In a fast-changing world like ours, it is imperative that we look ahead and explore the various opportunities and challenges that we are presented with in business, on a day-to-day basis. One of the ways that we can do that is to make sure that our B2B marketing strategies are up-to-date, current, and flexible enough to accommodate new market trends.
In order to understand these B2B marketing strategies, we must first understand what e-commerce business models offer.
The B2C model is the most common type of business model in the market. It encompasses anything and everything from clothes, household items, consumer electronics, etc. that you might purchase online from a business as a consumer. It could be a product or service.
It’s easy, simple, and quite effortless.
These are the transactions that we do every day and often require a very short decision-making process. Whether it’s your choice of cereal or perhaps your choice of television. Sure, the value of the item in question holds a lot of relevance in it but more often than not, it’s not as calculated as a B2B purchase.
For example, if you’re buying a new pair of jeans, the decision-making process would be quite simple. You see a bunch of designs, look at their prices, get an understanding of their quality and then make a decision. Sometimes, all within thirty minutes. But when it comes to choosing a new caterer for your business or a new email service provider, there will be a vastly different criteria and it would require a lot more time.
Since this model includes both, product or service, whether it’s apps, festivals, concerts, etc. — they all fit into this model. Apps like Spotify, Netflix, and even Amazon are great examples of this.
A B2B business model is one that allows a business to sell its services or products to another business. The buyer might not even be the end user, however, and might resell to the consumer.
Almost every company engages in B2B activities. The size of the B2B companies might vary and the amount of business generated might be different as well but they all engage in some sort of B2B activity.
A lot of these transactions involve raw materials in which one B2B company sources the raw materials from another B2B company in order to process them to make a finished product. A popular example of this can be taken from the iPhone.
Apple makes iPhones but they source materials from Samsung in the shape of chip boards in order to make a finished product. One might question this transaction as both, Apple and Samsung, are rivals. But this is the beauty of B2B companies – both parties profit.
Furthermore, you don’t even need to be a big company with massive resources to make a mark in the B2B industry. Size is irrelevant. Your product or service is what’s going to keep you in the business. A software solution providing company with 10 people can easily cater to companies that bring in revenue in excess of billions of dollars.
It’s what you sell and how you sell it that matters.
The C2B model is an interesting one. As the name suggests, it functions primarily from the consumers’ end as they sell their goods and services to companies.
In this model, consumers have the luxury of naming their own price in exchange for providing value to companies. It allows for the former to avail either free or reduced-price products and services, direct payment, and the flexibility to execute ideas according to their own time and taste.
A great example of this could be taken from ‘Influencer marketing’. For the uninitiated, Influencers are people who have a considerable amount of following on social media. They have a lot of engagement on their posts and enjoy a certain clout in their social media circle. Since they have direct access and communication with their ‘Followers’, they are in a very strong position to influence the buying and decision-making process of their followers.
Brands like that. Brands want that. Influencer marketing is when brands collaborate with these influencers for a certain price or some other perks in exchange for them to either promote their product in their videos/posts or to talk about them on social media.
It’s a great marketing strategy that works. You can even find plenty of case studies about it.
Next time you see words like ‘Paid Partnership’, ‘Sponsored’ or ‘#Ad’ anywhere near an influencers’ post, know that this marketing strategy is part of the C2B model.
A C2C business model is one that we are all familiar with even if we don’t know it. It consists of online marketplaces where consumers connect with each other in order to sell and exchange goods and services. Businesses in this model earn money by either charging a transaction fee or through listing fees.
A great example of this is Upwork – a freelancing website where consumers engage in the sale and exchange of services for a fee. People post ‘Jobs’ there and other consumers who feel like they can provide them with the value that they’re seeking through their services, apply to these jobs.
They list their past experience, answer the required questions, skills, and name their price.
Many people apply to these jobs and in the end, the job is awarded to the person that fits the criteria best.
Upwork charges money for ‘Connects’ (sort of tokens that you need to acquire by buying them from Upwork in order to apply for jobs), and also through service fees.
A similar example of this is that of Fiverr, Etsy, and Craigslist.
These days, any business that doesn’t have a professional website, risks becoming insignificant and irrelevant. Your website is how you can attract new customers and service your existing ones. When it comes to B2B marketing strategies, your business’ biggest asset can be your website.
If you already have one, great. If you don’t, get one immediately.
You also can’t just get one just for the sake of it. You need to outline what you want from it and then get professionals to do it for you. Sure, it might be costly, depending on the professional, but in the long run, it will be very beneficial for you and your business.
