Just like the previous years, 2015 will see many new business success stories, new product launches and innovative marketing strategies in action. To help you finalize your B2B marketing strategy for this year, I’ve highlighted six key areas that you should focus on. The engagement media remains mostly the same, it’s the manner of engagement that changes.
Here’s a deeper look at these six B2B marketing tips.
1. Knowing Your Customer Is Essential
Knowing exactly who your customers are is the absolute key to devising a successful marketing strategy. And it’s equally important for B2B and B2C companies. For example, if you’re looking for T-shirt buyers in the US, you can refine your search and keep your marketing efforts highly targeted, by asking the following questions to yourself
- Where in the US can I supply? Any state?
- How much can I supply? What’s my production capacity?
- What is an ideal buyer requirement from my business perspective?
- Am I looking for one-time orders or regular supplies? How regular (monthly, quarterly, bi annually, etc.)?
- What is the size of my supplier’s company?
- Will I be reaching the decision maker directly?
You can use B2B trading portals like QualityTrade and Alibaba, where global buyers and sellers list their detailed company profiles and products, to research your potential clients and get an idea of their requirements. Or you can run industry specific surveys to get more targeted information. The more you zoom-in to your prospects, the more targeted your approach will become. In 2015, mass emailing and vaguely targeted marketing campaigns won’t work.
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2. Content Is More Important Than Ever
With so much competition from direct marketing channels, content marketing is going to be the differentiating factor between you and your competitors.
But creating high quality content requires time and expertise. You can’t have your sales or marketing staff write articles as an added job. You need to take it more seriously, because it effectively tells your prospects what you know about your industry.
You should either partner with a content marketing agency to help you, or engage professional freelancers. In either case, look closely at the content yourself before publishing it. You’re the expert, and you can make valuable additions to the content.
3. You Can’t Ignore Mobile Anymore
If your website, product pages, checkout etc. is still not optimized for mobile viewing, you’re doing a serious disservice to your brand image. Forester predicts that by 2020 every 1 in 5 sales will originate from data collected through mobile devices.
Creating a mobile strategy is not just limited to your website and blog either. Increasingly, B2B companies are moving towards mobile apps as a service tool and a source of data collection.
But the bare minimum at this point is a website, tailored for mobile users and content that can be viewed comfortably on the smaller screens.
4. Focus on Paid Content Placements
Increasingly, internet users are finding ways to either block or ignore paid advertisements like banners, popups, etc. On the other hand, online content consumption is at an all-time high and people are reading more blogs, articles, news and social media updates than ever before.
This gives you a natural opportunity to move your marketing budgets from direct advertisements to sponsored content. From paid guest posts and press releases to sponsored Tweets and Facebook posts, sponsored content is much more likely to get you customers as compared to direct advertisements.
Identify high traffic blogs and websites that your prospective buyers closely follow. Offer high quality guest posts to those blogs with backlinks to your main website or landing page.
5. Social Media Broadcasting Won’t Work Now
Far too many companies use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms for broadcasting their content, when they’re actually meant for engagement. You can’t achieve results just by sharing your product links and blog posts all the time.
Related Article: Social Media for Small Business: It's Not All "Likes"
Instead, focus on building conversations and boosting engagement. Proactively reach out to your target audience. Listen to what people are saying about you or your competitors, or the products that you’re selling. Find out the problems that your target audience is facing. Social media is a great research tool if you make the right use of it.
Engagement is the only way forward on social media. Without engagement, your followers will become a liability and hurt the visibility of your social media updates.
6. Your Reputation Is The Key To Success
The number of companies with an online presence has increased drastically over the last few years. Look around your industry, you’d hardly find any company that does not have a website, social media profiles and other online assets. The competition is tight.
With everything else equal, clients look for additional trust factors while choosing a company. This is where your online reputation can make the difference.
If you have any existing clients, use their influence to market your services. Ask for recommendations, and word of mouth references. Add credibility factors such as client testimonials, online reviews, logos, pictures, success stories, etc. on your website.
These little things can make a lot of difference.
Your B2B clients are exposed to B2C marketing in their personal lives. So they do look at your marketing campaigns in the same way and expect you to engage them in the same targeted manner. With a more refined approach tailored towards the right market segment, and an added focus on engagement and reputation management, you can make 2015 a year of unprecedented marketing success for your business.