B2B Digital Marketing
At Digital Strike, we’ve worked with a variety of B2B clients both large and small, and we’ve spent many years (and dollars) learning these lessons that we’re about to share with you.
This guide is intended for both business owners and B2B marketers.
First, we need to level with you – All B2B (business-to-business) marketers know that B2B marketing can be difficult, very difficult. We don’t want to sugarcoat it. It may be expensive, it may take a long time, or both (although that isn’t always the case).
Simple, proven solutions that work for B2C industries won’t always work for B2B companies, so your B2B marketers often have to think outside the box, and you might have to be ready to shell out some big bucks to generate those high-value leads you’re looking for.
With that being said, let’s dive into a few strategies that B2B companies can use to drum up some leads and eventually sales.
WHO ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Let’s start here – do you know who you are looking for? Who is your target audience, really? An easy way to figure out this information is analyzing your current clients. What industries are your clients in? What projects do they work on? Where are they located? Also think about who the decision makers are who actually pull the trigger on new sales, marketing efforts, etc.
Is it the owner or CEO? VP of Marketing? An executive assistant? Are there multiple decision makers? No matter who it is, you want to make sure you’re targeting the absolute correct person – or else your dollars may be wasted.
Think deeply about your brand. If it wasn’t your company, would you know it existed? How would one find about your company? What we’re talking about here is brand awareness. You need to have a way to let potential customers know that you exist!
B2B brands can often be very niche, but there still may be possible ways to increase brand awareness. This may mean sponsoring industry trade shows, speaking at relevant conferences, or buying highly-targeted ad spots (traditional or digital) where people from the industry are likely to see them. Keep in mind that a lot of initial brand awareness occurs via the internet.
Check out what your competitors have been up to. Can you take what they are doing and do it better? Get those brain juices flowing!
I’m sure you’ve seen or heard, but in case you haven’t, email marketing is known for having some of the best ROI of any marketing tactics for B2B companies.
Email newsletters can keep your clients or potential customers informed of new and exciting updates, or just keep your company top of mind when a client is ready to make a purchase.
The caveat? You’ll need to have the subscribers!
Generally we employ multiple lead generation strategies to generate those subscribers in the first place, although you may already have a list that you aren’t using currently. If so, dust it off and start planning out your email campaign!
There are many ways to gain email subscribers, one being adding informative, beneficial, gated white papers to your site, with “gated” meaning someone would have to enter their email address to see the content. Keep in mind your content better be good if someone is willing to divulge their email address to you for it.
Another idea is hosting informational industry webinars which require an email to receive the link to the webinar.
Once you build your email list, you can develop an in-depth email plan using marketing automation and lead nurturing. Marketing automation is when you send messages to potential clients while they are at specific stages of the customer journey or lead cycle.
For example, after a lead is first introduced to your company, they may have one question – perhaps why your service is valuable to them. In month 2 of their consideration, they may have a different set of questions – perhaps more in-depth questions, like which specific application would best fit their needs, and so on. The goal is to speak to the customer where they are and tailor your communications accordingly. Remember we want to be as targeted as possible!
SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)
Most research these days begins on the internet, and if your website is no where to be found, then curious searchers will most likely find another vendor to use, as they’ve never heard of you.
SEO is often a good route to get your inbound marketing strategies into play. Inbound marketing is simply the marketing process of getting customers to reach out to you, rather than reaching out to them (which is called outbound marketing).
The good thing about SEO for B2B companies is that their target audience will Google relatively “unknown” keywords, that only industry-insiders would know or think to look up, which means that competition may be a little lower than high-volume search terms that a lot of other people are searching for.
An important thing to point out is that what we are targeting here is not search VOLUME, but search INTENT. Think quality, not quantity. Maybe there are only 10 people in the nation who Google the exact keyword that you are wanting to rank for, but if the majority of those people turn into big sales, then it’s all worth it!
If your industry is highly technical, then you should know which keywords an industry expert might look up vs a newcomer or someone with a very basic knowledge of the industry. You’ll want your SEO efforts to be super-targeted on those high-quality, high-intent keywords, even if they have very little search volume.
Even though some of your desired key terms may be small volume or low-competition, it still might take a while to get your site to rank for those keywords. In the meantime, let’s discuss some other ways to generate traffic to your site.
Now, let’s see, what will those visitors do on your site once they get there?
Content marketing involves the creation and publication of helpful content that users can find via internet searches. It can also be used to keep visitors on your B2B website for a longer amount of time.
You’ve spent all this time and effort to get potential clients to your site, so give them something to do or digest! Give them that elevator pitch you’ve been working on or show them that flashy new technology you just came out with.
Content marketing strategies can be extremely effective, especially because you can have a laser focus on super-specific industry terms that only your desired clients would be researching. Not only will content keep people on your site, but it also has the added value of getting people to your site in the first place.
With B2B clients, digital marketing strategies are often more complicated, more expensive, and require a more sophisticated strategy than B2C companies, which is why you’ll want to put a lot of thought into the types of content you’re creating. Think about what your customers would want or need to know, or something that they could benefit from.
