While 2020 has been a challenging year, one can say that 2021 is the year of opportunities! Some of the best marketing strategies for B2B have evolved and been put to practice in this year, thanks to the fact that everyone is looking to make an impression online. If reports are to be believed, then we have achieved a 7% increase in E Commerce in the past year alone. This was the accumulated growth for the past ten years that preceded the 2020 year of the pandemic!
The pandemic and the ensuing lock down have forced most businesses to take their business online – quite literally. This has led to the boom in E Commerce along with the new buying behavior and the new quantum of buyers who have decided to start shopping online. Since many people who would not typically be online, have had to shift online for all their essential and non essential needs, one can also say that this has opened up new markets and segments. New buyer classes and new distribution channels as well, have opened up and made their presence online too. This is what will forever be known as the inflection point rather than merely the pandemic year, as far as E Commerce goes.
B2B Marketing – Understanding the B2B Space
The B2B or the business to business space is one where a number of things happens. The buying and selling here primarily takes care between businesses. One can cater to the raw material and other needs of a business in this space or even sell finished products in a wholesale context in order for smaller businesses to set up a B2C practice. This is where it literally happens.
Before we move on to understand the inbound marketing strategy for B2B, it would be worthwhile to cast a glance on the growth story of this industry, especially when it comes to online practices and digital commerce.
- B2B is also known as business to business practices online and it sets a distribution channel between two or more businesses for a conversion or a sale to happen.
- The data generated in the past two years is the highest for the B2B space, which signals that there is aggressive growth in this space.
- This has also promoted the rise of some of the best marketing strategies for B2B in the past few years and especially this past year when many new businesses globally joined the digital space.
- In keeping with such practices, we can see a number of B2B marketing strategies for startups and big corporations alike.
The crux of the matter is that the realm of inbound marketing strategy for B2B has quite literally exploded in the past decade, and more specifically in the past one year in order to include data driven ways of reaching and engaging with the end user for a seamless way and rate of conversions. This is a hallmark of growth and evolution in digital marketing practices.
What is an Inbound Marketing Strategy for B2B?
An inbound marketing strategy for B2B businesses or any other kind of a business would include reaching the right segment and positioning oneself in a way that draws the end user in, rather than pushing deliverables and campaigns towards this end user. In a nutshell, we can define an inbound marketing strategy for B2B in the following way:
- Attracting the right customer: This would be one of the foremost ways in which the best marketing strategies for B2B are created. The goal is to always attract the eye rather than deliberately push content that the customer or the end user may or may not want to see.
- Content: The best marketing strategies for B2B would include ensuring that the content is clad as interactions and discussions that would be solution centric rather than brand of business centric. This would add to the vision that the end user would hold and build about the solutions provided by the business since this realm is driven by logic when it comes to buying behavior, above all else.
- Engaging the customer: This would mean that you are being able to answer all the questions that the customer may have about your product or service. In doing so, you are able to fuel logic and help the customer enter the sales funnel for a symbiotic conversion process.
These steps would most definitely help in carving some great B2B marketing strategies for startups and larger companies alike!
Classification of Needs and Stages for Great Success for Upcoming B2B Businesses
Before we jump into some of the best marketing strategies for B2B businesses, we need to understand that the classification of needs is a must. We have to understand what kind of needs and stages the inbound marketing strategy for B2B business must cater to:
- Attracting With Value: In the B2B space, you would have to ensure that you are attracting the end user or the customer with good SEO tactics as well as content that would actually add value. The keyword here is Value with a capital V! You need to offer content and social media interactions that would create a discussion and interaction point rather than merely telling the customer what all your business sells.
- On Point SEO: A good SEO strategy must be employed accordingly in order to bring this value closer to the customer. Remember – in a B2B set up, it is all about helping other businesses thrive and grow with your products. You must not only create valuable content around your solutions, but also show how you can reach the right customer so that the same segment may trust you as an authentic and authoritative brand that delivers every single time!
