us).
3 – Creative approaches are polar opposites.
As marketers, we have an unwavering goal. To make an impact that translates into a business lead. So, when it comes to creative, “going bold” or “playing it safe” is never black and white. We understand our campaign audience and develop creative that will most compel them to take up a call to action. That’s not to say we haven’t noticed approaches becoming more polarised, though.
On the one hand, companies are unleashing their experimental side as a tonic to a challenging year. Disruptive concepts and new medias are very much part of the marketing roster. We’re all raring to get out and live life to its fullest post-pandemic – maybe that energy is reflected in creative choices? But on the other hand, we find businesses keen to stick with the tried, true and dependable – important for sensitive industries and perhaps simpler when working remotely. We’d usually expect more middle ground in marketing, and we’re excited to see how this plays out in 2021.
Do you need help reimagining your B2B marketing strategy? Get in touch with Workshop to arrange a free planning session. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 850 5555.