B2B Performance Marketing Agency
Table of Contents
Marketing is the key to driving sales and lead generation in a startup. However, the right strategy is particularly important. A performance marketing agency can set you on the right path.
You might be familiar with traditional marketing methods such as advertising, or email marketing. The truth is that the best marketing strategies require a combination of three core elements.
A performance marketing agency is a team of marketers that deliver a combination of paid, inbound and outbound strategies. Together, these efforts nurture leads, and drive sales of your solution.
Many startups rely too heavily on connections and existing business relationships. This is understandable. Typically, B2B tech startups have limited budgets and will prioritise developing the solution over marketing. After all, they’ve got this far without a performance marketing agency.
As a startup, you can’t afford to throw money into ineffective marketing campaigns. Paid marketing and advertising campaigns can be costly without a well-planned strategy.
Startups need a different type of performance marketing agency in order to benefit from truly effective marketing. The key is to test and learn, before making big spends. This method reaps the best return on investment and is, more importantly, cost-effective.
Startup Performance Marketing Agency
Performance marketing for startups is a little different. The test and learn approach is the real key to success. Without the knowledge and planning to back up your strategies, you cannot scale your marketing or business.
The main problem for marketing startups up to Series A is the basis for previous sales. Typically, up until major funding, sales have been driven by founders. These are referred to as hero sales.
Buyers are found through existing business relationships, mutual connections, or pure charisma. Unfortunately, charisma doesn’t scale. Previous buyers are more likely to have made a purchase due to their relationship, rather than their requirements.
After a major funding round, a founder might look to hire a sales team. This requires the time and resources provided by the funding. However, the previous sales precedent means that the sales team cannot sell.
Sales teams do not know who they’re selling to, or what the solution is for. This is where the test and learn approach can help to build a marketing and sales strategy. The approach is made to find your highest performing message.
Your sales team needs the right message, targeted at the right person, at the right time. This creates scaleable marketing. Consider this vital information, in order to build the right message for your startup solution.
Build a Buyer Persona
The first step to building an effective marketing message is knowing who is receiving that message. Generate a buyers persona. This is the description of your ideal customer, or who you think will benefit from your solution. Your persona will be based on some research, and some educated guessing.
Conduct research using the data that you already have. You might wish to build surveys, or conduct interviews. Speak to your existing customers and your competitors’ customers. You can also carry out research companies that haven’t purchased yet, but you think are relevant. Your interactions should gather the following information, in order to build your buyers persona:
To begin, consider the basics like demographics. This includes age, gender, location, ethnicity, education and more. These may not be the primary driving force for your message, but it’s likely that you will notice some trends.
Next, narrow down your persona with specifics. This will require some educated guesses. Identify the interests, job roles, priorities, motivations and more. This information will likely be a lot more personal, and should really humanize your persona.
This information should help you to identify their problems within their industry. Consider what your ideal buyers biggest pain points are. What do they want to change, but they may not know there is a solution to? Identify how your solution can help them within their market. This will drive your message.
Finally, it’s important to know more about their behaviour. Consider where your target buyer spends their time online. You need to know what information they use to make their purchase decisions.
For example, a younger audience might be more driven by social media like LinkedIn or Facebook. Whereas those that are older might be more interested in email marketing or Google search results. Ultimately, once you generate your message, your buyer needs to see it.
Market Research and Positioning
The second component to building a full marketing message is familiarity with your target market. If your target buyers work in the health tech space, for example, you need to know health tech.
Consider where the majority of your customers, or ideal customers, are positioned. Begin by learning more about this market.
Conduct research into the major thought leaders in the market. Get an idea of their largest customers, and how they help them. Find out what solutions they offer. You need to know their message, and how they position themselves in the industry.
This information should help you to position yourself within the market. Consider how you can supplement the market, or what problems your buyers are continuing to face. You might position yourself against the existing leaders, or alongside them.
The combination of your buyers’ persona, and market research, will form your marketing messaging. Your message is a key component of an effective marketing plan. Startup performance marketing must test and learn their messaging, but this is what allows you to scale. These are the tools that allow you to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
Download the Guide: How to Market B2B SaaS Startups
Content is Key to Performance Marketing
Content is extremely valuable to any performance marketing agency. Also, your content should be just as valuable to your leads.
Whether inbound, outbound or paid, content is the fuel for your performance marketing strategies. Your content carries your message, in order to truly resonate with your buyers.
