When it comes to marketing it industry trends, the elephant in the room is that sales cycle for B2B technology companies is already long and challenging.
It involves multiple decision-makers, leads at varying stages of readiness or maturity, and a myriad of compliance obstacles.
But in today’s market, you also have to compete with a rapidly expanding pool of tech and savvy social companies with similar products and identifying target markets.
So undoubtedly, you’ve probably been advised to invest in IT marketing.
“Blogging.” “SEO.” “Social Media.” “HubSpot.”
You’ve probably heard these buzzwords so frequently that you’re well-versed in all of the basics.
But so are all of your competitors.
That’s why investing in digital marketing won’t magically solve your issues. It merely adds a new battlefield for you to compete on.
Making a digital marketing plan for a technology company isn’t easy, but here are 7 expert insights to get you on the right path.
During the years we’ve spent helping managed service providers with their MSP marketing efforts, we’ve faced every challenge imaginable. The insights we’re about to share have helped us overcome many strategic quagmires — acting as our guiding principles for creating high-impact, low-cost digital strategies.
Gaining a thorough understanding of these 7 stats will equip you to think in a truly strategic manner about your digital efforts. They’ll help you align your team, focus on truly impactful tactics, and deliver real results (leads!).
1. 90% of Searchers Haven’t Made a Decision
This insight is central to successful B2B digital marketing (especially SEO and PPC). So stick it on your wall, add it to your daily reminders, or get it tattooed (actually, don’t.)
Truly understanding the significance of this statistic will have far-reaching consequences on your entire digital marketing strategy.
Let’s look at an example.
From our experience, most B2B technology companies dive head-first into high volume (1,000+ searches a month) keywords when planning their content.
Bigger search volume equals more leads and sales.
Hold your horses.
Let’s test that theory.
For instance, “ERP applications” is searched 2,400 times a month. It’s a high volume, mid-tail keyword that directs users straight to company service page — and you’ll find Oracle, Syspro, and Microsoft on the first page.
It seems like the people searching for “ERP applications” may be open to hearing a sales pitch. And like anyone who wants to make a profit, you probably want your turn to pitch.
Looks good so far.
But take a look at that SERP (Search Engine Results Page) again. It’s dominated by industry giants — websites with high authority, tons of backlinks, and (most likely) lots of on-page SEO.
If you haven’t already invested years into building your SEO, It might take your site a very long time — months or even years — to rank for that term. So if you’re looking for traffic and leads, hitting this keyword out of the gate wouldn’t bring any notable ROI.
Because as most people know, if you’re not on the first page you’re practically invisible.
But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
Our first insight saves the day!
Let’s hear it again:
90% of searchers haven’t made a decision.
That means, out of the 2,400 people searching for “ERP Applications” every month, more than 2,000 of them are still shopping around.
Sure, they used a short-tail keyword to research solutions — but most of them won’t stop at that. Many of them will continue to refine their search with more specific, longer keywords.
Enter the long-tail.
Despite having seemingly large volumes, high-volume keywords don’t account for all the ways people use search engines. Not even close.
Take a look at this chart:
Our previous example of “ERP Applications” falls into the red or yellow portions of this chart.
By targeting this keyword, you’d be going up against goliaths while ignoring 40% of all the volume for your niche (that the big guys aren’t paying attention to).
And the great thing about long-tail keywords?
They’re almost always less competitive than the high-volume, short-tail keywords. And there’s more of them. A lot more.
2. 94% of Businesses Research Online Before Deciding
Let’s build on the previous statistic with this — 94% of businesses look online for information and additional insights before deciding on purchasing a product or service.
So, how do we pursue them?
We use long-tail keywords, of course.
Let’s explore an example in the same niche: “steps of ERP implementation”.
Users searching for this term include executive or upper management decision-makers, project managers tasked with leading an ERP implementation project, and business development managers.
Yes, this term doesn’t generate as many searches as “ERP applications”, but it still has great volume — albeit with much less competition.
The down-side of targeting this search term is clear. People looking for this information aren’t ready to buy — they’re just looking for information.
But let’s put the previous two insights together to understand why that’s a boon for your business.
- 90% of searchers haven’t made a decision
- 94% of businesses research online before deciding
In more plain terms — virtually all businesses use Google to look for solutions to their problems, and almost none of them have made a clear decision yet.
So while the giants like Microsoft battle it out for high-volume, high-competition search terms, savvy marketers are building trust, authority, and a list of qualified prospects by producing helpful content for very specific problems.
3. 3X More Leads via Content Marketing vs. Paid Search Ads
Let’s extend the value of investing in long-tail keywords a little bit.
If you create useful content, like a guide for ERP implementation, you could land on the first page of Google for several related queries.
As your ideal customers visit this page to find solutions to very specific problems — you can offer them a free checklist or e-book (in exchange for their email address, of course) — which would yield a much higher conversion rate than a high-pressure “Consultation Call” offer.
So now you have a list of incredibly qualified prospects (who voluntarily engaged with your content), and you know that they’re having implementation problems.
Pretty painless, right?
This is exactly why companies with strong content marketing strategies are bringing in three times as many leads through organic content than channels like paid ad search.
