Follow this guide for everything you need to know about B2B marketing, including the ideas and strategies that work.
Getting marketing right is a challenge for any business. There’s a lot that you need to consider for an effective marketing strategy, but the most important factor is understanding who your audience is.
Your digital marketing strategy needs to align with your buyer’s journey.
If your customers are businesses, then this buyer’s journey looks a little different. A well-planned B2B marketing strategy is a totally different ballgame from marketing directly to individual consumers.
Successful B2B marketing is all about meeting your target customers at the right time with the right content. Quite simply, if you don’t target your B2B audience personas correctly, your B2B marketing strategy won’t achieve the results you’re after.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about B2B marketing, including some of the best B2B marketing strategies, tips, and examples that you can apply to your business.
- What is B2B Marketing?
- B2B Marketing vs B2C Marketing
- B2B Marketing Funnel
- Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
- B2B Marketing Strategies and Examples
- How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B, or business-to-business, marketing is all about marketing from one company to another.
The big difference to B2B marketing is that your marketing content and messages are geared toward organizations, not individual customers. This means the type of marketing content and messages need to be crafted differently and sell different kinds of value.
Any business that sells goods or services to other businesses (instead of consumers) will need a carefully-planned B2B marketing strategy to make more sales.
B2B marketing aims to make other companies aware of your business, promote the value of what you offer, and ultimately convert this awareness into a sale.
B2B Marketing vs B2C Marketing
B2B marketing is totally different from business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.
While B2B and B2C marketing strategies may use the same channels and processes, the way that you go about these marketing efforts differs.
This is because an individual customer has very different priorities and concerns compared to a business. When you’re marketing to key decision-makers in other businesses, you need to make sure you’re providing the right kind of value to them.
Consumers aren’t looking for value or solutions to fit into their business model. Instead, they might just be looking for something fun. The motivation behind purchases is different for B2C and B2B customers.
Businesses make purchases based on things like logic, financial incentives, ROI, expertise, and efficiency. Consumers are motivated by factors like emotion, good deals, and entertainment. The two different marketing strategies need to reflect this.
In B2B marketing, there is also a lot more education required for driving a purchase. Consumers, on the other hand, can make sales a lot more impulsively and independently. They don’t need to convince anyone else that the purchase is a good idea (unlike with business customers).
However, there’s more to it than this. Here are five of the main factors that differentiate B2B marketing from B2C marketing:
- Audience: This is the biggest difference between B2B and B2C. In B2C your audience is individual consumers, in B2B your audience is other businesses.
- Focus: The focus of B2B content is generally more educational and value-driven, highlighting the benefits and ROI that businesses can gain. B2C customers might just want something that looks cool.
- Speaker: B2B buyers generally prefer talking to sales teams or more senior members of a company, unlike B2C buyers who purchase straight from marketing messages.
- Time Expectations: B2B generally has a longer sales cycle. Businesses can usually expect results further down the line. B2B also generally aims to establish longer-term relationships with customers. In B2C, the sales cycle is a lot faster.
- Tone: B2B customers are generally a lot more serious, so they respond better to more serious, straightforward conversations. B2C customers, on the other hand, generally prefer more fun and casual marketing messages.
B2B Marketing Funnel
To understand B2B marketing, you need to understand how B2B marketing funnels work.
Your marketing funnel covers the entire process of B2B marketing, from the moment a customer finds out about your business to when they make a sale. This funnel is generally divided into three main parts, with each part requiring specific B2B marketing tactics.
These parts are:
- Awareness stage – When a prospect discovers your brand (lead generation). This is achieved by increasing brand awareness through a strong social media presence, publishing educational content, search engine optimization, and meeting your target audiences before they’re actively looking to make a purchase.
- Interest and consideration stage – When the prospect looks into your brand and considers you as the solution to their problem (lead nurturing). This is achieved through marketing campaigns like email marketing automation and strategic content marketing (webinars, videos, etc).
- Sales – When the prospect decides to make a purchase (conversions). This is really where the B2B marketing journey ends, and a sales rep takes over.
It’s important to understand which leads are at which stage of your B2B marketing funnel, and to target them with relevant content at each stage.
Your goal is to move leads down through our funnel as efficiently as possible. This will help you make more sales.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Before we get into specific B2B marketing strategies, let’s quickly cover the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Both strategies are commonly used to attract business customers.
Inbound marketing is when you create strategic content that appeals to your target audience and attracts them to your business. In other words, they discover you.
Outbound marketing is when you actively reach out to potential customers to get them to make a purchase.
B2B marketing efforts commonly combine both strategies.
B2B Marketing Strategies and Examples
There are multiple channels that B2B marketing leaders can use to attract customers and drive new sales.
