B2B marketing has changed significantly during the past few years. The B2B environment has become more saturated while advances in Internet technologies means you’re now not only dealing with local competition but also with competitors from all over the world.
Moreover, our new generation of B2B buyers comprises “digital natives”. They grew up online, are comfortable online and expect to conduct their preliminary research and product or service screening online. Consequently, B2B business owners need to establish an effective online presence if they want to be relevant to these increasingly important buyers.
Improving Your B2B Marketing
The Internet has transformed B2B marketing into a 24/7/365 operation. If you aren’t showing up online where your customers are, your competitors will.
When it comes to improving B2B marketing establishing a well-defined strategy is the key. Here are some of the ways you can improve the effectiveness of your B2B marketing strategy.
1. Establish a Unique Positioning
Firstly, you need a clear picture of the ideal customers you are looking to target. This information will help you determine your strategy, tactics, messaging, and promotional channels driving your marketing efforts forward.
Start by creating buyer personas. These are based on insights into your customers’ goals, aspirations, pain points, thought processes, and motivations. Understand where they obtain their information, how they conduct their research, and what kind of content appeals to them.
Map their needs and challenges to your products and identify how your company can add value by crafting messaging that communicates your relevance and differentiate your brand from your competition.
Given B2B purchasing usually involves multiple stakeholders, rinse and repeat this process for each persona to ensure you’re delivering the right message at the right time and in the right place for each decision-maker or influencer in target customer organization.
Having these buyer personas allows you to leverage the specificity made possible by online advertising and social media so you can better target your marketing budget, increasing the ROI yield of the strategies in the rest of this article.
2. Gather Feedback
If you aren’t collecting customer feedback, you are flying blind when it comes to your B2B marketing strategy. B2B marketing is about creating a relationship with your customers. Long-term relationships are built on two-way communication. How will you know what your customers are thinking if you don’t ask them?
Embed a tool like Qualaroo on your website to survey your website visitors and find out more about their needs and how your product can help. Support this with regular surveys of current customers via an email-based tool such as SurveyMonkey.
3. Establish A Dynamic eCommerce Presence
All your advertising and content marketing efforts will be for nought if your audience clicks through to your website but fails to continue through with either their research or buying process.
Research by Forrester found 59 per cent of buyer prefer not to interact with a sales representative while 74 per cent found buying from a website more convenient.
It’s not enough to have a vibrant social media presence or an information-rich website if your online presence isn’t supported by a fully functional eCommerce platform capable of transforming leads generated by your website into sales, and sales into repeat purchases. In today’s competitive B2B environment, buyers expect a seamless user experience.
The advent of digital marketing has posed numerous challenges for B2B marketers while opening up huge opportunities. One of the best elements of your B2B marketing to improve is your eCommerce capabilities and your ability to keep up with your customers’ demands and with their changing buying behaviours.
4. Integrate Video Into Your B2B Marketing
Integrating video into content marketing campaigns and developing a YouTube channel has proven to be very effective platforms for marketing and promotion at both a brand and a product or service level.
The popularity of videos is increasing as a content format with social media platforms supporting and even prioritizing video-based content. Video has emerged as a medium no B2B marketer can afford to ignore.
Leverage video’s strength to communicate with your audience by creating personal and emotional connections, bringing unique experiences to life, helping them to solve problems and sharing timely insights.
5. Ramping Up Your Paid Online Advertising Budget
Search engine marketing continues to be ranked highly among paid marketing options for effectiveness (52 per cent) while promoted social media posts follow closely at 39 per cent.
The B2B marketing trend of adopting paid advertising whether it’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads on search engines, social media ads or promoted social media posts as part of a B2B marketing strategy continues to strengthen.
Most B2B marketers target a very specific audience and paid digital advertising allows you to reach your specific market audience based on a selection of precise criteria enabling you to optimize the ROI from your marketing budget.
6. Support Your Customer Journey With Content Marketing
Some 94 per cent of B2B buyers indicate they conduct some form of online research prior to purchasing a business product while 80 per cent of business decision-makers source company information from articles rather than advertising.
Content marketing is a core component in any B2B marketing strategy. It has proven effective at positioning brands in front of an audience early in their research and purchasing process while nurturing trust and communicating your brand relevance and authenticity.
Content marketing not only helps to increase brand awareness, boost SEO performance and generate new organic prospects from your website but it can also transport your prospects from the awareness stage all the way through to the final purchasing stage of their customer journey.
7. Create A Company Blog
According to leading inbound marketing platform HubSpot, companies that blog enjoy 70 per cent more leads than those that don’t blog. Why? Blogging is not perceived to be a form of advertising.
Thus it creates more “pathways” for prospective customers to discover your website. Blogging has also been shown to increase prospects’ trust in brands. Businesses that share their knowledge and insights are also more likely to be perceived as thought leaders in their industry.
When it comes to a B2B purchase, the time from lead to customer conversion is typically a lengthy one. This is due to the volume of research and due diligence involved.
Blogging is a smart way of answering a prospect’s questions without them having to actually ask them.
To properly integrate blogging into your B2B marketing strategy, think about what part of your sales funnel needs the most work-awareness, persuasion, and conversions? Create blogging article topics that help plug the holes in your sales funnel and watch your leads increase.
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B2B marketing has changed significantly over the past few years. The same old same old B2B sales model is increasingly obsolete and ineffective. Not only are you now dealing with local competition, you’re having to compete internationally. Adopting any of our 7 strategies will improve your B2B marketing success while positioning your business for growth.