February 22, 2016
The Mobile Content Gap for B2B Marketers

As a B2B marketer, you need programs that build demand and generate qualified leads. For most B2B's this means using content marketing to develop premium white papers, articles, infographics, and other media. About 95% of B2B marketers use content marketing, and spend more than half their annual marketing budget on content production and creation. Most B2B marketers also use a multichannel content distribution strategy, delivering content over email, social, websites, and other channels.   

Here's the problem. All that rich content, often gated behind a landing page form, is increasingly consumed on mobile and is not optimized for a mobile user. 

B2B Emails on Mobile 

While B2B mobile content consumption has typically lagged behind B2C, B2B is quickly tilting towards mobile. Let's look at a few stats:  

Email is read on mobile more than on desktop email clients. Statistics show 54% of email is now opened on a mobile.  B2C emails get 57% more opens on mobile than B2B email, ranking at 42% opens on mobile for B2C compared with 27% for B2B. So while B2B lags a bit in the email arena, the tides are shifting.  

According to research from eMarketer, 36% of US employees check their email outside work hours, and 32% say their companies expect them to check their email outside normal working hours. So you know email is a good channel to reach your B2B market. 

With opportunity though comes the responsibility to create engaging email experiences. A few things you need to think about when designing emails for mobile. 

  • Responsive emails. Emails built using responsive templates ensure that they display equally well on mobile as they do on a desktop. A BizReport study found that responsive emails produce 21% higher clicks and open than nonresponsive emails.  
  • Personalization. Personalized emails get more attention than non-personalized emails. 
  • Subject Lines. Spend some time thinking about your subject lines and how they'll look on mobile. Shorter subject lines that are snappy and get to the point quickly will capture a user's attention faster. 
  • Calls-to-Action (CTA). Place your CTA buttons in places where the finger might naturally rest on the screen and ensure they are large enough to see and click. 
  • Landing Pages. Ensure the landing pages you drive users to from your emails are also responsive. Imagine a mobile user clicking a CTA that takes them to a landing page they need to scroll around to find the content they need. 
  • Progressive Profiling. When asking users to complete forms on mobile, whether it's sign up for a newsletter or event, register for a whitepaper, think about the form fields you need to use. Implement progressive profiling to prepopulate as many fields as possible to save the user time. 
  • Add Social CTAs. Ensure you have links to all your social networks in easy to click buttons so users can follow you on social channels. 

Along with email design, think about the content of both the email and associated landing page. With a smaller form factor, think about how much content you include and how to make it engaging enough to capture the reader's attention.

B2B Social on Mobile

Social is almost entirely mobile - 87% of Facebook users access it on their mobile device; 80% of Twitter users access the social network via mobile. It's estimated that about 55% of LinkedIn's traffic is now mobile.  

These numbers show that brands can leverage social channels to quickly get their messages out to their customers and prospects via mobile.  

Some approaches to leveraging social for B2B marketing include:  

  • Including share buttons on all content (sharing an email, or an article, ebook on a website, posting regularly with links to content on the website to drive users to owned properties. 
  • Twitter lead generation cards, sponsored updates.
  • LinkedIn sponsored updates, sponsored inMail, social ads and more. 
  • Facebook ads, sponsored posts, native advertising and more.

Again, presentation format is important, but it's the social network's responsibility. Your responsibility is to create engaging content that visitors want to read.  

B2B Websites on Mobile

Longer sales cycles mean B2B marketers must adopt tactics to stay top of mind for decision makers. This requires a combination of marketing tactics from a great website with informative content to emails, social, and more - all of which need to be mobile-friendly.  

An eMarketer study found that 37% of US employees use their mobile devices 50-75% of the time when conducting research for purchasing decisions (and 19% use it more than 75% of the time). This makes mobile a key channel to create awareness of a brand's products and services. 

We've talked about responsive email, now let's talk about responsive websites. The website is the primary source of information for a brand, and it needs to be mobile-friendly.  

Responsive design applies not only to the look and feel of a website but also to the content delivered. The typical lead generation content asset for B2B marketing is the whitepaper, but the idea of downloading and reading a whitepaper on a smartphone is crazy. You can promote your whitepaper over social channels and your website, but if the consumer is accessing your content on their smartphone, they aren't going to download a paper.    

Think about creating additional versions your content in easily readable chunks or use different content formats such as video or smaller infographics or images.  

For example, break up a whitepaper into a series of short articles, or create a video series based on the whitepaper (an IDG study showed that 61% of users watch mobile videos related to work). Maybe it's an interactive game that gets the reader learning more about how the product works or how they can learn new ways to solve problems. 

In all cases, ensure your calls to action are clear and easy to do. Along with a landing page for a gated whitepaper, consider a CTA encouraging the visitor to register for email updates to the article series, or to your newsletter.  

Mobile First. Mobile Last. Mobile Anytime.

Brands will spend a lot more time and effort on mobile in 2016. In a 2015 report on the State of Marketing by Salesforce, 53% of B2B marketers have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy.  The eMarketer report says 64% plan to increase mobile marketing budgets in the next 12 months.  

The key to success on the mobile channel is providing engaging content experiences across email, social and the website. You don't know when a visitor will look at your website, read your email, or see your social messages, but you know there's a strong chance it will be from a mobile device. So plan your content carefully using a multi-distribution content strategy; ensure you create the best mix of content experiences using the right content formats.

A version of this blog originally appeared in CMSWire.

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