I recently presented a digital strategy masterclass, and we had some great questions from the audience, so many so that we couldn't answer them all in the session. Below is a round-up of those I answered on our blog that was sent out to our attendees:

 

What guidance can you offer about what proportion of my total marketing spend I should be investing in digital marketing?

First of all, let me preface this by saying that you’ve asked a Digital Strategist, so I’m mandated to tell you, “All of it!” However, in all seriousness, this question will be difficult to answer without an understanding of the Situational Analysis stage we talked about in the SOSTAC framework. The best place to start is by understanding your buyer personas – knowing where your target audience spend their time consuming media will be the biggest influence on your media split. If they spend a lot of time reading newspapers and specialist interest magazines or are particularly responsive to sales phone calls, then it’s easier to justify the offline spend.

The approach I take to all marketing is that I don’t care where a sale or a lead comes from, I just want a lot of them and at the cheapest price I can get. I hear from a lot of clients that a lead is more ‘premium’ because it came from an inbound call after having seen an ad in a magazine, but a lead is a lead; it’s an undifferentiated ‘product’. So if Facebook gives me leads a £23 per lead, PPC at £41 and email at £28 I’m going to drive my entire budget at the lowest cost option until I’ve exhausted it, and then the second lowest cost, and so on. Budget plays a big part too; my recommendation is only turn to offline for one of two reasons: a) your persona research strongly suggests your audience consumes media here, or b) you have spare budget. Because digital is so much more trackable, and you’re able to optimise and assign ROI values etc. it’s the easier win, and it’s so much easier to answer questions regarding performance from superiors, and ultimately prove that you’ve done a good job!

In summary, I think assigning results to offline is so much more difficult, so unless you’re doing an awareness job, have budget to spare, or have exhausted your digital channels, then I’d look to have as much budget as possible in digital mediums.

 

Who do you recommend for competition landing page/data option providers?

We use Short Stack but need to upgrade. We have used a service called Wishpond for our clients in the past and we find it does everything we need: https://www.wishpond.com/social-promotions/ It’s great if you do competitions regularly and pricing starts from $45/month.

Alternatively, a few of us have started noticing brands facilitating competition entries through the Facebook lead ad format. If you haven’t heard of them, in short, an ad is served to a target consumer with the CTA asking them to enter the competition; one tap opens a form within the Facebook app which pre-populates with the information a user gave to Facebook when they signed up (name, email, etc.); one more tap and they’ve submitted their entry. This frictionless form fill method results in a lot less abandonment and it’s easy to make sure your competition is targeted to the right people. You can of course add custom elements to the Facebook lead ad forms to capture more specific info. More information is available here:

http://upviral.com/turn-facebook-lead-ads-viral-contests-step-step-guide/

https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1462876307360828

Will chatbots kill off apps in some sectors?

My personal opinion is that chatbots will serve a very specific function in a digital world. We’re all cynical human beings and unless they can pass a Turing test, we’ll all know when we’re talking to a bot and when we’re not. For me, for the most part, chatbots will form a first-line filter for customer service queries, essentially acting as a ‘live’ FAQ section which can answer the simple questions and pass those more complex queries on to the customer services team.

We’ve already seen (and we’re likely to see more of) big brands doing clever things with chatbots (http://uk.pcmag.com/social-networking/83215/gallery/the-best-facebook-messenger-bots) and if they have the time and money to spend working out the kinks, then we may see them replace more transactional focused apps in the future, such as this example from Domino’s.

So in summary:

As a B2B business, how can you use live social video, e.g. Periscope? What would it be best used for?

First of all, when it comes to live streaming, there are a number of potential providers: Facebook Live, Periscope, Meerkat and Livestream to name a few. A quick bit of persona research would be useful to help you decide which to focus on – if you have a higher following on Twitter, then maybe you want to use Periscope, and perhaps Facebook Live if your audience is largest there. OK, so looking at content for a B2B audience, what is important for live streaming is to create or document an event of interest that is “in the moment”; a few ideas might include:

  • Giving a behind the scenes view at an important company event, like a key product launch/update
  • Have a quarterly “ask us anything” session with an expert where you might address an interesting topic but then take direct Q&A from the streaming audience
  • Create a more “human” perception of your organisation by taking viewers “behind the curtain” with a regular stream that follows interesting members of your staff – sales departments tend to have some great personalities, but try and get buy-in from anywhere you can – product designers, engineers, researchers, anyone who really knows their stuff about a specific area

When looking at what to stream, it really should tie in with a well-thought-out content strategy and align with your other marketing objectives; this will make the difference between a novel one-off event, and a useful, business relevant marketing channel. Also, don’t forget that if you are planning a live stream, you must promote it to your audience; otherwise, you are naught but a tree falling in a forest.

What is the best digital channel to promote your ‘story’ to increase brand awareness and interest?

If you’ve read any of the other answers I’ve given on this page then I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but it really is an important point – the best place to start is with persona research. Where do your prospects spend their time, and how can you engage them there? Taking two extremes, I could be a smoothie brand which engages millennials through Snapchat and Instagram Stories by producing micro-video content that conveys my brand values. Conversely, I could be a global B2B telecoms provider and my audience might find interactive webinar sessions very useful and in those sessions I can communicate my brand’s strengths.

But that’s probably not the answer you’re after, so let’s look at an example that could hopefully work for a number of brands. If I’m trying to convey a ‘story’ then the metrics I need to track are dwell time, bounce rate, pages per session, that kind of thing. One format we mentioned in the masterclass is Facebook Canvas, which is a great way to tell a brand’s story and offers some great options to create a wonderful narrative. Check out www.facebook.com/groups/canvasexamples/for some ideas and inspiration. They’re relatively easy to set up and are excellent for that top-of-the-funnel brand awareness and understanding, and we’re seeing a good amount of dwell time in the industry – I believe it’s around 31 seconds spent on a Canvas on average.

Alternatively, all of your storytelling needs to occur on-site, and you need to look at effective channels for driving traffic to that site, whilst also tracking the user experience in terms of the metrics we mentioned earlier. We find that Facebook carousels are a great format for driving inexpensive web traffic with CPC coming under the 45p mark in most cases.

 

What would you recommend as the most effective channel for conversations in B2B marketing?

As you’re probably aware, LinkedIn is a massive channel for B2B marketing, but I know anecdotally that people are quick to give up on it because it does take so much attention and effort, but here’s a tip - be clear about who you need to be building relationships with from the outset, and be specific - industry sector, company, job title of relevant decision maker, geographic location and then share information (news updates, web resources, own blog content, etc.) that will be of value to your network. LinkedIn Groups are fantastic for starting conversation, but be realistic with your time and focus on one or two aspects of LinkedIn, such as networking and engaging in discussions in 3-5 LinkedIn Groups maximum. Share good content and position yourself as a thought leader.

You’ve seen first-hand how we do this here at hps; our Masterclass programme itself is how we spark conversations that hopefully lead to client relationships – we’re having a conversation right now! Can you lead industry seminars, or perhaps attend one as a guest speaker?

I’d also refer you to another question asked on this page about live streaming for B2B, as there can be some great conversation starters to be had there too.

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