How to Create an Effective B2B Marketing Strategy

Grow revenue better with business to business marketing. Learn actionable tactics for SEO, Content Marketing & lead conversion.

Modern B2B marketing strategies are much different than in the past. Thanks to a myriad of tools and chatbots, the same old strategies of yesteryear just don't work with the latest generation of decision-makers at different companies.

For example, many contacts are now much younger, and B2B buyers do at least 12 searches online before they engage with a brand.

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What is B2B Marketing?

B2B Marketing (AKA Business-to-business marketing) is the promotion and sale of a business product or service to another business. B2B marketing tactics depend largely on foundation principles of traditional digital marketing, however, they're focused on businesses specifically.

Over the past two years, a few trends have emerged:

  • Millennials are now making business decisions.
  • Success strategies target the highest-level executives.
  • Branded searches shouldn't be the focus of your strategy. Instead, you'll need to include a range of keywords and branded keywords. Research shows that B2B decision makers use search engines to decide whether to do business with certain businesses.
  • Most executives use mobile search over desktop.
  • B2B researchers like to watch videos, and they typically watch all the way to the end.

B2B researcher watch time

Pertaining to that last trend, almost half of all B2B buyers watch at least 30 minutes of B2B-related video content. Most of the time, they like to watch product demonstrations that show features, and they click on YouTube ads more than most. These videos help them understand the product more, and if the video convinced them of the value, they were likely to purchase.

So What is a B2B Marketing Strategy?

B2B strategies refer to any marketing plan or content strategy that targets other businesses and organizations.

There are also many B2B companies online who sell software and tools to help other businesses.

B2B is also very different from B2C marketing, which is business-to-consumer marketing. Whereas B2B targets specific companies and their executive team, a B2C strategy is more concerned with acquiring a general audience of users who want consumer products.

Essentially, B2B marketing is only concerned with the needs, problems, interests, and challenges of those who are making purchase decisions on behalf of an organization or business. In this case, the organization is actually the consumer.

Some more examples of B2B strategies include:

  • A niche hosting company that sells server space to gaming companies and software companies only. Their marketing efforts focus on executives, financial officers, and accountants at different technology firms and gaming houses.
  • A sales and marketing software company sells CRM tools, social media management, and email marketing to other businesses, such as HubSpot.
  • Facebook markets its advertising platform to businesses as a good way to save money on marketing by targeting audiences and displaying ads in their users' mobile feeds.

In contrast, B2B marketing examples include:

  • An Etsy store that markets its clothes, jewelry, and shoes to customers on Pinterest.
  • A department store like Wal-Mart or Macy's that sells products to customers looking for clothing, accessories, housewares, appliances, and so forth.
  • A music platform that sells subscriptions to stream from all devices, such as Tidal.

Who are B2B Strategies For?

There are different motivating factors for why a business would employ B2B marketing strategies over B2C options. For example, B2B customers are different than B2C. They want to help their company save money, build ROI, save with efficient machines or tools, and show their expertise.

Some other characteristics of B2B customers include:

  • Use logic and financial reasoning to hire a company or use their software
  • Want to be educated on different products, rather than use impulse buying strategies
  • Desire to work directly with salespeople and account managers.
  • Customers typically have to talk to other people in their department or even request purchasing power to complete the sale.
  • Look for long-term solutions, which may require a longer sales cycle and more preservation of long-term contracts.
Even though the strategies and customers are different, B2B strategies still cross paths. Some companies also have B2B and B2C products.

B2B Digital Marketing Strategies

Your digital marketing strategy will depend on the industry and audience type. While strategies differ, the right B2B materials will fit right in with your B2B buyer's journey.

b2b-marketing-content

A typical B2B buyer's journey has the following three stages:

1. Awareness

The first stage for any B2B buyer is prospecting and awareness The buyer wants to research more about the product.

They may look up videos to understand more about the product and see how it works, and prospects also look at reviews to see previous experiences from real customers.

They may find that the product solves a problem that they did not fully understand as well, which is why B2B strategies should focus on educating customers and providing how-to tips.

2. Consideration

At this point, the B2B buyer has clearly defined the problem and sees an opportunity in investing in the product.

They have found all the research that helps their purchase decision. They may see more approaches to solving the problem through the B2B product, and they may spend more time looking into other ways to use the product.

