Effectively, B2B (business-to-business) marketing does what it says on the tin. In simple terms, it refers to the marketing of products or services to (you guessed it) other businesses or organisations. There are a few distinctive nuances which separate B2B marketing from B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing. However, these subtleties, and how to implement them, are often misunderstood in the world of digital marketing.
With this in mind, we’ve put together our 4 guiding principles to use when optimising your B2B digital strategy, helping you to attract and convert your ideal clients.
Your website plays a pivotal role in attracting and converting B2B leads. Any prospects who discover your organisation through social media (or any other marketing channel), will be directed to your website to learn more and ultimately complete or initiate a sale. Therefore, think of your website as your digital ‘house’ – somewhere which showcases your true brand identity.
The key to optimising your website for success, is to analyse what works and what doesn’t for your users. For example, are your Call-To-Actions being clicked? If not, it’s important to understand the reason why. Try A/B testing to see if a particular wording on a Call-To-Action is more effective in converting users into leads.
A common mistake on B2B websites is asking for too much information on lead generation forms. Whilst it’s important to get the key details of your prospect, a lengthy lead gen form can often overwhelm the user and prevent them from filling in the form at all! So, keep you lead gen forms concise and to the point, capturing the most important information in a simple and easy-to-use manner.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but content is king. Regardless of whether you are selling a product or a service, having high quality content on your website will help you to rank higher in search engines, attract high quality leads, and position yourself as a thought-leader in your respective industry. An effective way to generate a consistent stream of high quality content is to have a weekly blog. Through this, you can provide value to your target audience on a regular basis, whilst ensuring your website ranks high for the most relevant search terms. However, don’t forget to check that your content is actually being consumed as part of your sales funnel. If it isn’t, your target audience may not be interested in the topic you’re talking about.
A good way to assess the value of your content is to ask yourself: ‘if I didn’t work for this company, would I read this post?’. If not, it’s likely that you’re not going to capture the interest of your target audience. Remember to be contextual and empathise with your audience. What would they want to read? What are they interested in outside of their professional lives? How can you provide value to them?
It’s also essential to ensure you have a reliable and ‘friendly’ content management system, such as Umbraco, which allows you to publish new content and edit existing content with ease. Not only will this take away any unnecessary headaches when creating content, it will also allow your website to grow and expand in-line with your business ambitions.
Whilst it’s important to focus on doing things differently than your competitors and not letting their actions dictate yours, there is certainly a lot to be learnt by conducting competitor research. After all, you can only distinguish yourself from the competition, and ensure you are providing more value than anyone else in your niche, if you keep an eye on the actions of your competitors.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing on marketing channels and on their website - and be honest with yourself. Do they have a better social presence than you? Are they ranking higher on search engines for those all-important keywords? Is their website better at converting more of their target audience? Use these questions to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your own digital B2B marketing strategy - so you can be certain that you’re doing everything possible to stay competitive and relevant in your market!
Along the way, you may even notice a couple of your own unique selling points which you weren’t previously aware of – giving you ammunition to distinguish yourself from your competitors even more.
If you’re selling a B2B product or service, it’s extremely important to know who your target audience is. Think about what companies you would love to work with, and gauge how you can provide value to them. Try to be as specific as possible in conceptualising your audience through the use of buyer personas. Think about who usually buys your product or service, or who the key decision makers are within your industry. Then, target these people based on very specific criteria, such as their job title and the company they work for. For example, if you’re a law firm looking to work with construction companies, you should choose to target the Procurement Managers, Commercial Managers, Operational Managers and C-Suite Executives of the companies you wish to work with.
Once you understand who your target audience is – and what their needs, desires, and interests are – it’s time to provide value and build brand awareness.
We’re all tired of receiving ‘spam’ sales messages which lack context and depth. Instead, try to focus on delivering value for your target audience - and positioning yourself as a thought-leader within your industry or sector.
But, when doing this, it’s important to not get caught in the trap of giving with expectation. It’s okay if you don’t convert all of your target audience into paying clients, based on the free content which you deliver to them. The key to any successful digital B2B strategy is to focus on building long-term brand awareness and positioning yourself as the go-to organisation within your field, rather than prioritising short-term sales and conversions.
All in all, a successful B2B digital marketing strategy should be tailored to your specific target audience. In a world where you can target people so specifically and narrowly, there’s no need to cast the net far and wide.
Optimise your website; keep an eye on your competitors; provide value to your audience; and focus on brand awareness. By implementing these 4 simple tips, you won’t go far wrong.