Are you a business-to-business company that is struggling to generate more sales and quality leads?
Even though you have followed every piece of advice from the so-called experts, you still did not get the results that you were expecting!
There could be two reasons behind your content marketing failure:
First, you are in a tough niche.
Second, you may not know enough about how B2B marketing works.
What is B2B Marketing?
Business-to-business marketing (B2B marketing) is a technique which companies use to trade their products and services to other companies.
It follows similar principles to those of B2C marketing, but in a different way.
In B2C marketing, consumers purchase a product based on its price, status, popularity, and other emotional triggers.
Conversely, B2B buyers make decisions based on the products’ prices and their long-term value.
So now you know what B2B marketing is and how it works.
Let’s see why most B2B marketing campaigns do not succeed.
Why B2B Marketing Fails
We have often heard that B2B online marketing is difficult. People say that the chances of B2B marketing failure are high.
They say you can sometimes be successful, but only if you invest a considerable amount of money in marketing.
The truth is that these are only rumors! These are not the things that you should be worried about.
To be honest, B2B marketing often fails because companies don’t have documented B2B content marketing strategies.
In a research study, the Content Marketing Institute found that only 44% of B2B marketing companies have documented content strategies.
Here are a few common mistakes that can lead your B2B marketing campaign to failure:
Not knowing your target audience
Understanding your audience is essential to the success of B2B businesses.
Several organizations think that they understand their target audience.
But the truth is that if they don’t have sufficient data about their prospects, they can’t fully understand them.
The more you know and understand about your target audience and their needs, the better your marketing strategy will be.
Before we proceed further, we should know: what is the meaning of the target audience?
Here is what I got when I searched “definition of the target audience” on Google:
“a particular group at which a product such as a film or an advertisement is aimed.”
Today, no company builds a product and says, “we are focusing on a particular group of people.” Everyone should want your product, in theory.
But the reality of modern marketing is that companies must find a group of individuals to focus on and build a product and marketing plan according to their needs.
One of the most effective ways to know your audience is create a buyer persona—an imagined version of your ideal customer based on data about your real customers.
Buyer personas indicate how and why potential clients make decisions to purchase the products, solutions, and services that you have to offer them.
Poor Content Quality
B2B marketers are creating more content than ever before. 70% of B2B marketers say they will create more content than they did last year.
This should be a good thing, but creating a lot of content also increases the chances of errors.
According to Acrolinx, 70% of brands produce low-quality content, and it is ineffective.
B2B content should be high-quality, no matter how much content you are creating.
Your content must focus on a particular issue important to your target audience.
Each piece of content should be naturally flowing and well-designed. Well-crafted content helps to build your audience’s trust and strengthen your relationship with them.
Suppose a person comes to your website through your LinkedIn post and decides to subscribe to your whitepaper or newsletter.
The first piece of content that you send him should be high-quality.
You might need professional writers or a content marketing agency for content creation. They will craft each piece of content purposefully and make it fit with your brand.
Don’t think about money—hire the best and most experienced writers who will understand your business. They will create content that can increase audience engagement and ROI.
A website that focuses on your company, not on your customers
Telling your brand’s story is good for your business. But that does not mean that you should talk about it all day.
If you only publish content about your company, people will start getting irritated and won’t want to visit your website.
There will be no business if there are no customers. You must make your customers happy if you want to be successful!
Solve your customer’s problems in order to be successful!
Besides talking about your company, you should listen to your audience. It helps you understand what they actually require and how you can fulfill their needs.
Your customers and expected clients will more likely take interest in doing business with you if you listen and engage with them.
When you admire yourself too much instead of focusing on your clients, you are going to lose a lot of followers.
Answer questions in comments, create content based on common questions, and discuss issues in your industry. These can tie into your company without being all about your company all the time.
Content lacking a call-to-action
Many marketers make the simple mistake of not using a call-to-action in their content.
A call-to-action encourages visitors to take the specific action that you suggest.
It shows them a way to accomplish a goal.
After spending a significant amount of money on creating content and promotion, what are you expecting?
Ask yourself these following questions:
- Will readers visit your website again?
- Have you provided visitors any reason to remember your company?
- Did you use any tactics that inspire them to take the next step?
If you are shaking your head no, then you’ve missed a call-to-action.
A successful B2B website doesn’t expect visitors to make a purchase on their first visit.
Instead, they focus on establishing a connection with their visitors. Later, they can convert those visitors into paying customers.
A call-to-action inspires them to get something valuable, in exchange for their contact number and email.
Once you’ve got their email, then you can easily communicate with them.
Lack of mobile optimization
According to Radicati Group, by the end of 2018, worldwide mobile users are expected to reach over 2.2 billion. By this time, 80% of users will prefer to view emails on their cell phones.
Mobile optimization is essential to the success of your B2B online marketing.
