What marketing tactics produce the highest return on investment?
The biggest road block to effective marketing is knowing where to spend your time. There’s a lot that you could be doing. But what’s going to get you the biggest wins? Where should you spend your limited time and attention?
Every year, the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs conduct a massive survey to identify what marketing tactics companies are using, what’s working, what’s not working, and a bunch of other useful stuff.
The findings for 2015 are chock full of useful insights you can steal and apply to your own marketing strategy. Instead of wasting time trying to figure things out for yourself, learn from the successes and (expensive) failures of your peers.
Check out the findings from a survey of 580 B2B small business marketers.
Here are 5 highlights from the research that are really important:
1. Social media is not enough.
93% of respondents said they use social media — the highest adoption rate of all the marketing tactics included in the survey.
It’s no surprise social media is a popular tactic. The question is, if you’re doing social media right (most aren’t), what happens next?
Social media is not where transactions take place. Even if you end up building a large following, how are you going to translate that attention into revenue?
That’s why social media must to be coupled with a strong lead nurturing strategy including blogs, webinars (see #2), email newsletters, and more.
2. Webinars are really effective.
Webinars were tied for the most effective marketing tactic alongside ebooks — which is a big jump from last year.
You should be seeing this trend in your own industry. Many firms are starting to offer free webinars as a top of funnel activity to initiate the sales cycle.
The reason webinars work is simple: prospects get free advice for little in return. A good webinar strategy tackles the really challenging issues that are on your buyer’s mind and delivers incredible value — all for the cost of an email address and an hour of their time.
In return, you get the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and move the prospect through your sales cycle.
3. LinkedIn is still the king of B2B (but Twitter is catching up).
97% of respondents used LinkedIn to promote their content. Twitter was a distant second at 91%.
In terms of effectiveness, 60% of respondents found LinkedIn to be effective while 56% found Twitter to be effective.
LinkedIn always has been a dominant force in B2B marketing. Simply because when you’re on LinkedIn, you’re in business mode.
But Twitter is quickly gaining ground. Neither of them should be ignored.
4. Save space in your budget for Google ads.
61% of firms are running paid advertisements on search engines (pay-per-click) — which is higher than social ads, print, and native advertising. Search engine ads were also the most effective paid advertising method surveyed.
Again, this comes as no surprise. Pay-per-click ads allow you to run laser targeted campaigns that only cost you money when they work. And if an ad isn’t working, you can identify what’s wrong almost instantly and change course. It’s a marketer’s dream.
5. Producing content is hard, but worth it.
74% of respondents are creating more content than last year, 55% are increasing content marketing budgets, and 58% cited ‘producing engaging content’ as their #1 challenge.
In other words, producing engaging content is a winning strategy — and everyone knows it — but it’s no small task.
How can you make it easier for yourself?
The survey found that companies who had a documented content marketing strategy and a team of people dedicated to producing content had much higher success rates. If you can’t afford a dedicated content team, there are affordable ways to bring on consultants and freelancers.