A Complete Guide
B2B digital marketing trends are always changing, and so are the methodologies, strategies, and nature of modern campaigns. Whilst the risks and challenges are not rapidly shifting like in the B2C ecosystem, however, it still does require a lot more effort – rather than just knocking on client’s doors and offering services!
The introduction of digital media has considerably altered the marketing system between businesses. With competition rising between companies, each service provider has found itself devoting greater efforts to keep their top position.
Moreover, companies now rely on digital marketing campaigns to increase their client base and broaden their networks. Over the past couple of years, marketers have come up with their own methods in maximising the benefits from social media outlets, the rise of live video streaming and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
What Is B2B Marketing?
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is simply the marketing of certain products or services to other companies and organisations. It is typically different from the primary business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. There are numerous distinguishing elements between both kinds of marketing.
Firstly, as their names suggest, B2B is business-oriented. Meaning that it addresses other companies and brands as their target audience, while B2C marketing is concerned with responding to customers’ needs and shapes up to consumer-related societal and digital media trends.
Secondly, B2B marketing is much more straightforward and informational than B2C. Brands determine their purchases based on metrics like Return on Investment (ROI) and revenue impact.
All sellers have to do is to conduct some research about the landscape they’re targeting and then adjust their messages and selling points accordingly.
According to leadership coach Hafiz Ali, “Digital marketing is a broad category of marketing activities that utilize web, mobile and display mediums to communicate with your current and potential clients.” As Ali has explained, the best way to make the most out of B2B communication is to also include potential clients in the messages posted instead of just tailoring messages for existing clients.
Who Is B2B Digital Marketing For?
Simply put, this type of marketing targets other companies through digital media channels. The sellers can offer a wide array of services to other organizations or brands such as software services, security options, media solutions, office tools, and products and many more.
B2B digital marketing campaigns aim to grab the attention of those in control of purchasing orders in companies.
The campaigns work best when they showcase an excellent understanding of the audience, the companies, and their attractive business attributes or in other words, their business needs.
Tips and Tricks to Great B2B Digital Marketing
Here’s how to get great results for B2b digital marketing from experimenting with the right tools:
1. Customer Relationship Management and Email Marketing
CRM is somewhat the underdog of digital tactics. The activity is actually a wide pool of opportunities that can help in fostering new leads and conversions.
Companies which rely on an active, organised CRM system can easily access information and also track potential clients. CRM is argued to be one of the most effective methods for online sales.
Email marketing, on the other hand, is the natural extension of having an active CRM base. Having organised the companies data and collated clients’ info, building a customised email campaign will increase the company’s leads and conversions.
It will allow the business to tailor messages based on the factual information from the CRM.
Moreover, email marketing might not seem like much, but it does the trick of catching the potential clients’ attention and giving them a purchase to think about. As a bonus, it also increases the company’s exposure online, which never hurts.
“Delighting customers inevitably increases costs and this is precisely why it’s important to identify efficient processes and protocols to create a pleasurable customer experience which enables you to grow your business and service your most profitable customers,” ModLabs advised.
Lots of companies shuffle between their B2B and B2C targets. However, the strategy used for the former will not suit the latter. Having a creative, objective marketing plan will improve B2B sales drastically. As different as companies seem from regular consumers, both want their needs addressed.
So, relying solely on connections and rigid messaging won’t cut it in 2019.
3. Prioritise Digital Advertising Trends and Re-targeting
Digital trends are always evolving. It’s always better to stay ahead than fall under the advertising scheme. While following any given trend can be extremely tempting, businesses are better off sticking to their strong points and playing on key points that directly and easily attribute to their work.
As for re-targeting, it’s a possible life saver when it comes to time consumption.
This tool facilitates access to interested users and improves the company’s digital exposure. It goes without saying that investment in digital advertising costs more than money and effort.
It also requires a lot of strategic moves and use of shortcuts to reach the targeted audience more easily, and re-targeting is one of the tools that does that brilliantly.
4. Marking Territories on Social Media
Social media is the most prominent digital channels and surprisingly enough, the most important one for B2B digital marketing. Showcasing the brand’s personality while maintaining great responsiveness with network members can only improve target leads.
Companies which excel at their social media guarantee a great outlet to share their content and spread their vision and culture.
What Are the Types of B2B Digital Marketing?
Using blogs will never go out of style. Blogging provides an almost stable organic visibility, especially if SEO-friendliness was considered, that can drive inbound traffic to the website. Depending on the business type, the blog section can include everything from humour to how-to guides. It can also house videos, multimedia, infographics, case studies, or work showcasing.
