Business-to-business, or B2B companies face their own unique challenges when it comes to B2B online marketing. Whereas B2C companies just speak to consumers, B2B brands often have to speak to different stakeholders that are involved in the purchasing process. In addition, B2B products and services often have a longer sales cycle and tend to be more expensive.
With all of these unique marketing challenges in mind, businesses targeting other businesses need to employ effective B2B online marketing strategies. These strategies should be aimed at engaging and converting specific business customers that are the right fit for the B2B product or service. But which tactics are the best for B2B brands?
Below, we’ll discuss some of the most effective B2B online marketing strategies available today. We’ll also talk more about how you can incorporate these tactics into your digital marketing strategy to improve the results of your campaigns.
Lead Magnet Content
Content marketing plays an important role in every B2B online marketing strategy. But one of the tactics that can help you really get the most out of your content marketing is creating lead magnets, or gated pieces of content that aim to attract and engage your ideal B2B leads. Lead magnets offer valuable and relevant information to individuals in exchange for their contact information.
The best part about lead magnets as a B2B online marketing tool is that they allow you to separate your typical website visitor from one who shows a strong interest in your brand. When leads are willing to provide their contact information in exchange for a piece of content, this is a sign that they are interested in what your company has to say and they might be a good fit for your brand.
In addition to helping you collect contact information for your leads, lead magnets also help you establish industry knowledge and brand authority. By creating helpful content that adds value for your leads, you can work to position your company as a helpful resource in the B2B buyer’s journey.
This is a simple yet effective example of a lead magnet in action, which requires just an email address and a name to access.
The key to creating successful lead magnets is understanding what your leads and prospects want and need during their buyer’s journey. It helps to revisit your buyer personas to gain a stronger understanding of your target audience’s greatest challenges and needs. You may also want to look at which types of content have performed best with your audience in the past.
Once you know which topics will resonate with your audience best, you will need to choose the most engaging format for your lead magnet. For topics that require more research or detail, you may want to choose an eBook or white paper. However, these aren’t the only types of content that you can use as a lead magnet. Guides, templates, or checklists that provide actionable next steps can also be effective lead magnet formats.
With 500 million users, LinkedIn is a powerful social media channel for any business that is trying to reach other business professionals. In fact, over 80% of B2B leads that are generated through social media come from LinkedIn. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why 92% of B2B marketers use this social media platform to reach new leads over any other platform.
It should come as no surprise that LinkedIn beats out every other social media channel for generating leads through B2B online marketing.
The reason why LinkedIn is such an effective social media platform for B2B businesses is for the simple fact that it’s where many of the business professionals they are trying to target spend their time. According to LinkedIn data, of the 500 million members on the social platform, 61 million are senior-level influencers and 40 million are decision makers. This presents an attractive opportunity for B2B businesses that are trying to reach new leads online.
There are a few ways you can make an impact on LinkedIn. The first is to engage with your audience by starting a conversation. LinkedIn has industry groups where professionals can go to discuss hot topics in their industry. By participating in these groups and providing unique insight into industry challenges, you can work to connect with new decision makers who may be a good fit for your business.
In addition to bringing in new leads through relevant group engagement, you can also go out and find new prospects through LinkedIn’s advanced search. This feature allows you to identify your ideal buyers on LinkedIn. With the Advanced People Search, you can find the types of buyers that are best fit for your brand and filter your results by location or industry.
Yet another way to generate more leads on LinkedIn is through content publishing. LinkedIn has its own content publishing platform that allows you to post your original content for everyone on LinkedIn to see. This feature allows you to improve your exposure on the social networking site and drive more traffic back to your company’s website. Not to mention, it allows you to build yourself up as an industry expert or influencer, which can only reflect well on your business.
Lastly, you can also connect and share content from other influencers in your industry. But unlike in B2C marketing, influencers in B2B are not those that have the most social followers. But rather they are those who are considered thought leaders. They are the people that business owners and professionals like you listen to.
LinkedIn may be the premier social networking platform for business professionals and thus B2B businesses. However, Facebook gives LinkedIn a run for its money when it comes to B2B advertising. In fact, according to eMarketer, 58% of B2B marketers who invest in social media advertising choose to invest in ads on Facebook.
Facebook is right alongside LinkedIn as the most popular social media advertising platform for B2B marketers.
So why is Facebook so popular for B2B ads? While business professionals may be expecting to see ads targeted at their business on LinkedIn, they are less likely to expect this type of content on Facebook, which they may mostly as a social media platform for their personal engagement. This means that an ad that could be relevant to their business tends to stand out more among the Facebook ads than advertising directed toward them as a consumer.
What’s great about Facebook advertising is its targeting capabilities. Facebook collects a wealth of information on its users, which becomes valuable when you are trying to narrow down your audience to those who are most likely to buy from your brand. With the Facebook ad platform, you can target buyers based on a number of different factors, including their job title, industry, and position – all of which are important to the B2B marketer.
The key to getting the most out of your B2B Facebook advertising is developing a strategy ahead of time. There are many different factors that you will need to consider when creating Facebook ad content. For instance, what is the goal of your Facebook ads? If you are trying to build brand awareness, you will use a different type of ad format and content than you would if you are trying to drive sales.
