There are many marketing strategies and tactics for promoting your business online but most of the advice you’ll find applies to B2C (business to consumer) marketing, even if it isn’t explicitly labeled as such. This can be an issue for those who own or run a business whose primary customer base consists of other businesses since B2B (business to business) marketing tactics can be a lot different than B2C.
One thing to remember is that while there can be some overlap at times, there is a distinct psychological difference between B2B and B2C customers and clients. This being the case, let’s take a look at five effective marketing tactics specifically designed for the B2B business model.
Webinars are an excellent choice for marketing a B2B business. This is because not only do they offer huge value to your attendees, they also present your company as an expert in your industry. In fact, webinars are one of the best ways to show potential customers and clients what you have to offer in a low-pressure environment.
The thing to keep in mind about webinars is the fact that a certain percentage of your audience will leave as soon as your pitch starts towards the end. This is to be expected, and you shouldn’t concentrate on trying to retain the leavers as much as you do trying to sell those who stick around. It’s a lot easier to sell to someone who has a genuine interest in your products and services than it is to try to change the mind of someone who doesn’t.
Another advantage of webinars is the fact that if you hold them on a regular basis, you’ll attract regular attendees. This gives you more opportunities to draw them deeper into your sales funnel, and you may even get them talking to their coworkers and business associates about your webinars which can increase your attendance rates.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool when used correctly, but it can also be a waste of time and money when not. The key to using social media marketing effectively is to avoid using it as a direct sales tool. This applies to both B2C and B2B.
In contrast to a B2C social media marketing campaign that can focus on a variety of elements, a B2B social media marketing campaign needs to go above and beyond in offering value to its followers. This isn’t to say that you have to be super serious all the time, or that you can’t have fun with it, but at the end of the day, your followers will expect to get something useful out of following you on social media.
This being the case, content that offers practical information that can be applied to one’s business is typically a good strategy when it comes to B2B social media. When a follower reads your social media posts, they need to feel as if it was worth their time. If you can do this, then you will have ample opportunities to lead them deeper into your sales funnel as they gain an appreciation for your level of expertise and knowledge within your industry.
Since providing quality content within the limited scope of social media can be difficult, it is oftentimes used in conjunction with another marketing strategy; content marketing. Content marketing may take on many forms such as:
Once again the goal here is to show off your company’s expertise by offering information that is genuinely useful to your prospects. You can then add links and CTAs in your content to lead them further into your sales funnel and ultimately turn them into paying customers and clients.
Something to keep in mind when it comes to content marketing is that you may need to update your content on a regular basis. This could be due to the fact that certain industries are rapidly changing, making old content obsolete, or because your ability to create content becomes better over time. Any content that doesn’t reflect your current level of expertise, or has become outdated, needs to be deleted and replaced as soon as possible.
Search engine optimization is a cornerstone of online marketing, and for good reason. The kind of traffic that you can get from SEO is traffic that’s actively searching for what your business has to offer, making it incredibly easy to convert into customers and clients in most cases. This “buyer-ready” traffic is also very cost-effective to acquire since SEO is an evergreen marketing strategy that works long term.
The biggest challenge concerning SEO as a marketing tool is being able to adapt as it changes. Google and the other search engines are always updating their search algorithms, meaning that SEO strategies are also constantly changing as well. What works today may not work tomorrow.
In addition to keeping up with the latest SEO tactics and strategies, you need to be able to differentiate between local and general SEO. If your business serves a very specific geographic area, then you need to use local SEO to make sure that the traffic you’re funneling comes from that area. Failure to do this can tank your SEO campaign before it even gets started.
It should also be mentioned that there are some differences between B2C and B2B SEO. For one thing, people making B2B searches online typically do so within work hours. This means that you should expect to see less traffic on the weekends in most cases.
On top of that, B2B searches tend to be very problem/solution-oriented. In other words, the people making these searches have a problem and are looking for a solution. This means that your landing pages need to be written in a way that very quickly communicates to your incoming traffic that you have exactly what they’re looking for. Failing to do this can result in a high bounce rate that can negatively affect your SEO efforts.
Speaking of which, the problem/solution approach tends to work very well for B2B ad campaigns as well. While B2C ads can use a wide variety of psychological tactics such as inciting curiosity, hope, or taking advantage of certain biases, a B2B ad campaign’s focus will always be much narrower than that. In a way this is a good thing since it means you’ll need less testing to find ads that convert.
Regardless, ad campaigns can be a double-edged sword, and you will almost certainly lose money before you find a group of ads that convert. If you don’t have the budget for extensive testing, then your campaign will never get off the ground.
It is also advisable to have someone in charge of your ad campaigns that actually knows what they’re doing. Any slipups or mistakes can turn into lots of lost capital very quickly when it comes to ad campaigns, so make sure that you have enough room in your budget to hire or assign a competent campaign manager.
So, what kinds of ads work best for the B2B crowd? Once again, the problem/solution format tends to be the best approach. This is especially true if you use this method to target the big three needs of B2B:
If your ads can communicate the fact that your company is able to help your prospects with these three elements, then you should be able to create a winning campaign. Just be sure that your ads link to landing pages that immediately offer what your prospects are expecting after they click your ads. Hiring a professional copywriter for your ads and landing pages is pretty much a necessity since you want your conversion rates to be as high as possible for both elements of your sales funnel.
As we touched on earlier, B2B marketing strategies tend to be much narrower in messaging than B2C. This is because B2B prospects themselves have a narrower focus on what they’re looking for online in regard to their business needs. While B2C can focus on entertainment, belonging, and other intangibles, B2B is almost always solely focused on helping prospects achieve specific goals related to their business.
Effective marketing for B2B tends to group these goals into the three categories we just talked about; saving time, saving money, and making money. If you can use a problem/solution approach to truly convince your prospects that you’re capable of helping them achieve goals related to these three concepts, then you’ll be able to run a successful B2B marketing campaign that increases your revenue flow, and helps you to grow your business.
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