When building business-to-business (B2B) digital marketing teams and resources, it’s often helpful to have a birdseye view of the major components. Because the goal of all online marketing is to create a customer, Below is our outline of digital marketing components that every growing B2B company should consider.
One important clarification for account-based marketing (ABM). ABM by definition means that your target B2B customer has two or more, wholly independent procurement departments, typically books revenue in excess of $100M per year, or has multiple geographic regions that contract with vendors, or run product trials, independent of headquarters. ABM campaigns can vary greatly based on these considerations.
- Content marketing
- Content editorial calendar
- Keyword research
- Blog post headings
- Content & Media Monitoring
- Websites & Landing Pages
- CMS [Wordpress]
- Hosting [Kinsta]
- Landing Pages
- Multivariate Testing (A/B testing)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- On-Page SEO
- Google Search Console
- Off-Page SEO
- Spark Toro
- On-Page SEO
- Social Media
- B2B Social Media Ads
- URL Building (applies to all advertising)
- Campaign Source (google, email, media)
- Campaign Medium (ads, on-site banners, email, social)
- Campaign Name (Product, Promotion, Event)
- Campaign Term (paid keywords);
- Campaign Content (differentiate creative / ads)
- Ads Guidelines
- e.g. Facebook organic posts reach fewer than 7% of the target audience
- LinkedIn Message Ads outperform Dynamic Ads by 5x w/ open rates at 30%
- Google Ads
- Ad Copy
- Ads Set-Up
- Ads Refinement
- Analytics (get data on leads)
- Tech (mobile, pc, etc)
- Lead Generation, Nurturing & Retention
- CRM [Keap, Hubspot, Salesforce]
- Email Marketing
- Newsletters, promotions, one-to-one
- Marketing Automation
- Lead qualification
- engagement triggers
- drip marketing/sequences
- Product Demonstrations
- Brand Experiences
- Guest Speakers
- Customer Testimonials
- PR – Public Relations
- Media / Journalists
- Graphic Design and Visual Marketing
- Unique Imagery
- Timely, topical and News-sensitive
- Memes, GIFs, Video Clips
- More Marketing Reading
1. Content Marketing
Content has become the most important part of every marketing team. Yet a recent SEMRush survey, found most marketing teams judge their own content marketing strategy as merely average to good.
Tenor’s most successful clients focus on project management and pace – the speed with which marketing iterates, experiments, incorporates data-driven insights and improves its output.
Content Editorial Calendar
Planning ahead makes deadline management easier and creates the pace necessary to improve performance. The content editorial calendar is crucial for every marketing leader.
From a simple spreadsheet template to online tools, there are many options to choose from when it comes to an editorial calendar.
We like Monday.com for planning the entire marketing workflows including content editorial calendars. And yet we’ve run weekly content publishing for $100M SaaS companies from a simple tabbed spreadsheet.
Finding the right keywords is critical for content marketing success. Keyword research in the hands of a creative marketer can give direction on what to write, but more importantly it helps to optimize your posts to dominate search engines.
Some keyword research tools we use:
Blog Posts Headlines
Yogi Bera famously said that 90% of the game was half mental. That’s pretty accurate if you’re describing the value of a headline to a blog post. The headline must grab readers.
If you get a severe case of writer’s block or are simply looking for a simple way to punch up your posts, check out: 100+ Blog Post Title Templates That Grab Attention
Content & Media monitoring
The right media monitoring can improve your content marketing:
- Measure the performance of your brand’s published content in the industry & mainstream media as well as social channels.
- Identify trending topics and content that can be an inspiration or counterpoint.
- Telling you more about the audience who engages with your content.
2. Website Marketing
The website is the mainstay for any B2B digital marketing effort. Here are some of the most basic components to understand when managing such platforms.
Today, websites are driven by a Content Management System (CMS)providing a marketing team with all features required for managing a high-quality website:
- Mobile optimization
- SEO Tools
- Content management
- Custom landing pages
- Cursory visitor data
Today’s demanding and dynamic marketing environment requires marketers to respond and anticipate when and how to best engage with their prospective customers.
Marketers are also free from brand consistency constraints by using different landing page formats for different campaigns.
Long format landing pages can walk a prospective customer through the entire value proposition from onboarding to deployment to support. Or just hammer home the main message with repeated CTAs.
For nurturing leads and qualifying prospects, a short format landing page with gated content or forms is an excellent way to go.