- Long-tail queries are easier to rank for
- Truly useful content builds trust amongst your target audience
- Giving visitors a free resource to help them with their specific problem is an easy pitch
This results in a quickly growing list of warm, engaged leads that you can pass off to your sales team.
4. 3X More Traffic for B2B Companies That Blog Often
On that point, HubSpot says that B2B companies that blog 11+ times per month get three times more traffic than companies that blog once per month (or not at all).
Beyond simply targeting long-tail keywords, your content strategy must focus on providing valuable content to the reader that addresses their question.
That’s why 96% of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders.
First, you need to conduct enough research and analysis work to understand your target audience. This is done by building buyer personas.
Second, you must invest in creating a diverse line-up of high-quality content. Not only must your blogs, eBooks, and whitepapers answer the question of the searcher, but they must look professional. You need a full creative team.
Put Every Dollar Towards Getting Good Leads
by Deploying Our Digital Marketing Team
5. Businesses that Nurture Their Leads Make 50% More Sales at ⅔ Cost
According to Strategic IC (via HubSpot), businesses that nurture their leads make 50% more sales at 33% less cost per lead.
This touches on several of the points we explained above:
First, there’s undoubtedly value in targeting leads that are in earlier stages of the sales funnel. You can do this by targeting long-tail keywords and creating strong content.
Not only are long-tail keywords cheaper to spend on for paid ad searches than short-tail keywords, but with an effective inbound strategy, you can get those leads organically.
Second, you can scale your investment in creating strong content by re-using it for lead nurturing. In this respect, you could produce guides, whitepapers, blog posts, podcasts or videos that answer your key contacts’ questions or respond to their interests.
Through ABM, your sales team can send a specific piece of content to the contact, and (with enough research about the market) at the right time. For example, you could have sent guides about securely collecting and managing personal information in the weeks or days leading up to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becoming active.
6. 79% of the Top Performing Companies Have Been Using Marketing Automation for 3+ Years
Marketing automation is another critical component to ABM (Account Based Marketing).
It lets you leverage the vast amounts of data you have about your online leads — like pages they’ve visited, forms they filled out, emails they’ve opened — to target them with extreme focus.
For example, you could create multiple nurture tracks for each industry or job title that you target. Then, you could build out several multi-step automations that send out emails — with content you’ve already created and published — that each of those verticals would find interesting.
- Healthcare: 8 emails about regulatory compliance over two months
- Manufacturing: 11 emails about process improvement over four months
- Oil & Gas: 6 emails about project feasibility over two months
Now, every type of lead that enters your CRM will be automatically engaged with relevant content for months.
To make this even more useful, you can add lead-scoring to automatically grade leads on their readiness and potential value. For example, you can increase the “value” of a lead in your CRM if:
- They come from a specific city, state, or country
- They work for a particular company
- They’ve filled out specific forms
- They’ve engaged with specific content
- They’ve opened specific emails
- They’ve visited your site X amount of times over the past Y period
- And pretty much anything else they may have done on your website
When done properly, marketing automation will also give your sales team an in-depth understanding of the problems and issues a lead is facing, topics they engage with, and the stage of the buyer journey they’re in.
It’s no surprise that 79% of the top performing companies use marketing automation.
7. 91% of ABM Users Report Closing Bigger Deals
91% of marketers using ABM report closing large deal sizes.
Of those, one third get deals that are 21% to 50% larger than outside of ABM.
In a sense, this is the culminating impact of investing in each of the areas we discussed above.
In other words, to successfully implement ABM, you need to invest in:
- Acquiring engaged, organic leads (through an inbound content marketing strategy)
- Building out nurture tracks with targeted content to key leads
- Creating a scoring system to determine the readiness of leads to get a sales call
Next Steps to Building an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy for Technology Products
Now that you have some clear insights about marketing your technology products — it’s time to put it all together into an actionable strategy.
- Build a B2B buyer persona (so you know who you’re targeting and how)
- Conduct keyword research (to determine how you’ll reach your persona)
- Create a content plan (to rank for these terms and bring people into your nurture track)
- Draft a lot of content
- Ensure your website and articles are fully optimized for search engines
- Build out your marketing automation (with segmentation, nurture tracks, and lead scoring)
I’m not going to sugarcoat it.
This is a daunting list — especially if you consider the fact that many of these steps have to happen concurrently (and on an ongoing basis)
One person can’t do this.
You need a complete digital marketing team that handles digital strategy, SEO, PPC, CPC, content creation and marketing automation to pull this off (and do it well).
If you want to do this in-house, read our guide on building a rockstar inbound marketing team.
But there’s always a risk with trying to build an entirely new marketing team from scratch. You have a limited marketing budget, and every dollar spent on hiring, onboarding, and training is a dollar not being spent on lead generation.
Plus, if you consider the cost of hiring an agency-level team of digital marketers — you’re looking at paying $742,000 – $1,019,500 per year.
If this seems out-of-reach, consider hiring a digital marketing agency instead. This way, you get the team and capacity to take on each of the issues straight away — without the extra overhead.
Jumpfactor is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in helping B2B businesses such as technology companies increase their revenue. We’ve enabled companies to boost revenue by up to 5X faster than their competitors through inbound marketing, on-site SEO, social media, ABM and, sales-enablement strategies. Contact us today to get started!