It doesn’t seem like a year ago that I wrote “How to stay competitive in 2021” and offered advice on how to refresh your website (which is still valid). Yet here we are again, fast approaching the end of 2021 and desperately trying to think of what we can do in 2022 to get noticed, engage with our audience, and drive sales.
I think sometimes, as marketers, we can get caught up in the push to come up with THE idea that will smash our competitor’s marketing efforts and get our company noticed. And yes, I fully admit I’ve been guilty of this.
There are so many different methods and tools you can use to engage and communicate with your audience and customers; you can’t do them all. So here are a few things to think about that could help with your planning and boost your B2B marketing next year.
1. Consider a mixed approach - Try to include a mix of marketing activities in your plan, don’t focus on just one area, as you will limit your brand presence and the ways you can connect with potential customers. Marketing is constantly evolving, particularly digital marketing so you don’t want to invest heavily in one area only to find it’s no longer relevant or has been superseded by other platforms.
I’m not suggesting you need to be on every single social media channel or invest heavily in digital advertising. Just focus on where your audience is active and what helps you to achieve your marketing objectives.
2. Review your 2021 marketing - Take time to understand what worked this year and what didn’t. Review your analytics, look at interactions and reach, and speak to your sales teams to find out where their leads are coming from. Only then can you make an informed choice and develop a marketing plan that will really work for your business in 2022.
The tried and tested methods are often the best. After all, people are using them for a reason – they work. So try not to jump on the bandwagon and invest in the latest fad because people are talking about it, or your MD said you should use it. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore emerging trends. Simply keep an eye on what’s happening and if you see more people adopting a certain trend or method, test the water first, and if it works for you, add it to your plan.
There are so many different methods and tools you can use to engage and communicate with your audience and customers; you can’t do them all. So here are a few simple tips to think about that could help to boost your B2B marketing next year.
3. Make it personal – one size doesn’t fit all - Personalisation is key. You need to learn about your audience, find out what their online habits are, and what content they interact with. Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, you can create personalised content that addresses their specific problems or concerns.
That way, you can be sure that your message reaches the right person at the right time.
3. Adopt automation for your B2B marketing - We’re all busy people, so why not make life easier for yourself? Automation lets you communicate regularly with your customers while taking the strain off your marketing and sales teams. You can use automation to schedule social media posts, welcome your new email subscribers, and nurture potential customers.
Of course, I can’t talk about automation without mentioning AI. AI has been around for some time now, and it is definitely gaining momentum. Chatbots that use past questions and data to deliver immediate answers are now used widely on websites while many marketing teams use AI to create personalised messages that are delivered to the customer at exactly the right time.
4. B2B video marketing is more popular than ever - Videos are great for capturing people’s attention and are continuing to grow in popularity, particularly short-form videos. According to a report by Hubspot, 89% of global marketers either plan to continue to invest in short-form videos or to increase their investment. Short-form video can be extremely effective and works well with most social media platforms. From a B2B perspective, I’m not talking about the ephemeral videos you see on TikTok, etc. I mean short-form videos that can be used to build awareness of a new product, a podcast, or introduce a team member to your audience.
In August, LinkedIn announced that it was suspending its Stories feature and would start to work on a different way to add short-form videos to its platform. According to LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Product Liz Li:
“Turns out, you want to create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way and that showcase both your personality and expertise.”
But that doesn’t mean you should ignore longer-form videos. These are great for building your brand and telling a story and can be a case study, a demonstration of how your product works, a how-to guide, a corporate video, or even a podcast or interview. Long-form videos allow you to connect with your audience, can help with your SEO, and boost your search engine ranking. So don't rule them out.
5. Email marketing is a powerful marketing tool - Email marketing is a great marketing tool when used properly and should be an integral part of your marketing plans. You can send customers information on relevant products, introduce them to a new team member or use email newsletters as part of your content marketing strategy.
Relevance is important, so don’t send the same email to every one of your contacts unless it applies to everyone. If you want to get the most out of your email marketing, segment your customers and tailor your emails to where they are in the customer journey. If someone has already bought your product, you don’t want to send them an email telling them how great the product is and that they should buy it. But you do probably want to send them something giving them tips on how they can get the most out of your product, prolong its life or enhance the benefits.
6. Content is still king - I know that’s an old, well-used phrase, but it’s true, and 2022 won’t be any different from 2021. You still need to create new content that focuses on the customer, their pain points, and where they are in the buyer’s journey. Write for the customer, have a conversation with them, and forget about sales talk, corporate jargon, or technical terms. It's all about how you can help your audience.
Blogs, thought leadership articles, and how-to guides all help to keep your content fresh and your audience engaged. And the best thing about generating new content is you can use it in so many different ways – as part of an email campaign, for social media posts, and even in presentations.
7. Don’t underestimate the power of social proof - Customer testimonials and case studies build credibility. People don’t want you to tell them how great your product or service is, they’re more interested in first-hand experience. In other words, hearing from a customer how you’ve solved their problem or how your product has saved them time and money.
Pulling your marketing plans together
Every B2B marketer struggles with the demands of being creative, juggling budgets, and appeasing stakeholders while still addressing the needs of their customers. What differs is how you do this.
I’ve only covered some simple marketing ideas here that I believe can help you to be more effective in 2022. There are, of course, many more B2B marketing techniques that you can use, but remember, your B2B marketing plan needs to be based on your specific audience if you want it to be effective.
Finding the time to plan and then execute a marketing strategy can be challenging. If you need help with your plans or any aspect of your marketing and copywriting, I’m here to help. So why not get Get in touch and we can have a chat.