Are you a business that wants to market to other businesses? If so then you are in the right place! Business to business marketing is similar to business to consumer marketing. You can use the same digital strategies and channels to acquire new customers. But if you are targeting other businesses there are a few differences in the way you will be marketing. We are going to show you how to build and implement a B2B marketing strategy that actually works!
Building a B2B Marketing Strategy
When building a B2B marketing strategy, start with your sales funnel. As a B2B company you may have several different sales funnels. Maybe you are targeting different industries and you have personalized your funnels to for each one. Whatever your sales funnel or funnels look like, it’s crucial to map out your sales cycle and how it relates to the buying journey of your customers.
Let’s say that the first step in your sales funnel is a blog. In this stage you are building brand awareness. A blog helps to answer your customers questions and builds trust with them. Blogging is often neglected by companies but this is an easy way to build a loyal following. During the buying process, your potential customers will have questions about your business. Show them that you are a reputable source through your blog and then continue producing excellent content that will engage your customers and lead them into the next part of the funnel. Once you establish trust you will be able to generate leads.
With every B2B marketing strategy your priority should be lead generation. B2B lead generation means obtaining those customers who might be interested in learning more. This is the most important component of a B2B marketing strategy. Leads don’t begin as leads. They start off as complete strangers. You will attract them until they become visitors and then convert them to leads!
Once you obtain these leads you will convert them through your sales funnel and eventually they will become customers and then advocates for your brand. There are a lot of steps you must take before your customers become promoters for your brand so let’s start with your sales funnel. As a B2B company your sales funnel is probably more complex than that of a B2C company. There’s a lot that goes into the buying decision.
Think about it like this. The decision to purchase a T-shirt is relatively simple. A customer sees a shirt you like on a website and adds it to their cart but they don’t purchase it. They are not ready to commit to purchasing the shirt yet. Next the customer may see retargeting ads or receive emails telling them that they left something in their cart.
After seeing the shirt multiple times you finally end up buying it. This is a quick process and probably happens over the course of a few days to a week. When deciding whether or not to work with a marketing company a customer will do research and look into the company, read reviews and ask other business owners about their experiences. They might even sign up to receive a free ebook like this:
Once a customer enters their email, they become a lead. They are interested in learning more about what your company can do for their business. Now that your customer is aware of your company it’s your job to show them why they should do business with you. You should be answering questions like:
- Why would a customer need my business?
- How can my company make my customers’ lives easier?
- What are my unique selling points?
- Why my business and not my competitor?
Now that you have a customer who is considering your business it’s time to gear up with a digital marketing strategy. During this stage your business will send emails, produce great content, run ads on social media and utilize search engine marketing. You have probably heard of each of these strategies but which ones should you use if you are targeting other businesses instead of consumers and how are they different?
Content and Your B2B marketing Strategy
Content marketing is important because before people buy they like do research. By the time they talk to your sales department they know a lot about your company. It’s your job to make sure that they are well educated with excellent content. Content provides potential customers with answers to their questions and it also builds trust and relationships. Content can generate leads and drive sales. They key to content marketing for any business is to produce valuable and curated content for your target audience. Use this content to show other businesses that you are the industry expert that they should trust.
Content tips for your B2B marketing strategy:
- Work with thought leaders in your industry. If you as a company are associated with great thought leaders, customers will be more likely to trust you. Collaborate with these influencers by producing valuable content. You will be able to market to your audience as well as the audience of the influencer you are working with.
- Segment your content for your different audiences. If you have several target audiences, separate your content to make it easier for them to navigate. This can help cut through the clutter and make your brand look organized and professional.
- Conduct webinars. As a business marketing to other businesses you want to show that you are the expert in your field. You also want to put a friendly face on your brand. Take time to fully explain your product or service and give your customers the opportunity to have a Q&A with an expert. Webinars can build trust with potential customers and increase brand visibility. If you decide to use webinars in your strategy make sure you advertise them! This can be done through Google ads or email marketing.
- Utilize social media. You should be posting regularly on social media. Don’t just post anything though. Find useful content for your followers that adds value and portrays your company as a reliable source for information. Keep in mind that Facebook is a “pay to play” platform. This means that you will need to spend some money to ensure that your audience sees your content. Don’t worry, Social media advertising is one of the cheapest ways to advertise.
Social Media Marketing and Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Producing content for social media and creating ads for social media are two completely different things. With content, your intentions are not to make a sale but to provide value. With ads you want customers to convert or make a purchase. Which social media channels should be a part of your B2B marketing strategy?
LinkedIn. This platform is quite possibly the best platform for B2B marketing. It allows you to make connections and build relationships with your potential customers. You can also run targeted advertising on LinkedIn with demographics ranging from location to industry. Don’t limit yourself to using LinkedIn as your only social channel.
Facebook. It is also important to have a presence on Facebook. You can boost posts, advertise and see analytics all from your Facebook Ads Manager. Facebook ads allow you to target your audience through many different demographics. You can also get really specific with something called a lookalike audience where Facebook takes a list of your current customer emails and targets similar users.
Twitter. This platform makes it easy to share your thoughts, participate in discussions and converse with your customers. There are over 500 millions Twitter users. Twitteris great for communicating with your customers, answering their questions and fixing their problems. You can also gain followers and increase your brand’s visibility.
