B2B brands have quickly had to get used to marketing. Nowadays, customers do much more detailed research before buying, and will always looks at your online presence. This means that B2B sales teams can’t rely on the strength of their service offering and word of mouth alone. Marketing is essential.
Once you’ve zoned in on the segment of the market that you want to target, the next step is to build a plan that helps you stand head and shoulders above your competition. In today’s blog we’ll cover how you can optimise your marketing strategy to better fulfil your goals.
B2B is similar to B2C
Previously marketing to businesses was a completely different process to marketing to consumers. Marketing to businesses normally involved explaining rationally why your product could fulfil a specific niche in their operation. B2C marketing, on the other hand, is known to play on a consumer’s emotions, and is generally geared towards a much simpler purchasing decision.
The lines are now becoming increasingly blurred – your B2B marketing should be geared to target a customer’s emotions as well as their rational needs. People buy from people! You can advertise your service as not just meeting functional needs, but you should also tell the story of your brand.
Current trends mean that customers are now looking for suppliers who match their ethical and environmental values. If your team can do this then shout about it! This helps differentiate you from your competitors and stay in the minds of customers for much longer.
Boring Content > Digital PR
As B2B services often meet a relatively niche need for customers, marketing content can veer into becoming overly technical and, frankly, boring. You need to be considering your target audience during the content creation process, appealing to them every step of the way.
B2B content doesn’t have to be boring. You can tell compelling stories that can set your company apart. Save the technical details for your demos and user guides, this content generally won’t generate the clicks that are a must in the current B2B climate. Engaging stories with click-friendly titles are the way to go.
Distribution is king
The old phrase ‘content is king’ has been a staple of marketing departments since the year dot. It’s not the whole picture. You can create brilliant content, but without the right strategies it won’t necessarily attract any customers.
Your content should come equipped with its very own distribution system. Once an article is up on your website or shared by an industry publication, get your team on social media to improve its outreach. Share, comment and even republish content from different perspectives. Don’t be afraid to share older content either (as long as it’s still relevant), we believe in creating once and distributing forever.
SEO is not just backlinks
SEO is more than just trying to trick algorithms. If you optimise your content to appeal to people, then it will serve you much better than technical jargon designed for robots.
Even if you’re really happy with the content on your website, you should regularly review and optimise it. Search engines and potential customers will appreciate you keeping it up to date. Google’s algorithm focuses on depth and regularity of content.
It used to be the case that you could ‘game the system’ using techniques like spamming keywords in white text on a white background. These cheap tricks no longer work and will lead to your site falling down the rankings. Similarly, when you’re creating backlinks for your site, focus on quality over quantity. It’s great to see links going to your site, but you want them to come from reputable sources.
SEO is not a cost…
…It’s an investment. Making genuine improvements to your website on a regular basis isn’t just an act of housekeeping. Your website and online content is an asset that will steadily generate value over time as it’s maintained.
If you can keep developing your content alongside your service it can consistently bring new customers to your business. The value on your content can also increase with age. Hootsuite published an article in 2016 titled “The Best Time to Post on Facebook and Twitter”. This article was only published once but has since been viewed more than 21 million times. Every piece of content you create accumulates value over time and can potentially generate leads indefinitely.
Brand value is leverage
We previously mentioned that B2B marketing is becoming a lot more like B2C. As a brand you can no longer just be a solution to a customer’s needs – you need to fit their brand identity as well.
You need to spend time developing a story for your brand, whether you’re a small team providing a bespoke product, or a large supplier. You should explain why your business fits the brands your customers have created. Own your message and stay consistent. Consistency builds trust and trust is key to building long-lasting customer relationships.
The modern consumer demands higher ethical and environmental standards and they’re willing to call out businesses who don’t meet these standards. Telling your brand story in a way that leverages these principles helps to differentiate you from the competition and make a real impact.