Business to Business (B2B) marketing focuses on building long-term valuable relationships with customers. B2B marketing involves directing marketing of products or services toward a business or organisation. This marketing is aimed at individuals who are key stakeholders at a company and control buying decisions. It is different from B2C marketing which is directed toward consumers. In this article we will discuss strategies for B2B marketing that can help you grow your business and form valuable relationships with your customers.
First, let’s take a look at how B2B marketing is different from B2C marketing. It is important to understand how B2B customers think as it can help you form the right marketing strategies that are relevant to them.
B2B vs B2C Marketing
B2B and B2C are different when it comes to implementing their marketing strategies and how they sell to their customers. Here are some points of distinction between the two:
- B2B businesses have customers that are other businesses hence their marketing efforts are focused on them. B2C has individual consumers as customers and not professional buyers.
- B2B directs its marketing efforts on the interests and pain-points of the decision’s makers or key stakeholders in a company. B2C’s marketing is directed toward individual consumers.
- Customers in B2B are more focused on products or services that will ultimately improve efficiency and increase their ROI. While B2C customers are looking for discounts or deals and more immediate benefits of the product or service.
- B2B customers want to be educated about the product or service and look for detailed information before they invest. B2C customers like information about the products but don’t usually need in-depth knowledge to purchase.
- Unlike B2C, the B2B buying cycle is much longer and complex.
- B2B customers are looking for a long-term business relationship and have contracts which last for a long time. Whereas, B2C customers are not looking for anything long-term and sometimes only want one-time purchase.
- B2B buying decisions are made logically with a lot of research on the product or service. B2C is more of an impulsive or emotional purchase.
Another important aspect to consider for successful B2B marketing strategies is the buyer’s journey. It is important to cater the prospects through each of these stages to ultimately get them to a decision to buy.
Here are the three stages of a buyer’s journey:
Awareness: In this stage the prospect has acknowledged that they have a need or a problem that requires a solution. They are researching products or services that might help them solve this problem.
Consideration: The prospect has come across a product or service that can potentially help them resolve their problem. In this stage, the prospect carries out an in-depth research on the various products, services or vendors to help them narrow down their choices.
Decision: Here the prospect has made a decision to invest in a particular product and vendor that will provide a solution to their problem.
Now that we know the buyer’s journey it's time to discuss various marketing strategies for B2B businesses.
Research on the target audience is the foundation of any marketing strategy. Many marketers believe they know their target audience but often don’t have enough evidence to show for. The research should be thorough on all aspects of the customer including demographics, psychographics, location, pain-points, interests etc. Create a buyer persona which is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Once you define your target audience it will be much easier to create content relevant to them. This will also ensure more profitable results in your marketing campaigns.
In this digital age most of the businesses know the importance of a website and invest in creating one. Website is an important aspect, especially for B2B marketing as many buyers conduct an in-depth research on vendors or services before investing. A website can help you tell your story and provide information on your business. It can create brand awareness and drive more traffic that could be potential leads. In addition, it can help you build trust and credibility with your target customers.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is an important aspect when it comes to the visibility of your website. You can use various SEO techniques from relevant keywords, optimised content, meta descriptions, backlinks to site speed to improve your ranking. SEO can improve the overall quality of your web pages which can help you reduce the bounce rate and eventually gain more conversions.
Google Ad campaigns can prove to be very useful when it comes to B2B marketing. You can utilise any ad types like search ads or display ads for your advertising campaign. The type of format you choose depends on your business type or goals. These ads can help you find the relevant target audience. You can link your ads to a landing page on your website which will send quality traffic there.
These ads are useful to introduce your target audience to your products or services. You can add descriptions that help solve the problems of your buyer persons. Using the relevant keywords will make sure that only the right audience clicks on your ads. You can also monitor the performance of your ads and keep a check of your budget. This can show you if your ads have a good quality score or if it's visible to the relevant audience. Analysing the performance can allow you to further optimise your ads as required.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Account-based marketing is a growth strategy where Sales and Marketing teams collaborate to create personalised experience to high-value accounts. It is a strategy that focuses on nurturing the accounts that can potentially generate revenue for the company.
