6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era

B2B Marketing Rules Covid-19

B2B Marketing Rules Covid-19
I was supposed to go to an Alanis Morissette concert this July. When the pandemic hit hard in March, I wasn’t ready to cancel my ticket yet. Surely,
surely we would have it sorted in time for an outdoor concert four months from now. I held out hope. Then, in June, she rescheduled for July, 2021. And now I’m wondering if that will be enough time.

Isn’t it ironic? 

Don’t you think?

All of which to say: This pandemic has been around for longer than we thought it would, and is looking to linger far longer than we would like. What seemed like a brief, surreal interlude to be gotten through has now become a reality to live with, at least for the time being.

As B2B marketers, we need to reassess how we are adapting our marketing to our buyers’ current situation. We’re no longer scrambling to cobble together short-term fixes — we need to be out of reaction mode and into strategic planning mode.

Our marketing agency has been helping clients revise their marketing plans for months now, from messaging and audience to tactics and measurement. Here are a few rules we’ve picked up that other marketers should follow:

6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era

Rule #1: Always Be Relevant

Okay, this is less a NEW rule than a timely reminder. I’m sure most marketers who read our blog (as smart, skilled and beautiful as you are) don’t need to hear it. But just in case: You should never come to an audience without something of value.

Corollary: “Something of value” can not equal “Knowledge of how our product/solution can improve your life.”

People are distracted and stressed. They’re dealing with a new crisis every day. They’re spending way more time with their children than is psychologically healthy. And they have more content than ever before to occupy their free time. If you’re asking for their attention, you must reward it. Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can. [bctt tweet=”‘Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can’ in your #B2B content marketing, says @nitewrites.” username=”toprank”]

After you deliver, then you can ask for a next step. But make sure your content is intrinsically valuable.

Rule #2: Encourage Interaction

The pandemic lifestyle is, to put it lightly, isolating. Who would have thought you could miss hearing co-workers rock in their chairs, play music a little too loud, or bump into you in the hallway? Most of us are craving social interaction.

If you’re used to broadcasting with your content, it’s time to consider how you can start conversations. How can you interact with your audience on a human level? How can you encourage them to interact with each other, too? Think how much your audience would value a lively, thought-provoking conversation with their colleagues and peers.

You can encourage interaction with content in a few easy ways:

  • Host a LinkedIn Live chat
  • Run a Twitter chat
  • Sponsor a topic-themed chat in a video conferencing app
  • Run an interactive webinar

In general, look for ways you can call out a subset of your audience and get them talking, both to each other and to your brand representatives. We can all use a little more social interaction right now.

Rule #3: Keep Messaging Empathetic

I don’t know about you, but I cringe every time I see an ad about something “going viral.” We are 6 months into a viral pandemic and marketers are still running ads about going viral! How can this be? 

This is just one example of how completely innocuous messaging pre-COVID can seem tone-deaf now. Does your content have an anecdote about a dinner party with 15 people? Does your header image feature a crowd of people? Are you talking about “going into the office” or “thinking about this on your commute?” If so, you’re alienating your audience.

Not every piece of content has to be about the pandemic, or being nostalgic for the world that once was. But there needs to be a baseline of empathy: Working from home, social distancing, and mask-wearing are all facts of everyday life.

Rule #4: Experiment with Formats

In the time before the pandemic, we all spent hours looking at screens every day. It’s just there were different screens, in different environments. It was easier to differentiate between the office and home, work and play. Now, our surroundings are homogenous throughout the day — and the content we consume feels same-y, too.

Think about content fatigue as you plan your calendar. Is your audience looking for another wall of text? Do they want to look at another grid of talking heads? 

Our agency is finding more success right now with multimedia, interactive content. Our B2B Influencer Marketing report is an example. The content includes case studies, influencer participation, and original research, presented in an animated, dynamic way.

Essentially, keep in mind that idea of efficiently delivering value. Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10?  [bctt tweet=”Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10? says @nitewrites.” username=”toprank”]

Rule #5: Collaborate on Content

For me, one of the stranger elements of pandemic life is learning how similar I am to everyone else. I had an urge to do puzzles in March — all the stores were sold out. I wanted to make bread in April — the stores ran out of flour. In May, everyone bought bikes. 

Right now, every B2B business is missing their trade shows and in-person demos. So most of them are doubling down on content. The best way to differentiate your content is to bring your audience voices they can’t hear anywhere else.