Every marketer must have answers to these common questions:
- What pages do most visitors visit?
- Where do leads spend most of their time?
- What areas of my landing pages get most of the clicks?
Heatmaps prove how users interact with your marketing messages and campaigns and help answer the ultimate question, was that marketing worth the effort?
Multivariate or A/B Testing
The more complex our digital marketing becomes and the more varied and diverse our offerings are, the more we marketers need to be able to determine not only what’s working, but what works best.
Add to this challenge the fact that so many executives in an organization seem “to know marketing” and you can see the value of being able to use an A/B testing tool (sometimes called split testing) to prioritize data over opinions when making marketing decisions.
What messaging should we use? What design is best for this landing page? Product photos or images that reflect customer persona? Will an all-text page outperform an expensive graphic design, or is the design worth the investment?
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There is a reason every marketer invests in SEO. Organic search is driven by explicit customer intent and interest and so is one of your most effective marketing channels. In many organizations, we’ve supported it has only been outperformed by public relations and email marketing.
SEO is most often outsourced due to the complexity of operating campaigns, but it is actually quite simple to understand.
A first step to manage your digital marketing effort here is to divide your SEO project into on-page and off-page SEO tactics. On-page tactics are mostly a one-and-done effort. Your website pages either are or are not optimized for Google (and Bing) search algorithms. In our experience, every company needs a tune-up, but few need a years-long contract of sustained effort
If you’re unfamiliar with SEO or have not managed an SEO agency effort, we recommend spending
These sources are the most used to develop an on-page SEO strategy:
- Moz Open Site Explorer provides an overview of your current SEO situation.
- SemRush is a great software for keyword research to understand what your ideal prospects use to search for solutions in your category.
- Ahrefs is another effective keyword research and SEO audit tool.
- Google Search Console – analyzes your search traffic from Google.
Off-page SEO is how prospects find you when they are looking anywhere but your website. This form of search engine optimization focuses on the effective promotion of your content on third-party websites and drives traffic to your own. Equally important, SEO with your content, key messages, and links to your website also increases how highly your pages rank in Google and other search engines.
Off-page SEO is driven by your public relations, media relations, and content campaigns. Off-page SEO can be driven by any text, images, or video about your product or brand(s) that are shared on other domains where your potential customers or current clients may spend time: Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, industry magazine sites, blogs, podcasts or the social media pages and profiles of influencers with direct or related topics
Consider using these resources:
- Link building guide by Backlinko
- SEMRush, is helpful for outreach lists to build guest blog requests or link building.
4. Social Media
B2B brands must face the reality that all media today is social media. This means the pace of communication and response and the variety of formats require vigilant coordination. And, the medium itself has a language of its own that your marketing team must be fluent in. A little forethought and preparation go a long way. Here are a few tips for your team.
Social Media Calendar
Tenor provides a social media calendar for every B2B marketing client to make sure you share each and every marketing campaign, PR result and meaning full event on social media where your prospects spend much of their time.
If you’re setting it up yourself, here are a few tools we like:
- CoSchedule has written a guide on how to create a social media content calendar
- Tools for scheduling in advance are available from Buffer or Hootsuite.
Social Media Image Sizes
To make the process painless make sure you create images that can be seen and easily shared on social media. The 2020 Social Media Image Sizes Guide has image specifications for every social channel.
Social Media Preview Tools
5. Social Media Advertising
While organic content and text link ads are great for Google, according to SocialMediaToday Facebook posts only organically reach a fifteenth of their potential target audience. Using ads to reach your prospects on social media publications is a must if you want to expand your reach.
Social Ads Guide
With the rise of mobile and the variety of different platforms, formats, and experiences, social media ads can suffer poor performance if not properly designed and formatted.
Each and every one of these are different but very effective :
- Facebook ads guide
- Instagram ads guide
- Twitter ads guide
- LinkedIn ads guide
- Pinterest ads guide
- YouTube ads guide
Ads URL Builder
Every B2B marketing manager must prove the ROI of their marketing spend, but many fail to put the right breadcrumbs in place to start, so they can get back the results they need to measure.
SproutSocial developed some solid recommendations on the UTM parameters and marketing automation formatting needed to properly measure the ROI of different social channels.
