In this article…
- What Is B2B Marketing?
- What Is the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?
- What Marketing Strategies Can B2B Companies Utilize?
- How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy
Your company’s marketing plan focuses on attracting and influencing your customers to buy your product. A target audience may consist of individuals or businesses looking to impact the customers you’re targeting. We’ll go into depth on what B2B marketing is, how it differs from B2C marketing, and how your company can successfully market its products to other businesses in the market.
What Is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing, or business-to-business marketing, is the promotion of your company’s products and services to other businesses. The purpose of marketing and selling products to other businesses is to help each other grow and create a long-term relationship. The relationship your company builds with other companies may bring in more revenue and profit. Your company needs to display its expertise to businesses to entice customers to buy products.
For example, a car manufacturer works with a supplier to purchase parts to help a car run efficiently. Therefore, a supplier is a B2B company because they’re selling parts to the manufacturer to ensure that they build a car with the right parts. The result is that the manufacturer and the supplier mutually benefit from their business relationship.
Another example is a software company that provides marketing services to companies to streamline their promotional efforts. The company may offer tools that assist their customers with managing the performance of their social media campaigns, leads they received, and their rankings on search engine result pages (SERP).
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What Is the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?
B2C marketing, or business-to-consumer marketing, is the marketing of your company’s products to individuals instead of businesses. Customers may make purchases for themselves or somebody close to them. Individuals are more likely to look for entertainment value from products , so B2C companies initiate a marketing campaign that showcases discounts and product features to convince them to buy.
For instance, consider a music streaming company. Customers may listen to a free version of the app with advertisements included, or they can purchase a subscription to get full access to the platform. This is B2C marketing because an individual purchases the streaming service from the company. If the company sold the streaming service to businesses, then it’s B2B marketing.
Here are more differences between these two concepts:
B2C companies target the emotions of consumers to create a need to buy their products. A B2B company focuses on logistics and the financial incentive they might have if they sign businesses as their clients. A B2C may launch a marketing campaign to generate happiness and excitement around a product so customers have the urgency to buy it. A B2B marketing campaign might launch a marketing campaign to inform their customers how the product can fix a logistics problem or increase revenue for their business.
B2B customers want to know more about your company and the services you provide. You need to put more time and resources into a marketing strategy that educates the companies you’re targeting. B2C customers like hearing about your company’s products and services, but they also value the information they find online. Customer reviews and industry articles can affect their perception of your brand and influence their decision to proceed with the purchase of your company’s product.
A blend of content and search engine marketing can drive more attention toward product pages that give customers information to make an educated decision about buying your product.
B2B and B2C customers engage in different buying processes when purchasing products. B2B customers usually speak with your company’s account manager or sales team to understand the scope of your business and how your products benefit their company. B2C customers may speak with a cashier or a manager at a store location, but they can buy online if they feel confident in buying a product based on the information they found online.
Despite the channels each customer encounters in either B2B or B2C marketing, they go through the three stages of the buying process, including:
- Awareness: The awareness stage describes how a potential customer feels when researching your company’s product. Their feelings can outline the problem they experience, and it can help them frame the problem to conduct better research when they’re online.
- Consideration: The consideration stage delineates the approach a potential customer can take to enhance their research. At this point, a customer knows the problem they have, and they’re looking for the best way to solve it.
- Decision: This stage determines the approach a potential customer is taking to solve their problem. They can write a list of vendors that may solve their problem and contact each of them directly. They need to cut down their list of vendors to find the product they’re searching for.
B2B customers can speak with multiple people during the buying process. An employee may need to speak to your company’s leadership team or a department manager before purchasing a product. B2C customers rarely consult with each other before making a purchase, but they might speak to friends or family if they purchase a product as a gift or if they’re one of the many people using the same product.
B2B customers make a purchase when thinking about long-term solutions. Your company may experience a long sales process where you build relationships with leads and help new customers sign sales contracts after they agree to the sale of your product. If your company is working with a marketing company, the marketing company may need to reveal a preview of a strategy that helps you understand how they’ll improve your results while working with them.
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B2C customers can shop for products with a short-and long-term benefit. A short-term benefit may comprise going to the grocery store to get food for the week, whereas going on a vacation is a long-term benefit if they’re looking to travel to a new destination and have a memorable experience.
