A successful business starts and ends with understanding your customers;
You’re also back to square one or worse still, the agency has done more harm than good.
We’ve taken a look at the sort of services any reputable marketing agency should be concentrating upon to provide a necessary sales funnel generating solid, regular leads and increasing sales.
What is B2B marketing?
B2B is simply an abbreviation of the term ‘business to business’.
If you are involved in a business that provides materials or services that the retail market has no need for in its present state you look to sell to another business, as they are your target audience and customer.
This, in a nutshell, is where B2B marketing takes place.
B2B marketing is based around this premise and it’s the marketing strategy surrounding a campaign that gives B2B its name.
What is a B2B Marketing Agency and What Does It Do?
A B2B online marketing agency advises and works upon the organisation of business to business sales processes, thereby increasing conversion rates and more relevant online presence.
There are a complex number of service sections within businesses that the best B2B marketing agencies tap into, from advertising to SEO and web design, and content marketing to branding development.
A typical B2B market agency list would include,
– Government run agencies and organisations (schools, hospitals, public offices, etc)
– The construction industry
– Manufacturers and distributors
– Power and energy
– Car and car part manufacturers
– Airlines and shipping
To summarise this list, any company who wants to sell to another uses B2B.
In order to sell to each other companies need to know each other exists, and a B2B agency is engaged to achieve prominence over competitors by breaking down the elements of individual businesses and determining how well they address each link in the chain.
Among other aspects, a B2B agency will study their client’s
– Social media strategies
– Advertising and marketing technology
– B2B content marketing
– Web design
– Brand positioning and creation
– Email marketing
– Campaign strategies and internal communications
Video production affords a way for prospective clients to see the people behind the brand. The saying in business “People buy from people” is never more appropriate and video offers a personal or entertaining approach to brand promotion that possibly no other medium can.
A well-constructed creative B2B video can work wonders for a client’s brand perception and is likely to be shared more readily than well-written content.
B2B video production doesn’t need to be conventional. Viewers nowadays are more discerning and it’s likely to be considered boring if a video is designed without personality.
Take a look at some of these examples from Contentmarketingsuite.com and see how major companies approach this medium.
If the idea of making promotional videos is daunting (and it used to be) it’s not the case nowadays. Look at these templates showing how easily online companies can integrate animation using software such as this from Rawshorts.com.
If the term ‘Demand generation’ is modified to ‘generating demand’, it’s possibly a little easier to understand, as it’s the actions a company undertakes to promote demand for their goods or services.
Demand generation entails a company recognising a market that is deemed responsive to its brand and targeting them more specifically over others.
Some of the practices used include;
– Generating media relations through social platforms via advertising or promoting interest in a product or service with free offers and samples, or ebooks.
– Something as simple as how advice is given or how feedback or comments are acknowledged can be seen as part of the demand generation process; it’s about displaying a sense of trust in a brand.
– Companies giving away a useful free software tool is another example of demand generation.
– Creating informative webinars based on the interest shown within a product or service.
– Building lookalike audiences https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSr7EHtSkkI
– Content creation – Regular well-written articles and blog posts heighten brand awareness for a targeted audience and eventually produces more sales.
– Personalised email marketing – If a website has encouraged a viewer to disclose their email address, this doesn’t mean constantly bombarding them with emails of little or no interest as they will quickly unsubscribe.
– The emails must offer value and interest – Pay-per-click campaigns structured around keywords and phrases that echo the sentiments of target audiences.
– SEO – Optimising a website for higher ranking in search engines still plays a major role in demand generation.
– Customer service surveys – Tap into the consensus of opinion relating to your website, product or service and learn how to improve your business with the results.
By this time, you’ll notice that many of the business to consumer marketing strategies cross over to B2B marketing.
Generally, the main differences are,
– The speed of sales.
– B2B transactions generally can take weeks, months, or even years to complete.
– The decision makers. While dealing with B2C is difficult enough in itself, it often pales in comparison when dealing with major shareholders of a company, all with different interests.
– The relationships between buyer and seller. Added to the speed of sales, there is often a need to build and nurture a rapport to land a major tender or long-term contract.
– Usually, B2B sales involve larger amounts of money and include special terms and agreements that are specific to each business.
– Most B2B transactions relate to increasing the buyers’ efficiency or profits as opposed to a B2C buyer’s user experiences and emotional attachment.
Inbound marketing is a method used to attract viewers and prospective customers to their site.
New businesses unsure of their target audience use inbound marketing to highlight their online presence while established businesses use it to widen theirs.
The aim of inbound marketing is not to sell directly but to attract attention to earn sales through varied online content- it’s more about brand development.
The tactics used in inbound marketing include but are not limited to,
An attractive website that is optimised to sell what it was designed for.
Blog posts and social media interaction.
Self-promotion through newspapers, magazines, radio or TV.
Once others begin to mention your business online, this will be an indication that inbound marketing is beginning to work.
The focus of inbound marketing is to attract the right audience for services or products: Inbound marketing is about long term presence and not the quick sale.
