Marketing Your B2B Small or Midsize Business
Wow. Today's landscape is busy and it seems messages are being sent a million miles an hour with a million messages a minute. With this amplified reality, how do you, as a small business break out and be noticed? We've heard this cliche often, "they're are no shortcuts." and this saying is extra true with branding, marketing and PR. The good news is that PLAY has tried and true methods to make your business successful in reaching and motivating your audience. How do we do this and do you have to do everything? I'll break it down below in steps, and your business can assess current state to make a decision as to what you need. PLAY will make recommendations, of course.
Over the last year, PLAY has worked with many B2B small to mid-size businesses in helping them with their brand and marketing needs. Some want help with their foundation, while others want help with primarily marketing and others want help with all of the below. The point is, PLAY can help you in any point of the process. Below is a map of efforts on what we recommend for our B2B clients.
STEPS IN MAKING YOUR BUSINESS STAND OUT, BE NOTICED AND MOTIVATE AUDIENCE BEHAVIOR
PHASE 1: RESEARCH
- You need to know what your clients think about when it comes to your business offering. The best way to do this is to ask them. You can do this with interviews in small number and then if you want to see a larger picture, you can send out a survey. The interviews are called Qualitative Research, while the surveys are called Quantitative Research. It's easier than you think. You can interview 5 clients to get a snap shot and send out a survey via Survey Monkey to 100 clients or potential clients. We can help with this.
- What do your clients think of your brand? You would ask some brand questions in your interviews and on your surveys. You will get a more honest answer if you do not do the interviewing yourself and have us help with this. We will tell the folks across the table that the answers will be anonymous.
- Online research. You will be amazed at the free amount of information is out there around your business space. Through research you can get a snap shot of you demographic and what they think about. It's fascinating and helps tremendously when thinking about communications.
PHASE 2: VISUAL BRANDING
- Let's audit your current marketing collateral and your logo. We may collectively think a refreshed logo is in order. We may not. If we decide to revise your logo, we will do a refresh, leveraging brand equity from colors to metaphors. More often that not, we will refresh some of your marketing collateral to reflect current communication. But, again, we'll collectively look at this.
- PLAY can help with all branding and marketing collateral.
PHASE 3: YOUR DIGITAL PROPERTIES
- A mobile friendly website is a must in today's world. What does that mean? In the most simple terms, it means that users must be able to read the type! I know, this sounds funny. But honestly, if you look at sites that are not mobile friendly, you can easily see that when viewing the site on a phone, the type is so small it looks like dust on a screen. We design responsive sites, which translates into sites that auto format to screen size, making content easy to absorb and looking great from phone to desktop.p
- Do you have an area on your site where you can put news, events, thoughts, etc.? You need to have a place on your site that houses articles and blog posts you author, plus your take on articles out in the news and events you plan to attend or have attended. PLAY designs these sections to be best in class. This area is necessary to direct audiences to your site from social, to email marketing to SEO/SEM.
- How does your business look and read in social? We do an audit of this and will help you with formatting your social pages to have a consistent look from Facebook to LinkedIn.
- Are you leveraging email to market to your customers? PLAY will audit your current email marketing efforts and tweak or create a new look for you. This is a great way to be in constant communication with your audience.
PHASE 4: CONTENT MARKETING (Website, Social & Email)
- Create engaging content. You can do this by following trends in your industry or by your own research mentioned above. Write articles and post videos in your media section on your site.
- Create a content calendar. Be honest with yourself and determine how much you will content you will produce in a given month, what that content looks like and where it will go.
- Small content pieces. For conversation, you might post linked articles around your industry two to three times a week across your social channels. Call this a blog post. You capture an article that fits within your space, feature it on your site with a paragraph on why it's important to you. You then link this to your social properties - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. You can do this at one time with software like Hootsuite.
- Write longer articles. To balance out the blog posts, you want to write longer articles that showcase you as a leader. These articles should be at least 200+ word count to be best optimized for organic search.
- Email Marketing. You will want to send out a consistent email to your audience, showcasing your business offerings and insights. It's important to know the purpose, of course and then link to your site in various points of interest. For example, PLAY works with TalentServed, a company that places executives in the hospitality space. The email links to TalentServed.com with articles, job listings, team bios, etc. It also links to events and happenings on social channels like Facebook. This drives engagement.
- PLAY can curate, author, organize and push out all your content. We do it all the time and tweak all content based on results.
PHASE 5 - SEARCH ENGINE - SEO/SEM, PAID ADVERTISING
- OnSite SEO - This means that your site indexes well for Google and others. All your pages show up correctly and are maximized for original site content. Hence, the proper url leverages site content, the headlines, sub-headlines and content are set up correctly to be leveraged by Google. Think of this as a must do. You must have your site readable and maximized for Google.
- Local SEO - This means that your site is set up to be found locally. So if your business is in Atlanta, GA, those searching for your business services or your business name within Atlanta, your business will rank higher. Additionally, there are countless sites that contain your business name and address info. Local SEO ensures that the majority of these references are correct. This translates into higher rankings.
- Business SEO - This is new. Google now gives you more prominence on their site if you register your business correctly.
- Specialized SEO - Everyday Google creates new products that your business may fit. Recently, Google created Google Jobs. This formats job descriptions differently, giving them more prominence. PLAY formatted a client's job listings to work within this new offering.
- Paid SEO - You can leverage Google's offerings to punch up your business offerings. It's best to rely on this to push out short lived content like real estate or buy your way in until your organic traffic catches up. Then you shift strategies. PLAY can help with that. Spend your money wisely for optimum results.
- Paid Advertising - This is across the digital and traditional. spectrum. PLAY will help with creating campaigns and the media buy.
- Paid Advertising Social - Social posts can be boosted for a minimum spend. Do it if you have created original good content. It's worth the spend. PLAY will also produce and amplify social ads that are uber directed to your audience. It's a good use of dollars.
- Re-marketing - This is when you have visited a site and you then see that site ad jump up on occasion. This is a great way to reconnect with your audience who may not have converted on your site. It's extremely cost effective because you captured that user, not Google or Facebook. Hence, the cost to advertise back to your audience is minimal. Again, a great spend.
PHASE 6: MEASURE AND ADJUST
- Google Analytics - be sure to hook it up and refer to it on a continuous basis. It shows you engagement, bounce rate (new visitors leaving your site immediately), source entry (how folks found your site from direct, google, social), mobile (how many folks are viewing your site on a phone vs desktop), geographical, etc.
- Adjust - If you see on Analytics that people stay on your site and visit an average of 5 pages, and your bounce rate is low, you know that your site engagement is great. But from a year ago, site visitors remain around the same number. This says to you that you should look into driving users to your site through some of the methods touched on above like SEO/SEM and content marketing.
- Social and Email monitoring - all social sites have user tracking software as well as email marketing platforms. Look at these on a regular basis, do A/B testing on posts and adjust subject lines, content on email marketing.
So that's a mouth full! It is not our intention to be complicated or overwhelming. If you slow it down, map it out and then commit to some or all of the above, you should see results. Again, you don't have to do this by yourself. PLAY would love to sit with you for a conversation, free of charge, of course. We can then decide together next steps. But don't sit on the sideline. Get in the game. It's fun to PLAY!.