2. Social Media Channels
Whether organic or paid, including social media posting as part of a B2B digital marketing strategy is crucial. Buyers rely on these platforms to conduct research and decide between several selling channels. So, a good presentation of the company is definitely a game changer.
3. E-Books and Whitepapers
Both downloadable documents constitute a great representation of the companies products or services. They work as great lead generation tools and also save businesses the trouble of constantly having to explain their work.
As illustrated before, emails are great for direct contact with potential clients. If companies work around overcoming the bad reputation of useless emailing or even excessive emailing, they can ensure a great asset for their B2B strategies. Using channels like HubSpot and LinkedIn InMail can also help.
“If you’re running a real business, email is still the most effective way to universally reach people who have expressed interest in your product or site. For that, it really can’t be beaten.” – Colin Nederkoorn (Founder, Customer.IO)
A picture is worth a thousand words. Having videos to complement the social media and emailing strategies can promote the company’s work and help understand the messages better. Videos are friendly, time efficient and practical.
As retrieved from BrainShark: “The sheer cost of video production has come down to a point where there are no barriers to entry. Buyers have devices that can play videos with them at all times… [and] are engaging in 100% more information year-over-year before they make a buying decision.” – Joe Pulizzi, Why Content Marketing Needs More Video
What Are the Elements of Good B2B Digital Marketing?
While it’s indisputable that each business should tailor their marketing plan as per their needs, budget, and possible clients, the following five elements, explained by Entrepreneur.com, are essential in each successful B2B digital marketing strategy:
1. Having a Comprehensive Website
Business owners should never compromise on the detail invested in their websites. Buyers will utilise every piece of data they can so that they can take an informed decision. The website needs to provide unique selling points, details about the services provided, reviews and former testimonials whenever possible.
2. Preparing Content
Targeted content is the easiest shortcut to transform leads into conversions. Companies who excel at preparing their content for social media outlets, drip emails, and multimedia posts have the highest chances of attracting clients.
3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Brand visibility schemes have changed over the past couple of years, especially since SEO became an essential tool to help reach the targeted audience easier. Thanks to this alteration, service providers had to adapt their content to become more SEO-friendly. Meaning that each blog or post published should include a set of relevant keywords that can allow the clients to find them easier.
4. Cost Effective Advertising Promotions
Effective paid advertising is not necessarily inexpensive. Therefore, when planning on taking this road, one must note that website relevance is as important as the allocated budget for ads. In other words, publishing ads on far-fetched outlets are most likely to result in no or low leads.
However, targeting relevant digital channels or even shuffling between a mix of websites will get better lead numbers as well as providing less cost-per-lead.
5. Integrating Offline and Online Marketing
Offline marketing is not out yet. It can still act as an excellent complementary outlet for online marketing. Plus, offline presence has its merits and it can also ensure that the targeted audience or potential clients do not forget about the company.
A good tip is to work simultaneously with both digital and traditional media means and provide good back-ups for both. This method guarantees to maximise exposure.
As stated by B2B Marketing, sponsoring events and networking sessions can also guarantee great brand publicity. It uses the power of face-to-face interaction instead of just relying on digital impressions. Even attending networking events is a great marketing tactic.
It allows the attendees to ask questions, learn more about the company and connect in real, physical space.
Creating a Plan that Enhances the B2B Digital Marketing Strategy
In spite of the nature of any business, there are common points that help make every B2B digital marketing strategy effective. These points understand and analyse target demographics, interests and market trends, too.
Asking the Right Questions
As put by Disruptive Advertising, these are the questions every company should be asking itself when creating a strategy:
- Who are my audiences and what “buyers personas” can I create for them?
- What are their preferences and dislikes?
- What is their price range?
- Can I identify their buying habits?
- What are the main points to be addressed? And how?
- How do they communicate and how do they like to be communicated with?
- Is my hyper-targeting effective? How can I make it so?
Having an Engaging Website
Websites today need to be as informative as can be or else any possible client will shift to a competitive website. Why? Because in today’s world, consumer timespan has deteriorated and the sooner they receive the info they’re looking for to make a decision, the better.
Make sure that the website included everything a potential buyer will need to know, for example, the company’s area of expertise, former reviews, key differentiators and points of contact for any further inquiries.
Among the crucial elements of any functional website are:
- Client-oriented content and landing pages.
- SEO keywords.
- Mobile responsiveness and using responsive designs.
- Clear calls-to-action.
- Social proofs.
- Google visibility.
- Constant adjustments and bug fixes.
- Website optimisation every 18 months (at least).
SEO, SEO and SEO
What’s good about great content if it’s not visible on search engines? Prioritising SEO is the silver lining between an efficient website and a not-so-effective one. The best way to handle this is by dividing efforts to reach on-site as well as off-site SEO.