Facebook ads can also be a great way to promote the lead magnets that we talked about earlier. You can advertise these pieces of content on Facebook, driving users to a unique landing page where they will submit their contact information in exchange for the asset. Since you are taking advantage of Facebook’s advanced targeting capabilities, you can be sure that the traffic that’s going to your site is relevant.
Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing remains one of the most effective B2B online marketing strategies. This marketing channel has stood the test of time and continues to be more effective than other marketing platforms when it comes to generating and nurturing B2B leads. Email marketing automation makes your email campaigns even more effective by taking out the guesswork involved with lead nurturing.
Above is an email automation based on triggers for tickets to an industry conference.
Email marketing automation is essentially a marketing tool that allows you to automate your email campaigns. By connecting your email marketing automation software to your customer relationship management (CRM) database, you can automatically send targeted email content to your leads based on actions they have taken or content they’ve shown interest in. This helps improve relevancy and value when nurturing leads.
For example, let’s say that a high quality lead shows interest in a particular topic when browsing your site. They might read one or two blogs on the topic and revisit your site pages that also pertain to this topic. The lead’s online behavior is a signal to your brand that this particular individual may be interested in the products or services you offer that relate to this topic.
With email marketing automation, this online browsing behavior can automatically trigger a set of emails to be sent to the lead. The first one or two emails might provide more information about the topic, including additional relevant resources. While the last email invites the lead to contact your sales team for more information. This is called an email drip, and it’s goal is to help guide the lead through the buyer’s journey and hand them off to sales when they’re ready.
Here’s another example of what an email nurturing campaign might look like based on how users interact with the email content.
In addition to sending emails based on actions that users take on your site, you can also use email marketing automation to send specific content based on actions users take within the email itself. This also helps improve the relevancy and usefulness of the email content that you are sending to leads.
For example, let’s say that you send out an email to individuals who you met at a trade show. You might provide a helpful resource based on the topic of the tradeshow. If they do not open this resource, you might then send another resource on a different topic. However, if they do click on the initial resource, you might then provide a similar resource in the next email that helps move them further down the funnel.
Email marketing automation helps B2B businesses get more out of their marketing efforts by improving targeting capabilities. With automation, your business is able to get the right information to the right leads at the right time. This results in higher closing rates and improved sales over time.
It’s important to note that although email marketing automation is a vital part of any B2B company’s strategy, this does not mean that you should get rid of email newsletters and other types of marketing emails that you might send out to targeted lists. These types of communications can still be valuable and allow you to create additional touch points with your B2B online marketing leads and customers.
Lead scoring is a B2B online marketing tactic that helps you rank prospects on a scale in order to prioritize your interactions with new leads. Basically, this methodology is used by B2B businesses to identify which leads are most interested in your products. This can help your sales team prioritize which leads they should engage with.
These lead scores are given based on a number of different data points that your business identifies as important. Basically, your business assigns points to different characteristics as a way of creating a value system that helps you better identify the quality of your leads.
To create a lead scoring system, you’ll need to first consider what factors or attributes signal that a lead is promising. One way to do this is to look at your customers and see what factors they all have in common. For instance, if many of your best customers are in a specific job role, then this may be one of the elements that you include in your lead scoring system.
You’ll also want to look at which attributes your contacts that did not become customers have in common. Perhaps most of them are students or from a specific industry that’s not necessarily a good fit for your brand. In lead scoring, it’s important to understand the negative attributes as well as those that indicated a good fit.
So which attributes do you use to assign a lead score? Though this will vary depending on the B2B product or service that your company provides, there are some general characteristics that all B2B businesses should consider when developing a lead scoring system:
- Industry – Is there a specific industry that your company targets? Even if you work with businesses from multiple industries, there may be certain industry types that are more likely to purchase from your company. You should assign these industries more points in your lead scoring system.
- Job Role – As a B2B company, you want to reach those who are going to be a part of the decision-making process when it comes to buying the product or service your company provides. That’s why you should assign more points to the job roles that these decision makers hold, such as CEO, manager, or head of sales.
- Online Behavior – You can also assign more points to online behaviors that may suggest a lead is interested in your brand. For instance, when an individual looks at your pricing page, this often means that they are in the decision-making stage of their B2B buyer’s journey. This action might warrant more points than say looking at your home page.
- Email Engagement – High and consistent engagement with your email content can also suggest that a lead is interested in the products or services that your company provides. You can assign a certain amount of points to different email engagement actions like, clicking a link in the email message.
Once you have decided which actions or attributes signal that a lead is promising, you can use this lead scoring system to identify marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs). In the end, lead scoring will help your marketing and sales teams work more efficiently to identify, nurture, and convert new B2B leads.
Though B2B online marketing does have its own distinct challenges, it is possible to effectively reach more leads online with a little planning and a lot of effort. From boosting engagement on LinkedIn to creating more robust video content, there are a variety of digital marketing tactics that businesses can use to reach their audience. The key to getting the most out of these tactics is to identify and invest in those that work best for your B2B business.
If you need help getting started with your B2B online marketing strategy, it may be time to call in the experts. LYFE Marketing works with B2B clients who are looking for new ways to engage their audience and improve sales. We’d love to help you develop a digital marketing strategy that boost your bottom line.
Contact us today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with our B2B online marketing experts.