So here we are, 2019. If you’re like me, you spent the better part of Q4 looking at YOY performance and mapping an improved marketing plan for 2019. You may also, like me, be looking to find ways to get more bang for your marketing buck—reducing ineffective marketing spend wherever possible.
Digital marketing can be expensive, but does it have to be?
How many times have you heard the old cliché, “Google loves taking your money?” I’ve probably used that cheesy one-liner more times than I’d care to admit, but in many cases B2B organizations aren’t doing everything they can to get the most out of their marketing budgets.
We see it all the time, from wasted spend on ineffective ads and keywords with low Quality Scores, to plain overbidding on terms that are much too competitive and costly. And these expenses aren’t necessarily so black & white, either.
Think about the amount of time you spent researching and writing blog content and posting daily to your social media channels. Were you working toward a planned objective? Did you develop a winning keyword strategy? Were KPIs established? How’d you do?
Cost/Effort vs. Value
For us marketers, it’s all about finding the most effective digital marketing strategies and tactics that cost the least, and take only as much energy and time as necessary, nothing more.
Looking at the chart above, the goal is to find strategies and digital marketing tactics with the lowest cost/effort that create the most value.
Keep in mind, larger trees may yield more fruit over time, but it’s the smaller trees that bear fruit much sooner.
5 Budget-Friendly B2B Digital Marketing Tactics for 2019
1. Step Up Your LinkedIn Game
When working with B2B clients, it’s rare that LinkedIn doesn’t bubble it’s way up during initial conversations. One of the first rules of social media is to choose your channels carefully—one social network does not fit all. And for business-facing organizations, LinkedIn is where your customers, most certainly, are at.
LinkedIn Website Demographics
Do you know which companies are visiting your site? With LinkedIn Website Demographics enabled, you’ll be able to track which organizations are visiting your site most frequently, which is indispensable information for your sales team (not to mention great intelligence for direct targeting campaigns).
For B2B organizations, LinkedIn can be a much more cost-effective strategy compared to Google AdWords, due generally speaking to better business-targeting features combined with a smaller (more qualified) audience. This targeted landscape means you’re getting in front of the right people, at a lower overall campaign and click cost.
2. Tap Into Your Existing Network w/ Email Marketing
Email marketing is an incredible way to reach your customers without having to put in too much manual legwork. With a proper marketing automation setup, you’ll be able to even further reduce time invested.
Organize & Segment
Email content should be tailed to who you’re speaking to. You’re not going to see stellar results by sending the same message to every customer, prospect, or colleague in your digital rolodex. Your communications should be crafted to a specific marketing persona—and better yet, a specific individual.
Keep it Simple
Look, people generally don’t like receiving marketing emails. So how do you drive open rates and make that connection? By keeping things simple and clean. Have a new capability or special offer that might interest your existing or previous customers? Let them know, but don’t feel like you need to cram every bit of info in your email. Highlight the benefits concisely, and include a single CTA to move them along. And be sure to keep subject lines short and personable.
Have a new introductory offer for first-time customers? Perhaps a new blog post providing valuable market insights? Send those resources to your prospect list, but perhaps less often than you would your customers.
Deep Dive: Tips to Increase Your Open Rate
3. Get Noticed w/ Directory Listing Management
One of our key learnings in 2018 is the substantial impact authoritative 3rd party directory listings had on traffic and lead generation. Referral traffic accounted for a substantial portion of our traffic and leads in 2018, especially compared to the previous year. Prominent placement on popular directory listings is a great way to diversify your presence and ensure brand visibility for years to come (not to mention, can assist with organic search rankings).
Free Directory Listings
There are hundreds, thousands of free directory listings out there. Some all-encompassing, others targeted toward specific industries or niches. Starting with the obvious, Google My Business, Facebook, Apple Maps, LinkedIn, Bing, among others.
As you dive into the wonderful world of directory listing management, you’ll very quickly come to an understanding that not all directories are created equal. Some see disproportionately more traffic than others, and they tend to know it. Some of these directories require payment for premium placement, potentially costing thousands of dollars per month.
However, you may want to consider weighing this cost against other marketing strategies—PPC, for instance. Premium directories tend to include a baked-in audience of sales-ready prospects, which may very well give you more bang for your buck compared to impression-based marketing activities.
4. Create a Backlink Strategy
No, I’m not necessarily talking about spending hundreds of hours developing content for your blog in hopes of the occasional earned link—I’m talking about starting with the low-hanging fruit. And the first step in a results-driven backlink strategy is understanding what’s already out there.
If your organization has been around for any length of time, you’ve probably got a decent amounts of mentions and links scattered across the web. In a nutshell, link reclamation involves auditing of your existing backlink profile, updating URLs to drive consistency, adding links to your website on various owned directory listings, and reaching out to those mentioning your organization (news articles, press releases, blog posts, etc…).
Do you offer a product or service valuable to the customers of your B2B partners? Are you willing to offer incentives to your business customers to promote your product or service on their website? If so, it might be worth having a conversation with them. Often, your partners will be willing to include a badge or text link on their own website or blog, linking back out to your website. And assuming your customers have authoritative sites, the baked-in industry relevance makes for a double-whammy benefit to your organization’s digital marketing efforts.
5. Good Old Fashioned On-Page SEO
You think I’d put together a budget-friendly digital marketing punch list together without including search engine optimization? Never! SEO, done right, is essentially free traffic and can be a wonderfully effective lead generator.
Revisit Existing Content
One of the easiest things B2B organizations can do to improve their digital presence without spending a ton of time and money is looking at their existing website. Are pages categorized and well-organized inside of logical parent folders? Is your content free of technical and grammatical mistakes? Has it been a while since you’ve updated product or service page content—should you consider adding more content to those pages? By conducting a quality pass on your existing website and adding fresh, relevant content where applicable you can almost instantly improve your position in organic search results.
Work Smarter, Not… Costlier.
B2B digital marketing doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. There are plenty of things us marketers can do to drive results without driving up costs and lobbying for larger and larger ad budgets. Before diving too much further into 2019 marketing initiatives, I’d encourage you to conduct your own cost vs. value analysis.
Are you spending too much money on strategies that haven’t done much for your organization in 2018? Put them on pause. Take a look at the tools you have at your disposal, perhaps incorporating some of the recommendations above, and get that needle moving in 2019!