Local networking and direct mail still have a place in business-to-business marketing, but for the most part, digital marketing has completely taken over — and for good reason. Online advertising, search traffic, and social media let you hone in on a highly targeted market and deliver the specific message most likely to persuade them.
You don’t need to be an expert on new media to take advantage of digital marketing’s power and flexibility. If you’re a B2B marketing professional who is new to marketing online, you just need to understand a few basics.
Your Website Is Your Hub
Your website is your online home, and all your other channels should connect to it directly. Over the years, some companies have tried to do away with having a dedicated website by using a social media page as their online home. But that puts your online presence at the mercy of a social media channel that could vanish overnight — remember MySpace and Google Plus?
Your website should be equipped with the latest web design trends and UX best practices to ensure users are having a good experience on your site. At a minimum, your website should include the following pages:
- Home: Greet your customers and let them know what you do in a nutshell
- About us: Visitors will click here to learn about your background, qualifications, and the types of businesses you serve
- Services: List what you offer. This is where your sales pitch and pricing information should be located
- Contact: Offer as many choices as possible, including phone and email
Add other pages that make sense for your business, but try to stick with evergreen information that won’t require a lot of seasonal updates.
Choose Digital Marketing Channels That Make Sense For Your Market
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the mind-numbing array of online marketing channels — but you don’t have to be present on all of them. The key is to know your customers well and choose the channels they’re most likely to be using. Here are some of the most popular options for B2B marketing:
B2B sales often involve a much bigger spend and longer-term commitment than consumer sales. That’s why many B2B companies offer valuable incentives like a downloadable guide or free webinars in exchange for sharing your email address with them. If you can do the same thing on your site, and follow up with emails that are useful to your potential customers, you’ll gain their trust and build a positive brand image in their minds.
Google advertising is incredibly valuable for two reasons: It is everywhere, and it is incredibly targeted. You can choose a specific audience like restaurant owners, marketing directors of travel companies, or university department heads and put your ads in front of them everywhere they go online.
Content Marketing Through Blogging
A well-written collection of blog posts hosted on your website can bring you traffic for years. Some companies fill their blogs with self-serving content about the inner workings of their company, but if you want your blog posts to attract traffic, you have to begin with the end in mind. What questions might your target audience be typing into a search engine? Write thorough answers to those questions and the search engines will send you free traffic all day long.
Content Marketing Through YouTube
An alternative to writing blog posts is to create videos for YouTube. The same marketing principles apply — provide the answers your clients are most likely seeking and present your brand as a friendly, helpful expert. For B2B businesses, topics like how-tos and reviews are very popular.
LinkedIn is a great place to reach business clients, but it’s not the only social media option for B2B marketing. Business people are using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all day to communicate with clients, and if you’re there too, you can connect with them. Use paid advertising to reach your market faster while you build your audience.
What Content Should You Create?
There are lots of options for content you could be creating to share online, including blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, white papers, product sheets, images, and more.
To decide which content you should create, consider these three factors:
- What will be most appealing to your target market?
- What is your team best at creating?
- What formats make the best showcase for your specific expertise and services?
Keep in mind, you can synergize by recycling your materials in different formats across different media. For instance, if your team researches and writes an in-depth white paper, you can highlight different aspects of it in blog posts. You can also create an infographic highlighting your white paper’s main points, or discuss them in podcast episodes, youtube videos, or Instagram reels.
Your Unique Digital Marketing Plan
As you’ve seen, there are many solid channels available for online marketing. Your marketing plan doesn’t need to use all of them — in fact, if you spread yourself that thin, you might not be very effective at anything.
Instead, choose a few primary channels where your potential customers are most likely to see your content. Focus on creating materials that showcase your team’s core competencies and demonstrate your authority in the marketplace. The result will be an effective digital plan unique to your B2B marketing needs.