Effective business-to-business marketing strategies have evolved for the 2020s.
To have your content found and desired actions taken by your ideal target audience is more sophisticated due to the rise of linked data and knowledge graphs. Former information retrieval and question answering systems are replaced with state-of-the-art pre-trained natural language models. These can make your B2B marketing strategies more effective and easy to adapt to evolving ways to reach consumers.
When a person uses a search engine to get an answer or find the product that they want, which digital marketing strategies you’ve implemented influence whether or not you show up to your target audience. This article will help you discover how to convert prospects into customers.
What is B2B marketing?
B2B or business-to-business marketing encompasses any marketing strategy or content marketing that intends to provide services to a business or organization. Any company that sells products or services directly to other businesses or organizations is relying on B2B marketing strategies to reach those consumers.
How to Establish the Best B2B Search Marketing Strategy
Finding which specific B2B digital marketing strategies work for your business is vital to your future business growth.
10 Steps for conducting an effective business to business marketing campaign:
1. Know what your target audience wants and needs.
2. Optimize your website and digital presence.
3. Define your goals and set a budget.
4. Solve your consumers’ top problems.
5. Have an Omnichannel e-Commerce strategy.
6. Scale up your content marketing.
7. Supplement your content automation with AI.
8. Add a B2B marketing strategy for paid search.
9. Conduct Drip and Nurture Campaigns.
10. Measure your consumer engagement results.
1. Know what your Target Audience Wants and Needs
The biggest determinant of whether or not you are effective at search marketing directly relates to how well you know your audience. It is imperative that your communications and content add what your consumers find as offering value-added components.
If you’re missing targeting the right audience through your buyer persona, your search marketing campaigns, and advertisements – most likely no one or few will respond. It requires someone with proven research marketing skills to help you get the most benefit from your digital marketing spend.
Target audiences differ significantly between individual consumers and reaching businesses to business consumers. Some companies provide services to individual shoppers, while others primarily serve other companies and organizations. If you do both, it is important to know how to differentiate and align with your potential buyers.
Marketing to businesses is radically unique in contrast to marketing to individual consumers. That’s why a specific marketing method called B2B marketing is vital.
A strong B2B digital marketing strategy begins by defining your target audience; this typically centers on a highly developed buyer persona. This provides key demographic and psychographic details that can inform every future marketing decision. It will ensure that your content marketing and images and other owned media material is consumed by the right buyer.
People need imagery that they can relate to and visually bookmark a page or product to come back to. Google Image Searches are associated with entities; your image labels may be then associated with ontologies about those entities. Many millennial shoppers, in particular, start researching a purchase by using visual search.
2. Optimize your Website and Digital Presence
Everyone starts with a working site and needs a solid digital presence. Your website needs to offer as much value-rich information as possible that is easy for users to engaging. Both your website and off-site digital presence need to be discoverable. Having both on-page SEO and technical SEO tactics refined and in place has become basic. Image alt-text and meta descriptions have become “old school” with implementing all essential structured data for linked data integration into your knowledge graph is a top priority.
Have routine audits in place to remain on top of technical site fixes.
Site speed for fast loading on both desktop and mobile impacts your business’s User Experience rating. As well, external linking strategies and sharing on social channels remain aspects of successful SEO tactics that occur off your website. You have to show up and be findable in order to solve their problems and win their following.
You cannot control the buyer journey but you can be present throughout it. Today it is less about your keyword strategy and more about a site that is optimized by topics around your audience’s needs. Any page that covers a topic holistically may rank for thousands of keywords. You can rank for all sorts of related search phrases if you’ve really nailed user intent. A single page can satisfy one user intent and rank for many keywords.
It means aggregating all the keywords around a specific intent and writing comprehensive to add value for them. Use structured data formats that Google accepts and reward businesses with rich snippets in Google SERPs.
Build a content hub around a specific high-volume topic intent. Google is aware that shorter keywords have more ambiguity. Know what search engines expect and how they fulfill parts of fragmented intent. By looking at what SERPs display, it’s possible to know what is transactional intent, versus informational intent. Typical types of Search Intent are categorized as informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional. You need a digital presence at every step along the buyer’s journey.
Targeting a keyword according to the intent of the person searching for information is essential. Retailers can use e-Commerce markup types to help search engines understand and display your content and product pages.
Topical consistency is key. Make use of a full-featured Marketing Calendar and publish fresh content on a consistent basis. For some clients, we use SEMrush for planning and managing content monitoring. Being well-organized with your team tasks and deadlines keeps everyone involved informed and helps to ensure all activities get implemented in time.
