Connect with us

MARKETING

The Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing in 2022 [+ New Data]

Published

on

The Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing in 2022 [+ New Data]

Effective marketing is difficult to get right. Between creative demands, budget limits, and channel decisions, marketers have a lot to juggle when developing their marketing strategy.

The biggest determinant of effective marketing, however, is your audience.

If you’re not properly targeting your buyer persona, your promotions and advertisements will likely fall on deaf ears. You might as well not be marketing at all.

Where target audiences vary the most, though, is between individual consumers and businesses. Some companies serve individual shoppers, while others cater to companies and organizations.

Advertisement

Marketing to businesses is very different from marketing to individual consumers. That’s why an entirely different marketing method — B2B marketing — exists, and that’s why we built this guide.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of B2B marketing, the most effective B2B marketing strategies, and how you can tap into and convert your business audience. Plus, the trends you can expect in the B2B space in 2022, according to new research plus expert tips. 

The purpose of B2B marketing is to make other businesses familiar with your brand name, the value of your product or service, and convert them into customers.

HubSpot is an example of a company that engages in B2B marketing. HubSpot’s customers are other businesses, not individual consumers. Therefore, all of our marketing efforts can be classified as B2B.

B2B vs B2C Marketing

B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing are very different. B2B and B2C marketing differ in their respective strategies and applications, as well as in their audiences and how they communicate to them.

Advertisement

B2B marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, their organization (rather than for themselves), thus making the organization the customer.

Here are a few examples of B2B companies:

  • A coworking space that leases office spaces to remote teams and freelancers (like WeWork)
  • An on-demand order fulfillment, warehousing, and screen printing service (like Printful)
  • A marketing software company that sells social media management tools, lead generation software, and other marketing tools to businesses and organizations (like HubSpot!)

B2C marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, themselves, thus making the individual the customer. Here are a few examples of B2C companies:

  • An e-commerce company that sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals (like Poppin)
  • A store that sells t-shirts and other clothing and accessories (like Target)
  • A music platform that sells streaming subscriptions (like Spotify)

Take a look at this chart comparing B2B and B2C customers.

  for b2b marketing for b2c marketing
Goal Customers are focused on ROI, efficiency, and expertise. Customers are seeking deals and entertainment (which means marketing needs to be more fun).
Purchase Motivation Customers are driven by logic and financial incentive. Customers are driven by emotion.
Drivers Customers want to be educated (which is where B2B content marketing comes in). Customers appreciate education but don’t always need it to make a purchase decision.
Purchase Process Customers like (if not prefer) to work with account managers and salespeople. Customers like to make purchases directly.
People Involved in Purchase Customers often have to confer with decision makers and other members of their chain of command before making a purchase decision. Customers rarely need to confer with others before making a purchase decision.
Purchase Purpose Customers make purchases for long-term solutions, resulting in a longer sales cycle, longer contracts, and longer relationships with companies. Customers aren’t necessarily looking for long-term solutions or long-term relationships.

As much as they differ, though, B2B and B2C also intersect in many ways. While Poppin sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals, they also design corporate office spaces and branded supplies.

On the flip side, Printful not only offers order fulfillment and warehousing to businesses; they also fill e-commerce printing orders for individuals.

As distinct as the B2B and B2C marketing audiences can be, B2B marketers can always learn from B2C campaigns, too.

Advertisement

B2B Marketing Strategies

As I said above, marketing depends on its audience. While B2B and B2C marketing vary, not every piece of B2B marketing material is alike, either.

In this section, we’ll talk about various B2B marketing strategies you can implement to reach your specific business audience. Before we dive in, though, make sure you understand the B2B buyer’s journey. Take note of how each of these stages may affect your marketing strategies and how you implement them.

b2b-marketing-buyers-journey-hubspot

When you begin to form your B2B marketing strategies, there are a few steps you should take before you jump straight to execution.

1. Determine your brand positioning.

To create an effective strategy, you have to fully understand your brand positioning. This statement is the who, when, why and how of your brand identity — or the way your brand is perceived through the eyes of the customer.

Devise a brand positioning statement that your team and prospective customers can believe in, and you’ll be ready for the next step.

2. Identify your target audience.

Find your target audience — or who’s really looking for your brand’s products or services. That information will help you create buyer personas and understand how they make purchase decisions, a tool that’s extremely useful for any type of marketing.

Advertisement

3. Run a competitive analysis.

Scope out the market and see what other businesses are marketing to your target audience with a competitive analysis. Things to be on the lookout for when inspecting competitors are:

  • Competitor product offerings
  • Competitor sales tactics and results
  • Competitor marketing content and social media presence

Getting a general overview of these items can help you recognize your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — otherwise known as SWOT analysis.

4. Explore marketing channels to use.

In your competitive analysis, you’ll see the different types of marketing channels your competitors use successfully, and the channels they haven’t taken advantage of.

With the previous steps completed to begin building your B2B marketing strategy, this is where you’ll be able to diversify your own B2B marketing portfolio and reach the businesses you need to. The following categories are B2B marketing channels bound to connect you to your target audience.

B2B Email Marketing

Email marketing is a tried and true method of reaching both individual consumers and business customers. Did you know that 93% of B2B marketers use email? Are you one of them? You should be. Emails lead to engagement which turns subscribers into leads … and then customers.

Download our guide to optimizing email marketing for conversions and learn how to grow your email list, ensure deliverability, and increase engagement.

Unlike B2C customers who respond best to emotions and entertainment, B2B customers look for logic and positive ROI. Essentially, they’re asking themselves, How can your business help my business grow? Because of this, your email marketing must consistently resonate with your business customers and focus on things that matter to them — like time, money, and resources.

Advertisement

Email marketing is also a powerful vehicle for sharing your brand’s content. 83% of B2B companies use email newsletters as part of their content marketing program, and 40% of B2B marketers say these newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success.

With the constant barrage of emails flooding our inboxes today, it’s more important than ever to create and send out effective marketing emails.

