Recently while providing blogging services for a client – producing three to five blogs per week, all keyword focused, search engine optimized, and relevant to the client’s products and services – I encouraged this manufacturer to look into other marketing options as well. “We should consider doing fewer blogs and put more time into other marketing opportunities,” was my usual mantra.
In the 21st century, blogging is not enough. We have to be “hybrid marketers.” Plain and simple, this means we cannot put all our marketing eggs in one basket, and the reason for this is also plain and simple: end-customers are getting information from a variety of sources. No longer do magazines and blogs hold a monopoly on people’s attention. Now we also have email newsletters, videos, infographics, a full suite of social media outlets, and many other places to present and receive news and information.
Does this mean we have to put lots of time – and money – into producing loads of content for every possible format? Not necessarily. With some tinkering, most content can be repackaged and reused across an array of marketing platforms. But we should break this down further. If you have read some of my earlier posts, you know that many of the popular forms of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – simply have not proved that beneficial in the B2B marketing world. The only major social media site, at this time, that shows some promise is LinkedIn when using their company page and LinkedIn Pulse options. Being selective in which marketing platforms we use will ensure a greater return on our investment.
So now that we have scaled down hybrid marketing so it’s more workable, let’s focus on some strategic hybrid marketing opportunities:
Article placements: Placing educational, quality articles in major trade publications remains a very powerful way to make you and your company a thought-leader in the industry. Trade publications seem to have gotten pushed aside in the past few years, but they remain powerful, and likely will remain powerful, because they focus specifically on your industry, your peers, and your company’s end-customers.
Blogging: One company in the B2B plumbing industry was surprised to see that the visits to its company website tripled over a three-year period. They had not changed the site; they had not promoted the site. All they had done was start a regular blog, about two or three postings per week, and the consistent, high-quality content caught people’s attention. Blogging does work, if done correctly, and it is a way to get your message out to your end-customers.
Search engine optimization: The plumbing company just referenced did not hire an expert on search engine algorithms nor did they subscribe to a system designed to optimize content. Instead, they relied on a general grasp of what search engines look for, such as keywords, strategically placed and repeated. They stuck to the basics and it worked.
Email newsletters: Yes, I know, we all get tons of email newsletters screaming for our attention, but do you know why? They work, that’s why. According to a January 2014 study by McKinsey & Company, “email [newsletters and marketing materials] remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media…and the way email prompts purchases is estimated to be three times that of social media and the average order is 17 percent higher.”1
Analytics: Here’s the only technical part. The hybrid marketer must also have a solid understanding of analytics and make checking and analyzing analytics an ongoing part of their marketing program. Analytics typically refers to how many visits a site, blog, or social media post has received, where the visits are coming from, what the best traffic days are, which posts had the most traffic, and other metrics. They are important because they tells us what’s working and what is not. Getting comfortable with Google Analytics is a good place to start.
1 McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm.