If you sell products or services aimed at other companies, you need a strong B2B marketing strategy to stand out against your competitors.
But how do you create a solid strategy that converts B2B buyers? And which tactics should you incorporate?
Let’s cover all this together one step at a time.
What is a B2B marketing strategy?
A business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy consists of a carefully created plan to market your products or services to another business or organisation.
In the B2B world, there’s a tendency to focus on corporate and impersonal content and brand voices, but we’d like to stop you right there.
Your B2B clients are just as human as the customers in the B2C world (‘business-to-consumer’).
When planning your B2B marketing strategy, don’t forget that there are real-life people behind those corporate logos.
That’s why it’s important to build your B2B marketing strategy around them and, especially, focus on how your offer can benefit them by solving their business-related problems.
What is the difference between a strategy and a tactic in B2B marketing?
The difference between the two is that your B2B marketing strategy is the overall plan, which will include several tactics to achieve specific goals.
The latter are basically the tools you’ll need in order to put your strategy into action.
How to create a successful B2B marketing strategy in 2021
There are four key steps in creating a strong B2B marketing strategy, but be sure to focus on the tactics that are most relevant to your company and goals.
1. Conduct some market research
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is to start selling without knowing exactly who they’re selling to.
This translates into a vague offer that, because it’s not trying to appeal to anyone in particular, ends up speaking to no one.
Before you do anything else, you must conduct:
- Market research: know exactly who you’re selling to (it wouldn’t be a bad idea to create some buyer personas)
- Competitor research: what are they doing right/wrong? And what do you offer that your competitors don’t?
- Your USP: how are you different, and how does your product benefit your target market?
Once you’ve done this, create both an elevator pitch and a unique buying proposition that are crystal clear and specific.
You’d be surprised at how many B2B companies miss out on sales simply because they answer ‘oh, it’s too complicated to explain in a sentence’ when asked what they do!
If you’re a small business owner wanting to conduct some external market research, check out this 30 minute video covering some important considerations.
2. Set yourself some SMART goals
To know whether you’re doing something right, you must first define what ‘right’ means to your business by setting some goals.
After all, 74% of B2B marketers do, and yet only 3% achieve them.
Set yourself up for success by:
- Creating the right goals for your B2B marketing strategy together with your sales team
- Making them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) whenever possible
- Focusing on what actually matters to your company
3. Incorporate the right B2B marketing tactics
A successful B2B marketing strategy should use as many of these tactics as possible rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket.
Create a quality B2B website and optimise it for SEO
Sure, word of mouth is great, but how are new customers going to find you if you haven’t got a website? And where are your leads going to look for more information after hearing about you on socials or elsewhere?
Start by creating a user-friendly B2B website with copy that immediately conveys how your offer will benefit your target audience.
Don’t forget to optimise it for relevant keywords and create a strong SEO strategy.
When you think that your average client needs to see 11.4 pieces of content before committing to a purchase, it’d be crazy not to include content marketing in your B2B strategy.
Start writing blog posts on relevant industry-related topics (and ditch internal news… nobody else cares!).
While 67% of B2B marketers focus on top-of-the-funnel content, it’s always useful to include a few blog posts for its other stages, too.
Experiment with video
From the rise of platforms like TikTok to new features like Instagram Reels, it’s clear that the future (and present) of marketing includes video.
In fact, 70% of B2B buyers watch them during their sales journey, so consider including them in your B2B marketing strategy, such as on your website (for example, to provide a quick overview of your offer), Youtube, and other social media platforms.
Launch a B2B podcast
Episodic content is getting more and more popular, and one of the best ways of making the most of it through your B2B marketing strategy is to create a podcast.
This will help you generate more leads and retain a larger audience but also be perceived as a trusted expert in your field.
Keep in mind that, just like with more traditional content marketing channels, your podcast should still bring value to your listeners.
For step by step instructions on setting up a podcast, check out this guide.
Be social, especially on LinkedIn
Not only can social platforms allow you to generate more and more leads: 84% of B2B executives agree that social media is an important source behind purchasing decisions, too.
Once again, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but, at the same time, be realistic. We recommend being active on three platforms, including LinkedIn.
Used by 756 million professionals, it’s where B2B marketers source 80% of their social media leads.
Change your email marketing strategy
Newsletters might be out, but email marketing is definitely in, and it’s used by 93% of all B2B marketers. For over half of them it’s the best channel for revenue generation!
Let’s be honest, though: nobody wants to subscribe to old-style newsletters to hear all about your company away day.
If you want to build a mailing list in to your B2B marketing strategy (and you definitely should), you must see it as something else: a way of nurturing your leads by sending them valuable content.
To encourage your website visitors to subscribe, consider creating a lead magnet. This can be a free resource or an exclusive discount that they’ll be able to access once they sign up for your email marketing updates.
Use PPC wisely
You can also complement your organic and inbound B2B marketing strategies (such as SEO, content, and email marketing) with some paid advertising efforts.
The two main points that we want you to keep in mind are:
- Be specific! Don’t try and create vague ads in the hope of appealing to more people. You’ll have much higher chances of getting a better ROI by aiming for less but higher-quality traffic
- Keep in mind that the B2B sales cycle is usually longer than for B2C companies: while it’s still important to review your B2B marketing strategies and tactics periodically, don’t get frustrated if it takes you a few months to see results
Focus on reviews, referrals, and case studies
At the end of the day, people buy from people, even in the B2B sector.
Not only does this mean that it pays to be personal and ditch the robotic corporate voice: your audience will be more inclined to try something if it’s recommended by someone else.
If they can see that similar businesses have had a great experience with your products or services, they’ll be more likely to give them a go.
Some tactics to harness this with your B2B marketing strategy are:
- Encourage reviews
- Create a referral program (it helps 78% of B2B marketers generate good or even excellent leads!)
- Write detailed case studies on your website
B2B marketing automation
By replacing repetitive manual processes, automation helps you save time and nurture more leads. You should seriously consider incorporating it into your B2B marketing strategies!
How you do it really depends on your business, but we mainly recommend choosing tools that you can integrate with your CRM.
For instance, you could use them to create an email sequence that goes out whenever someone subscribes to your newsletter or to ask for a review a few days after an actual purchase. Perhaps you might have the sales team check a box in your CRM that triggers a sequence of comms related to the product or service that most interested that individual.
The possibilities are endless!
3. Perform test & learn optimisation
It’s tempting to base our B2B marketing strategies on intuition, but you don’t always know what your target audience prefers.
For the best results, you should try and test different tactics and alternatives.
For example, you could perform some A/B testing on emails or your landing pages to see which one converts the most.
4. Analyse your results
Unlike with rollercoasters, in B2B marketing it’s not a good idea to simply close your eyes and hope for the best.
As well as performing these tests, you must also take the time to review the results periodically and in relation to your initial goals.
Some of the important metrics and tactics to analyse are:
- Website traffic and SEO
- Website conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
- Platform insights and engagement on socials
- Email conversion rate (ECR)
- Lead conversion
- Overall ROI of your B2B marketing
That way, you’ll get to make even more informed decisions with your next campaign and adjust your overall B2B marketing plan.
Need a hand developing your B2B marketing strategy?
If the thought of implementing all of these B2B marketing strategies and tactics is too overwhelming, relax: you don’t have to do it all on your own!
At Bee Brilliant! we help B2B companies just like yours stand out and grow.
From developing your actual B2B marketing strategy to writing relevant blog posts and managing your paid advertising or social media, our B2B services will allow you to focus on whatever it is you do best with your business… while we take care of the rest.