The primary aim of content marketing is to position your business as thought leaders. Your company and your content should be a valuable resource. Your leads should trust your content, and return for answers to their questions time again. This is accomplished by creating content that addresses the most important and common questions in the industry.
This is a particularly relevant notion for the B2B tech space. Many innovative startup technologies and softwares are completely new to potential buyers in this industry. They are less likely to understand how it works, and how it fits into their business. Also, buyers often don’t realise that there is a solution to their problem, or that they even have a problem.
This combination results in a need for information and education. Your content needs to educate your leads on the problems that they are facing. It should also prove that your company can be the solution.
Performance marketing agencies use content for paid, inbound and outbound marketing. Your message and your content should educate your buyers at every given opportunity.
Content facilitates your inbound marketing strategy by improving SEO. Your search engine ranking is the primary focus of inbound marketing.
For effective inbound content, you need to know your buyer and your keywords. Conduct keyword research around relevant topics suited to your buyers’ persona. Consider what they are likely to be searching when looking for solutions.
Your researched keywords will drive your content. Build a content plan around the most relevant or popular keywords. Your content should then be optimized for your buyer, and rank highly on search engines. The better optimized, the more buyers that you can help. It is important that you provide more value than your competitors.
This strategy is also just as important for PPC campaigns. Keywords help Google Ads display to the right audience. Your website SEO may not be key for ranking here. However, your ads should drive to content that is valuable. Therefore, your specific content topic and keywords help Google to determine the relevant audience for your ads. The more relevant your ads, the more clicks, resulting in your ad being shown to more people.
A performance marketing agency also utilizes content in outbound methodologies, too. As mentioned, a combination of approaches is important.
The most common use of outbound marketing is email contact. However, you might also consider LinkedIn messaging and phone calls to reach out to leads.
Your email sequences should offer content to those in your contact list. The content should be relevant, valuable, and timely. This might vary depending on the people in your contacts, and what they’re interested in.
The average email open rate is between 12-25%. You need to make the most of those open rates and encourage conversion. Offer the download of a white paper, or infographic. You might also want to educate them using a webinar.
It is easy for someone to ignore an email, as they receive so many per day, or move your email to the trash. Your content needs to be the hook that adds value to their experience with your company. Demonstrate that you know them, and their major problems or concerns.
Focus on your buyer and your messaging. A valuable message, to the right person, just at the right time, is more likely to result in a conversion.
Paid Marketing for B2B Tech
The major point to gain here is that content is an easier sell for outbound and paid than “contact us”. This is the case for both your email campaigns, LinkedIn and your paid advertising.
Similar to your inbound and outbound marketing, your paid ads need to provide value. It can be easy to get caught up in highlighting the brilliance of your solution or pushing a meeting. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to result in conversions. Chances are, you will waste a lot of ad spend and show poor ROI.
Typically, people aren’t willing to take a meeting with strangers from an ad, no matter how targeted. B2B tech purchases are challenging to secure, so you need to demonstrate more value.
Offer content as a conversion. Demonstrate that you understand their market, and their problems. The meeting or phone call can come later. In the first instance, the priority is to secure their interest and educate them. This is the first step in their journey through your funnel.
Ideally, your content needs to be visually appealing for successful paid ads. Offer an infographic, or video content.
You might want to ask for contact details, in exchange for your downloadable or other piece of content. In terms of return on investment, building your contact list is worth the spend as a startup.
Performance Marketing Strategies
Now that you have the tools in place, it’s important to consider your strategies. Your content is your message, and your buyer guides your message. Your strategies are the delivery method. This is how you will reach your buyer, and demonstrate your value.
It’s important to have a wide reach and a range of distribution channels. However, they equally need to be targeted. Combine a few channels, and ensure your niche is clear on each platform.
Here are a few ways that you can make the most out of different strategies and platforms.
Social Network Advertising
Social networks are becoming just as much about advertising, as they are about socializing. These days, every social media platform offers a form of advertising. Facebook Ads is one of the most commonly used paid ad platforms. However, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and more offer advertising for businesses.
Social media advertising is meant to build demand. Users on these platforms might not know your product yet. This is where you push your ideas and solutions, and demonstrate your brand. Typically, your audience won’t be looking for solutions on social media. You need to resonate with them, despite this.
