What are your Business Goals?
So you want to grow your business this year using new and improved smart B2B marketing trends? In the competitive landscape, especially in the B2B space, it is of the utmost importance to stay current with trends to maximize your selling power and your reach.
In this blog post I’m going to show you what really drives home growth and how smart B2B marketing trends will expand your business to new heights.
But first, what are your goals? Driving business growth this year, right? A hallmark of a good achievable goal comes down to two factors.
1. The goal must be specific.
It must be well-defined, and well thought out so that you can devise a game plan. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all goals should be small, but they need to be realistically achievable. “I want to drive business growth.” Seems pretty vague, right? How will you drive growth? By what deadline?
2. The goal must be measurable.
It should have a time frame, a countable scale, or some sort of metric. Instead of “I want to drive business growth,” you should say, “By the end of this quarter, I’m going to gain [X] leads through [Y] method.” You should come up with a goal both specific and measurable, that is tailored to your business and industry.
Now that you have defined your goal, the next step is figuring out how to take action and implement the strategies to get you there. Marketing is not a one size fits all solution, especially when it comes to B2B. So next, we will discuss how to come up with a game plan for your business and what perfect combination of smart B2B marketing trends will drive business growth this year.
Smart B2B Marketing Trends to Watch Out For
1. Tailor your Strategy
Just like you and your business, your marketing strategy needs to be unique. If marketing was a one size fits all approach, then there would be no competition in the marketplace and we’d be out of business.
That’s why its important to find what works for you, in your specific market. After all, these are smart B2B marketing trends. That means they need to be tailored to your business and be keeping up with the ever-changing trends in the marketing world.
2. Who is your target? Identify your Audience
Are you sure you know who your audience is? You own a successful brand and have filled out orders and found customers before, right? I’m talking more specific, though. I’m talking as specific as, who in the chain of command at your target customer’s business is stumbling across your product or service?
Again, it depends on your target audience. Is it a C-Suite executive, a purchasing manager, or a younger business development analyst? Will they find you through Facebook, LinkedIn, SEO or word of mouth? Chances are, it’s a combination of all of these, so no one group can be left out.
The difference between B2C and B2B is that the B2B audience is much smaller. They are more logical in their purchasing. And they put much more weight into personal relationships with other businesses. Perhaps the biggest difference is that B2B customers are long term buyers who rely on your services to operate soundly.
The best way to tackle identifying your audience is to create buyer personas so you have a sound idea of who you are actually marketing towards. If you’d like to learn more about how to do so, then check out our article on how to make the most of your small business marketing budget this year. Taking all of this into consideration, your goals should be to build trusting relationships with other businesses by presenting value and loyalty.
3. Building a Brand with B2B Marketing Trends
Hone your Story
Perhaps one of the most effective strategies to grow your business that would have the most impact and longevity is building your brand. Not necessarily your business, but your brand.
People and businesses like to feel personally connected with whom they are conducting business. They want to know your story. They want to know your company values. Even if your business comes from humble beginnings, people love to hear success stories and want to uplift like-minded businesses.
Old marketing guides will tell you its all about volume. But the modern landscape where people are more connected than ever says otherwise.
Quality content and copy makes your business feel more approachable, which generates higher conversions. Adopt those B2C tactics and tell a story. Avoid overly technical industry jargon and dense writing, in favor of succinctly telling your customers what your value is and how you can help them.
Every engagement you make is an opportunity to sell your brand, so keep it light and fresh. The goal is to come across as an approachable brand who produces content that resonates with the audience and adds value by educating them on your business. You want to be seen as a trustworthy, transparent business.
We Want to Help You Grow
At LYFE Marketing, we know every small business has an amazing, inspirational story behind it, and we want to help you share it. We offer a host of different B2B marketing services to help expand your reach and boost exposure in your industry.
We believe each business is unique and deserves a tailored approach to their marketing strategy. Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can implement smart B2B marketing trends to get your story out there.
4. Content Marketing
Content marketing is nothing new, but it is a B2B marketing trend most definitely here to stay. Whether it be through blogs, photography, videos, or podcasts, content marketing remains one of the tried and true B2B marketing trends.
Being an influencer or thought leader in your space translates to authority which translates to a better return on interest for your marketing budget. B2C tactics are slowly coming to the B2B landscape, and content marketing is no exception.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to content marketing is that it turns your audience into volunteer marketers. Through word of mouth, sharing, and reposting your content, your reach extends further than ever by creating conversation within your industry.
One of the best ways to leverage content marketing is to create educational content on your industry. It promotes your brand as a thought leader and provides immediate value to your audience. This can take the form of blogs, videos, guides, and informational social media posts.
Remember to stay consistent. If you want to maximize customer retention and keep an attentive audience, you need to deliver valuable content on a regular schedule. To keep an attentive audience, you also need to keep the content entertaining and unique. Don’t produce content just to adhere to a schedule.