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices
  • Write enticing subject lines. Think about your email subject lines as a Netflix trailer — if you can’t hook your audience with a two-minute clip (or, in this case, a few dozen characters), don’t expect them to open and watch (or read) the whole thing. We recommend spending almost as much time on your email subject lines as you do on the emails themselves.
  • Stick to one call-to-action (CTA) per email. If you think the number of emails you receive is a lot, take a look at the CTAs in those emails … some are packed with two, three, and sometimes up to 10 different CTAs. Don’t make this mistake, which can leave your recipients’ heads spinning, asking “What should I click on first?” and ultimately clicking on nothing. With one CTA per email, you allow your audience to focus on your email content and ultimately one action … a welcome reprieve from today’s frequent decision-making and analysis paralysis.
  • Segment your email to reach the most relevant audience. Not every email you send will be appropriate for everyone on your list. Your subscribers may be at different stages of the buyer’s journey or be seeking different solutions. That’s where email list segmentation comes into play. Not only does this help you relate to your audience better, but it gives your emails that personal feel that says “Hey, I’m listening and I know what you’d like to see.” Consumers prefer email quality over quantity anytime.
  • Make sure your email designs are responsive. Over 80% of email users access their inbox on their phones, and emails that don’t show up correctly on mobile devices are often deleted in three seconds. Ouch. Don’t let your email be one of those.
  • Don’t be afraid of the cold email. As uncomfortable as it is, the right email can convert new customers — like this cold sales email that won 16 new B2B customers.

👉🏼HubSpot Tip: You can’t send marketing emails without any recipients — these people make up your lists. There are plenty of easy ways to grow your email list. Begin with opt-in forms on your website homepage, About page, and blog. Check out HubSpot’s Free Form Builder tool to get started.

B2B Digital Marketing

Every business, whether B2B or B2C should have a digital presence — which is comprised of paid ads, search engine optimization, a website, and any other place your B2B company is active online. Let’s walk through a handful of tactics that can strengthen your B2B digital marketing strategy.

1. Define your target audience.

A strong B2B digital marketing strategy starts with defining your target audience, or buyer persona. This demographic and psychographic information will inform almost every other marketing activity thereafter, ensuring your content and digital material is absorbed by the right eyes and ears (and that no resources go to waste on your end).

2. Create your website.

Secondly, digital marketing can’t quite function without an informative, engaging website. Over 80% of buyers visit a website before making a purchase. Moreover, since the typical B2B sales cycle often involves many key players (such as gatekeepers, decision makers, and other folks who have to buy into a purchase), websites are easy, straightforward ways for influencers to share information about your product or service.

For inspiration on how the best B2B websites are built to impress, check out this video:

Advertisement

3. Optimize your digital presence.

Your website needs to be more than informative and engaging, though … it needs to be discoverable. You can do this with on-page SEO and technical SEO tactics. These include everything from image alt-text and meta descriptions (what your visitors can see) to structured data and site speed (what your visitors can’t see). Off-page SEO is also at play here, which refers to external linking strategies and social sharing — SEO tactics that take place off your website.

4. Run PPC campaigns.

Finally, round out your digital presence with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which allows you to get your content and brand in front of new audiences via search engines and other advertising platforms. I recommend maximizing your PPC investment by advertising more than your specific products or services — such as your brand personality, blog or social media content, or company tagline.

The best way to see an ROI from your paid ads is by 1) incorporating your buyer persona data and 2) boosting content that they can relate to. For example, it’s highly unlikely a brand new consumer who’s never heard of you is searching for your exact product. They may be searching for a location-based solution or product feature. To reach the greatest number of potential customers, pay to target relevant categories within your brand vs. promoting your product or services.

B2B Content Marketing

We’ve talked about how B2B customers are focused on expertise, driven by logic, and desire to be educated. What better marketing tool to satisfy these priorities than B2B content marketing?

Advertisement

Whereas a traditional PR marketing strategy interrupts a consumer’s day-to-day with promotional material, a content marketing strategy adds valuable information and informs the consumer — which is precisely what B2B customers are looking for. Not to mention that content marketing supports SEO efforts, which involves anticipating what your audience is searching for, helping them discover your website and content … and potentially converting them to customers.

It’s important to note, content marketing is most effective when you align your content to various stages of the buyer’s journey. As Jonathan Franchell, CEO and Founder of Ironpaper, points out: “Effective content in the awareness phase educates the buyer on their pain points.”

“A frequent mistake B2B organizations make is educating the buyer on their own company, product, or service. The buyer isn’t ready for that; they are just beginning to understand their problem.”

Franchell adds, “Additionally, B2B companies should test content. Run a test on an incentive and vary the type of content – use a webinar, an eBook, or a video. Understand what format of content attracts the right types of buyers and measure it down to an individual human level.”

Download our free guide and learn what topics convert at the highest rate with insight from 175,000 B2B & B2C blog posts.

In fact, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information from an article than an ad. Knowing this, I’d say you should be putting the same (if not more) resources into your content marketing than your traditional advertising strategy.

Because the B2B buyer’s journey is slightly different than the B2C buyer’s journey (which has shorter sales cycles and fewer decision makers involved), the content you create for your B2B content marketing strategy may vary more than the content you’ve seen as a consumer yourself, as illustrated in the below graphic.

Advertisement

b2b-marketing-content-for-the-buyers-journey-graphic

Before you start creating content, though, I recommend creating a business blog. (Don’t worry, growing your blog readership is easier than you think.) Your blog will house all the content you create and serve as a home-base for readers to visit and subscribe to.

B2B Social Media Marketing

Did you know that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when making a purchase? That’s right — social media marketing isn’t just for brands targeting individual consumers.

Many B2B companies struggle with social media marketing, though. It can be harder to use social media to connect with business customers, especially because (as we mentioned above) there’s typically a lengthier sales cycle and longer chain of command.

Honestly, B2B social media marketing might not be where you convert the greatest number of leads, and that’s OK. It likely comes into play near the beginning of your customers’ buyer’s journeys.

