There’s a wealth of channels and tactics available when it comes to digital marketing. The optimum mix and how to apply them depends on your audience and your objectives.
But there’s one other key factor to consider and that’s your business itself. Are you B2B or B2C?
In this blog, we cover:
- How B2B and B2C differ
- How digital marketing can support your B2B business
- Why attribution and tracking is so important
The differences between B2B and B2C
When comparing B2B and B2C, the differences are stark:
- Long term vs short term: B2B customers generally make purchases for long-term solutions, usually resulting in longer sales cycles, longer contracts and longer relationships. On the other hand, B2C customers typically make transactional purchases with short term relationship needs.
- Decision-makers: Another key difference is the decision-maker. A B2C customer will be the decision-maker whereas for B2B there may be many decision-makers involved before a purchase can be made.
- Purchase complexity: The complexity is usually greater in B2B with more education required. For B2C, purchases tend to occur with as little contact as possible.
- Buying drivers: B2B customers are usually driven by logic and financial incentive whereas B2C customers are most driven by emotion. They usually want to be entertained whereas ROI, expertise and efficiency are key drivers for B2B buyers.
With differences like these to consider, it’s important to take a tailored approach to your digital marketing. We’ve collated our expertise to share insight into how to get success from your B2B marketing.
Clearly define your target audience
The differences between B2B and B2C mean that audience personas tend to look very different for B2B marketers. A high-performing B2B marketing strategy begins with your audience. Defining your target audience will inform all other areas of your marketing activity to ensure your efforts are seen by the right people.
When defining your audience, B2B markets tend to be specific. B2B marketing targets the needs and challenges of those making purchases on behalf of a business. This, in turn, makes the company the customer. They’re usually targeted by the type of business and industry, size of the business and decision-maker roles.
Optimise for search
A strong organic B2B strategy will place your website in front of people who need what you offer. With a more complex sales funnel, it can be harder to find and target those searchers. There are many different search terms that prospects may use to find suppliers. Often, this means lower volume, but high-value keywords.
To create an effective B2B SEO strategy, consider these four key areas: technical SEO, content, on-page SEO and off-page SEO and be sure to report on the SEO metrics that matter most to your stakeholders.
Getting to know your competition goes a long way in helping to create an effective SEO strategy. As users face extensive choice online, establishing who your real competition is allows you to understand where you sit in the market versus where you want to be.
One of the first steps we take when working with a new client is to deploy our exclusive competitor analysis tool, providing insight into growth opportunities that will help you get ahead of your competitors.
Do you want to find out who your real competitors are? Learn more with our free competitor analysis.
The foundations to any SEO strategy, keyword research provides insight into what people want and your keyword strategy should be designed to drive relevant traffic to your website.
Considering the opportunity and relevance around keywords and phrases helps you decide which to target in the short and long term, providing focus to your efforts will help to drive your organic performance.
Amp up your content
With education key when it comes to B2B marketing, the best way to educate is through high-quality, relevant content that sheds light on the challenges your audience are facing. Using your keyword research to inform your written content, you can leverage search intent to ensure your content is answering your audience’s needs.
Here are a few ways content can be used to support your marketing efforts:
- Share your knowledge: Give away some of your expertise, particularly original research that provides different insight to that of your competitors.
- Use content to capture data: Use content as a lead magnet to capture data that can then be nurtured through other channels. For example, gate a valuable piece of content or research, encouraging users to provide their email address to access it.
- Widen your reach: Consider guest posts and partnerships with relevant parties to give you a wider reach, helping build your authority and brand awareness.
- Educate over sell: Focus on creating content that’s pain point led rather than sales led to provide more value.
Prior to engaging, B2B buyers want to have the confidence that they’ll be buying from the business that is the best fit for their needs. They want to feel comfortable knowing that whoever they speak to can offer the right solution before picking up the phone or completing a form.
Your content can achieve just this, demonstrating your expertise, industry leader status and highlight that you’re the right choice.
Boost your chances with PPC
A great tactic for driving lead generation, PPC can place your business in front of new audiences.
To make the most of your PPC efforts, you should incorporate your buyer persona data and focus on relatable content. It’s important to take time to understand the journey users take to conversion. For example, it’s unlikely that a new customer with no awareness of your business is searching for your exact brand or product.
B2B long-tail keywords and questions act as cues that a user is researching a solution. This is why effective keyword research is so important.
Additionally, relevant and valuable content designed to address specific problems is key. Demonstrate how your solution is relevant. This shows your audience you understand their needs and will appeal to those in a research mindset. Leveraging and promoting your content is a great way for B2B brands to be discovered.
A B2B solution exists to solve a problem, improve results or make a process easier. But the decision-maker may not know you, your offering, or even your type of solution exists, making the awareness marketing stage all the more important.
Using prospecting tactics, you can reach more potential B2B customers as early as possible across a range of channels including search, YouTube and display.
Using Google’s Customer Match functionality helps you find customers before they’re even looking for your solution. Using information your users have shared, Customer Match can be used to target ads to them and also users Google identifies to be similar to them.
Getting the most out of lost traffic is even more important to B2B than it is to B2C. More often than not, B2B marketers are working with relevant traffic at a much lower volume. As such, the overall value of a customer to your business is typically much higher.
The B2B purchase cycle usually involves a lengthy research period with more people part of the decision-making process. But, if a user has visited your site, you already know that something you offer has resonated.
