When 2019 came to a close and transitioned into 2020, much of the world was rejoicing the start of a new decade. Little would we have fathomed at the time the magnitude of what was about to unfold.
While whether it is actually 2021 and not 2020 that kicks off a new decade is a topic up for debate, one thing is a fact – 2020 has been an exceptionally trying year for both individuals and businesses.
From a worldwide pandemic to a global slowdown in economies, B2B businesses have taken a serious hit. Marketing budgets have been axed, big advertisement plans have been canceled, and the number of people engaging with the business has tanked a lot as a natural consequence.
With the new year fast approaching, more uncertain times seem to be on the horizon. Will old marketing plans resume bringing people in as we recover from the new normal? Will the audience meet them with avid acceptance or instant rejection? Will businesses be able to bounce back to pre-Covid times?
To restore, create, and keep the fascination alive, one thing’s for certain – businesses everywhere need to embrace digital transformation with open arms in 2021. To keep the boat afloat and turn the tides in your favor, we’ve got 10 ideas for your B2B business to make 2021 a year to remember – for the right reasons.
I. Opt Influencer Marketing For The Win
Influencer marketing is one of those recent marketing trends that aren’t dying anytime soon. In fact, with 40% of the US population spending more time on social media than before, influencer marketing has been one of those few marketing techniques that have benefited dramatically during the pandemic.
This ever-growing industry has become a mammoth by the turn of this decade. Social media giants such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have emerged as important platforms to help brands reach customers through a face they trust, which is much more powerful than commercial advertisements.
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For businesses looking to target niche markets, established influencers in those markets can act as their right hand. A pro tip: if you’re new to this, prefer approaching newer influencers with steadily growing likes and follows, than top-tier influencers with huge amounts of followers. This will help you experiment and know the field better without having to throw a lot of money away.
You could also consider collaborating with individuals that have a presence across all major social media platforms than a monopoly in one. This will help your brand reach a wider variety of audience in a wider variety of ways.
But remember, at the end of the day, what matters the most is that the influencers you choose to work with are aligned with the vision and values of your brand.
II. Turn Up The Mobile Marketing Magic
With 52.2 percent of all website traffic is generated from mobile phones, the crux of our internet browsing comes through our mobile phones. This means that any B2B business that is not taking action with fluid mobile access in mind is losing out on customer engagement big time.
With the evolution of browsing behavior and decline in desktop interaction, businesses are increasingly inclining towards developing mobile-first campaigns and websites – and with good reason.
User-friendly touchscreen navigation, no text-heavy website content, all-in-one collapsible screens, and general always-in-pocket convenience have made mobile browsing a hit. If your company’s customer retention and conversion numbers have been on the low, increased focus on mobile-first marketing is a proven way to make amends.
III. Use ChatBots for More Humanized Interaction
Sounds like an oxymoron? Perhaps, but chatbots are all the rage recently – you must’ve come across the same. Every other website today has a hovering conversation bubble-like icon that pops up to say hi to you.
In just a little back and forth, you might be able to find what you’re looking for, easier and faster, also leaving with a feeling of social contact.
Here are a few chatbot statistics that will blow your mind:
1.4 billion people are using chatbots on a regular basis, with users reporting chatbots resolving 80% of all standard questions without the need to wait and seek help from a customer support executive.
Conversational marketing has become the norm in the 21st century business landscape. Brands seek to make conversations feel more one-on-one with their customers, and AI powered chatbots help make interactions a dialogue than a soliloquy.
Brands like HubSpot and Marketo are great examples of how B2B businesses can elevate their customer service experience through chatbots. More than repeating limited automated replies or simply redirecting to website pages, AI-enabled chatbots can now handle complicated queries like giving product details specific to your needs, providing free educational content, or even guiding your journey from discovery to completion with minimal effort.
IV. Create FOMO Content
They say that once it’s on the internet, it lives on forever. But the rise of social media features like Snapchat’s Snaps or Instagram’s Stories that offer time-bound content has revolutionized how we communicate on the web. This has given rise to FOMO content – content that lasts for only a short time, which in turn makes the users fear they’d miss out if they don’t see it.
The time-limited Stories feature by Instagram is the FOMO content hub for B2C businesses today. But now, there’s great news for B2B businesses too! LinkedIn, the best platform for B2B brands, announced in late September this year their very own LinkedIn Stories feature that gives you an easy way to share what’s happening in your professional life.
Limited period offers, exclusive discount codes, special sneak peeks, or short term trials – now B2B businesses too can make the most of FOMO content to expand reach and build a loyal customer base.
V. Make Social Media Posts Shoppable
Building up on the previous point, a dexterous marketing strategy to give your sales a bump is to embed shopping posts directly in your social media posts – be it FOMO content or everyday material. A free, well-timed SM post can often do greater wonders than paid TV or digital advertisements.
