In this article…
- What Is B2B Marketing?
- Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing
- What Audiences Do B2B Strategies Market to?
- Types of B2B Marketing Strategies
- How to Build a B2B Marketing Strategy
- B2B Marketing Best Practices and Tips
- Addressing a B2B Audience
When creating an effective marketing strategy, you should target your messaging to a specific audience so they will feel as if your marketing material is personable and relevant to them. This is especially important to consider when creating marketing material for business professionals in your B2B marketing audience. In this article, we answer the question, “what is B2B marketing?”. We’ll also explain different B2B marketing strategies, how to build effective B2B marketing campaigns.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing stands for business-to-business marketing. Businesses will create marketing material for other businesses, as opposed to marketing material directly to consumers. A company that chooses to sell their services or products to another company will often develop a B2B marketing plan or strategy.
In a B2B marketing strategy, you may speak differently to business audiences than you would to a consumer audience. When businesses or organizations are considering purchasing another company’s product, they may search for content catered specifically toward them and their interests or needs. This can include thought-driven content, return-on-investment information, product pricing, and benefit to a company’s employees.
Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing
Since each marketing method caters their strategy toward a specific audience, it may be easy to confuse the two. The main audience of B2B marketing is other businesses, and B2C marketing gears their messaging directly toward consumers.
For example, a company purchasing software for its staff members would be considered a B2B company. A B2B marketing audience often consists of people within a management or leadership role who may make the company’s financial decisions. When you cater messaging to B2B companies, you can focus on the financial benefits as well as how your product will benefit the potential buyer.
A B2C marketing customer is the direct consumer. Stores selling merchandise to individuals are an example of B2C marketing. Since this type of marketing is catered toward a specific person, the messaging is often more entertaining and works to meet the individual’s needs or interests. While a B2B customer would makes decisions using logical and analytical thinking, a B2C audience may use emotion to make their purchase decisions.
What Audiences Do B2B Strategies Market to?
As companies develop their B2B strategies, they should know the audience they are marketing to. Depending on the product they’re selling, their audience may vary. Here are common audiences for B2B companies:
- A company purchasing a security system for staff members
- Hospitals purchasing medical tools or software
- Schools buying educational material for students
- Wholesalers who may purchase the product in bulk to resell it to their own customers
- Government agencies who buy many products to use in government systems ranging from their own building or office supplies to equipment for constructing bridges or roads
Types of B2B Marketing Strategies
To reach a wide audience of business-to-business buyers, companies must use several marketing tactics to ensure their marketing message is reaching the decision-makers of each company. Below are the most common marketing strategies used to target B2B customers.
Since many business professionals regularly communicate using email, these campaigns are still known as an effective method for reaching B2B audiences. Emails that contain facts about your product and company along with details explaining how it can benefit the buyer’s company is a great way to build engagement. If the buyer continues interacting with and reading your emails, they can develop into a lead and eventually become a customer.
Many B2C customers are often more likely to notice marketing that uses an entertainment strategy rather than informational. B2B customers, however, typically search for content that educates and provides value. You can effectively complete this through strong content marketing. By creating numerous content pieces through white papers, eBooks, blog posts, and more, your B2B audience will have ways to gain industry and company knowledge through different formats.
Providing useful information to your customers can help your company establish itself as an industry leader. It can prove that you’re knowledgeable of current trends and industry tips. As B2B customers continue downloading your content to learn more, they will eventually build trust in you and your product, leading them to becoming interested in purchasing your product. When buyers download your content, you can lead them to a landing page with a form included where you can gain contact information to follow up with these prospects in the future.
Paid Search Campaigns
As you build your digital marketing material for audiences, you’ll want to ensure you’re reaching your target B2B audience. You can do this by creating paid search campaigns. These are advertisements that may appear on your prospects’ computer screen. You can pay for these ads to target any buyers that may find your marketing and advertising material valuable so it’s easy for your audience to discover your company and product.
Social Media Campaigns
Social media is an effective way to reach potential buyers as many of them may research various vendors or business partners using these platforms. You can implement a variety of campaigns through social media by implementing either paid campaigns to reach your target audience or you can build organic posts geared toward your prospects as well.
SEO marketing is a great way to locate your B2B audience and begin marketing to that specific audience. You can use tactics on your website, including applying inbound and outbound links, featuring keywords in your posts and writing meta descriptions that inform readers of your webpage content. These tactics help make your website discoverable and drives your B2B audience to your website to learn more about your product.
Video Marketing Campaigns
Marketing using videos can be beneficial for a B2B audience of people who may only have enough time in their day to view videos rather than read longer forms of content. When creating video marketing campaigns, these can often be featured alongside other forms of marketing as well. For example, you can feature a short video explaining your product within a social media post or the video can support the text of a blog post by placing it in the middle or end of the article.