Co-create content with influencers. Feature subject matter experts in your organization. Tap your current and prospective customers to get their take. The more voices you can bring to your content, the more it will stand out to your audience.

Rule #6: Re-Align Measurement with Current Goals

Per rule #1, people are less interested in promotional content right now. Businesses may have put their purchasing plans on hold, or at least tightened budgets. Marketing’s chief goal right now is likely to be establishing brand credibility, creating thought leadership content, and building relationships for the future.

As your goals change, your measurement must change as well. You can’t measure an awareness campaign in SQLs, or relationship-building in number of demo requests received. That doesn’t mean giving up on measurement or accountability — it just means making the metrics match your goals. For example, you could measure:

  • Brand share of voice
  • Email/Blog subscribers
  • Social media audience/interactions
  • Content consumption metrics (time on page, scroll depth, links clicked)
  • Content resonance (backlinks and social shares)

How New Are These Rules?

So here’s the $100,000 (adjusted for inflation) question: At what point should you stop producing relevant, interactive, empathetic, dynamic and collaborative content? When can you heave a sigh of relief, stop listening to your audience, and start broadcasting promotional messages?

When you put it that way, it’s obvious: These rules are best practices for content no matter what’s going on in the world. The pandemic didn’t create the need for these rules; it just amplified how crucial they are. Back in January, we might have had the luxury of ignoring one or more of them. Now we have the joyous necessity of being forced to do better.

And that’s the good news: Making your marketing better for the pandemic will make you a better marketer now and for whatever comes next.

Need help creating content? We’re here for you.

The post 6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Daily SEO Fix: Investigate Changes in Your Rankings with Moz Pro

As members of the Moz onboarding team — which gives one-on-one walkthroughs of Moz products to over 500 customers a month — we have our finger on the pulse of what people are asking for when it comes to SEO. We’re here to help you uncover the relevant Moz Pro features for your business.

We know that somewhere along the journey of improving your website and drumming up more traffic (and hopefully conversions), you’ll want to track rankings for your target keywords. Perhaps you started by noticing a traffic drop on your website. Or maybe you’re actively adapting your business in response to new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll ultimately want to know how your page rankings were affected, and start to explore what you can do next.

In this series of Daily SEO Fix videos, the Moz onboarding team takes you through workflows using the Moz Pro tools. We help you coast through your rankings analysis to gain some actionable insights, from tracking your performance against your competitors to making impactful improvements to your pages.

Don’t have a community account or free trial yet? Sign up first, then book your walkthrough to chat with our onboarding team.

Start your free trial


Segment and sort keyword rankings

One constant in SEO is that ranking positions are always changing. Some keywords tend to move around more than others, and they can be tricky to spot. Luckily, Moz Pro has a simple way to focus on these keywords.

In this Daily Fix, Maddie shows you how you can sort out your keywords by ranking gains and losses, so that you can glean some insight into how to make the relevant improvements.


View rankings over time and vs. competitors

They say you can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is also true for SEO.

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In this Daily Fix, Jo on the learning team will shows you exactly how this works.


On-page optimization

There aren’t many things more confusing than seeing pages rank for keywords that have absolutely nothing to do with your business. You’re always signalling something to the search engines — whether you intend to or not. Optimizing your on-page SEO ensures you control that signal.

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages for specific keyword(s) in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.

In this Daily Fix, I show you how to use the page optimization tool to improve your on-page SEO.

Be sure to check out our post on on-page ranking factors if you want more tips.


Compare link profiles

Link building is one of the aspects of SEO that can’t be done in isolation. In order to know how much effort you should dedicate to link building, you first need to look at your competitive landscape.

Moz Pro’s link explorer allows you to compare the link profile of up to five websites. In a snapshot, you get insight into many important metrics like domain authority, spam score, external and follow links, etc. You can easily use the graphs to spot trends in the type of links your competitors are getting, and even click through to see the individual links. In this video, Alicia shows you how.

For more tips on building links, check our beginner’s guide to link building.


All crawled pages

Technical SEO is table stakes, and arguably the most important aspect of your SEO work.

Even if you use the right keywords, create the most optimized pages, and have every authoritative site in the world linking to you, if the crawlers are’t able to index your pages correctly or you’re not following best technical SEO practices, your pages won’t rank as well as they deserve. Moz Pro’s Site Crawl tool helps you ensure that your technical SEO is on point.

In this Daily Fix, Emilie shows you some tips you can use to improve your rankings with Site Crawl.