Content that your audience can interact with sells better than passive viewing. And if there’s one interactive social media platform that is an absolute must for brands, it’s Instagram. Shoppable posts put up as stories engage and entice the audience through all the senses. And now with Instagram Reels, they are all set to take brand promotion up a notch.
Some old-school B2B company CEOs consider social media platforms to be largely fruitful for B2C outlets. While there’s some truth to it, let this not deter you from experimenting on these platforms come 2021. Especially if you own an online B2B business, digital products or productised services, social media and the shoppable avenues it offers are unparalleled for driving traffic in.
VI. Turn It Into A Game
Shoppable posts are great, but what if you raise the bar even higher? Gamification, or making your website or ads function like a game, has got a lot of traction in recent years. Given how over 164 million adults in the US alone play video games frequently, this has proved to be a brilliant marketing strategy.
Let’s face it – games are fun and addicting. From simple games like Snake 3D or complex ones like GTAV, games make time speed up and boredom disappear. Shopping ads can often feel like a drudge, especially if you are least interested in the product. But gamified marketing strategies can be so much fun, a nurse can find herself waiting in anticipation for the wheel of fortune to land on her favourite coloured drill.
With benefits like smooth sales funnel transitions, enhancing customer patience, and the added feeling of winning, building your business in ways that people can play with is an innovative way to get through to your customers.
VII. Optimizing Marketing For Voice Search
Another one right up there with mobile-first marketing. In 2020, there have been estimated to be about 40% internet users who actively use voice search in the US alone. As trends show, this percentage is touted to go up by almost 10%, amounting to a sum of a whopping 122.7 million users by 2021.
With voice search technology getting faster and better everyday, softwares like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, and of course, Amazon’s Alexa, have spearheaded the way to hands-free internet browsing. With the future looking very promising, there’s no reason to believe voice search is not going to overtake finger searching in a few years.
Voice search has enabled users to interact with their smartphone when their hands are engaged. In the age where people are juggling more things simultaneously than ever before, this is a very handy, as ironic as the word is, tool.
Like video marketing, voice search marketing is becoming increasingly essential. Make sure the content everywhere on your website, e-commerce portals, blogs, et cetera are optimized for voice searching, making it conversational, concise and easy to be picked up by Google’s web crawlers.
VIII. Harness Tech Insights
The constantly evolving customer demands have left little room for winging it when it comes to marketing. Verified, tangible data has become the cornerstone of efficient B2B marketing more than ever before.
According to this report by Altimeter, several B2B businesses are aiming to improve their marketing practices by harnessing the power of data. This is a technique that empowers marketers with new ways to gain insights through data analysis, from data that’s recorded during customer interactions at various stages.
Insights utilized from tech-powered marketing platforms and software both enhance business performance and optimize the efficiency of all marketing efforts. When there’s hard data to back up the time, location, demographics best suited for your business, you can recalibrate and build strategies that have a strong base for success.
Businesses who’ve of course corrected to leverage insight-driven marketing have reported improved customer satisfaction, enhanced customer loyalty, and increased customer retention, as stated in this survey. If you want a sure shot way for your B2B business to get these benefits, harnessing marketing intelligence is a proven path to the top.
IX. Make It Personal
Who doesn’t like to feel special? Every customer is unique, and when brands personalize content to serve their unique needs, it makes them feel heard, seen, and understood.
Customer is the king. And making your content personal is the way to make them feel that way.
Through videos, blogs, social media, podcasts, or emails – a business has no dearth of avenues to touch the heart and minds of their customers. It is how a brand makes every consumer feel royal that endears it to them and builds lifelong loyalty.
When your business addresses a person’s wants and offers a simple way to meet them, it immediately sets you apart from the endless ocean of voices out there.
To realize this, you must know your customer well. Building buyer personas is a time-tested method to help you step into the shoes of your ideal consumer. Conduct surveys, take active feedback, or directly talk to people on ground to empathize with your users better.
If you have the budget, making the most of popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software such as HubSpot can help you segregate your customers based on a variety of factors, enabling your business to cater to their common needs in pinpoint ways. This in turn will help you create personalized content that builds a rapport with them, significantly upping that famed conversion rate.
X. Let Your Customers Do The Talking
The communication between business and customer is not one sided. And you can use this to create a win-win situation: to make your consumers feel included, and do free marketing, both at the same time. Is that genius or is that genius?
It’s called user-generated content: content that is unique and unpaid and created by the customers that use your product or service. This can be in the form of product reviews, social media comments, mail replies, or website reach outs. This type of content not only helps your business improve customer service, it makes your brand feel more human-centric.
Let your customers do your marketing for you. Posting customer testimonials on social media, publicly acknowledging top buyers, being highly responsive to complaints and requests are great ways to make the most of user-generated content.
The beauty of posting user content lies in how original and genuine it can sound, even though it might not be the most sophisticated sounding. When it comes to forging bonds, heart matters more than accuracy. And seeing how the whole world is recovering together from the tumultuous year that 2020 has been, we need more of that to revive both brands and people to a planet that always keeps the fascination alive.