Conversational Marketing Should Be In Your Strategy

Conversational marketing has become an important and effective tool for businesses connecting with their customers, especially in the B2B space. With the social and economic changes forced upon us by the global pandemic, businesses trying to compete and stay relevant will see positive returns from adding conversational marketing to their marketing strategy. One way to take advantage of the benefits of conversational marketing is through the use of onsite chat and chatbots, a popular and productive feature in many modern websites. 

What is Conversational Marketing? 

Conversational marketing is the endless feedback loop that comes from engaging with your customers on a one-to-one basis. Despite the name, this type of marketing is not merely about taking customer service calls or shaking hands at a trade show (theoretically, if we ever go back to shaking hands). It’s about being available for questions, feedback, and engagement wherever your customers hang out at every stage of the sales cycle. 

That means anything from having a 24-hour customer service to replying to every tweet that mentions your brand to letting people track shipments through Facebook Messenger. And it means chat. 

Conversational Marketing chatbot vs. website form
According to a 2019 study, 86% of people prefer using a chatbot over filling out a form. Source: 2019 State of Conversational Marketing by Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience.

According to a 2019 research study conducted by Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience, 86% of people surveyed would prefer a chatbot over a website form to connect with a brand. 86%! That’s a compelling statistic.

Where Chat Fits In

Person to person chat is not new. Anyone who sat at a computer waiting to hear their dial-up modem connect was able to access AOL instant messenger (AIM), the grandmother of online chat. AIM used to be virtually the only player in the game but people have a lot more options now. And chat, in one form or another, is the preferred method of communication for many, many customers. 

One of the easiest ways to leverage chat is by installing a chat add-on to your website. This type of add-on can utilize a bot to answer customer queries or direct users to the information they’re looking for and can also be set up to have real people from your team engage with your website users.

As a B2B company, chat functionality can be extremely useful for your business in a few different ways, all of which culminate in providing the excellent customer experience that consumers have come to expect. 

Onsite Chat Generates Leads

When a new prospect comes to your website, your main goal is to capture their contact information. A static “contact us” page or a lead generation form on gated content may work well, but chat can add an entirely new dimension to your lead generation strategy.

Think of your website chat bot as an interactive contact form. Your branded chat bot can prompt a prospect with questions they might have about your business and then collect their contact details so that you can get back to them with an answer. 

Onsite Chat Promotes Engagement and Nurturing

In 2017, Business2Community reported that the buying cycle for B2B products and services was longer than it was in 2016. In 2020, with budgets slashed and B2B buyers stretched thin, it’s quite likely this timespan is even longer. This means your sales team needs all the help it can get in nurturing leads. 

According to the RAIN Group, on average, new prospects require at least 8 touches with a brand before they make a purchase. Because your chat tool can discern when a visitor to your site is new or returning, it can specifically engage returning visitors with a unique message, like a discount offer, or a targeted piece of content that indicates they are already somewhat familiar with your brand. Targeted engagement like this, when done correctly, can be very successful with nurturing leads through your sales funnel. 

Onsite Chat Enhances Customer Service

The way many of us engage with brands leveraging chat is through customer service. The fact is that virtually no one prefers to call customer service lines on the phone anymore. Too many of us have experienced total frustration trying to get connected to an agent, having to repeat ourselves several times and waiting on interminable holds. Most users prefer chat for customer service, hands down. In fact, one study found that live customer service chat scored a 92 percent on a customer satisfaction scale. 

Not only is chat easy to engage with on mobile, even if there are wait times, you can easily do something else while you wait. You can even email users a record of their chat conversation once it concludes so they have it for their records (and yours).

Ultimately, conversational marketing, and onsite chat specifically, is one more compelling tool to engage effectively with your prospects and your customers. The better prospect and customer experience you are able to create, the better able you are to grow your business.


How Inbound Methodology Solves Cybersecurity Marketing Challenges

Cybersecurity is a growth industry. In fact, according to Cybercrime Magazine, “Cybersecurity Ventures predicts global spending on cybersecurity products and services will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the five-year period from 2017 to 2021.” Published in 2019, recent global events will likely push that estimate even higher. With $1 trillion on the table, it’s no wonder that cybersecurity companies are scrambling for their piece of the pie. Like all businesses, marketing for cybersecurity companies requires a strategy. Here, we explain why inbound marketing methodology is one of the best ways for cybersecurity companies to ensure that they are staying ahead of the competitive curve. 

Cybersecurity Marketing Challenges

Unless you’re giving away free money or ice cream, all businesses face some level of marketing challenges — trying to attract the right customers with the right budget at the right time. For the cybersecurity industry, there are more explicit challenges that marketers must overcome, including large education gaps, a potentially long sales cycle, and the pressure to differentiate your solution from competitors. 