Remarketing can turn lost visitors into leads. When a user visits your site and completes an action, a pixel places a cookie in their browser. This cookie allows you to remarket relevant ads based on their interactions after they leave your website. Directing budget to those who are most likely to convert maximises your investment in the traffic you’ve generated.
Optimising for conversions
What you offer may be exactly what the prospect needs, your ads may be well optimised and your organic strategy driving relevant traffic to your website. But without a well-designed landing page, your conversions will suffer. Could your website be affecting your digital success?
Unlike B2C where the ultimate website goal is to sell, B2B businesses are usually looking to generate leads. To do this, you need a website that converts. This is where CRO can help.
CRO aims to convert as many users as possible by ensuring a website is designed to maximise conversions. An effective CRO strategy can help capture and keep the attention of high intent buyers.
Your landing page experience is also key to improving your Google Quality Score. This helps you to get the most from your PPC campaigns, gaining the maximum ROI possible and making the most of the traffic your campaigns are driving.
Appreciate the role of social
Social media advertising is used by 83 percent of B2B marketers and ranked second, just behind SEO.
It can be harder to use social media to connect with B2B buyers and relevant decision makers due to the longer sales cycle. While your social media accounts may not convert as often as your content or email marketing, B2B social media advertising can perform extremely well – especially at the start of a customer’s buying journey.
There’s no denying that social media has become more powerful for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Ideal for building brand awareness, creating an online personality and humanising your brand, social media helps you authentically connect with potential buyers.
Social media channels are also a great place to share your content and demonstrate your brand’s expertise – something that is extremely important to B2B customers. Examples of social media content could include:
- Industry insights, tips and news
- Solution based content
- Product or service updates
- Client success stories
- Links to research, guides and white papers
Choose the right social channels
With so many social channels at your disposal, which are right for your B2B business? You’d be forgiven for thinking LinkedIn is your only platform choice for B2B paid social advertising. While LinkedIn is designed for a professional audience and offers effective targeting capabilities, you’ll be advertising to a closed loop which limits the longevity of your campaigns, and can prove expensive.
Think about where else you can find your audience. Your audience may be working professionals but its highly likely they’ll consume content across many channels. For example, B2B campaigns can work well across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
That’s why we advocate for an audience-first approach to your social media that uses your audience to form a connected strategy focused on the best channels for achieving your objectives.
For this approach to work, you really need to know your audience. Having found an audience that drives results, it can be scaled with ads placed across more channels to reach even more people.
Nurture interest and build a connection
The path to conversion for a B2B customer is far from linear. With the conversion of leads to sales much lower in B2B than in B2C, nurturing your leads is vital. Just take a look at the figures:
- 80 percent of new leads never translate into sales and companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads.
- Using lead nurturing showed that 15 – 20 percent of the “not yet ready to purchase” opportunities converted into sales.
- 48 percent of businesses say most of their leads require long cycle nurturing with many influencers.
Email marketing is a proven method to reach both B2C customers and B2B customers. A powerful vehicle for promoting your brand’s content to relevant people, regular email newsletters can be used as part of your content marketing strategy.
However, as we are constantly bombarded with emails flooding our inboxes daily, it’s easy for your message to get lost. This makes it more important than ever to create and send effective marketing emails that resonate with your audience. If you want to find out more about creating emails that perform, take a read of some insight directly from our connected agency and all-around email experts, Wired Plus.
Connecting your channels
Events, whether in person or online, are usually core marketing activities in the B2B world. From networking, conferences and speaker opportunities, webinars, panels or exhibitions, events are a great way to engage with your audience.
To make the most of your events, it should be connected with your other marketing channels. Here are a few ways you can achieve this:
- Set up an informative and engaging event page to get users interested
- Consider your event as part of a wider campaign rather than a one-time occurrence
- Use your database to encourage sign up to the event across channels
- Capture fresh data from prospects who register
- Leverage incentives and promotions, capturing further data that can be marketed to
- Proactively engage with attendees through social such as LinkedIn InMail to nurture relationships
- Be proactive with your follow up – don’t go silent once the event has ended
- Use polls and surveys to encourage engagement in the run-up to your event
Get your tracking right
As the B2B conversion journey is complex with numerous touchpoints, it can be difficult to understand how your individual marketing efforts contribute to success. Yet, this is key to making informed decisions about where to invest your time, budget and resource.
How is your business being found? Which channel is driving the most revenue? Which keywords are driving relevant traffic? What path is a user taking to conversion? Whether your goals are click to calls, contact form fills, downloads, email sign-ups or something else. The weight, use and importance of each is likely to differ.
To answer these questions, ensure your goals and tracking are properly set up across all platforms. To make this easier, tools like Google Tag Manager can help you manage your tracking codes in one place which is vital to get a realistic view of performance.
Digital marketing and your B2B business
Since the typical B2B sales cycle involves many different players and stakeholders, websites are an easy way to share information about your product or service and brand. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to getting started with your B2B digital marketing which is why it’s often useful to seek the advice of a professional.
As a trusted digital marketing agency, we hold a reputation for high-quality strategy creation, campaign deployment and long-term client support. A proud partner to many esteemed brands, we pride ourselves on generating real business impact. Get in touch to find out how we can help your B2B business stand out online.