3 affordable yet effective B2B business marketing tactics

If you're stuck with how to market your small B2B Business, then these 3 insightful tips are for you. And the best part - you can take action today.

Small business bankruptcy statistics have climbed every year since the GFC in 2008. Whether it’s due to consumers not spending, or the change in customer behavior rapidly changing to the digital age, there is one clear message- Small B2B businesses need to find more effective, proven and profitable marketing techniques.

Most small B2B businesses think that they need to be on Facebook as that is what the media keeps telling them, however social media has one of the smallest ROI’s out of all marketing tactics there is. In fact, only 14 percent of businesses see a measurable return from their social media efforts. But that doesn’t meant that measurable return is a good return...

So if you own or market a small B2B business, don’t worry as below I’ve compiled five proven and time tested methods that are effective and affordable. And the best part - you can implement them today.

1. Referrals on tap

For most B2B businesses, referrals are upto 7 times more likely to convert than a cold lead. Why? Because they have the power of a personal recommendation behind them which grows instant trust and decreases their defences.

The issue is that from my experience the majority of B2B businesses don’t have a proactive system to acquire referrals, but rather see them as a nice bonus when they come in. Imagine how your business would change if every day you woke up to 5 new referrals from clients? It’d likely explode!

So rather than waiting for these super valuable leads to come, if you use the system below you’ll see below your referrals grow like clock work.

Capture all customer information at purchase, including mailing address. This might seem simple, but I know lots of businesses that don’t!

Two weeks after the sale ad been completed, send them an envelope with a letter telling them how much you appreciate their business, and include referral 3 cards with a discount on them to give to friends (Get cheap business cards printed for these).

Lastly, include a token of your appreciation for them such as a little gift or a voucher for themselves to keep.

Why does this work: Most companies these days only care about their profits so they are very wary to give customers a thank you gift. Think about it - when was the last time a business sent you a gift to thank you? Plus by posting it in the mail, it breaks through the clutter of the inbox. To make your letter stand out even more get the outside of the envelope printed with a big red bow and the text ‘Special Gift Inside’. This cuts through junk mail and ensures your letter gets opened.

Total cost: Approximately $2 each

Possible return: Up to 3 personal referrals + 1 returning customer

2. Reactivate Old Customers

The second untapped gold mine in small businesses is there old customers who haven’t returned for a while. I’m a prime example - I haven’t been to the Chiropractor for years, but if I was to get a discount in the mail from my Chiropractor I’d be back there next week spending money.

The point is this - just because a customer hasn’t been back for a while it doesn’t mean that they are not interested. In fact, 9 times out of 10 life has simply gotten in the way or its something that keeps slipping their mind.

Another example is about 12 months ago I purchased a top end water filter from a merchant online. Now the filters for these jugs need replacing every 6 months to be effective, but I haven’t heard from the merchant. I will get around to ordering one, but probably in another 6-months, which means they’ve lost out on $80 from missing the follow up.

How to follow up effectively:

Prepare a letter to send to them along the lines of ‘we miss you - here’s a discount’ (Direct mail works best, but if you only have email then that will do)

If after 2 weeks they don’t come in, then send a second letter with a voucher for a free gift that they can come in and collect from you. If you’re a beautician it could be a little gift pack, or if you're an accountant it could be a nice parker pen. The goal here is to get them to personally come into your office or shop.

When they are collecting their gift update them on your new services, specials and ask if they’d like to book in/buy anything.

Why does this work: As we mentioned above, life simply gets in the way of most of your customers coming back to buy. So by reaching out to them you’ll see a very very strong response.

Total cost: Approximately $10-15 depending on what your gift will be

Possible return: A returning customer, about 50% of which will make a purchase or booking while they are in your store

3. Search Engine Optimisation

We’re now going to take a turn away from direct marketing, and into the most proven way to have a steady stream of new leads enter your business every day - being found in Google.

Bar none, SEO has been ranked time and time again as the most effective way to build long-term stability in a business. For small or local businesses it’s even more important than ever with 97% of consumers  turning to the internet to find your business.

So how do you get found in Google and what is this SEO Stuff?

Basically SEO is a practise of making your site friendly for search engines. It involves making changes to the website, as well as building authority (Such as links) from other websites around the internet. Now there is A LOT more to it than just that, but that is a nutshell for you.

There are 2 ways to get your website rankings up. Firstly you can learn to do it yourself. I’ve found that if most business owners put about 4 weeks solid into learning SEO they can do a pretty awesome job at it.

Alternatively there are lots of SEO Companies out there that can take care of it all for you. The two most important things to look for when choosing an agency are have they gotten results, and secondly, have they gotten any clients penalized  by breaking google’s webmaster rules?

Why does this work: Over the last decade we’ve been conditioned to turn to Google every time we want to learn something or find something. So by being found at the top when customers are looking for your service, you’re getting hot leads essentially for free. One thing to keep in mind with SEO is that it generally takes 3-months to break even from your investment. The good news is that over 6-12 months you’ll easily get back 2,5, even 10 times your investment. So it's worth hanging in there for the long haul.

Total cost: Budget $500-1,000 a month depending on your industry

Possible return: Endless