So, you’ve started a new activity, be it online or not, and you want to be able to market it properly. You want your business to thrive, whatever that means.
Well, we’ll start by saying that marketing is not as hard as it looks. Sure, it’s a skill that you can develop over time, with loads of experience – be it negative or positive-, but you can totally learn how to be a successful marketer without having to invest a huge sum of money into a top-class university.
And, let’s be honest: we’ve all been in the position of marketing something at least once in our lives. Remember that movie you wanted your friends to come see with you? Or that Indian restaurant you are always trying to convince your partner to have dinner at? These are all examples of an everyday kind of marketing that we all do inadvertently, and without having to overthink it.
Marketing is all about knowing that you have a solution to someone’s problems and trying to have them pick what it is that you are suggesting.
But we’ll be honest, this is just the end result you are aiming at and, as “not hard” as marketing is, it still takes a lot of effort and a heck of a strategy.
That’s why we’ve decided to offer you our own, personal, ultimate B2B Marketing Strategy with some useful tips on how to do it.
Are you ready for success?
What Is B2B Marketing And Why Do You Need It?
Marketing comes in all shapes and sizes and no, there’s no “one size fits all”. You must develop the ability to know what to use and how to do so with each one of your clients. But, generally speaking, marketing strategies can be divided into B2C and B2B. Don’t be intimidated by this alphanumeric acronym! B2C (Business 2 Customers) refers to a strategy tailored to be directed to your potential Customers, while B2B (Business 2 Business) is a strategy directed to other Businesses. Both of them can be your clients, but while B2C targets the individual customer, B2B targets companies.
While many people tend to think of B2C as the only essential strategy one could possibly need, B2B is just as important for a great number of reasons.
It’s just, simply put, a similar kind of strategy, with similar goals and a totally different audience.
In Business to Business Marketing, you will focus more on selling products or services that are essential for other businesses to sell their own services or to realise their products.
Some easy-peasy examples:
- You have a flourishing tomato business and you are selling your beautiful, organic tomatoes to a restaurant or a food factory.
- You have a Marketing Agency and you want to help other businesses be successful through your services.
- You own a manufacturing company and you want retailers to buy your products so that they can re-sell them.
At this point, you should have an idea as to why your business needs B2B Marketing.
The first reason is, undoubtedly, that you have higher and longer earning potential. The second is that it gives you the opportunity to grow your business through the networking experience.
But B2C Marketing and Markets have different rules, audiences, products and different ways in which your clients will be persuaded to choose your services instead of others’. That’s why we’ll guide you through all the options you have to enter the B2B Market with minimal effort!
What You Should Start Using Correctly NOW!
Are you aware of the power of communication? If you think your products or services are so good they’re gonna sell themselves, well, think again. You’re off to a horrible start. In order to persuade something that your service is actually that good, you have to tell them first. Think about it from your own, individual customer point of view: would you feel comfortable about going to a place that has no online reviews? Or, even better, how likely are you to purchase something that has a great deal of negative reviews? Not much, right? Well, every seller will tell you that their product or service is the greatest that ever existed, but what makes them successful is communication.
As a matter of fact, the right – although sketchy- communication strategy has the power to sell a non-existent or awful product. So you should start investing in it ASAP.
How do you communicate efficiently? If you are working in a shop as a sales assistant it’s relatively easy to help a potential customer make a choice. If you are a digital marketer you will have to bring the “affectionate and polite sales assistant persona experience” on a digital level through these channels:
Yes. You need one for more than one reason. First, because you want your customers to be able to know who you are and what you do. Second, because you can use it as a useful platform to share relevant content regarding your products and the field you are in, more generally.
Content is the fuel of communication and digital marketing. It’s an umbrella term for everything that’s being posted on your digital platforms. In B2B this generally means case studies, independent field research and whitepapers. Everything that you decide it’s worthy of showing up on your pages has to be written following SEO guidelines and aimed at a specific target audience.
Emails And Newsletters…
We know what you’re thinking: you probably think that email marketing and newsletters are a thing of the past. But it’s not. In fact, having a well-furbished mailing list will help you keep in contact with your existing customers and notify them about new products or new things you’ve been working on.
Acronym for Search Engine Optimisation, it’s an instrument that helps you drive traffic to your website through specific keywords. Simply put, it helps you gain visibility.
In this particular moment, social media is one of the most sought after marketing tools for business. That’s because they enable you to have a closer contact with your potential -or pre-existing- customers and to get to know them better. Through social media you can verify the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and constantly monitor your business reputation.
Although the pandemic has dramatically reduced the number of in-person occasions in which to promote your business, conferences and exhibitions remain one of the most valuable events for Business To Business Marketing.
Pay Per Click Advertising…
It’s a way of targeting your audience through organic results – meaning that your business shows up when searching for a specific keyword- and paid traffic. This means that you are basically investing in virtual advertising through which potential customers are redirected to your business.
Nothing is as effective as hearing someone share their point of view on a product. That’s why video marketing is one of the most amazing marketing tools you can use.
Now, To The REAL Strategy…
We’ve taken the time to go through all of the possible ways of displaying our marketing skills to potential customers. Personally, we think you should develop all of the aforementioned areas, so as to have a more comprehensive coverage of every area of your market. But let’s be clear: you can’t do these things without a proper marketing strategy and think that it’ll be effective. Because it won’t. It doesn’t matter how much money you pay for content or videos, or ads: without a strategy you’re simply wasting valuable time and resources.
