B2B Marketing Channels 101: What’s Best For Your Business?
by Cydney Hatch • July 12, 2018
So, you have a passion for helping other businesses. Hence, the B2B business you own and you want to help flourish!
You have the branding, financing and everything squared away, but with the wide range of channels you can use for your B2B marketing, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. There is a lot to plan, let alone having to allot a budget to each channel, so putting together a flourishing B2B marketing strategy can be tough!
However, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Depending on which industry you’re in, you can expect success from a variety of marketing channels and activities. This article will help you understand which B2B marketing channels you should focus on when wanting to boost and create a solid marketing strategy to help your passions come to life!
Why Digital Channels?
Before we get into the specific channels, why would you want to look to digital B2B marketing channels?
There are several reasons why many B2B companies need to look at digital channels. For example, digital B2B marketing channels are:
1. Cost Effective
Compared to outbound marketing, digital marketing is extremely cost-effective. Digital marketing allows your business to get the best possible ROI for your campaigns as you can get more bang for your buck, especially with exposure!
I mean, think about how much money it is to print advertisements which only touch those who physically see those prints? With digital marketing, you can easily monitor your spending and make adjustments to help you get the most out of your digital marketing at a higher exposure rate!
2. Easy to Track
With tools like Google Analytics, digital marketing can track where your money is going and how effective it is towards your target audience. You can use Google Analytics to evaluate site visitors, time spent on your pages, conversion rates, and so much more! How sweet is that?
Since you can track your numbers, you’ll be better able to pinpoint the strategies that best optimize your budget and campaigns. This also allows you to test various strategies for better ROI.
3. Brand Enhancing
Digital marketing also helps your business brand appear higher in search results for keywords and phrases related to your business. Through PPC and SEO efforts, your business can be more apparent to more people rather than being locationally limited by paper-driven marketing and old school tactics.
4. Quality Filled
Digital marketing allows you to actively reach and find people who are already searching for your products or services online, enabling you to earn you more qualified leads.
With traditional marketing strategies, you increase general awareness for your B2B business, but you might not have direct revenue associated with the people you truly want to reach. You might be reaching the masses, but you’re also wasting money on people who are not actively looking for your services/products.
5. Quick Results
There are many digital marketing channels that can work quickly, so if you’re looking to boost web traffic, leads, and revenue fast, they can be great options.
For example, PPC advertising can start bringing in quality leads in just a few hours. PPC also allows you to customize and optimize your strategies based on the data you gather as you start to reach more potential customers.
B2B Marketing Channels To Focus On
Now that you understand why digital marketing is so beneficial, let’s take a look at B2B marketing channels you should focus on!
Paid Search and Digital Advertising
It doesn’t matter how incredible your B2B business is, how optimized your site is or how much your customers love you—if you aren’t a “hot” or well-known business, you’re probably going to struggle to show up at the top of the search engine results page with organic efforts alone.
This is especially true if you’re trying to rank for highly competitive searches where businesses are looking for specific products and services.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads and paid social advertosomg can help you get the attention your B2B business deserves!
Google AdWords, in particular, is an excellent platform for B2B businesses to explore. You can create ads that will be shown to users searching for specific queries, allowing you to appear at the top of search results when potential clients are actively looking for your specific services/products.
For example, if you are a B2B business selling office furniture, you would want to make sure you are top search result like the below Google seaches:
Paid social media is a great way to grow your client pool. You need to be apart of the action to compete as a B2B business but, more importantly, you need to make sure you are specific and targeted.
To succeed with paid social, you need to think outside the box and consider clever options like:
- Targeting specific audiences
- Creating engaging ads
- Promoting special offers
- Sending follow up customer service pieces
- Setting call to actions for specific actions you want potential clients to make
If you need some help, we at Disruptive *ahem* can help… just saying…we are a B2B business that helps with stuff just like this! (let us know here if you’d like to find out more about what we can do for you!).
There are a lot of studies out there that have established that publishing a consistent amount of content a month can considerably raise your website traffic! In fact, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.
Crazy huh! And you thought blogging was for Mommy Blogs…
Content marketing, whether that be blogging, whitepapers, eBooks or podcasts, really works if you do it correctly. Each time you publish engaging content, you’re creating a new opportunity to get found on search engines, social media, and by new potential clients.
Now, before you feel overwhelmed thinking you need to write novels of meaningful content, know that effective B2B content marking is not a matter of writing a 200-word blog post a few times a week or posting a beautifully made video campaign.
B2B content marketing is about giving potential customers value, information and a reason to choose you. Whether that is sharing helpful information, creating entertainment, or developing a “community” that helps them feel apart of something “bigger,” content should give people value. If you do that, potential customers will want to invest and engage with you.
