Updated: Sep 8, 2022
One of the most challenging things we had to do in the early days of B2B International in the 1990s was convincing potential clients that our expertise in market research and marketing for businesses was unparalleled. B2B marketing, and by extension the methods used to investigate these markets, was often disregarded as fundamentally different from consumer marketing.
Nonetheless, B2B marketing has become its field in the last 30 years, and differences in marketing methodology have become more pronounced. We think it's important to reiterate the many distinctions between the two fields and, more importantly, to highlight the implications of these distinctions when developing a business-to-business marketing strategy.
What exactly is B2B marketing?
To market to another business or organization is to engage in B2B (business-to-business) marketing. Companies focusing on selling to other businesses or organizations (rather than consumers) employ B2B marketing strategies.
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing aims to raise awareness of your company among other businesses and ultimately gain their business as a customer.
B2B Digital Marketing
Every B2B or B2C business should have a digital presence, including paid ads, search engine optimization, a website, and any other online presence your B2B company has. Let's review a few tactics that can help you improve your B2B digital marketing strategy.
Define your target market
A solid B2B digital marketing strategy begins with defining your target audience, also known as buyer personas. This demographic and psychographic information will inform almost every subsequent marketing activity, ensuring that your content and digital material are seen and heard by the right people (and that no resources go to waste on your end).
Make your website
Second, digital marketing is incomplete without an informative, engaging website. Before making a purchase, more than 80% of buyers visit a website. Furthermore, because the typical B2B sales cycle often involves many players (such as gatekeepers, decision-makers, and other people who must buy into a purchase), websites are simple ways for influencers to share information about your product or service.
Improve your online visibility
Your website must be more than just informative and entertaining; it must also be discoverable. You can accomplish this through on-page SEO and technical SEO tactics. These range from image alt-text and meta descriptions (what your visitors see) to structured data and site speed (what they don't see). Off-page SEO- external linking strategies and social sharing — SEO tactics that take place outside your website — are also at work here.
Execute PPC campaigns
Finally, complement your digital presence with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which allows you to reach new audiences through search engines and other advertising platforms. I recommend maximizing your PPC investment by advertising your brand personality, blog or social media content, or company tagline rather than your specific products or services.
The best way to see an ROI from your paid ads is to 1) incorporate your buyer persona data and 2) boost content that is relevant to them. It is the highly unlikely doubtful consumer who has never heard of you and is looking for your exact product. They could be looking for a local solution or a product feature. Pay to target relevant categories within your brand rather than promoting your product or services to reach the most significant number of potential customers.
Did you know that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media to make a purchase? That's right — social media marketing isn't just for brands reaching out to specific consumers.
However, many B2B companies struggle with social media marketing. It can be more challenging to use social media to connect with business customers, especially because (as previously stated) there is usually a longer sales cycle and a longer chain of command.
B2B social media marketing may not be where you convert the most leads, and that's fine. It will likely come into play near the start of your customers' buyer journeys.
Social media is a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness, giving your company an online personality and humanizing your company — all of which are essential in marketing and connecting with potential customers. Social media, like email marketing, is a highly effective channel for sharing your content and enhancing your brand expertise, both of which we know B2B customers value.
We plan a powerful B2B marketing strategy that will make you recognized, Generate Leads, and Drive Traffic to your website.
Social Media Specialist