Social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness, giving your company an online personality, and humanizing your business — all very powerful factors when it comes to marketing and connecting with potential customers. Like email marketing, social media is also a highly effective channel for sharing your content and enhancing your brand expertise, the latter of which we know B2B customers appreciate.

Overwhelmed by social media? Spend more time connecting with your followers with our time-saving suite of social tools.

Advertisement

While your social media accounts might not convert as frequently as your content or email marketing, they’re just as important. In this case, followers are just as valuable — you never know when they might convert to leads or customers.

👉🏼 HubSpot Tip: Why? Content shared by employee advocates receives over eight times more engagement than content shared by brands. So, involve your employees in your B2B social media marketing strategy. Encourage them to create their own social media channels and share about life at your company. Create a culture account (like our @HubSpotLife Instagram) to show what’s going on at work, not just what you’re selling. You never know — this might attract strong talent, too.

b2b-marketing-social-media-employee-engagement-hubspot-life-instagram

B2B Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022 [New Data] 

HubSpot’s Blog team conducted research to determine the challenges, opportunities, and initiatives that most B2B marketers are focusing on in 2022. 

Let’s dive in. 

1. Marketers report ‘measuring the ROI of marketing activities’ will be their number one challenge in 2022.

30% of marketers marked “measuring the ROI of your marketing activities” as the number one challenge they believe they’ll face in 2022.  

Advertisement

Measuring ROI can be easier for some activities compared to others. For instance, it’s easy enough to track a social media advertising campaign’s ROI if you’re tracking sales made from an ad placed on Facebook. Sales is a tangible outcome, and Facebook’s Ad Manager enables you to easily track ROI from your efforts. 

However, other activities can be more difficult to track. Analyzing which pieces of social or blog content resulted in sales, for instance, can be a more arduous and convoluted process. 

To combat this challenge, take a look at How to Calculate ROI in Marketing [Free Excel Templates].

Additionally, consider A/B testing various marketing activities and tracking ROI to determine which platforms traditionally have the biggest ROI for your business. For instance, most marketers find the highest ROI from Facebook — but this could vary for your brand or business needs.

which of the following challenges are marketers facing in 2022

2. The majority of B2B marketers plan to increase their investments in influencer marketing in 2022. 

As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen an immense shift in how consumers’ shop, with the majority now shopping online — and, in particular, purchasing products directly on social media.

It makes sense, then, that B2B marketers want to ensure their products or services are showing up on social channels with influencer partnerships. 

Advertisement

Influencer marketing is projected to become a $13.8 billion dollar industry by the end of this year, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. 

Most B2B marketers — 71% — plan on investing more in influencer marketing in 2022, and that’s likely a wise choice.

However, you’ll want to ensure you choose partnerships wisely. While it can be tempting to find influencers with massive audiences, many businesses have seen more success with micro-influencers, so be sure to do your research to determine which influencers have the most authentic connections with your desired audience.

which social media marketing strategies do b2b marketers plan on investing in for 2022?

3. Roughly half of B2B marketers plan to create more case studies in 2022. 

42% of B2B marketers plan to increase their investments in case studies in 2022, surpassing interviews, ebooks, and images. 

Businesses want to learn from other businesses. Case studies are exceptional opportunities to inspire or educate your audience with real-life examples of other companies’ stories. 

If you’re unsure about this media format, consider testing case studies on your blog and monitor how they perform. Alternatively, try creating case studies in alternative formats — such as a YouTube video — to provide additional value to your audience. 

Advertisement

which media formats do b2b marketers plan on increasing in 2022?

4. The number one goal for B2B marketers in 2022 is ‘increasing brand awareness’. 

Understanding your big-picture goals is imperative for creating an effective marketing strategy for 2022 — so it’s likely helpful to know what other B2B marketers’ plan to focus on in 2022. 

Roughly half of B2B marketers report that ‘increasing brand awareness’ is their number one goal in 2022. This goal surpasses increasing engagement, advertising products, lead generation, and even closing deals. 

Brand awareness is critical for fostering trust, long-term loyalty, and brand equity. It makes sense, then, that so many marketers feel it’s critical for long-term success. 

what is a b2b marketers primary goal in 20225. Some marketers plan to stop leveraging podcasts and audio content in 2022, while others will stop implementing VR and AR. 

As important as it is to learn what marketers plan to do in 2022, it’s equally vital to learn what they plan not to do. This can help you identify your own guardrails, and ensure you’re sticking to the most efficient marketing strategies, rather than wasting time and resources on all of them. 

HubSpot’s Blog Research found 25% of marketers plan to stop leveraging podcasts and audio content; followed closely by 23% who plan to stop leveraging VR and AR

This doesn’t mean these activities are inefficient, but it does suggest that some survey respondents found the time, effort, and resources required for each of these efforts wasn’t worth it. Ultimately, it depends on your audiences’ preferences. 

If your audience doesn’t enjoy consuming business content on podcast or audio formats, then re-consider investing in these initiatives.

Advertisement

However, audio content isn’t going anywhere — so if you haven’t already, you might consider testing various audio formats in 2022 to see how they perform with your audience. If you’re unsure how to get started, take a look at Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Podcast in 2021 or Clubhouse vs. Podcasts: Which Should Marketers Use? [Data + Expert Tips].

which trends do b2b marketers plan to stop leveraging in 2022

6. Over half of B2B marketers say ‘optimizing load speed’ is going to be their most effective SEO strategy in 2022. 

There are numerous various tactics you can implement to boost your SEO rankings in 2022. However, it can be challenging to know where to begin.

56% of B2B marketers marked ‘optimizing load speed’ as the most effective SEO strategy, followed by creating search insights reports

Load speed directly correlates with how well your pages rank on Google, since slow pages negatively impact a user’s experience. If you’re not sure how to reduce load speed, take a look at these 9 ways to improve page load speed

which seo strategies are most effective for b2b

7. LinkedIn will be the most popular video channel for B2B marketers in 2022, followed by TikTok. 

Finally, we asked: Which social media platforms do B2B marketers’ companies post video content on? 