Education

There’s no way around it: cybersecurity is a broad topic that can get extremely complex. Even someone who considers themselves an expert in the topic can have many blind spots. Further, things are always changing as new technologies develop on the good and bad sides of the topic, meaning education must be ongoing. 

The majority of cybersecurity customers are not subject matter experts, which leaves a lot of heavy lifting for marketers in the space. For instance, executives often present the biggest hurdle for cybersecurity experts, called by one report “the weakest link” due to their lack of understanding of the cyber threat landscape.  

Without sufficient education on what risks they actually face and how to address them effectively, it can be extremely difficult for a cybersecurity company to close a sale with a prospect. 

Sales Cycle

Speaking of sales, the sales cycle for many cybersecurity solutions can be quite long. Before investing in technology that they may or may not understand, people want to be educated, probably to shop around a bit, and to feel very secure that they’re making the right choice for their own business. This process takes time and keeping prospects engaged from the moment they decide they need better security solutions to when they’re ready for an invoice can be a major challenge. 

Differentiation

Competition is a given, but the reality is that your business is not exactly like any other. Whether you serve a different type of customer, offer different price points, or have proprietary technology on your side, you’re not the same as even your most similar competitor — but your prospects don’t know that. 

The problem with differentiation in cybersecurity marketing can often be traced back to the education piece. When a prospect is not educated about what will address their specific needs, they will be unable to differentiate between your service and another one. Luckily, there are tested marketing strategies that can address the challenges that many cybersecurity companies face. 

inbound marketing
Inbound Marketing for Cybersecurity Companies

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a term that refers to marketing that provides excellent educational content and resources to targeted prospects with the goal of drawing them to you. It stands in contrast to outbound interruptive marketing that takes a much more scattershot approach, throwing your message at people while they’re trying to read, watch, or learn about something completely unrelated. (See our Inbound Methodology Growth Studio one-sheet here).

Content Heavy

Content makes up a huge part of any inbound marketing strategy. The idea is that a company can and should be providing a lot of upfront value to prospects, long before they try to make a sale. Content can be anything from informational blog posts to downloadable white papers, explainer videos, or case studies. 

Persona Driven

Inbound marketing is also driven by buyer personas. The better you know the specific person you’re selling to, the better you can focus your message in a way that will speak to them. For instance, making a sale to a CEO requires a much different tact and messaging than making a sale to someone a more junior level, who may have to get approval on a purchase. There are many factors outside of job titles that differentiate personas, like level of education, years of experience, size of company, family background, age and gender. 

Growth Focused

Inbound marketing is not just about moving prospects through your sales process — it’s about creating an automated lead generation and nurturing process that adds value at every stage. By providing excellent education and service to both prospects and customers, you get more repeat business as well as invaluable word of mouth marketing.


Related: Content Toolbox For Building Your B2B Brand [infographic]


Applying Inbound Marketing to Cybersecurity

Hopefully it is already becoming clear how the inbound marketing methodology could be effectively applied to the cybersecurity industry. To be clear, following are three key ways that the inbound marketing methodology can work for cybersecurity businesses. 

Understand Your Prospects Better…

Chances are you are already familiar, if not an expert, on your key buyer personas. Inbound marketing forces you to think even more deeply about what is most important to your personas and develop marketing messages and collateral that are specifically targeted to these people. Cybersecurity buyers — whether they are CISOs, IT managers, or small business CEOs — all have unique needs when it comes to education, benefits, and closing a sale. By implementing inbound marketing that is organized around buyer personas, you force your marketing team to think about what your prospects want and how you can serve them effectively at every step. 

…Educate Them…

The inbound marketing methodology is an ideal fit for industries like cybersecurity that have a lot of education to do for potential customers. Focusing your marketing energy on creating targeted educational content for prospects can do wonders for your sales pipeline in a few ways: 

    • Fresh, high-quality content is still the best way to improve the SEO of your website and attract more visitors
    • When your sales reps can send targeted, branded content to prospects that answers their questions in detail, those prospects are much more likely to stick around
    • The better your prospects understand the benefits of your solution, the less friction there will be in the sales process and they better equipped they’ll be to share your solutions with others in their network. 

…And Keep Them Engaged

The long sales cycle that can be involved in the cybersecurity industry means that you need to have a way to keep prospects engaged. Fresh content in addition to strategic automated email nurturing, also part of any successful inbound marketing campaign, can get you there. It’s not just about reminding your prospects that you exist and “sending a quick follow-up” but continuing to add value that’s specific to their problem. 


Related: Adjusting Tactics for Digital Marketing in an Economic Downturn


A hope-for-the-best marketing approach isn’t enough in this competitive environment. By implementing the inbound marketing methodology for your cybersecurity business, you will be giving yourself an advantage by serving your prospect and customers as best you can. 


