Written by Simo Rantanen
Millennials are the new decision makers in the B2B industry, according to Forrester’s marketing study in 2017. As much as 73% of millennials are responsible for decision making when it comes to B2B purchases. But how can you engage this new breed of audience? Millennials don’t expect to receive cold calls or emails, and spend less time interacting with salespeople than their ancestors. Instead, they use digital resources, such as supplier and third-party websites, videos, blog and social media to do their own research. Most of the time on mobile phones.
Learning how the modern B2B buyer behaves is vital to running successful marketing strategies in 2018. Here’s our top tips:
Reach the generation on mobile devices
It’s not a surprise that millennials are more active mobile users than previous generations. More surprising is how mobile phones are used in the B2B world. According to Google, 50% of B2B search queries were made on smartphones in 2017 and that figure is expected to grow to 70% by 2020. In addition, the study argues that B2B brands who are successfully utilising mobile are generating higher levels of mobile engagement as measured by search queries, site traffic, lead generation and actual transactions.
Millennials prefer new technologies and search engines are following their lead. Google announced in late March that it will be rolling out its “mobile-first” indexing, after a year and a half of testing and experimentation. This means that Google crawls mobile pages first. It adds these pages to its index and determines rankings based on a mobile version of the page. It seems likely that many websites will experience negative impact in rankings because of this switch, as many websites have long since ignored their user experience on mobile devices.
Consequently, this switch represents opportunity to engage the new generation of B2B decision makers in search engines who are looking for your services on mobile devices.
Here’s a few things to check to ensure that you stand the best chance of engaging millennials on mobile:
- Be sure that your mobile page loads fast and scales for the mobile screen.
- Fixing technical issues is important not just for user experience but for optimal Google rankings.
- Mobile pages have their limitations, which can also affect how your website and content appears. Make sure that you’ve tested your site responsively.
- Make sure that your mobile version offers relevant information and follows the latest SEO practices.
Millennials in search engines
Another study from Google shows that millennials are informed buyers who do their research when facing a business-related problem. The study claims that 90% of B2B researchers, who are online, use search engines specifically to research business purchases. How digital natives use search is very crucial for the B2B marketer to know and understand. About 71% of B2B researchers start on a generic query, which means that they are looking for your product first, not your company. On average, B2B customers do around 12 searches before navigating to your company’s site.
Millennials know more than you think about your industry and your competitors. Hence, their expectations are higher than previous generations. This creates a tough challenge for B2B marketers when your goal is not actually to market your services but educate your clients. It is far more difficult to educate informed buyers who already know a lot about your industry.
So how do you do it? When creating a content orientated marketing strategy, the first step is to understand, what business-related problems your clients are having and how they use search engines to find this information. The data can be pulled from various sources, such as online keyword tools, Google trends or your competitors’ websites. The next step is to conduct a keyword analysis of your client’s search needs to determine which topics are the most relevant for your business. The keyword analysis reveals which search terms your clients actually use in search engines that you can use as the basis of all content that you create.
Millennials seek third party feedback on your social media pages
According to the Merit Inc B2B millennial report, 85% of millennials use social media to research products and services in the early stages. The study shows that Facebook is the channel of preference, with over 40% usage. Other social media channels are less popular: YouTube 16%, Google+ 13% and surprisingly, LinkedIn reaches 7%. The social media channels are designed for content sharing and many B2B companies have seen opportunity to reach more readers for blog content, especially in Facebook and LinkedIn.
Social media channels have also become a platform to reach and learn more about companies generally. Millennials are interested in what people write on company pages, valuing peer-to-peer feedback over content produced by a company as more objective and honest.
Make sure that your social media pages have updated company information and the pages are visually appealing. Millennials are looking for third party feedback on your social media pages, but they are still interested in the content you create. Be sure that you update your social media platforms with new content on a regular basis, because millennials may question your company’s legitimacy and existence if you don’t have any recent social action.
Need help with reaching new the new generation of B2B clients? Check out our digital marketing services here.