Here are a few of the most effective B2B marketing strategies and examples to help you attract more potential buyers and drive business growth.
Email marketing is one of the most successful B2B marketing strategies. It’s an excellent way to educate your audience and develop trust with them.
There are many different ways that B2B marketers can use email. This includes sending regular newsletters, sharing valuable content, setting up lead nurturing drip campaigns, and more.
Email is one of the best ways to warm up cold leads and eventually get them in touch with your sales team to make a deal. Using a marketing automation tool is necessary to do this.
While there are many different strategies to include in B2B email marketing, the general idea is that it lets you engage with prospects and share value with them.
In B2B marketing, there is a greater need for education around a product or service. Email marketing lets you achieve this through consistent engagement with leads.
SEO Blog Posts
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective B2B digital marketing strategies as it allows businesses to send targeted traffic to their site for free.
SEO blogging is all about targeting specific search terms and using this to generate interested leads. Blog content can also be used by your sales team to warm up leads and help convert them.
The great thing about SEO blogging is that it helps you rank for specific keywords that are important for your business. This can help you attract a lot more targeted traffic.
While doing this, you can educate and inform this traffic about your products and services. This helps establish your business as a trusted expert and motivates your traffic to become customers.
When it comes to B2B marketing, social media isn’t necessarily the best way to close deals. However, it is a great way to increase brand awareness, develop trust, and give your business a personality.
B2B brands can use social media posts to build and engage their audience. It’s a great way to share valuable content, tips, and industry insights. You can also use it to show what your business does, highlight some of your happy customers, or simply reveal your personality.
There are loads of ways that B2Bs can use social media. The channels and strategy you choose should match your target customers and their online behavior.
Videos are excellent forms of marketing content for B2Bs. They provide a highly engaging format that gives businesses the perfect platform to educate, inform, and inspire.
YouTube videos may not result in many conversions, but they are very helpful for sharing with prospects and leads to nurture them. YouTube videos also add to your SEO content marketing strategy, and they can help you to attract new leads and spread brand awareness.
Just like publishing blog posts, videos are also an excellent way to establish authority and expertise within your niche.
Podcasts are another form of valuable content for B2Bs. Podcasts are still very much alive and well. Just like videos and blog content, B2B podcasts let businesses educate and inspire their audience.
They’re great for building and establishing authority, revealing your expertise, and building trust. Podcasts can help you build an audience and spread brand awareness.
Alternatively, B2B marketers could appear as guests on other business podcasts. This is another excellent way to access a new audience and show your expertise on your topic.
Business conferences are one of the most classic forms of B2B marketing. They’re also still incredibly effective.
Joining a conference that matches your niche gives you the perfect platform to make strategic connections and network with decision-makers across different businesses.
Identify the right conferences that match your target audience, and try to strategically target the right people at these conferences. If done right, this could result in a lot of new business leads andd sales.
Webinars are an excellent marketing strategy for B2Bs. They allow you to connect with your target audience, reveal your expertise, and promote the value of your products or services. They’re also a great way to cover specific topics that relate to your business and answer your prospects’ questions.
Webinars are also great for generating new business leads. Everyone who signs up for your webinar can be entered into a drip campaign or targeted with specific promotional content. This is a great way to top quickly generate and warm up leads.
Businesses can collaborate with other businesses and experts to create webinars that add more value and share audiences.
Paid Ad Campaigns
Paid advertising has a very big advantage and a very big disadvantage.
The advantage: it lets you target very specific audiences and reach a lot of people quickly and easily.
The disadvantage: it requires an ad budget.
Paid ad campaigns can be run across social media channels, and search engines. Google PPC ad campaigns are the most popular. This lets your business rank at the top results for the most relevant search terms, allowing you to attract a lot of potential customers.
You can bid on high-value keywords (such as “restaurant supply company”) and if your bid wins, you can generate a lot of traffic from this.
You can also use platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more, to run highly targeted ads based on your audience’s interests and locations. This lets you get in front of your exact audience easily, which can help you drive a lot of sales.
As we mentioned though, you need to pay to do this. So, you have to make sure that your return on ad spend (ROAS) is worth it for your business. If you spend more on ads than the sales you make from them, your ad strategy isn’t working.
Offering gated content is a great B2B marketing strategy to help you generate leads for your business. This strategy falls at the top of your marketing funnel.
It works well for B2B marketing because gated content lets you attract very specific users, and it lets you establish your business as an expert. Some examples of gated content are eBooks, whitepapers, recorded webinars, videos, and more.
Set these resources up behind forms and provide them to people in exchange for their email addresses. You generate leads and you offer them valuable content. Now, you can add thee leads to your nurturing strategy (through email marketing).
