In the age of COVID-19, there are minimal networking, tradeshow, or face-to-face selling opportunities. Many B2B companies who relied on these tactics for lead generation have been caught flat-footed and are in a state of panic due to the lack of leads.
Bop Design has a current client that has relied on a 1-page website for years because most of their sales were based on networking at trade shows and one-on-one relationship building. Since events and in-person meetings aren’t possible now, they realized they needed a better B2B website to help them with sales and conversions.
COVID-19 has exposed the need for every B2B marketing strategy to be multi-faceted. A multipronged B2B marketing strategy reliant on multiple lead generation tactics is always the best approach. This way when something unexpected comes up like a pandemic, you can turn to lead generation activities that are viable. Right now, and for the near future, every B2B company is more reliant on its website than ever.
B2B Marketing Will Never Be the Same
If you are an event marketing company or a convention center, you may be hoping for things to go back to normal. The problem is the normal we knew 7 months ago is not coming back. Experts predict that business travel will never return to the volume it was before COVID-19, thus you see major hotel chains permanently closing locations in popular places like Times Square.
No matter what you believe on the COVID-19 political spectrum, the acceptance of this reality means you must let go of some short-term, makeshift strategy until COVID-19 “blows over.” B2B companies need to accept reality and determine a long-term strategy based on more virtual selling and digital marketing.
Acceptance Leads to a Path Forward
Accepting this virtual way of doing business will be commonplace for the rest of our careers means a new long-term strategy must be adopted and implemented quickly. This strategy still needs to be multi-pronged and cannot be reliant on one tactic like SEO or Google Ads. Tactics like cold calling, cold emailing, direct mail should also be explored.
Work back from where your prospects will most likely be. Are they still working in the office, or working remotely indefinitely? New tactics employed for both lead generation and nurturing need to be implemented in unison as an integrated marketing approach. Drip email campaigns, combined with direct mail content marketing, combined with direct sales cold calling the same contacts with complementary messages can be extremely effective as long as you know where your contact is—office, home, working space, etc.
Your Market Is Much Larger
One thing that COVID-19 has sped up is the expansion of your market—for clients and employees. For many B2B businesses that have been digital marketing for years, they already recognize the world as their market. However, for more traditional, face-to-face marketers, just marketing in your city, state, or country could limit your reach.
Most prospective B2B customers have evolved in the past 10 years. They no longer care about hiring the company down the street. Rather, they want to hire a company that is the best fit for their needs, no matter where their office is located. Similarly, many B2B professional service businesses have employees located all over the country or world—physical location does not matter anymore. In fact, many businesses have already decided that physically working in an office is no longer be a requirement. This means that recruiting and retaining your employees comes with a new wrinkle. You are competing for clients and talent with a seemingly infinite number of other companies. Physical location is not much of a competitive advantage anymore.
No Matter Which Tactic, Your B2B Website Is the Center
In the uncomfortable reality of COVID-19, it’s crucial to understand that without the physical presence (personal or business), your B2B website is more important than ever!
No matter which tactics you select for a B2B marketing strategy, the central hub will be your company website. All tactics will lead back to the website. Therefore, your website is the most visible component of your company. If you have not tended to your website since COVID-19, the time to start was (October 13, 2020). If you have a solid website, it is now time to continuously add thought leadership content to make it a more viable business development platform. Your website is your office, brand, culture, pitch deck, etc. all rolled into one.