B2B Digital Marketing Checklist

How to Build Your Business Online in a Post-Covid Economy

Introduction / Overview

Coronavirus has changed global marketing. No more in-person conferences. No in-person meetings with far-flung prospects around the world. These sales paths may return some day, but they will forever be altered.

Your website is now your most important sales tool. Customers must be able to find you online, whether through organic search or via ads. Websites create inbound marketing,  where you create more leads by attracting customers to you. Qualified prospects find you, instead of the other way around. Your sales time is shortened, because the leads that contact you, by definition, have confirmed they are interested in your product. Inbound marketing has better conversion rates than cold-calling or emailing, because they found you.

The catch in all this is that your website has more competition to rank well on Google and other search engines. Customers won’t find you if you are buried on the fifth page of the search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become more important than ever. This guide will help you rank better, to bring more customers to you.

What You Will Learn

We’ll break this down into 3 essential stages. 

  1. Preparation: Market Analysis & Strategy Building
  2. Execution: Building & Optimizing Your Site
  3. Next Steps: Promotion & Maintenance
  4. We also provide a Digital Marketing Glossary, an explanation of key terms,
    so all stakeholders on your site are using the same language.

Step 1 Market Analysis & Strategy Building

  • Identify Your Customers.
    • Who are they? (What industry? What positions do they hold?)
    • Think about different stakeholders in your target companies. Who will ultimately use your product? Who will first search for your product? What role does the decision maker play in the organization? Your site will need to speak to all of them.
    • What country/countries are they in?
  • Talk to Your Existing Customers & Serious Prospects. (Don’t Skip This Step!)
    • What problems does your product solve?
    • What words or phrases do prospective customers use to describe their problem?
      (These will become your keywords.)
    • What benefits or features are most important to them? (Not, to you. To them.)
  • Who Are Your Competitors?
    • Review their websites – who are they talking to? How do they describe their products?
    • What do they offer that you cannot?
    • Why would people choose your product over your competitors’?
  • Identify Industry Websites or Other Sites Your Customers Frequent.
    • These will also help with keyword research, as well as provide an outlet later for your content (for backlinks, discussed below).
  • Identify Your Goals and Your Key Performance Indicators
    • Do you want your site to lend credibility and authority to your brand? Your KPIs might include traffic, or social media engagement. Are you focused on lead generation? Then Contact Form Submissions and pdf downloads of your brochure will be more important.
    • Remember, B2B includes a longer sales cycle, with multiple site visits from a wide range of stakeholders, before converting visitors into leads. Ideally you want to create KPIs throughout the sales funnel.
      • Examples:
      • Site visits, time on page, visits with 2 or more page views, returning visitors
      • Pdf downloads, video views, newsletter signups
      • Lead form submissions

Step 2 Site Organization and Optimization

  • Website Architecture
    • Generally, your site will have a Home Page; an About Page; Product Page(s); often an Applications Page; a section where you can publish company or industry news, white papers, helpful resources, etc. (sometimes called a Blog); and a Contact Page with a Contact Form. These pages or sections will be listed in the menu at the top of the site.
    • Home Page
      • This is an introduction to your company and your site. Bulk of traffic will land here, & be directed deeper into the site.
    • About Page (or Section)
      • Second-most viewed page. Project expertise & authority. Link down to pages about company leadership, distributors or partners if you have them, a corporate responsibility page if you have one. This is the one section that’s all about you.
    • Product Page(s)
      • Depending on your product line, this will be a hierarchy 2-3 levels deep. There is an introductory overview of what you offer, which links to product types or directly to individual, specific products. Interlinking is important here – make sure there are links from the overview to the types to the specific, and back.
    • Applications Page(s)
      • Sometimes your customers won’t know which products they need. They only know what industry they are in, and what their challenges are. In that case, you need to meet them where they are, demonstrate that you understand their problems, and guide them to the appropriate products.
    • News & Resources
      • Not only will you want a space on your site to publish news about your company and your industry, but Google and other search engines favor sites that are updated on a regular basis. So, have a “Blog” section and keep it current!
      • Including helpful resources and white papers here will also help you attract links from other sites (discussed below). In this case, don’t focus solely on your own products and company. Instead offer valuable content that helps your customers.
    • Contact Page
      • Arguably the most important page on the site. (If you can include a physical address this will build trust.) The main feature of this page is a Contact Form. Keep your form short and easy to fill out – ask for your customers’ name, company name, email address, and include a space where they can add a short message.
    • Other Pages
      • At a minimum, you must also have a Privacy Policy describing how you will use the data you collect from users, both the non-identifying information your site collects as part of your Analytics, and the information voluntarily provided via your Contact Form. You can find boilerplate privacy pages online.
      • FAQs should answer genuinely popular questions, as well as explain the details of your products.
    • Use Clear, Plain English
      • Many of your customers may speak English as a second language. Your website needs to be understood by everyone.
      • It is fine to use industry jargon if most of your customers understand the terms, but remember that some pages may be read by CFOs who are not engineers. Try to explain the terms at least once on the page.
    • Use Visuals
      • Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, image searches are popular on Google. Good images can make complex ideas appear clear and understandable.
    • Target a Global Audience
      • Do you need to translate Key Pages? Get a Country Code TLD (Top Level Domain)?
  • SEO Optimization
    • Write Title Tags, Page Descriptions, and Image (ALT) Tags
      • Include your keywords in your headlines; toward the beginning and at the end of every page; and in your URLs.
    • Event Codes and Goals
    • Site Speed
    • Getting Incoming Links (Backlinks)
      • Distribute helpful resources & other useful content to online publications where people go to find information in your industry.
        Valuable (authoritative) industry websites, .gov and .edu websites.
  •  Usability Testing
    • Ideally you should do this before promoting your site or asking for incoming links 

