The Essential Guide to B2B Marketing
If you’re new to B2B marketing, it may be difficult to know where to begin. Developing a solid marketing strategy requires marketers to juggle between creative demands, budget limits, and—of course—ensure that they cater to our audience. Since, your marketing efforts are, you know, ultimately for them.
When it comes to understanding your target audiences, there are two main types:
- Individual customers
This means that some companies cater toward individual consumers while others focus on approaching companies and organizations. That’s what makes marketing between B2B and B2C different.
In this article, you’ll learn to understand how B2B marketing works, the different marketing strategies for B2B businesses, and how it can benefit your business.
Table of Contents
So, what is B2B marketing?
B2B marketing stands for business-to-business marketing, which means any marketing strategy is targeted towards a business or organization. A company that sells products or services to another business or organization is considered a B2B business. Hence the need for effective B2B marketing strategies.
Often, when people think of B2B marketing, they think it is less interesting when compared with B2C marketing. They might assume it mostly entails direct marketing techniques such as sending messages straight to clients that you’ve identified.
The good news is that the world of B2B marketing has evolved and so have the behaviors of buyers! These days, everyone goes on to Google to seek solutions to their work, personal, and relational problems. People can now access information within seconds at their fingertips. Studies have shown that 50% of Google users click on their result within 9 seconds of searching.
The purpose of B2B marketing is to raise brand awareness amongst other businesses, to position your business in the market, and convert them into customers.
An example of a company that engages in B2B marketing is HubSpot! Their main clientele consists of other businesses and not individual consumers.
“Don’t build links. Build relationships.” - Rand Fishkin, the founder of SparkToro
B2B vs B2C marketing
B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing are very different. Their audiences vary, so naturally, their strategies, approaches, and communication differ too.
B2B marketing targets the needs and wants of individuals who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, their organization. A few examples of B2B companies:
- Shopify – a complete commerce platform that allows users to start, grow, and manage their business. These business owners can set up their store online as well as in physical locations using their point-of-sale app and hardware.
- Slack – a messaging app for business that connects people to the information they need. It’s typically used at work to consolidate communications within a team.
B2C marketing targets the needs and wants of individuals who represent themselves in their purchasing decisions. A few examples of B2C companies:
In simple terms, for B2B companies, the organization is the customer.
Whereas for a B2C company, the individual is the customer.
The differences between B2B and B2C marketing:
With that, let’s dive into the best B2B marketing tips!
1. Conduct research (determine brand positioning, research the market & target audience)
Before creating an effective B2B marketing strategy, you must first understand your brand positioning, your audience and the market by conducting thorough research.
Here are a couple quick pointers to get your started:
- Determine your brand positioning – what are your brand offerings? What is your brand identity? Why should your customers choose you? How do you want your brand to be perceived in the eyes of the customer? Being clear about your brand positioning can help to drive brand recognition and lead generation.
- Identifying your target audience (buyer persona) – find your target audience – the ones who are really looking for your products or services. To gain a better grasp of how to tailor your marketing efforts, create a few buyer personas! It will help you a great deal in understanding what affects and influences their purchasing decisions.
3. Understanding the buyer’s journey
- How each stage affects your marketing strategies
- How you can implement them to your advantage
4. Run a competitive analysis
- What’s my unique selling point?
- Who’s my competition? What will make my prospective customers choose them?
- What’s my S.W.O.T analysis like?
5. Explore marketing channels to use – once you’ve completed your competitive analysis you’ll see the opportunities in the different types of marketing channels to take advantage of.
Which leads me to my next point about the different marketing strategies and channels for B2B marketing.
2. Have a high performing website
In the realm of professional services, having a high performing website is a valuable asset. It’s more than just a digital storefront for your organization–it helps to build visibility and credibility. Developing your online presence will establish yourself as a highly trusted expert in the marketplace.
Regardless of the industry or business you’re involved in, there’s no denying that we use search engines to find solutions to everything, including professional service providers. A research conducted by Hinge Marketing found that 80% of people look at websites when checking out service providers—the most commonly used information source by far. Potential customers and clients need to be able to find your organization online in order to stand a chance at winning their business.
Consider how you might nurture leads as they first visit your website using these prompts:
- Attract: What kind of content will attract your potential buyers and prospects?
- Engage: How do you build engagement and turn them into qualified prospects?
- Delight: What can you do to provide help and support to empower your prospects to find success with their purchase?
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of what aspects a good website needs to have:
- Functional and secure – user-friendly site with an SSL certificate to keep user data secure, prevents attackers from the site, and conveying trust to users
- Easy to navigate – clear information hierarchy and directory for users to find the information they need
- Aesthetically pleasing – beautiful web design that complements your branding, business goals, and marketing efforts
- Responsive design – allows your website to adapt to suit different devices
- Search engine optimisation – ranking well according to browsers’ search algorithm to drive organic traffic to your website
3. Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn is without a doubt one of the most active platforms for B2B marketing. With over 310 million active monthly users, you cannot ignore this platform. As a B2B marketer, if you want to get your content seen by your target audience, LinkedIn should be your primary social platform.
