Digital B2B marketing: A guide for beginners
Have you ever been asked for your email address when visiting the website of your favorite store? Do you follow any businesses on Facebook or twitter to learn about special offers and upcoming events? If you have, you have been the target of digital marketing.
Digital marketing, also known as content marketing, internet marketing, or online marketing is the process of marketing products and services using internet based resources. These resources include your own website, blogs, social media platforms, to build and maintain relationships with customers and prospects.
Digital marketing differs from traditional marketing because the focus isn’t on direct sales. Instead, you use content to earn the trust, respect, and interest of your prospects while also introducing them to your products and services without using hard sell tactics.
- Landing Pages: Small, singularly focused web pages that your potential customers land on after clicking on your online advertisements or links in your content.
- Call to Action: A request urging customers and potential customers to take a specific action, i.e., requesting a quote or subscribing to a blog.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization, a way of writing content and designing your web pages to earn high rankings on search engines.
- Keywords: Words and phrases you include in your content to improve SEO.
- Analytics: Data you collect and examine about traffic to your website.
- Content: Any content that you create or share in an effort to build relationships with your customers and to increase your online presence. This includes but is not limited to articles, blog posts, web content, press releases, marketing emails, videos, presentations, and product descriptions.
- Conversions: What happens when a potential customer answers your call to action, often making a purchase or entering the sales funnel.
- Sales Funnel: A metaphor describing the point at which the customer does something to indicate an interest in making a purchase and all of the steps after that to actually making a purchase.
- CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization, the process of using data to get the more conversions.
- PPC: Pay Per Click advertising, a type of online advertising where you only pay when a potential customer clicks your ad and then goes to your website.
- Influencer: A person or group who has a lot of clout within a particular niche, and whose support or endorsement is absolutely valuable.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of words that might be new to you if you don’t have any experience with digital marketing, but it is a good start.
How the differences between B2B and B2C purchasing behaviors work?
When an individual or family decides to make a purchase, the process is much simpler than when a business decides to make a purchase. There are more people involved, the evaluation and approval process is more complex, the purchasing life cycle is longer, and the payment process is more complex. As you know, that’s still simplifying things. The point is that you cannot simply take what works in digital marketing with B2C companies and apply it directly to B2B, digital marketing.
First connect with potential customers
Your first efforts should be focused on creating familiarity with your company and general interest in what it is that you do. There are a few things you can do to accomplish this. The first is to become present and active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram. You can use these platforms to post announcements, and share and promote your content. Next, create a blog that you update on a regular basis.
What kind of content should you create and share? Focus on the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your content should focus on providing useful information that can be used to solve problems. The other twenty percent can be promotional. The eighty percent could be product demonstration videos, blog posts about trending issues in your industry, and shared content that is relevant in your niche. The other twenty percent might include announcing new product lines or promoting news and events related to your company.
Finally, you can use PPC advertising to get other businesses to get to know your company by clicking on your ads and heading to your landing pages.
1. Bringing them into the fold through soft or micro conversion
Many people have two different categories in which they place conversions. A regular or hard conversion happens when a prospect makes a purchase or answers a call to action to be contacted by a salesperson or to receive a quote. That usually happens later. Soft, or micro conversions happen when prospects do things to show an interest in your company. For example, watching a product demonstration video would be an example of a micro conversion. Becoming a follower on social media, or sharing your content are two other examples.
2. Converting prospects into customers
Now you are ready to drive the hard conversions. You can do this by presenting followers with special offers, creating content that is designed to help your prospects solve real business problems, interacting with followers and answering business related questions, and even reaching out to businesses and offering advice and limited consulting services or free trials. If you are able to, you could even arrange a few in person meetings.
3. Getting your customers to stick around
For customers who have already made purchases, you will want to keep them around. You can use digital marketing to do this in a few different ways. The first is using your social media platforms as places to take care of low level customer service issues. You can also utilize email marketing to stay connected with customers and to familiarize them with special offers. Even something as simple as making the purchasing process easier via pre-filled forms can help.
4. Sowing loyalty
You can use digital marketing to create loyalty by taking steps to ensure your customer that their business is appreciated. You can, for example, offer exclusive content for customers who have made more than one purchase from you. You can also create a VIP user experience for visitors to your website who are long term customers.
5. Creating spokespeople
How do you turn somebody from a satisfied, loyal customer into one of your advocates? First of all, you can help them in their digital marketing efforts. Why not give them a bit of publicity by profiling them on your company blog? You can also share and promote their content. Once you’ve established a close relationship with your business client, you are in the position to ask them to do things such as writing a positive review of your company, or providing an endorsement that you can place on a landing page.
Your personal experience with online marketing may have been in the B2C space with you as a consumer. However, it is possible to launch a successful digital marketing campaign for your B2B company as well.