B2B, or business-to-business as it’s otherwise known, is a diverse business model. Catering to fellow businesses through an exchange of goods or services, it’s just as tricky to leverage your brand in such a market.
Traditional B2B strategies involve direct and outbound techniques, which is what plenty of firms still use. However, this strategy can prove to be outdated in a constantly disrupted market.
Thanks to the digital revolution, plenty of B2B buyers are now more inclined towards digital touchpoints. In a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting with Accenture, 75% of B2B buyers researched 25% of their work-related purchases online. This “demand generation” is largely dependent on online references.
But the same survey shows that B2B sellers aren’t prepared for this new marketing experience. In another study conducted by Annuitas, 60% of B2B sellers don’t believe the old style of marketing works well when it comes to attracting the demand generation.
So what does work? There are various ways to nurture client connections, increase leads, and ultimately maximize your ROI. Here are seven great digital marketing strategies for B2B to tap into.
Last year, there was talk of Google finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising. As the world’s most used web search engine, the first page of Google is a coveted spot for any business engaged in getting their brand and content out in the digital world.
But whether or not Google’s latest update is to come around soon, video ads are a worthy strategy to develop. With 65% of the population claiming to be visual learners, brief and engaging content is what buyers will be looking for.
Videos, which are proven to be easily viral and shareable, is a great way to incorporate your brand’s narrative through an engaging set of visuals.
This is one of the most effective marketing strategies for B2B that makes use of your existing networks and expands their influence to generate new clients.
Since people are more likely to trust someone whom they already know, this is an effective strategy in gaining a steady and stable network. Advocate or advocacy marketing may be done through physical networking, but it can be just as effective online.
Advocate marketing software platforms such as Influitive and CustomerAdvocacy help marketers build advocate relationships with clients at scale by increasing social media engagement, generating more reviews and capturing referrals.
Companies like Docu-Sign have used Influitive’s platform to grow over 1,000 advocates and influence over $3 million in their sales pipeline.
We’ve mentioned earlier that video ads have gained traction due to their appeal to visual learners, who take up a majority of the population. On the other side of that spectrum, podcasts are also becoming popular marketing methods.
Podcasting has been steadily growing in popularity over the last several years. Edison Research finding that 33% of Americans have listened to at least one podcast this year. We’ve seen video blogging become more prominent in the B2B space. Now with tools such as Twitter-owned Periscope or Meerkat, among others, marketers have the ability to easily produce live streaming video as well.
Similar to podcasting, video shows create an ongoing series of episodes with a set topic or focus, as opposed to a more one-off approach. Their fluid narratives ease viewers’ minds and make them less suspicious of business-related motives or self-promotion. Video shows can be used to create a series of how-tos, tutorials and other educational themes.
One example of an effective video storytelling approach is Intel’s showcase of stories from some of their customers through their “Expert Mode” and “Meet the Makers” series.
In the future, we might need to think beyond SEO to get on top of web searches. With the rise of machine learning, AI, and other digital disruptors that have made life easier for human beings, digital assistants like Siri and Cortana will be doing all the searching for potential clients.
The key to optimizing in this new format is to make sure your business information is easily accessible to these assistants, rather than trying to funnel people to your site specifically. To do this, you need to take note of the fact that digital assistants go far beyond the web. They also look into users’ hard drives and search histories for a tailor-fit search.
This is great in reaching your target market immediately, if you’re able to tap into the potential of these digital search helpers. Remember to keep your search words and phrases as conversational as possible. Not all users are inclined towards jargon-filled and complex search terms. If you’re planning to optimize your site for digital assistants, still keep in mind the people who are using them.
At the same time, irrelevant content that’s full of link stuffing will be easier to spot as well, so drawing attention to yourself also means keeping your content quality up. It’s understandable, however, that business won’t be able to edit and proofread content all the time on their own, or would like to save money through outsourcing. That’s why sites like EduGeeksClub offer great proofreading and other content services to optimize your content and improve your searchability.
Micro targeting is a trend that draws from data and analytics to better understand your target audience. By doing so, you can respond in real time with targeted messaging and content that is personalized to customers’ specific needs at the exact time of that need. It saves you the time, effort, and possibly even the budget that often goes to taking a wild stab in the dark with a random audience.
The downside to micro targeting is that it may mean that you’re not hitting potential clients in an attempt to really zero in on specific target groups. While it minimizes the possibility of rejection and increases the chances of an ROI from your focus market, you also won’t be engaging in a wider range of clients who might be interested in your services, but who just haven’t come across your brand.
Ultimately, like all business marketing strategies, micro targeting has its own risks, but also its own upsides. It may not have such a wide reach, but it can be just as effective. It’s about improving the client journey through more targeted and relevant 1-to- 1 interactions.
There are many types of apps that you could use your marketing advantage, whether these are mobile apps or on-site web apps. Each type has a strength to play, and choosing which to focus on is a matter of preference on what you want to achieve for your brand.
Web apps can turn a static web page into something more functional and interactive that better engages users and can help to convert users into leads. On the other hand, if your firm invests heavily in content marketing, produces content frequently, and has a loyal audience, a mobile app can be a great way to deliver content into the hands of your audience.
All in all, it’s a diverse marketing strategy that can be used in multiple ways. Other B2B firms are creating apps for tradeshows, events, and networking. For more product-oriented B2B firms, apps can be used for sales as well.
What better way to target the right marketing strategy than to find out what works and what doesn’t straight from the clients themselves? Including a feedback form or any type of feedback mechanism in whatever marketing strategy you choose to engage in unlocks potential data.
This data could range anywhere from current trends, market preferences, interesting innovations in the industry that you can also use as a leverage, and other important things that will help you improve your strategy. Once you’ve figured it out and organized it all, they will really come in handy during events, conferences, and trade shows where you’ll be presenting your brand and your knowledge of the industry.
There’s no one way to developing the perfect strategy, especially when it comes to a market as complex and diverse as the one created by today’s digital disruption. Analyzing statistics, numbers, and cold, impersonal trends won’t give you the insight you need into what clients are looking for. The best way is still, ultimately, to ask them directly.
Feedback from clients is still the best gauge of how effective your current strategy is going, so it’s best to make use of this a resource as well.
Setting up your business relations isn’t enough; it’s time to build your B2B model through an effective marketing strategy that really engages the audience and piques their interest. Instead of going through more traditional methods, try out innovative strategies that explore new possibilities in the age of disruption.
Make use of modern digital platforms like social media, video sharing, pod casting and the like, and remember that the best way to get information about your clients and potential clients’ preferences is still through good old feedback.
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