Whether I asked you this question five years ago or I ask it three years from now, I bet the biggest challenge marketing teams face is the same: generating traffic and leads for their business. It isn’t an easy job at all as the trends fluctuate and previous years’ biggest innovations might not even be relevant right now.
Marketing B2B and B2C can be very different (although at the heart of it all, we're just marketing to people) so the methods you need will vary. To help you get started, here are some of the most powerful B2B marketing strategies you should implement right away.
- Step up your email offering
- Target high-value accounts with ABM
- Optimise your digital presence
- Refine your content strategy
- Adopt a humanised sales approach
- Have your employees amplify your marketing efforts
- Build your social media strategy
Step up your email offering
With 3.9 billion daily email users and 73% of millennials preferring communications from businesses to come via email, it’s clear there are plenty of opportunities in this channel. Your email marketing strategy needs to be better than last year and two steps ahead of the year before. It isn’t going anywhere.
Here’s a breakdown of what you should try as part of your email marketing strategy:
- Write enticing subject lines. It’s the first thing a reader sees. If you can’t hook them with it in a few dozen characters, the likelihood is they’ll stick it in the bin. However much time you’re currently spending on your emails, spend just as much time working on a subject line you’re 1000% happy with.
- Only use one CTA: I bet you’ve seen loads of emails that pack in one CTA after another. It isn’t good to look at and it only confuses readers as to what they should click on first. Pick one. It means your audience knows what to focus on and what to click without the added headache.
- Concentrate on responsive designs. As good as your emails are, make sure they’re optimised for different devices. Over 80% of email users read emails through their phones and ones that don’t show up correctly end up getting deleted in three seconds. Yep, that soon.
Target high-value accounts with ABM
Studies show 56% of B2B marketers are using account-based marketing (ABM) in their current business operations while companies adopting ABM practices can see a 171% increase in their average contract value. If those stats didn’t whet your appetite then think of it this way: ABM aligned sales and marketing teams and with that alignment comes a 36% increase in customer retention.
More leads don’t always mean you’re doing better. ABM lets you concentrate on targeting specific, high-value accounts so you can focus on the businesses you want. Here’s what you can do to get started on creating your ABM strategy:
- Make sure everyone is aligned. Not just sales and marketing but also anybody involved, including stakeholders.
- Build an ABM super team. Teams need to be fully bought in, focusing half of their attention elsewhere. Limit the number of people in your ABM team to enough that can look after each account.
- Select your target accounts. A lot of time and resources will go into these accounts, so choose wisely. Think about locations, workflows to filter incoming leads, set alerts on LinkedIn for ideal profiles and more.
- Forge relationships. You can’t force a bond with these businesses overnight. It can take months but that effort is worth it. Provide education, share personalised content, have meetings, exceed expectations and anything else to help them get to know your brand.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ABM. It’s an entire beast in itself to dive into but we have an incredible resource you should bookmark and have a read through. If you’re serious about implementing new strategies and want to use ABM campaigns, you’ll benefit from the guide.
Optimise your digital presence
You need a digital presence if you want to succeed as it shows your B2B company is active online. Here’s what you should do:
- Create your website. They’re easy and straightforward ways to share information about your products or services. Over 80% of buyers visit one before making a purchase and help a digital marketing strategy function properly.
- Utilise SEO tactics. These are key to helping you boost your digital presence. Whether it’s on-page SEO, off-page or technical, you can hone in on things like meta descriptions, alt texts, internal links, site speed and much more to help your website be informative, engaging and discoverable.
- Run PPC campaigns. As important as getting organic traffic is, you can round your efforts off with some PPC advertising. This will help you get your content and brand in front of new audiences through search engines and advertising platforms.
- Define your audience. None of these methods can succeed unless you’ve defined your target audience - or buyer persona. The information in your personas will shape all of your marketing activity so you know the right eyes and ears absorb your information.
Refine your content strategy
Content marketing isn’t anything new, but the fact that 80% of business decision-makers still prefer to get information from an article than an ad should prove why - like email - it isn’t going anywhere. But what you find in B2C content is very different from what you’d produce from a B2B perspective.
The type of content you need to create is what you’d see as a consumer yourself as you work in the B2B world, especially since the businesses you’re trying to work with have longer sales cycles and a lot of decision-makers involved.
When it comes to creating content, here are the types you should produce which will help you attract leads and ultimately convert them:
- Industry reports
- Guest posts
- Case studies
- ROI calculators
Educating your audience is important and content like this will help. If you want to know what people really want to know from B2B content marketing, this guide will help.
