MARKETING DIRECT

7 Smart Investments for Your B2B Marketing Budget

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Marketers constantly need to do more with less. With so many marketing options, how do you know where to direct your limited budget? Here are seven investments that will help you get the most bang for your buck …

If you’re a marketing director or leader, you juggle endless responsibilities.

You must devise and implement your company’s marketing strategy, ensure that your team creates engaging content, deliver leads to sales, and stay on top of ever-evolving industry standards.

And that’s not all …

You must also devise a budget that keeps your marketing machine running smoothly.

Your budget is the foundation for all of your marketing decisions. How can you ensure that you direct your limited resources to the areas that will bring you the most bang for your buck?

Here are seven tips that will help you maximize your marketing budget:

1. Arm sales with the content that they need to close.

Many marketing departments focus on creating new content … the shinier, the better. 

While publishing new content is important, you also must ensure that your sales team will use it. According to the American Marketing Association, 90% of marketing deliverables are not used by sales.

Yikes! 

If your sales team doesn’t see the value in your content, they won’t share it with leads. They may even create their own content, which could be off-brand. A lack of sales-ready content can lengthen your buying cycles and impact your revenue.

Create a process to equip reps with the materials that they need to close deals, so they spend less time searching for or creating content. For example, make sure that your brochures, case studies, and white papers are updated and on-brand. 

Also, review your content to make sure that it is mobile-friendly. A CSO Insights survey revealed that only 12% of reps could bring up critical sales material up on their smartphones.

When you equip your reps with appropriate content for late-stage leads, you allow them to spend their time on what they do best – sell.

2. Repurpose your content to reach a wider audience.

Repurposing content is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to get more value from your marketing budget. It allows you to publish more often and reach a wider audience – without doubling your content efforts.

One way to repurpose your content is to invest in the creation of one major piece, such as an ebook or essential guide. This piece will act as your “sun,” and all of your other content will orbit around it.

While creating a major piece of content takes a bit of planning up front, you probably already have something that you can reuse and repurpose.

Once you have this content, you can easily repurpose it into other formats for your other channels – saving time in the long run. Oracle’s Content Pillar Approach shows you how you can get 269 pieces of content from a single ebook.

Source: Oracle, “How to Produce 269 (or more) Content Assets From a Single eBook”

Starting with a large piece of content and breaking it down makes it easy for you to fill your editorial calendar and reach customers across a variety of channels.

3. Invest in marketing automation to nurture leads.

While marketing automation has been around for a long time, only 7% of B2B companies are optimizing it.

Since B2B buying cycles can last more than a year, investing in marketing automation will help you nurture customers and get long-term value from your budget. Here are three ways marketing teams can benefit from automation:

  1. Allow customers to self-serve. 

    Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with enterprises without interacting with a human. Since customers aren’t speaking with your sales team, you must give them the content that they need to make a smart purchasing decision on their own.

  1. Increase qualified leads.

    Successful automation sequences guide prospects through a personalized buying process. When you effectively nurture prospects, you can increase your qualified leads by 451%.

  1. Personalize your content for each audience. 

    B2B companies have an average of four different audiences. Marketing automation allows you to segment these audiences and give them content that is relevant at each stage of the buying cycle. 

4. Create content that turns prospects into customers.

The B2B buying journey is not always straightforward. Some buyers may stumble upon a product or service before they even know that they want it, while others may begin their search knowing exactly what they want.

To get more value from your limited budget, invest in evergreen content that will remain relevant for a long time and appeal to buyers across each stage of your buying cycle. That way, you won’t constantly need to update your content. You’ll also have something for everyone – whether they are an early-stage lead who is researching their problem or a late-stage lead who is ready to buy.

Marketing funnel

Demand Gen Report found that 61% of B2B buyers select vendors who deliver a mix of content that is appropriate for each stage of their buying process.

If you have significant gaps, you may need a larger upfront investment to create content for every stage of your sales cycle. However, this investment will help you attract leads and nurture them until they become customers.

5. Use post-sales marketing to drive upsells, cross-sells, and referrals.

Post-sales marketing is one of the most underused customer engagement strategies.

Many marketers believe that once they sell their product or service, their job is done. But in reality, it’s just beginning.

By investing in post-sales marketing, B2B companies can create long-lasting relationships with customers, drive referrals, and boost sales. We all know that it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.

6. Use the right content to engage the right customers.

A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that more than 85% of top-performing marketers use content as an integral part of their marketing strategy—and with good reason!

Content marketing boosts customer engagement and increases sales. According to a 2016 report by Demand Gen, 50% of B2B buyers view up to five pieces of content before they make a purchase. The quality – and availability – of your content can make or break your sales.

But it’s challenging to know what types of content to use when. The average B2B marketer uses 13 types of content, ranging from blogging to webinars.

With so many choices, how do you know which types of content are the most effective?

The LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 tech marketers and found that the top B2B content marketing tactic is case studies. Forty-four percent of respondents said that case studies help them achieve their lead generation goals. 

The complete list of effective content is as follows: 

  1. Case studies
  2. Blogging
  3. Social media
  4. Customer testimonials
  5. In-person events
  6. White papers
  7. Webinars
  8. Videos
  9. Online articles
  10. Infographics

7. Show your human side with compelling stories.

Stories are an ideal way for brands to engage customers.

Investing in storytelling lets you connect with customers on an emotional level. When you use stories to share your values and benefits, you can create a tighter bond with customers that translates into business.

Here are three things to consider when you add stories to your marketing mix:

  • Focus on stories about your customers’ key pains and opportunities – not on your products or services. 
  • Combine words and visuals to paint a picture. Use strong visuals to illustrate the emotion. 
  • Address your weaknesses to make your brand more human. Instead of hiding your product’s flaws, put them out in the open. Customers will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to trust you.

Hiring professional writers who can add storytelling to your content will make your marketing more compelling and effective.

Next Steps

Ensure that you spend your budget on content that truly speaks to your customers. Click the image below to download The Ultimate B2B Brand Voice Guide: 7 Steps to Finding an Authentic Voice That Resonates With Buyers

Do you need compelling copy that gets your audience to take action and maximizes your marketing investments? Contact me at rachel@freshperspectivewriting.com or 647-342-4921 to discuss your marketing goals. 

 

 

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