3. Define your Campaign Goals and set a Budget
Before any money is spent beyond research, you have to determine your strategy, goals, budget, and initial KPIs. The value of a comprehensive, multi-touchpoint digital marketing strategy has been proven over and over. Most failed search marketing campaigns are due to a lack of sufficient planning.
Your budget will influence your digital marketing strategy for each marketing campaign. Plan in advance to add paid social marketing on the channels where you have a strong following. When comparing B2B vs. B2C, the major difference is the audience and how they make purchase decisions. Recognize the way professional buyers find products. Some dentists gain sales off of Instagram. Use Facebook ads, Messenger, and Tiktok if it works for your niche. Realistic and informed B2B campaign goals are very different for B2C campaign strategies.
There are several unique challenges that B2B campaign managers face. Foremost, a B2B company’s sales funnel is typically far more complex than for B2C companies.
- Multiple internal teams need to agree on the campaign goals.
- Each team needs to know their responsibilities and strategies to reach them.
- Diverse buyer circumstances need to be assessed when looking at the B2B sales funnel.
- A more diverse sales pipeline requires a keener focuses on the actions taken by your salespeople.
A sales funnel for B2B encompasses how digital leads are captured and moved through the various stages of interaction until a purchase is made or the buyer leaves the funnel. Revenue streams rely on working B2B marketing strategies. And revenue is made when silos come together and stay on budget.
Too often companies come to us struggling from a lack of control. The reason is that they don’t actually have clear marketing goals and a lead generation system that provides a necessary level of predictability. Relying on referrals, customer reviews, or brand notoriety within their market helps – but that can run dry. You need processes that you actually control.
4. Solve Your Consumers’ Top Problems
We call this customer-centric marketing – it’s all about the consumer!
All too often B2B organizations make the common mistake of educating the buyer too much about their own company, product, or service at the wrong time. The buyer isn’t initially interested in that; they are just beginning to understand their problem and need solutions. We are pushed to create pages and data that can be used for serving up multi-model experiences in both text and imagery.
B2B companies should first audit and test their content to see what answers should be added. Data-informed insights will lead you to produce a variety of content types. These may include webinars, podcasts, an eBook, an infographic, or video content. Understand what format of content attracts the right types of buyers, where to market it, and refine your measurements to the individual human level.
Language models and Knowledge Graphs are the future of search marketing.
Google’s new MUM algorithm contains a thousand times the number of nodes used in BERTs ability to leverage natural language processing. These are the decision points. MUM will help improve the search engine’s ability to answer questions. Google’s all-time machine learning capabilities will be 1,000x more powerful than BERT. It will bring multiple sources together to provide better crawling and indexing of pages hosting valuable content. Our current Knowledge panels and Knowledge Graphs are fact-based and will become more of a language model than an index.
It’s anticipated that MUM’s intent is to fill gaps between structured data and the web of data to create cleaned, more powerful, and much larger linked data. Google is used to seeing queries from searchers in a certain format. Your brand’s data that is well structured and validated with factual proof works better for trustworthy dataset search. In the end, these data sources are becoming the web. It is about question answering to solve people’s top problems. Your marketing strategies need to align with contextual models for indexing in the future web.
Datasets will seek to serve up content that is fair and trusted. Facts are checked and rechecked to provide better solutions across the web. Businesses that are categorized at YMYL sites have more requirements to become a trusted source of information.
5. Scale up your Content Marketing
Scaling up should never mean dropping quality.
Content alignment management ensures a uniform tone, well-structured content for conceptual search and respresents your niche expertise. Don’t pile up more and more content only to become a competitor to yourself. Scale up your content creation around value. You usually have more than one audience and each has unique interests. Give people the answers that they want to see.
Spoken dialog is easier with hybrid models of T5 and makes spoken dialogue and written content more useful. This lets you add more value. Showing up in key moments can mean whether or not you make the relational connection with prospective buyers. Content that is more precise and granular lets a person get what they need faster. Scale up and meet the need for an additional angle on your key topics.
Fine-tune any task-oriented conversational problems with the right content type at the right moment. Surveys and survey and open discussions are a good way to ensure that your B2B marketing strategies are doing the right job.
Business to business marketing typically means building agile content systems that can produce a large volume of high-quality content fairly quickly and deploying the right type of content at the right time to the right person. It’s not easy.
In Altimeter’s recent 2021 State of Digital Content report, research on 375 global enterprise marketers reveals the following findings:
- Brand awareness and thought leadership are the top content goals.
- Producing content based on customer data is the top challenge for companies, followed by aligning teams on a strategy and hiring the right skills.
- A central content team is the most common production model, but increasingly companies are shifting to a more hybrid decentralized model to keep up with demand.
