How have you been reaching out to your prospects and customers?
You can do so with several distribution channels, but this doesn’t mean everything is for the taking. Trying it all out will only stretch your strategy thin. The key is finding the right mix of channels to master. Focus on a few, relevant channels that connect with your audience best and that fit your brand’s strengths. Now, digital media is ever-changing.
In the last 12 months, Facebook overhauled its News Feed to accommodate fewer publishers, Netflix spent $6B more on content than last year, and 65% of people with voice assistants claimed not to go back to life without it.
B2B media and distribution channels to leverage in 2019
Anticipate more shake-ups in the year ahead. Here’s a rundown of media and distribution channels to potentially include in your mix:
Email continues to thrive and is here to stay. It will persist to be a leading platform despite industry newcomers ushered in by newer tech. Facebook Messenger didn’t kill email. Neither did Slack. Email remains to be the universal key. Didn’t you create your Facebook account with email? How do you recover your password for e-commerce or SaaS user accounts? As more players enter the B2B field, audiences want brands they can trust. Email’s ability to feel like a personal letter gives you the opportunity to send powerful, authentic messages through this channel. Longer form content is on the rise amid studies on consumers’ shorter attention spans. Readers tend to ascribe greater value with longer content. Newsflash: People are still reading—as long as you invest in producing quality content.
How to leverage
Add a personal touch to your sales emails. Pinpoint who exactly you want to target and identify their pain points. Personalisation doesn’t just mean addressing recipients by name. It takes a deep dive into who your prospects are: what their problems are, what’s on their mind, who they are speaking to. Use these bits of information to write your emails with empathy and allow automation technologies to create variations for different subscriber segments.
How many hours of video do you watch in a day?
Survey says an average consumer spends 1.5 hours on videos every day. Watching videos is how people like to learn. When it comes to digesting product information, 72% of customers would rather watch a video about it. The more lifelike a medium is, the more powerful it is. We’re watching more videos than ever thanks to faster and more reliable data connections everywhere. Now, we can stream hour-long content while on-the-go without worrying we’d blow up the bill. More marketers are communicating via video. In 2018, video helped 97% of marketers increase user understanding of their product or service, and 76% said video also drove their traffic and sales.
Video marketing trends to watch in 2019:
- Social media stories (e.g. Facebook, Instagram)
- Vertical videos (e.g. IGTV)
- Live streams
- Influencer videos
- Explainer videos
- Subtitles and closed captioning
How to leverage
Squeeze more mileage out of your existing content by turning them into videos. You can keep it as simple as this:
Explore easy-to-use tools like Rocketium, Showbox, and Lumen5 to create engaging videos that are optimised for social media.
Podcast production and listenership grew exponentially in the past year thanks to lower production costs, better technologies, and greater buy-in towards long-form content. Compared to other media, podcasts are easier to consume while in transit or in the middle of a mindless task. Try listening while doing the dishes or laundry. It’ll do wonders. Up to 124 million people (that’s 12 million more than in 2017!) tuned into podcasts in 2018. This made marketers look and see the value of ads embedded into podcasts. Though longer than traditional ads, consumers are less likely to skip them because they’re weaved into the script and voiced by podcasters themselves.
How to leverage
Start your own B2B podcast and use it as a content marketing vehicle. There are several distribution channels at your disposal: RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and niche channels like Anchor.fm. Tell interesting, value-adding stories that don’t sell products but make audiences want to buy from you. For inspiration, hear how Neil Patel and Eric Sui balance educational and promotional content on the Marketing School podcast.
We hear LinkedIn is cool now—for B2B, at least. As of December 2018, LinkedIn has amassed over half a billion users. That’s more than enough number of prospects looking to network and grow their business, like you. With Facebook and Twitter’s algorithm changes, LinkedIn is finding its way to being marketers’ go-to social platform. LinkedIn has been focused on making its website optimal for marketers. Over the last 12 months, the platform improved its search filtering and made its video ad format more powerful than ever. This is largely why this medium now drives more than half of social traffic for B2B brands. Not only is it a platform for thought leadership content, but it’s also very much a well-oiled lead generator. As the winner here, 93% of marketers now consider LinkedIn to be the most effective website when it comes to generating leads.
How to leverage
Set up your company page on LinkedIn. Make the most out of the platform by creating a content roadmap that details what and when to post. Your content can be in the form of text ads, sponsored InMail, and video ads. The best time to post is at 12 pm, and the best days to do so are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
From a paltry 2% in 2017, use of chatbot technology in customer service is expected to land at 25% by 2020. Chatbots have the advantage of instant messaging with your customers in real-time, day or night, 24/7. It can carry out several tasks: message back and forth with customers, help them find products and order items, and suggest other products to purchase. Up to 1.4 billion people are now using or interacting with chatbots. Many customers prefer chatbots because they reply fast, don’t lose patience, and can give answers based on your entire buying history.
How to leverage
Build your chatbot around your customers’ FAQs. Use chatbots to immediately resolve easy, recurring pain points. Answering questions at once also means being able to fix issues quickly. Channels available: Facebook Messenger, other instant messaging apps, and on-site chatbots such as Drift’s.
Over to You
Half the battle is identifying the right channel that’s perfect for your content and audience. You can have the best content, but putting it on the wrong platform can mean letting it fall on deaf ears. Deciding your content formats and distribution channels will influence the trajectory of your marketing investments. As you review your 2019 strategy, consider the evolving trends in your market’s user behavior.
Also, leverage your organisation’s strengths. For instance, do you have the capabilities to produce quality podcasts or videos? Your inclinations and existing abilities increase your odds of winning at a channel. After identifying your top marketing channels, invest and iterate. As you discover repeatable patterns, publish consistently. Keep showing up, and you’ll win them over.
Grow your B2B business through digital marketing, and discover local and global digital marketing trends with actionable tips. Download Irish B2B Digital Marketing Survey 2018.