Neither you nor your customers will have the luxury of time to always meet or conduct business in-person. Especially during COVID. Therefore, majority of your buyers will only be conducting those via your website. That is why your web design needs to be top-notch as your buyer will make a purchase decision on its basis.
In order to bring in more leads and sales, your website needs be fast. If your website’s loading time is more than three seconds, more than 40% of user will abandon it. That’s not what you want.
Moreover, you have to make sure that it is secure. In order to do that, you’ll have to buy an SSL certificate. Only then will you have a website that is HTTPs instead of just being HTTP. This is essential as more than 85% of consumers avoid browsing an unsecured website.
Another great thing that you can do is to make sure that it is mobile-friendly. These days, a smartphone is all you need in order to carry out your day-to-day business dealings. That is how a lot of people buy things as well, even in a B2B scenario. Therefore, it would serve you well to optimize your website for smartphones.
Lastly, landing pages. They are crucial for you to generate more leads and sales. Your website shouldn’t only act as a brochure or a portfolio for your business, it should be actionable. The more the landing pages for all of your products, the more the leads.
Social media is important for every business but not every social media platform is fit for your business. Case in point being, B2B companies. Instead of dividing up your resources and energies and deploying them in the wasteful exercise of maintaining a presence on every social media, focus on one where you can find your target audience, e.g. LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a great platform for B2B companies to generate leads and sales through creating and sharing blog posts, industry related news, updates about your products and services, and news about your previous and upcoming events, etc.
Not only will LinkedIn give you relevance and improve your branding, but also give you plenty of opportunities to interact with people from your industry and otherwise. It will help you make, grow, and nurture professional and business relationships. Moreover, LinkedIn will also help you spread good word-of-mouth.
Word-of-mouth matters a lot in professional networks. One happy customer will bring in two more. Thus, creating a healthy cycle of potential clients.
Moreover, in order to hit the ball out of the park with your LinkedIn social media marketing, you should consider seeking the help of social media marketing companies. People who specialize in this field will help you get better results at a faster rate. Moreover, this way, you’ll have at least one less thing to worry about.
Video is one of the best tools available at your disposal when it comes to marketing. Its effectiveness can be gauged from the fact that people retain 95% of a message from watching it on video while only 10% of a message is retainable when reading it in a text format.
This has been one of the most used and successful B2B marketing strategies during COVID and its results speak for itself.
In order to understand the significance of video marketing in 2021, here are some trends by Oberlo to give you a better picture:
Furthermore, with the arrival of 5G, video consumption is going to increase at a faster rate than ever before. A movie that took six minutes to download with 4G, will take less than 20 seconds with 5G.
In order to use the format correctly and effectively, you must design your video content strategy in a way that it gives you the maximum results without incurring regular, high costs.
Create your strategy, design your content around your audience and make sure that you create your content in a way that it can be repackaged into more videos later on. Also, hire a good editor. With software like After Effects, there’s no end to the number of things you can do with a bunch of stills, some typography, and some left-over stock footage.
Your B2B marketing strategies don’t always have to be boring. This just proves it.
One of the most effective B2B marketing strategies, Search Engine Optimization or SEO is an incredibly powerful tool that can elevate your business exponentially, in terms of leads and sales. Without going too technical, SEO is what helps your website show up in the search results for certain keywords on search engines like Google and Bing.
It is an important element of Digital Marketing.
In order to understand how important it is, let me just give you a scenario. When was the last time you searched for a product you wanted to get? Now, when the search results loaded up, did you click on the websites on the first page or did you keep looking through the pages? I can bet that it was the former.
Most of us fall in the former category – we often find satisfiable results on the very first page of the results and unless we’re very specific (or desperate), we never go beyond it.
That’s the case with everyone, including B2B buyers.
Now imagine, there are millions and millions of websites on the internet. Surely, only a handful could make it to the first page of the search results. SEO helps you do just that.
But it’s not easy.
In order to come up with a solid SEO and digital marketing strategy, you need to make sure that you write and generate quality, original B2B content. The better your content, the better it will rank in searches. You need to lure in your target segment in a way that makes your content stand out. The more time they spend on your website going through your B2B content, the better it is for your business.
Moreover, generating good B2B content will also help you get linked by other websites. Search engines attach immense important to websites that get linked or cited by other websites. You could do that by doing research and coming with, let’s suppose, stats or infographics, etc. among many other things.
Figure out what keywords you want to rank for and make sure that you put all your effort behind it. It’s not an easy thing and it’s definitely not going to happen in a few weeks. It will take time but, in the end, it will pay off.
