15 best B2B marketing strategies
B2B marketing is changing, and you can no longer afford for your marketing to be boring as the most successful B2B firms are embracing the digital transformation, and the very best is thriving. B2B marketers keep learning and absorbing the newest strategies and tactics to catch up on the ever-changing B2B space.
Some B2B firms still apply outdated marketing strategies while others are struggling among the various competitors in the field. So how to keep up with the constant changes to craft your B2B marketing strategy and grow your business?
Seth Godin, a well-known name in marketing today, says, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible”. Iterating on your efforts to understand customers, keep tabs on new trends, make your businesses shine among the B2B crowd, and ultimately boost your sales. In this article, we’ll give you the most effective and up-to-date B2B marketing strategies to help you to do that.
Table of Contents
- What is B2B marketing strategy?
- Understanding B2B buyers’ journey
- 15 best B2B marketing strategies
- 1. SEO and Content marketing
- 2. Email marketing
- 3. Embrace social media
- 4. Account-based marketing
- 5. Live Chat
- 6. Referral marketing
- 7. Create visual content
- 8. Use multi-channel
- 9. Marketing automation
- 10. Niche-driven marketing
- 11. Build a high-performing website
- 12. Influencer marketing
- 13. Harness big data
- 14. Pay Per Click advertising
- 15. Create a brand identity
- A final thought
What is B2B marketing strategy?
B2B marketing is the marketing of products to businesses or other organizations for use in the production of goods or general business operations. Products in this kind of marketing may be as familiar as coffee or and office supplies, or as complex as electronic accessories and computer systems, others offer services such as logistics.
When doing marketing, B2B firms focus on creating leads generation in the field’s players, including manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, construction firms, service industry, and non-profit organizations.
When it comes to B2B marketing strategy, many firms firstly think of direct and outbound techniques that you send messages directly to clients or potential buyers. This kind of marketing somehow still has a position in your marketing journey. However, the B2B marketing landscape has expanded, and the purchasing behavior of buyers also changed. Before making a purchase, they will do a Google search to find out information and evaluate your company, even compare with others. They prefer searching on their own rather than reading from direct personal references. That’s why information that gives readers the best understanding of your firm, products and turns them into your buyers is what B2B businesses need to focus on now.
Understanding B2B buyers’ journey
The buyers’ journey is the research and decision-making process, leading buyers to a final purchase. It also includes the prospect of symptoms and problems that create a need for a product or service.
Take time to understand customers first, then sell your products. If you take a walk into B2B buyers’ shoes, you’ll identify which challenges they are facing with before making a purchase: better understanding customers’ mindset, easier supporting them in the purchasing journey. At the end of the day, solving customers’ problems is imperatively your job.
Usually, B2B buyers might go through a more complicated process than B2C buyers.
1. Be aware of the problem
At this stage, buyers are unaware of two things: your company and their problem that needs your help. A problem might exist inside a firm, but until it’s called out by the identifying party, it’s considered a problem, and they start searching for solutions.
As a marketer, your job right now is to build public awareness of your company and your product. Let buyers know how you can help them and why they should choose you, not others. It’s time to focus on their pain point, not your brand or products.
2. Search for solutions
Once buyers figure out a problem and realize that a product or service can solve it, they’ll do research. At this stage, 72% of buyers usually search on Google and visit relevant websites. However, there are different kinds of ways to discover solutions. They collect information via discussing with colleagues, B2B partners, or online forums, social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit. 42% of B2B researchers are using mobile during their purchasing process; it’s critical to provide them with rich mobile experiences.
At first, buyers will usually search for educational material, reviews, and product testimonials. So make sure these documents are available on your website. After that, buyers begin to narrow down their search and focus only on which firms and criteria that meet their needs. Importantly, creating an incredible source of information, building trust in buyers.
3. Take into consideration
After having narrowed down just a few companies, buyers will dive deeper into each company’s specific offerings through research again. They will make in-depth comparisons of each company in their consideration circle. Unlike B2C buyers, making a purchasing decision themselves, B2B buyers need to go through the consideration and agreement of stakeholders, sales team, or any members who involve in the research process.
At this stage, buyers are interested in contents that make vendors outstanding and different from others. They also prefer directly interacting with the sales team to acquire more information and understand more profound about what the vendor is offering.
4. Make a purchase decision
After having an agreement on a vendor from upper management, the almost final stage is to make a purchase. Now, buyers start thinking about product preparation, costs, customer support services, and implementation. These factors determine the final choice of which firms and products or services best fit their needs and budgets.
At this point, you already raise your brand awareness successfully. It’s finally time to create and expand your brand-specific with your content. People are more likely to believe in what is already verified, so making your offerings trustworthy and worth-to-use is imperative. In this case, nothing speaks louder than the real case studies, and testimonials are done by your customers. Show buyers the positive outcomes that others get when choosing you. It is much more persuasive than anything else.
