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B2B Marketing Strategies

    B2B Marketing Strategies

    Choosing the right B2B marketing channel is important. With so many advertisements and brands competing for attention, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Especially when consumers, both B2B and B2C, have so many outlets competing for their attention. Think of the amount of time you can spend across social media platforms alone! Some believe that our attention span is down to a little as eight seconds. Given the many platforms competing for our attention, and the number of brands which have saturated each one, pinpointing where to reach them is huge.

    But channel is just the first piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve chosen where to reach your audience, picking the right strategy is key. Tweets or LinkedIn posts that no one engages with are a waste of your valuable time. A defined marketing strategy will help you focus your time and increase effectiveness.

    Sales cycles in B2B are notoriously long and complex. Finding leads, nurturing them, and eventually convincing them to invest in your product doesn’t happen overnight.Winning B2B marketing strategies convert prospects into customers. The marketers behind these strategies choose the right channels and messaging across multiple touchpoints. Each interaction builds on the last, helping to overcome objections and build trust.

    Here are some of the most common marketing strategies:

    Content marketing is all the rage these days.

    But what is it?

    It’s creating and sharing material that stimulates interest in your company’s products or services. It could be written content, such as a blog post or an eBook, or a video on your YouTube channel. Content marketing isn’t a “hard sell” strategy. The emphasis is on providing materials people will want to interact with. Often it is there to answer a question they have, or help solve a common problem you know your target audience may face.

    Successful brands have now become resource centers for their customers and prospects. This raises your brand awareness as prospects discover your company through the resources and content you provide. It also builds trust in your brand as people interact with you – the beginning stages of nurturing prospects. The topic of the content you publish may be about your brand or product, but it should not be the focus. Rather, focus on providing content that will assist your customers and prospects in their professional work.

    While many consider it a newer marketing trend, content marketing has been around a lot longer than you might think. John Deere, a manufacturer of tractors and other farm equipment, is one of the most famous examples. The company started publishing The Furrow, a magazine for farmers, all the way back in 1895!

    The FurrowThe internet has pushed content marketing to the forefront. Businesses can do research and find relevant information with the click of a mouse. B2B marketers who engage them during that process are more likely to win their trust.

    Types of Content Marketing

    One thing that makes content for B2B incredibly beneficial: It’s often inexpensive for marketers to create it and distribute it across multiple platforms. Blogs, for example, are a feature on almost any company’s website, ready and waiting to be utilized. The biggest cost for the company is simply having someone create the content.

    We can create – and consume – content across different media platforms such as:

    • Blogs. Writing and publishing articles consistently builds credibility, and sets B2B companies apart as true thought leaders in their respective industries. Blogs can also drive valuable traffic to your website.
    • Ebooks, white papers, and reports. This content lets brands get more technical and in depth on topics important to their industry or market, appealing to leads deeper in the sales cycle.
    • Infographics and charts. Visual content lets viewers grasp technical content in a more accessible way. It’s often some of the most commonly shared content, as visuals are so effective on social media and can tell an entire story quickly.
    • Podcasts. Someone might not have time to sit down and read, but they could listen to a podcast while at the gym or during a commute. B2B marketers get access to a completely different audience by utilizing podcasts, and reach their existing audience as they go about their daily activities.
    • Videos. Video content humanizes B2B companies. Marketers can slice it up into easily digestible chunks, and distribute it across multiple channels such as their websites, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channels. And now that smartphones with bigger screens are the norm, people are watching more video throughout their days than ever before.

    Getting started with content marketing can feel overwhelming. There are so many possibilities to explore. Fortunately, there are plenty of great resources to get you up and running.

    • Curata’s list of Ultimate Content Marketing Tools
    • Sprout Social’s 179 Content Marketing Tools & Resources to Bookmark
    • Wallaroo Media’s curated list of 312 Content Marketing Resources

    Account-Based Marketing

    Account-based marketing (or ABM) is a popular strategy for B2B companies that sell to enterprise companies, or those with more than 1,000 employees. You may have heard the metaphor, “throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks.” Instead of this ‘spaghetti’ marketing, which means attempting market to everyone without any targeting, ABM focuses on marketing to individual companies that will lead to big revenue.

    First, high-level target accounts are selected. Then, individuals at those companies who are key decision-makers are identified, and marketing efforts are focused on engaging those people. The goal is to build interpersonal relationships with people who will turn into prospects, with a foundation that lasts for years to come.

    It takes significant effort to research which companies and contacts to target. While doing this and customizing marketing strategies takes time, the effort is worth the reward when executed correctly. Landing and maintaining a few key accounts can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. Especially when you consider Pareto’s Principle: 80 percent of revenue comes from 20 percent of the customers.

    Remember: B2B sales cycles tend to be long and complicated. The products are expensive. Deciding to buy requires a long-term commitment. There are typically many parties involved and several moving parts. All the more reason for B2B customers to invest with someone they know, like, and trust.

    B2B companies use account-based marketing in several ways:

    • Advertising. Working online, B2B marketers can be granular with their ads. Google and the most popular social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, allow marketers to target specific audiences. They can customize their audiences down to the smallest detail, such as company size, location, and job title.
    • Custom offers. Some marketers create unique offers for their most-desired accounts. By sharing their expertise or giving away something valuable, it’s easier to get the right people’s attention. This is also where direct mail, can come into play. As you and your sales team get to know prospects, note their specific interests. Remembering personal details can go a long way to show how much you value them, as a client and a person.
    • Hosting Invitation-Only Events. Creating events to engage prospects (and nurture clients you hope will become brand advocates) is a great way to establish interpersonal relationships. It will give you a chance to truly get to know people face to face. And by targeting events to high-level prospects and customers, you give them an air of exclusivity, making them feel important for being invited. Instead of a dinner, you could also host networking drinks, a breakfast, or any kind of event which holds an aspirational quality.
    • Training and Webinars. Aside from an event that is social-based, such as a dinner, you can also hold an event that will assist your clients in solving their problems. Giving new customers the attention they need to succeed will ensure that they make the most of your product, increasing the likelihood of an upsell. By hosting a webinar and other events, you’ll have a great opportunity to interact with prospects, but make sure the content is of a high enough level to provide enough value.
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