Video content is the most popular format for most people when it comes to consuming content, so it’s vital your marketing team use video as a primary format. However, it can be tricky to determine which platform(s) you should post that content for optimal results. 

Advertisement

As shown below, roughly half (49%) of marketers say LinkedIn is the best platform for posting their video content — followed by 28% who marked TikTok as the optimal platform. 

If you’re considering posting video content on LinkedIn in 2022, take a look at LinkedIn Video Specs and Best Practices: a Comprehensive Overview.

which social media platforms do b2b marketers companies post video content on?

Along with research, I spoke with a few B2B experts to get their take on the trends we can expect to see in 2022. 

Carla Andre-Brown, a Content Marketer at Mailbird, told me she believes we’ll see more B2B brands aligning with charities in 2022. 

Andre-Brown says, “Brands get a lot of brownie points and even referrals when they show how they serve the community. Instead of only seeing charity efforts around the holidays, you can expect philanthropy year-round.”

Andre-Brown adds, “Brand-building activities will look to work with social and environmental causes in a format that is ongoing and builds recognition for both parties. Marketers will need to be especially mindful of the way they present their company, to avoid being accused of having poor intentions.”

“For instance,” Andre-Brown continues, “a company using the Pride theme each summer without having policies that protect LGBTQ2IA+ employees is called ‘Rainbow washing’. To ensure this work is well-received and has an impact, marketers should listen to their communities’ suggestions and look for sustainable changes that everyone can benefit from.”

Advertisement

Additionally, Chief Evangelist at Terminus Sangram Vajre says he predicts that data collection will become a major priority for brands in 2022. 

As he puts it, “The quality of our campaigns and initiatives will increasingly rely on our CRM, CDP, and 3rd-party sources to help create stylized, targeted, and convertible marketing initiatives. And since CMOs are increasingly held to ROI numbers, we have to up our game.”

To consider how you might manage your data in a more efficient, sustainable way, take a look at Everything You Need to Know About Data Management.

Additionally, if you’re unsure how you can continue tracking your audience without using third-party cookies, read 7 Marketing Alternatives to Tracking Cookies.

B2B Marketing Examples

A B2B marketing approach that works for one business may not work for another, but that’s not to say we can’t learn something from the pros. Here are eight B2B marketing examples of businesses who did it right.

Advertisement

1. Social Media Marketing: Adobe

TikTok can seem like a difficult platform to stand out as a B2B brand, but some companies have managed to attract thousands — if not millions — of viewers to their videos through high-quality content and an understanding of the app. 

Take software company Adobe, which has 262.3K followers and 2 million likes on its TikTok account

When Adobe first joined the app, the company’s second video got over 2 million views. The video asked its audience, Who is a creative TikToker we should know about?, which encouraged high audience engagement. 

Adobe succeeds on the app because it creates engaging content specifically catered for TikTok’s audience. All Adobe’s videos are short, entertaining, and easily digestible. 

Take the following example, which has over 370K views and highlights how user @emilesam used Adobe’s After Effects edit to create a fighting sequence against himself. 

The brand does a good job highlighting its products in a fun, non-promotional way. Both consumers and businesses can see a clear connection between using Adobe’s products and finding success on TikTok — which makes this a great example of B2B marketing. 

Advertisement

2. Content Marketing: Shopify 

Ecommerce company Shopify produces many different types of content resources, such as a blog, business courses, and community events. But one content avenue that helps the brand stand out is its podcast, aptly titled Shopify Masters: The ecommerce business and marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs.

The podcast focuses on inspiration stories from entrepreneurs, and offers practical tips for starting an online business on Shopify. Episode topics range from “Disrupting the Soda Industry with a Healthy Spin” to “How Masks For Dogs Landed a Deal on Shark Tank”. 

Offering so much valuable, interesting content for free is a fantastic example of effective B2B marketing, which should always provide value before it tries to extract it. 

3. Digital Marketing: Mailchimp

Mailchimp’s homepage is easy to navigate, clean, and focuses entirely on its customers’ pain points. 

Consider, for instance, the first large text you see when you click on the page: “Get down to business and grow sales”. The smaller text below it reads, “Engage your customers and boost your business with Mailchimp’s advanced, yet easy-to-use marketing platform.” 

Advertisement

The language focuses on the customer, and how Mailchimp can help the customer reach their goal: To grow their businesses. 

Additionally, the website offers a banner at the top of the page that enables customers to choose in which language they’d prefer to view the website. Even the company’s Products navigation menu includes how the product can “Get Your Business Online” and “Market Your Business”. 

mailchimps homepage as an example of good b2b marketing

Ultimately, the company demonstrates how much they value each of their customers by tailoring each piece of content towards its customers’ unique challenges. 

4. Client Testimonials: Venngage

Venngage took its positive client testimonials and sprinkled them throughout its website. This social proof lets prospects know that you have a track record of reliability, and have delighted previous customers beyond expectation. Not only that, but sharing testimonials can have a big impact on potential consumers in the Consideration and Decision stages.

After all, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020, which is up from 81% in 2019, so using client feedback is a great tool to attract new ones.

venngage client testimonial b2b marketing

Image Source

Advertisement

5. B2B SEO: TravelPerk, Google

A B2B buyer spends 27% of the time in the purchase journey independently researching online, potentially using at least one search engine during the online research. It’s worth the time and money to invest in making sure other businesses can find you with ease.

TravelPerk displays a diverse range of paid search and SEO. An impressive SEO strategy is its use of topic clusters and sub-topics for reaching its target audience. TravelPerk ensures that search engine pages like “business travel expenses” have a paid ad leading to its website, or high-ranking blog content providing information travelers are looking for.

b2b marketing examples: travelperk

Image Source

6. Inside Influence Marketing: IBM, Influencer and Employee Advocacy Program

IBM Systems business group has seen the growing importance of employee voice and the rise of employee influencers as a strategy in B2B marketing.