Step 3 Advertising

Unfortunately, most B2B companies will generate organic traffic very slowly. The search volume for niche market keywords can be extremely low (many many more people search for “find a doctor near me” than search for “x-ray machine manufacturers.”) So, it takes longer for Google evaluate your site and raise your position onto the second or first page of search results. Advertising can jump-start this process. 

If your goals include building traffic and leads quickly, you will need to do some form of advertising.

  • Determine Your Best Platforms
    • Google
    • Bing
    • China – Baidu
    • Russia – Yandex
    • etc Naver, Yahoo Japan
  • Create Your Ad Campaigns
    • Campaigns – target different locations, set budgets
    • Ad Groups – divide your campaigns into groups. Each group will revolve around a single landing page and tight-knit group of keywords relating to that page.
    • Ad Content – Use Keywords and highlight benefits in your headlines. Use your “description” lines to “sell the click.” Use our Google Ad Character Counter.
    • A note about Search Ads vs. Display Ads.

Step 4 Social Media Presence

Although this is not usually as relevant for B2B companies, there will still be some social media platforms relevant for you.

  • Connect Directly With Your Customers
    • LinkedIn – at very least you need a company profile.
    • YouTube – place videos about your company and products here.
    • Facebook? – not generally useful to most B2B companies but always worth testing.
  • Social Media Advertising
    • Costs vary across platforms, and results vary by industry.

Step 5 Maintaining Your Site

  • Use Analytics to evaluate site performance.
  •  Invest more in popular pages and products. Create ads leading to those pages.
  • Google favors sites which are more recent. If your site has not been updated in months or years, your rank will fall, no matter how useful your pages are.
    • Post new content to your Blog on a monthly basis, or more often if appropriate.
    • Post a variety of content, from deep-dive technical white papers, to 
  • Your competitors are always acquiring new backlinks. You must constantly do the same if you want to stay relevant. 

Glossary of Some Important Digital Marketing Terms

  • Analytics – Usually Google Analytics but not necessarily. A system which tracks, catalogs, and displays data about your site, such as number of users, pages visited, and much more.
  • Backlinks – Links from another, different site, which lead back to your site. You can think of backlinks as votes, or recommendations, for your website. The more votes you get from outside sources, and the more authoritative those recommendations, the more value Google will place on your site, and the higher your site will rank. Backlinks are arguably THE MOST IMPORTANT RANKING FACTOR for your website. (We can’t emphasize this enough. Backlinks are life.)
  • Blog – While most B2B sites do not use the term “Blog,” your CMS (Content Management System, e.g. WordPress) will use the word to describe a type of web page which displays posts in reverse-chronological order, with the newest items first. (As opposed to a “static” page such as an About page, which does not move over time.)
  • Footer – At the bottom of a website, an element which repeats on every page, leading users to important but not necessarily high-value pages (e.g., a privacy policy).
  • Interlinking – the practice of linking between pages on a single site. The greater the number of different pages which link to a particular page on your site, the greater the importance Google will attribute to this particular page.
  • Keywords – Arguably the most important component of your marketing campaign. The words or phrases a user will type into Google or other search engine. Google will then display a ranked list of web pages which most closely match the search term, based on your title tag and your content.
    With the introduction of “semantic search,” the emphasis is moving away from a single keyword repeated over & over on your pages, toward a group of words which refer to a single idea or topic, but the basic principle is the same.
  • Menu – Or, Navigation Menu. Usually a clickable bar across the top of a website, leading site visitors deeper into separate sections and individual pages within a site. This is not the place to get creative: Menus should be intuitive, making it easy to navigate to any page on your site.
  • PPC Advertising – Stands for Pay-Per-Click. It used to be that ad costs in newspapers and other publications were based on the number of people who might see your ad. With PPC advertising, you are charged only when a person clicks on your ad.
  • SEO – Stands for Search Engine Marketing. Can be defined as the science of reaching people via search engines (such as Google). In practice, it is used to refer to all digital marketing, both organic and paid.
  • SERP – Stands for Search Engine Result Page. You know what it is, even if you don’t know the term.

example of a search engine result page

About the Author

Ron Spinner, MSc, founder of AIMS Digital, began designing websites in 1995. He was one of the first to pass Google’s Professional Certification Exam. He has been helping businesses around the world succeed on the internet since 1998.

He is the author of Global Multilingual SEO: Including SEM, PPC, SMO and Usability, available on Amazon.

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