15 best B2B marketing strategies
1. SEO and Content Marketing
From the buyer’s journey, you can see that it takes a longer time to finish a shopping process in B2B space than that in B2C as B2B buyers spend time researching. Often, It may take a few months from the time a business finds your brand, visit the website, search for products or services, compare your offers with competitors, and eventually make a purchase.
Don’t forget - they do research a lot. Consider yourself as a B2C buyer; you are the only searcher doing multiple searches to find out the best one. On the other hand, a B2B purchase is under consideration of multiple decision-makers. Each decision-maker will do their search differently based on their context, knowledge, and experiences. Hence, B2B SEO doers need to bear in mind numerous searchers/searches to make sure their contents include searched terms that address particular landing pages and lead searchers to what they concern.
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Lee Odden - CEO and co-founder of TopRank Marketing says, “Content isn’t King, it’s Kingdom.” Content surrounds and touches your business. Content marketing plays a vital role in creating positive ROI (return of investment) for your business. So it is crucial to create content that fits your strategy, targets the right audience, generates leads, and drives traffic to your website.
2. Email marketing
Email marketing still has a substantial impact on the B2B world. According to the email marketing stats for 2019 from Hubspot, 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content, and 99% of consumers check their email every day. These high percentages may stop you from wondering if the email is still worthwhile to use, as it’s one of the best options.
You can use email to create various kinds of marketing actions. Some common types include hyper-relevant email drips, product emails, order confirmation emails, purchase emails, product advertising emails, etc. To ensure your email marketing campaigns are conducted successfully, make your email transmit smooth to land in the right audiences’ boxes. Equip your store site with useful tools such as SMTP to do that.
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3. Embrace social media
There are 3.2 billion social media users, which equates to about 42% of the world population. No need to explain more, social media has changed the way we do business, and it’s not only for the B2C world anymore.
Social channels are not only the places for the post after post but also where you can build brand awareness and affinity by sharing content that provides value, not click-bait. So with the continuous growth of social media nowadays, which social channels are the most effective for your B2B ecommerce business? Of course, some big names we can’t ignore: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube.
Facebook: is the most popular social platform with 1.59 billion daily active users on average for June 2019. Facebook builds a large community where people interact, express opinions, and become a marketplace. You create ads to promote your products on Facebook, attract users who haven’t know your brand, and drive leads as well as conversions to your landing pages. Integrating social media into your website is a revolutionary way to increase interaction with customers and generate more traffic.
Twitter: is an amazing platform for B2B businesses to connect current and potential clients and create a brand’s visibility. Regularly posting updates on your accounts and expanding followers to build an incredible presence as well as keep the connection with other businesses that might be your future clients.
LinkedIn: is a powerful platform for B2B marketing with over 600 million users. It is essential to consider creating a professional profile on LinkedIn - one of the fastest-growing social media networks. You can make connections and build relationships with B2B clients.
Youtube: It is not overstated to call Youtube the “King of the video era.” It is predicted that internet video will account for 79% of global internet traffic by 2020. It is great to take advantage of your available materials to produce videos that follow your channel’s direction. You can attract a large number of users in this network, and increase traffic to the main website by inserting links of videos into landing pages or blog posts.
4. Account-based marketing
Account-based marketing is not strange anymore as customers increasingly prefer personalization, especially in the B2B landscape. This kind of marketing strategy works for B2B firms targeting high-value clients who have a high chance of converting and can make a significant impact on ROI (return of investment). In particular, you treat an account with personalized user experiences and then connect them with sales in real-time.
It is an effective way to appeal to potential clients because they will feel special about their experiences. Their needs are deeply understood, and the way you give them solutions is unique. Undoublty, one of the critical steps to grow your B2B business is to create personalized user experiences.
5. Live Chat
In case you are wondering if B2B live chat is as effective as B2C, and does it generate leads? The answer is “Yes”. The live chat goes far beyond the automation chatbot, as it allows you to engage with customers like a real-life human being. Customers now usually research the website to find what they need. Please come to them when they have a hassle seeking around your site. You can ask and answer their questions on the fly, thus expeditiously figure out the problems and resolve all.
6. Referral marketing
Referral or affiliate marketing (also known as word-of-mouth marketing) is one of the best marketing drivers for sales and conversions. Notably, it is a kind of marketing that a website/business promotes a product or service of others. According to recent findings from Nielsen, people now are four times more likely to purchase when recommended by a friend. Furthermore, almost 30% of the software sold every year on the partners’ channels.
Consider joining an affiliate program to increase conversions for your website, and make a boom in sales.
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7. Create visual content
Nobody wants to stay on a boring website reading a full-text article. Adding relevant and beautiful images or videos to your web pages will optimize your content’s performance and appeal to the audience effectively. A study proved that we are far better at memorizing what we see than what we hear. Thus, visual content does a better job of promoting your brand awareness and brand recall.