How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy
There’s a lot that can go into a successful B2B marketing strategy, but the same steps and processes should be involved in putting any B2B strategy together.
No matter what kind of business you are or how big you are, these are the steps you should take when creating your B2B marketing plan.
1. Understand Your Audience
The first step toward any successful B2B marketing strategy is to know your audience. You need to know what their pain points are and what would encourage them to purchase your product or service.
Creating detailed profiles of the customers, or businesses, that you want to target is important.
Understanding your customers allows you to tailor your B2B marketing efforts toward them. This will help you provide meaningful solutions that address their interests, pain points, and add value to their lives.
2. Determine Your Brand Identity
How do you want your target customers to perceive your brand? What are the unique benefits that your product or service offers, and why should your audience trust you?
It’s a good idea to come up with a brand positioning statement, establish your brand values, and determine what your unique selling proposition is. This will help you to craft marketing materials and campaigns that better address your target audience and have a greater impact.
For example, B2B businesses could promote the fact they can improve sales, save time, help businesses save money, or improve customer experiences.
Don’t just think about what your business does, but also consider the potential benefits you can provide to your customers. This is what you should focus your marketing strategy around.
3. Choose Your Marketing Channels
Based on your audience and your brand, you will need to choose what marketing channels to focus your B2B marketing strategy on.
This could include the strategies listed above, or others.
The important thing is that you use channels that your target audience uses. You could choose to focus on cold calling prospects, creating content on LinkedIn, making TikTok videos, or more. Each of these channels and strategies involves a very different audience with different desires.
Whatever channels you choose, make sure to continually monitor their effectiveness. This will help you to understand what channels work best for your B2B strategy, and which channels might be worth switching for something else.
4. Understand the Competition
Run a competitor analysis and understand what other B2Bs are operating in your space, what they offer, and what their marketing strategy looks like.
You’ll need to know who your main competitors are to help you differentiate from them and create stronger marketing content than them.
A good strategy is to create a list of your competitors, and then follow their marketing strategies. Follow them on social media, sign up for their mailing lists, and see what kind of content they’re publishing.
This will help you understand your competitors’ sales tactics, product offerings, marketing presence, and more. Use this to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and use this information to help you establish a unique place in the market.
5. Optimize Your Website
You can have a diverse digital marketing strategy, but the most important part of your digital presence remains your website.
If your website provides a poor experience, then you will struggle to get your other digital campaigns to make an impact. This is because all of your B2B marketing channels will eventually lead prospects to your website.
Start by making your website valuable. Ensure it displays exactly what your business does, what your unique selling proposition is, and what kind of value and benefits you can provide for companies.
Make it easy to navigate, make sure that it looks modern, and ensure it loads quickly and is optimized for mobile.
Then, optimize your website for conversions. This involves adding strategic popups and forms to help you capture lead information, optimizing your CTAs to make sure they attract the most clicks, adding trust badges and social proof to your website, and more.
By using a website builder like Wishpond, you can easily create optimized B2B websites to help you get more conversions. Simply choose a template that matches your business and customize it with the drag and drop editor. Then you can access the platform’s built-in marketing tools (like popups, email marketing, lead management, and more) to help you implement a diverse B2B marketing strategy through a single platform.
6. Create Your B2B Marketing Content
Now it’s time to craft your marketing content.
The most important thing is that you add value to your audience when doing this. Don’t just talk about what your product or service does, but talk about how you can help them.
Make sure you use professional-looking images and graphics, make your copy easy to read and authoritative, and create the right type of content for the right channels.
It’s always a good idea to create your B2B marketing content in advance, and schedule it out over your calendar.
7. Implement Your Strategy and Monitor the Results
Now your B2B marketing strategy is ready to go. It’s time to start publishing your marketing content and monitoring your results.
As with any kind of marketing strategy, you’ll want to continually optimize your strategy and make changes as time goes on. There’s always room to improve, which is why you need to keep your goals in mind and monitor the right metrics.
This lets you see what’s working, what isn’t working, and what areas of your B2B marketing strategy you can change to achieve the best results.
There’s a lot that goes into marketing a business, but the most important thing you need to get right is gearing your marketing towards the right audience.
B2B marketing may cover a lot of the same strategies and channels that you use in B2C, but the approach is very different. You need to know exactly what businesses want and deliver the right messages and value to match this.
As long as you understand your audience (business decision-makers), their buying journey, and know how to speak to them, your B2B marketing strategy should achieve awesome results.
Want help putting your B2B marketing plan into action? Chat to one of our marketing experts to see how we can help you grow your business.
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