33 Common & Costly B2B Marketing Mistakes to Avoidby@darragh
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10,413 reads

33 Common & Costly B2B Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

by Darragh Grove-WhiteMarch 16th, 2023
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For most B2B marketers, it can be hard to keep up with the rapid pace of changes. Not staying up-to-date with key trends and best-practices can cost marketers and companies in lost market share, future opportunities and bottom-line profits. Today we’ll cover costly B2B marketing mistakes that many of the B2B companies I’ve been assessing so far in 2023 are making, and some B2B marketing best-practices you can apply right away.  Now although these marketing mistakes are in the context of B2B SaaS and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that I’ve been reviewing, this will be valuable for any business owners and marketers looking to optimize their marketing, cut waste and greatly improve business profitability from marketing efforts in 2023.  With that said, let’s jump right in.
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For most B2B marketers, it can be hard to keep up with the rapid pace of changes. Not staying up-to-date with key trends and best-practices can cost marketers and companies in lost market share, future opportunities and bottom-line profits. Today we’ll cover costly B2B marketing mistakes that many of the B2B companies I’ve been assessing so far in 2023 are making, and some B2B marketing best-practices you can apply right away. 

Now although these marketing mistakes are in the context of B2B SaaS and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that I’ve been reviewing, this will be valuable for any business owners and marketers looking to optimize their marketing, cut waste and greatly improve business profitability from marketing efforts in 2023. 

With that said, let’s jump right in.

1) Companies using the same lead capture form for “contact us” and sales enquiries. Marketing automations, lead nurturing, effective sales calls and retargeting visitors with ads is much more costly and prone to human error when it’s done manually instead of automatically with a page or a form specific segmentation strategy.  

2) Not incorporating a self-identifying sales persona question on lead capture forms. Asking your lead what profession or general company title they hold at their business helps equip your sales team automatically with key pain points and aspirational goals so they can speak the language of your potential customer. Here's how we did it at LJ Welding Automation:

3) Not using any offers that entice visitors into becoming a lead. Offer a free 15 minute consultation, a free trial, a discount offer, useful templates or something else that is a byproduct of the business that your customer may want. It should be a no-brainer and add value to the potential lead and help them along their buyers journey. 

4) Not using landing pages or thank you pages and relying on in-line messages instead. Landing pages are designed for the person to do 1 thing: become your lead. It's done by removing every interactive element on the page except the 'submit' button. Normal web pages have menu and footer navigation that ruin conversion rates for getting leads.

Similarly with Thank you pages, after a visitor converts to a lead, you can immediately show them product demo videos and testimonials to keep the sales conversation going while your sales team prepares to make contact. Finally, Landing and thank you pages can help segment traffic for advertising based on if they became a lead yet or not. In-line thank you messages are a poor substitute for proper landing page structure and miss an unacceptable amount of strategic marketing value.

5) Not using pop-up on exit intent for landing pages. On landing pages, you need to be pushy to get people to take action and nudge them. I’ve seen pop-up on exit intents capture lead info from hundreds of leads who would otherwise not have completed a form.

RELATED: Nudge Theory Best-Practices For Business

6) Online chat bot asking the wrong questions to visitors. 

This chatbot example is better off asking a question to learn more about the visitor’s pain point they’re trying to fix, or if they can find what they’re looking for, or see if they’re eligible for a special promo offer like a demo or discount. Chat bots are meant to help convert traffic into leads for your sales team or assist with customer service support.

7) Not using HackerNoon, Substack or LinkedIn Articles to drive traffic from larger audience pools, as well as earn backlink authority. By using these microblogging sites, you're able to get your content ranking far higher in search results for organic traffic rather than relying on your website’s domain authority. 99% of companies will not outrank these three micro-blogging sites, so use them ASAP.

How-to: Publish your article first on your website, but then repost them on these other sites. Make sure to link back to the original on your website (canonical tagging) to drive new free eyeballs from those platforms and improve your website's authority.

8) Not using traceable and trackable links in their sales brochures and spec sheets. You can learn a lot about the effectiveness of sales collateral by seeing how much traffic it drives back to your website and becomes leads. You can't effectively improve what you don't measure.

