Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is focused on selling one business’s products or services to another business. It is about meeting the needs of other businesses. Consumers are involved in the process in that it is they are the ones who are most likely to drive the ultimate demand for the products made by the businesses.
B2B marketing methods are based on the same principles as business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. However, these techniques are executed in a unique manner. While consumer buying decisions are made based on factors such as popularity, emotional triggers, and status symbols, B2B buyers make purchasing decisions primarily based on price and profit margins. At Timmons & Company, we have over 50 years of experience in B2B marketing. In this guide, we would like to shed light on some of the most effective marketing strategies that will help you grow your leads and revenue.
What Makes B2B Marketing Different?
Certain underlying factors play a big role in how B2B marketing is handled differently from B2C marketing. Traditional consumers are typically less likely to be well informed. They are also less accountable to others. On the other hand, a business-to-business buyer has to be well informed in order to make a buying decision. The professionals making purchasing decisions are accountable to their business and its management and strive to make a profit month after month. B2B buyers will assess the return on investment (ROI) they make on all purchases; they purchase exactly what they need and not what they want.
There are many more reasons why B2B marketing is much more unique than that most people realize. Some of the key attributes and factors affecting the decisions in this form of marketing are as follows:
- B2B markets have a much more complex decision-making process.
- The potential buyers are highly rational.
- The products are usually more complex.
- The buyers are typically long-term buyers.
- The markets have very few needs-based and behavioral segments.
- Personal relationships matter in these markets.
- Sub-brands are not as effective.
Now that you understand the key traits of B2B marketing that make it unique, it is important to know how much you should spend on it.
Setting Up Your B2B Marketing Budget
Most businesses these days allot 10% or more of their budget to B2B marketing. This is due to the high priority business leaders associate with their marketing efforts in the face of growing competition. There are still differences in the opinions between senior management and marketers in terms of the goals of the marketing organization.
- Management teams mostly expect their marketing efforts to lower the cost of customer acquisition.
- Marketers believe that it is most important to create and implement strategies that build brand positioning and brand awareness.
It is important for your organization to find marketers who embrace the right balance between the two opinions. Again, according to marketing leaders, B2B marketing efforts should get at least 10% of the company’s annual budget allocation. Automated and advanced marketing tactics, interactive content, personalization, and new user experience (UX) requirements require a greater part of your budget to achieve the desired goals. Website design and development and digital marketing are the top tactical areas where most of this budget is allocated.
Best B2B Marketing Strategies
Digital marketing has broadened the scope of marketing opportunities for businesses. If you want to stay competitive, it is essential to make the most of the strategies that drive the most ROI.
Let’s take a look at eight fundamental B2B marketing strategies that will help you get ahead.
1. Market Research
Businesses are known to make sound decisions, whether it is about purchases or marketing. Before you create a B2B marketing plan, it is important to conduct market research.
Marketplace and brand research can help you make highly informed decisions to drive desired results. Some of the most important benefits of the data acquired are as follows:
- Lay an objective foundation for your marketing efforts.
- Create the baselines to measure the results.
- Know your clients better and serve them better.
- Get insight into the performance of your processes.
The businesses that conduct systematic research on their prospects and clients can grow three to 10 times faster than the ones that do not. And they are typically two times more profitable than their competition that doesn’t rely on research.
2. Create a Website
As a business, it is expected that you already have a website. Your company’s website is an important asset. It is at the core of your online presence and provides all the information your target audience will need about your products/services, company, management, and other aspects.
Studies show that eight out of 10 people will look at a firm’s website when they want to learn about the firm; the site is the most commonly used resource of information regarding a company. Your potential clients are searching online for your products/services. You should make sure that you have a solid and informative website — and that your desired audience can easily find it. Besides bringing credibility to your brand name and providing the required information, your website also demonstrates your expertise.
Whether you have an existing website or want to create a new one, make sure it covers the following areas:
- Useful and Informative Content: When your target audience visits your website, provide them with useful and educational content and meticulously targeted offers. This can help you drive your leads closer to engagements and sales.
- Design: Both web design and graphics can make an impact on your target audience’s perceptions. Design helps with recall, allowing your audience to differentiate your business from others.
- User Experience: Make it easy for your visitors to find exactly what they came looking for. If they seek certain information, let them find it as easily and quickly as possible.
- Responsive Design: Make sure your website is responsive and renders well on all types of devices. A significant percentage of your target audience will search for your products/services using their mobile device. Make sure they can also visit your website from their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices.
3. Create and Promote High-Value Long-Form Content
Content marketing has been found to deliver three times more leads compared to outbound marketing. This powerful B2B marketing strategy delivers such staggering results while costing 62% less.
When it comes to B2B content marketing, it is wise to invest in long-form content, which can deliver far greater results than short-form content can. In fact, studies show that long-form content can produce nine times more leads.
