9 reasons you should be using video marketing in 2021

Recording Podcasts

3 min read – 

People love video! So why are you not using video in your marketing? Say what you like about statistics, but some of the numbers below portray a pretty comprehensive argument, as to how popular video marketing is and why every business should be using it.

There are many different types of videos you could produce, for example:

  • a corporate-style video to give an overview of your business,
  • product or service explainer videos to help your customers understand what you do,
  • training videos for your internal sales team or your customers,
  • social media videos to inform your followers,
  • PR videos to let the world know your successes, and so on.

No matter the topic, a video will communicate your message and engage your audience like no other form of communication.

Video marketing, manufacturing

 

Here are 9 reasons why your B2B company should be using video right now:

1.     The ROI is so much better than many people think:

84% of video marketers say video has helped them generate leads.
94% of video marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
86% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website.

2.     The pandemic has overwhelmingly increased the amount of online video people are watching. And whilst face-to-face business will return, the use of video to communicate is here to stay.

 3.     Your audience is so much more accustomed to watching a video on your products and services, and in many cases now prefers to watch something as oppose to reading some text. The modern consumer wants to see your product in action.

 4.     Google loves video… and because video is a more sharable form of content people are more likely to create backlinks to your content, thus improving your ranking with Google.

 5.     Just using the word video in your email marketing subject will increase your open rates by 19% and reduce unsubscribes by 25%.

6.     Video marketing can explain your product or service quicker and more comprehensively. A staggering 98% of users say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more. And by creating animated videos you can bring concepts to life, in a simple and entertaining way.

7.     Videos build trust, and trust is the foundation for conversions and sales. Your content marketing strategy is focussed on building long term and sustainable relationships, and there is no better marketing method to tell a story and create empathy – particularly at this moment during lockdown.

8.     Video appeals much more to mobile users, and YouTube reports mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year. Whilst B2B traffic is still desktop orientated, there was a 660% increase in smartphone views in 2020 of content created by businesses. You simply cannot ignore the tablet and smartphone user anymore.

9.     You need to get personal. Content marketing in 2021 demands the personal touch, and it doesn’t get more personal than a piece to camera video by you, talking to your customers or prospects.

 

If you’d like to discuss video marketing for your business, please contact Simon on simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or tel: 01202 682322.

Your B2B Marketing Planning for 2021

5 min read – 

As we draw towards the end of what has been, for most businesses, a fairly tumultuous year let’s take a moment to reflect on the year and also look forward to 2021, with hopefully new opportunities for all.

2020 has been the year when digital and content marketing cemented itself into the psyche of every business. With restrictions on face-to-face interaction, the cancellation of all trade shows and an unprecedented period of downtime for many, there was a massive requirement for businesses to reach and engage with their audiences in a different way i.e. online, using websites, podcasts, webinars, email and social media.

It was not just the way in which we communicated though, but also how we did it that’s changed. There has been a real surge towards marketing your business differently, using techniques such as ABM (Account Based Marketing), personalisation and digitisation. Your content (what you say and how you say it) needs to be memorable, unique and resonate with your audience.

B2B marketing is a challenge! We know your average buyer is going to need a lot of persuasion to move from an initial lead to a genuine purchase and so you need to understand where on the buying journey they are and adapt your marketing accordingly. It’s become increasingly clear that the modern marketer needs to leverage the marketing channels that best suit your customer and always create engaging and memorable digital content.

 

So what do you need to be doing right now in preparation for 2021?

Let’s start with your overall marketing strategy. Now would be a good time to review your marketing objectives and ascertain whether they are still in line with your overall business goals. Have your target markets shifted or perhaps one or two have taken predominance? Updating your strategy for 2021 helps to focus your thoughts and is an opportunity to check the whole team is on the same page with regard to your marketing plans.

Content marketing will be the key to your activities next year and whilst you need to leave room for opportunities that will crop up during the year, you also need planned campaigns that you can schedule in advance, to make sure you cover all your key messages. So it’s worth identifying some of the main topics you will want to cover and sketching out a plan for the year.

Video continues to be one, if not the most, important tools for you to be using to engage with your audience. An introduction video to your business can be supported by a series of product or service videos, or why not use video to communicate to your teams, especially as many companies have staff working at home. Case study videos are powerful testament to the work you do, with third party endorsements. Video content has the capability to engage like no other content, so now is the time to start planning what videos your business is going to need as we emerge into a bright new world, post Covid.