Some B2B marketers make the mistake of underestimating mobile users. They think that people only use mobile for chatting, listening to songs, & accessing social media.
But they are wrong!
Several tech companies make mobile marketing their #1 priority—and it has rewarded them with high ROI.
A study conducted by Salesforce shows that 71% of marketers reported mobile marketing as the core of their business. The same survey reported that 68% of marketers have a dedicated mobile marketing team.
Here are the following reasons why you should have a mobile optimized website:
- More than half of website traffic is drawn through mobiles.
- More than 1.2 billion people are using mobiles, and 80% of them have internet access.
- Mobile users are better buyers than PC users.
- A mobile landing page should be unique.
- Google prefers mobile-responsive websites.
- Mobile advertising is cost-efficient.
So now you know why your B2B marketing campaign may not have worked.
Now we must discover how to boost B2B marketing!
Let’s find out.
How to Make Your B2B Marketing Rock
The Internet has made B2B marketers’ lives easier than before. They can easily target their global audiences with digital marketing.
Digital marketing helps people grow their businesses both online and offline.
You can find information about any company, marketing agency, IT software development, export, and import on the internet.
The good thing is that almost all global marketers have realized the power of digital marketing, and they are clearly displaying their interest in online marketing.
According to Techcrunch, six of ten engaged websites are founded in America, but 86% of their visitors come from outside the U.S.
Generally, startups and small B2B companies cannot implement their digital marketing strategy because of their low budget, inexperienced marketers, and lack of planning.
Therefore, to help these companies, I have listed several factors that can contribute to a rock-solid digital marketing plan to boost B2B marketing.
Many companies think that e-mail marketing is dead because of spam filters and crowded inboxes. And they are confused about whether it is worth investing in email marketing or not.
E-mail marketing is not dead, and it never will be.
E-mail marketing is still the most efficient way to reach people around the world who have shown interest in your services or products.
You can connect with your clients with ease on mobile devices without spending money on new technology and software.
A study of Radicati Group found that there are more than 4.3 billion email accounts in use in the world, and predicted that the number would reach to 5.59 billion by 2019. This is a growth of more than 26%.
B2B marketers think that email marketing is complicated and challenging. But in reality, email marketing is much easier than it looks.
There are some simple rules of email marketing. If you follow them carefully, you can be successful!
- Don’t purchase bulk email addresses, because most of them are useless and dead.
- Never shoot bulk emails without proper planning and segmentation of the email list.
- Don’t use heavy graphics in your email or it may be filtered to the promotion inbox.
- Don’t write long emails. B2B people are busy people. They won’t read a long email.
- Don’t send too many emails to the same email id. B2B persons are professionals; they do not like to be bothered.
- Don’t copy someone else’s email template.
- Make a list of real people by networking—people who show interest in your products and services.
- Write short, sweet, and professional emails.
- Write point-to-point emails rather than long ones.
- Create a buyer persona for a better understanding of your prospects before sending an email to them. Understand their requirements, and offer your services to fulfill those needs.
- Be personal as much as you can! Use the person’s name instead of only Hi, Hey or Hello.
- Talk about the benefits of your products instead of pitching.
- Use at least one or two call-to-actions. Don’t use more than that!
- Most importantly, focus on the subject lines. They should be catchy and short.
- Subject lines should not look promotional. Make it under 5-6 words.
- Show your social media profiles under your signature/designation.
These tips are only for B2B email marketing. You can use more graphics if you are doing email marketing for B2C.
Email is 40% more effective in getting new clients than Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media Marketing
Many marketers are confused about whether social media works for B2B or not.
Yes, social media applies for B2B.
In fact, it works better for B2B than B2C companies. B2B companies have a smaller potential client base and higher price value.
There are differences between B2B and B2C social media campaigns, but their strategies are almost identical.
Therefore, creating and implementing social media strategy for any business will remain the same. This is crucial to the success of social media marketing. Your social media strategy should be consistent and should never lose its quality and brand message.
Often, B2B marketers stop doing social media marketing, if they don’t see any results.
But they should never stop.
A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that 93% of B2B marketers say social media is their primary marketing tactic. Whereas only 54% B2B marketers stated that they had earned leads from the social media platform.
Why does social media marketing not work for B2B? Because most B2B marketers do not have a social media plan.
According to CMI, 80% of B2B marketers have a social media strategy, but only 32% have documented it.
Let’s see how social media marketing can work for B2B when done right.
Understand Your Audience –
This is essential to the success of any inbound marketing. The more you know about your audience, the better you can create a plan to reach them.
In B2B business, there are two types of potential audiences to understand.
The first is the organizational level audience: customers who are dealing with the problem. Find the product to solve that problem.
The second is the buyer level audience, who makes the decision to purchase the product or service.
Choose the right platform –
Take some time to research social media platforms before you choose them for marketing.
More than 70% of all B2B marketers use at least four major social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) to distribute content.
Let’s take a look at how each social media platform works for them.
