From small novelty products to massive software contracts, every business needs a unique marketing strategy. The best marketing strategies are closely aligned with the individual target audiences and business goals, especially when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) marketing.
To ensure a B2B company’s marketing efforts are strong and effective, they can’t just mimic any successful strategy. In fact, B2B marketing tends to be pretty distinct when compared to that of B2C companies.
Let’s walk through what exactly makes B2B marketing different, and how you can harness these strategies to find success.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing is the process of marketing, advertising, and selling a product or service from one business to other businesses and large organizations. Software manufacturers, for example, often participate in B2B marketing by selling their products to businesses and institutions instead of individual users.
This stands in contrast to B2C marketing, a process in which goods and services are sold from a business directly to the singular consumer. Many e-commerce businesses are utilizing B2C marketing by showing ads directly to the consumer that would purchase and utilize their products.
3 Key Aspects of B2B Marketing
Although a B2C brand can use LinkedIn to advertise their products, they most likely won’t see nearly as much success as they might on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. But when it comes to B2B companies, LinkedIn is an extremely valuable source for lead generation.
In fact, 62% of B2Bs have sourced new leads from LinkedIn. There is an opportunity for both organic and paid engagements on the platform with 9 billion content impressions each week.
LinkedIn’s “pièce de résistance” for B2B advertisers is its massive array of targeting options focused on users’ employment, skills, interests, companies, and more. Knowing how a user often shops online and likes fancy handbags may be a helpful audience distinction for a B2C brand, but B2B companies need the type of audience insights that LinkedIn can provide.
This isn’t to say that B2B companies should only use LinkedIn as a channel for driving leads and engagement. Social media sites like Facebook allow advertisers to upload custom audience lists and target “lookalikes” to their user base.
There may even be some detailed targeting audiences that are related to the B2B offering that is being advertised. In addition, search engine optimization and PPC advertising can bring a B2B to the top of the SERP and drive engaged users directly to your site.
Turning a prospected user into a fully-fledged new B2B customer is a lot more complicated than showing a flashy ad and driving an impulse purchase. (That’s not to say B2C is that easy, but it’s still a whole different playing field).
Typically, B2B sales happen after numerous touchpoints with a prospect. An important first step is to get the contact information of the user--often through simple lead forms.
While filling out forms is free and relatively easy, people are bombarded with “contact us” calls-to-action every day, especially as a hot target for a B2B client. Only 19% of buyers want to connect with a salesperson when they’re first learning about a product. Many leads do come from contact forms, but there are more ways to gain the attention and interest of a user to become a new potential customer.
Offering free industry resources like webinars, blogs, whitepapers, and podcasts is another effective method to capture the interest of a B2B prospect. When a user is not actively looking for the product or service offered, providing helpful information and resources is a way to gain information and attention that can eventually turn into a new customer.
Although B2B users may not want to “Buy it Now!”, there’s a good chance they may “Watch our Free Webinar” or “Download Our Exclusive Datasheet”.
Nurturing is key
As B2B salespeople already know, a lot of nurturing must go into leads to turn them into customers. It can take dozens of impressions and touchpoints to drive a user to request more information, and many more contacts to go through the full sales funnel. Because of this, the marketing must not stop at the time of the lead.
Only around 5-10% of B2B qualified leads fully convert, and that is even with the lead nurturing process taken into account. This process spans far beyond a basic remarketing blast of emails with promo codes and sale offers.
As soon as a B2B lead enters your CRM, it’s a time-sensitive and labor-intensive job to get that data point to become a paying customer--in fact, following up with web leads within 5 minutes increases the success rate by nine times.
The follow-up can be a lot more than display ads and automated emails. Offering free resources, engaging content, personal communication, and consistent points of contact drastically increase the chances that your B2B lead will turn into a customer.
Building Effective B2B Marketing Strategies
Taking into consideration the nuances of B2B marketing can have serious benefits down the line. Although marketing may be more complex and time-consuming in this industry, the value of a qualified and loyal customer can reach much further beyond the creation and maintenance of a detailed marketing plan.
No strategy is one-size-fits-all, but for B2B marketing, the outline to start with is unique on its own.
The experts at Perfect Search Media are seasoned pros at nurturing and closing B2B leads. Request a free, comprehensive audit today and we’ll help identify quick wins in your B2B marketing strategy.