Tips for More Effective Marketing with B2B Marketer Ross Simmonds
January 31, 2019 | Kaleigh Moore
Ross Simmonds knows a thing or two about B2B marketing.
He’s an international speaker who discusses all things marketing at events like MozCon, CTAConf, Webbdagarna, SearchLove, MNSearch and many others. He’s also been featured in publications like VentureBeat, Forbes, BET, and Social Media Examiner.
He also is known for dropping little nuggets of marketing wisdom over on Twitter:
So what’s his day job? Ross is the founder of Foundation Marketing, a content marketing agency that works with Fortune 500 companies to some of the fastest growing startups. And the results they produce are impressive.
Recently, the Foundation team implemented a year-long content marketing strategy for a B2B client that was focused on two tracks: (1) Content Creation & (2) Content Distribution with the goal of creating content to enhance the brand’s reputation and drive more traffic.
Year over year, the client saw a 93 percent increase in search traffic and a 45 percent increase in revenue from online leads.
Ross’s journey into the world of B2B marketing stemmed from an interest in startups. While working at his first full-time job, he started to notice local startups raising massive rounds of funding (but not having much experience in marketing.) Many were in the B2B space, and he was one of the only local marketers talking about B2B marketing and growth for startups.
As a result, he was brought on as the first marketing hire (as a freelancer) for a few different B2B startups and he was able to gain insight from marketing leaders who led growth teams on their way to massive B2B acquisitions.
I chatted with him about what he’s learned from working with brands in this space over the past few years to find out what trends and tactics he’s seeing work well.
Let’s talk about your approach to lead generation in the B2B realm. What’s the most common thing you see clients getting wrong, and how do you help them fix it?
Ross: The most common issue I notice when reviewing a B2B site and conducting an initial audit is content focused on the product and sales-oriented assets.
B2B marketers often forget the entire buying cycle and how content can play a role in facilitating that transition from one phase to the next. It’s not rare to see a B2B website filled with case studies, product content and assets that explain why certain features are so brilliant or new products are so great.
What’s often overlooked here is the fact that people reading this content have likely already made up their mind to work with you or are so far down the funnel that it’s between you and a competitor.
The key is to create content (both blog posts, landing pages, directories, videos, etc.) that trigger curiosity in your target audience. Think about what your audience is looking for before they know they have a problem, what content would be valuable to them before they need your solution, and what stories will help you get on their radar and amplify your brand.
All of these answers start with research and conversations. Two things that many B2B brands ignore, but the best marketers always embrace.
What’s been the biggest takeaway you’ve learned in the past year from working with B2B brands on better, more effective marketing?
That marketing and sales cannot work in silos.
Far too many organizations make the mistake of separating the two and making them feel like they need to compete rather than work together. Sales should view marketing as a partner in the entire process and marketing should be aiming to arm sales with quality leads and assets that will help nurture relationships.
You need to have two teams that are willing to work together and you need a marketing leader that wants to be kept accountable. Set lead generation goals and make them relevant by incorporating metrics that determine the quality of those leads. It’s through this type of effort that both sales and marketing can be on the same page and drive meaningful results.
How does content play a role in the work you do? Do you think that content matters in 2019…and if so, what’s the big thing marketers need to know about how things are evolving around it?
We’re called Foundation Marketing because we believe that content is the foundation of the web. Whether you’re reading words on a screen or listening to a podcast in your headphones—that’s content.
And it’s that content that fuels entertainment, education and online interactions every single day. Content isn’t going anywhere.
Let’s talk about specific tips you have for more effective marketing in 2019 that goes beyond content. What are your recommendations?
Reverse engineer what’s working for others
One of the strategies that I think more brands can leverage is the idea of taking a look at the success of other brands and using it to guide their own approach. For example, we all know how successful Investopedia was as a brand…it all started as a simple glossary. So why aren’t more brands creating glossaries for their industry? It’s a brilliant SEO technique and one that could help plenty of brands stand out.
It’s not always about more content & more ideas
Sometimes I think marketers (especially content marketers) focus too much on wanting to create new content. Sometimes the best approach is to actually take a closer look at what exists today (old videos, old posts, old pages) and optimize them for today’s opportunities. Conduct an audit and see what backlink opportunities are missing, leaks exist in your funnel and long tail keywords you’re attracting but overlooking in terms of your actual site content.
Embrace the channels others ignore
B2B marketers are pretty cautious when it comes to trying new things. I’ve preached about experimentation time and time again at conferences and think it’s important that B2B brands embrace that approach as well. Our team recently conducted a Reddit Marketing research study and we found that this is a channel that is completely underrated by both B2C and B2B professionals. The key is taking a chance on networks that others ignore.
Don’t just publish and walk away
Distribution is so important in today’s world. Algorithms are reducing brands’ ability to reach their followers organically and people are tuning out more and more when it comes to paid ads. Thus, it’s becoming more important for B2B marketers to think creatively around how they get their content in front of the right people, media outlets and bloggers.
Collaboration is key
The best B2B brands look for opportunities to collaborate. Collaborations give brands the ability to reach new audiences, establish new credibility (when done right) and deliver value to their own existing audience. Whether it’s through a joint research paper or a podcast interview, collaborations with other brands are a great way to unlock a win-win.
Any final words/parting wisdom on B2B marketing?
Experiment. Explore new opportunities. Try new things. Grow in new regions. Test new channels. Tweak your copy. Launch that idea. Embrace new ones. Create a culture where your team is comfortable getting uncomfortable.
As part of your revamped marketing tactics, see how SnapApp can transform your existing content into interactive experiences that enhance brand awareness and attract new leads.