Businesses which embrace digital enjoy better business outcomes. Anastasiya Golovatenko, Account Director, Sherpa Communications, gives her top tips for businesses on how they can increase their brand visibility online.
The way we live, work and communicate has changed dramatically over the past decade. Long gone are the days of the 9-6 economies, which has now been replaced by 24-7 service offerings that is now delivered across a range of platforms. This consumerisation of B2B marketing to engage customers online is pioneered by the likes of Amazon and Google and is here to stay. Moreover, B2B customers are more than likely to search Google to find and evaluate a brand, service or product, before making a decision, let alone a purchase.
With a significant number of people spending time online, innovation is paramount for businesses to be able to both survive and thrive in the digital age. This translates to intelligent transformations across all marketing functions and the adoption of data-driven machines that can both engage customers and fuel sales. This transformation has resulted in more strategic and targeted marketing campaigns including nurture marketing, predictive analytics, content automations and new approaches to account-based marketing, to deliver personalisation at scale.
Businesses – small, medium and large – which embrace digital enjoy better business outcomes. According to Consultancy-ME.com, digital advertising in the MENA region had advanced to 70% of the total MENA spend in 2020, as e-commerce took centre stage, driven by the lockdowns imposed by the pandemic and the increase in use of digital channels. This changing landscape has made it even more important for B2B businesses to take advantage of the technological developments and boost their online presence.
Here are six digital strategies for brands to improve brand visibility:
Leveraging the power of a high-performance website
Websites form the heart of any digital strategy and buyers expect the content they read to tell the story seamlessly and across different channels.
A standalone website is never enough and will almost certainly not result in increased sales. By not leveraging the power of a high-performance website this can put a business at a distinct disadvantage on many levels. Research states that almost half of all B2B customers expect websites to be able to answer their questions. Moreover, it is these same B2B buyers that seek the same type of online and mobile experiences and features that they encounter as consumers. For example, enhanced search functionalities, easy navigations, simple ratings and reviews, personalised product and service recommendations and a consistent experience always wins.
Data intelligence and visualisation is no longer an option
With so much data available online, one of the biggest challenges is data intelligence. Every marketing strategy and campaign needs to harness the data available and apply the right analytics to help companies engage and customise its offerings for its customers. The lack of integration of marketing analytics is a big constraint for many. A survey by Forrester Research found that only 26% of marketers are satisfied with their marketing analytics tools. CEOs and executives increasingly expect marketers to make effective use of data and tools such as predictive analytics, rapid test and learn, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to create data-driven customer journeys that result in high-quality leads and, ultimately, closed deals.
Content build trusts and is paramount for lead generation
Content is king and there is absolutely no doubt about this. Trust is usually the first step that can lead to a transaction. Good quality content that shines the spotlight on a brand or service can have a long-lasting outcome. For instance, well-written content can be read and utilised even months after it has been published.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers. These same customers are showing more interest in content that provides valuable insight into a topic. This can be in the form of short and long-form content (articles, blogs, eBooks, whitepapers), video (webinars or livestream events), audio (podcasts, audiobooks), in-person content (events, workshops), or even images (infographics, photos, charts). The advancement in digital technologies has also enabled companies to tailor and personalise multiple pieces of content to suit the needs of the different audience groups. This type of personalisation can be extremely effective in driving sales and enabling business growth.
Investing in B2B social media strategy at the core of all marketing plans
The Middle East itself has seen some significant growth in the use of the Internet and social media and has opened the doors for many new businesses and start-ups looking to penetrate this emerging market. The social media penetration in the UAE stood at 99% in January 2020 and the number of Internet users in Saudi Arabia increased by 4.3 million between 2019 and 2020.
Increasing a brand exposure online can raise brand awareness and establish a dialogue with both current and prospective clientele. How a company then responds, interacts and posts on social media will then send a clear message about the type of business they operate.
Improve Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is not an option but a must for businesses these days. The bigger your business presence online in terms of searchability and visibility, the better it performs on Google.
SEO can mean increased engagement, traffic and conversions. Optimising digital properties can impact the buying cycle and help draw B2B customers one step closer to the transaction. Google itself tells us that 71% of B2B customers start their research with a google search, making it imperative for businesses to improve website visibility.
Automation needs to work hand in hand with email marketing
Email marketing is and will continue to remain one of the most effective ways to deepen customer relationships and boost brand awareness. It is important to get the most out of email marketing campaigns with simple actions such as catchy subject lines, clear calls to action (CTA) and personalised communication. Wherever possible, B2B marketers should segment business customers as much as possible by location, industry, preference or even previous purchases.