Featured | October 16, 2023
More For Less: Making Your Digital Marketing Work Harder in B2B
In the B2B sector, marketing is often very direct. Going straight to your target market with adverts for your services is generally the preferred approach, but it’s not the only one. With digital advertising being expensive in many B2B sectors, but budgets getting cut for many marketers, we explore alternative ways to reach your target customers cost-effectively online.
B2B businesses have always made up a significant portion of the brands Liberty works with. In the past few months, budgets have become one of the most frequently referenced concerns in our briefing calls. From what we have observed, marketing teams are being made smaller and budgets are being cut, yet the growth appetites of the businesses remain the same.
Entering the B2B space during this time is stressful. Marketers face increased demands for profits from stakeholders, while simultaneously being told that their abilities are being stripped.
Has your budget been affected? In this article, we explore some of the most effective, low-cost digital marketing strategies to employ when dealing with other businesses, ranging from content optimisation to alternative bidding strategies.
Consult Google’s Auction Insights
In the world of paid media, it’s quite normal for other brands to not only bid on your brand name as a keyword, but to also bid against the very same searches that your brand is currently targeting.
It’s a tug of war match like no other, so how do you get ahead?
Thankfully, Google has its very own tool that allows you to get a peak behind the curtain at what your competitors are doing.
When it comes to Search, Shopping and Performance Max campaigns, Google’s Auction Insights is a free tool available to all advertisers directly within their Google Ads accounts.
Auction Insights can be accessed inside a campaign via the “Auction Insights” button and shows impressions, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, top of page rate and outranking share for yourself and your competitors.
While the tool won’t directly tell you how much more or less a competitor is paying compared to yourself, this tool gives a great starting point to determine where your opportunities are.
For example, if your impression share is only slightly below what a competitor is seeing, refining your keyword quality scores of the selected keywords might just tip you above.
An even greater way of using Auction Insights is to keep a running tally of all the keywords your competitors are currently bidding on. Then, after a while, re-visit this report and note down the differences. If some have dropped out of the auction or lowered their bids then there could be opportunities to jump in and get traffic cheaper than was previously available.
Focus on Zero Search Volume Keywords
With content marketing, the opportunities tend to lie within long-tail search queries. These searches, although often lower volume, are hyper relevant, and only searched by users looking for very specific answers.
This is absolutely crucial to succeeding in the B2B sector, as searches conducted by business representatives tend to be linked to industry-specific issues, containing all sorts of specialised language.
Unfortunately, not all of these queries have traceable search volume. This often leads to keywords being rejected by brands hoping to instead target traffic volume, without focusing on relevancy or lead quality. What you’ll find is that keyword research tools may report a query as having zero monthly searches, when in fact there is attention, it just isn’t enough to quantify.
You can find these high opportunity keywords relatively easily, but some of our favourite tactics include:
- Referring to your customer problems – Is there a tool, service or concept your customers struggle with? If so, you could create a Q&A style article addressing everything.
- Keeping tabs on social – Social media is a melting pot for news and trends. Monitor it closely for the latest news and hashtags.
- Questions from your sales team – Go straight to the source, and answer the most commonly asked questions that your sales professionals are being asked.
We’ve had multiple success stories with this approach. For a commercial finance business, our initial approach to content was focused more on the surface-level subjects. But, after a few months, we created a content approach based around the brand’s sales team to establish some recurring queries from their leads. As it turns out, a topic they discussed frequently revolved around the use of property loans for land.
After creating a mixture of both organic and paid content around this subject, all of which having very little to no searches, it all came to a head once we saw a 49p click generate over £300,000 in revenue.
On another project, our SEO and content team identified a bunch of topics related to a core offering of a SAAS brand. These keywords were first identified in Google Search Console, via the impressions metric. We started by focusing only on high converting pages, conducting further optimisations for said keywords. This allowed us to secure a few featured snippets on phrases that competitors had all but abandoned, all because other keyword research tools failed to show any search volume. One of their largest ever deals came from one of these keywords, so the ROI on this approach can be huge.
Given how much value even a single sale can bring in the B2B space, it is well worth your time to focus on these otherwise missed opportunities.
Upcycle Existing Content
Content marketing encompasses some of the most cost-effective marketing methods of modern times. Provided your brand has internal expertise on key subjects, this knowledge can be repurposed into written format and distributed for very little overhead, while doing wonders for your overall SEO strategy.
