When you think about business-to-consumer marketing (B2C), you might imagine fancy adverts or attention-grabbing headlines. Meanwhile, business-to-business marketing (B2B) needs to take a very different and much more subtle approach to gain any traction with prospective clients.
But what’s the difference between B2C and B2B?
Well, that’s the first step when it comes to understanding and deploying B2B marketing strategies.
The Basics of B2B Marketing in 7 Easy Steps
1. Understanding the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing
According to Digital Authority Partners, as a general rule, buyers are more careful when it comes to a transaction with B2B marketing. Needless to say, it’s not their personal money (instead, it is the company funds) and often B2B purchases require a significant investment as opposed to a spontaneous purchase.
Moreover, the actual product is likely to be complex which requires a lot more thought to consideration from the buyer. With this in mind, B2B buyers are less likely to take risks and B2C buyers are most often driven by compulsive or even flippant about their purchases.
2. Decide on an Inbound or Outbound Marketing Strategy
You need to think about whether inbound or outbound marketing is the best way forward.
As you know, inbound marketing is when you create a product or service that you know the buyer needs. For instance, you might create a website or piece of content that relays valuable information.
Meanwhile, outbound marketing refers to the likes of advertising and this is usually the fastest way to communicate a message to your target market.
But which one will best suit your target market?
For most businesses, B2B marketing is the most effective use of time. You see, lots of research is needed for B2B marketing and this makes content marketing in particular so effective. After all, producing content that provides a specific solution is sure to increase leads at the very least.
3. Conveying Authority and Trust to the Buyer
Gaining the trust of your buyer is essential for B2B marketing and this is especially true with significant investments. At the same time, how can you achieve this kind of trust?
Well, it’s best to start with the basics such as your website and the brand appearance.
When it comes to such tasks, professional consultation and design is required to create an authentic appearance. You’ve heard it before, first appearances are the most important, and this extends to every aspect of the brand and appearance right down to the ease of navigation on your website.
4. Focus on Creating Content that Your Client will Need
Creating content is one thing but creating truly valuable content should be your main aim.
You can create this content in multiple ways such as blogs, videos or podcasts but there must be some kind of demand for whatever content you decide to produce. Whether this content refers to free webinars, useful guides or insightful statistics; your client should always need this content.
Also, try not to get too caught up in SEO vs SEM, for this can often distract from the purpose which is to produce the most valuable and relevant content possible. Besides, when you forget about the algorithms, the end result is usually the type of transparent content that search engines favor.
Ideally, you will use this content to become a thought leader in your chosen industry.
5. Managing Relationships with Clients and Employees
Client relationships are the key to long-term success with B2B marketing. Unlike B2C marketing, you need to nurture each and every relationship, and this often involves face-to-face meetings.
On the other hand, you will need to maintain employee relationships with the same care and attention, for these employees are often tasked with managing those all-important accounts.
For outbound marketing, you will likely start by advertising (online or offline) in those media specializing in your industry. Pay-per-click marketing in the search engines, email marketing and telemarketing will be useful in generating leads. For the latter, we’ve blogged before about the importance of preparation, and you should certainly consider outsourcing to a specialist company.
6. Master the Art of Social Media Marketing
You’re not here for tips on how to master social media but take this as a reminder (or read more about it here).
Instead of jumping straight in at the deep end, it’s also best to have the following three principles in mind:
- Define Your Objective – You need specific and measurable goals for social media efforts.
- Identify the Audience – Who is your audience? What do they expect from you? What value can you offer them through social media?
- What Platform – Every social platform is different. People have different interests on these platforms and effective B2B marketing relies on choosing the right one/s. Unlike B2C marketing, you need to find out which platform is being used by the relevant businesses.
7. Measuring Results is the Key to Improvement
You cannot improve or define a marketing strategy without knowing the results. In other words, without measuring the results, you are literally blinded in terms of the effectiveness of your strategy.
What’s more, every modern marketer knows that data-driven marketing or “big data” is the true foundation of great content. That is to say, extracting critical data and putting this data into use is a real game-changer. And it doesn’t matter if you focus on textiles, electronics, or pharma marketing (great article on this topic here) – the objective is always the same.
Many tools and data can be used to monitor your B2B marketing efforts. Either way, you need to know precisely how many people get to see your handy work. More importantly, how many of these potential customers are taking some kind of action?
It’s called return on investment and without the former, your B2B marketing strategy is doomed.
It’s true, fancy adverts and attention-grabbing headlines are highly effective for B2C marketing but B2B marketing requires a much more thoughtful approach. Authority and trust are essential and managing relationships is often the key to long-term success.
On the other hand, measuring this success is just as important so try to treat B2B marketing like science and quantify every aspect of your strategy. With the right tools, ideas and action, the above steps can transform a good business into a B2B marketing machine.
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