Jeremy Durant is the founder and business principal of Bop Design, a marketing agency solely focused on B2B companies.
We recently asked Jeremy about marketing advice for small businesses. Here's what he shared:
Tell us about the mission behind Bop Design. How are you hoping to help businesses?
Bop Design helps B2B companies increase selling opportunities through their website. With B2B lead generation, it starts with brand messaging platform. We identify buyer personas and the corresponding messaging that resonates with each buyer type. We then merge brand messaging with an SEO strategy to drive ideal search traffic to the website. Of course, the website design needs to position the brand properly and display an intuitive user interface. Once the website is live, we help clients with ongoing content marketing and digital advertising to drive relevant traffic to the website and position our clients as thought leaders in their industry.
What's your approach to B2B marketing? What sets you apart from your competitors?
We are a firm that works exclusively with B2B companies. Many companies will work with both B2B and B2C, but we know the B2B sales process is different: multiple decision makers, higher priced item or service, longer sales cycle, longer term partnership, etc. The website plays a much different role in B2B– it's not transactional, rather, it's a content marketing platform building a case of credibility so that a prospect has the peace of mind to commit to our client over the competition. We say that we are a marketing agency that our clients' sales teams actually like because we give them the tools to nurture a lead from a general inquiry to a qualified prospect to a committed long-term relationship.
What considerations should new business owners be making about branding? What types of questions should they be asking themselves? What are the most common mistakes or oversights with branding that you observe business owners making?
Business owners should always focus on prospects' pain points, not be just talking about themselves. They should ask themselves, "What client pain points do I help solve?" If prospects are reminded of their painful current situation and how a business can help alleviate that pain, the more likely the business owner will gain commitment. The most common mistake business owners make is simply talking too much about themselves and not enough about prospects' challenges.
What advice can you offer startups on launching a B2B marketing campaign. Where should they start?
Start with building out thought leadership content. With any B2B marketing campaign, you need to give 25 percent of your expertise for free. What expertise is of interest to your target market and at the same time, showcases your services? Give away this expertise through your blog, white papers, guides, tip sheets, etc. Then begin to promote this thought leadership content wherever your ideal client will be. Utilize social media, guest blogging, press releases, ad retargeting, direct mail, etc. to deliver this content. This content will be the foundation for all lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns in B2B.
How would startups approach their B2B marketing differently than established brands? How should that first marketing push differ from later strategies?
When a business starts, they typically have more time than money. As a business becomes more established, they typically have more money than time. Because a startup typically has more time, focus on more outbound/push marketing tactics. Identify certain companies that fit your ideal customer profile and approach the right decision maker with relevant content that can hopefully start a conversation, and then nurture the relationship. Outbound tactics can include email, networking, direct mail and phone. As a business grows, they will embrace more inbound/pull strategies like digital advertising, paid content promotion and SEO. In an ideal scenario, a business want to have a mix of both push and pull tactics.
What are the essential components to any successful B2B marketing strategy today?
Continuous output and marketing of thought leadership content. It needs to be done regularly and can't just be done periodically. The more keyword rich content that is added to your website, the more likely you are to be found. The more relevant the content is, the longer a visitor stays on the website. The longer they stay on the website, the more likely they are to convert.
Where do you start your conversations with your clients on web design? What considerations should business owners make early on about their sites? What shouldn't they get too caught up in from a website perspective?
A. What's the goal of the website? It’s important to have a clear understanding of what your goals are for your B2B website in order to make it a successful project. For example, a company that wants to generate more leads vs. a company who just wants to reposition themselves in the marketplace have two very different goals, which will affect every aspect of the website creation process.
B. Who will manage the project? Even though you plan on hiring a web design agency, it will require regular input from you and your team. Decide who will manage or oversee the entire website project. Make sure this person is in an appropriate role to manage, they have the bandwidth needed to create a successful website, and they have the authority to make decisions about your brand.
C. Who is the final decision maker? It’s important to keep the final decisions makers to the smallest number possible – one to three people for efficiency. The more decision makers, the longer the project will take.
D. Website functionality? Getting your requirements together before shopping will result in quicker, more accurate proposals. A few things to consider are whether you need to connect to a CRM, Marketing Automation Tool, third-party recruiting tools, or if you need a product gallery or eCommerce functionality.
E. Website budget? This is a question every agency is going to ask you in your initial discussion with them. It’s a good idea to at least have a range ready to find the right agency match.
F. Remember, "perfection is the enemy of progress". Clients can get caught up in minor details that can always be changed after the website launches. Colors, wording, photos, etc. can always be changed at a later time. It's most important to launch the website so that you can start gaining ROI.
How and when should brands evolve their marketing strategy as their company grows?
Brands should be constantly measuring the effectiveness of their marketing strategy. Tactics that worked two years ago, may not work now. Brands should have monthly marketing measurement and attribution meetings to match the best leads with the corresponding marketing channel. Marketing requires continuous measurement and refinement. Every B2B company should have an annual client grading meeting where clients are graded from A to F. If there are many F clients coming from one specific marketing tactic, it's time to evolve. For instance, Bop Design does not participate in professional networking events anymore since so many "F" clients came from that channel.
What are your favorite marketing tools for new business owners? What have you found to be the most effective for helping grow a brand?
One of my favorite marketing tools is Lead Forensics. It's an easy way to gain market intelligence of your website visitors. It can tell you what company is on your website, connect to LinkedIn to find decision makers, and provide contact information. It's a tool to easily follow up on non-converting, yet warm, website leads.
Never lose site of delivering on your promises to your customers. Growing a brand all comes down to continuously growing positive experiences with your company. You can have the best brand messaging, website, content marketing but if your service delivery cannot live up to your brand promise, it's all been done in vain. Positive customer experience builds a long-term brand.
What trends or innovations in the world of B2B marketing are you following today? Why do they interest you?
Account Based Marketing (ABM) tools fascinate me due to how granular you can get with account targeting. ABM platforms such as El Toro and AdDaptive help B2B companies target companies by office location, email address, event date/time, event location, etc. If a B2B company has a list of target accounts, ABM tools can help them get in front of the right decision makers.
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