As a B2B marketer, you need programs that build demand and generate qualified leads. 

For most B2Bs, this means using content marketing to develop premium white papers, articles, infographics and other media. About 95 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, spending 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 — but it isn't optimized for mobile.

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:

Fifty-four percent of email is now opened on a mobile. B2C emails have a higher (57 percent) open rate on mobile than B2B email, ranking at 42 percent opens compared with 27 percent for B2B. So while B2B lags in the email arena, the tides are shifting.

According to eMarketer research, 36 percent of US employees check their email outside work hours, and 32 percent say their companies expect them to check their email outside normal working hours. 

So you can reach your B2B market on email, but you should keep a few things in mind when designing your emails:

  • 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 percent higher clicks and open than non-responsive emails
  • Personalization Personalized emails get more attention
  • Subject Lines: Spend time thinking about your subject lines and how they'll look on mobile. Shorter, snappy subject lines 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 signing up for a newsletter or event or registering for a whitepaper, think about the form fields. Implement progressive profiling to pre-populate 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 percent of Facebook users access it on their mobile device and 80 percent of Twitter users access the social network via mobile. An estimated 55 percent of LinkedIn's traffic is now mobile, too.

Social channels are a clear path for brands to quickly get their messages out via mobile to customers and prospects.

Some approaches to leveraging social for B2B marketing include:

  • Including share buttons on all content — on email, articles, e-books
  • Posting regularly with links to content on the site to drive users to owned properties
  • Twitter lead generation cards and sponsored updates
  • LinkedIn sponsored updates, sponsored inMail, social ads, etc.
  • 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 percent of US employees use their mobile devices 50-75 percent of the time when conducting research for purchasing decisions (and 19 percent use it more than 75 percent 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 breaking down your content into easily readable chunks or use different content formats, such as video or smaller infographics or images.

For example, turn a whitepaper into a series of short articles, or create a video series based on the whitepaper (an IDG study showed that 61 percent 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.

Whatever the format, 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 percent of B2B marketers had integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy. The eMarketer report says 64 percent plan to increase mobile marketing budgets in the next 12 months.

Providing engaging content experiences across email, social and the website is the key to success on mobile. 

You don't know when a visitor will look at your website, read your email, or see your social messages, but chances are it might be from a mobile device. So plan your content carefully using a multi-distribution content strategy, ensuring the best mix of content experiences, using the right content formats.

Title image by Matthew Wiebe