In the marketing industry, it’s been fairly standard up until the last ten years or so to view digital marketing as methods and tools primarily leveraged by retail-focused B2C product and service providers. The consumer-based marketing model allows these methods and tools to undergo iterative improvements at speed due to the sales cycles that retailers and service providers in the retail space must achieve to remain competitive and successful.
It was often assumed that many digital marketing strategies and techniques were not built for the slower and less demanding sales cycle associated with B2B service providers. However, as buying and purchasing habits have evolved and businesses themselves have sought to minimize and improve their lead conversion cycles, we’ve seen a significant shift in how B2B service providers approach digital marketing. That shift has resulted from the differences in how B2B-focused businesses have to approach customers.
Our goal in this discussion is to establish first the foundation your organization needs to have in place to launch an impactful B2B marketing campaign that will meet the needs of B2B clients. Following that will be a breakdown of the major strategies and methods for executing an effective digital marketing campaign.
What’s Your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy?
Business-to-business customers are motivated and driven by different factors than those same customers might be in their personal lives at a retail level. The ideal B2B customer is characterized by very specific behaviors:
- They are more focused on the ROI of a product or service and thus are attracted more to efficiency and brands that can prove expertise.
- Bottom-line profitability is a stronger motivator than emotion in B2B transactions.
- While retail customers focus on reviews and product descriptions, B2B customers want to be similarly educated at a higher level with explainers and How-to videos that show products solving the problems they are looking to solve.
- B2B clients are busy and they want account managers and sales staff to do the heavy lifting for them.
- The purchase cycle is also longer and requires approval on several administrative levels. That’s because B2B clients are purchasing to solve problems in the long term. This also results in longer contracts and longer business relationships forming over time.
Before diving too deeply into the B2B marketing sphere and how B2B tackles these customer-specific challenges, there are few foundational marketing elements B2B service providers or product manufacturers have to have in place in order to leverage the most value from other, more elaborate marketing efforts.
Before any branding or other marketing activity, B2B companies must first identify through research and testing, modeling, and iteration well-defined buyer personas that match the services and products on offer. B2B providers often have a range of products or services, each matched to a marketing strategy, it will be necessary to have defined a persona for each before wide-scale marketing.
Once your personas are in place for each product, then build a functional and focused website around a well-defined buyer’s journey that caters to each persona. This website should undergo significant calibration from search engine optimization experts to ensure both the on-page and technical SEO are in line with the target audience. We’ll touch on off-page SEO tactics further on in the process.
Once you’ve established your website’s on-page structure, it’s time to flesh it out and support your marketing efforts through the right channels.
Content Marketing Along Multiple Channels
With modern search engine changes bringing more focus on the quality of the content housed within your website, it’s important to match your marketing strategy to your copywriting efforts so that all posted material supports the lead conversion process.
On-Page Content to Support your PPC Campaigns
You can’t attract more clients if they can’t find you on the search engines. Therefore it’s hard to get entrenched in the symbiotic relationship between blog content, landing pages, and targeted calls to action without also talking about off-page advertising and SEO efforts. One of the most powerful tools used to drive traffic back to your page is targeted keyword advertisements built up from pay-per-click campaigns. Through keyword and keyphrase research on search engines, your organization pays to have advertisements for your brand come up when those words are used in a search on Google or some other platform. These ads can be extremely well-targeted.
Once you’ve tied keywords and phrases to your buyer personas and created ads around them, it’s then time to create highly targeted on-site content that will show up in the search engines in response to those searches. This content should be written as a way of helping potential clients find solutions to the problems they are facing. Establishing your brand as the go-to solution will build brand recognition and over time create more loyal B2B customers, especially when they realize that you’re meeting their very specific business needs by helping to educate them as well as provide services or products to get the job done.
Email Marketing Is Still a Valid Avenue for Engaging with Potential Clients
Business clients are seeking answers to their problems in easy-to-find places, and what better place to lay out your specific solution to their needs than their email box? By providing the answers to questions like how to help them grow their business or finding products or services to help them help their customers more effectively, you’re presenting your brand as an easily accessible solution – from the email in front of them, help is just a click away!
How crucial is an effective email campaign to B2B marketers if properly executed? Campaigns built around a well-structured email with a single call-to-action are used by 83% of B2B companies, with 40% of those who use them touting email as a critical component in the lead creation and conversion cycle.
Social Media Marketing
Many businesses struggle with social media content marketing, as they often misuse it as a way to try and generate and convert leads. A more effective and impactful approach to B2B marketing on social media is using the various platforms to create brand awareness and to humanize your otherwise faceless business. These can be extremely impactful strategies, as 75% of B2B buyers and 8$% of decision-making executives actively incorporate social media into their buying process.
Investing in B2B Marketing is the Right Path for Reaching Business Customers, and GoingClear Can Help
We’ve only outlined some basic steps in creating strategic marketing initiatives for B2B businesses to utilize in attracting customers. The field is rapidly evolving with new technologies and strategies emerging all of the time. But don’t worry, here in Boston the GoingClear team has used the cold winter to stay inside and familiarize ourselves with trends in B2B marketing. A quick call to our team and in no time we’ll be helping you decide how to better leverage video content, whether incorporating AI-driven chat tools are right for your brand to increase customer engagements, and even how to best incorporate changing strategies around local search due to changes in Google’s search algorithms.