This trend report will help retail businesses of all sizes prepare their online and brick-and-mortar storefronts for a busy and fruitful end-of-year shopping season.
SIS International Market Research provides insights on the current B2B marketing space. Read on for the benefits of interactive media, content marketing, remarketing and more.
The B2B market has shifted. The buyer, once beholden to a company’s sales team for all information, is now much more independent. Thanks to the internet, today’s B2B buyer does their own research, reading company websites, social media and thought leadership articles.
The pressure is now on the B2B marketer to hook this audience and reel it in. Luckily, there are strategic solutions for this very problem. Read on to learn seven tactics your company can use to convert B2B buyers and drive sales.
Want an in-depth look into the B2B buyer? Dive into our latest white paper: 7 Customer-Centric Trends in the B2B Space.
1. Account-based Marketing
This strategy can help you attract B2B buyers by concentrating marketing resources on a specifically defined set of target accounts. That way you can launch personalized campaigns designed to resonate with these special accounts.
Tightly aligned sales teams grow their revenue 24% faster.1
2. Social Media
The B2B buyer now uses social media to research a company’s offerings. Professional networking sites in particular have shown to be effective in generating leads. Brand your leadership on social media to help your company build trust with buyers.
More than half of B2B decision makers are searching for information on social media.2
3. Content Marketing
This marketing strategy allows your business to promote itself through thought leadership and capture leads in the process. Show your credibility and authority in your industry by creating digital content—articles, white papers, infographics, etc.—that is informative and snackable.
30% of marketers say content marketing is their most effective marketing tool.3
4. Interactive Media
Interactive content helps you capture your audience’s attention and keep it. It turns marketing from a passive process of consumption into a dynamic conversation and creates a dialogue between marketer and buyer. Consider creating contests, games, quizzes and more.
79% of marketers say interactive media helps drive repeat visits to their site.4
This tactic has been proven to increase click-through rates, decrease unsubscribe rates and increase conversions and sales.5
6. Micro-Moment Marketing
Micro moments are the short moments throughout the B2B buyer’s journey that inform their decision-making and shape their preferences. They are the moments when users turn to their phones to act on an impulse to learn, do, watch or buy something.6 Optimize your marketing to be relevant and mobile-friendly in order to capitalize.
Research shows that mobile impacts 40% of revenue in leading B2B companies.7
7. Direct Mail
Direct mail has proven itself as a marketing channel again and again. Now, it’s also an effective data collection device. Automation, tracking and data-collection systems can now be combined with direct mail for individualized and targeted B2B marketing.
Direct mail response rates have been steadily climbing with a 37% increase since 2015.8
Though the B2B buyer may be changing, marketers have more tactics than ever to reel in these clients. Social media. Content marketing. Direct mail. Consider combining a few or all of the tactics mentioned above to better target your B2B buyers. Looking to learn more about all seven tactics? Dive into our latest white paper: 7 Customer-Centric Trends in the B2B Space.
In this report from SIS International Market Research and USPS, we present data and insights for tackling the biggest trends in B2B e-commerce and the shipping challenges that come with them.
Social media and direct marketing exist in two different worlds, but together they stand to create an even more powerful marketing strategy. While data from social media is crucial for optimizing future social media campaigns, it can also be harnessed to enhance direct mail efforts by fine-tuning the messaging and target audience. Direct mail can similarly be used to enhance a social media campaign, by capturing consumer attention and directing an audience to a company’s online platforms. Working hand in hand, these two channels can boost the effectiveness of a campaign and create valuable insights.
Connecting Social Media and Direct Mail
Though these advertising channels operate across disparate mediums, one print and one digital, they can complement each other in a number of ways. With so much digital clutter, it’s hard for a company to differentiate itself on various social media channels. Direct mail marketing can truly boost social media efforts. By using direct mail in conjunction with social media, marketers can create a more original and memorable experience.1 For example, companies can cross-promote their content on social media and direct mail to build anticipation around wider marketing efforts. They can also countdown to product launches on social media, then send mailers and brochures once the product hits stores. To prompt users to follow a business’ social media accounts, physical mailers can feature social icons or QR codes that instantly link the consumer to a website or social media page.
