Ten hard-learned B2B marketing tips
About a year ago, Ravner's CEO gave a "Growth Hacking" presentation at an Intango Ventures Meetup (video at the end). Here are ten evergreen insights from that presentation (translated).
1. Focus on the doors that are closed, not on the ones that are open. We need to embrace limitations because doing so enables us to focus. This is particularly difficult for startups, which are driven by opportunity. Feeling restricted is also difficult for us as human beings because we hate the thought of missing out. However, limitations allow for a more efficient allocation of resources, which enables forward movement.
2. Content is not king, but a servant. This is because the opportunity to recycle content is tremendous. A lot of startups run away from content because it requires more work than the non-marketing stuff. However, it is actually extremely cost-effective. The same article can be used for PR, SEO, social media, newsletters, blog posts, etc.
Also, there’s no reason to produce new content all the time. It’s possible and preferable to just update old content, especially top-performing blog posts. Google's BERT mechanism looks at the search word but also at the context of the phrase entered into the query field, which gives preference to proven, good-quality articles.
3. People are not as busy with you as you are with them. People will remember one thing about you. Think about the person who walks in the door five minutes after you’ve already begun your pitch and asks his colleague what your story is. You want to be in control of what that colleague answers. And this answer is usually your one differentiating value. (This approach holds true for how you differentiate yourself for investors, too).
4. When you pay money to Facebook or Google, you definitely only boost Facebook or Google. This is great if you’re mostly looking to attract customers, but it doesn’t build an asset. For “The Perspective,” we spent about $11,000 to achieve 200K quality visitors, early on. At some point, we stopped investing in paid traffic and, as suspected, most of that traffic went away. We then invested $2000 in an SEO review and modifications. Within half a year, we were back at 200K organic users and have kept growing ever since. This is a generalization but, in essence, paid traffic boosts someone else’s web asset. Organic traffic is what boosts your site.
However, as "SEO is important" is not a good SEO tip, here are two other short tips:
For personal branding (your name), use "the about" section in LinkedIn. Whatever link you'll place there will get an SEO boost when people search for your name.
Link, from your site, to .gov articles to give it more ranking clout.
5. You’re not marketing a finished product but are continually informing product development. Part of the role of marketing is to give the feedback needed for a product’s development. This is considered more of a B2C approach, but it can be applied to B2B as well (where sales and marketing are more distinctly separated). You can use marketing to get a sense of demand and relevancy for your new products, new messaging or new geographies, and that will inform the company's R&D priorities.
6. While the approach of targeting the right person is correct, one should not over-target.
Facebook and Google are Facebook and Google because they know how to bring relevant users to your ads. This is what their engines do. When you narrow the targeting pool, they have less ground to cover and might miss out on excellent users you left out of your definitions. So target, but let your paid media dollars do some of the targeting themselves.
7. There is usually one element of the user experience that’s more important than others. Twitter found that those who acquire ten followers are much more likely to experience meaningful engagement than other users. Dropbox found that those who shared one folder tended to come back and use it again. Plus, with games, those who return the next day are more likely to be regular users. So, find out what the metric is and go for it.
8. PR has bad PR. In a world of metrics, PR seems to take forever to bring a single result, and it's fairly expensive. Plus, when you take on a PR firm, you actually start working harder to "feed the beast." However, PR is where brands are built. You can spend a fortune on paid media, and it will bring traffic and even revenue, but a brand is actually built in the press and on TV, and even on radio. Branding is very significant for your growth for your next round of investment.
However, as "PR is important" is not a good PR tip, here is another short tip:
We all dream of being featured in the big publications, but don't start with them when it comes to interviews. If you launch something, it's better to answer all questions in a smaller publication, where it won't be ruinous if you make a mistake. In smaller publications, you can hear challenging questions, possibly fumble, and be given the space to prepare and be ready for the major exposure.
9. The worst time to network with someone is when you need him/her. In other words, networking should not be done only when you are trying to recruit a new lead. It should happen before, and all of the time, so when you need to "use" a connection, it will be based on a relationship and not on blunt interest.
Out of the Box
10. Allocate 10 percent of your marketing budget to gambling on something new. PayPal is big because it gambled on eBay; Airbnb gambled on Craigslist. Once an up-and-coming platform gets big, your brand rises in prominence with it. For example:
Audio – 50% of searches are voice searched, but the marketing isn't there yet. VR sets are being sold at a growing rate and they cost half as much as an iPhone. These niches will be swarming with marketing in a few years, so now is the time to find out how you can be best positioned to leverage this media evolution.