If you’re looking to grow the sales and brand image of your B2B products and services with digital marketing, you will need the right B2B marketing strategies to get ahead of the competition.
Most of your competitors will use these strategies to some extent. A report shows that in 2019, 64% of B2B companies in the U.S had an existing formal marketing plan, and 36% didn’t.
While in B2B, we use many of the same strategies used for B2C, you will need a change of mindset to understand your customers’ true needs.
In this article, you will discover:
- What B2B marketing is
- The best strategies to use
- How to approach new ideas in marketing to grow
- How to measure B2B marketing performance
And as a side note, all the strategies you will learn here are scalable, which means you can start with experimentation and see what works and what doesn’t before you start spending more on marketing.
Whether you’re part of a marketing team in a big corporation, startup founder, or just starting as an entrepreneur, you will get a better understanding of what you need to do.
But first, let’s define what is B2B marketing because while there are many ways to promote to businesses, you need to understand the core mechanics that a marketing method has to have for the use of B2B marketing.
What Is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing refers to businesses’ strategies to reach other businesses to increase sales, leads, or brand awareness. In a nutshell, a company selling and providing products and services to other companies all use B2B marketing.
For the most part, strategies to target B2B or B2C customers are the same, and the main difference is in the target audiences and on what they want to receive from the marketing that involves them.
There are, of course, exceptions, in which B2B has its preferred methods and channels, which makes targeting key-decision makers easier.
Marketing to individuals, the messaging, pricing, and everything else around your brand is different when your buyer is the individual’s organization.
In B2B marketing, it’s crucial to build target audiences around the people making the buying decisions. Although, growing general brand awareness can impact the likeliness of choosing your products as a favorite, which employees can wish from their organizations. (Like SaaS tools)
But you might get lower performance unless brand awareness is something you want to grow.
And it would be best if you considered sales cycles and sales funnels within your target audiences. These are critical steps for converting businesses into buying your products and services.
Next, let’s look at what you need to understand before implementing the B2B marketing strategies that we’ll cover in this article.
How Do You Implement The Strategies In This Article?
No matter which of the B2B marketing strategies you end up using, take these questions along with you when using them.
These questions will help you understand what you need from each strategy to make the perfect B2B marketing strategy that fits your unique situation, business model, and growth potential to reap the gains of scale.
Keep these questions in mind when reading further as they might introduce you to new ideas on how to implement the methods.
- Understand your target audience / Discover the best-performing audience
- Understand the target audience’s channels they use / Discover the best converting channel
- Find the strategies to penetrate the preferred channels.
- Decide on your marketing and business goals. What do you want to achieve?
- Audience data
- User experience data
- Website traffic
- Build B2B marketing funnels according to your goals
- Experiment with different B2B Marketing strategies until you find one that gets you all the necessary goals you wanted.
- Measure, analyze, and optimize performance to get you closer to the goals.
- From time to time, reflect on your results, especially be critical if your primary goal is still valid to your businesses.
Before we dive deeper into the B2B marketing strategies themselves, let’s look at how to measure the performance of any of your future campaigns.
How To Measure The Performance of B2B Marketing?
Whenever you’re ready to try a new marketing strategy, you need to make sure you’re benchmarking the new campaign’s performance to old campaigns and have the proper tools to collect and analyze data.
All the strategies in this article are digital, which means you can use web analytics to uncover any campaign’s performance.
Make sure you have, at the very least, Google Analytics or Facebook Analytics installed on your websites and landing pages. If your business needs more in-depth data collection, get the proper tools before starting marketing.
But with the basics, you can measure all the necessary performance metrics of your B2B marketing campaigns.
While it can be hard to say what you need to measure to track campaigns’ performance, at least set the proper conversions you will want to measure.
Another crucial thing is to avoid falling into the glamour and clout of vanity metrics that won’t create the impact you seek for the business.
Make a mental note of the vanity metrics that may come up in future campaigns, and always remember to make your decisions based on the data.
Remember to audit your chosen tools and track the data optimally, so your decision is not based on false data.
Most of these platforms mentioned in this article will deploy their analytics to show you the metrics of each campaign on the chosen platforms, but never rely on only one data source when it comes to optimizing.
For example, benchmark your conversion data to your sales data or measure traffic data from ads to Google Analytics data.
Through these tips, you can make a better B2B marketing analytics strategy.
6 Digital B2B Marketing Strategies
As a B2B marketing agency, we have found these digital marketing strategies to work well on average, but of course, some work better than others. The main takeaway is to test whether a B2B marketing strategy works or not.