You can also turn your B2B content into videos that you can then put up on YouTube. YouTube is a search engine too, and it will help you gain more relevance as well.
This is one of the best B2B marketing strategies for startups that are just starting to get themselves out into the market. Digital marketing is inexpensive and effective.
Content marketing as a B2B marketing strategy is different than that of its B2C counterpart. While the latter is focused on brand awareness through entertaining and engaging content pieces, the former has to maintain a balance of being engaging, useful, and high quality.
Content marketing could include your social media, blogs, videos, pictures, press releases, email newsletters, infographics, etc.
Buyers in the B2B category rely heavily on content marketing when making purchase decisions. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a shock that more than half of B2B buyers go through at least eight pieces of content in their decision-making process.
If done right, your B2B marketing strategies will help enable you to strengthen and expand your audience while also helping you establish strong brand affinity through content marketing. These are all the essential components needed to generate a strong stream of leads and sales.
In order to get the maximum benefit out of your content marketing, you have to make sure that your B2B content represents buyer enablement characteristics. Focus on your customers and how they’ll benefit from your product.
Blog posts are a great example of content marketing. If you’re in the demand generation stage, the role of your blog posts is to make your audience aware of your product. It should get them interested. There’s a lot that you can do with content marketing. Identify the common problems and how your product can help them solve it, and wrap it around some entertaining words that can show off your brand’s or your company’s personality.
Storytelling is everything. The way you present your product and ideas is what will set you apart from the competition. There are many, many products out there that can, perhaps, accomplish the same things as your product but what they don’t have is your story. Use it.
Also, hire a good graphics designer. Come up with nice designs and B2B infographics that you can garnish your posts with. They are far more engaging and attractive than just throwing numbers around.
Remember, a B2B marketing strategy’s success relies heavily on how and when it’s used.
This B2B marketing strategy is a technical one. Whenever you search for something on Google, the first few results that appear at the top are a result of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. These are paid posts that have the words ‘Ad’ under them.
Companies all around the world indulge in this practice. It’s done by bidding on certain keywords and phrases so that your business or company appears at the top of the search results when these keywords are searched for on search engines.
Unlike SEO, you have to pay for being at the top of the search results.
PPC advertising can help you out immensely as it can expose you directly to the customers who are specifically looking for the kind of products or service that you sell or provide. This helps you generate more quality B2B leads and sales.
There is a downside, however. It can be a costly affair. Not every business has pockets deep enough to keep up with this practice. You can however take advantage of this model for as long as it provides you enough revenue to sustain it.
In a B2B scenario, your PPC advertising is going to be a little different than B2C. While you cater to the masses in the latter category, your segment is limited to businesses or people who own businesses in the former. Therefore, your keyword search volumes will be lower in comparison.
Since B2B transactions can be expensive or long-term, and it can take anywhere between three to six months, don’t be too quick on calculating your PPC return on investment. It will come prove to be profitable only after that term.
Moreover, since these transactions are more often than not long-term, ongoing projects, buyers tend to do a lot of comparisons. They’d like to get quotations from different vendors and compile all of that data to ponder over it for some time.
Therefore, it would be wise to add as much buyer-oriented information in your PPC campaigns as possible. For example, case studies and white papers. This will help the buyer shorten their decision-making process.
We all know how important networking is, right? It is required in every sort of business. Event marketing is just the same. It is what helps you build relationships and associations with your clients which is sometimes a crucial deciding factor for various deals.
They are prevalent in all sorts of business models but with B2B, it is even more important.
It is important to remember that people buy from people. It is the salesperson who convinces the B2B buyer about his product. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that when a B2B salesperson is making a pitch to a B2B buyer, more than the product itself, he/she is selling themselves to the customer.
If the customer takes a liking to the B2B salesperson and engrosses himself in what he’s saying, he will absolutely be more than willing to listen to what he has to say about his product. Marketing strategies like this have a proven track record.
B2B events are just another component of this relationship building exercise. Whether you are organizing B2B events for your company or are attending other people’s B2B conferences that are your industry-related, it’s all worth it. Maybe not in the short-term, but these relationships will yield you the result that you hope for in the long-run.
Not only do you gain more information and knowledge but you also get to impart your own amongst your peers.
Another reason why these events are so important is because business decision makers often do not have enough time to spare to be reached via telephonic or digital means, every day. They are busy with a thousand other things that require their attention
B2B events give many business decision makers the chance to be at the same place, at the same time. They also understand the importance of networking. While they get to mingle and look around, your sales team can have a field day with them as they get to establish relationships with as many of them as possible for potential lead generation and sales.
