According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. If your attention span is longer than 8 seconds, I would encourage you to continuing reading or you could schedule a 30-minute meeting with me directly. In our 30 minute meeting, we could talk about your marketing strategy and ideas to tackle your challenges.
Over the last several months, I have been conducting research with marketing leaders about what is working and not working in their daily marketing practice. I have heard some interesting, yet not surprising topics, and I will outline them below.
In this article, I will layout the items I am hearing that is working and not working for B2B marketing teams. This list is not exclusive and does not apply to B2C marketing professionals. It is based on conversations I have personally had with Chief Marketing Officers, Marketing Director and Marketing Managers of companies ranging from $5M to $500M in revenues.
Summary of article: (for those that a short attention span)
A. What’s not working – Email marketing is dying and no longer effective for targeting prospects. Facebook marketing for the B2B buyer isn’t ideal but could be useful if you provide educational content in live streaming or on demand video formats on weekends. Static content such as whitepapers isn’t going to work when the average attention span of a human is eight seconds.
B. What is working – If you want to attract prospects to your brand, you need to provide them with educational content and information. People need your help to make more money, save money or to solve a specific problem. Video and audio (podcast) content are the easiest forms of marketing to put your message in front of prospects. Your content needs to be on-demand, and available on their time. Don’t force people to watch your webinar or listen to your podcast live, they have jobs too.
What’s not working:
1. Email Marketing – Email marketing isn’t quite yet dead, but it certainly is not the tool of choice for attracting buyers to your product or service. Almost all of the marketing professionals I have spoken to have said email marketing just isn’t working anymore. One CMO said, “I don’t think we have been able to attribute one purchase to email marketing in the last five years.”
I am not suggesting email marketing doesn’t have its place, I still believe in marketing automation technology using email, but it cannot and should not be the focal point of any marketing initiative. The reality is that most people get hundreds of emails from internal stakeholders and they don’t have the time to read your sales and marketing emails.
Best ways to use Email Marketing: Email Marketing should be used to compliment your digital advertising campaigns, to remind people of webinars, to send links for downloads they sign-up for on your landing pages, to send thank you emails after attending a training or webinar, on-boarding, customer success, just to name a few.
2. Facebook Advertising – Oh, I can already hear all of those Facebook advertising gurus telling me I am spot on wrong. Facebook advertising has its place, but it is not the best place to put your chips when trying to market to B2B buyers. It is perfect for B2C marketing with its granular targeting capabilities, but most B2B buyers are not spending their time looking for opportunities to buy a B2B product or service.
With that said, Facebook is an excellent place to provide educational content in the form of video to your target audience. The B2B audience is typically on Facebook to waste time or to check-in to see what their friends or family are doing. According to Hubspot, the best time to engage with prospects on Facebook is on Saturdays and Sundays. This isn’t surprising, most people work all week, and they get on Facebook and see what their friends and family members are up to and surf the web on weekends.
Best ways to use Facebook for B2B: The best way to use Facebook for B2B marketing is for educational purposes. What if you pre-recorded during the week, educational content for your target audience, and then stream the content via Facebook live using Zoom’s feature on Saturdays and Sundays. You could provide free short-learning seminars on the weekends at 9 am, 1 pm or 3 pm, that provides value to your audience. These educational seminars must be short, no more than 15 to 20 minutes in length and cannot be to salesy. What another could use for Facebook is using video ads that provide a quick tip or trick in less than 1 minute that you could then drive your audience to a landing page with more educational content (videos).
3. Static Content – The days of long-form whitepapers, e-books, and other static written content are over. With an attention span of 8 seconds, people are not going to read through your content. When they do read it, if your content is too complex, they won’t continue to read it. You need to focus on short video content, and if you have written content, you need summary bullet points they can get the quick facts without reading or a summary video. You need to focus on the page speed of your website because if they have to wait for your page to load, they will leave.
How to use static content: Static content is great for new customers or existing clients. Most organizations fail to remember that your new and existing clients are a great source of referrals and references. If you can use static content (checklist, best practices, use-cases, etc.) to help your new customers through onboarding and keeping existing clients happy, then they will bring you more business. Video and audio is still the easiest method of consuming content, so keep your static content simple and to the point.
What is working:
1. Video content – There are so many ways to use video to deliver meaningful and helpful content to both prospects and existing clients. I hear people saying all the time, “but I don’t have time to create content.” Entrepreneur and founder of Wake of Warrior, Garrett White has nailed the use of video content in their marketing. They are B2C focused, but a great example of the various ways they use video to get in front of their audience. They use short movies, informative movies on landing pages, Instagram videos, Facebook videos, they put the video on landing pages, on their website, in their emails. Everything they do uses some form of video.
B2B marketing is no different; you could use educational video content whether its 5 minutes or 50 minutes to teach your audience, to help them solve problems. You can use video content to introduce new concepts to help your audience understand your value proposition without the hard sale.
How to effectively use video: There are so many ways to use video in your marketing, here is a list of ways you could use video. Home pages, team pages, about page, testimonials, product and services pages, FAQs, Knowledge Base, Video Blogs, Social Media, Company Newsletters, Help and Support (how to videos), Webinars, Tutorials, E-Learning, Visual landing Pages for Campaigns, Corporate Presentations, Company Culture Videos, Email Drip Campaigns, Upsell Videos, Cross Sell Videos, Thank You Pages, Product Demos, Behind the Scenes (for companies manufacturing), customer testimonials, customer interviews, executive interviews, employee interviews, Calls-to-Action, Events, Event Recap, Event Takeaway, Live Streams, User Generated Content, Unboxing (when client open your product or finish implementing your software or service), Video Signatures, Training and On-boarding, Customer Support (live), Annual Reports, Product Launches, Complimentary to Written Content, Influencers, Industry Analyst Interviews, Short Movies about the customer problem and your solution, Sales Support, Contract Review, Video Manuals, Production Videos, Aerial Drone Footage, Waiting Room.
2. Audio Content - According to Jay Baer, 48 million people listen to weekly Podcast, and up six million from 2017. By way of comparison, approximately 20 million people watch NFL Sunday Night Football, routinely the highest-rated television program. Just like all other types of content, your content needs to be educational and informative. I have found that the Podcast that is 15 to 20 minutes are perfect, anything more than that is just a bit too long for me. According to Podcast Insights, 49% of Podcast are listened to at home, and 33% of the time people are either driving, walking or riding public transportation. Only 11% of people listen to Podcast at work.
Podcast listeners are much more active on every social media channel (94% are active on at least one – vs. 81% for the entire population). So linking your Podcast within your social post, and vice versa will help you build your audience on both channels. Many people are recording their podcast on both video and audio and then using both forms of media to drive audience engagement. You can take your podcast content and transcribe the content into a blog post (to increase SEO traffic)
How to use audio in your marketing - Just like the video, there are plenty of ways to integrate audio into your marketing. You could include audio clips into your emails, on your landing pages, download audio book versions of your whitepapers, ebooks, and other written content. Podcast content could be used in social media with slide decks with key takeaways. Slideshare with complimentary audio on landing pages. Facebook audio to introduce products or services. Audiograms via text message (when user subscribe to text only), product release notes could be in both written and audio format.
To learn more or to talk about potential strategies for your business book time on my calendar below.