9) Putting equal effort on all social media platforms instead of focusing on the 1 or two that matter most (LinkedIn and Twitter). LinkedIn is a major B2B opportunity for new business where Twitter can be more superficial but provide social-proof opportunities on socials.

The best way to know your top two is by looking at your referral Google analytics sources to see where traffic is coming from that converts into leads.

10) Not naming product image files in a way that's friendly to search engine indexers. I’ve written about this plenty of times, but it’s so simple: all-lower-case-no-spaces-use-dashes-avoid-special-characters.jpeg

Naming correctly matters not just for when a file goes on your own website, but also when you're trying to rank your product images quickly on Google search using free microblogging sites mentioned earlier and others, like Behance and Dribbble.

11) Using patchwork softwares for CRM, web and marketing automations instead of a unified solution like HubSpot or comparable equivalents. If you’re in the business of improving reliability and efficiency for others, working smarter and not harder, this is about walking the talk for your own business.

A unifying all-in-one solution will help avoid unplanned downtime, hidden costs from popping up and making sales and marketing's job easier so they get more done.

12) Not surveying customers post-sale to fine-tune the persona research or earn new product reviews, testimonials or case study material. This can be as simple as an automated email a month after a sale to offer follow-up support, customized tips, suggest YouTube videos customers may now find useful or offer a customer satisfaction survey... whatever the priority is at the time for your business, incorporate that.

13) Not seeking out and creating guest posting opportunities when so much effort goes into content creation. Trade magazines and journals love publishing original guest posts and thought leadership content if it’s not overly promotional.

They will only publish fresh content that hasn't been posted elsewhere first. Ask the Editor about their editorial calendar to find where you can add the most relevant value.

You can find these publications easily at your trade shows as media sponsors, or type in your competitor's brand into Google and hit the “news tab” like below:

14) Not interlinking content on the company blogs with more of their articles or a lead generation special offer. It’s remarkable how much effort I’ve seen go into great quality content, only for it to be posted with no call-to-actions, no links sprinkled into other related-content on the B2B’s website just to sit there without either promotion or strategic purpose.

For example, did you notice what I did under point #5?

15) Not bidding on the company's own brand keywords for Google or Bing. If you don’t do this, your competitor is stealing your traffic cheaply at the most valuable stage of the buyer’s journey. If you bid on it as well, it won't cost you much, but it dramatically increases your competitors' cost to compete for it due to your higher Quality Score.

16) Neglecting Bing and only using Google Ads. A lot of people don't know this, but Bing’s grown to account for 8.85% of all online searches in 2023. Windows PCs use Bing by default, and most companies provide workers with PCs over Macs, and that’s why you shouldn't neglect it for your B2B marketing.

17) Not using Youtube as an automated lead generation tool or customer self-serve troubleshooting solution. You can create video content funnels that drive leads based on your buyers journey by using playlists of videos in an order and eventually running ads to get steady of new leads.

You can also make ‘how-to’ style troubleshooting videos or common FAQs to take pressure off your customer support team. Create playlists based on products and short videos answering regular frequently asked questions.

18) Running paid ads to a home page or other web page instead of to a specific landing page and offer. This is a massive waste of advertising budget because it always performs badly and doesn’t drive measurable results.

Ads should drive traffic only to landing pages or other interactive element call-to-actions like “Call Now” unless it's very low cost-per-click and sending the right kind of traffic to content that is at the top of your funnel.

19) Not including relevant call-to-actions to written content and video content. Be explicit about what you want the reader or viewer to do and don’t make them have to think.

Showing your logo at the end of a video but not including a website address, a phone number, an interactive element to click on for more information or claim a special offer is a major, common missed opportunity that super-charges your marketing content.

Make sure your call-to-actions are contextual to the content, and they will work for you 24/7.

20) Creating the content before deciding who it’s meant for. Content should be produced with the intention of helping your buyer personas through the awareness, consideration, decision and delight stages of their buyer's journey.

Understand whose pain point you're fixing before you start creating content and use language that is familiar to them when describing your solution.

21) Not incorporating marketing automation into the lead nurturing processes. Segmenting leads automatically from forms as mentioned in #2 helps to drip feed content that’s relevant to leads over a length of time that fits within your typical sales cycle.