Long-form content marketing for B2B reach doesn’t just mean creating 3,000-word-long articles and expecting to drive immediate results. You would be surprised to know that 70% of B2B content remains unused. You should not just stick to the “write it and they will come” approach.
Your content marketing efforts should be about creating high-value pieces that have a role to play in your sales efforts. This also includes the development of:
- Case studies
- Product demos
- B2B marketing videos
Other forms of content that focus on the pain points of your prospects will be important too. Furthermore, using pain-point content and resources lists as the source of traffic for B2B lead generation is also a smart plan. Such an approach can make a big difference in your leads. An average B2B buyer views at least five content pieces from the potential vendor of choice before making their buying decision.
What’s more, if you want your content to drive leads over time, it is important to optimize it. Use the right keywords to optimize your long-form content. These keywords should have a certain degree of commercial intent.
- Use the right tools to check search volumes and keyword difficulty.
- Look for the search terms being used by your competition to generate traffic and be sure you include them too.
Optimizing your long-form and other content can provide compounding benefits over time. Such content pieces can help generate leads over time.
4. On-Site and Off-Site Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It is not just your long-form content that needs to be optimized for search engines. On-site and off-site SEO are also important B2B marketing strategies.
Your SEO strategy should cover on-site tactics around the use of targeted keywords on your website. There should be an off-site SEO strategy involving the use of links in articles, guest posts, social media posts, and other content, all pointing back to your website.
The focus of off-site SEO tactics is to improve your website’s authority as a leader in your subject matter. The goal is to make search engines see your website as a credible source of information on your products/services.
5. Email Marketing
The age-old marketing strategy of email marketing is still young and effective. It is still the most cost-effective online marketing strategy that exists. Given its high ROI, you simply cannot take it out of your B2B marketing plan.
Professional email marketing requires segmenting your email lists before beginning your campaigns. Segmentation has been an integral part of email marketing and is nothing new. Still, its adoption is stunningly low. This also means that there is a big opportunity for your B2B marketing goals in this strategy.
You should know about the following advantages of running segmented email campaigns over their non-segmented counterparts:
- 3% higher email open rates
- 101% more number of clicks
- 4% lower unsubscribe rates
- 6% higher unique opens
- 7% lower email bounce rates
When it comes to B2B email marketing, it is often recommended that a firm/business should hire the services of an agency that specializes in B2B marketing.
6. Paid Advertising
Any B2B marketing plan would be incomplete without paid advertising. This includes paid advertising campaigns on both social media and search engines. Consider the following statistics to gain insight into the importance of this strategy.
- Google Ads has a CTR of 8%. When someone is ready to purchase, these ads can receive two-thirds of the clicks.
- Over two-thirds of B2B marketers invest in social media ads. Facebook and LinkedIn ads are known to drive the highest ROI.
- Two-fifths of buyers will purchase something after being inspired by a YouTube ad.
- Video posts receive the highest organic engagement on Facebook. Almost half of the consumers engage with branded videos on Facebook. This is double the amount for any other platform.
- Over 50% of B2B buyers rely on LinkedIn for information before making buying decisions.
As a business that wants to attract the attention of other businesses, you cannot afford to ignore paid advertising. In addition, retargeting is an important aspect of B2B marketing on these platforms that should be included in your strategy.
7. Social Media Optimization
The use of social media for engagement and lead generation is an important strategy in B2B marketing. This goes beyond the scope of paid advertising.
Social media is not just a platform to reach consumers. Businesses and their B2B marketers are using social media to connect with vendors and executives. It is smart to use these two tactics below to succeed on social media:
- Publish Useful Content: The role of social media for your business is to inform, educate, interact with, and survey your audience. It is essential to publish content regularly. This goes beyond textual content. You should also share videos, presentations, visuals, and infographics. It is a good idea to create and post video stories that allow your target audience to address their key issues and pain points.
- Read the Feedback and Interact with Your Audience: When people give feedback, post comments, or ask questions, make sure to answer them as quickly as possible. It doesn’t matter whether the reviews and feedbacks are positive or negative.
8. Create and Share Visual Content
Visual content has an important role to play in B2B marketing. Creating and adding images and videos to your content is a common recommendation. It will help with brand awareness and recall. Visual recall has a much greater effect than textual or audio recall does: People will typically remember 65% of visual content after three days; they will remember only about 10% of audio or textual content after the same period.
Visual content is important in B2B marketing because you want to keep your brand top of mind. The next time they plan to purchase your products/services, having your brand in their thoughts can make a big difference.
All eight of these strategies are important components in your B2B marketing plan. As already mentioned, B2B marketing is a much more sophisticated area than B2C marketing is. To succeed, your marketing plans and campaigns must be developed and handled by experienced and specialized professionals. At Timmons & Company, we have decades of industry experience and are your one-stop shop for all your B2B branding, creative design, web development, marketing, and advertising requirements. If you want to discuss your promotional goals with us, give us a call at (267) 483-8220 x101 or contact us via this online form.