Using Social Analytics to Enhance Direct Mail
While social media can amplify a company’s messaging and introduce it to a new audience, it can also gather customer data useful for building a successful marketing strategy. By studying social media analytics, companies can better understand their audiences and, in turn, use that information to create a more refined direct mail campaign. How? Looking at demographics, topics of interest, and click-through data, marketers can create more comprehensive audience segments. This allows them to better target their customer base using direct mail.2 Knowing what content and imagery performs best on social media can help inform marketers’ messaging and imagery choices on physical mailers.3 Leveraging this information can also help companies send the right message to the right consumer at the right time.
The Strategic Possibilities
Developing unified social media and direct mail campaigns can serve businesses in many different ways. Here are three dynamic examples.
Companies looking to market to a specific location can use social media to deliver hyper-local advertisements. Measuring which ads work in certain locations can then help these companies decide what areas to focus their direct mail marketing efforts. Facebook and Twitter, for example, allow companies to target customers by demographics, interests and location.
- Use social media to send branded content or promotions to followers in Zip Code™ locations you’d like to target. Some social media platforms provide you with analytics that show you which areas responded most favorably to your content. This data can then be used to determine which areas would be the most receptive to your direct mail campaign.
Social media offers an easy way to communicate important information about any marketing event and the company behind it. Simultaneously, direct mail, which neuromarketing has shown to be a more memorable medium than digital, can be used to build excitement around the event and deliver important information.4 Social sharing platforms can connect a brand’s followers to richer content in the form of brochures and mailers. These social channels can then drive consumers to lead-generation microsites where they can request direct mail about the event, as well as the company’s products and offerings.
- Create custom hashtags to drive consumer excitement around the event and your newest line of products or services. As the event date approaches, create a lead-gen site that offers consumers product brochures and other branded materials. Promote the site with the chosen hashtags.
Social analytics can provide brands with the ages, locations, and interests of their followers. With this information, companies can send direct mail tailored to each customer. Mailers can speak to the appropriate audience segment and offer promotions specific to the product preferences of each location.5
- Send mailers that include personalized content that reflects the individual consumer’s profile. Direct mail messaging can also be tailored to the consumer’s stated interests on social media sites.
While it is important for a business to build a robust social media following, using social media in partnership with more traditional channels can enhance the potency of these efforts. Direct mail, which can elicit a pronounced emotional response, brings added value to a campaign by making a message more memorable. Together, direct mail and social media can heighten the influence and reach of a company’s marketing strategy.
Every marketing campaign gives a company the chance to learn and improve, and more importantly, find the tactics that spell out success. Today, companies employ a number of popular methods in order to measure and fine-turn their direct mail efforts to improve response and engagement rates. They include QR codes, activation codes, social media and more. Discover which options work best for you.
Tactic 1: Personal URL (PURL)
Create a personalized website dedicated solely to your direct mail campaign. Include this PURL in your direct mail collateral only. That way, the unique visits, sessions and page views the site amasses will directly correlate to your campaign. Go one step further by adding a form to your PURL that allows customers to share their information, then measure the amount of responses you get.
Tactic 2: QR Code®1
Connect with your mobile customers through easy-to-use QR codes®. By scanning the codes, customers can access a special PURL, where you can measure their web activity, or track their activity through the QR code® companies themselves.
Tactic 3: Business Reply Card
Add a pre-paid, coded business reply card to your direct mail. This popular marketing method makes it easy for customers to respond to direct mail campaigns. Not only will you be able to measure the amount of responses you get, you’ll also gain valuable leads and customer information.
Tactic 4: 1-800 Number
Include a phone number in your direct mail that’s used exclusively for the campaign. Incentivize your customers to call it for special offers or more information about your products, then measure the call volume that comes in.
Tactic 5: Unique Offer or Activation Codes
By adding individualized activation codes for in-store or online offers, your business can track how many codes shoppers use, where and for what products. Get more out of this tactic by utilizing variable data printing. By printing different images and copy in direct mail, your company can also find out which content is the most successful at driving sales.
Tactic 6: Link to Social Media Accounts
This one’s simple. Include your social media accounts on your mailers. Once they’re sent and the campaign begins, use the analytics tools on each social media site to track the up-tick of new fans and followers.
When measuring a direct mail campaign, businesses have the opportunity to refine their strategy. By adding one or two tactics to a mailer, any size company can understand the strengths of its campaign. Better yet, it can use the information to create a more potent marketing strategy in the coming year.