For this reason, it is imperative that you know your buyer well. Firstly, you need to know where your buyer spends their time online. Refer to your persona, and their identified behaviours.
Consider whether they spend browsing time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or elsewhere. This is where you should base the majority of your advertising campaigns. Why waste money advertising where relevant audiences won’t see it?
Depending on the platform, you will then need to build a target list. The method will likely vary. LinkedIn and Facebook have a feature called a “looks like” audience. This tool is particularly useful and time-effective.
The advertising platform will take a list of contacts that you have filled in as your target audience. The algorithm assesses that data, and generates a list of contacts that are similar to your target. As the algorithm learns about your contacts, and who is engaging, your reach expands. If you already have the data, this is an ideal way to use it.
However, other social media platforms don’t offer a service like this. You may need to build your audience more traditionally on these platforms. Input demographic information based on your target buyer. Be as detailed as the site will allow. The ad platform will then show your advertising based on this information. Again, some algorithms will learn as contacts do or don’t engage.
Regardless of the audience input method, it’s clear that knowing your buyer is the key. Without this information, ad spend can skyrocket as ads perform poorly. Poor conversion is a result of an irrelevant audience. This provides little-to-no ROI. You could easily spend $40-50k a month and achieve few results. Focus on your buyer, and your content and ads will do the rest.
PPC and Google
Google is a powerful platform. It is the most used search engine, and most visited website in the world. If your buyer uses the internet, they use Google.
Pay-per-click advertising is used to target those that are looking for something specific. Your buyer needs to know their problem, or already be looking for a solution.
This method is far less about brand awareness, and relies more heavily on content and solutions. Therefore, you need to know your audience. You need to know specifically, what are their problems and what are they searching for online.
Much like your inbound and SEO efforts, you need to know what they are searching and tailor your ads accordingly. Keywords and search terms are the primary tools for an effective PPC ad campaign. Offer valuable content within your PPC ads, to drive traffic to your website. Your SEO and PPC will go hand in hand.
The idea behind this is that your PPC will back up your inbound efforts. Algorithm changes and publish dates can affect your search engine ranking. PPC pushes content for as long as your campaign is running.
Outbound and Email Marketing
The best performance marketing agencies tie performance marketing to email marketing. Email marketing can be the perfect bookend to your other marketing campaigns.
It is critical that your email contacts are relevant, and have already had some engagement with your company. This may be from downloadable content, a contact us form or engagement with an ad. This ensures that your email contacts are relevant and willing to receive correspondence.
When performed well, your candidate will have a full marketing experience with your business. Ideally, your target buyer will have seen a few ads, and this is then supplemented by an email or phone call. The perfect alignment of these strategies makes for an effective marketing effort.
Again, supplement your outbound and email marketing with content as a conversion. Your target decision-makers likely get hundreds of emails a week asking for a meeting. Avoid being pushed to the bottom of the pile. Your content provides value to them, garnering trust and credibility with each interaction.
It’s easy to get lost in the world of blogs and white papers. Remember, content isn’t just written. This is especially true in today’s multimedia online age. The majority of websites are beginning to favor video content, over anything else. The popularity of YouTube is just one example of the publics’ preference for video content.
Your content strategy should include both written and video content. In fact, complement your blogs and social media posts with video. You can repurpose your existing content into a more palatable format.
The majority of websites will accept or embed YouTube content. Use YouTube to host your content, and add them into your blogs. Ensure that you have optimized your video in the same way that you would optimize for your website.
Use keywords in the title and descriptions, and ensure you have an eye-catching thumbnail. It is also key to include a full transcription for subtitles. This allows the algorithm to crawl your video as much as possible, and classify it properly.
It is also important to take advantage of video ads. Video is more engaging for your users, and is more likely to result in conversion as a result. Also, social media sites will favour video content, over written ads.
The algorithm is becoming more interested in video content, than any other format. The assumption being that users prefer to see it, which is true.
Video content is particularly valuable to your leads in this media-rich landscape. Around 66% of people would prefer to watch a video about a product, than read about it.
Utilize good quality video content for you inbound, outbound and paid strategies. Effective video marketing can humanize your company, and instill more complex ideas.
Nituno is a performance marketing agency that focuses on startups. We know the challenges of marketing a startup. We want to help you to find the right messaging, and the right buyers, to generate leads and drive sales. Get in touch with us today to begin building the right combination of strategies for your business.