How to Build a B2B Marketing Strategy
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When marketing to your target audience, it’s best to develop a strategy that allows them to understand the benefits your product will bring their company. You can build an effective marketing strategy by following these steps:
1. Determine Your Target Audience
Before you begin marketing to an audience, you should define who it is you’re marketing to. You can build buyer personas for the audience you’d like to reach. For example, if you sell security software, you can create a buyer persona for the typical person who would purchase your product. This can be someone in leadership who regularly checks their email and social media pages.
You can also determine what type of information they tend to research, what they value in a product, and other relevant buyer information. These details can create a well-rounded buyer persona that helps you accurately target your customers and provides them with content that is beneficial to them and their company.
2. Evaluate Your Product and its Benefits
Once you develop a few different buyer personas and decide what your audience looks for in a product, you can determine what benefits your product can provide your audience. You can analyze the benefits of your product and why your buyers may find it useful. The types of benefits your B2B customers may want to learn more about can include:
- The overall quality and durability of the product
- The ROI it may provide them
- If purchasing this product saves the customer on future significant costs
- What type of customer-service your company provides, especially if the product involves consistent communication even after the product is purchased
3. Decide Where to Reach Your Target Audience
After your buyer persona is set and you know what product benefits you’ll provide, you can use the buyer journey to decide where your target audience will most likely view your content. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding where to reach your target audience:
- If they attend conventions, conferences, other industry events
- The social media networks they regularly use
- What they typically search online
- If they prefer reading content or viewing videos
- Other areas online they may browse or find information
You can search various locations and media channels to see where your audience members spend their time. Once you’ve established locations your audience may search for information, you can create marketing material to target their desired platforms or channels. For example, if you learn your audience may use social media regularly, you can invest a majority of your time and resources into creating paid and organic social media campaigns to better reach this audience.
4. Build Strategies for Each Campaign
If you’ve located where your target audience prefers to find their information, you can begin building strategies for each of these outlets. You can work with your marketing team to determine your messaging for each advertisement or marketing material. Once you’ve established what you’d like to communicate to your prospects, you can begin launching these campaigns.
Try to build campaigns speaking to each buyer persona you’ve built to grasp a wide audience, while still making the messages personalized for each buyer.
5. Analyze Your Campaign Results
During and after implementing your campaigns, you can use marketing analytical tools to track the results. Once the campaign is finished, you can gather all the results to determine what parts of your campaign were successful. You can take these results and apply them to your upcoming campaigns.
For example, if you learn your B2B audience downloaded a significant amount of white papers and viewed a low amount of videos, you can plan to create more informational white papers and fewer videos during future campaigns.
B2B Marketing Best Practices and Tips
When marketing to a specific audience, you should ensure you’re speaking to them effectively. B2B customers are searching for valuable and beneficial solutions to their problems. This is why you should create marketing campaigns that are educational and relevant. Below are tips for providing valuable marketing material to B2B audiences.
Send Well-designed, Relevant Emails
Since email marketing is an effective way to reach your B2B audience, you can create emails that are relevant and informational. Create a subject line that grabs the attention of the reader that makes them want to open the email and start reading. As they read, provide them with relevant information that takes only a few minutes to view.
Within the email, you can include a call to action that allows them to read more of your content or learn about your product. Be sure to only include one CTA per email so your readers don’t feel overwhelmed. Make sure your emails are segmented according to what stage of the buyer journey each prospect is in.
You should also make sure each email is optimized for mobile. If a prospect opens their email on their mobile device and finds it challenging to view the content, they may delete the email. This is why you want to test your email on all devices before sending it to ensure it’s easily accessible and visually appealing for audiences.
Be Personable and Relevant When Speaking to Your Audience
When reading marketing material, your prospects will want to feel human, rather than feeling like another potential customer on your contact list. When you send marketing material, make sure it’s relevant and personable when possible.
For example, if you send an email campaign to prospects, you can include their name in the subject line or in the first line of your email content. This makes them feel as if you’re speaking directly to them and want to develop a professional and long-lasting relationship.
Establish Your Company as a Thought Leader
Since your company is competing with other companies and their marketing strategies, your goal should be to create content that stands out to customers. You can achieve this is by creating unique content that establishes yourself as a thought leader. You can provide consistent and educational content on different formats including eBooks, white papers, and articles.
If you create and post content that informs and educates your readers, they may consider you an industry leader. This may lead them to trust your knowledge on the industry, which can increase their belief in your product, leading them to purchase it.
Addressing a B2B Audience
As you speak to your audience, remember to create educational material that will provide value and benefit. Many B2B employees either work in leadership or finance roles, so they are often responsible for ensuring their company sticks to a specific budget. They will also need to know if your product will be worth the investment and why it’s better than other products available.
By providing personable, relatable, and valuable marketing material, you can demonstrate the benefits of your company while building trust and developing a professional relationship with your B2B audience.