The most effective marketing is almost always the result of effectively targeting the right audience; marketing strategies should always be tailored to the interests, needs, and spending habits of a specific group. Without an audience to focus on, your marketing will fall flat.
Knowing how to market to a business-to-business (B2B) audience is especially critical because B2B decision makers have different marketing preferences, communication styles, and end goals in mind than the average business-to-consumer (B2C) customer. Below, we’ll review some of the strategies you can use in B2B marketing to reach these businesses and organizations more effectively.
B2B Marketing Defined
Prior to delving into that, it’s important to understand what B2B marketing is and what its goals are. B2B marketing revolves around businesses selling to other businesses or establishments. These sales are typically worth a lot more than B2C transactions. In this kind of marketing, it’s important to cut to the chase and be more informational than animated, as B2B consumers are usually business decision makers looking to address a pain point. They care most about the impact of a company’s products or services on their bottom line and being able to establish and maintain long-term relationships with the businesses they work with. This alone makes B2B communications and marketing strategies vastly different from B2C.
Avalaunch Media is an example of B2B marketing. We sell our professional marketing services to other businesses as a whole, rather than to individual consumers. Our customers approach us looking to increase their ROI by establishing themselves as industry leaders, increasing their brand awareness, and improving their marketing strategy as a whole.
Other examples of B2B companies you may be familiar with include:
- BMA Banking Systems: Software and technology solutions for banks and credit unions
- Britton BMI: Commercial cleaning services
- Child Related Research: Child-resistant testing for commercial products
- Hootsuite: Social media management platform for business
- LearningZen: E-learning platform for employee training
- MailChimp: Email marketing platform for small businesses
- Qualtrics: Survey platform for gathering usable data and insights
- Slack: Office communication and collaboration tool
Strategies for B2B Marketing
Given the unique nature of B2B marketing, it’s important to understand some of the basic B2B marketing strategies if you are to stay competitive in today’s saturated marketing landscape and get a leg up on the competition. There are endless B2B marketing strategies you could employ, but here are just some that you can put into action starting today.
Stay consistent with your brand messaging
Due to the expensive and long-term nature of B2B relationships, business decision makers will pay as much as is needed in order to work with reputable and consistent companies. While a B2C consumer can always switch shampoos once a bottle is empty, it’s much riskier and more costly for B2B consumers to buy the wrong industrial farming equipment, for example, which could hurt their profits for years to come.
In order to build trust and earn long-term business contracts, you have to have strong branding and consistent marketing materials. Even the smallest inconsistency in branding can lead to a loss of confidence and business. Inconsistencies can be anything from:
- A differing tone on your website versus the tone of your social media
- A difference in design color palette or imagery from one place to another
- A different value proposition on an ad than on the landing page to which it leads
- A product offering that doesn’t quite fit with your niche
Even seemingly insignificant inconsistencies like these can cause you to lose your cohesive identity as a brand. Take Colgate, for example, who decided in 1982 to expand its product offerings with frozen food entrees. Since Colgate had already established themselves as a toothpaste company, their customers did not take well to food under a toothpaste brand name. If you aren’t even sure who your company is, how can your customers trust and support you?
GymIt, on the other hand, has been thriving since 1977 thanks to its delightfully consistent messages of fitness-related humor across its website and social platforms.
Develop a killer content marketing plan around your audience
Hubspot recently conducted research showing that B2B marketers who have and maintain a blog regularly earn 67% more leads than those who don’t have blogs. What’s more, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get their marketing information from a blog than an advertisement. That’s how important content marketing is, but surprisingly, many businesses still aren’t doing it!
Relevant and high-quality content marketing is arguably one of the best ways to educate prospects and demonstrate your expertise, which is something that all business consumers are looking for. It’s a tried-and-tested way to quickly convert leads to customers. Knowing this, you should spend a considerable amount of time producing informative content on your blog if you don’t already have one.
If you don’t, it’s never too late to start. Google Analytics is a great place to begin (if you don’t have an account, you can sign up for free today). Here, you can learn about the composition of your target audience by examining the demographics overview of your website. This will help you see what kinds of people (by gender, location, age, etc.) are visiting your site and what their interests are.
Once you have a general idea of what kinds of people you should be targeting with your content, it’s time to start thinking of topics. You may find that your topic ideas run dry in just a matter of weeks, but thankfully, there are many online tools that can help you with this.
For example, BuzzSumo gathers data from social platforms to identify trending industry topics. Write blogs on these and make them more thorough and informative than the ones your competitors have written. Look for subjects you could expand upon within your existing blogs and delve into them deeper. Consider user intent to predict what else your audience wants to learn about, based on your previously published content.
Some other great tools for content topic generation are:
- Google Trends
Use email marketing to show what you can do
Email marketing is a powerful tool you can use to get the word out to potential leads about how your company can help and empower them. While marketing automation for B2C is often focused around catchy, emotional, and/or entertaining headings and text, B2B emails need to be centered on what matters to B2B consumers, which is primarily their profits, efficiency, and time. BounceX recently sent out a great example of good B2B email marketing:
This email quickly appeals to B2B consumers by plainly and briefly describing how their company can help, stating that their consumer insights can help businesses get more revenue from their paid ad budgets — which is the main goal of a business. No fluff, no unnecessary extra verbiage — just a unique selling point and call to action.
Marketing automation is also great for promoting new blog content and sharing news. Instead of waiting for people to stumble onto your blog, why not just invite them directly through an email? Your logically minded B2B prospects will also appreciate seeing how you’ve achieved results for other customers if you send out a monthly newsletter. In fact, 40% of B2B marketers say that email newsletters are a surefire way to get cold, hard results from their content marketing. Use email as an opportunity to show how you’ve helped past customers achieve success or how you have earned their trust. Take this brief email from Grammarly, for example:
Instead of being self-promotional, they had a current customer to do the talking for them, centering their email content on a user’s Tweet. On top of that, they offered a money-saving discount on their services and the promise of improved customer perception.
Put These Strategies Into Action With a Marketing Team
While B2B marketing can feel complicated and risky with everything this kind of customer has to lose, an experienced marketing team takes the guesswork out of it. Avalaunch Media is a leader in business marketing, and we know the critical moves you should make to establish long-term, mutually profitable business relationships. Contact us today for a custom proposal.