Your website is your window to a world of possibilities and new customers. Remember, it is the first thing a new contact will look at, so it has to reflect your brand and your business. Are you paying enough attention to the key messages your website communicates to a viewer? Does it create the sort of impression you would want to create if a new customer came to visit you? It is definitely worth taking some time to look at your site and ask yourself “If I was looking for a supplier of XX, would this website give me the confidence to take the next step and pick up the phone?”

Your brand is your calling card, and like your website, it reflects your business. A logo might seem insignificant, but it can make a powerful statement about your business, and is often the first piece of marketing a prospective customer will see. But a brand is not just your logo; it’s the glue that binds your entire marketing activities, from exhibition stands to letterheads. Does your brand compete with your competitors brands, or is it time to update and modernise in line with what your customers are expecting and looking for.

Finally, year-end is always a good time to review your social media presence. Check through your key channels (probably LinkedIn and Twitter, maybe Instagram and Facebook) and review your content. Are the messages you are posting the right ones for your business. As with your content planning, identify your key messages for 2021 and schedule some campaigns that can be run on social media in amongst your other activity.

Summary

For many of us, our business world is significantly different now than it was at the start of 2020, and your marketing is no different. Make sure you take the opportunity now to plan for next year, so you can hit the ground running.

 

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of your marketing for 2021, please contact Simon on simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or tel: 01202 682322.

Measuring Success for B2B Marketing Strategies

5 min read – 

In a previous blog (May 20) I talked about how B2B companies need to measure the success of their marketing through different methods than the traditional ‘vanity metrics’ such as website impressions, click-through rates etc. High numbers may give you a sense of achievement, but ultimately will they translate into new revenue for your business? For B2B marketers, it is now more than ever a case of quality over quantity.

This distinct shift towards measuring ROI or customer lifetime value over simple numbers is borne out by a study produced a few years ago by leading professional services company Accenture, who found that “more than one third of CEOs are placing chief marketing officers (CMOs) in the hot seat when it comes to executing growth strategies. Given this pressure, it’s not surprising that CMOs are increasingly looking to take the lead in disruptive growth.”

Disruptive growth is the process of identifying and implementing trends or strategies that will shake up your marketplace and gain your business a competitive advantage. In today’s crowded and over-saturated marketplace companies need to be seeking the edge that will make them stand out.

So how do B2B marketers choose what to measure, to gauge the success of their activities. A useful guide is to divide your metrics into 2 categories: your pipeline metrics and your pillar metrics.

Pipeline metrics are all about the key stages in your sales process – new leads, first-time customer sales, repeat business, lost sales etc. This might be seen as a numbers game, which we’re trying to get away from, but ultimately you do need to know what’s working and what’s not. Often you can use your CRM to gain these metrics – the key is to understand your buyer’s journey and interrogate the right data. In addition, if you are using key social media platforms such as LinkedIn, there are tools such as Conversion Tracking that will give you this information.

The basic results from your pipeline analysis are a great start, however to take it a stage further, it is useful to also look at the revenue bought in by your marketing activities, and the average deal size for those projects where it can be identified they have been ‘touched’ by your marketing. A laser-targeted marketing campaign, particularly if you are practicing an Account-Based Marketing approach (ABM), should bring in a higher value deal than your average one, when compared to a traditional sales-driven approach, given the precise nature of your activity.

The adoption of ABM, where a company focuses its effort on a small number of key customers or contacts to win new business, has meant it is easier to measure the cost per acquired customer, which can be another key measurement of success. Ally this to your customer lifetime value and you can build up a clear picture of your ROI.

Pillar metrics are focused on the specific marketing pillars or channel you employ to hit your target market. Whether you are using email marketing, social media, content marketing etc each one tends to have its own metrics, some easier to pull data from than others. Ultimately, it’s about understanding what each pillar gives you and then interpreting the data to ascertain if that pillar is working for you. Let’s look at a few examples.

Social media marketing needs to be carefully thought out for B2B campaigns, and you need to be wary not to get sucked in by the numbers. Gaining likes and followers is good for brand recognition but doesn’t necessarily translate into business revenue. Undertaking paid advertising on social media is an option but it helps to know your average project value per customer. If that’s worth £20k then you can make a judgement on how much to spend to obtain new leads.

The success of content marketing is perhaps slightly harder to measure but is still possible through such metrics as the number of visitors to your blog pages or a specific landing page, and the number of downloads you have of a particular white paper or blog article.

Email marketing still offers B2B companies huge opportunities to generate brand recognition, promote new business products and services and communicate with your existing customer database. There are plenty of metrics to measure the success or otherwise of your emails, including the number of email opens, and also the extent of interaction with recipients through CTA’s.

