B2B marketers face a unique challenge in the landscape of the digital world. All too often, individuals struggle to see a return for their marketing efforts on PPC, email marketing, and landing page design because they haven’t taken the time to invest in the areas that mean the most when it comes to seeing lasting ROI.
Like all other campaigns, B2B marketing requires planning, investments, and second-to-none execution—particularly in these areas that are sometimes neglected or overlooked.
Here are four foundational elements for maximizing your B2B marketing strategy.
1 - Invest in Your Website
Whether you’re actually transacting online or simply ‘selling yourself,’ your website needs to represent your value to prospective customers. In a recent study by Smart Insights, B2B customers rated websites and an online catalogs as the #1 decision marketing touchpoint. Make sure your unique value proposition is clearly defined above the fold of your homepage. Support your position by listing customer testimonials or case studies just below.
Investing in your website as a B2B company doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be creative. Lana, a French luxury papermill providing publishing and fine art solutions to professional businesses, combine innovation and craftsmanship to make their products come to life on their site—proving that B2B doesn’t have to mean boring.
2 - Create Valuable Content
In B2B marketing, content marketing continues to be the most valuable strategy. According to a lead generation study by HubSpot, SEO was the highest ranked lead source, generating 14% of all professional leads. Experimenting with a variety of content tactics—including blogs, case studies, white papers, research reports, and infographics—works well learning what kind of content works best with your audience.
Similarly, you shouldn't be afraid to wander off the beaten path with your content. A content strategy that is truly unique and provides relevant content to your targeted consumers will be the most successful content your brand can create.
A perfect example of this is InVision, a prototyping, collaboration, and workflow platform for designers and marketers. In their “Inside Design” blog series, Invision interviews key business partners’ design teams to learn about their team dynamics, design principles, and workspaces—including businesses such as Zendesk, HubSpot, and Netflix. This content helps InVision attract the customers they want to be working with.
Pro tip: Don’t shy away from recycling old content. If you’ve found a certain blog strategy or eBook has performed well in the past, optimize the content, rewrite to avoid duplicate content, and promote it again.
3 - Build Lasting Relationships
Like all relationships in life, your B2B relationships begin with trust. Once someone has joined your contact database, consider: what relevant information can you give them to provide more value? If they watched one of your webinars about content marketing, perhaps follow up by offering one of your best converting landing page templates to get them started on their first inbound campaign.
B2B relationships also need to be sustained across all touchpoints—especially social media. Social channels help your business make more personal connections with prospects, so be sure to mix your professional content with ‘behind-the-scenes’ content that highlights your team members and culture.
Beyond this, work to continue your relationship with frequent, relevant communication. Utilize email automation software so that you can trigger emails and drip campaigns based on a contact’s behavior.
The key to success is to ditch the jargon and lackluster offers automated email campaigns generally entail. Find compelling offers, use personalization, and make your CTA’s clear as day. The email seen here was sent from Craft, InVision’s cloud-based creative team software.
Notice that the offer is relevant, intriguing—and that the email itself is downright beautiful. There is also a single CTA, which Wordstream reports can lift click rates by 371%, and, radically, increase sales by 1617%.
4 - Host Great Events
Too many B2B companies are waste time, effort, and money on archaic networking events hosted in run-down hotel conference rooms with bad dinner meals and poor entertainment. This is a complete waste of a great opportunity, considering 67% of B2B marketers say that events are one of their most effective marketing tactics.
Instead of hosting your nth rendition of a B2B networking dinner, create an experience for individuals to connect with your brand. GE is a perfect example:
In 2007, GE launched an ambitious healthcare initiative, Healthymagination, tasked with promoting healthcare solutions, especially in developing parts of the world, to their stakeholders, customers, media, and thought leaders.
At their 2016 event, GE created three separate “movie sets” to emulate Healthymagination’s work in a rural African clinic, an urban clinic, and an emergency room. They had doctors at each set sharing first-hand stories in front of the 700-person audience, illustrating how GE’s healthcare technology played a role in each setting.
The major success of the event is that is got people talking and sharing ideas on a slightly uncomfortable topic, that being the need for access to healthcare in impoverished parts of the world. The campaign was so successful that it won a Business Marketing Association Tower Award.
Even if you can’t host a multi-million dollar event with African-themed movie sets and real doctors, you can make any marketing event an experience. If you’re a software company hosting an event for existing and prospective development companies, create your own rendition of everyone’s favorite arcade games. Whatever it may be, make it relevant andengaging for your audience.
The most important part of these events is to make time for your people—all of them. Make it your team’s goal to sit down with existing customers to make them feel valued.
Maximizing Your B2B Marketing Success
As you implement these four foundational elements into your B2B marketing strategy, be sure to track your results. It’s important that all of your marketing efforts have benchmarks and goals to track the progress of your success, so always report on your ROI.