SMA Solar Technology AG is a German solar energy equipment supplier with offices in 18 countries. To improve their brand awareness and online lead generation in Mainland China and Taiwan, SMA decided to use Baidu and Google PPC to promote their websites.
Your secret simple guide for B2B website marketing strategy
When I work on a client project to develop a B2B marketing website, normally I would ask if my client has a simple strategy for their website.
Most of the time, I can feel my client either doesn't have a strategy for their websites or never thought about this question. Sometimes they don’t even think they need to have one.
The fundamental question is why they need to have a strategy for their website. The answer is to avoid wasting money on website design, development, and website marketing.
Define your website goal
In order to develop a B2B website marketing strategy with my client, the first question I ask is what is their goal for having this website.
Typically, many clients will say “I want to have a beautiful website to attract my potential clients.”
Unfortunately, that should not be the goal of having a website. The goal of your website should be beyond this.
Normally the goal of a B2B website should have one of the following three items:
- Sales leads. Generating sales leads should be the biggest goal of a B2B website. You want your visitors to contact you after visiting your website.
- Branding. A B2B website is a brand of your company. Some people think that having a beautiful website is equal to branding. It is NOT. Your branding should deliver your value proposition to your target audience. In a B2B website, normally your value proposition means what kind of problems you can solve for your clients.
- Information portal. This is a goal most of my clients often forget. In a B2B world, you are selling a solution to a specific problem. People will need to learn more about your solutions before and after they buy your solutions. Hence, having more product support information will make your website more helpful to your clients. Developing a B2B website as an information portal will help your clients understand how you can help them before they decide to buy. After they bought your products, they always can come back to your website to find the information they need for your product.
Research your competitor’s website strategy
It is always easier to learn from other people than do it from scratch. In the process of developing a website strategy for my clients, I always visit their competitors' websites (those with good websites or do well in digital marketing).
My learnings will give me a sense of what might work on their websites. I can apply my learning to the strategy.
- Take a look at their website. There are 3 things I will pay attention to:
- What is their website structure?
- What is their website message?
- How do they drive their traffic onsite/offsite?
- Use tools to investigate their website strategy. You can use specific tools to get data to understand their website strategy. Once you have data, you will have a better overview of what their website strategy is.
Define your website target audience
Defining the audience for the website is the critical step. It is the foundation of your website strategy. The better you understand your clients, the effective strategy you will have.
- Have a persona. Having a client profile will help you have a clear picture of who your target audience is. Try to put enough information in the persona. It will help you have a better picture of your target audience.
- Find their needs and pain-points. Your clients only care about how you can help them solve their problems. They don’t really care about your products. As soon as you can demonstrate that you can solve their problems, most likely, they will become your clients. That is why you need to find out why they need your products in order to solve their problems.
- Talk to them. When I work with my clients, my clients always ask what is the best way to define your audience. I always suggest the simplest and most effective way is to “talk to them.” You don’t need to conduct a focus group or conduct a complicated survey. You just need to talk to them and ask some questions. That's it.
Define where your audience is
Once you define who your target audience is, the next step is find out where your audience is. It should be online and offline. You might be wondering why offline. We are talking about B2B digital marketing. For B2B marketing, offline marketing is still a crucial channel.
I often suggest my clients unitize offline channels to promote online channels.
The advantage of doing this is you can convert your offline traffic to online traffic. It will make your target audience stay longer in your marketing channel.
- Offline. For B2B marketing, the offline channel could be a conference, seminar, or trade show.
- Online. Online channels could be social media, industry portal websites, online community groups.
Define your lead magnet
No matter what your website goal is, you always need your target audience to visit your website in the first place. You need to give your target audience a reason to visit your website. The lead magnet is the magic to make it happen.
- Decide the content of lead magnet for your target audience. Based on your target audience profile and their pain-points, you can decide what the content of your lead magnet is. Your content should mention the pain-point of your target audience and summarize how your solution can help them.
- Define Call to Action. Once you have content for your lead magnet, you need to let your audience know what the next step is after reading your content. That is the purpose of Call-to-Action. It could be read more articles, subscribe to your newsletter, or visit certain landing pages.
- Different channel may need a different type of lead magnet. After defining the content and call-to-action, you can decide what type of lead magnet to use for different channels. Below are the lead magnets which are often used in B2B marketing:
- E-book/white paper/cheat sheet
- Training video
- Free webinar
Define how visitors can contact you on your website
For the B2B website, the ultimate goal is to generate sales leads. I often suggest clients make visitors easy to contact you on the website. Therefore, it is important to define how your visitors can contact you. Below are several ways most B2B websites use:
- Instant messenger, e.g. Facebook Messenger, Intercom, Drift, WeChat (China Market)
- Contact form
- Phone Call
Also, you need to make sure your website visitors can easily find out how to contact them. The rule of thumb is: don’t make them think.