This is a certified B2B marketing strategy that is bound to give you results.
Confidence is what customers need when deciding to do business with you and your company. That confidence can’t be guaranteed to them just on the basis of how good your product is. No, not at all. Everybody claims that. Every business even claims to be better than their competition.
But then again, if everybody is claiming that their product is the best, how’d the customer decide? Surely, there must be something. Price? Not entirely. Then what is it, exactly?
It’s a mixed bag of everything. It’s the product, its price, its marketing, your salesperson, reviews, affiliation, press, awards, partnerships, and testimonials.
You have to pay attention to all of them in order to make sure that you have something for everything.
Let me give you an example. Let’s suppose you’re a web hosting company that is offering great products for great prices. There are dozens of others like you as well – some are household names while the others are new entrants. They all claim to have great products. Some are priced above you, some equal to you, while the others are priced below your products.
Now, let’s suppose you have great press coverage that raves about how good your product is. It’s been featured on Forbes, Wired, and The Verge. You’ve gotten great reviews from them. Moreover, a couple of hot new startups have availed your services and are going gaga over it. You’ve also received a few year-end awards for your products.
That, if flaunted the right way, is going to distinguish you. That is how you’re going to stop your potential B2B customers from even thinking about the competition because all of these things are going to give them the confidence that they are investing in a product that is going to guarantee the results that they are promising.
It is one of the most effective B2B marketing strategies out there.
Remarketing or retargeting is a strategy that allows you to engage with potential leads that are already familiar with your brand or product. It could be that they’ve already visited your website, liked you on social media, interacted with you on LinkedIn, signed up for your newsletter, etc.
This helps in making sure that by the time a person is willing and ready to buy your product, they’ve already been through 80% of the B2B buying process. Therefore, they don’t need as much effort to be convinced.
It is so effective that more than 50% of web traffic is converted through this tactic.
It is a great B2B strategy to adopt because of the sheer number of people who visit your website and leave without making a purchase. This B2B strategy allows for you to target and engage with them.
Not only does it allow for you to increase your brand awareness but it also lets you capture those lost leads.
Create your B2B sales funnels and draw out your PPC campaigns for each stage. Your remarketing campaign should focus on each of those stages. Now, bear in mind, these are ads that are designed for people who’ve already interacted (although, unsuccessfully) with your brand. Therefore, your ads should build up from there.
You could also create a separate B2B remarketing landing page that these potential customers could come to and re-engage with your website on. Again, focus on the fact that they’re already aware of what you do and what you’re selling. So, move to the next stage and lead the way for them.
While you’re at it, take full advantage of the advertising tools offered by Google and Facebook. They’ll take your B2B. email marketing lists and use them in order to target new users who match the demographics of your already existing clients best.
In a B2B environment, the sales funnel is usually longer than that of a B2C business. Therefore, it takes a lot of effort for you to stay in touch with your leads. Whether it’s the communication that is going back and forth or the regular updates being sent over email.
Automating these tasks can save your company a lot of resources and plenty of time. That is what B2B marketing automation is. It helps you come up with integrated campaigns that you can send out to dozens of people at the time of your choosing in order to provide value to your leads.
All you need is an email marketing automation software that can do this for you. So sophisticated are some of these softwares that they can function through basic rules and triggers that you set for them. This will allow it to send emails to your B2B leads depending on their actions and the specific stage that they’re in in your sales pipeline.
Email Marketing automation will not only allow you to develop great B2B content but also to create audience segments based on their actions and place in the sales pipeline. This will help you to nurture those B2B leads in a way that can shorten the sales cycle and possibly bring them to maturity quicker.
Moreover, B2B email marketing will allow you to schedule and execute multiple campaigns ahead of time and improve communication across your teams.
This article was written in order to give you an accurate representation of how a B2B marketing strategy framework can be used and how it can benefit you and your business , if used correctly.
Sure, B2B marketing strategies for technology companies might be a little different than those for, let’s suppose, a pharmaceutical company, but only in execution. The essence is the same and it applies to all B2B companies.
Marketing, especially for the B2B model, is about following a thin line – a balanced act. A lot of what you do won’t deliver an instant result. It’s a slow-burn process, but one that gives out proper dividends. Therefore, apply as many of these as possible to your business and feel free to experiment with as many marketing activities as you can.
After all, you know how your business is conducted, better than anyone else.
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