Digital Marketing: What You Need to Know as a B2B Startup June 18, 2021 RICCentre Digital Marketing is important for getting your B2B startup off the ground and running, but a lot of people don’t really know what digital marketing is or what is encompassed under the “digital marketing” umbrella. Digital marketing includes any or all of the following:Social media marketingEmail marketingOnline advertisingText marketingSearch Engine Optimization (SEO)Essentially anything you do in a digital realm can be classified as digital marketing.Developing a Digital StrategyThe very first thing you want to do when launching your B2B startup is develop a digital strategy. In 2021, digital marketing has to be part of your overall marketing strategy because without an online presence, you likely won’t exist in the eyes of your ideal customers. Here are four questions you should ask yourself before you start to implement any of the above marketing efforts. These will help form the basis for your digital strategy.What is your objective? As a B2B startup, your goal should be to generate leads. Leads can come in the form of email sign ups, direct sales, inbound inquiries, and more. Make lead generation your main focus, with brand and community building a secondary one.Who is your target audience? You must get super clear on who you’re targeting and who your ideal customer is before you start trying different tactics that may not even reach them. When going through and identifying the key attributes of your target audience, you want to focus on the main demographics but also think about where they spend the most time online. Is it on social media while they enjoy their breakfast in the morning or is it in their inbox right before they leave work for the day. Find out where your target audience lives online and then use the above strategies to target them where they are at.What social media platforms make sense for your business? This question also comes back to who your target audience is but you also have to think about where your business fits in the online realm. Will you want to dedicate your time and energy to building a community on Instagram or are you best suited for LinkedIn? What about both?What does your online presence currently consist of? What could you do differently? Figure out how you’re positioned online right now. What platforms are you currently on? Which ones aren’t you using that you could possibly test out? Do you have an email list? What platform is it housed on? Do you have a website? Is your Google My Business page set up with up to date information? Develop a clear understanding of what you’ve tried so far, what’s working, what’s not working, and what new tactics you should implement.Developing a Sales Funnel or PipelineA sales funnel includes all of the steps an individual must take to become a customer. A typical sales funnel looks like this.Utilizing your digital marketing strategy, your customer will walk through this sales funnel and go from stranger to customer in no time. Here’s an example of what a typical digital marketing sales funnel might look like:Awareness: The potential customer sees a post their friend shared about you on social media.Discovery: They follow your page/account because they want to see more updates from you.Evaluation: They head to your website to learn more about you and what you do. They may also look for pricing information if they haven’t seen those details already.Intent: They add your products to their cart.Purchase: They input their credit card information and process they sale.Loyalty: They receive their product and share with their friends on social media.You’ll notice that the funnel ends in a way that the cycle can repeat. That’s the value of digital marketing and the ability to spread positive PR about your product or service online.Digital Marketing Tactics DefinedThere are a lot of digital marketing tactics you could try and implement so we’re going to define some of the main ones here. Social Media MarketingSocial media marketing is the use of social media platforms to promote a product or service. The various platforms can include Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, Medium, Youtube etc.When creating content for these platforms, you want to ensure it’s visually appealing, engaging and builds social proof. Think testimonials, industry news and educational posts. Paint yourself as an expert in your industry.We’ve written a blog on everything you need to know about social media marketing for B2B startups. Email MarketingEmail marketing is the process of sending targeted email campaigns to prospects and customers. When developing an email marketing strategy you want to focus on two main things:Email frequency – Do you want to do a monthly newsletter or a weekly one? Think about how much time you can actually commit to writing emails and what is actually feasible from you and your team. Consistency is important here so if you say you’re going to show up weekly, you want to ensure you do.Content – What type of content will you include in your email campaigns that will make people actually want to open them. Let’s face it – we all get a lot of emails and we’re more likely to trash the email than open it. You want to make sure yours is one worth opening.Quick tip: Email subject lines can make or break an email campaign. Ensure your subject lines are short and consumer focused. We’d even recommend opting for a click-baity title as long as you deliver on what the bait is promising in the actual email.In order to implement an email marketing strategy, you actually have to have people to send the emails to. Create some form of lead generation tool – a downloadable resource, a free webinar, a lead generation ad – to get emails from potential customers. This should be a main focus for you as a B2B startup.Online AdvertisingOnline advertising can be done through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn or it can be done through Google in the form of search ads. This digital marketing tactic allows you to pay to run targeted ads on each respective platform in order to drive traffic to your website, generate leads and convert your audience into paying customers. Text MarketingText marketing allows you to deliver promotional messages to customers and subscribers. This is a newer form of digital marketing introduced in the last five or so year but has proven to be a strong tactic which allows you to get information to your potential customers right where they spend the most amount of time.Search Engine OptimizationSearch engine optimization “is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.” Source.There are many ways in which you can improve your overall SEO on your website – optimizing your landing pages, writing long-form content in the form of blogs to be housed on your website and generating backlinks that come from reputable websites. Consider looking for outside engagement and guest articles that can be linked to blogs and web pages.Quick tip: Consider having a regularly updated blog. This helps with ranking for more keywords on search engines and can aid in creating more leads. Create posts/blogs that solve problems for your audience. Include industry websites to access greater audiences and generate more inbound links for the website. “HubSpot found that companies that published 16 blog posts monthly got 4.5 times more leads than those with zero to four posts.” Read more about optimizing your lead generation with SEO. How Can Your Strengthen Your Digital Marketing in 2021In 2021, here’s one thing to consider. Tap into the millennial and generation Z market but keep in mind that this generation is known for valuing experiences over things. Focus on these generations because:Millennials exceed baby boomers in the largest living population segment. Gen Z will increase their spending by more than 70% in the next 5 years. Both generations make purchases based on their values. Does your company give back and have causes regarding environmental, political or socio-economic problems?In SummaryImplementing any digital marketing tactics without a clear strategy is going to set you up for failure. Get clear on who your target audience is and where they live online. Pick your tactics from there and make sure you’re implementing them strongly following the tips shared in this blog. Digital marketing is the marketing of the future so make sure it is part of your overall marketing efforts.If you are looking for marketing support for your tech startup, consider our MVP to Market and Incubator program for dedicated sales and marketing training or reach out to us and we may be able to support you. RIC Centre is all about helping businesses like yours succeed. On the Blog: Read More about Marketing for Startups Social Media Marketing for B2B Startups Social media can be an incredible tool to use as part of your digital marketing strategy but it can be easy to get lost in all of the social media buzzwords… Read more Building Out Your Marketing Funnel A marketing funnel is a representation of the steps a customer takes from the moment they first learn about your brand to the moment they convert. It’s… Read more Influencer Marketing Fundamentals Influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy that involves collaboration and endorsement of online content creators… Read more About the AuthorKierstyn PareSocial Media Director, King Street MediaKing Street Media is a Toronto-based marketing and creative agency focused on purpose-driven growth. They support entrepreneurs, businesses and nonprofits by providing dedicated services ranging from digital advertising and social media marketing to brand strategy and content creation.