Video is King
When it comes to content marketing, especially multi-media, video content has been dominating the game. It doesn’t have to be a high-end motion picture to be a powerful way to tell your story. It gives you a ton of creative freedom to make meaningful engagements.
This can be anything from storytelling videos, to educational content, to even live-streaming company events. Anything to give your audience a ‘behind the brand’ look boosts your credibility in your respective space.
If you need a hand getting started, or don’t know where to begin, LYFE is here for all your content marketing needs. We offer a plethora of content creation services backed by in depth research on your industry. At LYFE, we collaborate with our clients to help design their online image, and execute it consistently delivering compelling content to your target audiences. Schedule a call with us, and we will show you what our specialists can do to foster growth with our content marketing services.
5. Social Media Done Right
Remember, your customers are people too, and what better way to really connect with people than social media. Most businesses think that social media may not apply to them or their industry, but the key is to keep in mind who you are targeting and what would appeal to them.
It’s not just about selling your product. It’s more about bringing awareness to your company by creating content or value for your customers. By combining your story with compelling content and taking advantage of account-based marketing, you are well on your way to dominating social media in your industry.
Take a look at this Instagram post from pharmaceutical company, Novartis. An industry you wouldn’t think would be active on social media. But they use the platform to build their story and show the value they add to the community rather than taking a sales approach.
Facebook is for Everyone
Everybody, including every level of your target audience, has a Facebook account. Facebook and Instagram still remain one of the most powerful platforms for business, including B2B. Facebook is not only used as a platform to discover new businesses, but also can be used to reinforce brand loyalty and thought leadership.
It has been proven to be one of the best places to promote content marketing and comfortably engage with prospective customers. Not only that, but Facebook’s ad campaigns are a great way to specifically target customers based on their relevancy.
At LYFE Marketing we offer a whole suite of Facebook management services. We help businesses keep on top of their social media by consistently creating compelling content and engaging with their user base. We also help create highly personalized campaigns to make sure the right people see your business.
Our in-depth analytics software helps track reach and engagement, and we provide these metrics in a monthly comprehensive report. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you maximize your Facebook marketing, feel free to schedule a call to discuss your business’s marketing needs.
Don’t Forget LinkedIn
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 92% of B2B marketers choose LinkedIn to conduct their business. It is a specialized social media platform for businesses and their employees, so what better way to connect than to use it for what it’s for.
Some businesses aren’t as responsive to targeted ads and prefer building rapport through industry specific engagements. This can be anything from publishing educational content, to having employees engage with your customer’s employees. It humanizes your business and exemplifies your values through helpful content in a more professional setting.
If you would like help on how to establish yourself on LinkedIn, then consider our LinkedIn marketing services and advertising services. We help clients draw out a plan to maximize their LinkedIn exposure. We accomplish this through consistently publishing industry specific content, increasing awareness through LinkedIn’s sponsored updates feature, and engaging with your audience to establish trust and accountability.
6. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
You may have heard of (ABM), or Account-Based Marketing before, but what is it?
It is a blend of marketing and sales that is often overlooked but is one of the most effective and smart B2B marketing trends.
In essence, account-based marketing employs a hyper-targeted approach to identifying existing customers or even customers already aware of your service and directing your marketing towards them. Not only does this method cut down on marketing budgets, but it eliminates a lot of time and energy spent trying to generate leads, when it could be spent nurturing existing relationships.
The idea is to create highly personalized marketing efforts directed at known clients to resonate with their business. You should look at individual accounts as a market of their own market. Instead of spending precious resources digging for those far in between B2B leads, focus on what you know. Allocate your marketing budget towards putting your best foot forward on your best chances to close a deal.
So how do you go about this?
Personalization and Segmentation
Again, lets come back to who is buying your product or service. At the end of the day, it is not just the business who you are trying to sell to. A human is buying your product, so you need to get personal with them.
The best way to approach account-based marketing is through personalized efforts and customer segmentation. This is easily done through B2B email marketing. Each engagement you make with these specific accounts needs to feel highly personalized and valuable to your prospect if you want a high conversion rate.
One way to accomplish this is by creating a personalized experience for your customer when they visit your website. Examples of this can be as simple as displaying your customer’s name on a landing page, to a little more in depth with custom copy and images.
Another B2B marketing trend is to use dynamic ads on your landing page dependent on the behavior of your customer. Be careful to not come across as overly ‘data-mined’ when doing this because it can feel a bit intrusive to customers who you have not developed a deep business relationship with yet.
Keep it Social
Another way to approach this is to include your target businesses in your content marketing or on social media. If your business is developing itself to be a thought leader in its industry, acknowledge other businesses trying to do the same with a tip of the hat in a post or thought piece. Similar to what you see in the post below from a small team culture company that offers team building activities to other businesses through adventures.
This can be done by engaging with target businesses on social media. You and your employees should be actively engaging with relevant content across all social media platforms to draw attention to your business and your content.
