B2B online marketing is an immensely complex nut to crack, consisting of many different components along your customers’ journeys. Not only do you have a huge amount of touch points with each online customer, but these touch points differ by segment and demographic. Thus, an effective B2B online marketing strategy must cover a lot of ground – blogs, social media, SEO, SEM, websites (web & mobile), and visual content such as videos and images. All those tools are also used for B2C marketing, but not in quite the same ways. Read below to see what we mean.
Let’s first go back to the basics: what are the key differences between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer)? Here are a few:
- B2B sales usually require a longer sales cycle with more supporting materials (i.e proposals, sales pitch, etc.). This means that more lead nurturing is needed across your online presence.
- B2B purchasing decisions require buy-in from multiple people, often across departments. This means more targeted user segments are necessary across customer touch points.
- B2B must be flexible and should adapt to each potential customer, as each one is likely to have a higher value than B2C. This means that the better you can address the demonstrated needs of a client through your touch points, the higher chance you have of converting them.
B2B marketing has evolved from a traditional orientation to an evolving broader and complex approach. Branding, PR, trade events, advertising and not to mention needing a strong sales team to generate leads through connections where trust and relationships are a must in the internet world. In 2017, it is all about the data-driven methods, online content and as Oracle describes, “digital body language” which refers to the digital activity generated by a prospect where every social media click, Google search, web visit and Email is tracked. HubSpot is one of the most popular platforms to use when tracking such activities.
Next up is what this article is all about – the B2B online marketing best practices.
Ditch the sales pitch
The number one rule you need to understand is that online marketing is not about selling. It is about engaging your audience, giving them insights and connecting. Are you a health-driven company? Share great tasting recipes using your own products, exactly how Prana Bio does it on Twitter, instead of simply praising one product itself. By doing so, it will build trust and loyalty that could not have been found any other way.
Generate content that solves problems
As mentioned above with the Prana Bio example, they post a great amount of delicious, healthy recipes for their audience to create. This enables followers to keep following, liking, and sharing their much time-consuming posts. Should they have any question, whether they are a consumer or business, answer them as quickly as you can – even if that requires hiring an employee. Another example would be teaching your followers about gardening practices, or making dried fruits. There is nothing that i just mentioned that they won’t love.
The importance of SEO
You could have the best content in the world, the most knowledgeable employees and experts in the field – but that means nothing unless you have great SEO to enable consumers or businesses to find you online. If you don’t know enough about SEO, check out this detailed blog to learn more. If you want to be highly ranked on Google, you need to be able to use specific, low competition keywords. A great example is to have a blog present on your website. Posting frequently, about 1-2 times a week will greatly impact your overall ranking. Sharing the blog post link on your social media accounts will increase traffic, which will potentially increase sales. Note: Optimizing your page title, subtitles, URL and keyword density are all good ways to help people who search for certain keywords to find you!
Media – High quality images & videos
Visuals generate a much higher impact on the viewer. Thus, making sure that your website and social media accounts have enough high quality images and videos is crucial. It also gives a sense of professionalism. Using Prana Bio again as an example, they could capture images of where they get their produce from, or film a weekly video on how to help the earth be more sustainable. Such things matter to their audience.
Keep redirecting your audience within your website
The best way to do so is by sharing content that is found within your website on social media platforms. Your main goal is to always be able to drive traffic to your site, and the easiest way is by using social media platforms. A widely used example is writing a sentence on your Facebook page, followed by a “read more” with a link to your website, which encourages followers to click the link. So simple, yet so effective with regards to ROI.
B2B online marketing best practices require sustained effort and a long-term perspective. However, there are no better ways to build a system that consistently brings new customers through your door. There are many companies out there who dedicate their entire business to it – such as concept9. Contact us today to find out how we can help you grow your business through digital channels!