60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day (eMarketer). But is that enough to guarantee effective B2B demand generation?
You may be creating killer B2B content but without the right distribution channels to scale up your efforts and reach the right audience, at the right time – who’s going to see it?
This expert guide runs you through some of the digital distribution channels at your disposal. Once you know how other content professionals leverage them, you’ll be better set up to design your own multi-channel mix.
Ready to build a better demand generation strategy? Get reading!
Effective Distribution Channels:
Don’t ignore the early stages of the demand generation process: advertising is a great way to raise the profile of your brand and the problems your products can solve. By selecting placements carefully, display and native advertising can provide a non-intrusive way to broadly raise brand awareness in a relevant context.
With spending for marketing/advertising automation expected to reach $25.1 billion annually by 2023, it’s clear B2B marketers are embracing new forms of AdTech to simplify the buying process and deliver enhanced targeting capabilities along with greater message personalization (MarTech Today).
Take for example the surge in retargeting and B2B programmatic advertising – 65% of B2B marketers have indicated they buy or sell advertising programmatically (Dun & Bradstreet).
One of the key drivers responsible for this change in behaviour is the ability to precisely target groups or even individuals with highly relevant content. What’s more you can cost-effectively resurface your message and content to prospects even when you don’t have their email address. Used in combination with social or other channels, this can provide a powerful boost to moving your prospects through the sales funnel.
For more information on how you can integrate programmatic advertising into your own channel tactics, check out InboxNEXUS.
2. Email marketing
Email marketing is a consistently high performer as email is more than 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than social media, while for every $1 spent on email you can get returns of $45-$50 (SalesForce).
However, 29.8% of marketers believe their email marketing is average (Smart Insights and GetResponse).
If that’s you, it’s time to evaluate your current e-marketing strategy because there are a whole load of benefits you could be missing out on, including:
- Audience segmentation and micro-targeted content campaigns
- Enhanced personalization including subject lines, body copy, layout and links
- Advanced testing capabilities to help inform your content strategy
- Lead nurturing programmes to accelerate your buyer cycle
What’s more results are almost immediate and your KPIs are easy to track and improve.
3. SEO vs SEM
Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are both essential components of your B2B content marketing because they enable you to intercept prospects with your content at critical touchpoints. However, having a clear understanding of what content to assign to each tactic is essential for success.
By auditing your current content and assessing where each asset sits within your buyer cycle and content objectives, will help you make better informed decisions.
SEO is most effective for attracting prospects to your brand by raising awareness and capturing interest.
In fact, 61% of marketers say growing SEO/organic presence is a high inbound marketing priority (Hubspot State of Inbound)
With Google’s shifting algorithms, reaching the top ranking positions is a constant game of cat and mouse. However there are things you can do to optimise your chances of your content reaching the right audiences at optimum touchpoints.
Prioritise evergreen content that addresses top of the funnel awareness, such as your long form blogs for your SEO activity. If you have built your content strategy around your personas, you should incorporate long-tail keyword phrases, relevant keywords and pain points. But above all your SEO content should offer value to your target personas.
SEM is effective for precise targeting of prospects on the cusp of purchasing.
Search optimized landing pages can draw prospects to your site, while paid search can guarantee your content is in front of the right people at right time. This make SEM a vital part of demand generation as it drives bottom of the funnel conversions.
Likewise with SEO, keyword research is essential if you are to identify need stage by search query, with greater precision. In your research you should identify:
- What keywords are relevant to your business?
- What keywords are prospective customers going to type into the search engine to find your business?
Once you’ve caught their attention through savvy use of keywords, it’s important you map out intelligent conversion paths. Driving ad clickers to specific landing pages provides the opportunity to leverage targeted messages to highly segmented audiences to optimise conversion rates. This is where your case studies, demos and other bottom of the funnel format come into their own.
4. Take advantage of someone else’s audience
If your content marketing campaign objectives include building out your readership, tapping into existing online communities is a strong strategic move.
3rd party publishing platforms such as Insights for Professionals (IFP) are perfect examples of 3rd party sites that could help you reach a wide audience of relevant prospects. Such B2B content hubs are the very places your prospect goes to find information specifically for their industry or problem. This makes it an ideal hub to publish mid funnel whitepapers, eBooks and infographics that will be guaranteed to have a high level of exposure and engagement.
What’s more, high authority publishers have already established a credible relationship with their readership, therefore having your branded content aligned with other thought leaders and industry influencers will significantly impact the perceived value of your brand.
If you are partnering with someone else in this way, be sure that you have chosen carefully in terms of not only audience but tone of voice and content. The best relationships take time to develop – so plan long-term!
5. “Traditional” channels
Before you shred your printed collateral – we advise you not to ignore the old school channels! The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found direct marketing has response rates of 10-30 times higher than digital [Forbes].
Whilst the speed of digital enables marketers to distribute content with greater efficiency and scale, there is a downside. With mass comes clutter, and as quickly as content is consumed – it’s deleted to make way for the next.
Perhaps this explains, that despite living in a digital age, there has been an upswing in the use of direct mail. This is because it has one timeless quality we all yearn for – tangibility.
A study conducted by the UK Royal Mail, The Private Life of Mail, concluded “Giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.”
This emotional connectivity is powerful. 60% of respondents claimed it left a lasting mental impression on them, making it easier to recall later on. 57% of respondents said that postcard marketing makes them feel more valued and creates a more authentic relationship (Forbes).
The key for deciding whether there’s a place for direct response in your B2B content distibution strategy is to carefully consider how this form can be leveraged to make your message even more powerful.
What’s more, be smart about how to integrate traditional with modern tactics, as you’ll need to devise integrated control mechanisms to keep track of cross-channel performance.
6. Social Media
According to marketing think, “Social media is the most important gear in the sales and demand generation engine. Simply put, it’s the science of social media and lead generation physics.” It is the most widely used B2B content marketing tactic, used by 83% of organisations (integrate). Just like consumers, B2B buyers trust recommendations from peers and influencers over brands.
Sharable content will improve your visibility, while linking to fresh content on your site will generate traffic and increase readership. Don’t rely on organic social alone – a targeted paid campaign can put your stuff right in front of the right people.
But social isn’t just for dissemination. You can use it to understand audience behaviors and preferences, social listening and lead generation as well as lead nurturing.
Using a combination of multiple types of content distribution channels will ensure maximum reach. In fact, marketing campaigns that cross multiple channels perform better than those which with limited distribution – according to Business 2 Community, multichannel strategies can generate up to 24% increase in conversions. But the more channels you incorporate into your plan, the more complicated it will be to manage and continously monitor all the placements.
You should not underestimate the resource needed to manage multichannel campaigns. Ideally, you would need access to specialists in each of the channels, as well as content creators and analysts who can keep track of the data and make recommendations.
Outsourcing your B2B demand generation campaign to an agency is a straightforward way to gain access to expertise, experience and specialist knowledge without the need to take on additional staff. Contracts which charge on a performance basis, for example pay-per-lead, mean the agency has a vested interest in delivering results and will proactively work to enhance and optimize your campaign’s performance.
About Inbox Insight
Inbox Insight are specialists in executing multichannel digital content marketing campaigns that deliver outstanding results.
By amplifying your content at scale using the best digital channels, insight and strategic approach, we help brands across the world create meaningful connections with their target audiences. Find out exactly how, here.