Summary

When measuring the success of your B2B marketing, there is no one metric that will give you the full picture. Instead, you need to pull various metrics together, from both your pipeline and your various marketing pillars, to have a comprehensive view of your activities. The key is not to get bogged down chasing vanity numbers, but to consider results against important criteria such as the lifetime value of a customer. With the right tools in place you will have a much clearer idea of how marketing is working to grow your business, and what you need to do to support that growth.

If you would like a no-obligation chat about your B2B marketing, please get in touch, email: simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or telephone 01202 682322

Content Marketing for B2B Companies

6 min read – 

The term Content Marketing has been around for a few years now, but for many industrial B2B companies it remains a bit of an enigma. So what exactly is content marketing and how important is it to your business?

As a simple definition Content Marketing is producing and promoting written or verbal online material (articles, blogs, tips, social media posts etc) that appeals to your audience, to engage and stimulate them, without overtly advertising your products or services.

There are 3 golden rules to producing great content:

  • Make it useful to your audience so they learn something

  • Make it engaging so they are attracted to it, and encouraged to read/listen to the end

  • Make it high quality so it performs well across various platforms

Let’s explore these 3 in a bit more detail…

If you are a B2B company, and particularly if you operate within industrial sectors on an engineering or manufacturing level, your audience is a tough sell. The chances are they are at a senior management level with plenty of industry experience, and so making your content useful to them needs some thought. The good news however is that they likely have similar industry interests as yourself, so if you find something useful there’s a good chance they will too.

Don’t be afraid to state the obvious sometimes (it might not be obvious to all your audience) and try and vary your content so you’re not talking about the same topic over and over again. Tools such as BuzzSumo and LinkedIn Content suggestions are a great way to identify what people are talking about in your industry, to which you can then prepare content that perhaps gives an alternative perspective or even a counter-argument. Your ultimate goal is to become the leading resource for professionals in your industry; the go-to expert.

Content needs to be engaging. Use of visual stimuli such as pictures, infographics, video etc can all help to impart the message more clearly. Always post on social media with an image or video. Break up your copy with headings, bullet points, numbered lists – anything that helps to keep the reader engaged to the end. And everyone loves some top tips that they can take away with them.

High quality content will perform better across different platforms and will rank higher within Google’s algorithms on your website. You can’t always come up with completely original copy, so if you are using an existing concept or methodology as a basis, always do your research and add your own thoughts, opinions and examples. If, for example, you produce widgets, put yourself into the shoes of your customers and produce content that addresses as close as possible the exact questions and concerns you would have.

 

 

Why is Content Marketing important?

 

Content Marketing generates new business leads and improves conversions. Statistics indicate B2B companies with blogs generate over 60% more leads than those without. So good content marketing is extremely effective. In addition, your content can move a potential customer along your sales funnel, so they are more likely to reach a buying decision having been encouraged and persuaded by the information you have given them.

Content Marketing will improve your website ranking and help potential customers find you on Search Engines. When you post relevant material, this makes your site more reputable as you have an increased number of indexed pages and links. The more reputable site you have the higher you will rank on the organic listings when someone searches using keywords relevant to that topic.

Content Marketing improves your customer retention. Existing customers will be encouraged when they see good quality, informative content being posted by you. In particular, your content marketing activities need to include a personalised aspect where appropriate and updating your current customers with great content aimed directly at them can only be beneficial for your long-term customer retention.

Content marketing establishes trust with your audience. Done correctly, it provides evidence of your competence without overtly promoting your products and services, so your audience don’t feel they are being sold to. When your content shows up in the right place, and at the right time, this establishes credibility for your brand and creates positive associations with your customers and contacts.

Here are 5 quick tips to take away with you, to make your content marketing work for you:

  • Identify your audience – be clear about who you are producing the content for
  • Make it easy to remember – your content should stick in the mind of your audience

  • Keep it simple and valuable – you are talking to your peers and colleagues so just be yourself and make the content easy to read

  • Make it engaging – use video, images etc to attract and retain your audience’s attention

  • Ensure the content can be shared – remember the plan is to get as many people to see your message as possible.

If you would like a no-obligation chat about content marketing, please get in touch simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or telephone 01202 682322

B2B Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

Simon Harrison

Simon Harrison

3 min read –

If you are a B2B company that has recently established a presence on social media – first of all ‘brilliant, well done’, and secondly if you are thinking ‘now what’ then hopefully help is at hand. 

