Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing for Business-to-Business Companies

Digital marketing

In our increasingly digital business environment, we’ve had to adapt some fundamental practices. Some of these have been to suit a changing audience, others have been to better align with the technology that we’re all using. Marketing has been one of the sectors affected by our digital transition.   

While business-to-customer (B2C) marketing has been improved by the ability to make deeper connections across a worldwide marketplace, business-to-business (B2B) marketing hasn’t always been an easy nut to crack. What works in B2C doesn’t always easily translate to B2B. Business targets are generally more savvy about marketing techniques and much less likely to make impulsive decisions in response to a piece of digital copy. Therefore, B2B marketing requires a greater degree of patience and some work toward building those valuable  relationships. 

Thankfully, with some smart strategizing and focus in the right areas, digital marketing can be an effective tool for B2B companies. We’ll take a look at a few key areas that can effectively improve conversion rates by utilizing the tools of our tech-enhanced age.

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Communicate the Brand Voice

There’s a common misconception in marketing: that branding is only important when it comes to B2C strategies. While branding certainly has some different techniques and intentions for business-to-customer campaigns, it remains an important aspect in business-to-business communications. In many ways, branding is a form of useful shorthand; it helps to cement the personality and intentions of your business, and a brand is best built as part of your relationship with customers over time. 

So how does this work, practically? As defined by the Maryville University: “Digital communication is the process of connecting with people across online channels. This might involve launching social media campaigns, distributing email newsletters, running banner ads, or publishing native advertising articles.” Given that there will be multiple channels utilized, the first B2B branding step that entrepreneurs need to take in digital spheres is clarifying the voice of their business that will be used across all platforms. 

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What do we mean by voice?

  • The types of vocabulary and phrases in emails, social media posts, and content.
  • The attitude employed when representing the company in podcasts and videos.
  • The values expressed in each communication.

This doesn’t mean that marketers and employees need to remove their own personalities from the equation. Rather, they should be seeking to incorporate the brand voice when making email contact with a prospect or bringing attention to content they may be interested in.

Content Considerations

Increasingly, content is king in marketing. In B2C strategies, this is a vital tool in building trust and improving conversion rates with consumers. This is done by giving them content in which they are interested, answering questions they have, and cementing the business as the voice of expertise. For B2B purposes, the goals are largely the same but with a shift in approach.  

B2B marketers have the same content tools at their disposal — blogs, videos, podcasts — but they should be used differently. Rather than simply answering the questions of customers, you should be creating value by positioning yourself as a key resource to those in your target industry, knowledgeable about the unique challenges and well-versed in the potential solutions. Create videos that not only present your own employees or leadership, but also feature prominent faces in the industry. Collaborate in a way that bolsters your profile. Show potential B2B customers that you not only have expertise in their area, but that you also understand the specific challenges they face.   

One thing that doesn’t change between B2B and B2C content marketing is that great UX (user experience) makes a positive and lasting impression on the consumer. It’s one of the reasons that UX and web design skills are consistently among the most desirable traits for employees in digital marketing, regardless of the target audience. As B2B websites often include various types of content aimed at the wide variety of visitors they’re targeting, a key element in UX is simplicity. Make it easy for the visitor to access the type of content they’re searching for and help them transition smoothly toward other areas of interest or sales enquiry.   

Social Media Approach

Let’s face it. Social media can be a minefield as well as a goldmine in marketing. Many mistakes made in B2C social media marketing revolve around a company’s misunderstanding of how their audience prefers to communicate and trying to push a personality for the brand that can seem disingenuous. This can be amplified in B2B, as a premium is often placed on trust. That doesn’t mean we should avoid utilizing social media, however. 

Social media posts should be treated much the same way as your content. Communicate about subjects that most interest your target audience and engage in conversations, not just with potential customers but other experts in the field and even competitors. Much like using Google Analytics for your website, social media can be a great tool for reviewing metrics. All major platforms include an option to view insights into the demographics who are engaging with your posts. This information can help direct further strategies.  

In addition, social media influencers can be a useful tool. In B2C circles, they’ve proven successful in encouraging users to follow links to purchase products featured in content. They also have a place in B2B strategies. In 2018, 48% of those surveyed by Marketing Charts identified influencers as a tool they intended to employ in 2019. 

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As with other social media marketing, a sophisticated and streamlined approach needs to be taken. To discover your influencers, aim for the following:

  • Seek key industry leaders — those with respected opinions and approaches that exemplify the products and services you offer
  • Research social media content and followed accounts of your target demographic. Engage those who consistently appear as favored voices
  • Utilize services such as Followerwonk to analyze potential influencer accounts, and gain an insight into whether their potential reach fits your B2B marketing goals. 

Conclusion   

While B2B and B2C marketing each have their unique approaches, there are certain strategies that can be adapted to suit industry-oriented goals. Take the time to understand how a brand voice can be better suited to business customers, develop relevant content approaches, and keep social media professionally valuable. Regardless of the audience, our digital landscape has tools to help you build trust and develop important relationships.

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