Is your company using these crucial B2B marketing strategies? 

Did you know that 51% of B2B businesses don’t have a marketing strategy in place? WTF? Are we the only ones that think this is crazy? How can you succeed if you don’t know where you are going? Getting a well-defined marketing strategy in place is a crucial aspect of developing your business, and the only way you can consistently distribute your brand message.  What follows are several B2B marketing strategies and tactics that can help boost lead generation, increase ROI,  and boost your overall sales.

What are B2B Marketing Strategies?

b2b-marketing-strategies-roadDigital marketing strategies like SEO, landing pages, email marketing and email marketing can successfully build an audience early stages of a company’s life. But once these tactics have run their course, it’s time to pump new life into a marketing plan with B2B marketing strategies that can bring in new blood. For instance, 93% of B2B companies use social media for marketing but only 42% are using mobile.

B2B marketing strategies are just what they sound like – specific tactics that businesses use to target and reach other businesses. Like with any kind of marketing, you want to make sure you are speaking to an appropriate audience with the right tone and voice. Thus, the tactics you use to reach other businesses are going to be a little different than those you would use to reach consumers.

3. Ways B2B Marketing Differs from B2C

A. Insider Lingo

When talking to consumers, you usually  keep your language as simple as possible because consumers don’t talk like industry dweebs.  When talking to other business leaders you have a little leeway for some self-aware jargon, if you want to wow them with your expertise. But beware the love-hate relationship with buzzwords.  Smart marketers will call surely call you full of it if you too often endorse using  360-campaigns pushing snackable content to growth hack your way to a higher ROI.

It’s smart to develop B2B personas and use feedback tools (like these) to see how people are responding.

B. Detail

While humor and shareability might be big factors in B2C marketing, B2B requires content that is high level and offers more insight and value to an audience. Expert B2B marketers Paul Hague, Nick Hague, and Matthew Harrison explain the importance of technical detail in B2B marketing:

“Many target companies in business-to-business campaigns are already well-informed on the product area, in which case promotional material may have to go as far as offering product specifications… The key for the B2B marketer is to be fully informed in relation to the product or service being sold.  This understanding must cover not only the ‘technical’ details of the offering, but also the extended offer including aftersales service, problem resolution, client management team, etc. “

C. Length

B2B marketing materials tend to be lengthier than B2C – the audience is looking for thorough content that gives them a reason to choose your business over other experts in the industry. Studies show that 73% of B2B companies use long form marketing tactics like case studies to draw in customers.

b2b-marketing-strategies-close-upD. Close Attention

Because the sales funnel tends to be longer and the buying process more time-consuming, B2B marketing requires much more nurturing and attention to customers. According to a study done by Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.  On top of that, these nurtured leads have been shown to make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Insanely Effective B2B Marketing Strategies

While many B2B marketing strategies aren’t necessarily breaking the mold, they are being used in different ways than they may have been before. Keeping up with some of the most powerful and effective B2B marketing strategies out there today will help you stay on top of your marketing strategy. Check out some of the strategies that have proven to work best.

1. Marketing Automation

More and more B2B marketers are turning to marketing automation platforms to help manage the amount of data and complex market dynamics. Email marketing campaigns used to be pretty straightforward – you’d devise a campaign, send out an email and wait for the sales to roll in. It’s not so simple in today’s multichannel world.

Same with tracking website visitors – while it used to just be a matter of keeping track of how many people came to your site, now detailed reporting can provide you with valuable insights. The topic is a good one to explore and this comprehensive guide to marketing automation covers everything from email to visitor tracking to database management – give it a read.

Marketing automation is one of the b2b marketing strategies that makes it easy for B2B marketers to target prospects and clients with the right content at the right time. And it works – According to a Demand Gen Report, 75% of companies using marketing automation see ROI in only 12 months, and Pardot saw that marketing automation users have seen an average increase in sales revenue of 34%.

Marketing automation can combine multiple types of data, such as pages visited, items downloaded, form submissions, etc. and assign scores to various leads. This is incredibly helpful to B2B marketers because it not only automates tedious processes, it allows you to offer thoughtful, personalized messages to potential customers based on exactly where they are in the funnel. Tools like MailChimp, Unbounce and Zapier help you to automate a variety of marketing functions so that you can focus your time on improving your strategy in other ways.

Download our checklist “Ideation Workshop” and go through it during your next ideation session to consistently develop innovative ideas.

2. Explainer Videos

eMarketer found that video is one of the top 3 most useful types of content for B2B buyers in terms of making purchases. Explainer videos are short films that tell a story about the brand and fill potential customers in on who you are, what you do and what your unique value proposition is.