Get Personal / Nurture Existing Relationships
A highly personalized approach would be to directly reach out to the decision makers of your target company. You already have an idea of your buyer personas and through analytics, you know who is in the market for your service.
A potential downfall of overly automated correspondence is that it feels just that, robotic. Customized emails and messages make your customers feel like a real person at your company is dedicated to their needs. Be sure to employ the one-to-one approach as much as you can when reaching out to decision makers, versus the less personal one-to-many strategy.
Account based marketing isn’t a new concept, but as you can see it is gaining a lot of attention as of late. It’s one of the fastest growing B2B marketing trends. Stay ahead of your competition by incorporating it into your B2B marketing trends toolbox.
You’ve probably heard the old adage that it takes a person, or in this case a business, coming across your brand an upwards of 7 times before they become a viable customer. That number shouldn’t discourage you. In fact, you should see it as 7 opportunities to tell your story and show your worth.
Not only that, its shows that it is OK to be persistent, and really it should be expected.
How To Stay On Top of It All
After all it is easier to retain a customer than convert a new one. Knowing this, your smart B2B marketing strategy should include a great deal of customer engagement.
That’s why LYFE Marketing offers our social media marketing services where we actively answer customer questions, respond to comments, and maintain your business’s online presence. We know keeping up with your public image on every platform can feel cumbersome, so that’s why we’re here to help.
7. Influencer Marketing
Another extremely effective B2B marketing trend is utilizing influencer marketing. You are probably aware of the movers and shakers in your industry, which means other businesses are too. Networking with the thought leaders of your space can be advantageous by proving your value and credibility to an established audience.
Having influencers promote your content takes advantage of their reach and does wonders for your exposure. Because of the typically larger purchase sizes in the B2B market, word of mouth carries more weight. The best way to approach this smart B2B marketing trend is to tie in account based marketing.
The key is to pay attention to who is influencing your existing customers and potential business partners, not necessarily who has the biggest ‘social footprint.’
Another budding strategy in influencer marketing is that brands are now starting to go beyond sending influencers the campaigns to promote. Today, they have begun to also include these influencers in the creation process. And it has delivered great results. And why not? These people have become influencers because their audience crave the things that they share. If anyone knows their followers well, it’s them. They know what their audience, your target market, want and need.
8. Big Data
9. Marketing Analytics and Automation
When all your ducks are in a row, and you have implemented all lanes of smart B2B marketing trends, then it may be time to think about optimization. Using smart data is becoming the norm for the marketing landscape and it applies to all forms of advertising. More precise analytics and consumer data leads to better targeting and in turn leads to ease of automation.
Not only can you better personalize marketing, communication, and deliverables, using customer behavior and interests, you can identify new potential customers in your space. Through automated marketing software, you are able to push content towards who would value it the most rather than bombard your entire email lists’ inboxes.
10. Powerful SEO
In a world where most tasks are accomplished with a Google search, search engine optimization is not something to be neglected. It dictates your online presence to the broad market, and it also builds upon your credibility. SEO is a highly scalable strategy that utilizes analytics to put your website in front of the right people with relevant search keywords.
Effective SEO dictates how your website is structured, how the right keywords are presented, and what keywords will make your website rise to the top of the search. I won’t dwell too much on SEO strategy because we have a whole library on SEO strategies that you can learn from.
Tying Back into Personalization/ABM
Using marketing analytics with your account-based marketing strategy, you can identify new potential customers based on their interests and behavior. You already have a general idea of your buyer personas. So now it comes down to identifying who is in the awareness stage versus the decision stage. And what value you can bring to them to help narrow down their buying process to you. Be conscious.
A word on Artificial Intelligence
With the fast-paced growth of technology, staying on top of advanced B2B marketing trends will give you a slight edge in the marketplace. By corroborating your own intent data with third party analytics from ever developing software, you can gain insight into what drives your market.
Customer behavior, influence, and what drives engagement will soon be much more easily discovered through the applications of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. The best way to approach this new wave of sophistication is to incorporate it as a tool. Don’t be too over-reliant on emerging technologies though. The human touch is what drives the marketplace.
Find What Works BEST for You
Now that you have the toolbox of all the modern, smart B2B marketing trends, its your turn to find what works best for your business.
Start by sitting down and laying your goals out on the table.
Next, come up with a strategy and a game plan that will bring you closer to executing those goals.
It is important to test all avenues of marketing to find what combination has the most influence in your industry, so you should be aiming for a healthy mix. Marketing is becoming the language of sales, and with every technological development in the space comes a new wave of opportunity. Utilize these smart B2B marketing trends, and you will have the toolbox to approach every platform.
So hopefully you’ve found what strategy works for you. If so, you are on the first step to developing long lasting growth in your company using effective smart B2B marketing trends.
After reading, if you are still unsure of where to start, or want to take your growth to the next level, or even just need more manpower through a helping hand, don’t venture any further. Our experts at LYFE Marketing are here to help you implement those smart B2B marketing trends to drive growth.