has proven itself time and time again as an effective marketing tool, but like all tools, it can only deliver results when utilised properly. Sending out reams of correspondence without considering the appeal of the content could potentially lead to lower click-through rates, increased opt-outs and in the worst scenarios – damage a company’s reputation among its target audience. So how can B2B marketers make sure their content is appealing?
According to Kate Adamson, a branding and media specialist at Stark Moore MacMillan, content is a key driver of engagement in the online arena. She advised putting the target audience at the heart of marketing campaigns. However, she also advocated utilising a mesh of content and channels to achieve optimisation.
With more and more platforms opening up, Ms Adamson acknowledged that it is hard for the largest companies to decide where to deploy their marketing efforts and is nigh-impossible for smaller companies to properly calculate the return on investment in this area.
Despite this fact, she lauded the opportunities for SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) looking to promote themselves digitally – noting the myriad of free options available to such firms that allow them to compete with their bigger counterparts. Ms Adamson was particularly vocal about the benefits of Twitter for companies, but warned that failure to back up a campaign on this medium with ongoing engagement and killer content could limit its success.
Similar advice was offered by advertising expert and professional speaker Philip Hesketh, who, in a recent interview, claimed…
…the key to his startlingly low email unsubscribe rate – which stood at less than one per cent – was timely, relevant and interesting communication. He advised that going the extra mile with these criteria can help a company stand out from the crowd.
Businesses were also encouraged to use email marketing
in conjunction with their campaigns on other channels by Mark Brownlow, founder of information portal Email Marketing Reports. He suggested utilising this medium to promote social media pages, noting that email’s ubiquitous nature is one of its key advantages.
The statistics certainly seem to back up this view, with Eloqua’s Grande Guide to B2B Content Marketing displaying the weight companies are giving to eNewsletters, article posting and social media.
When deciding where to concentrate their content campaigns, companies are well advised to invest some time in researching the online behaviour of their target audience. One potential source is Ruder Finn’s Intent Index, an ongoing research study that offers an in-depth look at the motivations behind people’s online activities.
Figures from the report clearly show that learning is one of the key drivers of online behaviours, whether it is of an educational or informational nature. Therefore, companies might want to focus their efforts on producing their own content – promoting their status as experts in their respective fields – or alternatively, curating interesting information from other sources in their sector.
One advocate of this approach is Marina Lumley, an independent marketing consultant who spoke about B2B marketing strategies on behalf of target360 at the recent TFM&A (Technology for Marketing and Advertising) event in Manchester.
She noted that people often approach creating their own content with trepidation and suggested thinking through the potential topics that could be covered before putting pen to paper can help make this process easier.
It is paramount that companies do not take a half-hearted approach to their content and avoid being overly self-promotional. However, content is still a means to an end and once companies have engaged their target audience through this medium, an enticing call to action is a must-have for those looking to boost their click-through rate and conversions.
In a series of articles we look at major tech cities across the UK and find out how digital their retailers are. In cities full of talented digital people we expected to see a large proportion of their retailers trading online. This report looks at how digital London is.
Being the capital city it is not surprising that London has a thriving digital sector. Areas such as the ‘Tech City’ in Shoreditch have seen huge growth in the number of technology companies in the last few years with over 1,300 tech companies now based there. London was the natural choice for Google’s seven storey ‘Campus’ and it new £1bn UK headquarters in Kings Cross.
Using data from Market Location, retail businesses in and around London were analysed to find out how well they are engaging with digital. The analysis looks at whether their website offered e-commerce functionality, whether the website was designed to be viewed on mobile devices and how often the website had been shared on social media.
Just under 20% of the sites that were analysed had e-commerce functionality. While e-commerce may not be an option for some retailers there is still a big opportunity for over 80% of the businesses to start selling online as the average person in the UK now spends over £1000 a year online.
has a shop near Oxford Circus but also has an excellent e-commerce site to sell their vintage clothing. All the clothes have several great product photos to let users see exactly what they are ordering. The purchasing journey is very simple and giving people the option of paying by paypal makes purchasing even easier.
Next the websites were analysed to see if they were designed for mobile devices. This test looked at whether the website was responsive and also whether there was a dedicated mobile website.
Around 25% of the London retailer sites in our study are responsive and work across mobile phones and other devices. With the figures for mobile phone usage continuing to increase at a staggering rate companies with non-responsive sites could be missing out on customers. It’s now very common for people to research online with their mobiles and 93% of these mobile researchers go on to make a purchase. In short, if your company website doesn’t work well on a mobile then your visitors will use a competitor’s site that does.
Bermondsey based florists Hayford and Rhodes
have been established since 1924, but their website is up-to-date with the latest responsive technology. The site works well across all devices making ordering flowers from their site almost as easy on a mobile as it is on a desktop.
Finally, the websites were analysed to see how often they had been shared across social media. Sites were grouped by the number of Facebook Likes and Tweets on Twitter that they received.
While the websites of most London shops had less than 100 Likes or Tweets it is encouraging to see some of the independent businesses have over 500 Likes or Tweets. These businesses who engage with their customers through social media should see returns in both increased sales and an increase in returning customers and customer loyalty.
When combing some of this data we can see that website owners who have sites that work on mobile devices and offer e-commerce functionality tend to have more social shares. Just 5% of the sites in the sample had websites with both mobile and e-commerce capabilities but these sites had a much higher than average number of social shares.
is an example of a brand who have embraced social media. They have an impressive 80,000 fans on Facebook and 13,000 followers on Twitter leading to high levels of engagement with customers and potential customers alike.
As expected London retailers have a reasonably high proportion of e-commerce sites. There is still a lot of room for improvement though particularly with around 75% of the sites in the study not being built for mobile devices. Mobile devices now account for all online sales growth, as the amount of sales through desktop computers has plateaued and this presents a big opportunity for London based retailers.