- Despite technology advances, most companies still deploy inefficient processes for content review and approval.
- Businesses are increasingly using A.I. to help create audience segments, generate content variations and power testing processes.
Your annual business plan revisions will be more effective once it incorporate all of the above marketing strategies.
6. Have an Omnichannel e-Commerce Strategy
Omni-channel retail is a multichannel approach to sales that map the customer journey.
Provide immersive experiences to users that are easier to find across all channels. They shouldn’t have to struggle with getting the URL right. By understand how words on web pages get cataloged and scored, you will find it easier to put context words that help explain. Focus more on the meaning of your page. Align more with user intent. Provide more comprehensive answers that are tightly relevant to the search query.
Segment your audience and then match your content with each marketing channel. Provide cross-channel customer support on the channels that your customers frequent most.
Reduce ambiguity by adding journeys that people can understand. By getting more specific with your answers and information, it helps you keep your aim on the right audience. Use omnichannel e-Commerce strategies to keep adding additional value. Copying what a competitor is doing cannot establish you as a niche leader. You need to be relevant within the context of your own product. Use canonical signals that support evergreen topic clusters and co-occurrence. As digital technologies evolve, new search trends emerge from the pandemic, and many platforms make major updates, meaning that your evergreen B2B marketing strategies and sales funnel will look slightly different each year.
A great category page will be comprehensive so that it can be clearly used to match transactional intent. Broad queries are more challenging. Providing information for query refinement means you can show up more often for quick answers and product carousels displayed on mobile by Google’s answer engine serving up product details.
7. Supplement your Content Automation with AI
Here are ways that AI can augment your content automation:
- Tools that suggest subject lines or article introductions that are highly personalized.
- Smart Bidding strategies for Google Ads or Google Ads Insights Page
- Using past consumer action data for more accurate lead generation efforts.
Marketing automation and artificial intelligence have different uses. Marketing automation software aims to help content marketing managers to carry out simple and repetitive tasks. Configuring the best workflows around various scenarios is a human process to make manual optimizations from your data insights. Artificial Intelligence, on the other hand, uses data to replicate human intelligence and reasoning to make search marketing predictions suggest optimizations, and dynamically implement them.
Combining automation and artificial intelligence lets you enjoy the best of both spheres. Gain the efficiency and less-time-needed benefits of automation in tandem with the ability to recommend and make adjustments to your automated process by using data-driven insights.
8. Add a B2B Marketing Strategy for Paid Search
PPC may mean search ads, social ads, mobile display ads, app store ads, podcast ads, and more. You need to know your niche’s competition here as well as your audience. Lucrative B2B marketing strategies need continual testing and tweaking to improve your B2B PPC efforts.
Most B2B marketing tends to target the company’s decision-makers. Include “emotion marketing” in your ads. Align with your business goals and understand the outcome you want and what an efficient retail landing page needs. B2B purchasing decision-makers have an emotional basis, too. Even large decision-making committees need determinate content these committees made up of individuals can read.
Improve your growth trajectory by targeting broad match keywords with audience targeting to capture a broad and relevant audience. Link velocity is needed for organic search; however, in PPC much additionally relies on the quality of your copy and images that emotionally resonate.
Someone who reads your ad may or may not find that your communications resonate and make them want to buy from you. Appealing to more user intent profiles can put you one step ahead of your competitor. Then you can be confident that you’re targeting the right person at the B2B level. Empathy matters.
9. Conduct Drip and Nurture Campaigns
Good marketing tactics will ensure that your audience’s pain points are covered.
Drip and nurture campaigns get used interchangeably, but they are different. Drip campaigns start with a predetermined set of time-based emails sent to a segmented audience list. The plan is often designed to drive a specified conversion. In contrast, Nurture Campaigns are consumer behavior-based, meaning they are sent to someone according to how they’ve already interacted with your business and previous communications. Nurture email campaigns are ideal for B2B marketing because they focus on educating the prospect during interactions with your brand. This lets you provide highly personalized content to nurture the relationship.
Video content is ideal for these emails. They can significantly increase click-through rates to your website. They already know you and won’t be disappointed when they’ve clicked through if you’ve given them a good taste of the value your content will provide.
Short video clips are effective as a teaser for product or new feature releases. They are more personal and speak to your company culture. Whatever form your emails take, it is best to provide plain text alternatives. This format is easy to consume on smartwatches and voice-assisted devices.
Blog posts can further nurture your content value and communications. This is where search engine optimization has a big role. Each campaign needs a well-performing page and e-Commerce JSON markup that ultimately helps drive sales.
10. Measure your Consumer Engagement Results
Measuring marketing performance and benchmarking SEO process.
