Not so long ago, B2B marketing meant cold calling and not much else beside the dreadful request for proposal (RFP).  Call centers staffed with young salespeople worked the phones all day using lists – an expensive, grueling tactic that netted a low percentage of sales and leads. Nowadays, inbound content marketing has replaced the hard sell.  The reason behind the change is that consumers are now conducting detailed online research before they commit to the purchase of products or services.  By providing content that is well-researched and up-to-date, you can engage a potential customer through your website, blog or social channels in a genuine, meaningful way.  With modern B2B marketing, you can paint your organization, products and/or services in a positive light and increase conversions simply by publishing high-quality, informative content to your audience of potential clients, making you a trusted and authoritative source of information within your industry.  Continue reading to find the best B2B marketing best practices and trends to follow in 2018 and beyond, and learn how they can help you to stay ahead of your competitors going forward.

Compound Content Marketing

Compound content is the concept of detaching content from time-based topics and allowing for an extended period of relevancy.  The result is a continued flow of traffic to your website long after your content has been published.  Through the implementation of tried and tested on-page SEO techniques, the reach of your content will increase dramatically.

A recent study showed how improving blogging objectives in three key areas, namely writing twice as many blog posts, adding forms to blog posts and doubling the number of internal links, lead to unimaginable results.  The website in question saw a whopping 100% increase in sales within 2 quarters and their number of opportunities increased by an impressive 100%.  Considering the small number of changes required to achieve these numbers, the results really do speak for themselves.

While the outcome is very impressive, had they implemented a strategy to produce more compound content going forward, their results would be even better.  The study reported that they would “be able to look back in two years and see the sales impact from 2017 drive their Q2 sales pipeline.”  The concept of the content you produce now having such a significant impact two years later is an exciting thought for anyone involved in the digital marketing space.

Keep Up With Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is far from a new concept in digital marketing but it is becoming increasingly important and influential.  Mobile usage trends are consistently on the rise from month to month, with an incredible 96% of users using their smartphones to research products and services they are interested in, according to consumer insight reports by Google.

Looking ahead to 2018, you should aim to continue focusing on your mobile marketing strategy as an integral part of your overall marketing plan.  With that said, it is important to stay abreast of the following new trends and developments in mobile marketing for 2018.

Visualization of content through images, infographics, and video will become increasingly important as we move forward from 2017. Video content, in particular, is predicted to become a marketing heavyweight as it’s anticipated that by 2019, video will make up 80% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco.  There are a number of reasons that video is becoming more popular, with accessibility arguably being one of the main factors.  Faster load times, more efficient file sizes and formats, along with the rise of dedicated video social apps such as Snapchat, Periscope and the introduction of live streaming video through platforms such as Facebook Live, further highlight the importance of video content.  This is especially true when you consider massive statistics such as Snapchat users watching 10 billion videos every day!

Micro-Moments for Marketers

Although Google introduced the concept of micro-moments a little over two years ago, you are going to hear the phrase ‘micro-moments’ a lot more in 2018. The role of micro-moments is set to become more important and more powerful for marketers in 2018 and beyond.  But, what are micro-moments and what do they mean for B2B Marketers?

A micro-moment is defined by Google as a moment when “people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.  They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.”

Google has even gone so far as to define four separate micro-moments that detail the different types of user needs; the “I want to know”, “I want to go”, “I want to do” and “I want to buy”.  With a user being in one of these positions, a B2B marketer can accurately anticipate when a consumer will need a particular piece of information, in real time! Having the ability to provide optimized information at each and every stage of the buying cycle, not just when they are ready to part with their dollars, opens up a whole new realm of possibilities than we have ever seen or experienced before.  All of this is being made more possible with intelligent lead nurturing and marketing automation technology.  Watch this space!

Email Marketing & Marketing Automation are Crucial

Email marketing is undoubtedly the old-reliable in the digital marketing arena but trust us, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  With all the new technologies, platforms and methods of interacting with your customers, you might be forgiven for thinking that email marketing was going to be left in the dark ages but the old adage of “the money is in the list” is as true now as it ever was.

With that said, email marketing, like everything else, has evolved in ways that we may never have thought possible in the early days.  Recent developments in how we use and interpret behavioral data has lead to a much more personalized approach to marketing via email.  The traditional marketing funnel has been replaced by a new digital marketing funnel, with new pre and post-purchase stages for marketers to consider.  It’s such a vastly different concept that it’s not even shaped like a funnel anymore, but like an hourglass!  The customer journey and conversion funnel differs significantly from one customer to the next and can flow through some, or all, of the stages, in any order, making for a truly individualized customer experience.

The point here is that while the funnel is changing and the range of marketing tactics is also on the rise, email marketing remains an important channel which can be utilized at every stage of the buying journey.  This simply isn’t the case for other marketing channels and methods.

Another exciting development in email marketing is personalization.  Consumers expect a more personalized approach from their digital interactions and they are already experiencing this through Google’s search suggestions, Netflix recommendations and Spotify’s suggested listening based on the user’s history and behavior.  As evolving technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning become more prominent, we can expect to see an ever more personalized experience with email marketing.

The power and influence that email marketing has, has not diminished with the emergence of new technologies. The ability to reach your customer’s inbox directly is as powerful as ever and with more automation and personalization, email marketing will become more powerful than ever.

B2B Marketing Best Practices in 2018 and Beyond

B2B Marketing Best Practices 2018 - Engage, Interact

Digital marketing trends are changing faster than ever, the amount of data now available to marketers is vast and the number of channels, as well as methods, to reach your potential customers has never been as many.  It’s true that tried and tested digital marketing avenues such as mobile marketing, email marketing and social media will continue to play a critical role in B2B marketing strategies. However, it is how these channels are used together and with the heavy hand support of machine learning and behavioral analytics that will change in 2018 and beyond.  It’s crucial to keep up with and indeed, stay ahead, of these changes!

Personalized content and a visual approach will be key components in marketing campaigns, strategies and plans for the New Year.  Interactive content that truly engages the customer will shine in 2018; it will attract more customers and will lead to more conversions.  With the advice in this article, you will be able to capitalize on these emerging B2B marketing best practices and trends and take your B2B lead generation campaigns to new heights in 2018 and far, far beyond.

Creating an effective B2B marketing strategy and inbound marketing campaigns can be daunting, let us know how we can help in helping you implement an effective program and download our free Inbound Marketing Campaign Guide.