Award-winning marketer, writer and speaker. Marketing director for two fin-tech brands.
Are you thinking about getting into business-to-business marketing (B2B)? Compared to consumer marketing, B2B marketing is more of a challenge because several things are at stake. For one, you need to consider the stakeholders and involve them in every step of the decision-making process. These can be complex relationships as most purchases involve multiple stakeholders.
This means that you need to develop marketing materials for all parties involved in the buying process. For this to be possible, you need to forge business relationships that can last long enough to make a positive difference in terms of profits.
Build personal customer relationships
The main focus of your B2B marketing efforts should be building long-term relationships that can fuel business growth, especially during the shopping cycle. Remember, you are selling to companies. This can be anything from wholesalers and distributors to suppliers selling to resellers.
In contrast to a B2C (business-to-consumer) setup, in which an emotional connection is to be established directly with customers, there is usually no personal emotional involvement in a B2B purchase. In other words, instead of studying how your inventory can make life better, you need to focus on understanding business buyers and their role in their business infrastructure.
This type of marketing does not focus on the people using the products, but rather on how they can save a retailer time, money and resources. In simpler terms, what is the return on investment (ROI) that they can benefit from by buying from you?
Let’s use a simple example to understand this. For example, let’s say you want to sell software to a company that will save time and money in the long run. If the tool can be used across departments, it will be a significant purchase for the company. Of course, the people who ultimately use the product must convince them to invest in it. Unlike customers who have no business experience, they need referrals from companies who have used them, detailed demonstrations, and testing periods before they are ready to make any serious commitments.
Speak your language
I find that B2B customers are more likely to buy services and products from companies or experts who understand their processes, the terminology they use, and the decisions they make. Of course, if you want to make them understand where you are from, you need to speak their language using their perspective as a guide.
For example, let’s say you want to sell managed website hosting services for $ 20 a month to a company that sells clothing online. Fluffy content will only backfire here because, unlike customers who shop at an online clothing store, your customers cannot be persuaded to make an impulsive buying decision.
Your copy should focus on taking those emotions out of their decision and building trust in the prospect. If you tell them to buy this web hosting solution to increase your traffic, they will get stuck as this type of content has no payload.
How can your solutions reduce your workload? How can it make your customers happy? To ensure that they are making an informed decision that will benefit them and their organization in the long term, your copy needs to reference their needs.
Build focused and personalized websites
There is a distinct difference between the level of personalization you need to achieve on a B2B website and a B2C website. On the one hand, the latter offers more options for personalizing the content, since it has a lot more to offer and, in comparison, there are more interaction points to track.
Think about it. A B2C site just needs to look up a customer’s shopping history or track their activity using cookies to get the information it needs to make targeted marketing decisions. For example, if a consumer finds that they are spending more time on a particular jacket on the webpage, they can send targeted ads in the consumer’s way that their browser displays, even if they are on a different website.
This strategy doesn’t work with a B2B setup because this audience is often looking for hyper-specific content. If they land on your homepage and then see that every webpage they view has ads, these business and tech-savvy users are likely to find out that their online activities are being tracked. While this may not be taken personally, navigating the clutter can lead to frustration – enough to switch to a competitor who has a cleaner website.
Your goal should be to connect with business-minded audiences in their own element to convince them that you have solutions to their problems that they cannot do without.
Nurture your leads
In addition, personalization on a B2B website is more individual. Unlike a B2C website, where all you have to do is click on a product and buy it in a few easy steps, there are several steps you need to take to complete a purchase for a B2B product or service.
At its simplest, the process can include a form that interested parties may need to fill out, calls to sales reps to discuss packages or discounts, and a contract they may need to sign to complete their purchase.
The goal should be to nurture each lead until it turns into a business. This is where informational assets can prove invaluable. Provide detailed information about any service or product that a company or department in a particular company may find useful. Your website should contain more than just reviews. It should contain tutorials, comparative blogs, videos, and other facts that can trigger a quick purchase decision.
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