In the words of Ryan Bares, Global Social Programs Lead, he states, “In the B2B marketing world, we’ve all come to understand that buyers trust individual voices more than formal marketing and advertising messages, so finding ways to optimize influence internally is becoming a key area of focus.”

b2b marketing examples: IBM

Image Source

Advertisement

Leveraging employees in your company that have an affinity for the industry, vast knowledge of trending topics and your brand, could be key in building new relationships in the industry.

7. B2B Referral Program: Blackbaud, Blackbaud Champions

Blackbaud offers an incredible B2B referral program that incentivizes current customers to become product advocates — Blackbaud Champions. Champions are encouraged to share their insight into how the implementation process works, what it’s like to work with the team, and how Blackbaud solutions have helped you advance their mission.

“When you share your experiences and expertise and help us spread the word about our products and services, we’ll reward you with benefits only available to Champions. By providing your feedback, participating in activities like reference calls and case studies, and sharing educational content and events on social media, you’ll earn Reward Points in the Blackbaud Champions Hub which you can redeem from the Champions Rewards”

These points are what Champions strive to redeem, as they include incentives like discounts, complimentary passes, gift cards and VIP experiences, and more.

b2b marketing examples: blackbaud

Image Source

Referral programs are a great way to kindle customer loyalty and have advocates spread the word about your business through the network.

Advertisement

Invest in B2B Marketing and Reach Your Business Customers

Marketing isn’t effective unless you keep your audience in mind, and no other audience is as fickle and critical as business customers. Your marketing should communicate how your business can help theirs, and if it doesn’t, you can redirect your B2B marketing strategies to reach them.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Product Marketing Kit




Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

MARKETING

The Current State of Google’s Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

Published

on

The Current State of Google's Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

SEO enthusiasts, known for naming algorithm updates after animals and embracing melodrama, find themselves in a landscape where the “adapt or die” mantra prevails. So when Google announced the launch of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May of 2023 at Google/IO, you can imagine the reaction was immense.

Although SGE has the potential to be a truly transformative force in the landscape, we’re still waiting for SGE to move out of the Google Labs Sandbox and integrate into standard search results. 

Curious about our current take on SGE and its potential impact on SEO in the future? Read on for more.

Decoding Google’s Defensive Move

In response to potential threats from competitors like ChatGPT, Bing, TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, Google introduced SGE as a defensive maneuver. However, its initial beta release raised questions about its readiness and global deployment.

ChatGPT provided an existential threat that had the potential to eat into Google’s market share. When Bing started incorporating it into its search results, it was one of the most significant wins for Bing in a decade. In combination with threats from TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, we see a more fractured search landscape less dominated by Google. Upon its launch, the expectation was that Google would push its SGE solution globally, impact most queries, and massively shake up organic search results and strategies to improve organic visibility.

Advertisement

Now, industry leaders are starting to question if Google is better off leaving SGE in the testing ground in Google labs. According to Google’s recent update, it appears that SGE will remain an opt-in experience in Google Labs (for at least the short term). If SGE was released, there could be a fundamental reset in understanding SEO. Everything from organic traffic to optimization tactics to tracking tools would need adjustments for the new experience. Therefore, the prospect of SGE staying in Google Labs is comforting if not entirely reliable. 

The ever-present option is that Google can change its mind at any point and push SGE out broadly as part of its standard search experience. For this reason, we see value in learning from our observations with SGE and continuing to stay on top of the experience.

SGE User Experience and Operational Challenges

If you’ve signed up for search labs and have been experimenting with SGE for a while, you know firsthand there are various issues that Google should address before rolling it out broadly to the public.

At a high level, these issues fall into two broad categories including user experience issues and operational issues.

Below are some significant issues we’ve come across, with Google making notable progress in addressing certain ones, while others still require improvement:

  • Load time – Too many AI-generated answers take longer to load than a user is willing to wait. Google recommends less than a 3-second load time to meet expectations. They’ll need to figure out how to consistently return results quickly if they want to see a higher adoption rate.
  • Layout – The SGE layout is massive. We believe any major rollout will be more streamlined to make it a less intrusive experience for users and allow more visibility for ads, and if we’re lucky, organic results. Unfortunately, there is still a decent chance that organic results will move below the fold, especially on mobile devices. Recently, Google has incorporated more results where users are prompted to generate the AI result if they’d like to see it. The hope is Google makes this the default in the event of a broad rollout where users can generate an AI result if they want one instead of assuming that’s what a user would like to see. 
  • Redundancy – The AI result duplicates features from the map pack and quick answer results. 
  • Attribution – Due to user feedback, Google includes sources on several of their AI-powered overviews where you can see relevant web pages if there is an arrow next to the result. Currently, the best way to appear as one of these relevant pages is to be one of the top-ranked results, which is convenient from an optimization standpoint. Changes to how attribution and sourcing are handled could heavily impact organic strategies. 

 

On the operational side, Google also faces significant hurdles to making SGE a viable product for its traditional search product. The biggest obstacle appears to be making the cost associated with the technology worth the business outcomes it provides. If this was a necessary investment to maintain market share, Google might be willing to eat the cost, but if their current position is relatively stable, Google doesn’t have much of an incentive to take on the additional cost burden of heavily leveraging generative AI while also presumably taking a hit to their ad revenue. Especially since slow user adoption doesn’t indicate this is something users are demanding at the moment.

Advertisement

While the current experience of SGE is including ads above the generative results now, the earliest iterations didn’t heavily feature sponsored ads. While they are now included, the current SGE layout would still significantly disrupt the ad experience we’re used to. During the Google I/O announcement, they made a statement to reassure advertisers they would be mindful of maintaining a distinct ad experience in search.  

“In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. And we’ll continue to uphold our commitment to ads transparency and making sure ads are distinguishable from organic search results” – Elizabeth Reid, VP, Search at Google

Google is trying to thread a delicate needle here of staying on the cutting edge with their search features, while trying not to upset their advertisers and needlessly hinder their own revenue stream. Roger Montti details more of the operational issues in a recent article digging into the surprising reasons SGE is stuck in Google Labs.

