People spend twice as much time online as they used to 12 years ago. And while we say it a lot, the way people shop and buy really has changed, meaning offline marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be…
If your company is business-to-business (B2B), your digital marketing efforts are likely to be centered around online lead generation, with the end goal being for someone to speak to a salesperson.
Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is hugely important — according to Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate, compared to a 4% decline in revenue for companies with poor alignment.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is an umbrella term of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies such as desktop computers mobile phones and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.
Its development during the 1990s and 2000s, changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing. As digital platforms became increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, and as people increasingly use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns have become prevalent, employing combinations of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing , content automation, campaign marketing, data -driven marketing, e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, ebooks , and optical disks and games have become commonplace. Digital marketing extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as television, mobile phones ( SMS and MMS ), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones.
Most businesses don’t use all the methods listed above, as each one takes time, effort, and money. Fortunately, you don’t need all of them to successfully promote a product. You only need to use the tactics that will help you accomplish your goal, whether that’s more conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn, downloads of a PDF brochure, or product sales.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a detailed plan on how you can utilize the different digital marketing channels to achieve your business goals.
When you design a digital marketing strategy you need to consider which channels to use, the resources (people, time and money) to assign to each channel and what to expect in terms of results.
The list of digital marketing strategies is also constantly evolving, but here are some of the strategies most businesses are using:
What are digital marketing channels and how can we use them?
In short, digital marketing channels are anything that get your product or service in front of your desired audience, online; and with billions of people across the world accessing online services daily, what are digital marketing channels? Where your business should be advertising, what you should be utilising!
Digital marketing has a number of channels and these can be separated into online marketing channels and offline marketing channels.
The main difference between the two is that online marketing channels are based solely on the Internet while offline marketing channels have to do with digital devices that are not necessarily connected to the Internet.
How do you decide the right digital marketing channel?
While the aforementioned are a list of the most popularly used digital marketing channels, the channels your brand or business should adopt depends on multiple factors.
The right digital marketing channel for your brand or business also depends on your brand’s business goals. If your goal is to generate leads for your business and you’re a B2B brand, it makes more sense to use platforms that are business centric and have features that will help you generate leads.
What Is Branding?
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
Branding is the process used to build your business’s identity. Everything you stand for, what you believe, your business’s reputation essentially the tangible and intangible impression others have of your business is created with branding.
This process not only includes all physical (tangible) elements of your business, such as your logo, colors, website, office space, and other physical assets, but also your business’s core values, purpose, and mission (which are intangible).
The people you serve your customers also contribute to your brand identity as well as your reputation and any associations with other businesses, people, and organizations.
Think about it. Isn’t it true that birds of a feather flock together? The associations one maintains not only influence the reputation of a human being, but businesses as well.
Perhaps Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, summed it up best when he said, Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Why Should You Increase Brand Awareness?
Brand managers and marketers working to increase brand awareness in B2B face more challenges than within the B2C market. The B2B buyer is more sophisticated and the stakes are often much higher. B2B decision-makers are paid high salaries to make said purchase decisions and the sales process can be long.
Building and increasing brand awareness within B2B also requires more knowledge about your customers’ problems, with marketing strategies that empathise and educate accordingly. And a more sophisticated marketing strategy must be supported by the right resources. This could include:
- creating a marketing strategy
- hiring a content writer
- investing in product training
- onboarding support
- the right technical resources to support your team.
Overall, increasing brand awareness in B2B comes with a price tag because it needs more consideration, involves more people and requiring more approval from key internal stakeholders.
If it is so difficult, why should B2B-ers bother working to increase brand awareness? Well, brand awareness builds trust. Increased trust in a brand means more customer reach and staying on top of mind means increased brand loyalty. And what does this mean for the long term? Well as brands and marketers, it certainly means you can sell more and even charge higher prices if you feel inclined so.
So, it’s hard work, but it’s worth it. To get you started, check out our infographic for some practical ways that you can start to increase brand awareness in B2B today.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of digital marketing collateral with the goal of increasing brand awareness, improving search engine rankings and generating audience interest. Businesses use content marketing to nurture leads and enable sales by using site analytics, keyword research and targeted strategy recommendations.
What Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is commonly used today to describe only the paid advertising portion of marketing through a search engine. SEM involves buying PPC (pay-per-click) ads that display on a search engine results page. Such ads may be placed through Google Ads, Bing Ads, or other search engines.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which helps your page rank higher on Google and other search engines to drive more traffic to your site You can design and develop your pages based on what search engines look for in a website , which changes as technology trends continue to evolve. And if you haven’t done so already, you can adjust your web presence to make sure it’s useful and informative.
If you have a website, that’s good news, because you can invest time and talent to create a site that makes you more likely to rank highly.
Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.
Organic results . Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.
Organic search traffic is specifically any unpaid traffic that comes from SERPs.
What Actually Works for Driving SEO Traffic from Search Engines?
Google’s algorithm is extremely complex, but at a high level:
Google is looking for pages that contain high-quality, relevant information relevant to the searcher’s query.
Google’s algorithm determines relevance by crawling (or reading) your website’s content and evaluating (algorithmically) whether that content is relevant to what the searcher is looking for, based on the keywords it contains and other factors (known as “ranking signals”).
Google determines quality by a number of means, but a site’s link profile – the number and quality of other websites that link to a page and site as a whole – is among the most important.