Use compelling images, short and useful videos across your site, and social media channels. But remember to use them properly, don’t overuse visual materials that can make the audience feel overwhelmed or distracted by too many images and videos. Do not turn your e-commerce website into an image stock site or a messy media picture. Besides, ensure images used for your site are high-quality and consistent through all your channels. You can visit free images stock providers on the internet to pick up the best ones for your website.
8. Use multi-channel
B2B buyers search for what they concern via multiple discovery channels. So make sure your source of information or products also appear in multi-channels. Make it available for searchers to reach out to your content as much as possible from whatever they are searching for.
Think about social media networks that are controlling the buyers’ shopping journey. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn become places where B2B buyers are seeking things for their needs every hour. These are channels you should not ignore when doing marketing.
9. Marketing automation
With the changes and advances in technologies as well as the high demand of the industry, marketing automation gradually replaces repetitive manual processes with automated ones. It makes your work life easier and more optimized by gathering all online marketing channels together. The first thing to notice is choosing suitable automation software for your website and campaigns. You can set the rules and conditions at the back-end of your website. Then, starting with a trigger to customers via automatic action emails.
10. Niche-driven marketing
Niche-driven marketing is a marketing tactic that channels all marketing efforts to focus on a well-defined segment in the whole market. Marketers start with finding out customers’ wants and needs, then narrow down the group of segmented audiences and target only to the specific and unique one. B2B businesses attract and retain customers with specialized offerings.
There are various benefits of niche-driven marketing. One out of them is that the company can build a close relationship with customers because they execute the marketing strategy in a small segment. It is also the key to win customer loyalty.
11. Build a high-performing website
It is indispensable for every B2B business to have a functional and professional-looking website. For a B2B website, the primary design purpose should be lead generation. The landing page is especially important in this situation. A useful website can create organic traffic that converts to high-quality leads. As I mentioned the B2B buyer’s journey, a B2B sales cycle is quite long with multiple interactions through a lot of connected devices. This is the main reason why a B2B website should be designed to be informative, captivating, and persuasive to create active engagement between audiences and brands.
One more crucial factor to take into account is the page loading speedy. Make your website speedy because B2B businessmen will not wait for over 3-second page loading. 40% of people will leave a website if it takes over 3 seconds to load.
12. Influencer marketing
If you often check social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube; you may see a lot of people who have an account with thousands or even millions of followers/subscribers constantly promoting a brand’s products or anything else. They are called influencers, who partner with businesses or brands in influencer marketing.
B2B businesses might prefer using influencer marketing because paid advertising is increasing in expense and somehow decreasing effectiveness. It is easier to earn exposure for their products/brands from influencers as people tend to trust a real personal experience and referral rather than advertising. It is also essential to choose a trustworthy and efficient influencer who can align with your target audience.
13. Harness big data
Big data is revolutionalizing the whole marketing world. Collecting and analyzing data is out of the most critical steps in doing marketing. Without the necessary data, marketers can’t dig deep into customers’ mindsets to understand their needs and know exactly who the leads are. Based on specific data, you can draw a vivid picture of your firm’s marketing strategy and your target audience. Then, it is much easier to create personalized communications with potential customers.
Take advantage of data means and tools to build a system to collect and analyze data to optimize your marketing campaigns, ultimately to create a strong customer relationship and grow your sales leads.
14. Pay Per Click advertising
Pay per click advertising (PPC ads) is an online model in which advertisers pay for each time someone clicks on their ads. One of the most popular PPC ad types is the search paid advertising. This type of ad appears when people search for something to buy via search engines such as Google. It can be a time when you search for some fast food through a smartphone or searching for a sweater as a Christmas gift. PPC advertising might come up in your search result pages.
PPC ad is quite similar to search engine marketing because you need to do keyword searches, then create ads based on these keywords. The cost of your ads also depends on the keyword.
15. Create a brand identity
Nowadays, the B2B market is flooded with various similar goods and services. Customers, sometimes, can’t distinguish your products with your competitors’ ones. It makes sense to create a unique brand identity.
When it comes to brand identity, it’s not merely a logo, brand color, or slogan. A strong brand identity can drastically make your business stand out and be engraved in the audience’s memory. You can build your brand identity with content marketing to create values, uniqueness, consistency, and responsibilities.
A final thought
The B2B marketing world is expanding with its increasing complexity. It somehow seems to be hard to anticipate what will happen tomorrow with B2B marketing. So consistently keep up with new trends and most workable strategies to grow your business.
To remind, don’t use only one strategy; instead, do testimonials for your own business. After experimenting on these strategies, choose ones that are the most effective for your company and focus on making the best of them. If you come to a standstill in your B2B marketing, we hope this article sheds light on your mind.