Inside this, though, lies an even more cost-effective marketing tactic: upcycling. Rather than spending precious time coming up with new ideas and alternative angles, if you already have a vast range of content, it can sometimes be preferable to invest some time into making these older pieces more optimal.
What Is Upcycling?
Upcycling starts by diagnosing the issues your content is facing, whether they be a lack of sessions or poor engagement, before taking notes and deciding what actions to take. Two of the most common content issues we see in the B2B space revolves around dated content, and lacking keyword optimisation.
Being tasked with creating new content while dealing with old, potentially harmful content is an impossible situation; you’re constantly pushing back and prolonging the inevitable, so why not start fixing the core issues instead?
Working hard to form an extension to their business, we saw major success with content upcycling for another B2B SAAS client of ours. Starting by ensuring each article had the correct URL identifiers in place (/blog), we then turned our efforts towards the content itself. Being a SAAS brand, there were a lot of technical phrasings to get used to, with some pieces even requiring total rewrites. However, our hard work paid off, with site traffic from the blog increasing by over 1,100%.
Depending on the quality of your content, these changes can range from the mass-introduction of author bios, to a total rewrite of several articles. Not sure where to get started? Our content consultancy services can steer you in the right direction.
If you need a helping hand with content optimisation, have a read through our article that dives into the subject in greater detail: Digital Upcycling: How to Resurrect Dead Content.
Develop Evergreen Content and Keep Revisiting It
If you are looking to create new content, be it due to a lack of existing content or unexplored topics, you’ll want to make sure that the material is relevant no matter when it is consumed.
Doing this doesn’t exclude the content from ongoing optimisation, but it does decrease the amount of work needed to make something successful all-year round. To make something evergreen, it should be:
- Relevant all-year round
- Accurate with use of appropriate reference material
- Written in a durable format such as a guide or how-to
- Internally linked to other related content on your site
- Optimised for evergreen keywords that aren’t affected by seasonality
It’s worth remembering that the evergreen nature of your content shouldn’t start and end on your website. Your digital PR efforts should also be focused on stories that are sustainable and hard wearing.
We saw the conjoined benefits of such an approach with a financial services client that operates in both the B2B and B2C space. One PR campaign that we created at the start of our project generated a moderate amount of links during the first round of outreach, but ended up being one of the most successful campaigns that we’ve ever launched, surpassing over 600 links by the end of the 2nd year. All of this was due to the campaign’s year-round relevancy. When times were slow, simply re-promoting the campaign almost always guaranteed a bit of extra coverage.
You can learn more about how to create high-quality, evergreen content on our blog: Why Blogging Is Important For Your Business.
Learn From Your Organic and Social Activity
Often, in a B2B setting, a large portion of your focus may be placed on paid advertising.
While effective, paid advertising does involve some degree of trial and error, with costs escalating as brands hunt out those elusive ROAS (return on ad spend) numbers. Rather than boosting posts randomly,we recommend consultingyour organic content to decide which material is worthy of an extra push.
The undisputed leader in B2B social media is Linkedin – and the numbers don’t lie. In the UK alone, the platform has grown from 29m users in March 2020 to 36m in March 2023. Alongside that, there has been an abundance of personal branding happening from thought leaders and figureheads. All of this means that, on Linkedin in particular, users respond better to people, not their places of work.
Does your business have an unrecognised Linkedin aficionado? If so, make sure you closely monitor what they post, along with the comments sections of those posts. Great debate happens all the time, of which can be used to influence future blog content.
Posts that have already performed well organically, especially on social media, show a proven record of success. It’s worth noting down some characteristics from these organic posts and comparing them to your paid campaigns.
Are the visuals drastically different? What about the tone of voice? Make a list and see if there’s any way these top performers can influence your future ads.
Not only can these insights help improve your social media, they can even be used to inform your approach to on-site content. Remember; digital marketing works best when everything works together, something that can’t be understated when your budgets are frozen or cut.
Need Help with Digital B2B Marketing?
If your digital B2B marketing tactics are drying up, you should consider partnering with a digital agency. We at Liberty have experience working with an eclectic mix of B2B brands, helping them refine their digital marketing approach to improve performance.
Contact us today to get started on your next B2B marketing campaigns.