The first one focuses on keyword phrases that redirect to the designated topic. These keywords do not have to be literal. They mostly respond to the most searched questions and keywords. Plus, they enable search engines to deliver more relevant results to searchers.
As for the second type, off-site SEO, it tracks links to the website whether by references from other publication or outside engagement. What this kind of SEO does is increase the website’s exposure by relating it to very specific topics and keywords.
This reason alone is why many companies are shifting to lengthy blogs as part of their lively websites.
Establishing a Solid Presence on Social Media
Social media outlets are amazing shortcuts that, if used properly, can drastically affect referrals and conversions. Depending on the field of business, one can conduct research to determine the most beneficial websites for their B2B marketing; be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
To avoid sounding redundant or plain dull, companies should share valuable information and visuals that will not only increase brand exposure, but also help and interact with users.
Ideas like these usually do the trick:
- Including business tips or interesting business facts.
- Addressing pain points and possible answers to them.
- Mentioning the key advantages of the products or services offered by the company.
- Having a humanitarian segment (e.g. success stories, helping guides, CSR projects).
- Sharing testimonials.
- Responding to inquiries and complaints (having FAQs wouldn’t hurt as well).
These examples are not all that can be done to improve a company’s social media channel. The golden rule here is that no matter what the method is, it has to promote engagement.
Never Ignore Feedback
Just as B2B digital marketing is based on clients’ interests and collected data, it’s also about their feedback. Taking advantage of comments and complaints is significant to the development of any business.
Wise company owners also pay attention to the word on the street about their competitors: any feedback is good feedback. By being open to suggestions, companies can save themselves hundreds of hours of testing on the long-run.
Using Referral Marketing
“Customers acquired through word-of-mouth (WOM) add two times the lifetime value of customers acquired through traditional marketing. Customers acquired through WOM spread more WOM and bring in twice as many new customers.” According to Villanueva, Yoo, and Hanssens (2008).
If executed well, referral marketing can do wonders for any business. It can exponentially increase their client base and explore new business opportunities.
Another perk is that it deepens the relationship between the clients and their company. A great example of this is Payoneer, the international money transfer service provider. For each time a new user signs up via a referral link, the referee and the new user get around £20 after the new users receive some payment.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of B2B Digital Marketing
- Having a sustainable digital communication and service channel improves the relationship between the business and its targeted clients.
- Social media is capable of reaching the targeted segment better than any other form of traditional media.
- Digital marketing enhances the overall customer experience.
- It gets companies in touch with digitally savvy users and decision makers.
- Digital marketing allows better self-service options, whilst enabling companies to adjust their focus to suit their current market trends and client preferences.
- Producing interesting and interactive content.
- Creation of consistent content, in spite of the long approval chains.
- Sticking to plan A only. Most B2B digital marketing strategies require plans B and C.
- Connecting digital results and business impacts.
- Successfully managing lead sources.
- Scaling efficiency as much as possible.
- Maintaining the highest quality that matches industry regulations.
- Not neglecting the customer’s perspective.
- Keeping good working relationships.
How Do You Present a B2B Digital Marketing Strategy?
The presentation is part of the fun. The following points will allow any business to showcase its work and take charge of its sales compass.
“[For marketers,] it’s more important to be interested than interesting — more interested in the challenges [Sales] needs to solve and less about all of the interesting things marketing is doing.” — John Petralia, Partner at Catalytik.
Think about People Instead of Businesses
Yes, it’s called business-to-business, but the most efficient way to convey messages to a company is by appealing to its decision maker, (a human being) therefore, the marketing strategy cannot be lacking on emotional motivations.
Not to be confused with overly-sentimental messages, but even B2B marketing should speak to the people within a company in order to get impressive results.
Narrow Down the Objectives of Any Digital Campaign.
Broad campaigns will not get the best results or provide the utmost exposure. They basically waste a lot of time and money without retrieving the desired numbers of leads or clicks.
When a company carries out massive post-spree without determining the exact objectives of the campaign or the specific demographics wanted in the audience, the messages are likely to go astray. Understanding the targeted segment and offering personalised messages are the only keys to securing great campaign statistics.
Approach the Clients with All the New Tricks
- Connect between business objectives and digital marketing strategies.
- Revisit all social media outlets and take a decision to include or ditch them in the marketing strategy.
- Use Instagram stories. Instagram is hot. It’s getting hotter by the minute and not utilising it in its prime is a big mistake regardless of the nature of the business.
- Embrace live videos.
