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Ticking the boxes?…get more from digital marketing

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Leads from website since using IM

“We’re on social media”

“We’ve set up a LinkedIn company page”

“We’re spending thousands every month on pay-per-click…we don’t know whether it’s working but we’re scared to turn it off”

“We pay an SEO consultant every month but we’re not quite sure what they do”

“We’ve started a blog”

“We put videos on YouTube”

These are typical of comments we hear every week and underline the difficulties presented to businesses by the myriad of available digital marketing tools and technologies…not to mention the liberal doses of accompanying hype served up by media commentators and service providers.

Facebook page? Check.

The result is that many businesses then engage in what is essentially a box-ticking exercise: Facebook page? Check. Twitter account? Check. Blog set up? Check. The list goes on. Unsurprisingly, the results aren’t great…that’s assuming the activities get as far as being measured. More often than not, they just stop as the initial enthusiasm wears off and the perception that prevails is that feeding the digital marketing monster without a coherent and targeted content plan is much more difficult than first thought.

Joining the dots

Ineffectual B2B digital marketing often stems from digital marketing tools being considered and implemented in isolation. What’s lacking is a clear methodology and an integrated approach that gets the best from each and gets them working together towards common objectives i.e. building brand profile, generating leads and driving sales. Take Facebook for example. Considered on its own merits, it might not be the most obvious tool for B2B digital marketing but the potential reach it can offer (Generally, 1 in 7 people on the planet!) means there’s opportunities to build some visibility with your target audience as part of an integrated strategy. It’s not a panacea but it certainly may have a part to play.

Another common frustration is managing multiple accounts and having to log in via different interfaces which can soon become tiresome. There are applications such as social media management dashboard Hootsuite though many lack the capability to integrate with CRM to create a demonstrable connection between your digital marketing activities and your sales funnel.

Getting more from digital marketing

An inbound marketing methodology can help with issues such as those outlined above. Firstly, a range of digital marketing tools are employed as part of an integrated approach, with each assigned a clear role in the process of getting your brand found, engaging your audience, converting leads and analysing performance. For example, SEO, blogging and social media feature heavily in the early stages to build your audience whereas email marketing has a key role in nurturing leads.

Secondly, inbound marketing employs software that makes it easier to manage, monitor and measure digital marketing. Multiple tools can be managed through a single interface and can be configured to work together as part of workflows designed to convert prospects’ interest into action. In addition, the outputs of this activity are easily accessible through clear reporting on metrics that matter including leads generated and converted.

So, an inbound approach can address many of the frustrations and much of the uncertainty associated with B2B digital marketing but what’s required in many businesses is a re-evaluation of the role of its constituent parts and a commitment to maximising their value beyond the aforementioned box-ticking exercise. With each working to their strengths as part of a cohesive plan, businesses stand to benefit from being able to target their audience more precisely, engage them with motivating content and achieve an improved marketing ROI.

 

 

By Neil Perrott