Business to Business marketing online promises so much and yet poses so many challenges. Done well, marketing your products or services online to other businesses can result in a steady stream of incoming leads and sales at very little cost. If you don't believe me, check out my WordPress video tutorial business as an example. This company is profitable, employs staff, has customers from all over the world, and a tiny advertising budget. And I mean tiny. Given that the cost of acquisition is one of the biggest expenses for any small business, leveraging the power of the internet and marketing online makes a lot of sense.
Why Does Business to Business Marketing Online Fail?
I've consulted with hundreds of businesses over the last 5 years about online marketing, and I see the same mistakes being made over and over again. In this post, I'll outline the 5 biggest mistakes, and, in the next series of posts, I'll provide some practical tips and resources for avoiding these mistakes one by one.
If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail
I know, planning is boring and sounds a bit like work. That's because it is. Work, not boring. Before you do any business to business marketing online (including setting up a Facebook page for your new business), you need to have clear goals and a roadmap in place, otherwise you'll end up randomly tweeting stuff that you think is interesting and hearing crickets on your blog.
You don't need a 120 page online marketing strategy, but you do need to know where you're headed and how you plan to get there. You also need to know who you want to pay attention to you.[Tweet “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. – Benjamin Franklin”]
Whatever Business You're In, You're Now A Publisher
The number 1 reason people use the internet is to find information. If you want people to find you on the internet, then you need to give them more things to find (thanks to Bill Belew for that little nugget).
You must publish information consistently that people want to read, not what you think is interesting. Some basic keyword research and social media analysis will tell you what your potential audience is interested in. It's no accident I'm publishing a series of posts about Business to Business marketing online.
If you're struggling to get traction online, chances are, you need to hit the publish button more often.
Build An Audience
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have been talking about this for years. So has Gary Vaynerchuk. Forget about customers. Build an audience. Your audience will pay attention, and when they are paying attention you have influence. Use your influence wisely and you will find yourself with a steady stream of loyal customers who will become your biggest advocates and do your grassroots marketing for you. So, forget about getting customers and start building an audience by becoming the most helpful person they know.
Consistency of Behaviour Breeds Trust
Trust is built up organically over time by behaving consistently so that people know what to expect. Conversely, trust can be damaged and lost very quickly through inconsistency. If you commence an online strategy you should be determined to see it through to the end, whenever that may be. If it's campaign-based marketing, it might be a few months. If it's ongoing, evergreen marketing you're embarking on, then be prepared to play the long game. Be consistent and you will win trust.
Make Informed Decisions
There is no excuse for publishing content on your website that nobody is interested in. Free analytics software like Google Analytics will give you more data about your website visitors' behaviour than you could poke a stick at. If you pay attention to key metrics, like how long people are spending on your site, how many pages they're viewing, and how they are finding your site in the first place, you can very quickly tweak your publishing strategy to encourage further engagement with your audience. There's no need to become an analytics expert. Just get to know the basics and make sure you act on the data.
In the next series of posts, I'll cover each of these key areas in detail and give you practical tips, tools, and resources you can use to make sure your business to business marketing online efforts are not wasted.
Tell me I'm crazy in the comments.