Are you thinking about the next marketing campaign for your B2B business? Like many of the companies we talk to, you may be feeling confused about where to start – the services you offer may not translate well onto an appealing billboard or magazine ad, and even then, those ads wouldn’t effectively reach your small, specific target market!
The go-to strategies for B2Bs are often direct, outbound techniques – cold calls, tapping into referral networks or emails sent straight to identified prospective clients. This may deserve a place in your marketing toolbox, but it is not the only way to engage potential clients or your wider industry.
To generate leads, there are far better strategies to help you remain at the forefront of potential clients’ mind far longer than the time it takes for them to read the latest sales-focused cold email in their inbox!
B2B marketing versus B2C marketing
B2B and B2C buyers have different mindsets. A typical B2C buyer is generally looking for one product, without much cost or risk to the transaction. Maybe, they’ll Google a product and read a few reviews or shop around, but often the sales process just a few minutes. Overt marketing tactics can easily inspire impulse buys for B2C customers.
B2B buyers are more sceptical and informed. Choosing to invest in a product line or service with business money carries far higher risk than purchasing as an individual. Also, a B2B purchase is often the start of a long-term relationship. So, they thoroughly research their future purchase before they even contact you.
Because the B2B buyer comes to you with knowledge, the best way to generate a lead is to have already established authority and trust within your industry.
To foster trust and bring your company to the forefront of your buyer’s mind first, effective strategies incorporating content marketing are crucial!
The elements you need for your ultimate content marketing strategy:
An absolute understanding of your audience
Content marketing is the creation of meaningful, helpful content with your exact consumer in mind. The goal of the content isn’t actually sales – it’s engagement. You are creating conversations and solving pain points for consumers in the wider context of your industry.
Content is useless if it doesn’t connect with your audience. Although you are discussing business and business processes, people make the purchase decisions. You’re targeting the key decision makers in these companies, so you need to gain their attention and respect through storytelling that resonates with them. You’re saying to your audience ‘I see where you’re at and where your pain points are, and here are several solutions…’ with an educational, interest-based focus.
So, you need to ask:
What is your core audience looking for? How do they communicate, and how do they expect to be communicated with?
Understanding the characteristics, needs and lifestyles of your consumers allows you to effectively craft marketing messages they respond to. A great example of this in action is our full rebrand of Connect Outsourcing, which we carried out based on extensive client interviews and market research to gain a deep understanding of their audience.
With your audience in mind, you can then begin to build your content.
An effective website
You need to completely tailor your website to your audience. There is no point creating an appealing website if it doesn’t contain useful, industry-specific information in the tone of the people you’re trying to connect with.
Given the risk involved in a B2B purchase, it is important to showcase up-to-date testimonials to assure prospects that your company ‘walks the walk’.
To be effective, your company website should be an industry resource engaging current and potential clients, solving their business problems in the wider industry context. FAQ’s sections, educational pages regarding your specialty or regularly updated blog modules can achieve this. We created effective educational resources for Aaron Martin of New Zealand Immigration Law, which helped position him as an authority figure on immigration. He is now a source for news outlets reporting on immigration! This exposure places him first in employers’ minds when they seek immigration law services.
Your website can’t just provide information! It should contain persuasive ‘calls to action’. Keep in mind the people-based nature of B2B business decisions – you’re not pushing consumers directly to carts or ‘buy now’ options but encouraging them to contact sales-people or request quotes. You can provide a bit more information about who they will be speaking with – showcase your staff as helpful, friendly or professional (whatever your audience is looking for) using an ‘about us’ page or staff profiles.
Succinct, clear copy is also crucial for websites. Read our thoughts on creating the most effective copy for your website here.
A social media presence
Social media platforms aren’t always the right place for B2B businesses – your industry content may not be what people want to see when scrolling through their newsfeeds! However, if used the right way, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular are valuable avenues to get your message noticed by your audience.
These platforms can start conversations around industry tips and news. You can share business advice for people in your industry, industry news, snippets of success stories or case studies and cross-promote blog material from your website. Essentially, you’re connecting with prospects on an interest level rather than sharing sales-focused content. The more visually appealing the posts, the better! Check out our guide to an effective Facebook video marketing strategy.
Potential B2B clients are likely to do a Google search to find solutions to their pain points instead of waiting to be found. You need to proactively place yourself in front of these clients as their solution! This is where Search Engine Optimisation comes in.
SEO helps search engines find you and rank you according to relevant keywords on your website. By improving your website rankings on a search query, you improve your visibility over your competition.
More visitors to your website means more leads! SEO experts help you apply the most effective keyword phrases based on pain points of your audience to optimise your site for search.
An engaging blog
Blogs provide a platform to showcase content outside of static website copy about your business. They also provide opportunity to build on your SEO keywords as you will be discussing industry-specific issues.
Blogs set you up as industry thought leaders. They help retain clients by continuing to provide them with useful information outside your specific service, and engage potential clients in a wider conversation led by your business.
Your blog should create engaging experiences, with each post providing unique and helpful perspectives. High-quality stories have power to push your prospects to take action and reach out to your business.
Potential blog topics:
• Business tips
• Pain point solutions
• Industry news
• Interesting features of your products or services
• Success stories and case studies
There is no point creating useful content without incorporating it into your wider marketing strategy – blog posts can be repurposed for social media and direct emails.
Ultimately, a well-crafted, relevant message must be at the heart of B2B marketing campaigns. It is far more effective to connect with your specified industry audience through education and helpful information, leveraged through several platforms, instead of overt sales messaging.
If you’re looking to start your new marketing journey, our Creative Content team specialises in B2B marketing. We create a cohesive strategy to build brand profiles and generate leads. You can check out some of our recent projects here. Contact us now!