How to drive your traffic to your website
This is a critical part of a website strategy. Most people forget about this part when building a website. It is also a long game. If you don’t think about how to drive your traffic, most likely you won’t have many visitors. Below are several tactics to drive traffic to a B2B website:
- SEO. SEO has been a proven tactic for B2B digital marketing. Generally speaking, a B2B company has a specific target audience and specific problems to solve. It makes it easier to develop an effective keyword strategy for SEO.
- SEM. SEM would be another way to drive traffic. Unlike SEO, you would see the traffic immediately. However, you need to optimize your funnel to have a better conversion. Otherwise, you might end up spending lots of money without any leads.
- LinkedIn Outreach. LinkedIn outreach would be a good channel to promote your website. The good thing about LinkedIn is you will have a very clear target audience profile to reach. The downside is it takes time to build a relationship to convert your LinkedIn prospects into sales leads.
- WeChat (China Market). If you want to promote your business in China, WeChat is the channel you cannot ignore. With WeChat public account, you can drive the traffic to your website.
- Email marketing. Email never dies, especially in B2B marketing. Most people still check their emails every day. With email marketing, you can reach your prospects directly without the risk of being blocked by any platforms. The downside is you need to create content to engage with your audience. You might not convert your prospects immediately but email marketing is a great tool to nurture your leads.
How to align your website marketing strategy with digital marketing campaigns
After you have your website marketing strategy, you will have a digital marketing campaigns to promote your website. When you develop your digital marketing campaigns, you want to make sure they are aligned with your website marketing strategy.
Define the landing page for digital marketing campaigns
The last step is to define the landing page for your traffic. A lot of people ignore this step. Without defining and optimizing your landing page, your marketing campaign will have a lower chance to have sales leads, which is usually a goal for B2B digital marketing campaigns.
- You should have a webpage for specific traffic. Every digital marketing campaign needs to have a page for your traffic landing. It can be from a Facebook page, website page, or WeChat public account. The message of your landing page should be relevant to your digital marketing campaign.
- Set up the content and lead magnet for your traffic. Once you decide your landing page, you should make sure the content of the landing page is aligned with your digital marketing campaign. More importantly, you need to have call-to-action and lead magnet on your landing page. The goal of a landing page is to convert traffic to meet the goal of your digital campaign, i.e. sales leads, email newsletter subscriber.
Communicate with other people internally
When running a successful digital marketing campaign, internal communication is always crucial. You might need to work with people from different departments. If you are on the marketing team, most likely, you might always need to work with one of your biggest internal clients, i.e. sales team.
- Address how digital marketing campaigns can help other departments. Before your digital marketing campaign, you can communicate how campaigns can help other teams. Do this. You will provide incentives for them to help you more.
- Address specific help you need from other departments before the campaign. You always need help from other departments during the campaign. Let them know the specific help you need before the campaign. Don’t assume they already know.
Track and optimize your campaign
As soon as you start the campaign, you need to keep optimizing and tracking your campaign. One of the digital marketing advantages is that you always can see the data. It makes it easier to track and optimize digital marketing campaigns.
- Talk to people. During the campaign, it is always good to talk to your external and internal clients. Although it is easy to collect quantitative data from your digital marketing campaign, it is also helpful to collect qualitative data. You will be surprised at how much useful feedback you can get from the conversation. After all, you are selling things to humans, not robots. The best way to collect feedback from human is always through conversation,
Track and optimize through specific data
You can use many online tools to track and optimize your campaign, but you might need to decide what specific data you need to track during the campaign. Otherwise, you will feel overwhelmed to have tons of data. Keep tracking the data and optimize the campaign at least once every two weeks.
- Summarize what works and what didn't work after the campaign. This one is an easy step but a lot of people forget to do it. You can have a quick meeting to write what works and what didn't work during the campaign. Once you have it documented, you will be surprised how many times you will refer to this document.
- Always have a big picture when developing digital marketing initiatives. Before you develop any digital marketing initiatives, you should always have your strategy first. Even a simple digital marketing strategy can help you develop the right digital marketing campaigns.
Most likely you will need several digital marketing initiatives to bring you real results.
A website marketing strategy is like a road map to get the results you want from your website and connect all the digital marketing initiatives.
Also, before you work on any digital marketing campaigns, always think about what your website marketing strategy is. It will help you have successful digital marketing campaigns without wasting your budget.