Monday is here again. You’re sitting in the stuffy meeting room, racking your brains about how to “fluff” up your lead generation statistics to the board.
We know how difficult it can get for marketers to justify what always seems like a sunk cost to the business. Marketing expenses can get large, and people are eager to see your results in lead generation, conversions and well, the “funnel stuff” that you’re all too familiar with or might have heard people talk about.
Well, good news is, we’re here to help. In this guide, you’ll learn more about some top B2B marketing strategies and tactics to help you master B2B marketing.
Let us start off with some definitions before we deep dive into some effective B2B marketing strategies, for your business.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B Marketing stands for business-to-business marketing. Essentially, it’s about marketing your business solutions and content to, well, other businesses. The profile of these businesses could be suppliers, distributors, or just any other commercial organisation. Often, the goal of B2B marketing would be to generate leads to be eventually converted to customers for the business.
What most people are familiar with, might be business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. In contrast, B2C marketing would be marketing for individual consumers instead. This means that solutions sold to customers often target their individual needs and wants, and may target short-term purchasing habits more frequently.
So, what makes B2B marketing so much more challenging?
B2B marketing frequently requires a greater push factor, since businesses might spend more time deliberating over business purchases that are often larger in scale and commitment. With more people involved in the business purchasing decision, it is no wonder that B2B marketing requires greater focus and precision, to convince stakeholders in the entire chain of command that your product is the best one out there in the market.
Businesses are going to dig deep to buy best for their businesses, and some companies may have a whole team dedicated to making these purchasing decisions, scouting and scouring for the most compatible solution there is out there. Hence, expect your sales cycles to be longer, and more thought has to go into convincing buyers of the return on investment (ROI) with your product.
Sounds daunting? Well, fret not because here are 4 best B2B marketing strategies that can help your business grow fast and clinch those deals.
4 Innovative B2B Marketing Strategies
Understand your target audience
Leads are important in B2B marketing, but before we get there – let’s talk about who our buyers are. When we think about B2B companies that are industry leaders in their own fields, there are often specific markets and niches that they target.
While many in the past might think B2B marketing is all about information, increasing studies have found that the key to successful B2B marketing today is to convey emotion. With better understanding of your target audience, you can establish better connections with your buyers, understanding what drives their buying behaviour and decisions. By understanding the pain points of your prospects and gaps in the market, you can better tweak your marketing content to promote how your business solution is the one for them.
Personalise your marketing
B2B marketing is more than just dull content for faceless and boring corporations. A study by SalesForce found that while 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, the same number still feel that they are merely treated like a statistic.
Hence, a lynchpin for successful B2B marketing is to personalise your marketing content. Now that you have a better understanding of your target audience, you can cater what you give them. For instance, you could cater your email marketing contents to include individual names, or recommend products that could be of interest to the individual based on data insights you have.
If you’ve identified where the individual dropped off in filling out a particular CTA form, you could always drop a personalised email to promote benefits of your solution, giving them a nudge to complete their purchasing decision.
Explore marketing channels
Depending on the industry and solution your business is providing, you may be better suited to use various marketing channels. By picking the right marketing channels, you can help your business to reach out to your customers more effectively, communicating your business intents clearly.
Each marketing channel has its unique advantages and drawbacks. An increasing number of businesses today are picking an omnichannel approach, to combine the best merits of various marketing channels and effectively attract their target customers.
So, how do we go about deciding which ones could be best suited for your business?
Some considerations you could take in mind, include:
Who are your target customers?
You want to pick the channel that best connects you and your prospects. Different audiences have different questions and styles of learning more about your product. Are you marketing a product or a service?
Perhaps, if you’re selling machinery or hardware, creating product videos to be shared via email marketing or social media might be easier for your prospects to understand what exactly you do. You could even consider participating in trade shows, which would give you the opportunity for product demonstrations and hands-on introduction to your product.
Businesses marketing software as a service that require long term commitment, may instead turn to account based marketing where you can take time to form a meaningful connection with potential customers.