Brands can set regional and industry benchmarks to track their organic search and paid marketing campaigns’ success. Knowing how to measure success over time is reliant on data-backed benchmarks for trend analysis. Accurate measurement of advertising performance outcomes ensures true businesses gain and helps you follow your marketing progress reports over time. This lets you increase your search marketing investment wisely and reseed a portion of new revenue back into your brand.
Measuring the impact of your search marketing allows B2B marketers to optimize future campaigns for better engagement and more effectively attribute ROI. In 2021 B2B brands are already focusing on authenticity in their communications and making huge efforts to better empathize with buyers. B2B relationships are often strained by the press of time and multi-tasking; by being “more human” you can improve your consumer engagement methods.
Digital marketers all face declining customer attention spans. Knowing that B2B buyers face information overload and that many elements are vying for their attention, you need to be measuring the right things. Common metrics like views, brand recall, dwell time, and sales volume all matter. However, there is more to data than just measuring performance. The right information sheds additional light on how customers view your product, customer service, and more. Measuring their engagement at each touchpoint may increase ROI.
There is not one solitary metric that validates the success of an ad or search marketing campaign. In reality, a mixture of metrics is necessary; business-to-business sales success demands a holistic view of performance.
Even though you’re one company selling to another company, each individual buyer is still an individual with dedicated tasks in their company. Providing them with solutions is rewarding, but you also have the opportunity to educate them. They may thank you when a career advancement comes along. At every touchpoint, seek a way to add value.
B2B consumer trends evolve too. There is always room for improvement and new opportunities just ahead. Measurements lead to better digital preparedness and the ability to predict future consumer needs.
The State of B2B Buyer Loyality
Laurie Sullivan reported on MediaPost that “over 60% of B2B buyers have stated they want more communication during the research stage, while making the purchase, and post-purchase”. The October 1, 2020 Google Shares Exclusive Data On B2B Buyers’ Emotional State, Spending Habits During COVID-19 article talks about consumer loyalty. Their likelihood to switch suppliers rose to 65% in August 2020 compared with 59% in June 2020. While a high percentage of buyers cited the likelihood to switch, just 30% in August and 30% in June said they did switch or add a new supplier in the past 30 days.
Offer to answer their questions or guide a tailored purchase decision. Be quick to ask if there is a need to help to identify the right solution at that moment. Your campaigns can start off “connected” with a chatbot that collects information and then routes the buyer to a live agent who provides the expertise requested.
Incline your B2B marketing strategies toward meeting millennial preferences. Today, more “blurr” exists between B2B marketing and B2C. The B2B space has increasingly competitive players in addition to a burgeoning percentage of millennials among B2B buyers. They will be more loyal if your company consistently adds value.
Additional B2B Marketing Strategies Using your Website
Effective marketing is challenging to get right.
– Differiencate your company by creating a clear path to purchase tailored to their needs.
– Combine PPC and SEO to drive traffic to your website.
– Build a narrative that provides the right experience for your buyers that aligns with current expectations.
– The basics of product development can excite the reader by story-telling.
– Marketing teams that work together are much more efficient at creating personalized experiences.
– Build and publish business cases that offer information gain.
– Remote person-to-person interaction should be available at every stage of the customer’s lifecycle. Use live chat and or remote meetings.
– Every business, regardless of size, should add either Organization or Local Business schema markup.
– Leverage video marketing to summarize your products or solutions and showcase your value proposition.
– You can also engage interactive content, influencer collaborations, and account-based marketing to support marketing strategies of choice.
– Create consistently great creative work.
– Embrace ‘Entity Oriented Search’; stay current with algorithm updates and take a lead in where online search is going. The digital marketing landscape is rapidly adjusting since 2020 due to global market shifts and the pandemic. Shopper behaviors and motivations have changed due – being adaptive and informed is both a matter of survival and success.
Between juggling creative demands, entity building for knowledge panels, budget limits, and channel decisions, marketers carry the huge role of developing a business’s marketing strategy. It’s a challenge that we love! Every company needs an effective SEO strategy and digital plan.
“The main differences between B2C and B2B content marketing is based around the purchase journey and promotion channels, as well as the intent of the audience. B2B marketing is more likely to involve a lengthy and complicated purchase funnel that could take weeks, months, or longer, of nurturing a prospect through.” – SEMrush
Summing up Hill Web Marketing’s B2B Strategies
If you’d like to gain more personalized information about how we shape B2b campaign strategies, or even how we can work together on your marketing, let’s talk. We love discussing strategy and generously giving our recommendations as to what may work best for you.
Call us at 651-206-2410 to increase your chances of driving conversions with high-value advertising