Increasingly, additional ranking signals are being evaluated by Google’s algorithm to determine where a site will rank, such as:
How people engage with a site (Do they find the information they need and remain on the site, or do they “bounce” back to the search page and click on another link? Or do they just ignore your listing in search results altogether and never click-through?) A site’s loading speed and mobile friendliness
How much unique content a site has (versus thin or duplicated, low-value content)
There are hundreds of ranking factors that Google’s algorithm considers in response to searches, and Google is constantly updating and refining its process to ensure that it delivers the best possible user experience.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses email to promote your business’s products or services. It can help make your customers aware of your latest items or offers. It can also play a pivotal role in teaching folks about your brand or keeping them engaged between purchases.
Email marketing has the highest return on investment. You email list is the audience you own, versus paid platforms, you pay to essentially borrow their audience to temporarily advertise to them.
According to the DMA, the return on investment for email increased from an estimated 30.03 for every 1 spent in 2016 to 32.28 in 2017. (pure360.com)
How does email marketing work?
Email marketing is the process of targeting your audience and customers through email. It helps you boost conversions and revenue by providing subscribers and customers with valuable information to help achieve their goals.
Now let’s review when you should use email marketing and some benefits and statistics that support the reason why email marketing is so valuable.
Master the fundamentals of email marketing with a free online course.
What is B2B Social Media Marketing?
Most people recognise that social media revolutionised the way we communicate and that means marketing as well.
It is now possible to build extremely effective organic and paid social media campaigns to promote a company or brand to both a consumer and a business audience.
According to Techopedia , social media marketing refers to techniques that target social networks and applications to spread brand awareness or promote particular products. Social media marketing campaigns usually centre on:
Establishing a social media presence.
Supporting the entire customer experience journey from start to finish.
The importance of social media marketing in the business environment is that it can be highly targetted, and therefore very effective in helping to create brand awareness among the people you want to reach.
What Is Online Paid Advertising?
In contrast to earned and owned advertising, online paid advertising requires the purchase of ad spots to attract internet traffic. The featured ads show up on designated websites, and marketers or companies bid against their competition for keywords that pertain to their services or products. The bidding is dependent on a certain amount of responses or there’s a fixed price for impressions.
What paid digital advertising can do for you
If you have a website up and running, create an account on a search engine advertising platform, and then set up and run your ads. It’s as easy as that.
You choose where and when your ads will appear based off of keywords and much more. This flexibility will ensure that you get the right people on your website and you won’t be charged unless the visitor is interested.
Test profitability of different keywords.
View your costs, profits, views, average number of clicks and overall ad performance. Based on your analysis, you can alter your keywords to generate more qualified leads and reduce costs.
Limited daily budget.
You decide how much you want to spend per click or per day.
Increase brand awareness.
As long as you’re within budget, your ads will appear when people search your keywords, establishing you in your industry.
Do you have a new product, campaign or flash sale? Create specific ads for that!
Sites can show targeted ads to users who have already visited your page. Past visitors are familiar with your brand, and while they browse the web, they will be enticed to come back for more! All you need to do is install a specific tag to your website so that past visitors are added to your defined remarketing audiences, remind them of your company’s products / services.
Split-test various messages and offers.
With A/B testing, you have the ability to constantly test content variables based on the goal of your ads. Test two ads against each other and analyze your results which approach was the most successful?
How Much Should You Spend on Digital Marketing?
First, let us define the term marketing budget’ clearly. Your marketing budget refers to all costs for marketing activities, including but not limited to promotions and advertising, public relations, SEO costs, social media marketing, sponsorships, influencer marketing,and anything else that falls to this category.
If you are outsourcing all of your marketing strategy in an all-in-one package, the cost will be your marketing budget. Yet, if you are hiring an in-house team, generally the cost will be tied into your human resources cost.
The revenue here can be actual and projected, but there can be many other factors that can alter this number.
For example, newer businesses will need a higher marketing budget to introduce their brand. Also, some industries and/or niches will require a higher marketing budget: generally, the more common/easier to produce your product is, the more you should spend on marketing.
So, you should spend at least 2-5% of your gross revenue on marketing. Newer businesses might need more, and can spend up to 20% of their total gross revenue. On the other hand, the recommended maximum for established businesses is 12%.
Most businesses spend about 10-12% of their annual revenue on marketing.
Of that budget, most companies typically spend 35-40% of that on digital marketing.
Marketing should be approached scientifically, so your digital marketing spend is based on metrics like keyword volume and audience size.
It is recommended that remarketing be used in parallel with paid search because those users have expressed interest in your brand already.
Depending on what you read, different research groups state that businesses should be spending approximately 10-12% of their annual revenue on marketing. These percentages aren’t stone-clad; the percent varies per industry and even by the product or service that’s being marketed. For a starting point though, 10% is a great place to begin. Of that 10%, most companies are budgeting anywhere from 35%-40% on digital marketing.
If you spend too little, your message won’t make it to your target audience. If you spend too much, you won’t have the budget you need for other important aspects of your marketing plan.
So how much do you spend, and what do you spend it on? As the new year unfolds, you need to figure out:
How much money to spend on digital marketing
How much of that goes to each tactic social, email, SEM, etc.
What tools you need, and how much they cost
Other expenses you need to plan for.
The Bottom Line:
No matter the size of your business, it’s important to research how much you should spend on digital marketing. Agencies vary in their digital marketing prices, but plenty claim that they offer extremely cheap rates and that is what your company needs to look out for when looking at agencies.
In almost all cases, you get what you pay for in terms of digital marketing services. So cheap services often don’t drive the results you want.
That is why it’s critical to set a reasonable digital marketing budget. If you try to make your price range as low as possible, you’ll get what you pay for, unfortunately.
What is a reasonable budget, though?
While several factors influence digital marketing budgets, like the size of your company and the scope of your project, the average digital marketing budget ranges from $30,000 to $145,000 per year for SMBs. Keep in mind that digital marketing is an ongoing strategy , so your budget may change as you grow.