Digital Today… Or Doomsday

Jennifer Schulze

In 2015, only half of small businesses had websites, even though 97 percent of their potential customers were searching online for them, according to the Small Business Association.

Why would you want to hide your business from nearly all of your potential customers? It would be like opening a store without putting a sign out front.

In precisely the same way, businesses that have gotten on board with digital marketing are already seeing a tremendous advantage over their non-digital competitors. Digital marketing is driving B2B success in today’s volatile marketplace and are key to being found and establishing a strong and consistent brand. It’s proven to work: Digital marketers are reporting four times the pipeline of their offline competitors.

So, how do you join market leaders without hiring a huge marketing team? Follow these three steps to get started right away — and in the right way.

Step 1: Make yourself easier to find

Tools like Google Analytics and low-cost SEO tools point out where you need to improve. Over 70 percent of B2B buyers begin their buying journey with a Google search, so you need to be there. In terms on online content, add benchmarks, case studies, certifications, and customer reviews to the searchable keywords that identify where your company excels.

Nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers (63 percent) say that website traffic is the number-one metric they use to evaluate their success, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Read their report to find 68 tools you can access to help drive traffic to your site.

Step 2: Launch an email campaign

Anyone who has struggled with ROI for their advertising campaigns will be bowled over by the fact that email marketing has an ROI of 4,300 percent. Our partners see greater response rates when they used co-branded campaigns that wrap up by telling the reader exactly what to do next.

Mailchimp is indisputably one of the top email marketing services for low-cost, high-return campaigns. However, here are a host of other email marketing services to investigate. Emma, for example, is great for reaching a larger base of prospects, and Constant Contact gets high marks for having more than 400 templates to choose from at the basic level. Put your brand where your customers spend their time.

Step 3: Test the waters with social networks

New research from LinkedIn shows that businesses using social media saw 57 percent of their sales funnel coming through this new channel. That represents too much potential business to ignore. The infographic points out that 76 percent of prospects rely on customer references, and social media is the best place to find them. Start with one of the top social networks — such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn — and establish the online personality of your business before you tackle the responsibility of adding another network.

I’ve heard people say that the Internet like the trading floor at a major metro stock exchange: Everybody seems to be shouting and nobody seems to be listening. It doesn’t have to be that way for your business when you start using digital marketing techniques. Our B2B partners have discovered how to filter out the noise and connect directly with their preferred customers consistently. It’s no secret. It’s digital marketing done right.

Check out this infographic for more great tips: Digital Drives Success.

About Jennifer Schulze

Jennifer Schulze is Vice President of marketing for SAP. In her role, she manages customer marketing as part of the office of the COO. She has over 15 years of technology marketing and management experience and is a small business owner in the San Francisco Bay area.