Is your team facing challenges with online B2B marketing and generating more leads? This is the case with most companies in the business-to-business (B2B) space. I will go through 6 strategies for B2B marketing that you should consider implementing if you are not doing them already.
When you are trying to tackle this problem, it’s usually a good idea to start by identifying quick wins or the low-hanging fruits.
These are often things that have been neglected and can be fixed relatively quickly. Once this is taken care of, it usually does not take very long for the KPIs to move in the right direction.
Strategies For B2B Marketing
1. Start With Your Target Audience
This is still one of the most common mistakes in marketing even though it may seem quite obvious at first. From old habits, many tend to follow the transmitter-receiver model for communication.
It is easy to get caught up and start with the “messages” you need to knock into the target group that is already overwhelmed by information overload.
People often try to sell before the target group wants to buy from them. It is also ineffective to inform about the company and the types of products before the audience is interested in them. It gets even worse when you do not know which target group is the best for your business.
How To Identify Your Target Group
If you feel a bit lost, you can start with this:
- Create an ideal customer profile that helps you distinguish which companies you would like to have as a customer.
- Then create 2-3 personas – fictional people – for the roles in the companies that you think have the greatest influence on the decisions during the purchase process.
- Develop content that helps people with their problems, challenges, and goals and “promote” it in the B2B marketing channel where they are most receptive to it.
With the help of your team members who meet with a lot of customers, it is usually possible to come up with a decent hypothesis about the target group.
The hypothesis or assumptions can then be improved based on the interaction of the audience with your content. The important thing is to get started – your assumptions may not be “right” from the beginning.
Read more about how you can identify your customers’ pain points.
If you need ideas on content that drives sales, you can read this article.
2. Set Goals That Will Help You Succeed With Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Brand awareness and leads are means to an end but not an end in themselves. It is only valuable when they generate more customers.
Even if the management and sales teams push and try to generate more leads (feeling that “something is happening”), it is not the number of leads that matters.
The important thing is the number of leads that are of sufficient quality to result in conversions.
Choosing KPIs to set goals and measuring them really means that successful conversions are necessary for marketing to continue with their efforts. You need to be able to show the outcome in terms of numbers.
Ask yourself the question: how do you know that your b2b marketing strategy has contributed to your business goals? What needs to happen in each step of the buying process for your prospective customer to take the next step towards closing the deal?
Do not set the same goal for all activities. For example, if you are running a campaign aimed at creating brand awareness and targeting people at the beginning of the buying journey, do not measure it by how many leads it generates.
However, if your company is well known to the target group and if you are trying to increase the conversion rate, the number of new contacts or qualified leads may be the right goal.
With the relevant metrics, you can work with the sales team to ensure that you optimize all sales and B2B marketing content for the best results.
By presenting the results in joint reports, the entire organization gains an understanding of which efforts actually contribute to sales.
Read more about how to choose KPIs here.
You can learn more about how to measure ROI for your marketing activities here.
3. Use ABM And Focus On The Best Customers
A study conducted by LinkedIn with over 800 B2B marketers worldwide showed that as many as 56% of them used Account-Based Marketing (ABM). According to TOPO and ABM Leadership Alliance, companies that incorporated ABM had increased their average contract value by 171%.
Companies with close collaboration between the sales and marketing team (on which ABM is based) retain 36% more customers.
ABM means that you focus on specific, valuable companies. These are the accounts that can bring your company the most business value over time. It’s a bit like the 80/20 rule – 20% of customers account for 80% of the value.
Here’s how to get started with ABM:
- Get everyone on the same page, not just sales and marketing departments but management and other stakeholders.
- Build an ABM super team with sales and marketing people who will be dedicated to their respective “target accounts”.
- Select target accounts and create B2B marketing plans for each of them.
- Build relationships with key people at the target companies. This could be through digital meetings or by interacting with them in person.
And yes – ABM can be combined with inbound marketing. Both marketing tactics are based on a largely digital purchasing process. The same platform can be used for creating customized content to generate interest and increase the trust in your company.
ABM can be considered as a variant of inbound marketing optimized for selected key members from a small number of target accounts.
4. Educate Your Target Audience
B2B marketing is about building trust with key people in companies that match your ideal customer profile (ICP). It does not happen overnight but requires consistent efforts that follow long-term B2B marketing strategies.
Create content that helps and guides your buyers through their buying journey by teaching them how to cope with their problems and challenges.
You can also use the following in your strategy framework:
- Educational videos
- White papers
- Industry reports
- Guest posts from experts
- Customer case studies
- ROI calculators
5. Increase Visibility With Your B2B Marketing Strategy
No matter how good your B2B marketing content is, it’s not worth anything if no one in your audience sees it.
Here are some things that can drive traffic to your website and increase the impact of your content:
Conduct an analysis of the relevant keywords to be used on your website for ranking higher in the search results.
For each word, you can get suggestions for related terms and search phrases. If you find a word with lower competition (competition = how difficult it is to rank high in the search results) that relatively many people search for, you have found a gold nugget.
Best SEO Practices For Digital B2B Marketing
Make sure to use meta descriptions, alt tags, and internal links. They are all important for the search engine. Learn more about it in this article.
Measure how fast your website loads – it affects the SEO ranking. If it is slow, there are measures you can take to increase the speed. Test the speed of your website here.
It might be worth setting an advertising budget if your organic traffic and followers on LinkedIn do not give you enough reach. Components of a paid advertising campaign include PPC and paid social, such as sponsored posts.
In terms of keyword advertising, Google Ads is the largest network. These are the ads at the top of the search results. You pay an amount each time someone clicks on them (hence they are also called PPC ads, where PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click).
Sponsored posts are a form of paid advertising on social media. If you work with B2B, LinkedIn is the most popular platform. The posts may consist of text and images, slideshows or videos that come up in the feed of the target audience you choose (not just your followers).
Turn Employees Into Ambassadors
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, more people trust a “regular” employee (54%) than a CEO (47%). But the best thing is to engage experts – trusted by 68%.
Get your employees to promote posts and articles by sharing them with their networks. This is one of the most underrated and underutilized methods to promote your content. It’s a great way to beat the competition.
There are three factors that contribute to this:
- Make the B2B marketing content more attractive and easier to share.
- Train salespeople and select individuals with relevant networks in social selling, for example for B2B marketing with LinkedIn.
- Engage them in your campaigns and efforts – they have to fulfill an important function.
Here you can find more tips on how to increase your organic reach.
6. Be Personal
As a matter of fact, people do not follow companies on social media -they follow people. Perhaps that explains why posts with a clear personal image/sender tend to show a higher engagement. You are better off being more personal among the sea of boring anonymous corporate posts.
Here are some tips that will make the content stand out:
- Send personalized video invitations and messages via LinkedIn. Make them personal by using the recipient’s name and relating to their challenges. Don’t try to sell anything yet!
- Keep video recordings and other social media posts simple. The picture or sound doesn’t have to be “perfect”, as long as they can be seen and heard clearly.
- Use pictures of the person that wrote the post, or others that are mentioned in it. This is better than using glamorous stock photos of models in the background.
- Let employees write or stand behind the blog articles instead of the “company” being the sender. Interview experts – if they do not get the chance to write themselves, it is enough that they contribute and approve with their signature.
- Do not just talk about how amazing everything is and how well things are going for your business. Readers appreciate it when someone dares to be open and talk about their problems and frustration.