Content Toolbox For Building Your B2B Brand [infographic]

DOWNLOAD B2B MARKETING CONTENT INFOGRAPHIC »

It was not long ago that nearly every marketing playbook would start with some variation of the phrase “content is king.”

Nearly every business with a content marketing strategy was struggling to create as much content as possible, as quickly as possible. In many cases, this would lead to blogs filled with tons of posts and very little actionable, valuable content. Google took notice of this and sheer content volume ceased to be enough to register an SEO bump.

So the drive to create content based exclusively on volume has slowed considerably, but B2B businesses should still be doing whatever they can to create high-value content for their key buyer personas. Not only does great content contribute to your owned media profile and give you a chance to share useful information with your potential customers, it can also be a boon for SEO when done right. 

B2B companies that do not yet have a robust content creation process may initially equate “content” with “blog post” or “LinkedIn post” but the reality is that there are a range of different types of content that may be useful in building your brand and driving revenue for your business.

Each type of content offers a unique way to communicate your brand and values and each occupies a unique place in your business website strategyMost companies will benefit from a mix of content types, but the specific types that your company should focus on will depend heavily on what your content goals are as well as what resources you have to devote to content creation. 

8 Vital Types of B2B Marketing Content Infographic

Check out our infographic to get a better idea as to what types of content make the most sense for your business. 

8 types of content marketing

DOWNLOAD B2B MARKETING CONTENT INFOGRAPHIC »


Adjusting Tactics for Digital Marketing in an Economic Downturn

The COVID-19 social crisis and economic downturn presents unique challenges for all companies. Every business is facing issues. As we work through this crisis, there will be obvious cut-backs and sacrifices. Marketing communications may seem an expendable expense in times like this, however, it remains critically important to maintain a stable brand perception.

Marketing is an Engine, Not a Switch. 

For many businesses, it might be tempting to think of marketing as a switch that can be turned on and off. That’s not how it works.

Marketing is an engine that builds momentum as you spin it up. The more fuel you add, the more momentum you gain and the faster and more effective it is.

If you suddenly switch that engine off, grinding everything to a halt, you’ve lost all that momentum. You’ve invested valuable money and resources towards marketing. Rather than losing that investment, you’re better off maintaining or even increasing your efforts to remain strong through the storm and stronger on the other side of it.

It’s been well-documented that increased spending in marketing and advertising during a recession can pay off. From Forbes:

“…there have been a number of studies going back nearly one century that point out the advantages of maintaining or even increasing ad budgets during a weaker economy. Those advertisers that maintained or grew their ad spending increased sales and market share during the recession and afterwards.”

The article continues:

There are several reasons to advertise during a slowdown.

  • The “noise level” in a brand’s product category can drop when competitors cut back on their ad spend. It also allows for advertisers to re-position a brand or introduce a new product.
  • Brands can project to consumers the image of corporate stability during challenging times.
  • When marketers cut back on their ad spending, the brand loses its “share of mind” with consumers, with the potential of losing current – and possibly future – sales. An increase in “share of voice” typically leads to in an increase in “share of market.” An increase in market share results, with an increase in profits. 
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Considering a business website redesign?

Download our comprehensive website redesign guide for everything you need to know about strategizing effectively before you invest.

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Start With Strategy

Now is the time to reconsider the strategy and campaigns you’ve been working on and adjust your content plan. The components you need to consider include:

  • Content
  • Digital Advertising
  • Strategy

Here are some considerations and ideas for your plan moving forward:

Advocate Helpfulness

During the crisis, be a knowledgeable and relatable resource for your clients. Now is not the time to appear to be capitalizing on the crisis.

    • Avoid disingenuous or opportunistic promotion
    • Highlight the things your business may be doing for your staff and customers now and in the near future

Utilize Communication Channels

If it’s appropriate for your business to send updates to your contacts, keep in mind the following:

    • Lead with empathy
    • Keep the message short; focus only on critical information
    • Be creative when appropriate
    • Consider other channels such as social media and website messaging
    • Stick to your brand’s voice
    • Include what your brand may be doing to help
    • Segment your list, if it’s large enough

Provide Thought Leadership

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What information would they seek out and find useful?  Revaluate your content strategy and develop content around helping your customers weather the storm.

    • Produce useful content that helps inform your customers or even entertain them while many of your contacts are working from home
    • Help educate customers about what the “new reality” will look like in your industry d
    • Provide studies and factual information

Implement Onsite Chat and Chatbots for Customer Service

Your customers are just as concerned about their business as you are. Their projects may be mid-stream or they may have other concerns or questions. Providing a website chatbot or live chat feature will allow them to remain helpful to your customers with convenient access.

Update Your FAQs

Provide easy access to questions your customers may have with a specific crisis-related FAQ. This is a convenient way for your customers to access information and for you to provide transparency and helpfulness. If you don’t have FAQs on your website, now is a great time to add them.