What are the costs involved?
Marketing expenses are often thought to be sunk costs if they are not generating the leads you want. Digital marketing channels are often selected as they are cheaper, and you can easily monitor your investment returns, putting you in greater control of your marketing expenses. Hence, B2B digital marketing strategies are often preferred as a lower-cost measure.
How easy is it to track and measure results?
One major benefit of digital marketing channels is that their results are often easily measurable. With just a few clicks and simple tweaks to your settings, you could be gaining access to loads of data insights. You’ll know who has read your mails, what they clicked on, where they dropped off in your site, and so much more.
What are your expected goals?
Marketing goals are important in determining which channels are best suited for your business. Are you looking at brand awareness or perhaps just pure lead generation?
With various channels like account-based marketing and email marketing, you could be better segmenting your audience to provide more targeted messages. Such channels provide greater opportunity for customisation, and may better convert to leads. With webinars and podcasts, you may be looking to better put your brand out there and increase brand recognition.
If you’re wondering what all these marketing channels mean, read on! We’ll go through one by one so you’ll have a clearer idea of the best B2B business marketing strategies that work for you.
Here is a list of 10 different marketing channels that could be effective for your business.
Social Media Marketing
With today’s advanced digital space, social media has become a mainstay of many company’s marketing strategies. While some might consider social media marketing to be more effective for B2C marketing, we think it’s a valuable channel to explore for your B2B marketing strategy as well.
Many social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook have their set of business-optimised tools that could help your business expand its reach. Furthermore, many business professionals and decision-makers are on LinkedIn, and the platform provides a good opportunity for you to put your brand out there to increase visibility.
With social media marketing, you could turn to both organic and paid content to engage yur prospects and even build lasting connections with them with on-platform chat functions and InMail.
Content marketing targets a broad spectrum of customer learning types. Content could range from blog articles, bite-sized informative content on your socials, videos, thought leadership posts, or any content that could allow your audience to find out more about your area of expertise.
While content marketing could potentially generate leads as more customers find out about the products and services you are providing, it is also a great opportunity for your business to establish itself as an industry expert, as well as a thought leader. This increases visibility as well as brand recall, and your content readers could turn to customers in due time.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO refers to optimising your page and its content to appear in search engine result pages of keywords your business wish to rank for.
With proper SEO, the content that you have prepared – be it product solution copy, blog articles, product demonstration videos – are more likely to rank better on search engine result pages, increasing clickthrough rates and organic visibility. If other businesses are scouting for suitable products or services, your site could pop-up as just the one that they’re looking for.
While SEO may be challenging due to the constantly changing algorithms that boggles marketers alike, it is definitely a channel that could help your business attract prospects as they search for content on the web to aid the process of buying for their business.
Retargeting, refers to targeting your website visitors with ads when they visit other websites. This is effective in increasing brand recall, as the ad display reminds the once-interested audience that your business solution is here for them!
Since they have visited your site previously, it is highly probable that they do have a slight bit of interest for your business solution, and perhaps what they’re lacking is just a slight nudge to return back to your site to complete the purchase.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM is a marketing channel that focuses on providing tailored content for your audience. It has been an increasingly popular marketing channel, with the market for global account-based marketing expected to reach 1.6 billion dollars by 2027.
With its highly personalised customer interaction, ABM can help your business build close relationships with your customers, by addressing their needs and providing targeted solutions.
Email marketing could be effective in increasing brand awareness and nurturing your leads. With consistent and useful content for your contact segments, email marketing enables your prospects to read your content at their preferred time and place. It is also a useful reminder that your business exists and could help them resolve a pain point for their business.
Ensure that you constantly review your list of contacts, and check that your email contacts are segmented well according to the needs of your different audience groups.
Podcasting is a rising marketing tool in the digital space. According to a study by BBC Global News, branded podcasts helped to increase brand awareness by 89%, and brand consideration by 57%. With branded podcasts, your brand could stand out from the podcast content, delivering greater engagement and brand recall.