- Engagement Needs: These are also important needs that must be taken care of. When you cater to the engagement needs, you are showing that attraction strategy as well as the SEO strategy is poised to not only reach the right segment – but also to delight this segment and cement one’s position. Remember – when one finds a vendor in the B2B space, the relationship is a long term unlike changing brands in the retail buying space.
Strategies for Attraction to Engagement: The Best Inbound Marketing Strategy for B2B
Now that we have set the stage with the above discussion of all the needs that must be met with the best marketing practices for B2B businesses, let us understand what these strategies are exactly. We need to regard each strategy as an individual theory or concept so as to understand how each of them can take our business forward. In doing so, we will manage to also create some great strategies for B2B marketing strategies for startups and big businesses alike.
Before we move forward here, it would be worthwhile to understand a few things about the buying behavior in this B2B realm:
- Buying goals here would be focused on the ROI or the return on investment rather than the lifestyle promises that a B2C business or a brand would have to make for a conversion to happen.
- There would be a focus on the overall efficiency and the expertise of the product when it comes to creating a further product or brand vision that can help the B2B business grow. This would have to kept in mind during the attraction and engagement tactics so that content is created accordingly and campaigns are fashioned along this data in the B2B space.
- The awareness aspect enjoys heavy important in the best marketing strategy for B2B businesses since the customer needs to know exactly what the product or service can do and why it is important for their business. Therefore, this also needs to be a strong part of the engagement process.
- The purchase channels and time taken are very different from B2C so the core marketing team has to include accountants and others professionals as well.
Strategy One for Creating a Buzz in B2B: Email Marketing
In the awareness stage that comes before the attraction stage, we have discussed how the customer in a B2B space would like to know about the product or the service that will eventually be pitched to them. Now, you must note the fact that we have used the word eventual when it comes to pitching. This is because the hard sell or main pitch will come after there is full awareness, attraction and engagement with the promise of delivery of the best experience post purchase. Before that, there is the soft pitch which comes by way of educating the customer why this product or service is needed for the growth of their business.
When you list the Why in this area, you will inevitably touch upon the What. This means, you will indirectly get to talk about each need that your product or service can fulfill and how it does so. This is where you need to take the help of email marketing for some one on one conversations to happen, since the customer or the prospect will most definitely have some questions about the Why, What and How.
The email must have an on point and precise subject line that grabs the attention without trying to pitch the product. Pitch the solution instead. The email itself should be short and written in sub headings or bullet points for maximum attraction and to grab the attention of the reader. The design should be a responsive one. The call for action should be loud and clear for further action and engagement so that you inch closer to a conversion. These are some of the best B2B marketing strategies for startups too.
Strategy Two for Keeping Content in Context: Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the foremost strategies as per which you would have to conduct your marketing and campaigning across your B2B business practice and its growth. Think about it – we have touched upon awareness and what better way to spread content about the same than content marketing?
The first thing to remember is that content marketing is the practice of sharing your content and exchanging it with websites of authority in your niche and in related niches. This is a practice that comes with high rewards, provided you practice it consistently. When we speak about the B2B space, it would also be worthwhile to let you know that the buying behavior in this space is very specific to the awareness that one manages to garner. A study shows that 80% of the buying parties or those in charge of making a purchase for a business in the B2B space, always prefer to read information that is made available through articles rather than an ad. This is because appearing in an article shows higher authenticity and authority that has also been recognized by another portal.
You would do well to choose portals that have a medium to high ranking, especially if you are looking to build good B2B marketing strategies for startups so that you can grow your small business. Also, you can format your content as webinars, white papers, checklists, ROI calculating resources and much more so that you get the attention of your end user through various forms of content in your content marketing strategy. This will also help you build a wider subscriber base and target many segments through varied content, for optimum, conversion rewarding positioning.
Strategy Three for Capturing the Audience in B2B: Social Media Presence Building
When you are looking at making an impression online, it is a well known fact that you cannot do so without social media platforms and channels. This is especially true for those looking to create B2B marketing strategies for startups and for mid sized and growing companies or businesses as well. Social media is where your actual interactions happen. Whether you have conducted a webinar or want to create some eye catching ads; whether you have launched an eBook, or want to share some articles where your business has been featured – this is the place where you share all of it in order to create an impression and to reach your core audience with a number of insights and targeting tools.
