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What Exactly is a B2B Digital Marketing & SEO Strategy Framework?

February 17, 2021
by
Tory Gray
Tory Gray

This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on setting Digital & SEO Strategy and executing against it. Read “Part 2: How To Build A Foundation of Strategic Content for your B2B Digital Marketing & SEO Strategy” here. 

Only 64% of marketers actively invest in SEO despite the fact that it is one of the largest contributing factors for visibility, search engine rankings, web traffic, domain authority, and sales growth. And these are exactly the reasons why you need a B2B digital marketing and SEO strategy framework. 

b2b-vs-b2c

But you need to do more than just apply a few SEO tips here and there. This is why we’re going to show you why you need to build a foundation of clear business and brand goals. We’ll also cover some strategies that are necessary for any digital or SEO strategy to succeed. 

Are you B2C or B2B? The term B2B (business to business) is used in digital marketing describes the type of customer a business is selling to, i.e. when businesses sell to other businesses. B2C (business to consumer) is the other option, wherein businesses sell products or services directly to customers. Depending on what you target, it will require alterations to your marketing strategy. 

The following content directly addresses the B2B side of this particular puzzle. 

What Exactly is a B2B Digital Marketing & SEO Strategy Framework?

what-is-your-strategy-framework

First things first: what do we mean by a strategic “framework”? In a nutshell, it’s a structured method for defining your strategy. Think of it as the scientific method; it’s not really about the specific experiment you run, it’s how you approach the problem in a thoughtful, methodical fashion that ensures comprehensiveness and provides actionable insights on what to do next - whether or not your hypothesis is correct.

Through it, you’ll define your objectives, audience, and action steps in a well thought out plan. Your unique strategy will be based on your goals and data as well as digital marketing best practices. 

For many B2B organizations, SEO is key to reducing CPL (cost per lead) as well as increasing total leads. SEO requires certain techniques to appear on the first page of results for sites like Google. 

For B2B marketers, this means ranking for terms most often searched by B2B buyers within their industry. Outranking other brands will give you domain authority and persuade customers to explore your products and services first. A strong framework will help define your business’s digital strategy and fold meaningful SEO strategy into the plan throughout. 

Nail Down B2B Digital Marketing & SEO Strategy Basics

Here are the big picture items you’ll need to check off before diving into the nitty-gritty of creating your own customized framework. We’ll dig into the next steps in Part 2. 

  • Know your audience
who-is-your-audience

Answer the big picture questions below with descriptions of your ideal customer profile. Then, answer these same questions with information about your current audience. Compare their similarities and differences side by side. Keep these observations in mind as you create the rest of your framework. 

  • Who are they? Use Google Analytics and demographic tools provided by major social media networks to view audience details such as where they are located, what age groups they belong to, and what gender (if any) they may identify as. 
  • What is important to them? Observe their political affiliations, education, religion, culture, personal interests (such as activism, video games, Italian cooking), and hobbies (like travel, pick up basketball, and gardening) by looking for patterns among hashtags on their public posts as well as what social media groups they’ve joined. Psychographic data is critical to understanding what drives their behavior. 
  • What are their main pain points? Ask your sales and customer service teams what they hear most from potential customers in regards to the four primary pain points:
  • Financial
  • Productivity
  • Process 
  • Support
  • Next, read reviews customers leave for you and your main competitors, and look for phrases such as, “I was searching for a tool that could ___.” Also, observe the type of results and experience reviewers mention. 
clutch-customer-review

Source: Clutch

In this review example, website and SEO support are given the most attention. This means the reviewer must value these named solutions to common pain points (i.e. lack of organic growth and platform issues). Create a spreadsheet with this type of data and look for any that repeat to come up with your own target customer pain points. 

  • How can you fix one or more of their problems? After you narrow down a list of common pain points, conduct an honest assessment of how your product or service can solve one of the issues either short or long term. A good rule of thumb is to limit your choices to one or two big picture concerns per target customer profile. This allows you to laser-focus your marketing efforts and not confuse your audience with too many messages at once. 
  • Where do they spend their time? Your industry, product, or service type, and ideal customer profiles can help you solve this problem. Research individual aspects of each category to determine where they might be hanging out. For example, if your ideal target market age is mostly Gen Z, you can easily search the phrase, “where does Gen Z spend time online” to come up with statistics that provide data-backed answers to your query. In this example, 85% of Gen Z polled use YouTube and say it’s their second most-used social media following closely behind Snapchat. Marketers can use this information to target YouTube as part of their framework. 
  • Coordinate with sales
  • 74% of the most successful B2B organizations rely on a strong or complete alignment between sales and marketing for their success. To get everyone on the same page, begin by understanding your sales department’s needs with an alignment meeting that promotes open dialogue, identifies shared objectives, and defines KPIs you will all use to measure success. 

    Then, once the basics are out of the way, it’s critical that you take the time to a) understand & empathize with their needs, and b) develop a relationship with open and honest communication.

    Most marketing teams try “the set it and forget it” approach after their initial sales meeting. But ongoing conversations about how you will collectively improve results is an absolute must. Because your sales team already knows what the customer wants - and has the most direct communication with them - they can pinpoint sales funnel stoppers, red flags, and similar issues that might prevent them from closing the deal. 

    And keep in mind that the needs of your clients will change over time, so the requirements of your sales team will have to adapt as well. All the more reason to schedule regular check-ins, openly share marketing and sales data, and develop an environment that fosters honest conversations. 
  • Outdo the competition
  • While there are many ways to outdo the competition, two good methods include: position your brand better, and create higher quality, more personalized, strategic content.

    To determine your brand positioning strategy, consider choosing one special offer (such as a more in-depth service or exceptional product feature) and one characteristic (eco-friendly practices, helpful staff, etc.) that is truly unique to your company. 

    To tailor your content to your target audience, review the topics your competitors cover within their content, and find trending keywords using an SEO tool such as Google Trends, Ahrefs, or KWFinder

    Remember that staying ahead of the competition isn’t a one-time task; just as you work to improve your brand and marketing, so do your competitors. Return to this work in a feedback loop, looking for appropriate ways to edge them out - or leapfrog over them.

Supercharge your Digital Marketing with a Strong Framework Foundation 

A B2B digital marketing and SEO strategy framework is an essential component of lead generation that a lot of marketers miss out on. To begin, all you need to do is research your audience further, go beyond your usual workflow with the sales department, and look at your competition in a new way. Once you understand these aspects, there comes the time to create and implement your SEO roadmap.

Next, we’ll look at “Part 2: How To Build A Foundation of Strategic Content for your B2B Digital Marketing & SEO Strategy”, for those of you who want to dig into this subject matter further.

Contact us for help kick-starting your B2B SEO strategy today!

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