Discovering through trial and error, failing fast, and moving on, you will find a strategy that works for you. And even when you find out one that works, remember it might not always work; therefore, never stop experimenting.
But we hope you get some great ideas through B2B marketing examples to improve your online marketing mix.
Experiment with all the channels with a heavy emphasis on data and analytics, and performance.
The strategies we will cover:
- B2B SEO Strategy
- B2B SEM Strategy
- Content Marketing for B2B
- B2B Social Media Marketing
- B2B Email Marketing
- Influencer Marketing for B2B
You can also learn from each method more in-depth if you want to better understand each method’s benefits individually from the provided links.
This article itself will mostly cover how to use these strategies for B2B marketing, but also applies to B2C when you change your perspective.
B2B Marketing SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
B2B SEO can have a significant impact on the bottom line of your business when done correctly.
As SEO itself would lower the need to further pay for interactions with new and old customers.
And anytime you increase the profitability of an owned channel, your ROI increases.
A solid, B2B SEO plan helps you build a profitable and sustainable marketing strategy.
In B2B SEO, choosing the right keywords and goals for the keywords is critical.
Increasing traffic without any purpose hurts any SEO strategy for any business, but for B2B companies, you’re wasting time and money.
Instead, try to discover the profitable keywords first and then change your keyword plan to match based on profitability, lead gains, or whatever your B2B goal would be.
SEO is a slowish strategy, meaning your SEO methods used today will bring in results at a later date, for example, between 6 – 12 months down the road.
And that makes scaling harder, as you don’t know whether a keyword is worth investing in or not.
The wrong keywords chosen in the beginning will slow you down if you realize that those keywords won’t bring the wanted results.
So, how to find profitable keywords?
You will find profitable keywords through the use of search engine marketing campaigns and search ads.
Using the ads with different and new keyword combinations, you can start experimenting with keywords at scale to find the most converting keywords.
And this leads to the next B2B marketing strategy on our list: SEM & search ads.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) For B2B Marketing
SEM and the platforms you can use have many benefits to increasing your online business profitability, traffic, and conversions.
SEM, for most, is a cost-effective advertising strategy to gain target audiences at the right time to the right product and its landing page.
And for a startup company with smaller sales teams or an online-only approach, SEM should be the first strategy you should try to master.
As a B2B company, investing the time to research and experiment with the proper keywords, you can achieve a reliable way to gain more sales, conversions, and traffic to the things you care about and measure.
And B2B SEM and SEO go hand in hand like we already mentioned.
In a nutshell, the profitable keywords (a keyword that converts to your goals with the least spent on ads) are the way to discover your profitable target audience, which you can use with multiple strategies on this list, not just SEO, more on that later.
But for SEO, the keywords you find through, for example, with Google Ads, you’ll have an SEO strategy built upon profitable keywords instead of guessing. And that will save you from a lot of headaches when starting.
But we need to mention that depending on your industry, B2B keywords will be more expensive when compared to counterparts of B2C companies. And if you’re starting with a small budget, you’re not going to get realistic data of keyword performance.
Regardless, starting with SEM campaigns is still beneficial if you can allocate a budget for it as it benefits many other strategies. The added traffic helps you convert users earlier when you know what to look for from day one.
Content Marketing For B2B
When creating content for marketing as a B2B company, your goals come first, audience second, and content third. It would help if you decided the real reason to create content for your business first rather than designing content for the sake of it.
Are you brand-building through increasing authority or maximizing leads?
When you have the goals set in stone, you need to decide and plan your distribution strategy, where will you publish said content.
And here’s where the tricky part is, as in the beginning most likely you won’t be 100% sure where your audience lies in or mostly hangouts for the most part.
But you can never go wrong investing in a business blog or improving website content, as improving owned channels is critical in a modern-day business landscape anyway.
Say you decided to start a blog or write articles to build authority in your industry. Here again, the keywords you find with SEM campaigns come to play.
Every industry will have a lot of keywords to target, some more profitable than others.
When you find the keywords that matter to you, you can build your B2B content marketing strategy around those main keywords, for example, in a blog form.
And the more you produce content, the more ideas on keywords you will have that your competitors might’ve missed.
If you need ideas about where to start with coming up for ideas, you can learn 13 content marketing ideas for businesses here.
B2B Email Marketing
B2B email marketing can be the cheapest form of marketing or the most expensive. But email marketing is cost-effective, nonetheless.
The cheapness of email marketing comes from building an email list that lets you retarget users interested in your brand and company.
And as a marketing goal building an email list for the future is a great starting point, especially if you’re pre-revenue.