It would come as any surprise that the inbound marketing strategy for B2B would include social media as a very important factor. In order to ensure that you have a good social media presence that would contribute to your best B2B marketing strategies for startups and large corporations alike, you would have word and articulate your messages as per the platform that you are on.
Further, you would have to create clickbait headlines when you share your deliverables along with a clear call for action. Your posts should be informative and entertaining as well as interactive at the same time. Also, you should try and make your presence and posts as visual and appealing as possible so as to draw the attention of the core customer in an effortless and efficient manner. It is a well known fact that 75% of B2B buyers make their decisions on social media – so do not waste this channel.
Strategy Four for Effortless B2B Marketing Strategies: Landing Pages
A landing page is a very powerful B2B tool that can actually get you much traction with little effort. When your business has a new offer, product or service, you would do well to announce the same on various platforms and create a landing page that can be reached with a clear call for action. This is one of the foremost lead generation tools that have been used for well over a decade by a number of businesses, especially when it comes to the B2B space.
The landing page should have clear structuring with some information about the benefits and solutions of the product or service. The constant pointer or mention of the call for action should be there. Also, a landing page can easily be used to simply create one’s subscriber list. Since its humble beginnings in 2012, the landing page has been known to generate at least $16 Million USD in revenue for the businesses that have used it – especially in the B2B space. It also creates the right look and feel that one can instantly use to make a buying decision without having to sift through all the website content.
In fact, a well designed landing page can easily make your seem instantly more reliable and authoritative because it explains your cause, vision and solutions in a nutshell while coming straight to the point of business. You can make a landing page a part of your marketing toolkit so that you are able to steer people towards a webinar, a blog or any other resource that you can share for better business conversions.
Strategy Five for Seamless Marketing Strategy in B2B: Sales Funnel
In the B2B space, there would be many instances where you feel as you have chased a number of prospects who turned out to be dead ends and did not culminate into a conversion despite the time and effort you accorded to them. This can easily defeat your goal achievement process and derail you as well. So, for this you would need a good sales funnel.
The sales funnel does not merely filter the right prospects who are most likely to covert and become your customers, but it would also help in recognizing what your positioning efficacy is, within the segment you are looking to make a mark in. The sales funnel typically begins with a professional front that would attract the right people. This would typically be a website that would be fast, secure and safe, and mobile friendly or responsive, as well as designed in a professional manner with easy to navigate tabs. This would help in generating the right response which would place more and more prospects in your sales funnel so that people do not abandon conversations or their browsing time on your platform.
Further, Your SEO and content marketing efforts would have tie in with and reflect well on the website so that your footprint is a verifiable and authentic looking one. This will more often than not, prompt people to award you with greater time spent on your website and then start a conversation about the purchase they are leaning towards. It would be imperative to design the sales funnel in keeping with information such as optimum buying behavior and the keywords that would recognize the same.
It would be important to note that the best B2B marketing strategies would need plenty of the following elements in order to become more efficient than ever, since the competition in this space is very stiff:
- Organization: The B2B player has to be a well organized one in terms of teams, data and even a fair amount of automation to deal with the quantum of deliverables and effort that goes into building a presence online.
- Consistency: This is one of the more important things that one would have to do in order to rank well and to keep the content marketing efforts going. In order to appeal to better portals over time, you would have to show consistent results through constant efforts on the mid range portals. The same goes with building an audience and then converting members of this audience as well.
- Data Driven tactics: This would be one of the most important elements of the B2B marketing effort since the right data in the right place and displayed at the right time with data driven campaigns, would help in sparking the interest and genuinely attracting the eye of the customer.
A well structured B2B marketing strategy would be based on consistent efforts to better all of the above. This would help in powering your presence and ensuring that your brand recall increases with time in a market where competition is high yet brand loyalty is even high once you create a winning user experience for customers!