B2B Cyber Security Marketing
You don't need to battle this all alone
Working with a cyber security marketing agency that understands cyber security, speaks your language, and communicates well with your target audience makes all the difference in the world.
- Do you break out in a cold sweat every time you read about yet another cyber security company hitting a funding round?
- Does the thought of differentiating yourself at <yet another>online event make you feel like cancelling?
- Do MQL to SQL conversions keep you awake at night?
We feel your pain and we totally get it.
- Whether you’re a new startup or an established cyber security company in the industry, that doesn’t have to be part of your company’s narrative. The majority of our cyber security clients turn to us for our B2B marketing services after they’ve tried to do it on their own, and realized that it’s just not happening the way they know it really can.
- And this is where we enter the game as a team of cyber security marketing experts whose inbound, PPC and marketing operations strategies have proven to deliver growth through lead generation and brand awareness.
Envy specializes in B2B digital marketing solutions for cyber security companies that want to differentiate themselves, become the incumbent of their ecosystem in a language their customers understand and of course, grab those MQLs.
There are a number of challenges that are unique to B2B cyber security marketing:
The cyber security market is crowded, making it difficult for your business to stand out from the crowd. Depending on which data you read, there are 2000-3000 active cyber security companies operating globally.
Cyber security professionals are extremely knowledgeable, usually with a technical background and tend to be suspicious of too much marketing-ese, so your marketing needs to tread that fine line between honesty and differentiation and speaking the correct language.
With so many options available, customers are inundated with offers, nervous about choosing the wrong cyber security product and in the meantime, losing sleepless nights over chances of the next breach.
Marketing has to speak to multiple personas, including CISOs, security team leaders and analysts, CFOs, and end users, each with different pain points and knowledge levels. It’s tricky to educate non-IT personas about cyber threats, without turning off CISOs who are specifically looking for technical expertise.
Most importantly, there is zero tolerance for FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) so educating leads about the risks without fear-mongering is imperative.
Engaging Brand Messaging
Messaging is crucial for every kind of marketing, but it’s a real challenge for cyber security marketers. With so many cyber security solutions and enterprises out there, it can be easy to end up with plain old vanilla marketing, and hard to produce something exciting and memorable.
Many cyber security marketing departments fall into the trap of cramming in every single feature and trying to address every single threat in every communication, but that never works.
Answer these questions:
What is the ONE (yes, only one) pain point that your product solves for one target audience?
Why is your product so much better than any other? Doesn’t have to be revolutionary – quick time to resolve incidents, better analyst coverage, fraction of the cost…
Who are you selling to? SMB? Enterprise? North America? APAC? Start narrow and pinpointed, expand once you know that messaging works.
A reason to try it now! Yes, now! Black Friday pre-sale, end of year blitz, pre-release special?
These questions aren’t easy to answer, but the answers are vital and are the foundations of your messaging and strategy.
Valuable inbound marketing
Inbound content plays a key role too. We’re talking about blogs, videos, ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, case studies, social media and more; anything that speaks to your audience. In order to deliver real value, you need educational content that is backed up by data, case studies, and independent industry reviews. A lot of cyber security content is generic and simple, overpromises, and is plain annoying.
B2B Inbound marketing content should follow two streams:
Industry or problem oriented – what your audience will be searching for or reading about with they are learning about their pain point and ways to solve them. Most of the content you write for this audience should not even mention your product or how wonderful it is.
Remember – No one believes you can solve all their problems, and no one is impressed by your AI, ML, or Blockchain buzzwords unless you can actually deliver on them. Throwing them around imprecisely will only trip you up.
Product marketing – this is the content that you produce to educate the market about your corner of the cyber security market.
SEO Conscious – It’s important to keep SEO in mind when writing content. Ensure the right keywords are used and content is linked together to boost organic traffic.
Make good use of the right organic promotion channels to drive targeted leads to your content. Facebook and Instagram should not be your main platforms; you’re a cyber security company, for crying out loud! By all means test your content on them, there are plenty of security folks active on those channels, but they will not be your staple. Cyber security marketing should focus on LinkedIn, Twitter, and one of our big favorites, Reddit.
LinkedIn is already well known to every B2B marketer as a professional community, where the leads you generate are more likely to be purchase-driven than those on other platforms. Savvy marketers make use of your employees’ personal branding, together with your business branding, to boost your reputation for thought leadership and increase your reputation among potential customers.
Reddit is a value-based community, so success takes time and patience, but we’ve found that it’s well worth it. Establishing a reputation on a cyber security subreddit can be the most valuable step you take. Some of Marketing Envy’s favorite subreddits are: r/serverless as a small and high-quality discussion forum about building serverless apps; r/darknet as a window into the deep web and stealth attacks; and r/cybersecurity for keeping on top of all the latest cyber security news.