According to Social Media Today, “Live video is nothing new, but it’s growing exponentially. Lately, everyone wants a piece of Facebook Live – in fact, 80 percent of users said they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog post, while according to Facebook, the live video gets 3 times more views than regular video content.”
To get on board with live video, one should note the following tips:
- Using live video before and during important events.
- Introducing new team members in enthusiastic live videos.
- Advertising for timely sales or promotions via live videos.
Seven Innovative B2B Digital Marketing Strategies
B2B digital marketing can easily shift from informative to systematic and dull. Therefore, visual learning can tone the boredom down. Plus, videos are much more easily shareable and can combine different elements of content.
This type of marketing is a lot similar to referrals. Advocate marketing works online as well as through physical networking. The main advantage of this method is expanding the client database and generating new ones. Some businesses utilise software like Influitive to cultivate better advocate relationships.
Podcasts, Live Streams, and Video Shows
Seconding the vitality of video content, podcasting, too, is becoming more and more popular every day since it also appeals to visual learners. Podcasts are the new equivalent of books and booklets.
As mentioned before, live streaming puts the audience in the mood. They let them feel like part of the community and encourage them to interact with the content. Thirdly, video shows are also a great way to jam a lot of information about the business in a friendly, interactive manner.
Digital Assistants or Chatbots
SEO is no longer enough. Users today demand more interactivity than ever. Using chatbots or conversational agents on the website and optimising for their new formats can be extremely time-saving.
Companies don’t shy away from using apps to their advantage. There is a variety of mobile-based or on-site web apps to select from, depending on the nature of the business. People sometimes allocate apps for certain events, trade shows or for networking purposes. And for a B2B mindset, this can be used to improve sales as well.
What Businesses Have to Say
Paying attention to what the clients have to say is a premium ticket to success. Why conduct countless tests for the market when the answer is already in the market’s feedback? Questions, complains, or simple comments are a goldmine of data waiting to be tapped.
What this pool of information will do is leverage the business with cutting edge intel that can help the company excel. It’s always smart to track the current trends, consumer preferences, and how the competitors are performing.
Narrowing the Target Down
According to Mozilla: “Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that uses people’s data — about what they like, who they’re connected to, what their demographics are, what they’ve purchased, and more — to segment them into small groups for content targeting.”
When trying to sell out a niche product or service, macro-targeting is out and narrowing is in. Sometimes, the best way to carry out B2B or B2C campaigns is by conducting extensive research and extracting data and analytics from numerous outlets in order to understand what the targeted segments want.
This is the quickest tool to equip creative teams with information to create personalised, interactive messages that clients will engage with.
Last Words of Advice
All good strategies begin when companies truly capture the essence of B2B marketing; highlighting points of strength and boosting potential lead and conversion numbers are most likely to attract new clients. When speaking to someone in the field, it’s always much better to speak their language of ROI, SEO, and SERPs.
B2B digital marketing is such a broad category to cover all in one go. Many companies choose between offline and online marketing techniques while the more professional businesses like to shuffle between both.
With each technique comes great responsibility. For instance, if a business dedicates its power to excel at the online aspect of B2B, it has to prioritise periodical and promotional emailing, extensive blogging and sharing on digital media outlets, presence on social networking channels, and finally producing high-quality video content.
As for the on-ground marketing lane, companies are advised to exert efforts into nourishing their physical branding tools; merchandise, giveaways, and events. Also, lots of brands today have shifted to sponsorships and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.
In addition to the nature of the marketing methodology, all companies, regardless of their business niche should invest in creative content creation, be it blogs, videos, SEO-friendliness, business development research or more.
B2B-oriented work is heavily influenced by retargeting practices, website optimisation, considering client feedback, referral marketing and micro-targeting for some digital campaigns.
The Secret Ingredients
As mentioned throughout this guide, B2B digital marketing can be tedious. Therefore, it’s vital to put some colour into the content created.
For instance, businesses are always encouraged to share their insider tips and inspiring business facts with their audience.
In addition to sharing the company’s key products or services, websites are the business’ channel to the world – and their potential clients – as well.
People like to hear humanitarian success stories, check out helpful guides and read about someone’s impact on society. It’s always better when companies share former testimonials and reviews from other clients.
Lastly, the final ingredient to the success of a B2B digital strategy is having a responsive team (human or bots) to respond to users’ inquiries or complaints. Previously an FAQ section in the website did that job perfectly, however, due to people’s shrinking attention span, FAQs alone just won’t cut it.
Having a chatbot or a conversational agent became an integral part of the functionality of any website. All in all, each and every one of the aforementioned tactics, tools, and pieces of advice can boost any B2B digital marketing campaign and elevate your client network entirely.