Let’s start from the very beginning and see how to successfully develop a marketing strategy for your B2B activity.
Know Your Customers…
You’re just getting started in your business activity and the things you are planning on offering are pet food and animal supplies (such as toiletries). What you’re aiming at would be to sell the food your factory produces to several retailers. The key part of getting started with your marketing strategy is to identify who your potential buyers are. For example, you can’t expect to sell pet food to a clothing store, but you could be successful at selling it to supermarkets and pet shops.
After identifying who your potential buyers are, you have to analyse their request for what you are offering.
Do they normally buy this kind of product? Why? If they do, from whom?
Try and be precise with your analysis considering external factors such as the competition level and the market’s growth factors and margins. Now bear in mind that no customer and no market are alike. Sure, you can round up certain targets together, but generally speaking you will have to come up with more than just one single strategy for pitching your business.
Now Tell Us: Who’s Your Ideal Customer?
At this point it is fundamental that you take the time to empathise with your potential customer. We know that your products might attract a really large chunk of other businesses, generally speaking, but which of them would be your ideal customer?
Where do they live? What kind of social media do they engage with the most? What do they need your products and services for? Who do they need your products for?
The closer you examine your customers, the more time you invest learning the language they speak, the more likely you are to know how to sell them your products.
Know Your Enemy…
Being in business is not as easy as it looks in the movies. We know your products are the top of their category, but so are your competitors’, probably. And that’s the harsh truth.
Now, we are not inviting you to place spy cams in your competitors’ factories, but you should monitor them and their customers really closely.
The first thing you should be doing is learning about their unique selling points, aka what makes them sell and stand out from the competition; then you want to take a closer look at their weaknesses and strengths.
Analyse their marketing strategy and know it as you would know yours. See what they use to generate traffic, what kind of newsletters they send out, if they write white papers and do webinars… Then go the extra mile and get to know their customers. Who are they? Why are they buying from your competitors and not from you? Is it because you are new to the business? Or is it because you don’t have enough credibility just yet?
These are steps that you must be willing to take in order to be as successful -or even more- than your competitors.
Know What You’re Selling And Tell Everyone About It…
In the last paragraph we talked about Unique Selling Points. Now, there’s no need to be nervous, yet. We believe that every business has the potential to develop their USPs and with a little help from us you could do it, too.
Let’s start by saying that your USP doesn’t consist in simply telling everyone you think might be interested in how bomb your new cat food is.
What you want to do is know what makes your product so unique that it can be easily sold.
To successfully build your USP you should ask some of your customers what they think about your product and what it is that makes them want to buy it.
Then compare your product to one of your competitors and try to find out where it is that yours tops theirs.
These are just some of the most basic things you can start doing immediately.
From a communication standpoint you could be stating your USP through a slogan, a catchphrase or, simply a sentence on your website that guarantees your customers’ satisfaction.
Put Yourself In Your Customers’ Shoes…
You probably already know a thing or two about something called the buyer’s journey. Simply put, it’s a map of the various stages our customers go through before they actually make a purchase. Each of these stages requires a different kind of communication, as you will have to guide your customers through all of them.
Let’s start with what it’s called the “awareness stage”. This is the starting point, when your potential customers still don’t know much about your business and are just randomly looking for something that fits the category your products are in.
If you are selling pet food, your customer might have ended up on your website by searching for some of the generic keywords you are using. Nothing too specific, they’re just “taking a look”.
The second stage is known as the “consideration stage”: this happens when your potential customers see the point in buying your product and might be interested in deepening their knowledge about it. In this stage they might have searched for something more specific, like some of your products’ ingredients and so on. Now, if your communication and customer service is good enough you might be able to guide them through the last stage of the buyer’s journey: the decision making stage. Please note that only a ridiculously small percentage of the people who will land on your page are at this stage, so don’t invest too much in it.
At this point your potential customers will likely make a choice in your favour. They came to your page knowing your products, their perks and in which way they’re better than others, but still need some further convincing. They will likely search for case studies or white papers to further prove their decision in investing in your products.
As you can see, there’s no one size fits all. You will have to develop your marketing strategy thoroughly and carefully on each one of your customers and the stages they are at.
Take Your Aim And Shoot For The Stars…
It’s time for you to dream big. What are your goals? Where do you see your business in ten years from now?
Then start analysing all key factors such as the resource you want to invest in and the markets you want to be a part of and start planning.
It’s easier said than done, we know, but asking for an expert’s hand would be of great help, at this point.
Now you’ve got to focus on all the activities you want to invest on and implement each of their communication systems.
Find activities that will help you achieve your goals and keep it up. This is what it’s commonly referred to as “marketing focus zone”.
Some of these activities can be identified in:
- Lead generation: planning different types of activities based on the stage on the buyer’s journey
- Lead nurturing: Literally, nurturing your pre-existing relationship to your customers through content
- Trade Marketing: encouraging trade exchanges between your customers
- PR: Activities that will help you gain more media presence
- Products: Analysing your products through specific systems
- Partnerships: Developing a partnership with other businesses
Ready To See Some Proper Results?
We know that you’re confused, probably scared and would want success to be automatic. That’s why we are experts in providing a wide range of solutions for each of our clients. Book your free consultation today and let us do what we’re best at: helping you be successful.