Explainer videos are one of the smartest B2B marketing strategies for several reasons; first, videos increase web traffic for B2B businesses by 41%. But further, explainer videos have been shown to increase conversion rates for companies by 20%. Explainer videos help solidify your expertise while simultaneously giving a human face to your brand. They also increase the chance of virality if you share explainer videos on your website and social media pages, upping the chances that your followers can help you get some free marketing.

3. CRM Tools

b2b-marketing-strategies-toolsetCRM systems are a powerful part of your B2B marketing strategy because they help you monitor the habits of your B2B customers and make informed decisions about how and when people buy. CRMs help store information in easy to access databases instead of storing them haphazardly. It’s incredibly important to monitor the buying habits of B2B customers very closely because a single B2B customer presents a much higher value than a single B2C customer. A good CRM tool, like Salesforce or Getbase, can help make your marketing efforts much more efficient and effective by optimizing the way you maintain records about your leads and current customers.

According to CRM experts, it’s never too early to get a CRM – you should invest right away. Studies on CRMs show that a CRM, on average, returns $5.60 for every $1.00 spent. Brent Leary, who co-founded CRM Essentials, explained in a Hubspot interview:

“In today’s world, you need to have a customer engagement process right from the very beginning…If you start blogging and somebody likes what you’re writing about and they want to learn more, you have to have an engagement process that helps you respond quickly and effectively so you can keep the momentum going.”

4. Native Advertising

According to SmartInsights, 49% of companies are increasing content marketing spend in the next year. Paid digital campaigns  just started to pick up steam and publishers and social media networks are both using a combination of earned and paid media. Native advertising lets you place your content alongside journalistic pieces or social posts to grab an audience’s attention in a way that traditional advertising never has. Sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms work in much the same way – your posts appear totally organically next to other ordinary content in a user’s feed. Marketing expert Chris Bennington explains why every B2B company should be focused on native advertising, saying, “For B2B advertisers, there are some real benefits. Many B2B buying decisions are not made spur of the moment. Due to this, banner ads are typically ineffective. Native ad placements give these businesses a chance to engage with their prospects by adding value through conversation.”

5. Lengthier Content

Creating longer forms of content, such as in-depth blog posts, eBooks, video courses, etc. are great ways for a small business to boost their reputation and unique value proposition. It helps you to connect to your audience and, in turn, generate more leads. Take a deeper look at your buyer personas and listen to your customers to find out what they want and what they think is worth listening to – then create content around those needs.

6. Interactive Content

Interactive content can be an awesome B2B marketing strategy for engaging leads in any stage of the funnel. According to the 2015 Content Preferences Survey, 91% of buyers prefer visual and interactive content rather than traditional formats. Having a higher level of buyer engagement like this means that B2B marketers get to benefit from deeper insights that can help guide marketing initiatives going forward. Interactive content is a fantastic value-add that can re-engage stale leads and customers who have lost interest and can disseminate information more effectively. Things like video, pop-up questions, assessments, quizzes, etc. provides a more original content experience. Content creation platforms like Visage, Ceros, Uberflilp and LookBookHQ can help in creating this kind of compelling content.

7. Conversing Directly with Customers via Mobile

B2B organizations have already gotten on board with the mobile trend (hopefully!) but sometimes it’s easy to forget that although you’re targeting businesses, you’re still trying to reach individual people in the way they can most easily be reached – on their smartphone.

b2b-marketing-strategies-mobileAccording to a Google study called “What Users Want Most from Mobile Sites Today,” 74% of customers said they were likely to return to a company’s website in the future if it was mobile, and 52% were less likely to engage with a company with no mobile website. Also, in a B2B marketing study done by Google, 42% of researchers reported using a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process.

Of course, your website is already responsive (isn’t it?) but now you have to take advantage of the other ways you can make your marketing work harder on mobile. For instance, one of the smartest b2b marketing strategies getting your content in mobile-ready form before you plug it on social media will make conversations go much more smoothly. Adapt individual pieces of content to different networks so that it’s easier for customers to engage with it via that platform. And please make sure that email content is mobile friendly, too – getting a poorly formatted email makes your business look bad.

B2B marketers have an exciting year ahead. Technology is changing at breakneck speeds and the b2b marketing strategies available to us are getting more advanced and sophisticated as a result. There’s a new generation of marketing tools on the horizon—these are tools that’ll amplify our creativity. The majority of our tools thus far have been made to measure and analyze data; that’ll continue to be important, but creating outstanding, captivating media will take precedence.

It’s best to jump on these new opportunities now while the iron is hot – if you do so wisely, you’ll be well on your way to reaching and exceeding your goals this year.