Adapt Your Paid Search

Review your paid search campaigns on Google and social media and make sure they’re not currently insensitive to the situation. Be sensible about what and how you’re advertising at this time. If appropriate reallocate or save your budget for the later.

A Decision to Make

Only you can determine what the best course of action should be for your business. There are many very real considerations to work through including cash flow and financials. But if it’s feasible and realistic to continue your marketing or even increase it right now, it could pay off exponentially in the months and years to come.


4.5 Star Client Review Don’t Come Easy

In the age of big data, utilizing a data driven strategy is the most effective way of modern day growth. At Bynder Group, we utilize powerful technology and high performing web strategies to help our clients build their brand and accelerate their business. With a team skilled in web design, digital strategy, and content marketing, we are prepared to become your next marketing partner.

We are proud to announce that Bynder Group has received our first client review on our Clutch profile. Clutch, a B2B review site, rates and ranks the leading firms in a wide variety of locations and industries. Clutch offers an individual rating for each company on their profile. Our profile boasts a 4.5 star rating!

 

Our happy client is McGrath/Power Public Relations and Communications Firm. The Bynder Group team was able to revamp their website, resulting in a complete new look and presentation of their brand. We used our expertise in front and backend development, lead generation, and content consulting to create a more effective site that better positions them in the market.

We were praised for our clean project management, creativity and communication throughout the life of the project.

“Most impressive to us was both dealing directly with Rob/receiving senior-level input and the overall strength of his ideas and creativity. He is a direct and clear communicator who was patient with us when need be and not afraid to tell us to “get moving” when we fell behind” -CEO of McGrath/Power Public Relations and Communications.

At Bynder Group, we are thankful for our clients taking the time to submit a review. Each new review will enhance our credibility on Clutch.


3 Critical Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Design Agency

Your website needs an update. It might be a few years old or isn’t performing as well as it should. Maybe your business changed or your brand has evolved. Whatever the reason, websites need to be updated or they become irrelevant and ineffective. Even worse, an outdated website could impede your company’s growth. 

For most businesses, working with an agency to design or redesign your website is the best approach. Many businesses don’t have the luxury of an in-house team with the right skill sets. Even for those that do, working with a collaborative agency can bring valuable insight, skills and experience to create much greater value to your investment.

When looking for a web design agency, make sure you find one that will do more than take orders and deliver templated “solutions”. Choose an agency that understands your business goals and will be able to achieve them with a web strategy, not just a website.

1. Look for Expertise in Branding, Marketing, and Design

Websites are often the first touchpoint for your business. The design, messaging, and performance of your website will all influence how your brand is perceived. If it’s off-brand or off-message, they’re gone. You lose.  

Your website needs to look great, be easy to navigate, and quickly, clearly communicate what differentiates you from your competitors. It needs to help visitors achieve their goals, whether that  means conducting research or performing a transaction. Your website also needs to communicate your brand accurately and promote positive impressions of your brand.

Just as importantly, your website needs to help visitors engage with your business. The process to contact you, subscribe to your email list, make a purchase, or download an ebook, should be as simple as possible.

Web design agencies need to be experts in branding, marketing and design. They should provide marketing insights for search engine optimization (SEO), have a complete knowledge of web technology, and be able to integrate with other systems like your CRM.

The right web design agency will provide well-rounded vision and the specialty services required for the highest ROI.

2. Listen to Their Questions

When you’re working to get a new website, you’ll probably have conversations with several agencies. During these conversations, you will ask about things like timelines, cost, experience, and references. The agency will also have questions. Pay attention to these. Are they stuck on questions about budget and colors or are they trying to uncover more details about your business, your customers, and your goals?

Try this the next time you talk to a prospective agency. Ask them a simple question: “How are you going to deliver measurable results and improve my business?” 

A design agency that is only asking about aesthetics and technology is skipping over the fundamental element of an effective strategy, and that’s how your website can serve your business and produce growth. Here are some questions you should expect to hear when vetting a design partner:

  • What are your short term and long term goals?
  • Who is your target audience and what motivates them?
  • Who is your competition and how are you different?
  • How will you measure success?

3. Prioritize Your Business Goals

Of course a web design agency needs to know how to design a website — but that’s the bare minimum. For the highest return on your marketing investment, you want something more than nice graphics: you want a website that produces measurable results. 

That’s why it’s critical that you choose to work with a web design agency who builds websites that are informed by branding, marketing, sales, and digital strategy. It’s all of these elements working together that result in a website that grows your business, generating leads and new business non-stop, 24/7. 

There are many agencies to choose from and many factors to consider. But how do you get more out of your investment? How do you get a website that performs as a tool to grow your business? If you want a website that does more, you need an agency that can do more. Why would you settle for less? Keep this in mind when you’re working on your next website update. It really is possible to work with a great agency that has your business in mind.