He lists three big problems that need to be solved before SGE will be integrated into the foreground of search:

  1. Large Language Models being inadequate as an information retrieval system
  2. The inefficiency and cost of transformer architecture
  3. Hallucinating (providing inaccurate answers)

 

Until SGE provides more user value and checks more boxes on the business sense side, the traditional search experience is here to stay. Unfortunately, we don’t know when or if Google will ever feel confident they’ve addressed all of these concerns, so we’ll need to stay prepared for change.

Experts Chime in on Search Generative Experience

Our team has been actively engaging with SGE, here’s a closer look at their thoughts and opinions on the experience so far:

Advertisement

“With SGE still in its early stages, I’ve noticed consistent changes in how the generative results are produced and weaved naturally into the SERPs. Because of this, I feel it is imperative to stay on top of these on-going changes to ensure we can continue to educate our clients on what to expect when SGE is officially incorporated into our everyday lives. Although an official launch date is currently unknown, I believe proactively testing various prompt types and recording our learnings is important to prepare our clients for this next evolution of Google search.” – Jon Pagano, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

“It’s been exciting to watch SGE grow through different variations over the last year, but like other AI solutions its potential still outweighs its functionality and usefulness. What’s interesting to see is that SGE doesn’t just cite its sources of information, but also provides an enhanced preview of each webpage referenced. This presents a unique organic opportunity where previously untouchable top 10 rankings are far more accessible to the average website. Time will tell what the top ranking factors for SGE are, but verifiable content with strong E-E-A-T signals will be imperative. –Kate Fischer, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“Traditionally, AI tools were very good at analytical tasks. With the rise of ChatGPT, users can have long-form, multi-question conversations not yet available in search results. When, not if, released, Google’s Generative Experience will transform how we view AI and search. Because there are so many unknowns, some of the most impactful ways we prepare our clients are to discover and develop SEO strategies that AI tools can’t directly disrupt, like mid to low funnel content.” – Brandon Miller, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“SGE is going to make a huge impact on the ecommerce industry by changing the way users interact with the search results. Improved shopping experience will allow users to compare products, price match, and read reviews in order to make it quicker and easier for a user to find the best deals and purchase. Although this leads to more competitive results, it also improves organic visibility and expands our product reach. It is more important than ever to ensure all elements of a page are uniquely and specifically optimized for search. With the SGE updates expected to continue to impact search results, the best way to stay ahead is by focusing on strong user focused content and detailed product page optimizations.”  – Kellie Daley, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

Navigating the Clash of Trends

One of the most interesting aspects of the generative AI trend in search is that it appears to be in direct opposition to other recent trends.

Advertisement

One of the ways Google has historically evaluated the efficacy of its search ranking systems is through the manual review of quality raters. In their quality rater guidelines, raters were instructed to review for things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) in results to determine if Google results are providing users the information they deserve. 

In 2022, Google updated their search guidelines to include another ‘e’ in the form of experience (EEAT). In their words, Google wanted to better assess if the content a user was consuming was created by someone with, “a degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person has experienced. There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has firsthand, life experience on the topic at hand.” 

Generative AI results, while cutting-edge technology and wildly impressive in some cases, stand in direct opposition to the principles of E-E-A-T. That’s not to say that there’s no room for both in search, but Google will have to determine what it thinks users value more between these competing trends. The slow adoption of SGE could be an indication that a preference for human experience, expertise, authority, and trust is winning round one in this fight. 

Along these lines, Google is also diversifying its search results to cater to the format in which users get their information. This takes the form of their Perspectives Filter. Also announced at Google I/O 2023, the perspectives filter incorporates more video, image, and discussion board posts from places like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora. Once again, this trend shows the emphasis and value searchers place on experience and perspective. Users value individual experience over the impersonal conveyance of information. AI will never have these two things, even if it can provide a convincing imitation.

The current iteration of SGE seems to go too far in dismissing these trends in favor of generative AI. It’s an interesting challenge Google faces. If they don’t determine the prevailing trend correctly, veering too far in one direction can push more market share to ChatGPT or platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Final Thoughts

The range of outcomes remains broad and fascinating for SGE. We can see this developing in different ways, and prognostication offers little value, but it’s invaluable to know the potential outcomes and prepare for as many of them as possible.

Advertisement

It’s critical that you or your search agency be interacting and experimenting with SGE because:

  • The format and results will most likely continue to see significant changes
  • This space moves quickly and it’s easy to fall behind
  • Google may fix all of the issues with SGE and decide to push it live, changing the landscape of search overnight
  • SGE experiments could inform other AI elements incorporated into the search experience

 

Ultimately, optimizing for the specific SGE experience we see now is less important because we know it will inevitably continue changing. We see more value in recognizing the trends and problems Google is trying to solve with this technology. With how quickly this space moves, any specifics mentioned in this article could be outdated in a week. That’s why focusing on intention and process is important at this stage of the game.

By understanding the future needs and wants SGE is attempting to address, we can help you future-proof your search strategies as much as possible. To some extent we’re always at the whims of the algorithm, but by maintaining a user-centric approach, you can make your customers happy, regardless of how they find you.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

MARKETING

Here’s Optimizely’s Automatic Sample Ratio Mismatch Detection

Published

on

Here's Optimizely’s Automatic Sample Ratio Mismatch Detection

Optimizely Experiment’s automatic sample ratio mismatch (SRM) detection delivers peace of mind to experimenters. It reduces a user’s exposure time to bad experiences by rapidly detecting any experiment deterioration.

This deterioration is caused by unexpected imbalances of visitors to a variation in an experiment. Most importantly, this auto SRM detection empowers product managers, marketers, engineers, and experimentation teams to confidently launch more experiments. 

How Optimizely Experiment’s stats engine and automatic sample rate mismatch detection work together

The sample ratio mismatch actslike the bouncer at the door who has a mechanical counter, checking guests’ tickets (users) and telling them which room they get to party in.

