What makes a successful B2B online marketing strategy? Using digital tools to reach new audiences has become essential for companies that want to compete in the growing B2B market. There are key differences between B2B and B2C that impact how a company should interact with its clients, starting from the value of the transactions all the way to the length of the relationship between the parts.
While a B2C company tends to cater to a large number of people that are ready to buy within a short period of time, a B2B enterprise directs its activity toward other businesses that often become long-term recurring buyers. When it comes to B2B online marketing, therefore, it is essential to take into account the higher lifetime value of the clients and the longer lead acquisition process.
In this article, we’ll explain why digital marketing is so important for B2B, looking at the five most important components of an effective plan to reach new customers and maintain old ones.
1. Research: the foundation of B2B online marketing
Everything you do in B2B online marketing starts with research. While there are instances where spontaneous campaigns become very successful, these are exceptions. A marketing strategy is more likely to produce good results if it relies on data, which can be gathered in a number of different ways.
Whether you are selling a product or a service, the first step to reach potential buyers is finding out who your audience is. An educated guess is not enough: in order to define a profile of your ideal client, you need to obtain precise information on their location, behavior, and habits. This can be done via market research, by conducting interviews or surveys, or through website analytics if you already have an online presence.
What role does the Internet play in the B2B market? Data can be a great source of inspiration when it comes to marketing ideas, and, as more business-to-business relationships move online, understanding how companies operate on the web is a key starting point.
2. Strategy: how do you target B2B?
Once you know who your target audience is and how to reach it, you need to build a plan for the short, medium, and long term. There is a big difference between B2C and B2B online marketing. Targeting final consumers often means communicating with a large number of people and expecting fast conversions. Dealing with other organizations or businesses on the value chain requires a more selective approach and a longer time frame necessary to build relationships that will last in the future.
Every company has to develop a strategy that is suitable for its sector, based on both the B2B business models and the channels where clients are more likely to be found. It is safe to say, however, that developing a solid strategy to obtain qualified leads involves a combination of creativity, communication, and diversification.
Creativity is fundamental to stand out from the crowd, especially if operating in the more competitive fields. With the increasing cost of lead acquisition through targeted advertising , finding innovative solutions to reach your audience can make or break your strategy. Communication is another crucial factor in a marketing tactic, as clients tend to be less than B2C in terms of numbers but more valuable, therefore needing more attention. Lastly, diversification: one of the benefits of operating online is that there is an endless number of opportunities when it comes to experimenting with different forms of marketing.
3. Advertising: reach your audience effectively
Sure, diversifying can be an opportunity, but which platforms are the best for B2B advertising? With pay-per-click, paid search ad, social media targeting, affiliate marketing, and email, deciding where to invest can be tricky. This is where testing comes into play. While you should be able to define where your potential clients are more easily found in the research stage, when you start advertising it’s essential to plan ahead for an initial phase of testing. Dedicating part of your budget to trying what works best for your audience will pay off in the long run. This means promoting yourself on different platforms, but also analyzing different copy, images, and calls to action.
Advertising online can help you scale faster and reach audiences that wouldn’t be found with traditional means. An inbound marketing strategy focused on collecting leads will be much more effective when done via online advertising. Plus, it will allow you to create tailored messages for different segments of your audience and retarget potential buyers that have already interacted with your business.
4. Customer Experience: understanding B2B online marketing best practices
As we’ve already explained in this article about customer experience strategies, making your clients happy should be your top priority. Data shows that a great customer experience translates into higher revenue and creating a B2B online marketing strategy based on how your brand is perceived, can help you acquire new leads and build stronger relationships with existing clients.
Every occasion in which a person interacts with your brand is an opportunity to improve customer experience (CX). This means providing clear information, functional design, and friendly service to assist customers in overcoming obstacles they may encounter with your product and service.
When thinking about customer experience, you should consider both visitors coming across your brand for the first time and established clients, developing a consistent communication strategy for both categories. From training your staff to address customers in the same way to paying attention to brand placement, every detail counts.
5. Analysis: let the data speak
Last but not least it’s the analysis of the results. Considering how much can be learned from statistical data, it’s important to make the numbers a driving force in your B2B online marketing strategy.
Think of B2B online marketing as a cycle of operations that repeat themselves with a small improvement at each iteration. Whether it is a targeted advertising campaign, a newsletter, or a new design feature, every tool you use to reach and impress your customer should be analyzed thoroughly after it has completed its function. A good data analyst will help you address issues that were invisible at first glance and improve your conversion rates through the optimization of your processes.
Why is digital marketing important for B2B?
As we’ve seen in this overview, collecting data, developing a strategy, targeting the right audience, and raising brand awareness all play a part in a successful marketing plan. However, B2B online marketing is an ongoing process and only by analyzing the results, you will be able to adjust your strategy, gain qualified leads and build relationships that will make your business grow. Here at Mowgli we deal with B2B strategic planning every day. Make sure you come back to learn more about B2B marketing and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.