22) Not learning and using ChatGPT or equivalents to write social media post drafts, find hashtags for a post, or drill down on their sales persona data for further insights. The list of AI applications in B2B marketing is growing every day. Check out the recommended link for more inspiration.

RECOMMENDED: How-to Use AI Marketing for Your B2B Marketing in 2023

23) Making the sales process unnecessarily more difficult. A B2B SaaS wanted to increase SQLs by 8% a month. I looked at their sales process and saw a big problem: they were trying to drive leads toward a product demo sales call that could have been a 3 minute product sales video for that persona, but weren’t making the primary call-to-action try for free for X days which was an option found buried in the pricing page FAQs.

In terms of micro-commitments, speaking with a sales person is a bigger ask than watching a product video demo and then trialing a software for free.

Instead of sales people offering scripted product demo presentations, they would be most effective by doing customized onboarding for new SQLs who signed up to try the businesses SaaS for free.

24) Not using structured data mark-ups on key web pages like products, events, about page etc. Structured data is what shows up at the top of a google search before website results. In order to rank your website needs a Moz domain authority above 30. You can find out your website's authority here.

Here’s a free resource I use to write up all of mine.

25) Not using the Google Business listing to its potential. Offers, recommendations, products, services, and posts made in your Google Business profile are favoured in search results over regular searches. That's because it's Google's digital properties and they promote their own stuff first. Google's snack pack can cover more than 1/3 of the first page of local search results and is free to use (for now).

26) Not writing case studies from the buyer persona perspective and being too general in the appeal. This comes back to knowing your audience before getting started. A business owner will have different motivations and pain points than a process engineer, a manager or an end-user.

A good tip is whoever the customer is you're quoting for the case study, their business title is probably the sales persona audience to focus on.

27) Not backlinking articles after publishing, or having any plan to make backlinks happen. I’ve mentioned some in previous articles but good free ones I like are Instapaper and Folkd.

For SaaS companies especially, submitting published posts from HackerNoon and LinkedIn Articles and guest posting sites can also be added to a company's Crunchbase profile as “News Mentions”.

28) Not retargeting web traffic at all. The most cost-effective use of an ad budget is retargeting people you know are interested in your company already, versus prospecting for new business with people who are unfamiliar with you and your product. Retargeting is the low-hanging fruit. If your ad budget is small, stick to retargeting only at first.

29) Not bucketing web traffic retargeting based on where the visitor is in the buyers journey. Web traffic that’s top of the funnel isn’t as valuable to the business as traffic that is in the decision stage of your sales cycle.

30) Not promoting key selling information like free trials or money back guarantees. I’ve seen OEMs that don’t use their "90 day full money back" guarantees on sales pages and marketing collateral, and it really hurts their conversion rates. By including this information, the company reverses the risk away from the customer, so they have nothing to lose by trying the product. 

31) Not using hero images or sales videos on their landing pages. Sales videos are by far more effective than hero images but leaving the space blank isn’t helping convert more traffic into leads. 

32) Linking out to other websites without opening a new tab. It’s ok to link off the website if it’s an important reference, but make sure it’s opening a new tab in the browser because your web traffic isn’t likely to return to your website once they've left.

33) Spending money with ad or marketing agencies instead of running in-house. Cost breakdowns of a marketing agency are typically as follows: ⅓ wage, ⅓ business overhead, ⅓ profit. The more time they spend over what they’ve allotted to you, the less profit a marketing agency makes. In essence, they are incentivized to do as little as possible without getting fired. That mark-up from marketing agencies is better spent on your business by paying and incentivizing high-quality marketing talent of your own, expanding advertising budgets and improving business long-term competitiveness and profitability.

Now although lost opportunities from having these common but costly marketing mistakes is in the past, you now know what you can do to get ahead of your competition, just by making sure these costly and preventable marketing mistakes don't happen on your watch.

PS: I’m looking to transition from consulting back to working for a B2B in need of a marketing director or VP. If you know of a potential company, SaaS or OEM, tell them to connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m open to all serious enquiries. Thanks for reading!