Stats engine is like the party host who is always checking the vibes (behavior) of the guests as people come into the room.

Advertisement

If SRM does its job right, then stats engine can confidently tell which party room is better and direct more traffic to the winning variation (the better party) sooner.

Why would I want Optimizely Experiment’s SRM detection?

It’s equally important to ensure Optimizely Experiment users know their experiment results are trustworthy and have the tools to understand what an imbalance can mean for their results and how to prevent it.

Uniquely, Optimizely Experiment goes further by combining the power of automatic visitor imbalance detection with an insightful experiment health indicator. This experiment health indicator plays double duty by letting our customers know when all is well and there is no imbalance present.

Then, when just-in-time insight is needed to protect your business decisions, Optimizely also delivers just-in-time alerts that help our customers recognize the severity of, diagnose, and recover from errors.

Why should I care about sample ratio mismatch (SRM)?

Just like a fever is a symptom of many illnesses, a SRM is a symptom of a variety of data quality issues. Ignoring a SRM without knowing the root cause may result in a bad feature appearing to be good and being shipped out to users, or vice versa. Finding an experiment with an unknown source of traffic imbalance lets you turn it off quickly and reduce the blast radius.

Then what is the connection between a “mismatch” and “sample ratio”?

When we get ready to launch an experiment, we assign a traffic split of users for Optimizely Experiment to distribute to each variation. We expect the assigned traffic split to reasonably match up with the actual traffic split in a live experiment. An experiment is exposed to an SRM imbalance when there is a statistically significant difference between the expected and the actual assigned traffic splits of visitors to an experiment’s variations.

Advertisement
1. A mismatch doesn’t mean an imperfect match

Remember: A bonified imbalance requires a statistically significant result of the difference in visitors. Don’t expect a picture-perfect, identical, exact match of the launch-day traffic split to your in-production traffic split. There will always be some ever-so-slight deviation.

Not every traffic disparity automatically signifies that an experiment is useless. Because Optimizely deeply values our customers’ time and energy, we developed a new statistical test that continuously monitors experiment results and detects harmful SRMs as early as possible. All while still controlling for crying wolf over false positives (AKA when we conclude there is a surprising difference between a test variation and the baseline when there is no real difference). 

2. Going under the hood of Optimizely Experiment’s SRM detection algorithm

Optimizely Experiment’s automatic SRM detection feature employs a sequential Bayesian multinomial test (say that 5 times fast!), named sequential sample ratio mismatch. Optimizely statisticians Michael Lindon and Alen Malek pioneered this method, and it is a new contribution to the field of Sequential Statistics. Optimizely Experiment’s sample ratio mismatch detection harmonizes sequential and Bayesian methodologies by continuously checking traffic counts and testing for any significant imbalance in a variation’s visitor counts. The algorithm’s construction is Bayesian inspired to account for an experiment’s optional stopping and continuation while delivering sequential guarantees of Type-I error probabilities.

3. Beware of chi-eap alternatives!

The most popular freely available SRM calculators employ the chi-square test. We highly recommend a careful review of the mechanics of chi-square testing. The main issue with the chi-squared method is that problems are discovered only after collecting all the data. This is arguably far too late and goes against why most clients want SRM detention in the first place. In our blog post “A better way to test for sample ratio mismatches (or why I don’t use a chi-squared test)”, we go deeper into chi-square mechanics and how what we built accounts for the gaps left behind by the alternatives.

Common causes of an SRM  

1. Redirects & Delays

A SRM usually results from some visitors closing out and leaving the page before the redirect finishes executing. Because we only send the decision events once they arrive on the page and Optimizely Experiment loads, we can’t count these visitors in our results page unless they return at some point and send an event to Optimizely Experiment.

A SRM can emerge in the case of anything that would cause Optimizely Experiment’s event calls to delay or not fire, such as variation code changes. It also occurs when redirect experiments shuttle visitors to a different domain. This occurrence is exacerbated by slow connection times.

Advertisement
2. Force-bucketing

If a user first gets bucketed in the experiment and then that decision is used to force-bucket them in a subsequent experiment, then the results of that subsequent experiment will become imbalanced.

Here’s an example:

Variation A provides a wildly different user experience than Variation B.

Visitors bucketed into Variation A have a great experience, and many of them continue to log in and land into the subsequent experiment where they’re force-bucketed into Variation A.

But, visitors who were bucketed into Variation B aren’t having a good experience. Only a few users log in and land into a subsequent experiment where they will be force-bucketed into Variation B.

Well, now you have many more visitors in Variation A than in Variation B.

Advertisement
3. Site has its own redirects

Some sites have their own redirects (for example, 301s) that, combined with our redirects, can result in a visitor landing on a page without the snippet. This causes pending decision events to get locked in localStorage and Optimizely Experiment never receives or counts them.

4. Hold/send events API calls are housed outside of the snippet

Some users include hold/send events in project JS. However, others include it in other scripts on the page, such as in vendor bundles or analytics tracking scripts. This represents another script that must be properly loaded for the decisions to fire appropriately. Implementation or loading rates may differ across variations, particularly in the case of redirects.

Interested?  

If you’re already an Optimizely Experiment customer and you’d like to learn more about how automatic SRM detection benefits your A/B tests, check out our knowledge base documentation:

For further details you can always reach out to your customer success manager but do take a moment to review our documentation first!

If you’re not a customer, get started with us here! 

And if you’d like to dig deeper into the engine that powers Optimizely experimentation, you can check out our page faster decisions you can trust for digital experimentation. 

Advertisement

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

MARKETING

How to Use Email Marketing Automation to Encourage SaaS Adoption

Published

on

How to Use Email Marketing Automation to Encourage SaaS Adoption

SaaS adoption refers to the process that earns your product a permanent place in your user’s workflow. This happens when you empower your audience to extract useful value from your solutions.

Email, a tried and tested communication tool, plays an essential role in helping brands relay their product’s value to their customers and educate them on how to make the most of it.

However, smaller teams might find themselves at a crossroads, balancing the need for personalized communication with the scale of their user base

Email marketing automation offers a practical solution by ensuring that each message is tailored and timely, yet sent out with minimal manual effort.

In this article, let’s look at five tips that will help you build robust email marketing automation that will motivate your audience to adopt your tool and make it a part of their daily lives.

Advertisement

1. Segment your audience

Audience segmentation is crucial for personalizing your emails, which in turn, can significantly boost SaaS product adoption. Remember, a message that resonates with one segment might not strike a chord with another.

The key to effective segmentation is understanding where each customer is in their journey. Are they new subscribers, active users, or perhaps at the brink of churning?

Here are some actionable steps to segment your audience effectively:

  1.  Analyze User Behavior: Look at how different users interact with your SaaS product. Are they frequent users, or do they log in sporadically? This insight can help you create segments like ‘active users’, ‘occasional users’, and ‘at-risk users’.
  2.  Utilize Sign-up Data: Leverage the information gathered during the sign-up process. This can include job roles, company size, or industry, which are excellent parameters for segmentation.
  3.  Monitor Engagement Levels: Keep an eye on how different segments interact with your emails. Are they opening, clicking, or ignoring your messages? This feedback will help you refine your segments and tailor your approach. Plus, consider setting up small business phone systems to enhance communication with your audience.

2. Create campaigns based on behavior

Sending behavior-based campaigns is pivotal in effective email marketing. By focusing on performance metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and engagement times, you can gauge the effectiveness of your emails and adjust your strategy accordingly.

You can also use digital signage to entertain or make customers aware of something new – product or service, through a digital sign.

Different types of email campaigns serve various purposes:

  1. Educational Campaigns: These are designed to inform and enlighten your audience about their problem. They can include tips, best practices, and how-to guides. The goal here is to provide value and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
  2. Interactive Campaigns: These campaigns encourage user engagement through surveys, quizzes, microblogging platforms, or feedback forms. They not only provide valuable insights into user preferences but also make the recipients feel heard and valued.
  3. Onboarding Campaigns: Targeted toward new users, these messages help them get the value they seek from your product as soon as possible. They can include step-by-step tutorials, video guides, or links to helpful resources.

4.Re-engagement Campaigns: Aimed at inactive users, these emails strive to reignite their interest in your SaaS product. They might include product updates, special offers, or reminders of the benefits they’re missing out on.

3. A/B test before deployment

Rather than pushing a new campaign to your entire audience as soon as you draft the emails, A/B testing helps you know whether your messages are any good.

Advertisement

Here are some best practices for A/B testing in email automation:

  1. Test One Variable at a Time: Whether it’s the subject line, email content, or call-to-action, change just one (or a couple) element per test. This clarity helps in pinpointing exactly what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Choose a Representative Sample: Ensure that the test group is a good mix of your target audience as a whole. This way, the results are more likely to reflect how your entire audience would react.
  3. Measure the Right Metrics: Depending on what you’re testing, focus on relevant metrics like open rates, click-through rates, or conversion rates. This will give you a clear picture of the impact of your changes. Along with these steps, it’s important to use an SPF checker to ensure your emails aren’t marked as spam and increase the deliverability rate.
  4. Use the Results to Inform Your Strategy: Once you have the results, don’t just stop at implementing the winning version. Analyze why it performed better and use these insights to inform your future campaigns.
  5. Don’t Rush the Process: Give your test enough time to gather significant data. Adopt comprehensive marketing reporting solutions that give you a clear picture of your campaigns’ efficacy.

4. Leverage email templates

When managing multiple email automation campaigns, each with potentially dozens of emails, the task of creating each one from scratch can be daunting. Not to mention, if you have multiple writers on board, there’s a risk of inconsistency in tone, style, and branding.

Email templates are your secret weapon for maintaining consistency and saving time. They provide a standardized framework that can be easily customized for different campaigns and purposes.

They are also a great way to communicate with your customers. Another way to communicate efficiently with your customer is through best small business phone systems, which is especially efficient when conveying information about your product or service.

Here’s a rundown of various types of templates you should consider having:

  1. Welcome: For greeting new subscribers or users. It should be warm, inviting, and informative, setting the tone for future communications.
  2. Educational Content: Used for sharing tips, guides, and resources. If you are making this template to introduce online GCSE physics tutor services that you provide, you should be clear, concise, and focused on delivering value in your template.
  3. Promotional: For announcing new features, offers, or services. It should be eye-catching and persuasive without being overly salesy.
  4. Feedback Request: Designed to solicit user feedback. This template should be engaging and make it easy for recipients to respond.
  5. Re-engagement: Aimed at rekindling interest among inactive users. It should be attention-grabbing and remind them of what they’re missing.
  6. Event Invitation: For webinars, workshops, or other events. This should be exciting and informative, providing all the necessary details.

5. Use a tool that works for you

Email is more than just a marketing platform; it’s a multifaceted tool that can drive customer engagement, support, and retention. Given its versatility, it’s crucial to choose the right email automation tool that aligns with your specific needs.

When selecting an email automation tool, consider these key features:

  1. Intuitive Interface: Even your non-technical team members should find it easy to use.
  2. Robust Segmentation Capabilities: The tool must offer advanced segmentation options to target your emails accurately.
  3. A/B Testing Functionality: Essential for optimizing your email campaigns.
  4. Integration with Other Tools: Look for a tool that integrates seamlessly with your CRM, analytics, and other marketing platforms. Additionally, integrating a multilingual translation support can further enhance the tool’s versatility, allowing you to reach a diverse audience with tailored content in their preferred languages.

Popular tools like Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign offer free trials which are great for brands to take these for a spin before making a choice.

Wrapping up

Leveraging email automation makes it easier for SaaS brands to market their solutions to their audience and ultimately increase adoption rates.

Advertisement

Segmenting audiences, creating messages based on their behavior, testing emails before setting campaigns live, utilizing templates for speed and consistency, and adopting a tool that you are comfortable working with are essential email marketing automation tips to help you get started on the right foot.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending

Follow by Email
RSS