B2B marketing strategy is tough for small and medium sized businesses. With long sales cycles and usually lots of competition it is a tough ask to stand out from the crowd and attract new clients, while effectively managing the business and exceeding the expectations of current customers.
While this may seem daunting, there are a number of basic marketing strategies that can work effectively across all B2B companies. There are 2 key parts to this:
- driving qualified traffic to your website, and
- converting that traffic into qualified leads for your sales team.
Once you start driving qualified traffic to your site through organic search, paid, social and content marketing, marketing automation software can then do much of the work to nurture that traffic into qualified leads.
B2B Marketing Strategy for Small Business
While there is huge diversity in B2B businesses, the concepts and strategies below are broadly applicable and can form a strong foundation for your digital marketing efforts.
A focused content marketing strategy can help you to cut through the noise and get found online. Ranking organically for terms that your buyers are searching for will drive a huge amount of qualified traffic to your site – creating useful, interesting content will help you to rank.
This content can then be used to market to your audience via social and email channels (more on email down below). Social media marketing is not always a good strategy for B2B small businesses, but can work in certain circumstances – for example when you are a bona fide expert in a unique field and can grow a large dedicated following.
Finally SEM, or paid advertising / PPC, is a great way to quickly find the right audience and drive them to your website. This is much faster to get started with, but will also cost more in the long run compared to SEO. A balanced approach between SEO and SEM is usually advised.
Crucial to all activity is optimizing the path to conversion for your visitors, and maximizing the conversion rate. This forms part of marketing automation strategy which we go into more detail below.
Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation for B2B
Despite getting a bad rap in recent years, email remains an important component of B2B marketing strategy as it can be applied to a wide variety of business objectives. Married with great data, email is still a powerful tool.
First and foremost, email and SMS can be deployed to nurture engaged prospects and activate unengaged prospects.
Automated email can also be used to promote add-ons or other services to current customers. Because these are already customers your data will already be accurate, allowing you to communicate in a very personalized way.
Many businesses have churned or dormant business sitting on their books. Using your CRM data you can segment those businesses that haven’t bought from you in a long time or may have gone elsewhere. This is your opportunity to win them back!
Creating segments for those cohorts of prospects that represent particular revenue opportunities is key to marketing strategy for B2B, and is integral to marketing automation. Well-defined segments allow you to automate the communication to all members of that segment, and build workflows for each which stay on-topic and are easier to manage.
Lead Magnets will help you to convert web traffic into leads at each stage in their Buyer Journey – awareness, consideration and decision.
Offering the right content to match each stage will help to move the buyer on to the next stage and closer to purchase, and requiring the contact’s email address to access the high-value content will allow you to track and market to each effectively.
Some examples of types of Lead Magnets include:
- Case studies
Building lead scoring into your sales funnel will help you to differentiate between those leads which are sales-ready / marketing-qualified, and those that need more nurturing before being ready for sales outreach.
All good marketing automation software offers this capability to help you segment the highest priority prospects.
A close cousin of marketing automation is remarketing or retargeting. This is when you target paid advertising at users who have already visited your website, i.e. retargeting them.
Platforms such as Facebook and Google come with built-in functionality to retarget your website visitors through advertising on their platforms.
This can be a great complement to marketing automation and conversion rate optimization strategies that you’re running on your website as it will encourage more traffic from people who are already familiar with your brand.
Reporting & Tracking
All marketing activity should tracked and reported, and this is particularly true for B2B industries where the sales cycle can be much longer and it can be difficult to ascertain whether particular tactics have been successful.
Case Study: Digital Media Agency
BigWork produce complex multimedia projects for big-name clients across the US. However they were operating from a large offline rolodex, with little focus on sales or marketing activity.
ContactSurge was a natural fit for the needs of BigWork.
First of all, we set up the software as their CRM system – a place to save all relevant details of their customers, prospects and other contacts.
Then we integrated with their website to track all site visitors and set up contact forms and other conversion points directly through the software. This ensures that there is a tight integration between their website and CRM, powered by the software.
The email marketing functionality of the software allowed BigWork to start sending email campaigns to their prospects. By integrating lead scoring through the software, BigWork had much more clarity on the lifecycle stage of each of their prospects and can build automated campaigns based on their prospects preferences.
Open Rate over 20%, tracking prospects online activity.
“ContactSurge has freed up hours of time that we previously spent on marketing – the software gives us the ability to manage our entire contact database, promote the content that we know they are interested in and reach out at just the right time.”Timothy Gannon, CEO, BigWork