There is a similarity in the games of rock, paper, scissors and chess. As silly as it may seem, it's completely true. The trick with both these games is to stay not one or two, but three steps ahead of your opponent. As trivial as it may seem, give it a shot the next time you're ram-sho-bowing it up. But what does this have to do with B2B marketing?
Well, you need to be two or three steps down the marketing funnel before your prospect has even thought of engaging with you, your brand, or your product for that matter.
Without overwhelming you with unnecessary details, let's break down the fundamentals, give you some insider tips and tricks and maybe share a strategy with you. Spoiler alert, WE SHARE A STRATEGY WITH YOU!
What Is A B2B Marketing Strategy?
B2B (business-to-business) marketing refers to any marketing strategy or content that is geared towards a business or organisation. Any company that sells products or services to other businesses or organisations (vs. consumers) typically uses B2B marketing strategies.
Velocity Media is an example of a company that engages in B2B marketing. A big chunk of Velocity Media's customers are other businesses, such as tech companies selling business solutions to the mining industry. Therefore, all of our marketing efforts can be classified as B2B, with a splash of B2C.
B2B Vs B2C Marketing
B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing are very different. B2B and B2C marketing differ in their respective strategies and applications, as well as in their audiences and how they communicate to them.
B2B marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, their organisation (rather than for themselves), thus making the organisation the customer. Here are a few examples of B2B companies:
- A coworking space that leases office spaces to remote teams and freelancers (like WeWork)
- An on-demand order fulfillment and warehousing service (like Stor-Age)
B2C marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, themselves, thus making the individual the customer.Here are a few examples of B2C companies:
- An e-commerce company that sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals (like Statesman)
- A store that sells t-shirts and other clothing and accessories (like MRP)
- A music platform that sells streaming subscriptions (like Spotify)
As distinct as the B2B and B2C marketing audiences can be, B2B marketers can always learn from B2C campaigns, too.
Our Ultimate B2B Marketing Strategies
As mentioned above, marketing depends on its audience. While B2B and B2C marketing vary, not every piece of B2B marketing material is alike, either.
In this section, we’ll talk about various B2B marketing strategies you can implement to reach your specific business audience. Before we dive in, though, make sure you understand the B2B buyer’s journey. Take note of how each of these stages may affect your marketing strategies and how you implement them.
B2B Email Marketing
Email marketing is a tried and true method of reaching both individual consumers and business customers. Did you know that 93% of B2B marketers use email? Are you one of them? You should be. Emails lead to engagement which turns subscribers into leads, and then customers.
Unlike B2C customers who respond best to emotions and entertainment, B2B customers look for logic and positive ROI. Essentially, they’re asking themselves, how can your business help my business grow? Because of this, your email marketing must consistently resonate with your business customers and focus on things that matter to them — like time, money, and resources.
Email marketing is also a powerful vehicle for sharing your brand’s content. 83% of B2B companies use email newsletters as part of their content marketing program, and 40% of B2B marketers say these newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success.
With the constant barrage of emails flooding our inboxes today, it’s more important than ever to create and send out effective marketing emails.
B2B Email Marketing Best Practices
- Write enticing subject lines. Think about your email subject lines as a Netflix trailer — if you can’t hook your audience with a two-minute clip (or, in this case, a few dozen characters), don’t expect them to open and watch (or read) the whole thing. We recommend spending almost as much time on your email subject lines as you do on the emails themselves.
- Stick to one call-to-action (CTA) per email. If you think the number of emails you receive is a lot, take a look at the CTAs in those emails … some are packed with two, three, and sometimes up to 10 different CTAs. Don’t make this mistake, which can leave your recipients’ heads spinning, asking “What should I click on first?” and ultimately clicking on nothing. With one CTA per email, you allow your audience to focus on your email content and ultimately one action … a welcome reprieve from today’s frequent decision-making and analysis paralysis.
- Segment your email to reach the most relevant audience. Not every email you send will be appropriate for everyone on your list. Your subscribers may be at different stages of the buyer’s journey or be seeking different solutions. That’s where email list segmentation comes into play. Not only does this help you relate to your audience better, but it gives your emails that personal feel that says “Hey, I’m listening and I know what you’d like to see.” Consumers prefer email quality over quantity anytime.
- Make sure your email designs are responsive. Over 80% of email users access their inbox on their phones, and emails that don’t show up correctly on mobile devices are often deleted in three seconds. Ouch. Don’t let your email be one of those.
- Don’t be afraid of the cold email. As uncomfortable as it is, the right email can convert new customers — like this cold sales email that won 16 new B2B customers.
👉🏼Velocity Media Tip: You can’t send marketing emails without any recipients — these people make up your lists. There are plenty of easy ways to grow your email list. Begin with opt-in forms on your website homepage, About page, and blog.
B2B Digital Marketing
Every business, whether B2B or B2C should have a digital presence — which is comprised of paid ads, search engine optimisation, a website, and any other place your B2B company is active online. Let’s walk through a handful of tactics that can strengthen your B2B digital marketing strategy.
Define your target audience
A strong B2B digital marketing strategy starts with defining your target audience, or buyer persona. This demographic and psychographic information will inform almost every other marketing activity thereafter, ensuring your content and digital material is absorbed by the right eyes and ears (and that no resources go to waste on your end).
Create your website
Secondly, digital marketing can’t quite function without an informative, engaging website. Over 80% of buyers visit a website before making a purchase. Moreover, since the typical B2B sales cycle often involves many key players (such as gatekeepers, decision makers, and other folks who have to buy into a purchase), websites are easy, straightforward ways for influencers to share information about your product or service.
Optimise your digital presence
Your website needs to be more than informative and engaging, though … it needs to be discoverable. You can do this with on-page SEO and technical SEO tactics. These include everything from image alt-text and meta descriptions (what your visitors can see) to structured data and site speed (what your visitors can’t see). Off-page SEO is also at play here, which refers to external linking strategies and social sharing — SEO tactics that take place off your website.
Run PPC campaigns
Finally, round out your digital presence with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which allows you to get your content and brand in front of new audiences via search engines and other advertising platforms. We recommend maximizing your PPC investment by advertising more than your specific products or services — such as your brand personality, blog or social media content, or company tagline.
The best way to see an ROI from your paid ads is by
1) incorporating your buyer persona data and
2) boosting content that they can relate to.
For example, it’s highly unlikely a brand new consumer who’s never heard of you is searching for your exact product. They may be searching for a location-based solution or product feature. To reach the greatest number of potential customers, pay to target relevant categories within your brand vs. promoting your product or services.
B2B Content Marketing
We’ve talked about how B2B customers are focused on expertise, driven by logic, and desire to be educated. What better marketing tool to satisfy these priorities than B2B content marketing?
Whereas a traditional PR marketing strategy interrupts a consumer’s day-to-day with promotional material, a content marketing strategy adds valuable information and informs the consumer — which is precisely what B2B customers are looking for. Not to mention that content marketing supports SEO efforts, which involves anticipating what your audience is searching for, helping them discover your website and content … and potentially converting them to customers.
In fact, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information from an article than an ad. Knowing this, I’d say you should be putting the same (if not more) resources into your content marketing than your traditional advertising strategy.
Because the B2B buyer’s journey is slightly different than the B2C buyer’s journey (which has shorter sales cycles and fewer decision makers involved), the content you create for your B2B content marketing strategy may vary more than the content you’ve seen as a consumer yourself, as illustrated in the below graphic.