On the other hand, direct email marketing can become expensive, depending on your use. For example, if your sales team uses most of their time sending cold proposals through email, that can become costly, really fast.
You want to refocus your sales team’s efforts to work based on leads instead of cold proposals and leave the cold traffic generation to the other strategies.
One of the top benefits of email marketing is the initial targeted traffic you get to your website, which you can guess, can be used across your marketing strategies no matter which you choose.
And if you’re a founder without cash for marketing, email can be the first real traffic generator to your landing pages realistically.
Lead nurturing through direct email once you gain a lead increases your chances of converting the lead into customers. Although depending on your company’s structure and industry standards, a call might be more appropriate in dealing with leads.
All-in-all, email marketing works for many types of B2B companies with different goals and approaches.
B2B Social Media Marketing
While B2C companies can get more out of organic social media marketing efforts, the benefits for a B2B will not be the same.
Because at the end of the day, why would people follow a business? There are exceptions, of course, if you’re an industry leader providing excellent content, for example.
But for starting, and you’re an average B2B company, increasing social media followers, for example, on Instagram or Facebook, won’t bring the needed results. Excluding LinkedIn.
Nowadays, organic social media marketing is challenging and can be a waste of time when compared to other strategies you could be doing.
The real power of social media marketing for B2B comes from the paid ads campaigns you can do.
Most of us use social media to some extent, whether that’s Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest. We can target the people involved in the decision-making processes required to make B2B marketing work through powerful targeting.
And you can find these people on every platform, but you will need data before starting blindly with social media ads.
Most social media advertising platforms have targeting tags attached to them. For example, Facebook has the Pixel, and LinkedIn has the insights tag.
These tags allow you to create website-based audiences anything from a visit to your website or a custom event (like a contact form). Then you can start creating look-a-like audiences that would match your future ads with audiences most similar to the people on your websites.
And if you don’t have any website data, to begin with, use the SEM campaign to drive targeted traffic first, collect the data with the tags, and create the lookalike audiences.
B2B Marketing With LinkedIn
For B2B companies, LinkedIn should be the social platform for growing their online presence and the impact of social activities.
As a critical benefit for B2B, LinkedIn offers multiple targeting options and demographic data that help you identify your B2B target audience.
B2B LinkedIn marketing revolves around two methods: growing organically and using LinkedIn Ads.
LinkedIn Ads offers a cost-effective way to advertise to specific professionals in your industry, making it slightly easier to target your core demographic that is likely to buy our B2B products and services.
LinkedIn Ads are great if you already have an idea of your perfect customers. For example, you know that your ideal customer has the job title X, or you know their average education level and industry.
But growing organically on the platform is also a viable option, albeit slower.
Growing organically on LinkedIn involves:
- Optimizing your company page and using showcase pages
- Using search for communicating directly with prospects or creating valuable relationships
- Being involved with groups
- Sharing engaging content (like your blogs or creating unique content for LinkedIn directly)
LinkedIn influencers also open up more marketing and promotion opportunities, which we will discuss next.
Influencer Marketing For B2B
Every industry has its influencers, for example:
- Thought leaders
- The innovators
- Prominent companies
- Bloggers and publishers
In B2B, the influencers, in most cases, will have fewer followers than influencers whose followers match a broader B2C audience, but that’s not a problem.
As in everything regarding B2B, the amount of traffic or other metrics doesn’t matter as much as the goals they can produce.
A B2B company can involve influencers in multiple ways into their marketing strategy.
- Partner up with larger companies in your industry to either sell or promote both brands.
- Write and receive guest blogs on your and the influencer’s websites.
- Directly advertise on important industry-leading publications or influencers channels (LinkedIn, websites, etc.)
- Create affiliate marketing campaigns with influencers to promote your products and for the influencer to receive a commission.
Working with influencers offers many hidden opportunities for B2B, where you can involve the influencer more directly into your company.
For example, influencers can help you better reach your target audience as they know their market the best, or help you make better products overall.
These were the six B2B marketing strategies to help you grow your business. Through these methods, you can boost sales, brand awareness leads, or gain crucial data to help you scale even further in the future.
We hope you gained the tools you need to adjust your existing strategies and discover new ones.
We live in a fast-paced marketing world where new strategies come alive and die as fast as they pop up. The key is to understand the value of experimentation and data.
A strategy that works today to promote your products and services might not perform tomorrow or even work for a new product your company might have.
To conclude, the key is to create your unique B2B marketing strategy which has the right business goals and your core audience.
If you understand these two things about your business, you will have the skills to take on every new marketing strategy in the future and to adapt to new ways of doing business.