What Marketing Strategies Can B2B Companies Utilize?
B2B companies have a variety of options to employ their marketing strategy. Some strategies they can use to gain a competitive advantage include:
Up to 93% of B2B marketers use email as a marketing tool. Leads can subscribe to your company’s emails if they’re interested in buying your product, which can increase your company’s conversion rates. These emails show leads how your company can help them grow compared to your company’s competition. A few topics that your marketing team can write about in your emails include the time, money, and resources needed to succeed.
Here are a few tips to help your company execute on its next email marketing campaign:
- Write an effective subject line. The subject line is a preview of what a lead will read next. Craft the subject line by creating a sense of urgency for them to read about your company’s product. Condense the number of words in your subject line to improve clarity and define what leads can read next.
- Use one call-to-action (CTA) in an email. Keep your company’s emails concise and focus on one action that you want customers to take. By using one CTA, subscribers to your email list know the right link to click on, which can increase website traffic, exposure to your company’s product, and the number of completed sales.
- Segment your email lists. An ideal email list targets subscribers in the same stage of the buying process. Some companies may strive for various solutions that go beyond a sale such as getting to know your company or finding out what features do your products offer. Consider investing in an email segmentation software to target your emails to the right audience. A few ways you can segment your emails include targeting the number of new subscribers, leads who opened previous emails, and the number of people who’ve purchased products from your company in the past.
- Customize each email design. Leads can access your company’s emails from their phone or their laptop, so make sure the design shows up correctly on any device. Balance the amount of written content and imagery and use white space to separate these elements and help the reader scan your content. List the most important information at the top of your email to increase a lead’s chances of engaging with your company’s content.
Your company needs to have a strong digital presence to attract other companies to your brand. Building a digital footprint helps your brand by generating awareness and tracking the engagement received on different channels. It can decrease the lead’s time in choosing to work with your company if they feel confident and informed about what your company offers them.
Here are a few methods to boost your company’s digital marketing efforts:
- Identify your company’s target audience. Establish a buyer persona to picture who you see as an ideal customer. When marketing to businesses, it’s important to create a persona that helps your company understand what products you need to produce and how you can consistently engage with leads and customers. Research the types of companies you’re targeting and compile information about their employees’ demographics, challenges, and the goals they’re trying to accomplish. Research your company’s current clients to get more detail about their company size and the industries they work in to find out if they are your target audience.
- Build a website. Creating a website informs potential customers about the services your company provides for other companies. Over four out of every five buyers look at a company’s website before they decide to buy a product. Many companies present your company’s website information to internal stakeholders so they can examine your company’s offerings. Look at different tools that you can use to design and enhance the quality of your website to attract more leads and persuade them to become customers.
- Use SEO tactics. Your company should use on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO to help leads and customers find your company’s website on search engines. On-page SEO communicates how your website renders value for customers while technical SEO refers to tactics that don’t appear on a website like its speed or compatibility to mobile devices. Off-site SEO focuses on linking structure compared to other sites.
- Roll out (Pay-Per-Click) PPC campaigns. Use PPC in marketing campaigns to increase your presence on search engines and advertising platforms. Successful PPC campaigns give your company’s products and services more exposure to potential customers, and it only costs you money if a prospective company clicks on a link to your ad. Your company needs to take part in a bidding process called an Ad Auction to buy keywords at a low cost per click (CPC) with a high-quality score. You can set restrictions to look for the right keywords. Limit the number of restrictions to give your company an increased chance to improve its rank.
Content marketing informs your company’s target audience about your expertise in a certain industry. For example, if your company sells IT hardware, then you can produce content describing how your company can help a customer who needs to improve IT infrastructure. If you’re having a hard time choosing which types of content to generate, start by writing a company blog. A company blog can become a centralized place for readers to know more about your product and subscribe if they want to stay connected to your brand.
Here are a few types of content that can amplify your content marketing strategy:
- White papers: A white paper is a long-form piece of content that educates an audience about a current problem in their industry. If customers find the information insightful and consider you a trusted source, they take further interest in purchasing products from your company. Write a white paper as a part of your company’s marketing plan so you can promote it on your company’s website and social media channels.
