Digital marketing is the most effective method of marketing for B2B in 2021. While direct marketing is vital to connecting with potential clients, this needs to happen later in the sales funnel. The first step in getting the attention of your target audience is to connect with your potential clients. As the majority of people are now working from home, connecting through digital marketing is both easier and more challenging.
It is easier because there are more people online. It is more difficult because audiences are exhausted and fast switching off from digital advertising. So how do you get the attention of your audience and get ahead of your competitors?
To reach your audience, you need to conduct market research. You need to know who your target audience is, and where they are. You need to understand your competitors, and why they are successful. You need to understand what makes your product so unique that it would tempt new customers to buy your product or service.
- Find your target audience
- Analyse your competitors
- Answer your audience’s pain points and provide solutions
Finding your target audience online will require a thorough investigation of your market.
- Who are your customers and who are your decision-makers?
- Where does your audience source information online?
- Is there an active industry community on social media that you need to become a part of?
The more your refined research answers questions, the better your marketing strategy will be. Spend time conducting research and finding answers so that you can make the most of your strategy.
Your website should be modern, appealing and highly functional. Having an outdated or old website indicates to potential customers that you are not interested in maintaining an image or placing importance on connecting with customers. Your website is your first point of contact for most potential customers, so it needs to reflect your business.
- Your landing pages should be informative and easy to understand.
- Your information should be current and pertinent.
- Your site should be easy to navigate.
- Your website should communicate with clarity the purpose of your business.
Your website leaves a lasting impression. If your business website looks clumsy, messy or rushed, traffic will leave. If your information is hard to access or if you have errors, potential clients will lose trust in your abilities to provide solutions.
Your website is the face of your business. It is important that you keep it fresh, functional and interesting to connect with customers.
Content marketing is an important component of any digital marketing strategy. To attract the interest of B2B clients, content marketing is essential. When a B2B customer is researching a solution, they will spend time reading content to ensure that they understand what their options are, what solutions are available and how your business can solve their pain points.
- Your content needs to connect.
- Become an industry leader by publishing research, white papers and long-read material that answer questions.
- Ensure that your content is accurate and well-edited.
- Make your content engaging by understanding how to reach your audience.
- Use graphics, images and other tools that communicate your message in easily accessible ways.
- Content is more than written information. You need to consider video, podcasts, social media blasts and other ways to engage your audience, based on your audience research.
Personalisation of Marketing
The personalisation of marketing is here to stay. Consumers have responded to personalisation by buying more and often paying more because they feel that products have been tailored to their desires.
B2B personalisation can use the same tools that B2C marketing does.
- Offering quizzes on your website or social media that guide potential customers through their pain points to your solution.
- Email marketing that is well segmented and targeted.
- Content that offers solutions to specific industry issues, sent directly to clients on social media.
- Free limited-term trials or limited access to online solutions.
Personalisation requires the analysis of your data, the segmentation of your audience and the tailoring of content. The ROI can only be appreciated if campaigns are correctly executed. It can take some time to determine which strategies work best for your audience.
SEO on Your Site
SEO parameters change. Marketers are expected to be experts in their field and understand how the algorithms change from time to time, moving search rankings on different search engines.
The most commonly used search engine, Google, is in 2021 using long-tail keyword content to rank pages. By focusing on longer variations of head keywords, you’ll attract attention from the search engine.
For example, instead of targeting “API gateway” which is highly competitive, you can target “best API for digital merchant” in your title and create content around a keyphrase that narrows the focus of the content and boosts your content on search engines. In studies, brands that researched and targeted long-tail search terms experienced a leap in organic traffic and rankings.
Engage on Social Media
Social media is a valuable tool, however, you need to understand how to use it to connect with the right audience. Your initial market research should indicate a clear direction for how your brand can use social media channels to reach your target audience. B2B professionals tend to gravitate towards social media sites like LinkedIn for expert discussions and connections with industry leaders.
However, other channels like Twitter and Reddit can also be used as an avenue for B2B brands that are willing to spend the time to connect on a more individual level. Depending on your industry, resources and investment, it might be appropriate to dedicate time to responding to individual messages and connections, or it might be appropriate to turn off messaging and comments on social media and connect with potential customers via email.
Engaging on social media means having a publishing calendar in place, directing traffic towards the correct landing pages on your website and anticipating the needs of potential customers by answering pain points before clients are even aware they have such needs.
Creating content takes time and costs money. To make the most of your content, it needs to be reused, shared and tweaked so that it is relevant to audiences on many channels. This can be as simple as using different images to reach your target audience. For example, your content about logistic solutions in your European market might use an image showing roads covered in snow, while in your Asian Pacific market it might be an image showing busy ports.
Having evergreen content translated by a professional is also a good way to connect with your international audience. International marketing strategies need to include an understanding of glocalisation. Your content should speak the language of your audience in their region. It needs to be culturally sensitive and relevant. To do this takes some research and awareness, but it does not require wholly different content.
- Use professional translation services.
- Change images to capture the attention of the market.
- Create visual content that does not require language, but instead uses smart graphics to communicate.
- Include graphs and charts that communicate visually and stay relevant over time.
Paid advertising does not need to be expensive. Social media channels offer paid-per-click and other affordable packages that can be experimented with to test the effectiveness of different techniques. Your business does not need a six-figure budget to pay for advertising. Digital advertising is affordable and can improve your ability to connect with a broader audience. Some potential customers are more likely to respond to your brand if you do pay for advertising as it proves that you are investing in your business and are successful enough to do so.
Word-of-mouth and testimonials are vital to the success of your B2B brand. In the business world, how professionals talk about you and your product or services is how you connect with a broader market and expand into new markets. Your reputation in the industry in which you work should be consistent and reflective of your stated values.
If your brand is ambitious and slaying your competition, embrace it. If your brand is about empowering businesses and supporting competition, show your audience how you do that. Then, allow customers to talk about you and spread the word about your solutions.
- Ask for customer testimonials to publish on your website.
- Encourage feedback and social media conversation.
- Send customer feedback surveys via email on purchase or subscription.
Influencer marketing is undeniably effective. In B2B marketing, influencer marketing requires a more subtle approach than typical consumer marketing. This can include testimonials and content prepared by experts, or comments on social media that advocate for your brand.
In B2B, other brands can be used as influencers. For example, if you are a ball-bearing manufacturer for Volvo, the car manufacturer might agree to allow you to use their logo on your website.
B2B marketing, while slightly more tailored and focused than typical B2C marketing, requires marketers to embrace and understand digital marketing channels and make the most of the current environment. To some extent, in 2021 more professionals are working online more consistently. There is less time in discussions and walking through the office, so more eyes are on screens more often. To grab the attention of decision-makers, marketing needs to be targeted, consistent, creative and digital.