6. Google Ads
Every modern marketer knows the value of Google and the intent-driven prospects they can drive to your website. However, few leverage the full potential of the magic that is Google, because they do not buy advertising to support their campaigns. We’ve found that a consistent budget of a few hundred dollars can more than double the impact of all other digital marketing.
Below we cover a few of the places where B2B marketers can get hung up converting their message and campaigns into the world of Google.
Google ad copy is brutally short and to the point; but it can also be pithy, witty, and fun. Liana Tech has a great tip sheet on the topic: 18 Tips on How to Write Effective Text Ads [+Infographic].
Google Ads Set-Up
There are numerous involved steps required in performant ad creation, but none can kill your campaign faster than not knowing how to set the right bids. We use this checklist from Google to cover the essential steps for creating and running Google Ads campaigns.
Google Ads Training
The Tenor Team loves developing creative for ads and running the campaigns ourselves, but if you or your team require ramping up your skills here are some useful learning resources:
- Watch the Google Ads Youtube channel, where you can find tutorials on running Google Ads and improving your campaigns.
- You may even direct your team to get Google Ads certified with Google Skillshop
Data science isn’t just for your product team; marketing needs analytics to grapple with the rising amount of data to analyze your marketing performance.
Google is really the headquarters for data in our digital marketing plans.
- Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics service
- Google Data Studio is an easy-to-digest Google Analytics reports through data visualization
- Google Trends finds the latest trends, data, and visualizations for any search term
- Think with Google is a tool to help you understand how people use the Internet worldwide
Managers and senior marketing professionals who aren’t involved in analytics day-to-day may want to freshen up:
- This cheat sheet contains the list of metrics and dimensions in Google Analytics
- Google Analytics Academy is a series of free online courses taught by Google experts
8. Lead Generation, Nurturing & Retention
The ultimate job of marketing is to create a customer. We do that by generating leads by creating and maintaining awareness, generating interest, supporting the decision-making process, and making calls-to-action. And we often invest significant resources and capital along the way.
No wonder Harvard Business Review found that creating a new customer can be five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
We reduce the cost of customer acquisition by integrating our digital marketing and tracking the ROI of all marketing efforts. And we reduce churn, increase upsell opportunities and reinforce customer loyalty by using the same tools that earned us a new customer’s trust to help maintain their relationship with the company.
Email Marketing Tools
Modern marketing professionals know that among digital marketing channels, email marketing can have the highest return on investment (ROI). But few realize that the effectiveness of email comes from having a disciplined approach and an overall integrated marketing effort.
The best email marketing tools are ranked from entry-level to highest-powered enterprise-grade:
There are many great tools, but we find this Email Marketing ROI Calculator helpful for managers seeking to track the ROI of their email marketing accurately.
According to LianaTech’s marketing automation survey, the biggest benefit of automation is improved targeting of emails. In reality, automation doesn’t mean “set it and forget it.” This is not the Showtime Rotisserie Grill. Automation really means automatically identifying, scoring, and qualifying a lead’s interactions with your digital marketing machine and presenting relevant content and offers, capturing new, richer data to enhance your lead qualification scores, and signaling the appropriate inside and outside sales teammates when it’s appropriate to begin tailored sales conversations.
If you’ve only been subscribing your leads to a preset newsletter or sending them a one-off welcome email, it is important to understand the basics of email targeting. With targeted emails, you can nurture the leads to take steps towards customership as well as retain current clients. Examples of targeted messages include:
- Welcome messages with expiring “act soon” promotions
- Customer anniversary greetings
- Automated emails offering customer support
Therefore, complementing your email campaigns with a marketing automation tool is a must.
CRM – Customer Relationship Management
A customer relationship management (CRM) system allows you to manage your contacts systematically. Many marketing automation tools and even some email tools also have a CRM system included. This ensures that your prospects and customers are more easily and accurately segmented.
According to Zoominfo, 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders find webinars to be the best way to generate high-quality leads (source). Here are a few tools we use to run successful webinars.
The actual content of your webinar must go somewhere and that’s going to be some sort of slides in most cases. While pros like Nancy Duarte will debate what makes the very best presentations, every presenter must be prepared to collaborate and present.
More and more we find that proficiency with Google Slides is critical because the tool absorbs PowerPoint formats well and provides a simpler collaboration environment.
Event & Webinar Management
Hosting your own webinars?
Using event management software is a sure-fire way to help you organize the entire process.