Many B2B businesses are opting for ABM as it allows you to use your resources efficiently, shorten the sales cycle and increase revenue. In addition, it can enable you to create tailored content, campaigns and messaging for high-value accounts. This can create long-term relationships with your customers.
To get an in-depth insight on Account-based marketing, read our blog on Everything You Need to Know About Account-Based Marketing
Marketing Automation allows businesses to target customers through automated messages on email, social media and web. Messages can be sent automatically once you set triggers and create workflows. Marketing and sales automation is used to automate online marketing campaigns to improve efficiency and increase revenue. Marketing automation also helps in lead generation, nurturing and measuring the ROI of the campaigns.
For example, you can give a free downloadable ebook on your website and create email workflows. You can set a trigger that sends the users these emails after they download your ebook. This can further nurture your leads and educate them. And they will end up investing in your business. Automation can help you produce better quality leads to add to the sales pipeline. Through automation you can reach customers along their journey from awareness to decision. It is a great tool to simplify the various time-consuming sales and marketing tasks.
Emails are a great way to reach customers easily any time of the day. Most business professionals are online throughout working hours and check their emails frequently. B2B customers are always looking for information that can help them improve their efficiency and increase revenue. Sending them emails with content that answers their questions is a great way to get their attention. You can set up email workflows that can engage them further if they have shown interest in your content. Giving free downloadable content in exchange for contact information is a great way to build your email list.
Make your email copies interesting so that the buyer is tempted to open it. In order to do this, you need to have an enticing subject line and preview text. Subject lines like “Do you want to increase your ROI?” is an example where the buyer might want to open the email out of curiosity. Include a single CTA in your email which can direct the user to take the required action. If you use too many CTAs it might cause confusion and divert their attention from the content.
You can segment the audience depending on which stage they are in their buyer’s journey. Then create workflows that nurture them during each stage. Also, using their first name can add a personal touch to the email and make it more relevant to your audience.
As discussed above B2B customers like thorough, informative and logical content. They are looking for content that will educate them and help them solve their business problems. Which is why, content marketing is important for a B2B customer.
You can create engaging content on your website that will interest your potential customers. It is important that your content nurtures them in every stage of their buyer’s journey. Different types of content are suitable for different stages of the buyer’s journey. In the awareness stage you can use content like blogs, infographics, whitepapers, checklists. In the consideration stage content like case studies, webinars, videos, demos can be useful to give them more information. Finally, for the decision stage you can use testimonials and reviews that can encourage them to invest in your business.
The type of content on your website will help your buyer’s trust you and see you as a credible source of information. Building your blog content is a great way to help your audience trust you. You can invite guest bloggers who are experts in specific fields to write for you. Content marketing can help you convert quality leads into long-term customers.
Last but definitely not the least is social media. Social media is a flexible tool that you can use in many ways to support your marketing activities. Social media can be useful to create brand awareness. It can help you advertise and reach potential customers. You can share content and engage with your audience.
For B2C companies it is easier to use any social media platform as their audience is looking for shopping or entertainment. However, for B2B businesses it can be very restricting as you are targeting business professionals. Depending on your audience you can select which platform is suitable for your business. LinkedIn is a great platform for B2B businesses to connect with other professionals. You can advertise on LinkedIn and target an audience that are relevant to your business. Sharing content on your social media can boost your engagement with your audience. It can also help you build connections with key stakeholders.
Any type of marketing revolves around the audience. Once you understand your audience you will know exactly how you are going to use different strategies to reach them. The strategies discussed in this article can help you get started with your marketing efforts and eventually show you the results you need. That being said, it’s not just restricted to these strategies alone. Depending on your business type, goals and budget you can experiment with various strategies or focus on a single one.
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