Linkedin – 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for content distribution, and 80% of all social media leads come through it.
Twitter – B2B marketers rate Twitter as the second most beneficial social media channel. 87% of B2B marketers use Twitter for content distribution.
Facebook – 84% of marketers use Facebook for content promotion, but only 30% B2B marketers found it sufficient.
YouTube – It is the third most effective social media site for B2B marketing.
Create a content strategy for social media –
People on social media are crazy about finding the right content. If you can successfully fulfill their needs, you can be their authoritative source of information.
Connect with them and find out what their requirements are.
You have to create a unique content strategy for each social media platform.
Your content strategy should include the following items:
- Content types (text, images, graphic, and video, etc.)
- Content distribution strategy
- Content schedule and content plan
- Audience engagement strategy and monitoring
Optimize the content –
The content of Linkedin and Slideshare perform well in SERP. Your content will more likely attract organic visitors if it is optimized for search engines.
Optimize your content for search engines and include the right keywords.
Keep patience and post regularly –
Social media takes time to show results. You have to keep trust in it.
You should post entertaining and educational information from time to time. By doing this, you will be able to engage with your audience.
Keep in mind that you should not just post content but also ask questions, offer surveys, and encourage your readers to talk to you.
B2B companies who run blogs generate 67% more leads than those who don’t.
B2B marketers who use blogging as a marketing tactic can increase brand awareness, credibility, search engine rankings, and qualified leads.
A study found that blogs are rated the third most effective content marketing tactic after social media and articles.
68% of the companies who have less than one hundred employees do run a blog; however, only 55% of large organizations rely on blogging.
Following are the reasons why B2B companies should include blogs in their marketing strategies:
- Blogs are easy to use and cost-effective.
- Blogs are the best way to provide updated content to your audience.
- You can promote branding for your company through a blog without paying an advertising company.
- Blogs improve the search engine ranking of your website via keyword enriched content.
- Blogs generate content for your social media campaign.
- Blogs help companies achieve several corporate goals, such as offering product information, answering questions of audience, attracting new prospects, and more.
You should use blogging for your B2B marketing because it is low-cost.
The only thing that blogging costs you is your time!
Content marketing—You have probably heard this term before.
But just in case you haven’t, let’s discuss a short definition of content marketing.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a planned marketing technique that focuses on creating and distributing informative, relevant, and consistent content to attract a targeted audience who might become paying customers.
In the above points, we have indirectly talked about content marketing—blogs and social media are some of the most popular forms of content marketing.
Today, expert marketers are using content marketing as their primary weapon to generate quality leads and increase traffic, sales, and business growth.
Take a look at the following notable stats on why content marketing is important for B2B business:
- 90% of buyers say they are able to reach brands through content. (Earnest Agency)
- 94% of consumers reported that they do online research on a company before purchasing their products.
- Content creation is the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) marketing technique. (Marketing Sherpa)
- 80% of consumers would like to get company information in a series rather than an advertisement. (Resource: CMI)
Okay, we see why B2B marketers should invest in content marketing. Now how do we get started?
You need to focus on the following three essential components of content:
Text – Press releases, blogs, newsletters, and other creative writing media are important parts of content marketing.
Do some research on your audience’s needs and demands before picking a topic for your content.
Once you find the right topic, develop a content distribution strategy by acknowledging your audience’s availability.
Determine your conversion strategy—create a sales funnel to convert readers into leads, customers, consumers, and clients. Study your target audience to learn what they will respond to, click on, and buy.
Images – Images like infographics wonderfully work for the B2B business.
Why are infographics necessary for B2B business?
B2B marketers are professionals and educated people. Today, they are more knowledgeable than ever before. To keep pace with other B2B marketers, you will need various content devices to deliver better customer experience.
Modern marketers have mixed creativity and the power of storytelling with data-driven strategies and analysis.
With quality data, marketers can create targeted campaigns to deliver the right content to their prospects.
It’s time to collect valuable data and statistics and make a high-quality infographic! Keep it simple, use bright colors, and make sure the focus is on the data.
You can hire a professional web designer from Elance if you don’t know how to create an infographic.
Videos – 63% of B2B marketers claimed that videos are important for sales and marketing.
Clearly, B2B marketers are using video to reach out to their customers.
When it comes to increased conversion, around 70% of B2B marketers reported that videos perform better than any other form of content.
Make sure that you keep your marketing videos short, creative, and informative.
There are many methods that you can use for your B2B marketing. But some of them are not easy to employ.
If you want long term success for your B2B business, and to build a powerful B2B digital marketing strategy, you should start with the suggestions mentioned earlier. These steps are simple, accessible, and positive for B2B interaction. Your target audience, once you have identified their needs, will respond well to content-driven tools and clear, consistent communication.
Now, I would like to hear from you! Which B2B marketing strategies and tools are most useful for your B2B marketing?