As 2017 draws to a close, most marketers are spending their time planning strategies and budgets for 2018. This makes now the perfect time to consider what B2B marketing tools can help you track, meet, and exceed your goals next year.
Not sure where to start? The following nine tools are some of our favourites, helping with SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, ROI tracking, and more.
As you plan where to spend your marketing budget, consider the benefits of allocating some funds for purchasing these powerful tools.
When considering a purchase, 71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search.
SEO is crucial for B2B marketing, but without the right tool, it’s very difficult to master.
Ahrefs is a B2B marketing tool that’s focused on helping marketers improve their SEO.
It has all of the general features you’d expect to see in an SEO tool, keyword research, rank tracking, and backlink tracking, but where Ahrefs really shines is with its competitive analysis features.
Marketers can use Ahrefs to uncover what content performs best for competitors, what keywords competitors rank for, what sites link to competitor content, and what industry content earns the highest search rankings, crucial information for a competitive brand SEO strategy.
While B2B decision-makers certainly use search to conduct research, they don’t stop there. 75% of B2B decision-makers also use social media.
Social media is important for B2B brands that want to extend their reach beyond their website.
Buzzsumo is a tool that helps B2B marketers excel on social media.
Search by topic to see which pieces of content have earned the most shares across all social channels, find industry influencers, and discover what types of content those influencers are most interested in. And like Ahrefs, Buzzsumo can be used for competitive analysis.
See what competitor content has received the most social shares, what types of content (text, video, podcast, etc.) generate the most social activity, and what social networks perform best for competitors.
Using Buzzsumo, you can determine what types of content, created in what formats, should be shared to which social networks.
But that’s only the first step.
Next, you need a plan for sharing that content to social channels and measuring its performance.
For this, you need a social media scheduling and management tool.
Buffer allows marketers to manage multiple social accounts from a single interface.
Schedule specific posts for the future, or simply create a posting schedule and add items to the queue anytime. Buffer will pull posts from the queue on the schedule you set, allowing you to always post at the most optimal times of the day/week.
If you don’t know what days/times are most optimal, use Buffer’s analytics to find out, as well as to track shares and clicks on updates posted to each connected social network.
When conducting research on products and services, a brand’s website is the most common channel that B2B decision-makers use.
The second most common channel used: email.
Email remains one of the most effective ways to deliver content to a B2B audience, which is probably why 93% of B2B marketers use the channel to distribute content. But effective modern email marketing must be more than just newsletters and email blasts.
B2B purchasers are looking for personalised and targeted content—not just more noise.
Marketo solves this problem with an email marketing automation tool that helps B2B marketers nurture prospects with the right content, delivered at the right time.
With Marketo, marketers can set up automated drip campaigns that send relevant content based on predefined triggers.
For example, if someone clicks on a link in a marketing email, the system automatically sends related follow-up content at a later date. This allows B2B marketers to develop sophisticated series of email nurturing campaigns.
Email is a great way for B2B marketers to engage prospects and customers, but before that’s possible, you have to build an email list.
With Sumo, marketers can easily add email-capture popups to their sites that appear on clicks, after a certain amount of time, or before visitors leave the site, and no coding or IT help is needed.
Sumo’s features can also be used to make it easier for visitors to share your brand content with others.
With social sharing buttons, visitors can share your content on the most popular social networks with just a couple of clicks. This makes the tool perfect for automated email list building and social media marketing.
6. Ruler Analytics
We’ve looked at several statistics so far that shows how search, social, and email are all important for B2B marketing. But the truth is that what works for one, or 1,000, B2B marketers isn’t necessarily what will work for you.
To find out what channels and campaigns work best for your business, you need metrics.
Ruler Analytics is an analytics and reporting tool that’s designed specifically for marketing workflows.
It captures all of the basic data—visits, traffic sources, keywords, and referring sites, but those metrics just scratch the surface of the deep insights that are available.
With Ruler Analytics, B2B marketers can solve one of their biggest challenges: they can finally measure marketing ROI.
Ruler tracks anonymous visitors across all website visits, collecting information on what campaigns and content those visitors interact with at each visit.
Once a visitor becomes a lead, that marketing data is passed along to the CRM, allowing conversions to be attributed back to the marketing campaigns that drove the sale.
With Ruler Analytics, B2B marketers can finally stop relying on what everyone else says works and start relying on hard data that shows exactly what channels, tactics, and campaigns generate revenue for their businesses.
There are dozens of tools for SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing, but when it comes to content marketing, there are very few.
After all, it’s difficult for a program, even one guided by artificial intelligence and machine learning, to do the creative work of creating an editorial calendar, brainstorming topics, and writing unique content. And while MarketMuse can’t do those things for you, it can create a blueprint for the content you want to create after you come up with the topics.
MarketMuse looks at what content has already been published about a topic to provide guidelines for how to create content that’s better than what’s already out there.
MarketMuse will tell you how long your content should be and what related topics should be included.
It also provides a quality score for content you’ve written and content published by others on a topic, allowing you to see when your content isn’t strong enough.
Most marketers think of CRMs as sales tools, but a CRM is also necessary for measuring marketing effectiveness.
If all of your conversions happen online, a CRM may not be necessary for measuring marketing ROI. But if some, or most, of your conversions happen through sales reps, a CRM that’s connected to your analytics program is crucial.
At Ruler Analytics, we use Pipedrive to connect marketing and sales data.
When an anonymous visitor becomes a lead, we use Zapier to send the marketing data captured on our platform to Pipedrive.
This allows us to find out which channels, campaigns, and approaches are the most effective in generating revenue.
Pipedrive collects and organises all sales and marketing data.
Sales teams can see all new leads from a central interface so that no one falls through the cracks, and track who has been involved in each deal so salespeople know exactly why they’ll be working with.
It has all of the features of other big-name CRMs, but with a simpler interface and friendlier cost.
Most B2B products have multiple features. Some may be more compelling to your target audience than others.
With Amplitude, you can uncover which features are most compelling, and which aren’t generating interest.
This allows you to focus sales pages on your most compelling features, as well as focus new development on the features customers want the most.
Amplitude also tracks how users progress through your sales funnel across multiple visits, providing insight into common drop-off points, and creating a clearer picture of the customer journey.
Choosing the B2B Marketing Tools You Need for 2018
As you create your marketing plan and goals for 2018, take time to consider what tools can help you meet those goals more quickly and with less effort.
For example, if you’re focused on social media, consider how tools like Buzzsumo and Sumo can help you grow your social following and earn exponentially more shares and referrals.
Finally, keep in mind that you’ll need analytics to track your progress toward every goal you set.
If you only have the budget to invest in one tool, the ability to track the effectiveness of your campaigns across all channels and initiatives will be the most important because it can show you what’s driving revenue and what’s wasting your time.