Utilising SEO Within a B2B Sales & Marketing Strategy
SEO has a number of uses within a B2B sales & Marketing strategy. Whilst a very simplistic approach would be to identify a number of keywords that potential buyers would type into search engines to find your product or service, experience shows that fully integrating SEO within an overall strategy is the most efficient way to ensure that marketing managers utilise all that SEO has to offer as a channel.
Step 1 - Understand the purpose of all online and offline sales & marketing channels within the business
Understanding the objectives of sales teams, direct marketing campaigns, and online channels such as PPC and SEO is important so that marketing managers can effectively determine the life-cycle that a prospect will experience from the brand.
Step 2 - Have a clear, concise brand and product message which is consistent across all channels
Ensuring your communications are succinct will keep prospects on the user journey you intend, from point of brand discovery right through to liaising with your business development team. Brand and product messages should be agreed and clearly communicated to all internal stakeholders, with collateral and marketing content all being signed off centrally to ensure consistency.
Step 3 - Understand your target audiences typical online behaviour
If you are a technology company licensing CRM software such as Microsoft Dynamics, you will want to understand the behavior of key decision makers (Head of Product, Finance Directors etc), such as websites they frequent, content they browse, and signals they respond to. An example may be reading content from Accounting bodies such as the ICAEW, or reading a whitepaper on LinkedIn regarding the evolution of CRM platforms in 2016. Once you understand behavioural patterns, you will then be able to create a map of destinations that your brand must have a presence within to stay infront of and capture the interest of your target buyers.
Step 4 - Utilise the knowledge gained and integrate SEO in all its glory
Once a marketing manager understands typical behavior of a buyer, and what the purpose is of all other sales & marketing activity in the business, SEO can be considered and integrated for maximum gain. The obvious way to integrate SEO is to identify keyword terms such as "CRM Software" that destination websites should rank for in order to gain brand exposure and initial clicks during the discovery phase of a buyer. As well as this, utilise SEO to produce and seed useful, decision making content such as Whitepapers that may include guides on integration or comparisons between technology systems. Seeding these types of content within destination websites that your target buyers visit will increase the chance of your buyer continuing on their journey with your brand, completing another touch point with your product offering. If conducted efficiently, content such as whitepapers can be optimised to return within SERPS, further complimenting your exposure and reach.
Step 5 - Tie up all activity with offline marketing such as events, shows
Ensure any offline marketing conducted is integrated with online strategies for SEO and PPC so that target buyers are driven from exhibitions with an intent to go online and search for a particular phrase or product. Utilise PPC and SEO to ensure they can easily navigate back to your destination website, continuing their journey through to eventual sale.