Anymore, Zoom has become the default platform for basic webinar meetings. For really large, complex enterprise webinars and events with a networking component and breakout sessions we use Hopin. Another good all-purpose one is GoToWebinar. While robust, we’ve found that BlueJeans, Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and other so-called enterprise-grade solutions are both overkill and overly complex for most organizations and their audiences.
Why just “get by” with the built-in camera and microphone on your laptop. However, using dedicated devices for hosting webinars will bring the quality of your broadcasts to a whole new level. A wide aperture camera will provide focus and depth of field that looks exquisitely professional and so will a good quality microphone. However, one of the first purchases to make is a high-quality lighting solution. If you must, pull the lampshade of a table lamp and place it near one side of the camera, but a ring light is all that much better.
We recommend these devices for the webinar sessions we produce:
Read more: How to Do a Webinar
While PR is widely seen as one of the 4Ps of marketing, it isn’t only promotion. A strong and present public image not only increases top-of-funnel awareness, but it also demonstrates the positive pulse of your company, reassures highly-qualified leads who are working their purchase decision process, and reinforces brand loyalty with customers and pride of work with employees.
Moreover, the public relations program for your company not only earns media coverage they manage and maintain media relationships for controlled communications and crisis management. A calm and consistent presence with the media when times are good can already have won you half the battle if you’re facing a PR crisis or trying to head one-off.
PR and Press Releases
Some companies equate PR with press releases and issue them willy nilly expecting results. Anymore, press releases are a format for communication – they are a tool of the many individuals managing relationships with media, influencers, and the partners and customers who help make your news.
According to the latest PR surveys, every day one-third of journalists are actively referencing press releases to write stories.
Today’s modern digital marketers use online surveys in any number of ways:
- Researching markets
- Gathering partner feedback
- Discovering customer preferences
But timely and insightful survey results can be effectively used to boost your PR as well. How do customers feel about new rules or regulations in your market? What are partners’ expectations for the strengths of the economy and demand for their services? Which customer pain points are growing, that your products solve for? Which new benefits are customers seeking from products like yours?
When the answers to these survey questions benefit you and/or your customers, publish them. If they show you have work to do, do it. And let customers and partners know you listened.
Our most popular choice for surveys is Google Forms, but there are other online survey tools like Survey Monkey and Survey Planet, or Surveypal. If you want to get market insights, Ask Your Target Market is a really interesting tool and YouGov can design some really successful surveys that are easy to promote and publish.
11. Graphic & Visual Design
Pictures are worth thousands of words and strong design and graphics are too. Now, digital marketing has made much of marketing two-dimensional. We pride ourselves on crisp copy that cuts through the clutter and grabs your attention, but we know how powerful the right “look” is too. In fact, when running display ads (those with some picture or illustration) we test dozens of images to see which one will perform the best.
Anymore image editing, repetitive graphic design, and creative selection of pictures and illustrations fall upon members of the marketing team who may also be managing automation tools, implementing campaigns, or writing both email and advertising copy. Even with a dedicated designer, or two, or even a creative director, any number of marketers may find themselves tasked with ‘design’ and so should be familiar with the basic tools out there.
Image Editing Tools
Most anyone can master the basic design tasks, such as creating a social media post or making a header image for your newsletter using one of the following:
- More advanced users will often learn Adobe Creative Cloud tools, such as Photoshop or Illustrator
- Our marketing team uses Shutterstock and iStockphoto collections to preview potential images with our clients.
12. More Marketing Reading
Tenor’s clients sometimes assume we have a Cobbler’s Kids problem when in fact we have a very different business model and prospecting method than the clients we serve. We work almost exclusively on referrals from our network of leading venture capitalists, private equity partners and independent investors focused on high-growth B2B companies. We also receive a fair share of word-of-mouth referrals in industries where our success and reputation are known.
Why do we run our boutique consulting firm this way? For one, even though we have decades of experience, we love doing the work; staying small and focused affords our senior advisors the opportunity to dedicate their time to working with the clients we love, rather than only closing new business. And secondly, with our years of experience advising and executing marketing for over 100 individual B2B marketing clients, the team at Tenor has the perspective necessary to design and implement the most cost-effective and impactful strategies.
We hope you’ll join us on the marketing performance journey. Our team is constantly reading and learning from the following blogs:
- Studies from GlobalWebIndex
- Ad Age
- Marketing Land
- Business 2 Community
- Social Media Today