It may be you have set up a LinkedIn company page or opened a Twitter account. You might have established a YouTube account. Or you might have created a Facebook Business page. Whichever one you have done, there are some Do’s and Don’ts that it might be wise to look at. I’ve picked out half a dozen that I think are key and can at least get you up and running in ‘social media’ world.

DO complete your profile
Your branding and image is as important on your social media platforms as it is on your website. First impressions are crucial, so take the opportunity to create an impression and give your audience some information about what you do. The banners for all your platforms can be designed, so consider a graphic or select a photograph that sums up your business as succinctly as possible.

Social Media Banner example

DON’T just sell yourself
You’ll soon switch off any followers if the only content you put out there is about yourself. It needs to be balance of content that will engage your audience, encourage interaction and inform them. If you have a new product to launch, or you have invested in some new machinery, then by all means tell the world. But that needs to be countered with industry news, relevant technology information, helpful tips, local news, customer and supplier re-posts and the occasional humorous/random bit of content that gives you some personality. If you can get that mix right, your audience will engage.

DO be visual
With such recent stats as:

  • Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images
  • Articles with an image once every 75-100 words received double the social media shares as articles with fewer images
  • 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support (all stats courtesy of HubSpot)

it’s no wonder images and videos are a vital ingredient to your content. You literally cannot afford to post on social media without an image or a video.

DON’T repeat the same message
It will get very boring for your audience if you just repeat the same thing over and over again. Be creative with the content – if you need to mention something again use a different context and change the image. Remember, social media is all about engaging with your audience not boring them to death.

B2B Social Media Dos and Donts

DO post regularly
How regular is regular? Good question… and there isn’t one easy answer. As a B2B company a good balance we have found is try and put new content out there once a week, or even once a fortnight is ok. In addition, also make sure you check your feeds perhaps twice a week to interact with your followers, repost/share relevant content, comment on posts etc. The impression you are creating is one of engagement and interaction – so if you don’t look at your social media platforms for 3 months you are missing out on a tonne of opportunities to talk to your audience.

DON’T worry about the numbers
Whilst the number of followers or likes is an indication of engagement, it is at a very superficial level, so don’t get too stressed about chasing numbers. Your social media activity is aimed at brand awareness and growing your network which is a long-term strategy. So the focus needs to be on quality over quantity and delivering content that is central to your audience.

Hopefully the above gives you a foundation to get you started on your social media journey.

Please leave me any comments below, and if you’d like to chat more about how your social media strategy can help your business grow please get in touch simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or telephone 01202 682322

B2B Marketing – Where Do I Start?

Simon Harrison

Simon Harrison

3 min read –

We all know marketing is an integral tool for any business. It’s a vehicle for self-promotion and can boost growth and sustainability. But going it alone can be daunting, and one of the first questions we are asked is ‘where do I start’?

Start strong

The answer is… start strong, with a marketing plan.

Define the markets you’re targeting, the key benefits your customers are looking for and what your competitors claim to be doing. You can write a marketing plan on the back of the proverbial cigarette packet if you wish… we wouldn’t advise that as a) you’ll probably lose it, and b) there isn’t going to be room for a whole lot of substance. The point is of course that in writing something down you are beginning to think and plan your future marketing activities, rather than take the approach of ‘let’s just wait and see what crops up and see if we can get a good deal.’

Not the dreaded SWOT analysis

Well yes, because it works! In your marketing plan, however you develop it, identifying your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) gives you a foundation to build your messages on. Decide on the appropriate message for your target audience and develop marketing objectives – these will guide your future activities and ensure you maximise your strengths and opportunities. They will also allow you to set benchmarks and KPI’s, that enable you to measure the success of your marketing over time.

Quantity over Quality

Talking of measuring success, in the world of B2B marketing it is clear that traditional methods of measuring success – click-through rates, impressions, cost per click etc – are not the panacea they once were. Just because you get hundreds of new visitors to your website, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will translate into new sales, as it very much depends on your target audience. So, measuring success is shifting towards quality over quantity. We will explore some ways of how you measure success in a future blog – stay tuned.

Momentum

Once you have gained some momentum, keep it going; develop a communications plan that highlights marketing tools that enable you to achieve your objectives. Produce a plan for a 6 to 12-month period to outline when your marketing activities will occur, and then refer to it and keep it updated and fresh.

Marketing planning isn’t rocket science, but it is genius and a great way to get you thinking.​

If you are at that starting point, and would like a no-obligation chat, please get in touch simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or telephone 01202 682322

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