Our favorite part of the New Year is the chance to reflect. As a B2B-focused content strategy firm, we at 818 Agency are actually chronic reflectors, assessing new trends and shaping our clients’ stories. In reviewing an eventful year for content marketing, three strategies stood out as particularly impactful.
With its bite-sized format and visual appeal, it’s no wonder Instagram has become the world’s fastest-growing major social media channel (according to the Pew Research Center). While the platform may seem like a channel only for consumer-driven marketers, B2B marketers are increasingly discovering its value as well.
Oracle’s account is a great example of how companies can use Instagram to better relate to their customers. With its #LifeAtOracle hashtag, Oracle shares employee volunteer projects, company events, and simple, daily moments from its various locations around the world to humanize the brand and spark engagement. These stories speak to potential clients while attracting new talent.
Oracle has also used the platform to launch new products, promote its Oracle OpenWorld event, and share the expertise of its leaders, but these salesy elements are embedded within a broader format that makes them feel less intrusive.
FedEx is another great example of B2B marketing done right on Instagram. How do you make shipping boxes from Point A to Point B feel exciting? Show the impact the delivery can make with colorful, sometimes tug-at-the-heartstrings moments, and mix in take-your-breath-away photos of the views your packages enjoy while they travel around the world (lucky them).
Shying away from direct sales-focused posts, FedEx keeps the focus on people, places and history, using many photos from its customers to inspire engagement and loyalty. A collage of its favorite user-submitted photos drew more than a thousand likes over the New Year, and even though much of the engagement comes from its consumer side, most of these consumers also use FedEx for business.
B2B marketers can adopt the FedEx strategy by thinking more visually about their own processes. Behind-the-scenes “sneak peeks,” even in seemingly mundane settings like factories, are more interesting than you might think. Emphasize the story over the sale, and your audience will follow.
The global release of Instagram’s ad platform in September has also been a boon to B2B marketers, who now have the same targeted capabilities on Instagram that parent company Facebook offers. When launching an Insta ad campaign, be prepared to invest some time to see results.
“Taking the time to create and test distinctly different ad sets can make an enormous difference,” says 818 Agency Digital Ad Director Jennifer Spivak, an adjunct professor on the topic at CUNY City College in New York. “It is feasible with this method to get your cost per lead down to between $2-$4 over time.”
Custom landing pages remove the clutter and get to the heart of your clients’ needs. The result? Clients that are more inspired to act. This makes landing pages a pretty powerful tool for busy clients, and yet landing pages are still largely under-utilized by B2B marketers. According to research by MarketingSherpa (source), only 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each campaign, a practice that can hinder B2B marketers even more than their B2C counterparts. According to a Hubspot-produced marketing benchmark report from more than 7,000 business (source), marketers see a 55% increase in leads with 6-10 landing pages versus 1-5, and B2B marketers see an extra spike when the number of landing pages reaches 40. We saw the power of landing pages with the country’s largest retail trade show operator, whom we helped realize a 14% year-over-year increase in attendance by using a content strategy campaign that heavily factored in strategic landing pages.
DoctorBase, a startup that securely connects doctors with patients while reimbursing doctors for their time, is another great example. Working with a limited marketing budget, the app’s founders used landing pages to increase conversions by 30%, eventually bringing in yearly revenue by $1.56 million and raising marketing ROI by 40%, according to an Unbounce case study. How did they do it? They zeroed in on the few questions that inspired doctors to act, eliminating off-putting fields and using A/B testing to pinpoint the pages that worked.
Recognized landing page expert Hristian Kambourov, a conversion rate optimization (CRO) architect named one of the world’s top 6 experts by Unbounce, offers these tips for landing measurable results.
“It is important to remember that with any landing page campaign, creating a custom mobile responsive landing page is really important,” he said. “It is not enough to send traffic to a desktop webpage page, even if it is responsive. You have less time to capture attention and drive action on mobile so any additional copy or graphics is distracting. The signup form or product for purchase should be the first thing viewers see. If your ultimate goal is conversion, this is what you need to do as a marketer.”
So when designing landing pages, keep two things in mind:
- When it comes to design, less is more. Keep text and graphics simple.
- In terms of the total number of pages, more is actually better for B2B marketers. Give yourself more chances to convert.
If you add only one new strategy to your toolkit for 2016, make it interactive marketing— the unanimous recommendation from our team. (All hands were up on this one.) Why? Consider these stats: 74% of marketers report having less time to view content today than they did a year ago, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2015 Content Preferences Survey. Moreover, an overwhelming majority (91%) prefer on-demand, short-format visual content over written pieces. This doesn’t mean your whitepapers aren’t valuable. But it does mean taking another look at your visual and multi-media content, including infographics, e-books and interactive magazines.
Studies show that visual tools are more effective than other types of marketing simply because of how the brain works. According to behavioral consultants ChangingMinds.org, our long-term memory retains 65% of what we see (i.e. visual material or illustrations) versus just 10% of what we read. This is a powerful case for creating more visual content, and its effectiveness spans all industries. Industrial engineering firm Dupont is a great example of how B2B firms can use visual content to demonstrate their expertise, presenting nearly all of its case studies as Infographics.
The Bottom Line
We’ve found in working almost exclusively with B2B marketers that these three tools can make a big impact on both engagement and conversion. Tap into these underutilized strategies to unlock your potential in 2016.