According to the B2B Content Marketing 2021: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from CMI and MarketingProfs, LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform for B2B marketers (at 96%). Another study found that nearly 50% of B2B marketers have generated leads via LinkedIn.
The platform is great for sharing:
- Opinions and insights as posts
- Long-form content and blogs
- Video content
- Whitepapers and more
LinkedIn, like many platforms these days, offers a robust suite of analytics to measure every aspect of your program. You can also find new content suggestions to better cater to your audiences’ needs and interests.
LinkedIn marketing tip: encourage your employees to share your content on their LinkedIn profiles! According to LinkedIn, the employee network is 10x larger than its company’s follower base. Plus, content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.
4. Utilize Email marketing
Though there are many new communication methods in practice, one of the oldest and most effective marketing channels that’s still effective is email marketing.
You might ask yourself, in an age where social media marketing and video campaigns are booming, is email marketing still worthwhile? Well, here’s what the numbers have to say about it:
- Email marketing generates $36 for every $1 spent, that’s higher than any other channel.
- 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads.
- 87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels.
- There are 4 billion daily email users. This number is expected to grow to 4.6 billion by 2025.
- Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
- 78% of marketers in 2020 said email is important to overall company success, compared to 71% in 2019.
Emails that are engaging will turn subscribers into leads, who might turn into a buying customer. Emails are also a powerful vessel for businesses to share branded content in an organic way. Moreover, utilizing email marketing allows us to collect first-party data directly from your marketing tools.
One of the distinct ways in which B2B email marketing differs from B2C email marketing is this: the messaging appeals less to the readers’ emotion, but more towards logic and ROI. When you’re creating your email marketing strategy, you need to consider the kind of content that will consistently resonate with your target audience and focus on the things that matter most to them.
Here are some best practices for B2B email marketing:
- Grow your emailing list – above all else, you’re going to need to have a database of people to send your emails to. A few ways to get started is to create unique email content, use lead magnets for gated content such as ebooks, or incorporating sign-up boxes on all pages of your website.
- Write enticing subject lines – it needs to hook people from the subject line. It gives people a preview of what the email entails and whether or not they should gamble on opening it.
- Have a clear call-to-action (CTA) – keep it down to one per email. With over 306 billion emails sent and received each day, you’d want to consider putting yourself in your readers’ shoes. It can be pretty overwhelming when you receive emails that send you on a wild goose chase with multiple different CTAs. So, it’s best to be clear and strategic with your CTA as it helps your audience focus on the message and one action.
- Segment your emailing list to ensure the right content goes to the relevant audience – it’s the key to curating a personalized experience for your audience! Your subscribers might be at different stages of the buyer’s journey or seek different offerings. With email segmentation, you can understand them better, that emails they’re interested in, and create quality email content.
At the end of the day, you should ask yourself this, how can your business help theirs grow? Remember the things that drive B2B buyers when it comes to curating relevant content that resonates with your business customers.
5. Be smart with SEO
SEO, content marketing, and your overall marketing strategy all ties in together. When your content performs well on search queries on search engines, it can direct traffic and turn them into qualified leads. Research shows that 71% of B2B clients start product research with search engines. You never know which B2B buyer might find the answers to their problems with the content on your site. That’s why all content should be optimized for SEO and created with the purpose of driving organic traffic to your site.
If you’re not sure of topics, content, and keyword ideas, you can use free keyword tools online such as:
6. Strategize your content marketing
If you’re planning to succeed in B2B marketing, you’re going to need to have a solid content marketing strategy. Content is what attracts leads and B2B buyers to engage with your business further. In fact, 52% of B2B buyers say they’re “definitely” more likely to buy from a brand once they’ve read their content! Simply put, content marketing is one of the most useful and important lead generation strategies.
Since we’ve talked about how B2B customers are focused on expertise, driven by logic, and motivated by financial incentives, content marketing is the perfect tool to satisfy these.
Here’s a simple diagram to understand the different elements needed to build your content marketing strategy.
Remember that every content you create has to be with purpose. You need to create content that adds value to the customer, so it’s best to align these with the various stages of the buyer’s journey. Note that because B2B buyers experience longer sales cycles compared to B2C buyers, their content marketing approach varies too.
Check out our other blog for more content marketing tips here!
Try out these B2B marketing tips to reach your sales goals
B2B marketing opens up a wealth of opportunities to drive success; However, it isn’t effective unless you keep your business audience in mind. Remember to keep your marketing message focused on how you can help their business and direct your B2B marketing efforts towards them.
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