Within your podcast, you could answer frequently asked questions about your business, share industry insights, analysis of existing trends, or even invite industry speakers as guests to your show. Essentially, a podcast is a great drawing board for you to design your content strategy, with a channel that reaches out to your audience at their convenience.
They could listen to it on their way home, during coffee breaks, or even while they’re doing household chores.
Paid Search/ PPC
PPC campaigns are a popular choice among many B2B companies due to its fast and visible results. With PPC campaigns, you can customize your target audience to market to a specific customer base of your choice, generating quality traffic and lead generation.
When done right, PPC campaigns provide great insight into what is working and not working for your business, enabling you to make swift changes instantly to reduce marketing expenditure on non-conversions.
Be sure to monitor your costs, though, as your costs may rise with more clickthrough rates. You could easily manage this by setting caps, depending on your budget.
Webinars are web-conferencing events held virtually, providing an interactive and personal experience for prospects to find out more about your business. Businesses could host webinars about industry hot topics, invite expert guests, or share about how your business could aid in filling a gap in the market. Such speaking engagements are an excellent opportunity for your business to build credibility, and at a lower cost.
Unlike in-person events which may require much more logistical expenditures, a webinar could be a good platform for your business to have an interactive session with your audience at their convenience, and yours (since it is a virtual session).
If you are hesitant to explore planning an entire webinar as a new marketing channel, you could also opt to have a key stakeholder of your business pay to speak at industry webinars planned by other organisations. This could increase expert credibility for your business, and might be an option of lower-commitment for you to explore.
While it is not a digital marketing channel, having an event booth at a trade show could be a golden opportunity for your brand to build meaningful connections with prospects.
Identify suitable events depending on the audience you are expecting at the event. If your business is selling solutions for F&B businesses, you could opt to have a booth at an F&B industry event, to gain greater exposure in the industry. Trade shows are also a suitable platform for you to showcase your products through product demonstrations, or by giving samples of your products to your prospects.
This could also be a gateway to speak to decision-makers of companies, exchange name cards, or have meaningful conversations to find out more about what is lacking in the market.
Nurture your leads
Lead nurturing is an effective method to foster a personal and intimate relationship with your business prospects. Indeed, buying for one’s business is never an easy decision. It often involves high upfront costs, having to go through rigorous inspections by various levels of stakeholders, as well as a thorough evaluation of alternatives.
Hence, many prospects who visit your site or explore your company’s marketing content might not make the purchases instantly. This is why it is imperative for your B2B marketing team to have a lead nurturing strategy, to eventually convert your leads to loyal customers.
Lead nurturing refers to developing relationships with your prospects and past customers at various stages of the sales funnel, to increase connection and intimacy. While lead nurturing takes time, you could use some of the marketing channels discussed earlier in this blog to facilitate this process. This includes: Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Retargeting Ads, Email Marketing and Podcasting
Examples of Successful B2B Marketing Strategies
All these strategies might sound like talk, but we’ve also found some successful B2B marketing strategies examples that may inspire your own B2B marketing strategy today.
Buffer uses email marketing to notify users about the end of their free trial and encourage switching to a paid plan for its users. This helps by increasing customer touch points, and reminding users about the benefits of having their service.
Deloitte has established itself as an industry leader in management consultancy. Its thought leadership marketing content is extensive, with articles and blog posts sharing insights about various topics including consumer businesses, sustainability and finance.
Slack launched its podcast titled – Slack Variety Pack, which discusses topics about work, teams, office culture, workplace values and more. With its podcast, Slack continues to establish itself as a reliable and top-of-mind communication platform for businesses.
What to Look out For in 2023
We understand that B2B marketing can get difficult. With the rise of social media tools and an increasing trend of millennials buying for businesses, marketers must adapt by using an omnichannel approach to capture leads and ensure successful conversions.
As you design your marketing plans for your B2B organization, consider the business marketing strategies we shared above and how they could fit into your grand marketing scheme for 2023.