B2B doesn’t have to be boring. Forget the dry, stuffy and stale corporate messaging, it’s time to discover a new way to speak to decision-makers.
They’re just people after all, and that means they respond pretty much the same way as B2C customers.
Our whole ethos is built around the notion that whether it’s B2B, B2C or D2C, to activate people, you have to Captivate People. Sure, the tactics may vary from channel to channel, but the moment you imagine the people you’re selling to are very much like you, then you’re on the way to Captivating People.
Here are our favourite B2B marketing strategies to do just that:
B2B professionals are often on the hunt for new information, knowledge and tactics that they can use to improve their marketing performance. That’s what makes content marketing such a perfect fit. Rather than bombard potential customers with ads, content marketing aims to educate customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey, offering huge amounts of value for free and positioning brands as the go-to authority on a topic so that readers eventually become customers.
Content marketing is exactly what we’re doing right now with this blog post. Our target audience are people just like you; professionals at B2B companies who want to improve their marketing efforts. We achieve several things by writing this article. First, we have a chance of showing up in Google, widening our potential audience. Second, we demonstrate we know what we’re talking about and position our brand as an authority on the topic. Third, we have the opportunity to show you exactly what we’ve achieved in the past for B2B brands — skip to the conclusion if you want to read about that immediately.
Don’t think social media is the preserve of B2C brands. B2B decision-makers spend just as much time on Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook as B2C customers, and brands need to be thinking about how best to reach them on these platforms.
Having an active presence on key B2B channels (LinkedIn and Twitter specifically) will help your brand establish a presence and grow a following among industry peers. So, when your sales or marketing teams reach out to decision-makers, you’ll benefit from brand recognition.
These platforms can also be used to distribute the fruits of your content marketing labours (blog posts, whitepapers and other research documents) to a broader audience. You can even target B2B decision-makers directly through paid ads — perfect if you have an enticing trial offer or something else with a relatively low barrier to entry you want to promote.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that email marketing is an incredibly effective way to reach B2B and B2C customers alike. But you may need guidance on how to extract maximum value from your efforts.
Start by growing your email list alongside your content marketing efforts. Require users to submit an email address to download your whitepaper, for instance, or include an email sign up button on every blog post.
When it comes to emailing your list, don’t waste their time. Emails should be short, sharp and explain the benefits as quickly as possible. Crafting a compelling subject line is crucial. Think about how many emails pile up in your inbox each day and how many you delete without reading. It takes something special to stand out and get noticed, which is why it matters what you say and how long it takes to say it.
Account-based marketing is a highly personalised take on traditional B2B marketing efforts. Rather than targeting hundreds of businesses in a particular sector, you focus your efforts on a handful of individual accounts. This ROI-focused strategy does away with vanity metrics and only cares about one thing: closing the deal.
Focusing on a small selection of businesses may seem like putting all your eggs in one basket, but it empowers you to deliver the kind of highly personalised marketing campaigns that can drive serious results. The key is to make sure the accounts you’re targeting are worth your time and effort. Don’t waste time with small companies that aren’t going to send revenues soaring. But don’t chase after massive fish that you’re unlikely to catch either.
There are two B2C-specific strategies that we think translate seamlessly into the B2B world: personalisation and influencer marketing. Personalisation is covered by account-based marketing, so let’s look at what influencer marketing can do for your B2B brand.
Influencer marketing can be just as effective when marketing to businesses as it is in the B2C world. Working directly with influencers in your industry is a fantastic way to associate your brand with a trusted name. Influencers don’t have to be people, either. Brands are just as capable of being influencers and can carry the same weight as individuals, if not more.
You won’t just get a boost in reputation from B2B influencer marketing. The quality of traffic generated from these campaigns is typically better than most other sources. A recommendation from a trusted figure is hugely influential, and any decision-maker who subsequently checks out your brand will have a high intent to purchase.
Event marketing is bread and butter for most B2B marketing professionals, and for good reason. Events let you focus on a core part of your audience, offering your sales and marketing teams the chance to socialise with potential buyers, and build brand awareness throughout the calendar year.
The pandemic has proven that you don’t have to blow all of your marketing budget on expensive events, however. Online webinars, podcasts and other digital events can be just as effective at generating results as in-person events.
You’ve seen the thought leaders on LinkedIn and Twitter. What you may not have realised is that while they’re growing their own profile, they are also generating brand awareness for the companies they work for.
There’s no reason your employees can’t become thought leaders too — they just need your support. Rather than ask them to share every blog post you publish, arm them with the stats and data to talk broadly about the trends they’re seeing in the industry. Encourage them to collaborate with other thought leaders, attend workshops, speak at conferences and host podcasts. The more your employees feel empowered to engage with the wider industry, the more powerful a mouthpiece for your brand they’ll become.
As we said in the introduction to this article, we don’t see a huge amount of difference between B2B and B2C. We see it as People 2 People. Whichever of the above strategies you’re using, it’s all about captivating your audience with an engaging campaign and the right message.
If you want to move away from stale, boring B2B marketing campaigns, we’re here to help you make genuine connections with decision-makers. Major global businesses working across many sectors love how we simplify and activate their USPs via our strategic and creative approach.
Discover how we helped DHL sharpen their message, create targeted marketing campaigns for individual sectors and bring everything to life in digital, print and experiential, or speak to one of our consultants today to find out how we can help you.