3. Decision

The B2B buyer has now learned all about the product and wants to make a decision. They may see your product/service as a solution or approach to creating more revenue.

They may look at other vendors at this time to find the best fit for their business. By comparing vendors, B2B buyers feel they are making the most informed decision with the best options and prices.

How to Use B2B Email Marketing

This strategy has worked for many years for businesses and consultants who want to reach B2B buyers. In fact, 93 percent of B2B digital marketing teams use email to reach their customers.

Have you created an email marketing campaign, such as a drip series or educational nurture series? Emails promote more engagement and convert subscribers through lead generation, hopefully creating customers.

B2B customers do not rely on entertainment or emotional messages to make decisions. They base decisions on experience, logic, and new ROI opportunities. Basically, how can your business help their business grow? Because of this mentality, B2B buyers are more likely to respond to things that help them optimize their time, money, or resources.

Email strategies also help you share your content and educational opportunities. Studies show that 82 percent of B2B companies send out email newsletters to their subscribers as part of a rich content marketing plan. Many marketers say that newsletters are the most critical to their success. You can use these newsletters to promote blog content, important products, new trends, and educational opportunities.

Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Email Marketing for B2B

  • Write catchy subject lines that attract a B2B reader but do not sell too hard. You need to be able to hook your prospect quickly and then stay relevant to your follow-up content. The content of your email is just as important as the subject line, so spend time on both to ensure that they flow well.
  • Only have one major call-to-action (CTA) per each email message. While you can have other links and smaller CTAs, your major button should be the one thing you want B2B customers to do. Otherwise, they may click through to something else that doesn’t matter as much. The worst thing you can do is pack your emails with multiple CTAs that lead to different pages. Instead, you can plan out an email series to use these CTAs better.
  • Plan out email audience segments so you reach the most relevant audience. While not every email will resonate right away with your recipients, you can easily plan out series by stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, they may still be prospecting and learning at the beginning of the sign-up phase, and you can plan to send out promotions later on in their journey. Typically, after a week, you can slip in a product promotion if you want to nurture your prospects with educational resources first.
  • Your emails should be mobile responsive. Most B2B buyers access their email through their phones on-the-go, so your email and landing pages must be mobile-friendly. Any emails that do not show up or display incorrectly get deleted typically.
  • Thinking of doing a cold email? The right email copy from the right person can actually catch and hook the attention of prospects. All it takes is the right headline and personal message.
If you are wondering how to grow your email list or get started, you can always set up a subscriber link on your home page. These opt-in forms are often the best way to get new prospects, particularly if you offer some time of incentive such as a downloadable ebook or discount.

How to Use B2B Digital Marketing Strategies

Most businesses today have a digital presence. They may have a social media page, website, paid ads, SEO strategies, and other content that promotes your business online. There are a few ways that you can grow and optimize your current digital marketing strategies.

Learn More About Your Target Audiences

Your target audiences are important to every marketing strategy, but B2B strategies are almost exclusive to their audiences. You have to know the buyer personas who are interested in your products and what motivates them to make a purchase. You can develop demographic and psychographic details about your buyer personas to better understand them and optimize your marketing campaigns.

User surveys, market research, competitor research, social media targeting tools such as Facebook audience targeting, and third-party social media management tools like SocialReport.com. You need to also make sure that the content you create is absorbed by the right audiences. This maximizes your efforts for the most important eyes and ears.

Create a Better User Experience

You can’t have a good digital strategy without a great website, and the key to that is having a fluid user experience. Most B2B buyers visit a website during the awareness and consideration stages. In addition, websites with better mobile experiences are easier to share with other stakeholders in the purchase decision.

Your user experience should focus on informing the logic of a B2B consumer and helping them show how it’s important to their business to other stakeholders.

Perfect Your SEO Strategy

Your website is a 24/7 beacon for your products, services, and educational resources. However, you have to be discoverable. SEO is the best way that you can bring more awareness to your brand, and you can do it organically just by building up the content on your website.

While third-party research and tracking tools like SEMRush and WordStream help with analytics and data, you can also start searching keywords related to your products and see what results come up.

  • Does your business feel relevant to these keywords?
  • How can you expand upon keywords you already rank for?