YouTube. If you have videos, conduct webinars or produce any other type of video content your business needs a YouTube channel. You can increase your site traffic by inserting links to your website into your videos, run an ad campaign and view insights.YouTube also makes it easy for your customers to share your videos online.
Google+ is considered a social network but you will want to utilize it to move up in search rankings. If you publish your content (like blogs) on this platform your will increase your chances of ranking.
Do you need to be on every social media channel that exists? The answer is no. Figure out what works for your business and where your customers spend their time. This can only be done through researching your customer base and building buyer personas. At the same time don’t just choose one social network to advertise through. If you rely solely on LinkedIn you will be missing out on those customers who don’t use this platform.
Email and your B2B Marketing Strategy
You have heard of email marketing but how should you incorporate it into your B2B marketing strategy? Remember when you first generated those leads and received email address from potential customers in exchange for an ebook? It’s time to put those to work.
Most B2B email marketing campaigns are text focused. There’s not a lot of fluff like photos or design. You should be focused on your words. They should be powerful and engaging. It is important to include your logo, text that is easy to read and a call to action or CTA.
This email from Super Office is simple. It includes a logo, branding colors, text that is easy to read and a call to action to download a free guide. Make sure you logo is easy to see. This will increase brand recognition so that next time a customer sees this logo they will remember it. The text is spaced so that it is easy for the user to read. If you have a big paragraph of text it can be overwhelming. When people read emails they are often skimming to find the most important parts. One of our email marketing best practices is to make your emails scannable. Their call to action button is easy to see and it’s direct. You know exactly what you are doing when you click.
Many B2B companies tend to stick to traditional marketing tactics like sending out mailers. This isn’t a bad thing if you like wasting money. Your costs for sending mailers include design and writing copy, printing supplies, stuffing envelopes and postage. With email marketing you can obtain emails from customers via a popup on your website and send them out yourself.
In the amount of time it takes you to stuff 30 mailers you could have created an email campaign that can be sent over and over again with one click of your mouse. You can also hire a professional to even more time! Remember, every dollar you spend on email marketing yields and average ROI of $44!
Both of these strategies are forms of direct marketing but with the traditional approach you are unable to collect any data on your customers which can be used later for targeting them on other platforms.
Setting up email automations is also a key component of your B2B marketing strategy. You have a sales funnel and within in you should have an email funnel with the goal of taking the leads you have generated and providing useful content through direct marketing. Creating automations can make your life even easier.
You can set up different automations to target customers at specific points in your buying cycle. Or you can set up different automations that connect to each of your landing pages. You will be able to see where customers came from on your site, which emails they opened and when they convert! Having access to all of these analytics is crucial for a successful B2B marketing strategy.
Build a Professional Website
Every business needs a website that is functional and looks professional. For B2B companies there are several important components that need to be included in a B2B website design.
Your website should be built for lead generation. Landing pages are key in this situation. They allow you to generate leads quickly and efficiently. Landing pages are distraction free and focused pages that you can build in to your social media ads, emails and website.
Here is a landing page from Uber targeting drivers. They clearly lay out the benefits of working for Uber and have a simple contact form that allows people to sign up to drive with them. As you can see there is no way that someone can navigate away from this page to another page on Uber’s site. The ultimate goal of this page is to generate leads.
You will of course need a contact form so make it is as concise as possible. If your contact forms are too lengthy business owners will not want to fill them out. If you find that you do need to have a longer contact form there are some things you can do so that your potential customers are not overwhelmed.
Try fitting all of your questions above the fold. This means that a user can fill out your form without having to scroll down. You can also put one or two questions per page and have a next button. If you go this route it’s important to have some sort of progress bar where the user can see how much of the form has been completed.
Everyone likes to read reviews before they make a purchase. You need to have social proof on your website also known as customer testimonials. Make these easily accessible for your potential buyers. Good reviews add a layer of trust.
Your site should be speedy. Business owners do not have time to wait 3 seconds for a page to load. Yes you read that right. 40% of people will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. There are several things you can do to ensure that your website loads faster like cutting back on plugins if you have a WordPress site, changing your hosting plan or making sure you are not uploading huge image files.
SEO for your B2B Marketing Strategy
You have probably heard of SEO or search engine optimization. You should be optimizing your site the same way you would optimize any website but your main goal for your B2B marketing strategy is to generate leads. Your sales cycle can start with a simple search. You need to make sure you are showing up on the first page of search results so that your leads can enter your sales cycle. If people can’t find your website they won’t know about your brand. If they do not know about your brand it is impossible for them enter your sales cycle.
In order to optimize your site you will need to comb through your pages and add keywords, H1 tags, title and meta descriptions and image alt tags. LYFE Marketing is the first organic search result after the advertisements. The first three search results capture the most traffic. The second page of search results receives a combined 6% of all clicks. This is why it is crucial to be on the first page of search results. It’s even better to be in the top three but this can take a lot of time and effort.
The pro/con of SEO: It’s is free but it does take some time. It will cost you absolutely nothing to optimize your website but it will take time to show up in search. If you don’t optimize your site correctly you may never show up in search. It’s wise to let a professional research keywords for you and optimize your site.