- Infographics: Infographics display a visual representation of information for your company’s target audience. Specific and informational text and imagery can help customers quickly understand the message you’re communicating. The use of visual content increases a reader’s engagement, and it can boost SEO traction for your company. Create an infographic to help describe an industry trend, an upcoming event in your area, product launches, survey results, and much more. Study your target audience so you can know more about the content they want to read and the information you should present to them.
- Case studies: A case study is a large-scale testimonial that details how your company’s product or service benefited a customer’s business. They are in between 1,000 and 1,500 words in length, and they can take up to three weeks to prepare. Despite the amount of time it takes to create a case study, they’re useful when building trust with your target audience. The more proof you show of helping customers, the higher the likelihood there is to improve your company’s reputation and sign more customers.
- EBooks: Assembling an eBook is one of the more cost-effective content marketing deliverables to produce. An eBook includes vital information for your company’s target audience. You can use this content as a lead magnet by asking for information like the name of the user’s business or email address to download the eBook. Conduct research on your target audience’s pain points to see where your company can provide valuable information to them.
Social Media Marketing
About three-fourths of B2B customers purchase products and services through social media platforms. It can be difficult for companies to engage in a full sales process through social media. Employees may need to speak with different points of contact within their company before they make a purchase, but social media is key to improving brand awareness and advancing leads into the next stage of the sales process.
Your company can use this channel to humanize your business and build connections with followers. Platforms allow your business to share meaningful content and track how users interact and feel about the content once it’s posted. Even with social media marketing not being the primary tool for increasing the number of leads, the number of followers your company has on social media platforms shows the effectiveness of promoting your brand.
How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy
Follow these steps to create a high-quality B2B marketing strategy:
1. Discover Your Company’s Market Position
Perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to examine how your company fares against competitors and the areas where you can expand your presence in the market. Gather feedback from current customers and compare it to sales numbers to see if these figures match up. The position you have in your market helps you define what you need to do to become an industry leader.
You need to review the metrics from previous marketing campaigns to find out if they match up with marketing metrics. You should have a conclusion that highlights how to proceed with your marketing efforts going forward.
2. Determine Your Target Audience
Finding your target audience helps your company know who wants to buy your company’s products and services. Knowing your target audience gives your company a clear picture of how to market products to a specific demographic.
Write a list of key questions to ask yourself and your marketing team about the companies that you’re trying to target. Interview clients to get a better idea of why they wanted to work with your company. You can base these questions on firmographic data that gives information about the target audience’s company.
Here are subjects that you can cover when gathering firmographic data:
- Company’s industry
- Company location
- Company size
- Sales performance
- A company’s structure
3. Outline Marketing Goals
Listing your company’s marketing goals underscores the success of your marketing strategy and how it coincides with the future direction of the company.
Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals to show the steps your company needs to take to align marketing objectives with strategic goals. For example, your company may want to set a goal to improve brand awareness to increase the number of followers on social media platforms.
Here is an example of a SMART goal to help your company accomplish this goal:
- Goal: The company will increase the number of followers by 20% on all social media platforms by the end of the 2020 fiscal year.
- Specific: it outlines the goal of increasing the number of followers on social media platforms.
- Measurable: Your company can measure success by the number of followers compared to the previous fiscal year.
- Achievable: The marketing can perform this task of increasing engagement on social media channels.
- Relevant: Your company can complete this goal to ensure the success of marketing to businesses.
- Time-based: Your marketing team has until the end of the fiscal year to reach this benchmark.
After your company sets SMART goals, detail the tactics that help your company achieve its marketing goals. If your company is trying to augment social media engagement, tactics can include content creation, participating in industry events, and tracking engagement to see if it grew. You can select the growth of followers over a quarterly period as a key performance indicator (KPI). Evaluate your company’s marketing budget to make sure you’re using the resources provided to reach these goals.
4. Choose Marketing Channels
Selecting the right marketing channels influences the results of your company’s marketing campaign by identifying how to attract your target audience. For instance, a rise in engagement can lead your business to incorporate channels such as social media, content marketing, SEO, and video. Make sure that you have consistent communication with employees using these channels to ensure brand consistency.
Use these tips to create and enhance your company’s B2B marketing strategy. Applying these methodologies can help your business attract new leads and customers while increasing your return on investment.