There’s a brilliant post from Neilpatel.com which highlights the sort of work needed to establish a working inbound marketing brand strategy.
B2B web design differs somewhat from B2C. More often than not it’s styled for customers who are already aware of the product or services they are seeking and have less of an emotional leaning towards a purchase.
There are certain key areas we feel should always be included in any good B2B or B2C web design.
– The ability to explain the quality of the service or product being offered.
– The value of the service or product to the purchaser.
– Engaging content that has value with its information.
– Logical hierarchical pages that are easily searched, with an opportunity to return to the homepage.
– Ample opportunity for the prospective customer to make a purchase or at least, express their interest with call-to-action or CTA inclusions.
– An easily navigated web design that is uncluttered and sticks to the point- what they sell, where they sell it and why, and for how much.
– The company contact details.
– A reliable and staffed customer service area.
Video content is fast becoming an essential addition for higher ranking websites. These could be included in ‘case studies’, webinars, ‘About us’ pages or even demonstrations of the product or service.
Content Marketing Strategy
The best b2b marketing agencies will tell you without a distinct strategy, you are wasting your time.
B2B marketing is based on content. This post from Growandconvert.com writes about purchase intent and content.
Content marketing strategies don’t have laboured upon for months. As long as you have a recognisable blueprint to work with, you can introduce methodical changes as and when needed.
These are simplified considerations to take into account when creating a content marketing plan but counts for nothing without a goal, so have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
Once you’ve decided on a realistic objective,
It’s been constantly repeated throughout the post but one of the most fundamental necessities is to know who your target audience is.
You’ve targeted your audience, you have a better idea of what topics to write about and the tone that you want to project.
– It’s then essential to know where that content should be posted and at what rate of speed.
– There are no rules to say that you can’t reuse old content for the purpose of promotion if the content still has relevance and value.
– At some point, you will have to delegate the responsibility of content creation and the regularity and process of how it’s promoted.
– Next, you’ll need to track and measure your campaign and decide how it can be improved upon.
For a simple to understand content marketing template take a trip to this one from Slidebean.com here.
We’ve taken the drudgery out of searching everywhere on the net for marketing technology tools for business by collating some of the best around and displaying links here.
Data management platform software
‘Data management platforms ( or DMPs) are central hubs which store and analyse a company’s audience, customers and marketing data and assist with the massive amounts of data they collect from multiple sources by presenting it an easy to understand format.
DMPs are used by advertising agencies, marketers, and publishers to create custom data sets and effectively target users for online advertising.
DMPs pull in data from multiple sources, including first-party software—such as CRM software, digital analytics software, and advertising technology like advertiser campaign management software and publisher and management software products, and ad networks —as well as third-party data providers’.
Target Audience Software to consider:
Marketing Automation Software
(Sixteen assorted marketing tool options and reviews) https://foundationinc.co/lab/b2b-marketing-software/
(Ten of the best marketing automation software tools) https://readymag.com/b2bportal/top-10-b2b-ecommerce-software/
When performed correctly, email marketing continues to offer a major contribution to lead generation and customer retention, dramatically outperforming social media.
Most businesses will know if they are using this form of direct marketing correctly as results will show this but if you are struggling, we’ve got a few things you ought to check.
Keeping up with these good habits will optimise your chances of success,
– Triggered emails account for the majority of revenue.
Personalised emails stand the best chance of retaining the customer, as it shows ‘more effort’ and draws a higher element of trust.
The types of personalised emails that tend to have the best effect are those sent once a cart is abandoned and a better offer is made, or emails that personalise locations or images relevant to the customers.
Problems are more likely to arise when an email doesn’t look as if it’s been written by a real person.
– The subject line of an email is often the only thing that’s read- it’s what determines whether the email is interesting enough to open or instantly delete. It’s advisable to do some research on writing interesting subject lines.
– The content of your emails needs to be engaging and useful. Either the information you provide, tips you give or offers you make must be worth writing about.
– Once you’ve found enough information about a customer, try to drip-feed them with items or events that may be of interest to them based on what you know about them (their location, age, likes and dislikes, feedback on previous sales etc)
– Website trackers on your website will help highlight when an emailed customer links to your site and what pages they visit.
– Use analytics tools such as Google analytics or Hotjar.com to gain an insight into the trends related to pages and links and how these affect your ROI.
– If you are still unsure what’s working for you or have more than one good idea and can’t decide which is best, opt for A/B testing. This post from Crazyegg.com goes into more depth about A/B testing.
– Did you know there is often a best time to send an email? According to fourteen different experts in the field, there is. Take a look at what they have to say here.
For some of the latest email marketing statistics, check out Everycloudtech.com.
This page only scratches the surface of B2B marketing in all its forms.
Marketing campaigns are extremely complex when undertaken properly.
Logical steps are crucial for any online business to undertake and it’s worth taking one of those steps back and working on a clear plan of action.
If you have any observations or comments, please feel free to contact us.
We are constantly striving to keep up-to-date with the consensus of public opinion and would welcome invitations to write more in-depth about popular subjects.
He always puts the client first, even when this may be difficult. Jacob Reimann
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