Considerations for choosing marketing tactics for your B2B technology business

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One of the most challenging and overwhelming parts of marketing is figuring out exactly what to do and where to allocate your budget. You certainly can’t be everywhere and do everything, so you need to choose wisely. It comes down to so many factors, including your goals, your competencies, your budget, your competitive environment, and your internal resources. Marketing is a highly customized endeavour. One size does not fit all.

With that said, there are certain realities or givens that hold true generally across the board in marketing and for the different channels. A general understanding of things like costs, benefits, challenges etc. is invaluable for evaluating and eventually selecting the right channels for your business. So in this post, I’ve put together some of my notes on different marketing tactics that make the most sense for hosting or B2B technology companies, looking at the pros and cons for each, and including a suggested monthly budget.

Google Adwords

Included tactics: PPC ads & the display network

Suggested monthly budget: Minimum spend of between $8K to $12K for Google PLUS a minimum of approximately $2K for management

Pros

  • Highly targeted
  • Easy to test different offers and/or landing pages
  • Can be easily started and stopped
  • Strong buyer intent
  • Ideal for local or international campaigns

 Cons

  • Expensive – especially in highly competitive industries such as hosting
  • Hard to get traction initially with smaller budgets – larger budgets needed to be effective
  • More difficult to track attribution of sales from higher end, multi touch, long sales cycle, non-ecommerce offers

 

Retargeting

Implementation: Can be done via Google or 3rd parties

Suggested monthly budget: Min $500 – will be limited by site traffic

Pros

  • Very targeted
  • Generally considered to have a good ROI
  • CPAs are generally very acceptable
  • Generates view-through conversions

 Cons

  • Reliant on initial traffic. Retargeting volume is low if the site traffic is low. If the traffic is lower than 1000 unique visitors a month, you will need to use Google.
  • These are not new visitors so these campaigns cannot be run separately from other traffic generation strategies.

 

Media Campaigns

Included tactics: Banners, sponsored listings, directories, forum stickies, advertorials, podcasts, display ads, email and newsletter campaigns etc.

Suggested monthly budget: Min suggested budget of $3K and up

Pros

  • Immediacy of traffic
  • Lots of options to consider
  • Easy to test different offers and/or      landing pages
  • Generates traffic to support retargeting efforts

Cons

  • More difficult to track attribution of sales from higher end, multi touch, long sales cycle, non-ecommerce offers
  • Can be very expensive
  • Difficult to achieve a reasonable CPA/ROI with an unknown brand
  • Traffic volume tends to be low for higher end, multi touch, long sales cycle, non-ecommerce offers
  • Limited options for hyper targeted offers

 

Organic Social Media

Included tactics: Most popular channels for the B2B technology industry include Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Suggested monthly budget: $500 to $2500 for management PLUS resources to create content

Pros

  • Good for brand perception and thought leadership
  • Aids with retargeting traffic
  • Helps to maintain your business as “top of mind”
  • Helps drive site traffic
  • Provides the potential for external linking aiding SEO efforts
  • Provides a “face” for the company
  • Identifies an active and perhaps innovative company

Cons

  • Hard to track ROI
  • ROI is almost always poor in part due to tracking issues
  • Time consuming
  • Requires the creation of content
  • Social media algorithms can limit reach of posts

 

Paid Social Media

Included tactics: Ads on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Suggested monthly budget: Variable

Pros

  • Good targeting options
  • Helps drive site traffic
  • Can be less expensive than other advertising channels
  • Can lead to more exposure for your brand thanks to social sharing and interaction
  • Flexibility to start and stop campaigns and change ad content and creative

Cons

  • Is getting increasingly competitive and more difficult to gain traction and visibility
  • May require a different strategy (with supporting resources) than other advertising channels
  • Can easily get lost in the clutter

 

SEO

Included tactics: Onsite content and structure optimization, blogging on your site as well as guest posting on other sites, external link building, press releases, sourcing opportunities for interviews, obtaining external reviews, leveraging social media for the purposes of sharing content to gain external links back to your site etc.

Suggested monthly budget: Min of $2500/month PLUS resources to create content

Pros

  • Ultimately, free traffic once the foundation is laid and traction in rankings and search results is achieved
  • Good organic rankings support paid search efforts if run together
  • Traffic quality is usually very good and extremely targeted if executed optimally
  • Some SEO tactics may also have other benefits such as expanding brand awareness and building exposure

Cons

  • ROI is medium to long term
  • Large budget needed to move the needle with new terms, brands or markets
  • Traffic volume is not usually enough to grow aggressively
  • No guarantee on results

 

Content Creation

Included tactics: press releases, blogging (own and guest), whitepapers, case studies, articles, interviews, webinars, hangouts, additional content on your site, newsletters, knowledge base development or enhancement etc.

Suggested monthly budget: Min of $500/month

Pros

  • Good for thought leadership
  • Good for SEO
  • May have long shelf-life (evergreen content)

Cons

  • Time consuming and ongoing – requires patience and persistence
  • Can get expensive quickly
  • Medium to long term ROI
  • Can be very hard to measure a direct ROI on
  • May require very specific knowledge

 

Participating in local and industry specific groups/events

Included tactics: Sponsorships, trade shows booths, tables, speaking engagements etc.

Suggested monthly budget: Min $500 and up

Pros

  • Very targeted
  • Usually low price point to participate – especially if very local
  • Higher conversion rates likely

Cons

  • A more manual process– i.e. requires someone to attend a trade show and likely to follow up on leads etc.
  • Likely lower volume
  • Results to be tracked offline

 

With this understanding of these different marketing channels, the returns you can expect and some of the challenges you may face, you should now be in a better position to decide on a direction for your organization.

Does your team need support with developing creative assets or writing content? Could you use a hand with managing advertising campaigns or executing SEO strategies? Are you looking for the expertise to guide your strategic direction? We’re here to help! Contact us today to find out more about how we can bolster your marketing efforts.

Photo Credit: ©Johanna Goodyear Dreamstime Stock Photos

 

About the Author:

Hartland Ross is the Founder and President of eBridge Marketing Solutions. He has over 15 years experience in marketing and business development, focusing for the last decade or so on the technology sector. Prior to starting up his own internet marketing agency, he operated a successful franchise, worked with two different online advertising startups and was the VP of Sales and Marketing for a national development and training company. He now puts his entrepreneurial and business skills to work running eBridge, which since its inception has supported the internet marketing efforts of over 150 web hosts worldwide.

Posted June 8, 2016
Categories: Blog, Advertising and Marketing General
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