Whereas a traditional PR marketing strategy interrupts a consumer’s day-to-day with promotional material, a content marketing strategy adds valuable information and informs the consumer — which is precisely what B2B customers are looking for. Not to mention that content marketing supports SEO efforts, which involves anticipating what your audience is searching for, helping them discover your website and content … and potentially converting them to customers.
The essential guide to small business marketing
In a massively competitive business landscape, small business marketing can be a real struggle for company owners, particularly in the early stages. Faced with the task of getting the word out on a limited budget, it can be hard to know what the best-value techniques are to grow your database, increase your exposure and kickstart your revenues. So much of marketing can be trial and error.
A leaflet distribution exercise or promoted post on Facebook may not get quite the results you were looking for, but it could be that a subsequent exhibition stand or strategic partnership works wonders for your small business marketing. In our guide, we speak to five business owners that employed a range of techniques to great effect, drill down into why each method worked for them, and seek their advice for other small business owners hoping to boost their exposure.
Together with advice from seasoned marketing professionals, there is a wealth of information included to educate company owners about how their marketing plan should look this year. We hope you find the guide useful and good luck in your marketing efforts this year.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B (business-to-business) marketing refers to any marketing strategy or content that is geared towards a business or organization. Companies that sell products or services to other businesses or organizations (vs. consumers) typically use B2B marketing strategies.
B2B marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, their organization (rather than for themselves), thus making the organization the customer.
B2C marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, themselves, thus making the individual the customer. Here are a few examples of B2C companies:
|for b2b marketing||for b2c marketing|
|Goal||Customers are focused on ROI, efficiency, and expertise.||Customers are seeking deals and entertainment (which means marketing needs to be more fun).|
|Purchase Motivation||Customers are driven by logic and financial incentive.||Customers are driven by emotion.|
|Drivers||Customers want to be educated (which is where B2B content marketing comes in).||Customers appreciate education but don’t always need it to make a purchase decision.|
|Purchase Process||Customers like (if not prefer) to work with account managers and salespeople.||Customers like to make purchases directly.|
|People Involved in Purchase||Customers often have to confer with decision makers and other members of their chain of command before making a purchase decision.||Customers rarely need to confer with others before making a purchase decision.|
|Purchase Purpose||Customers make purchases for long-term solutions, resulting in a longer sales cycle, longer contracts, and longer relationships with companies.||Customers aren’t necessarily looking for long-term solutions or long-term relationships.|
As much as they differ, though, B2B and B2C also intersect in many ways. While Poppin sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals, they also design corporate office spaces and branded supplies.
B2B Marketing Strategies
In this section, we’ll talk about various B2B marketing strategies you can implement to reach your specific business audience. Before we dive in, though, make sure you understand the B2B buyer’s journey. Take note of how each of these stages may affect your marketing strategies and how you implement them.
1. Determine your brand positioning.
To create an effective strategy, you have to fully understand your brand positioning. This statement is the who, when, why and how of your brand identity — or the way your brand is perceived through the eyes of the customer.
2. Identify your target audience.
Find your target audience — or who’s really looking for your brand’s products or services. That information will help you create buyer personas and understand how they make purchase decisions, a tool that’s extremely useful for any type of marketing.
3. Run a competitive analysis.
4. Explore marketing channels to use.
With the previous steps completed to begin building your B2B marketing strategy, this is where you’ll be able to diversify your own B2B marketing portfolio and reach the businesses you need to. The following categories are B2B marketing channels bound to connect you to your target audience.
B2B Email Marketing
Email marketing is a tried and true method of reaching both individual consumers and business customers. Did you know that 93% of B2B marketers use email? Are you one of them? You should be. Emails lead to engagement which turns subscribers into leads … and then customers.
Unlike B2C customers who respond best to emotions and entertainment, B2B customers look for logic and positive ROI. Essentially, they’re asking themselves, How can your business help my business grow? Because of this, your email marketing must consistently resonate with your business customers and focus on things that matter to them — like time, money, and resources.
Email marketing is also a powerful vehicle for sharing your brand’s content. 83% of B2B companies use email newsletters as part of their content marketing program, and 40% of B2B marketers say these newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success.
B2B Email Marketing Best Practices
- Write enticing subject lines. Think about your email subject lines as a Netflix trailer — if you can’t hook your audience with a two-minute clip (or, in this case, a few dozen characters), don’t expect them to open and watch (or read) the whole thing. We recommend spending almost as much time on your email subject lines as you do on the emails themselves.
- Stick to one call-to-action (CTA) per email. If you think the number of emails you receive is a lot, take a look at the CTAs in those emails … some are packed with two, three, and sometimes up to 10 different CTAs. Don’t make this mistake, which can leave your recipients’ heads spinning, asking “What should I click on first?” and ultimately clicking on nothing. With one CTA per email, you allow your audience to focus on your email content and ultimately one action … a welcome reprieve from today’s frequent decision-making and analysis paralysis.
- Segment your email to reach the most relevant audience. Not every email you send will be appropriate for everyone on your list. Your subscribers may be at different stages of the buyer’s journey or be seeking different solutions. That’s where email list segmentation comes into play. Not only does this help you relate to your audience better, but it gives your emails that personal feel that says “Hey, I’m listening and I know what you’d like to see.” Consumers prefer email quality over quantity anytime.
- Make sure your email designs are responsive. Over 80% of email users access their inbox on their phones, and emails that don’t show up correctly on mobile devices are often deleted in three seconds. Ouch. Don’t let your email be one of those.
- Don’t be afraid of the cold email. As uncomfortable as it is, the right email can convert new customers — like this cold sales email that won 16 new B2B customers.
👉🏼HubSpot Tip: You can’t send marketing emails without any recipients — these people make up your lists. There are plenty of easy ways to grow your email list. Begin with opt-in forms on your website homepage, About page, and blog. Check out HubSpot’s Free Form Builder tool to get started.
B2B Digital Marketing
Every business, whether B2B or B2C should have a digital presence — which is comprised of paid ads, search engine optimization, a website, and any other place your B2B company is active online. Let’s walk through a handful of tactics that can strengthen your B2B digital marketing strategy.