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Over the years, the behavior of B2B buyers has changed considerably: while in the recent past, the salesperson was the key figure providing information to potential clients, customers now start their journey online, moving to physical interaction only at a later stage. Because of this, the strategies adopted to target customers have changed significantly. B2B companies need to adapt to this client behavioral change in order to be discovered online, provide clear communication, and grow sustainably with the support of digital tools.
According to a survey carried out by Think With Google, 67% of companies that search for manufacturers or suppliers of industrial and logistics services, do so through the web. Buyers spend many hours navigating through web pages, seeking solutions, comparing prices and brands, before contacting a specific company for a quote or a meeting. Online engagement, therefore, is essential to create interest, but it’s even more important to know how to be visible to the right audience and avoid wasting resources. In this guide, we’ll address what a B2B company can do to reach new clients by targeting customers in a more effective way.
The first step for successful targeting: defining your buyer persona
How do you target customers? The first step when developing a marketing campaign is defining as precisely as possible who your ideal client is. You should never promote your product or service to an indistinct group, but to specific people with a set of characteristics that a customer would possess. In other words, to target the right consumer you need a buyer persona.
A “buyer persona” is a representation of a person who embodies a segment of our target audience, the generalized depiction of the ideal client of your business, and the starting point to identify potential customers. Defining the buyer persona makes it easier to build a content strategy and create a message that will attract the right group of people.
How to define your buyer persona?
The initial stage is the analysis of your target to obtain as much information as possible about the type of person that would buy from you. This can happen through interviews, surveys on social media, website analytics, and social media insights. Demographic information, such as age, geographic location, or income, but also personal interests, hobbies, and goals must be taken into account.
Once a profile is crafted, you will need to understand what makes your buyer persona take action. Are they loyal to a brand? Who are they influenced by? Are there obstacles that could stop them from buying from you? All these considerations add value to the buyer persona and will complement the depiction you’ve drawn. Once your buyer persona is ready, you can start to target customers.
Target customers through content marketing
As we’ve mentioned, B2B buyers today spend less and less time interacting with a physical sales team, seeking information online before making a purchasing decision. A majority of companies and organizations complete their purchases during the first visit to the seller’s store, as their ideas about what the transaction entails are already clear, thanks to extensive research.
Because of this, it’s necessary that your B2B business has a user-friendly site designed to prepare the future client for the purchase stage. A content marketing strategy is meant to provide engaging and informative text, images, and videos that will convert a website visitor into a customer.
A digital content marketing strategy is traditionally composed of three stages: the creation of the copy based on the target’s queries, doubts, and interests, the positioning of the page on search engines (SEO), and the promotion of it on social media platforms.
The creation of articles that can attract a client is usually done under the guidance of a SEO specialist that will provide the keywords that the target audience is searching for. By producing content that is SEO optimized your website is more likely to appear in the searches done by the target consumer. SEO alone, however, is not enough: once a visitor reaches a landing page it is important that the copy is readable, engaging, and helpful for the user. Each piece of copy should also contain a call to action (CTA) for your B2B customers that will push the reader to buy, contact, or subscribe.
Target customers through Linkedin advertising
Not all content is consumed through search engines. In fact, promoting calls to action in social media can be a more effective way to reach the right audience. All social media platforms can be used to show your contents to a selected group of people, but when it comes to targeting B2B clients, no channel is comparable to Linkedin in terms of performance.
With LinkedIn, you are able to promote your content with extreme precision. You can tailor ads to companies of specific sizes and sectors, or to groups of people based on their demographics, field of study, level of education, job function, seniority, role, skills, years of experience, plus personal interests. The downside of using LinkedIn is its cost. Compared to other social media platforms, the CPC costs on Linkedin are significantly higher, as the targeting can be much more specific and thus more effective.
On top of promoting content with sponsored campaigns, it’s important to be present and active on social networks to maintain contact with the customer even after the purchase. Social platforms contain millions of daily active users and allow you to address directly a defined audience. Developing an editorial plan that highlights the benefits you can provide to a company, and coming up with topics that targets your existing customers can make a big difference in terms of brand loyalty.
Efficient B2B targeting through remarketing and lookalike audiences
What best way to target customers who have already shown an interest in your brand? This is exactly what remarketing is for. A remarketing strategy is built to reach out to people who have already interacted with your brand in the past. This can be done across multiple platforms, but Facebook and Google provide the most cost-effective services.
A Facebook Pixel will track the behavior of users on your website, allowing you to create custom messages based on their position in the B2B customer’s journey. You can also create a remarketing campaign by uploading your contact list to Google Ads. This way the tool will examine the names in the list and find similar audience segments to expand the targeting you are already using.
Another powerful tool that B2B marketers can use to generate more qualified leads is lookalike audiences. To use lookalike audiences, advertisers have to load an existing contact list on Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and the platforms will create a new audience with similar characteristics to the list provided. Clearly, this technique will only function properly if the initial dataset loaded on the platform is an accurate representation of the client base and if all the information provided is correct.
Lookalike audiences are great to target new customers but are not always as precise as tailor-made audiences based on buyer personas.
What about brand loyalty? Customer retention strategies for B2B companies
One of the key differences between B2B and B2C companies is that the former tend to work with a smaller group of customers for a longer time, while the latter sells to many individuals and is often focused on one-time purchases. In both cases, brand loyalty plays an important role in long-term growth, but for B2B organizations maintaining relationships alive with clients is the key to success.
Relying on trusted customers reduces the costs of acquisition and makes it easier to sell secondary products or services to companies that are already part of a network. That’s why investing in marketing strategies that will increase the loyalty of customers can bring great value to a B2B company.
Lead nurturing should be a consistent part of your marketing strategy. In this context, e-mail marketing can be a great solution to keep in touch with existing customers and revive the interest of past customers. A newsletter is an excellent tool to bring a customer who was lost over time back to the company.
Building a solid contact list and communicating regularly to your audience with engaging and informative content, in this sense, is for many B2B companies one of the most profitable sales strategies. Additionally, sending out newsletters is a process that can be fully automated and thanks to segmentation it is possible to create customized messages for customers at different stages of their buyer journey.
How to effectively reach your clients with targeting: some final words
In this article, we’ve looked into some of the most common B2B marketing strategies to target customers via search engines, social media platforms, and e-mails. Through targeted actions, it is possible to reach the group of people that is more likely to do business with you and by developing customized content for your audience it becomes easier to build trust and brand loyalty.
While it may seem complicated at first, with a clear image of the buyer persona in mind targeting the right audience will become a fluid process that involves the creation, promotion, and remarketing of engaging content to an active user base that will be easy to convert.
Still not sure how to go about B2B targeting? Get in touch to find out how we can help you grow in a steady, sustainable, and profitable way.