Originally published on Industry Today
Display’s ease of execution and ability to accurately target your customers make it a great place to start your digital marketing plan. But if it’s all you do, you won’t see a noticeable lift in quality sales leads.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers craft their digital marketing strategies with industry publication banners and programmatic display. After all, their intended audiences are likely to see display banners on prominent industry publications, and programmatic display pairs existing customer data with machine-learning algorithms to target customers.
Both are also quite simple in execution — particularly display banner ads. Display banner creatives take far less time when it comes to strategy, planning, design, and execution than any sort of content marketing, SEO, or paid search. But display shouldn’t be the beginning and end of your marketing strategy.
Display shouldn’t be the beginning and end of your marketing strategy
The Downfall of Display Banners
There are several reasons that display banners aren’t as effective as you might hope. When it comes to marketing strategy, banners ultimately fail to deliver much value because they don’t result in action and don’t address purchase barriers. To truly move someone down the sales funnel, a customer must click the banner, visit your website, and then take action. It’s difficult to prompt that entire process with a single display image.
Pixel tracking and Google Analytics can give you some information about your audience from banner ads, but it’s not enough to prove ROI. Perhaps more importantly, most people ignore display banners in favor of the content on the website itself.
Expand Your Digital Marketing Efforts
B2B manufacturing marketers should definitely use digital marketing to support a complicated, long-term sales cycle. Their efforts just need to go beyond display. Here are three ways to adjust your strategy:
1. Build trust to reinforce display banners.
Savvy B2B buyers will compare solutions online before talking to sales representatives. The B2B buyer’s journey starts with questions, and you need to provide the answers. Use SEO and social tactics to publish optimized and timely content that addresses your audience’s questions.
An effective SEO strategy uses keywords, key phrases, and links within content to improve the quality of traffic via search results. The trick is understanding your target audience and the intent of search terms to provide relevant results.
Meanwhile, social strategy can include showcasing your company’s culture and excitement about your offerings. Post on sites that your customers are likely to visit. In terms of B2B audiences, that includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Quora.
Once you’ve established these tactics and developed consumer trust, use display banners to reinforce that content and your brand values. As potential buyers see your display banners on other industry sites, they will recognize the context, click through or visit, and further engage.
2. Get answers in front of buyers.
Display banners are more effective when they supplement other methods of delivering content. For a lengthy buying cycle, your buyers have to work through a series of steps to buy, carry, or source your product. Display banners can be effective when they help your customers quickly find case studies, product information, or other useful applications.
Use banner ads to steer buyers back to your website, where you can place calls to action to gather information and trigger emails. Organize your website so that the most critical information is only one or two clicks away from the landing page. Use A/B testing to optimize your messaging. Create gated content and offer information essential to purchase, which should encourage potential customers to provide contact information for you to use when following up.
Review analytics and make sure customers are getting where they need to go and not bouncing from your website. That targeted messaging should help buyers find answers on their own before they contact your sales department. Remember, your ultimate goal is sales! Put the needs of your audience before those of your brand messaging.
3. Implement a chatbot.
The times are changing, and so is buyer behavior. Potential customers might feel more comfortable texting than calling. Once you get buyers to visit your website, a friendly chatbot can help answer questions and collect data.
Chatbots are beneficial because they offer 24-hour service with instant responses determined by analyzing the provided content or question. Chatbots are easy to customize for different languages, which can be an asset for B2B clients in other countries.
It might not feel the same as networking on the golf course, but don’t worry — your customers will get on the golf course at some point! They just need more trust and validation before they’re able to buy.
Display is important to a marketing strategy, but it is only one element. One of the best ways to assign a more accurate value to display while optimizing other tactics is through attribution management. The more effective your marketing, the more you’ll start seeing shorter sales cycles and increased revenue!
Tessa combines her marketing and software product management experience with agile principles to execute Tenlo’s rapid marketing testing, which focuses on identifying and forecasting clients' most effective experiences and sales channels for scaling successful products or launching innovation.
Tessa Burg, VP of UX & Technology Strategy