If you are a B2B organization trying to find right-fit clients, consider the words of Prince Harry’s ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer, writing in the May 15, 2023, edition of The New Yorker. The ghostwriter and the prince were fighting over a passage that Harry wanted in and Moehringer wanted out of the memoir Spare.
An exasperated Moehringer told Harry, “You want the world to know that you did a good job, that you were smart. But, strange as it may seem, the memoir isn’t about you … It’s a story carved from your life, a particular series of events chosen because they have the greatest resonance for the widest range of people.”
In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about the reader. The same truth holds for digital marketing.
“Stop talking about yourself and start talking about the problems you solve and who the audience is that you are solving them for,” says B2B digital marketing authority Lori Highby.
Simply put, she says the goal is to get readers to feel you understand their pain and their industry.
Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital-marketing agency. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies to microbusiness owners. We caught up for an interview at the May 2023 Build a Better Agency Summit in Chicago, a gathering of more than 300 marketing experts.
Here is her list of the biggest digital-marketing blunders B2B organizations make:
They talk only about themselves.
“A handful of marketers, myself included, call this the ‘We-We Syndrome,’” says Highby. “If you visit a company’s website, the language is only talking about themselves: ‘We do this and that,’ ‘we have this type of equipment,’ ‘we are the experts,’ ‘look at our awesome building.’ The only spot where you should focus on you is when you are telling your history or talking about your team in the About Us section of your website.”
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Trying to be everything to everyone.
“I once was in a conversation with a professional and I asked who was their target customer and the answer given was, ‘Anyone with a heartbeat,’” recalled Highby. “The reality is if you are trying to be everything to everyone, you will ultimately be nothing to no one. Getting clear on your value proposition (or your core offering) and who is your ideal customer will make it a lot easier to craft messaging and content that will connect and resonate with that audience.”
Not even considering leveraging email.
“Many businesses push email marketing to the wayside,” says Highby. “This is likely because of the stress with their own inbox. But the truth is, your email list is more powerful than any of your social media followers. Your email list is an extremely valuable tool.
Not only can you send emails to individuals who have raised their hand saying they want to hear from you, but you can upload these lists into social media platforms and strategically place ads to look-a-like audiences on those channels, which is basically anyone that has similar demographics as the majority of your email list. Finally, the size and quality of your email list can be a trigger factor when analyzing the value of your business if one was to consider a merger or acquisition.”
You do the same thing your competitors do without any distinction.
“Everyone says fast and high quality,” says Highby. “Have you heard the phrase, ‘The riches are in the niches?’ The more you differentiate yourself, the more you will attract the right type of client that you want to be working with. Identify the areas where you really stand out and speak loudly and proudly that you are different and excel in that area.”
Not paying attention to SEO.
“It is still a very real thing that’s important and is getting even more important with voice search and AI,” says Highby. “As of 2022, Google processes more than 8.5 million searches a day. The majority of customer journey experiences, especially in B2B, start with a generic search on Google.”
Not leveraging video to tell your story.
“Video is preferred over written text by more than 80% of people,” says Highby. “Video allows the user to engage further with your brand beyond reading information. You can demonstrate your process, show the proof of your expertise, educate your audience with video.”
▶️ Related Reading: 5 Short-Form Video Trends for Share-Worthy Content in 2023
To round out the advice, I went to another digital marketing expert. Christine Slocumb, president of Clarity Quest Marketing, has 30 years of marketing and product-management experience in a wide variety of companies, from start-ups to Fortune 50 firms. We met when I helped her edit an upcoming book on stopping starvation marketing.
Before creating her marketing firm, Slocumb was an engineer. She holds eight U.S. patents. She always brings data to the conversation.
“Did you know content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing yet generates three times as many leads?”
Content marketing is a powerful strategy that helps businesses attract and engage their target audience if they provide valuable and relevant content. In other words, you need to provide the greatest resonance for the target audience.
Bottom line: Creating valuable and relevant content that has a long shelf-life and that can be repurposed throughout your entire digital marketing is an effective way to generate triple the leads of the typical marketing.
💡 Related Reading: What I Wish I Knew Sooner: Marketing Tips from Brand to Demand