Most everyone knows B2B marketing strategies are (or ought to be) different from how B2C does things. And they are. But in spite of the differences, certain goals are common to any business. Goodwill, for example. Or ease of communication. Or appearing as (and actually being) an authority on your product or subject. There’s also offline marketing, a tried and tested tool, which is often overlooked with everything going digital these days. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best practices in B2B marketing that no business can afford to do without.
1. Goodwill Hunting
Terrible pun, we know. Couldn’t resist. But The good thing about goodwill is that it can very well begin at home – through Employee Advocacy. Word-of-mouth publicity through satisfied clients and the public, in general, is something to look forward to. It gets even better when employees begin spreading the word through their own personal networks. These networks are an asset no company would ever be able to reach comprehensively without the concerned employee’s involvement. Employee Generated Content (EGC) is a thing now.
A non-vicious cycle in this context is where you create a good work atmosphere and keep your employees in a happy and productive state. They return the favor by sharing whatever you publish or even just by sharing positive (public) comments about you. Sites like Glassdoor are a great place to assess company profiles with employees (and ex-employees) posting reviews. Publicity on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter add up – and that’s what you want.
In order to streamline the process of giving all your employees the opportunity to share your company’s latest news and posts, there are dedicated apps created by specialists in Employee Advocacy. Make no mistake: this is a case of, if they are selling, you should consider buying.
2. Content Marketing
Using only paid ads you reach a fraction of your prospects. Email marketing is far from dead, but that still doesn’t cover leads you do not yet have. An organic presence is a must in this day and age of Inbound Marketing. And a blog is the most convenient option for content generation.
Now, you might want to believe that the content of a B2B blog should be more formal and technical than that of a B2C blog because, after all, B2B is targeting companies (who demand in-depth information) and not individuals (fond of the readable and the shareable). Well, companies are not a living entity. People who run them are, and they are individuals used to listening to jargon and technical expression all the time. You are not likely to appeal to them if you stick to that language pattern.
While it is true that a B2B blog post must (almost) be able to stand a peer review, there is no need to write in a language that seeks to complicate rather than ease communication. We don’t know if Einstein actually said this but it stands to reason that if you really understand something, you should be able to explain it in simple terms. In this case, do explain from an unusual and interesting angle, as well.
3. White Paper and Infographic
A well-designed infographic has the potential to go viral. Going viral does wonderful things for your brand – you shouldn’t need statistics to know that. Infographic is synonymous with being vastly informative – but without appearing daunting. People shy away from actually reading a 4000-word blog post on a relatively unknown subject. But they gladly hover over (and sometimes share) a well-designed infographic – even if they do not understand everything it says. he keyword, here, is ‘well-designed’.
White papers are traditionally seen as a serious affair, written by equally serious individuals. Any image in them must be in black and white and look very technical. Well, like the man said, why so serious? And what is it getting you, anyway? Even something as boring and overbearing as an employee handbook is taking an interesting shape. You can very well create white papers that explore unique angles, are illustrated in four colors, and written in a style that stimulates interest rather than boredom. Make sure they are written to inform and do not sound anything like a sales pitch. And then, put them up for download after an opt-in process.
Admittedly, it is not possible for you to run your business and be creative at the same time. It is certainly well-advised to delegate to professional designers and writers that which should be well-designed and well-written.
4. Physical Presence
With the Internet firmly in place in our minds and mobile handsets, one-on-one interactions are sometimes not just underrated but forgotten as well. There’s nothing like the human touch, archaic and clichéd as this may sound. Hold a few conferences. Collaborate with companies in the same sphere who are not your competitors. Get yourself in front of your prospects as also the public eye as a whole. Raise funds for a charity. Let everyone know you are human and happy to help (as long as Vodafone doesn’t sue you).
In 2013, Moo.Com actually came down to earth, as it were, in London with a pop-up physical store. They even had a display on the wall of their homepage complete with drop-down menus. Their idea was to move the digital world into the real world for a while. The trend continues. Genentech’s tweet on April 18, 2018, announced their launch of a pop-up to create awareness regarding the diversity of breast cancer.
Alright, so we’ve given you some food for thought. The point is to focus on the concepts and adapt them to your unique situation. The point is also to not always aim to sell. If you are knowledgeable and appear like an entity that can be trusted, people will come to you. And most important: never lose your human face. No matter whether you are selling safety pins or aircraft carriers these are all the basics you will need.