A great SEO strategy is mostly technical as you have to know about structured data, schema markup, site speed factors, meta descriptions, and other factors. Success strategies combine on-page and off-page factors, as well as emerging trends such as voice SEO.

Start a PPC Advertising Campaign

PPC or pay-per-click advertising allows you to market your brand and content to new audiences in search engines and other networks. You maximize your PPC campaigns by optimizing for brand searches, blog content, and social media profiles. PPC campaigns such as search text ads allow you to display your company right to your potential customers when they search.

You will need to know who you want to target with your ads so you can group the right keywords and phrases together in Google Ads or Bing Ads, as these are the two most popular platforms for PPC.

You also want to boost content that they can use for educational purposes and logical purchases. To reach more customers, you should pay to target the most relevant keywords and key phrases within your brand.

How to Use B2B Content Marketing

Most B2B buyers look for content that shows off expertise, discovery of problems and solutions, logical reasoning, and advanced educational resources. Content marketing is the best way to capitalize on your knowledge and spread the word about your business in any B2B industry.

This is because most B2B buyers want to know more about solutions and products that will make them more money or save them time, which equals more money. Content marketing is not necessarily promotional in nature. In fact, it’s typically organic and focuses on answering questions or problems that B2B consumers have with their business. In addition, if you are trying to perfect your SEO strategy, then content marketing is the definitive way to anticipate what your customers are searching for and supplying them with the content they want.

You can convert customers through content marketing by suggesting different products and using remarketing tools. You can also use inbound marketing techniques, such as downloading free guides, ebooks, or white papers that your B2B prospect can re-distribute and share on their own.

In general, B2B buyers are looking for the following content:

  • Checklists
  • White papers
  • Industry reports
  • Webinars
  • Case studies
  • ROI calculators
  • Client testimonials
Before you develop a content marketing strategy for B2B customers, you may simply want to set up a blog for your business and answer frequently asked questions or provide new content about industry information that only you know. Your blog offers a way to publish content on a daily basis and share it across all social media channels.

How to Use B2B Social Media Marketing

New research suggests that 75 percent of B2B buyers and almost 85 percent of executives use social media to make a purchase. This means that B2B brands should focus on business-related and industry content, rather than focus on individual customers.

Many B2B marketers have issues with social media because it’s been hard to attribute traffic in the past. With things like the Facebook conversion pixel and audience targeting, businesses can now use interests, employer information, and job titles to find their B2B customers. With the right forms on mobile ads, business executives may convert right within their timeliness.

Despite having access to these advertising tools and free publication of content through social media profiles, many businesses are not able to reach B2B customers the same way that B2C marketing strategies do. This is mostly because B2C customers are looking to be entertained by content, and they may not make decisions based on educational or logical content.

This is why B2B businesses have to structure their social media content around employees being brand ambassadors. Instead of brands pushing new products and sales materials, they should let employees show why certain products and services help solve problems through videos and tutorials. Webinars offer a great resource to executives on social media who can sign up through their mobile phones and get alerts about the next event.

Social media marketing success is also about the channels you select and how popular they are with the industry. Some B2B clients will be found on Facebook while others are on Twitter or LinkedIn. Each of these platforms offers audience targeting and analytics to help you hone your campaigns and show your ads directly to the audiences you want.

How to Use Chatbots for B2B Lead Generation

New research shows that businesses will budget $400 million in bots by 2021. In addition, 80 percent of businesses will personalize chatbots by the end of 2020.

What if you could use Facebook Messenger to schedule demos, discover new leads, and answer customer service questions? In today's digital lead generation strategies, you can use customized chatbots to automate lead generation and create new opportunities for B2B prospects.

For example, you can set up a chatbot on Facebook that offers resources and links whenever questions are typed to the brand's Facebook page. They can also request to chat or call with a representative at any time.

Customized chatbots are becoming more common, and there are a variety of templates that you can use. However, these do require some web development and programming experience to set up and customize for your site. In addition, you want your lead generation forms to hook right into your CRM so that your sales team can instantly access B2B leads.

Wrapping Up: Grow Your Business to Business Marketing Strategy

While most of these trends in B2B strategies use new technology, you still have to be authentic. In fact, B2B prospects look for educational information that actually makes sense and can be easily shared with their peers. If you invest in research and get to know your audience in more detail, then you will know what kind of content and keywords you must include in your strategy to build awareness.

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