Here are some of the tips and creative ways you can use content in your B2B marketing channels:
Quality over Quantity
Make sure you are not just pumping out content for the sake of numbers…you need quality content and helpful information people will want to share and engage with.
That being said, you should aim to publish new content weekly, because Google algorithms reward sites that share relevant, consistent and original content that people find helpful!
Make Sharing Easy
Make sure you make the most out of your work by having “share” or “save” options that enable your readers to immediately share your content on their social media pages.
Why not get more exposure if you can? Offering an easy share option makes people more inclined to comment and share your content on LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms! Again, any exposure is good exposure!
Brainstorming is Key
If you struggle to think about what to write about start to brainstorm topics relating to your B2B business. For example, if I own a B2B phone service, I could start brainstorming a list of relevant topics and questions for my blog/posts like:
- Phone Statistics in 2018
- Comparing and Understanding Phone Support Payments
- Tips and Tricks for Increasing B2B Telephone Sales
- FAQ: Mobile Services and B2B
- What are Effective B2B Sale Call Techniques that Work
- How Mobile is Reshaping B2B Marketing
- How to Make a Good First Impression on B2B Phone Calls
Offering meaningful resources in your B2B marketing will bring more people to your website. And those people are more likely to need your services at some point since they are already looking for resources on similar topics.
Video is Key
B2B content marketing has also seen the benefits using video / virtual reality, as 91% of B2B marketers subscribe to content in the form of videos, podcasts, and even webinars.
What can we learn from this? People like watching videos online, so presenting in-depth and interactive content will appeal to your audience and moreso engage them.
For example, B2B business juggernaut SalesForce, made the informational video above where customers could learn more about a CRM and how Salesforce can help grow their business. As a customer, this is a helpful video that makes you want to research more into Salesforce and their services. It is high quality, informative, and leaves you feeling supported by the Salesforce crew!
This is how video can work for your business! Effective B2B content videos can include:
- How To Videos
- Explainer Videos
- Tutorial Videos
- Interview Videos
- Business Mission Videos
- Company Culture Videos
By creating content like this, it’s easy, engaging and creatively sharing information with potential customers.
B2B content marketing is one of the best long-term investments you can make in your business. It’s not the quickest way to get more sales, but it will eventually become your biggest and most profitable source of new revenue.
Social Media Marketing
Going hand in hand with content marketing, social media is another great B2B marketing channel you should use!
The power is in your hands to create social media content that will set you apart as thought leaders in your field. Quality content not only builds you a name and niche, but you will build relationships with the people who care about your services and products.
People are looking for answers and as most people spend the majority of their day on their mobile phones/social media accounts, why not help them find solutions in the places they are spending time?
No need to spend money on billboards, banners behind baseball diamonds or bumper stickers. You can easily be seen on the social media channels people use daily! Many B2B marketers are reluctant to embrace social media, but this will help you share information cheaply and more effectively.
The main points you will use social media for are:
- Cultivating and growing relationships
- Establishing your social platforms value
As B2B businesses directly communicate with the individuals they serve, social media becomes a natural way to reach people looking for solutions. You don’t need to post excessively but just consistently with quality content that sets your business apart as a resource and meaningful place for people to visit! (quick tip, use apps like Buffer and Hootsuite to create social media posting schedules—it saves time and sanity!)
Know that most social media advertising is cheap, effective and helps you create a sense of reliability! Utilize social strategies paid social, videos and hosting live events! All of those actions will help set you apart as a relatable, approachable and engaged business that is wanting to be a resource to potential clients!
Do research on which social media channels make sense as there is more than just LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become incredibly popular places for people to connect with businesses. Also, consider communities like YouTube and Google+.
Remember, social media is about connecting with your clients, but it also helps you understand the topics, pain points and interests of your target audience so you can address them in real-time.
Email marketing is the cheapest form of internet advertising as it is essentially complements your other digital marketing efforts. All you usually have to pay for is some sort of email marketing service like MailChimp, Hubspot or Autopilot HQ. You can confidently focus on this channel because it has lots of statistics on being the most revenue driven B2B marketing channel for most industries!
Email is easy peasy and it can be a fun way to share news, tips, personalities and the success behind your B2B business. Some tips and tricks for successful B2B business email marketing include:
Sexy Subject Lines
When thinking about subject, verb and object, there is only so much interest you can create in a short little email subject line. Be snappy, informative and unique with your subject lines! To do this, look for interesting verbs and action items.