A lot of B2B businesses underutilize the industry knowledge that they’ve gained over the years, or don’t think about publishing exciting, interesting things.
Always remember this – B2B content marketing should be fun!
No one wants to read a bland, boring introduction to your company. People want fun, interactive pieces that teach them something or entertain them. And you’ll want an actual long-term content strategy, not just produce random bits here and there.
For example, types of content could be high-quality case studies or slick, well-designed infographics that can spice up even the most “boring” of industries. Especially when there are pictures and other media assets involved – make it visually appealing!
PPC ads are ads where you bid on certain keywords, or certain placements (websites) to show your ads, and pay each time your ad is clicked. This is also called SEM or search engine marketing.
These ads can be a good route to go, especially if your SEO or content marketing plans are taking a while to develop.
Pay-per-click search ads allow you to jump to the top of the SERP (search engine results page) – and remain super visible for potential customers – but it can also come with a hefty price tag.
Some industry terms can have a very high cost-per-click, but if you are able to generate those big money leads it may be worth it.
We also want to mention LinkedIn – a lot of times people are quick to try LinkedIn due to the seemingly amazing targeting options – like getting connected directly to decision makers and business owners – but we do want to provide a word of caution.
LinkedIn can be extremely difficult to get a return on investment, and the cost per click is often very high, so it can eat into your marketing budget very quickly. Think about it, have you ever bought a product off of LinkedIn? Or been introduced to a new product through an ad on LinkedIn? However, it can be worth a shot.
Think about your buyer persona – are they likely to make a large marketing decision based on something they saw on LinkedIn? Are they even on LinkedIn? With some large businesses, it’s possible that their LinkedIn profile may be ran by an assistant or someone else in the business.
Usually Google Ads, Microsoft (Bing) Ads, and Facebook are going to be your best bets in terms of PPC (and ROI).
That being said, we are more than happy to use LinkedIn when it’s necessary and we don’t want to count out any options before giving it a shot – just be prepared to sink some dollars into it.
The point we are trying to get across here is that often PPC is high-stakes – meaning you are paying a lot of money to get these potential customers to your site, so you’ll want to make absolutely sure that your ads and landing pages are in the absolute best possible shape.
You’ll want your sales propositions to be clear and enticing, and you’ll want your company to be shown in the best light possible – so showcase any great testimonials you’ve received over the years, or how you can help others with their businesses. After all, people want to know “What’s in it for me?”.
Remember, when you are spending so much time and effort on generating those B2B leads you won’t want a single one to go to waste. Every visitor is going to be extremely valuable, especially when in most cases a strong B2B lead can generate a lot of revenue.
Like we talked about, you’ll sometimes have to think outside the box – like using a social media influencer with a large following to promote your brand – what?! Sometimes these influencers could be an easy way to “jump the line” while you’re waiting for your SEO campaigns and rankings to develop.
Social media platforms are generally known for B2C, or promoting smaller, retail items like those cool new sunglasses all the celebrities are wearing – but I can guarantee there are at least a few influencers in your own industry vertical (or closely related/outside of it), even if it seems unlikely! So don’t be afraid to give social media marketing a shot – but be sure to track the results.
You’ll also want to make sure your own social media profiles are up-to-date and as fun and interesting as possible.
As I’m sure you know – B2B marketing can take a lot longer than B2C for a lead to develop into a sale – we call this lead time. Sometimes, a B2B lead can take months or years to develop.
The B2B buyers journey is often a long and convoluted one, so accurate traffic and reporting analytics are extremely important. You’ll want to see where, when, and how many times a buyer interacted with your brand and whether they ended up engaging with you.
Typically we use website analytics (like Google Analytics and many other tools as necessary) coupled with phone call tracking to get a precise picture of where your leads are coming from, who they are, and how many of them are turning into actual sales.
You’ll also want to take this a step further and calculate the ROI you’re seeing from your marketing campaigns.
Sometimes, what you think is going to work won’t, and other times what you thought was a side-strategy may turn into your #1 lead magnet, which is why you must try a diversity of marketing efforts. Your B2B marketing strategy should include multiple different channels and strategies, to influence buyers throughout their journey.
Don’t be afraid to change things or switch from your original plan. Marketing is a fluid journey, and is always changing.
You want to have as many eggs in as many baskets as possible!
A LITTLE SECRET…
At Digital Strike we are experts at using online marketing tactics to get businesses new leads and customers, BUT – we do have a secret for you. Not many digital marketing agencies will tell you this, but….online marketing should absolutely be a large part of your marketing strategy, but it should NOT be the only tactic you use to reach your target audience!
You may have to reach out to potential customers directly – via phone call, email, or in-person. It may seem hard or scary for you or your sales team to pick up the phone and make those cold calls, but sometimes you’ll find that your leads can be way cheaper when you “do the work” yourself.
Remember – diversify those sources – you want to have a lot of marketing tools in your toolbox!
If you’re interested in discussing your B2B business we would love to chat about your current marketing campaigns, and develop an effective B2B marketing plan catered to your specific needs, so give us a call! Our phone number is 314-665-1655 and we’d be happy to set up a meeting!