Adopt a humanised sales approach
This is sort of combining two strategies into one, but they’re both equally as important. Today, being human in your sales is essential and one channel you need to invest your resources in is video marketing. Why not combine them and use video marketing in your sales process to take that personal touch up a notch?
It’s the next best thing to selling in person and in the current climate, it looks like video is going to be the go-to method instead. The first step is to know how to best use video marketing as a strategy itself. When you’ve nailed that, then bring it into your sales process by doing the following:
- Keep it short and sweet. Don’t overcomplicate it. You’re not trying to create The Shawshank Redemption, you don’t need fancy music or graphics on the screen or anything like that. Keep it unedited, human and simple.
- Personalise them. Don’t send the exact same video to hundreds of prospects. Personalise them, don’t say a generic hello. Use their name, their specific pain points and the relevant context etc.
- Know the type of videos you’ll make. Your first video can’t be the hard sell straight away or you’ll put the viewer off. Start off with an introduction video and break the ice. Give them time to digest the video then reconnect with a follow-up. Wait a little while then check-in with another engaging video and it’s also nice to end with a thank you.
If you’ve been hiding behind your inbox or phone for a while and haven’t seen results, it’s time to put your face to the name and step out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to get started and it becomes second nature before you know it.
Have your employees amplify your marketing efforts
Employee advocacy is massively underrated. The increase in brand awareness has a positive impact on growth and sales. It helps manage any issues, helps retain the best people and more. More people actually trust your everyday employee (54%) than they do a CEO (47%). If you have a technical expert then you’re in luck as even more people (68%) trust them over anyone else.
It’s not something you can do overnight, but there’s definitely a strategy you can craft so it’s natural and not forced:
- Creative a positive and engaged workplace culture. When it’s real, you’ll see the rewards. Create a place not only you enjoy working in and others will too but also one that can retain the best employees.
- Set goals. There’s no way of knowing if your advocacy strategy succeeded if you didn’t set any KPIs. Define them, align them with your core values and map out the metrics you’ll track, such as top contributors, traffic, engagement and more.
- Identify leaders. You’re bound to have some social media addicts users in your team where it all comes naturally to them. Those guys are your leaders. If they’re enthusiastic about your company, they’ll naturally shout about your brand to their followers. When the team sees the leaders doing it, they’ll naturally follow.
- Create shareable content. This is fairly straightforward. Not creating any content? Your employees have nothing to share? Creating amazing content that’s screaming out to be read by a huge audience? Your employees have something to share. Easy.
- Make it rewarding. If you’re asking employees to do something for your brand, it’s only right you return the favour. Maybe think about gamification? This can motivate the wider team to join this advocacy strategy of yours while highlighting the benefits their efforts result in.
Build your social media strategy
To do any of your employee advocacy stuff, it’s clear you’ll need a social media strategy. The first step is to know what your audience is using. You don’t want to waste resources on Instagram when 95% of your target audience is on LinkedIn. 75% of B2B buyers use social media when making a purchase, so even though it might be tough connecting with business customers, there’s definitely potential there.
Here’s what to consider for your B2B social media strategy:
- Get the basics right. This includes establishing your goals, defining your target audience, choosing your platforms and doing competitor research. This will allow you to create an effective gameplan and calendar to share content and reach out to your audience.
- Use videos. As I mentioned, video is huge so don’t always use the same method when pushing content. Endless tweets and retweets can get a little stale. Why not snazz it up and break up the feed with an engaging video?
- Optimise your content for mobile. Like emails, if your social content doesn’t look good on a mobile device, readers are likely to leave sooner than you want them to. Whether it’s custom graphics or a video, make sure it isn’t just catered to desktop.
- Employee advocacy: Everything I mentioned about employee advocacy in the last section needs to be a part of your social media strategy. Cover the benefits and all the good things your employees are saying about the business.
- Look into software: To achieve your goals, it might be worth investing in software to stay on top of your tasks. Publishing content, analytics, reporting, social listening - there’s software for a whole bunch of social media tasks you’re probably yet to explore.
By implementing these B2B marketing strategies, you’re well on your way to converting the right leads for your business. But in this game, trends move so fast it can be difficult to keep up. If you’re looking to take your marketing game up a level, we have the perfect guide highlighting how you can do just that.
Ready to take your marketing to the next level?
Setting benchmarks, defining tactics, measuring results - all while implementing the effective strategists mentioned in this blog. It can all get a bit too much and plenty are guilty of not analysing their strategy results and making the relevant tweaks.