For example, if you want to inform a business about your PPC advertising software, look at the following examples:
“Confess: Your PPC is a Mess” versus “Get PPC Help Today!”
Out of those two choices of subject lines which one strikes more of an interest and adds a snappy subject? You need to be thoughtful with every email piece element as you need people to open and be interested in what you are sending to their inbox.
We live in the world of SPAM, so be different and creative!
Effective Preview Text
People have the attention spans of goldfish these days, so the first few sentences of your email—and especially your preview text—will be important. Many email marketing tools will allow you to set the preview text.
A basic rule is to avoid having generic phrases like “see more” or “view in browser.” The preview text should have snazzy teaser information that gives readers an interest to click and read your content! To this effectively look at including:
- “FOMO” phrases like: Today Only, This Month, This Week
- Incentives and Freebies
- Strong Call to Actions
By including elements like this in your preview text, people will more than likely open your content! Its different and gives them incentives!
In a world of bots, spammy messages and generic stock photo content, being personable can give you a real edge. By creating emails with a personal voice that focus on personal experiences, stories and humor, you can build empathy, understanding and connection with your readers. You have to connect with the customer story if you want to be successful at B2B email marketing!
In the age of “act now” and generic attention to customers, it pays to be genuine and using personal voice.
Get to the Point
Your audience is quickly trying to understand what you need in an email so do not have a fluffy introduction—get to the “meat.” If your audience doesn’t recognize your brand, then aim to be short and to the point in your emails.
Be Thoughtful About Sending
You need to be thoughtful on when you want to send a specific call to action and email content out. If you have a holiday sale coming up, think proactively, not reactively. If you are a B2B business that works with accounting firms, it does not make sense to send email marketing promotions during the year end and times they will not be able to make decisions.
Think in the minds and schedules of your customers so they can effectively intake your messages.
Email marketing is both an art and science. For the science portion, remember that email deserves revenue credit and logistical planning. The art of it comes with the craft of your effective messaging. Be thoughtful with both!
Even after you close a contract, keep using email marketing—you never know when a customer will refer business your way. Whether it’s a potential client or a former one, email keeps your business top-of-mind.
One old school B2B marketing channel that is still effective is networking. Although digital marketing is wonderful, sometimes the personal touches are still key.
If you are B2B technology business, sometimes the best way and the only way to fully appreciate your services or products are in physical experiences like events and conferences. These events allow you to make personal connections that are sometimes lost in translation over emails and phone calls.
Here are some ways to get the most out of your networking efforts:
Research Attendees and Target Audience
First and foremost, make sure you are going to conferences and events that make sense. Do your research to see what types of businesses and individuals go to the events you are looking at. Business events offer B2B companies of all sizes valuable introductions to relationships that could result in big contract deals, so make sure you are connecting with leadership levels and businesses that make sense for your business!
Before you even go to the event, research 10 target companies you’ll find there and connect with their attendees on LinkedIn. Message them and introduce yourself and share you are looking forward to connecting at the event. This will help you break the ice while making it easier to identify the person while at the event.
When you’re at the event approach people, spark conversation, add value to their business and you’ll start to build a potentially meaningful relationship.
Don’t Rush Things
Events are for sale funneling, building relationships and exposure, not to close deals! Do not come off pushy and look for ways you can understand the businesses you are connecting with on a deeper level so you can have more hooks for later meetings and asks. Ask the right questions and look for ways your business connects with their pain points.
Listen first, sell later…
You want to give them value and a relationship not just a transactional contract. This will take time!
Don’t just hear a customer’s answer, listen to it. What you are listening for are clues to their unique needs & how you can answer them. By doing so, you create a sense of trust, connection and produce better results!
Connect with tech
Don’t be THAT guy that does not show up with business cards! Although business cards are old school, they are still a networking staple.
On top of exchanging information, be confidently proactive and follow up with them a day or two after the event sharing how pleasant it was to meet and connect with them. This is also a great time to connect on social media.
BONUS: Weirdly enough, sometimes the personal touches of the past are forgotten. So, beyond events, making personal old-school touches like handwritten thank you notes after meetings are key to setting yourself apart!
Channels You Can Use
With these different B2B marketing channels, it’s up to you to see which ones will effectively work through tracking your results and seeing which ones customers respond to. By balancing the strategies above with direct marketing strategies, you are bound to grow your B2B business to new heights!
If you need some help with B2B marketing, let me know here or in the comments. We are more than happy to talk with you about how to effectively balance what you are doing now with new digital strategies!
Disruptive is a B2B business, so we kind of know what we are talking about, and we’re happy to help you as well! Contact me and lets work on our passions together: to make businesses better!