What is your top priority in B2B marketing

B2B marketing

B2B marketing: brief explanation

 
B2B marketing stands for business-to-business marketing and describes all marketing measures that are aimed at companies as customers. The term is used to differentiate it from B2C marketing, business-to-consumer marketing aimed at end customers. In both marketing areas, the same instruments are used to some extent, but B2B marketing basically pursues a much more goal-oriented approach.

Detailed explanation

 
In marketing, a distinction is made between the areas of B2B and B2C, since advertising that is aimed at companies works very differently than marketing for end consumers. B2B marketing, for example, does not usually have to have a large reach, because the number of customers is limited in most cases. For this, close coordination with the sales department or sales department makes sense, because the measures in B2B marketing should not stand on their own if possible. Ideally, sales start right after marketing, so that many leads (customer inquiries) are fed into the sales funnel. Because not every lead leads to an order, so enough leads have to be generated to sufficiently fill the sales funnel.

Another important difference between B2B and B2C marketing is the much more personal approach in the business-to-business area. Advertising must be targeted here, specifically at the people who decide on the commissioning or have an influence on it. These are among others
 

  • Head of department
  • CEO or management of the company
  • Skilled workers who advise executives and management
  • Finance department employee

 
Large-scale advertising campaigns are therefore less of an issue in the B2B area - instead, the target group can be made aware of one's own company with small, direct measures. In order to increase brand awareness, there are, for example, specialist articles on topics and areas in which the company is active. Internet portals such as Xing and LinkedIn can also be very helpful in B2B marketing, because they not only offer jobs. In contrast to social media sites such as Facebook, there is still a clear content orientation here, so if a company not only advertises jobs but also new developments, trends or offers on its profile page, it often reaches the appropriate target group.

An online presence is absolutely essential in B2B marketing, because very few decision-makers will place an order solely on the basis of advertising. Doing your own research on topics and providers is an integral part of the process - and well over two thirds of decision-makers carry out this research online. With the right SEA and SEO measures, a company can put itself in a favorable position for such research and often increase the likelihood of an inquiry.

The third important mainstay when it comes to B2B marketing are trade fairs and events. Potential partners can be specifically contacted here together with the sales department. However, since a large number of trade fairs and events take place in most industries, not all events can usually be catered for. Accordingly, the motto here should be “less is more” - instead of contacting as many potential customers as possible at a trade fair, it is often better to concentrate on a few of them in order to come to a conclusion there. This is where personal orientation comes into play again: Business customers want reliable partners they know and with whom communication works smoothly. Mass processing, which can be quite successful in the B2C area, will rarely lead to success in the B2B area.

How do you find a suitable approach for B2B marketing?

 
In order to be able to use the various possibilities of business-to-business marketing sensibly, it is first of all necessary to define the target group precisely. For example, the following questions are of interest:
 

  • Should you rather target large or small companies?
  • Which industries are served by your own company?
  • Is there an industry that is particularly important?

 
Then it must be clarified how the target group can best be addressed. Are customers active on Facebook on the Internet and can they be contacted via social media content, for example? Can professional networks like Xing and LinkedIn be used? Do customer employees regularly visit certain trade fairs or events?

In addition, the objectives of the measures must be defined - because it makes a big difference whether leads are to be generated or you just want to increase awareness of the company or the brand.

Once these questions have been clarified, concrete steps can be taken. The Internet plays a key role in this, because despite the importance of trade fairs and events, online measures are becoming increasingly important in B2B marketing. As a rule, it is advisable not to rely on a single measure, but to use several together, as they often complement each other and this leads to synergy effects.

First of all, the company's website should have top priority, because without an online presence the company will be difficult to find, no matter how good the advertising is. A well thought-out on-page optimization is therefore an absolute must. The page has to be clearly laid out, easy to read and easy to contact - after all, most of those responsible get information about potential business partners over the Internet. For this reason, a presence in one or more B2B portals should be established in addition to your own website. Many decision-makers use these portals as the first point of contact when looking for business partners. With a convincing appearance, a lot of leads can be generated via the portals.

If, above all, brand awareness is to be increased, SEA campaigns have proven their worth. Of course, leads can also be generated in this way, but since the ads appear regardless of whether they are looking for a business partner or just information on the relevant topic, they primarily contribute to the awareness of the company or the brand.

Content marketing, on the other hand, aims to offer customers added value through content and thus underpin the expertise of one's own company. The latter in particular is very important in the B2B area, because commissioning is only possible if a potential partner is seen as competent. Content marketing can mainly be done via your own website, but B2B portals and job networks such as Xing and LinkedIn are also suitable for this.

B2B marketing and social media content

 
In general, it is said that social media is less suitable for the B2B area because the communication here is not targeted enough. In principle, this is true, but not only companies have a profile on Facebook and Co., but also employees of these companies. This fact means that social media content can certainly serve to win over corporate customers. But it is important that it is used correctly. Possible goals here could be:
 

  • attract attention
  • Emphasize the company's expertise
  • Establish contacts for sales
  • Ask for recommendations

 
If enough representatives of the target group are represented on a social media channel, brand awareness can be increased through regular posts in combination with Facebook ads. The ads are targeted to people with relevant interests and ensure that the articles are read more often - provided they offer exciting content or other added value.

The second point from the list is not feasible for all companies, but it is for many. A variety of topics are discussed on social media channels. A company can therefore demonstrate its expertise here through well-founded contributions and comments and thus develop a reputation for itself. This is worth its weight in gold, especially in the B2B sector, because companies with a good reputation are considered credible and for this reason can more easily win the trust of customers.

Social media is also suitable for making it easier for sales to contact you. For example, if you discreetly make a person in charge aware of an article that might be of interest to you, this creates a point of contact for sales. In addition, contact is no longer so unexpected for the person responsible and he is usually more open-minded.

A final option to use social media for B2B marketing is to ask business partners for recommendations. Of course, this is only worthwhile for customers who are completely satisfied with the services provided by their own company, and it works particularly well when a recommendation is made in return. Alternatively, you can just ask for likes or to share content - very few companies have a problem with this and with a little luck the process will take on a life of its own. Then the company benefits from increasing brand awareness and a good image, and its own advertising messages also appear more credible if they are supported by third-party recommendations.

Conclusion

 
B2B marketing differs significantly from the B2C variant. The main thing here is to identify the target group and address it directly with smaller measures. Personal contact and an impeccable reputation are also very important. In addition, the advertising should not be too intrusive, especially if you want to win new customers. If the name and services of the company are known, that is often enough, because the customers then find the company themselves via B2B portals and the website. Social media can help generate leads, but mostly plays second fiddle behind content and search engine marketing.


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