When it comes to Twitter, make sure you’re following the right people. It’s a great way to access top thought leaders in your industry, like Mikko Hypponen (@mikko), a strategic thinker and “Supervillain,” and Katie Moussouris (@k8em0), creator of Microsoft’s Bug Bounty.
PPC deserves a place of honor in every good cyber security marketing playbook. When done right, it opens up more insights into your target audience, helping you attract the right people on every channel to generate more leads. Excellent PPC channels include:
Facebook Ads can reach an enormous audience. Although not an obvious choice we have found it works well, particularly for retargeting.
LinkedIn Paid Ads tend to cost more per lead than PPC advertising on other channels, but they can yield better results and it’s guaranteed that the persona you want is there. LinkedIn ads generally reach a larger targeted audience and generate higher quality leads.
Google Ads on the Google search results page can be valuable because of the volume of traffic that uses Google. But the traffic size makes it even more important to hone keywords and price per click, so that you don’t waste money on empty clicks. Also intent to purchase (and certainly interest) is much higher when someone reaches you through search on Google.
The Google Display Network (GDN) shows display ads on millions of websites, apps, and videos within the GDN, like Gmail, YouTube, etc. You can segment them to different audiences and use them to spread your reach further across the internet.
Twitter offers a number of paid advertising, including promoted tweets, pre-roll video ads, and branded emojis and hashtags that encourage people to share your content. One of the biggest draws to Twitter is that most cybersecurity professionals use the platform.
ABM with PPC
But PPC outperforms when you use it to refine and scale account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. With ABM, you focus on connecting with and engaging specific leads in specific companies. It forces you to qualify your leads and concentrate attention on those that are most likely to convert. ABM is much easier today than it ever used to be, thanks to a number of ABM tools like Influ2, Leadfeeder, Madison Logic, and more. These tools can integrate with your existing workflows to streamline the process of identifying and scoring new leads, researching accounts, and coordinating omnichannel messaging.
If you have a good ABM strategy, you can save a lot of time and effort chasing up leads that go nowhere, because you already know about their pain points, how to present your solution, and whether they are interested in making a purchase. PPC drives a wide range of leads into your net, and then it’s up to your marketing team to score them, investigate those that look the most promising, and select specific accounts for ABM.
LinkedIn best practices include:
- Always deliver value
- Tailor your content for each persona and each stage in the buying journey
- Choose the right ad type
- Take advantage of LinkedIn’s real time analytics for A/B testing
- Consider using auto-populated LinkedIn leadgen forms to remove friction for the lead
Keeping on the right side of your target audience
It’s alarming how many cyber security companies end up irritating the CISOs and security analysts they most want to impress. Here are some best practices to help you avoid joining the irritating cyber security club:
- Keep up to date with industry happenings, news, and big developments. Choose a few of the best cyber security tradeshows and conferences to attend so that you can keep your finger on the pulse. Thanks to COVID-19, many of them are still taking place online, making it much easier to join.
- Do your homework about your target’s pain points and needs. CISOs don’t respond to cold pitches, so don’t send generic emails to 500 targets. Instead, deliver real value to specific leads, including people lower down the corporate ladder who may not make buying decisions but do have influence with the CISO.
- Use the right language. This should be obvious, and yet far too many cyber security marketers still use the wrong lingo. CISOs get tired of correcting people’s vocabulary, so if you get the words wrong, don’t expect to hear back.
Manage your B2B cyber security marketing budget
Budget: every marketer’s favorite word…. Said no marketer, ever. So we’ve put together some words of advice on how to budget.
Set cyber security marketing benchmarks
Finally, your cyber security marketing strategy needs to include benchmarks and standards that serve as milestones along the path. Without KPIs that set an actual price for each benchmark, you’ll risk paying over the odds for leads that don’t really drive sales. KPIs like CTR, CPC, conversion rates, and cost per lead and per MQL should be your bread and butter.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to adjust your cyber security benchmarks somewhat for different campaigns. An ABM campaign should have very different KPIs than a lead generation campaign, for example open rates, CTRs, web visits and interaction with content on web and social.
B2B Cyber Security Starts Here
Envy has been working with cyber security companies since 2014. We’ve scaled growth for scores of established companies and taken many cyber security startups all the way from pre-launch to their IPO, exit, and/or acquisition. In short, we’ve worked on the entire process from end to end. If you need informed, experienced, and professional help planning your cyber security marketing, please feel free to reach out.