I have seen a lot of Marketers complain about how difficult it is to create a marketing strategy that works for B2B businesses. They mostly whine about how boring B2B marketing is, compared to its B2C counterpart.
Even I used to feel the same way in the past. I could remember the first time I interned at a B2B company as a social media manager, it felt like my creativity was boxed up.
The most frustrating part of all this was coming up with “creative” content that ended up having very little engagement. I mean, how many CEOs and high-level professionals engage with social media posts?
Fast forward to studying and contributing to a few other successful B2B companies, I now understand the nitty-gritty of B2B marketing. Therefore, I will be sharing a little bit of what I’ve learned over the years with you. Stay with me guys!
A Little Bit of Back to School
I believe those who will be reading this post are professional marketers and those who have a basic idea about B2B marketing. But let us refresh our memory a little bit by defining what B2B marketing is.
B2B marketing, short for business-to-business marketing refers to the marketing of products or services to other businesses and organizations. As opposed to B2C (business-to-consumer), its approach tends to be more informational and straightforward.
Having given a little insight into what B2B marketing is about, we can now go into the things you need to include in your B2B marketing strategy.
Even though there have been a lot of refutations over the years, the phrase “Content is King” never gets old and I could list a thousand reasons why. But not to digress, what you are going to learn today is not about just creating content, but about creating a content marketing strategy that works.
As a brand that wants to promote its products, you will have to create content at some point — whether it’s in the form of a blog post, podcast, video, etc. But the question that comes up is, “Are you creating the right content?”. Below are a few tips you need to create a better content marketing strategy.
1. Put your audience first
Your content marketing strategy should be centered around creating useful content. But when I say useful content, I mean what your audience will find useful and not just what you think is useful to your brand.
Clearly, the end goal of content marketing is selling your product to customers. But how will you convince customers to purchase your product if you can’t get them to trust you first?
It’s one thing to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to rank your brand high on Google and increase website visitors. However, getting subscribers or generating leads is another.
The only way people will subscribe to your channel is if they find your content beneficial to them. One of the common mistakes brands make is being product-centric rather than being consumers-centric.
Let’s use HubSpot as a case study. This is a brand that has made a name for itself among marketers. There is little to no aspect of marketing that hasn’t yet been covered by their blog.
When I first subscribed to HubSpot’s newsletter, I never knew they sold marketing Softwares. What prompted me to subscribe to their blog was the educational content they provide, which I find very useful.
2. Optimize your content
You can be creating valuable content that your audience needs but it may not get to them without optimization. Optimizing your content for search engines and social media will generate more web traffic for your brand.
SEO is about targeting the keywords your audience will likely search for. Although a lot of marketers are conversant about including keywords in blog content, a lot of focus is on keywords that involve educating the audience.
There is very little talk about optimizing the brand identity, which is equally important. See what I mean by this below.
A while back, I came across a brand with the name Verifi, pronounced as /ˈvɛrɪfʌɪ/. I was trying to use their product later on, and I kept searching for Verify (also pronounced as /ˈvɛrɪfʌɪ/) on Google but couldn’t find them.
I was so convinced that I got the name right that I kept on searching but nothing came up. I think you should have gotten the point I’m driving at by now.
If your brand name has one or two homophones, make sure you also target them during optimization. This will make it easier for your customers to find you.
3. Infuse your competitor’s name into your SEM
Some may argue whether this is ethical or not but that’s not where I am driving at with this.
A few years ago, I attended a masterclass at the Social media week Lagos where the CEO of Wakanow was on a panel session with a few other people. When it was time to ask questions, someone asked why whenever they searched for Wakanow on Google, Travelstart (their competitor) came up first.
I found it really interesting at the time that they were able to use a great Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy to beat their competitor on a keyword as important as their brand name.
Great way to hijack your competitor’s customers without stress. This is the power of infusing your competitor’s name into your SEM strategy.
4. Embrace Inbound Marketing
After understanding the kind of content you should publish and how to properly optimize this content, the next thing is maintaining consistency. Content marketing is not about being a one-hit-wonder but about dropping multiple hits back to back.
Another thing is building connectivity (through links) between each content you are pushing out, which is what inbound marketing is all about. You are marketing a particular content on your website using other content on the site by linking to it.
With each link visitors click on, they go deeper into your web of content till they eventually subscribe for more.
The idea behind inbound marketing is letting your audience know that you have everything they need. This will make them want to build a long-lasting relationship with you.
Another great B2B marketing practice is forming strategic partnerships with highly influential individuals and/or brands in other industries. Especially brands whose product goes hand in hand with yours.
For example, if you own a corporate furniture brand, you can form a partnership with a brand like Spacefinish that focuses on designing workspaces. This partnership is very strategic because after designing the workspace, they will definitely need some furniture and that’s where you come in.
It’s easy to tell you to build strategic partnerships and move on. However, I know how difficult it can be trying to get a brand to partner with you. Therefore, I will be dropping a few tips on how you can secure partnerships.
1. Reach out to decision-makers
This is the most straight-forward way of securing brand partnerships. Walk up to the decision-maker and be like, “Hey, I want to partner with you”. Okay, I don’t literally mean it that way.
The point is, you should reach out to them via email, LinkedIn, at events, through a referral, etc. Let them know what they stand to gain by partnering with you and all that sweet jargon.
Let me add that as straightforward as this is, you need to prepare for a probable rejection. Therefore, you may have to list a couple of likely partners and reach out to them one by one until you can seal a deal.
2. Organize targeted events
It doesn’t matter if it’s an offline event or a webinar, the point is to organize an event that is targeted at key decision-makers. I like giving real-life case studies a lot. So, I’m going to talk about brands that embrace this strategy.
Common ones that come to mind are the co-working spaces that organize startup mentorships, meetups, training, and all that. This looks like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to some, but if at all it is, it’s a strategic one.
Clearly, startups will need an office space for their operations and a co-working space is usually the go-to for most due to its cheap cost. The end game of these events for the co-working space owners is quality lead generation.
3. Build a quality network
Most of the time, people outsource projects to their connections or based on a referral made by one of their connections. Therefore, you need to build a great network containing high-level individuals.
Connect with them at events, engage their posts online, and make them your friends. They will become useful when the time comes.
B2B marketing is more complicated than B2C marketing, which is why you need to do some extra work in addition to creating basic marketing strategies. Following the tips highlighted above is a great step towards achieving your marketing goals
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