It's hardly a secret that marketing to a business requires a different skillset and strategy than does directly approaching consumers. It's critical to understand the difference between B2C and B2B marketing to enjoy success.
Naturally, though, you'll also need a watertight marketing strategy if you're hoping to see results. If you're sick of seeing limited return after breaking the bank on your B2B marketing strategy, it's time for a rethink.
If your site caters to other businesses, consider the following six B2B marketing strategies to improve your fortunes.
#1 Focus on the needs of the business
B2B marketing has traditionally been logic centric. Business buyers have a problem, and they want it resolved – preferably as cheaply as possible.
However, an increasing number of business buyers expect a buying experience to mirror that of a B2C purchase. Factor this into your marketing strategy. While the approach may differ – switching emotion for practicality – you'll still need to tailor your offering to a buyer.
Before approaching a potential B2B client, do your due diligence. Learn as much as possible about your target audience, with a particular focus on their pain points. The days of wining and dining a potential business partner are mainly behind us, but you'll still need to show a business buyer that you understand their needs – and precisely how you plan to meet them.
#2 Adopt an inbound marketing approach
Why spend a small fortune on marketing techniques when B2B leads could make their way to you? That's the thinking behind inbound marketing. By building a content and SEO strategy that positions your business as a solution to a particular issue, you save a great deal of investment in marketing.
If there's a snag to inbound marketing, it's very much a long-term strategy. Inbound marketing is not an approach that will bolster cash flow. However, the rewards can be substantial for those patient enough because an inbound client is likely to remain loyal.
All of this begs the question – how does a business build a successful inbound marketing strategy? Your core intention must be to position your business as an expert in your industry. Depending on how niche your audience is, you may wish to consider an account-based marketing approach.
With wise use of SEO and blogging, you can ensure that decision-makers find your brand. Build a customer profile and ensure your online presence addresses common questions and pain points. Doing so will build your reputation as a go-to resource for information and troubleshooting, ensuring that you're at the top of anyone's list who's considering a purchase.
#3 Perfect your outbound marketing
As effective as inbound marketing can be, it's inadvisable to rely strictly on this approach. As we mentioned, although inbound marketing is potentially lucrative, it can take some time to reap financial rewards. You'll still need to work with traditional outbound marketing techniques in the meantime. There will always be a time and a place for a well-prepared cold email campaign.
However, to avoid the spam folder, ensure that your message captures the imagination. The subject heading, for example, must never be an afterthought. In many respects, it's more important than the contents. The recipient will decide on impulse whether to open or ignore your email. An enticing subject will lead to the former.
Once it comes to the email itself, be assertive without being bossy. Don't rely on hackneyed old techniques, such as claiming personal eligibility for a limited time discount that will expire shortly. B2B buying decisions take time, and business buyers don't react well to strongarm tactics. Explain how your product or service will benefit a business, provide a single CTA, and get out of dodge.
If you've targeted the right audience, this will be enough.
#4 Leverage social media
Social media is no longer exclusively the domain of personal users and accounts. More and more businesses are embracing this platform as a way of reaching their fellow executives. Over 80% of senior figures also research a business on social media before committing to a purchase.
As the Millennial generation enters management roles across multiple industries, social media is likely to become increasingly crucial to B2B marketing. A strong reputation, with positive social media reviews from peers and trustworthy business sources, will drastically improve your B2B earning potential.
Use social media to showcase the human beings behind your brand and interact with potential purchasers. Simply having a profile and filling it with generic, pre-arranged posts and images will not attract B2B customers. That's the bare minimum. Use your social media presence to impress and demonstrate an understanding of potential buyers and use your PPC budget wisely.
#5 Get automated
The internet has made the world considerably smaller. It's now just as easy to find a potential business partner in Colombia as it is in Croydon. However, there are still challenges to doing business internationally. Language barriers and time differences are among the most prominent.
Embracing automation can resolve both concerns. Software can translate any language, and chatbots can handle preliminary queries at any time of day or night. Using AI, you can ensure that a strong business lead does not slip through your fingers while you sleep. This is the very definition of passive income.
#6 Embrace affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing can be a controversial subject in the world of B2B. Business customers appreciate loyalty and a personal touch from their account handler. This way, they remain assured that their concerns are understood and taken seriously by an appropriate senior team member. By its very nature, affiliate marketing brings third parties into the equation.
However, by running your own affiliate program and finding the right affiliates, you can drastically broaden your B2B contact list. As above, each of these leads could become a loyal, long-term customer. An effective B2B influencer can be worth their weight in gold. You'll just have to work hard to find them and offer appropriately eyebrow-raising rewards.
One other consideration when accounting for ROI with affiliates is when you release payment. If you're paying for contact information alone, this can quickly become expensive – and far from fiscally prudent. Focus on rewarding conversions. This will ensure that your affiliate only forwards solid leads.
If your site serves other businesses, it's important to understand the differences between B2C and B2B marketing so you can take the right approach. Focus on the following six strategies, and you'll be on your way to establishing a solid ROI:
- Focus on the needs of a business
- Adopt an inbound marketing approach
- Perfect your outbound marketing
- Embrace social media
- Embrace affiliate marketing