Here we will look at business to business marketing and what this really entails. We aim to explore the topic in detail and bring to light the important elements involved in effective B2B marketing strategies.
What Exactly is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing stands for marketing of services and products between businesses. There are key differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing, which is aimed at individual consumers.
The content of B2B marketing is probably simpler, and contains far more information than that provided by B2C. This makes sense as decisions concerning buying by businesses is more based on the returning revenue.
The individual customer is generally not concerned about the return on their investment, at least not financially, they are looking for the satisfaction that having that product will give them, a bit like the satisfaction gained from playing free spins on their favorite games. But this is a big factor for businesses when making corporate decisions.
Today those working in B2B marketing are likely to sell to “buying committees”. This can be complicated and prove quite challenging but the ability to reach buyers is improving all the time.
Who can Benefit from B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing is relevant for any business that is selling to other businesses. That means literally any kind of business from those selling office supplies to security solutions. B2B marketing focuses their campaigns on those individuals responsible for making decisions regarding purchases.
B2B Marketing Strategy
There is a lot of competition for customers. Creating a good B2B strategy takes careful planning and good management. Below are ways to stand out from the crowd.
Create a Vision
At the outset, you should have a plan and a list of objectives, and then you can create a framework of how you plan to achieve these goals using your chosen B2B strategy.
Know Your Market and who Your Buyer is
This is particularly important as B2B services and products are generally marketed to specific types of clients who have particular needs. Therefore, the more you understand and are able to define your audience, the more you will be able to make your message relevant.
Pinpoint B2B Marketing Methods and Channels
When you have a clear picture of who your clients are, you will then need to figure out how you are going to reach them. You will need to know where, online they hang out, and what are they using search engines for? What social media networks do they have a preference for and what kind of business events do they go to. Can you find the openings that your competitors have missed?
Once you have a plan you can begin to put it into action. Putting your message out there in the best way suitable for the individual channels you have included in your strategy. Your message should be creative, insightful and target your audience in a sophisticated way.
Evaluate and Adjust to Improve
The process of measuring your success is ongoing and will keep you on the right path. You need to identity why some of our content is performing well and some not so well. This will help you to improve and make better decisions and save you time and money. The more you focus on analytics and apply what you have learned, the more likely you will reach your objectives.
Different Types and Channels of B2B Marketing
Blogs are basic to any content marketing strategy. They do need to be updated regularly. Your blog can include all kinds of content formats from written to videos to case studies.
Social Media both paid and free should be used. B2B buyers are more and more using social media looking for potential traders with whom to purchase from. Social media has created opportunities for conversations between companies and businesses and they are more likely to purchase from these businesses.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) All B2B marketing strategies need to take SEO into account. There has been a move away from keywords and metadata and more focus on searcher intent signals.
Emails. Not as popular as they were but still somewhat effective in spite of spam filters. The use of LinkedlnInmail is often used by marketing professionals to get around the difficulty of overloaded inboxes.
Videos can be used in blog, emails and social media and its use is growing in B2B marketing strategies.
eBooks and Whitepapers can be a great source of information. These can be downloaded and can provide you with user’s contact information.
How to be the Best at B2B Marketing
In order to be really successful, you need to stand out from the crowd and make an impactful impression.
Be in touch and human
Even though you are marketing to businesses there are still people being the façade and it is important to be relatable. You are trying to make contact with real people inside the company. They have real feelings and motivations which need to be addressed. It behooves you to learn about the people within the companies in order to make good business decisions about your content.
Good targeting practices
It is worth taking the time to really know who your audience is and to focus in on them. You want to aim your content at those who are specifically interested in it and who are able to influence those who make the purchasing decisions.
The importance of Thought Leadership
Those making high level decisions value those go- to- folks who are sources of expert information. This content is highly valued and used when checking sellers and solutions.
Don’t forget to consider Context
As mentioned above, relating to your customers and speaking their language is important. However, you also need to consider where they are being viewed. Your content and advertisements need to fit into this arena. For example, videos that are short will do better on social media platforms but longer ones will do better on, say, YouTube. Think who your audience is and then adapt accordingly.
Linkedln and B2B Marketing
The B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from CM1 and Marketing Profs. says that “Linkedln is the most used social media platform for B2B marketers, 97% and is also the most effective”. It has over 550 million members, and is the biggest professional networking platform. The context is very much in line with most B2B type content.
You can create an optimized company page free on Linkedln. Keeping it updated often will keep your visibility high and also relevant. There are also a variety of Linkedln marketing features and options to explore that can help you reach and dialogue with the appropriate members.
Conclusion: the key factors of B2B marketing to keep in mind
Even though it is business to business marketing, remember to keep it human.
Invest time in the early stages of your B2B marketing strategy. Creating a plan, knowing your audience, choosing strategies and channels, activating your content and campaigns and then following up with checks and measures to see how you are doing.
Remember to use blogs, social media, whitepapers, emails and video for your B2B marketing content.
The best B2B marketing is relatable, targeted and fits contextually. Thought Leadership content is undoubtedly one of the most effective.
As far as any B2B social media marketing is concerned, Linkedln must be included.