How is your B2B strategy performing? Is it getting you the results you want? As any good coach will attest, you have to continually grow your team’s strengths to keep up with the competition. The same is true with marketing.
As modern marketing expands and audiences change, you can be sure to see the best B2B marketing strategies and tactics emerge. If you want to stay on top of your game, you need to regularly add new methods to your playbook.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered 20 of the best marketing tactics for B2B brands, as well as some B2B marketing examples that we'll go over at the end of the post.
Without any further ado, let's jump into these 20 tactics, shall we?
20 Marketing Tactics That Will Beef Up Your B2B Strategy
1. Delivering on Promises
This tactic can be summed up in two words: avoid clickbait. We have all experienced the bitter disappointment of clicking on a link that promises big and fails to deliver. This might get you clicks, but in the long run it damages your relationship with your audience.
You might not have out-and-out clickbait on your site, but no B2B business strategies should use messaging that raises false expectations or makes exaggerated claims.
Be upfront and honest in all of your content, and avoid hype. If the title of a blog is "10 Mind-Blowing Ways to Increase Your Business Profit," your audience will want to read fresh, new content -- not mediocre, predictable, and run-of-the-mill content.
Last point: deliver big on your promises. Do your research and put in the hours to make your content exceptionally valuable to your audience. This may take longer than normal -- especially if you're creating an eBook or other long-form content. But content that adds real value to your audience pays off in terms of engagement and thought leadership -- and ultimately leads.
2. Integrated Channels
No doubt many effective channels comprise your strategy and generate leads. These channels include...
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Paid ads
As powerful as these strategies are alone, they work best if integrated. Here's a common example: You enjoy a blog post so much that you click the CTA on the post to subscribe to the blog's newsletter.
Look for ways to guide your audience to your other channels, which ultimately strengthens people's relationship with your brand. For example, you might encourage your blog's audience to interact with you on social media. Or use paid ads on social media to direct people to your blog. You might even use a webinar or live events to highlight primo content on your blog or email newsletters.
Such integration fuels powerful interactions between your audience and your brand. This makes it an ideal marketing strategy for B2B businesses.
3. Advocacy Programs
Your customers are your largest resource -- and for many companies, this resource has yet to be tapped. Take your happy customers and encourage them to take your business relationship public.
This goes beyond testimonials or case studies, where you showcase your customer’s feedback with your followers. This gets your brand in front of a wider audience -- as your customers share their positive experience, their followers see that and it plants a positive seed in more people about your brand.
Create a system that rewards participants with opportunities and benefits. Search out and engage with prospective advocates on social media. When someone puts your brand in a positive light, reach out to thank him or her for the gesture. Even such a simple gesture will make your brand seem more human and real to your audience.
Take this one step further by rewarding individuals who advocate for your brand. This could be through resharing their content on social media, or offering an additional benefit, such as a freebie for fans or followers or early access to a new product or service. When people see that you appreciate such advocacy, they will be more likely to think of you in the future.
Don’t forget about your employees. They can be a powerful force within your marketing tactics. Employees who sing the praises of their brand are few and far between, which makes their voices stand out.
4. Content Marketing
Content has become a humungous part of digital marketing. The whole idea behind content marketing is to create content (such as blogs, ebooks, and videos) that answers a deep-seated need in your audience (question, concern, or curiosity) and earns their respect and admiration. With time, they see you as the go-to person in your industry and want to work with your brand.
Some people balk at the idea of simply creating content as part of their B2B marketing strategy. But consider for a moment that marketers who prioritize blogging as part of their strategy are 13X more likely to see positive ROI. And content marketing get three times more leads than its paid alternatives.
There's no doubt in our minds that content marketing should be one of the top tactics for any company seeking to boost its strategy.
5. Online Communities
Where online do your customer’s conversations take place? LinkedIn groups? Quora? Facebook? Discover where your customers are asking questions, or talking about industry matters. Once you learn where they are, get involved. Begin by determining which issues your customers care about. When you are able to add meaningfully to the conversation, do so.
You can take this a step further by creating your own online forum where customers can share feedback and opinions -- all with a comfortable level of anonymity. This creates a trusted database of information that potential customers can tap into before making a purchase decision.
Many companies have successfully set up such online communities, and are reaping the rewards. When you own your own platform, you…
- Have more control and flexibility of how you interact with your audience.
- Own it
- Have more unique design options
- Have more extensive analytics
- Won’t have to compete for your audience’s attention -- no other brand will be there to steal your thunder.
6. Facebook Live
Since Facebook rolled out its new live streaming feature in 2016, it has had amazing results. For instance, one study found that Facebook users comment 10 times more on Live videos than on regular posts. In another study, 80% of audience prefer live video over blog posts.
So how can you use Facebook Live effectively to engage your audience? Consider using Live video to stream...
- Interviews with members of your team
- Interviews with industry influencers
- FAQ about products or services
- Live industry events
- Educational, how-to style tutorials
When going live, keep your tone relaxed and conversational. Keep a few notes with you about how you want to steer the conversation, but don't be tied to them. Just let the conversation flow naturally.
Most of all, get creative, and imagine more new and special ways to utilize this fun and engaging tool. This is one of the top B2B marketing tactics that is not going anywhere, so now is the time to jump on board and join the era of live streaming.
7. Mobile Marketing
These statistics show that mobile marketing has become a must-have marketing strategy for B2B businesses. Busy CEOs and other decision makers digest their content on their smartphones or tablets while they're on the go.
Many erroneously assume that their website and content are automatically mobile-friendly. While it is true that many websites are "ready" for mobile, there is still a lot to do to ensure that your content is fully optimized for mobile.
As part of your mobile strategy, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my content easy to see on mobile devices?
- Are all links and buttons easy to tap?
- If there are pop-ups, will my audience easily be able to exit to view my content?
- Is visual content, such as infographics and videos, easy to read or view?
Check out your website and content regularly on mobile to ensure your audience is getting the best possible mobile experience.
8. Interactive Newsletters
Email marketing is one of the best B2B strategies for businesses -- 41% of companies still send out newsletters. In fact, 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating about business, and three quarters of companies agree that email offers "excellent" to "good" ROI. Many companies are taking this one step further, however, with interactive newsletters.
Your next interactive newsletter could include:
- Video downloads
- Feedback requests
- Links to in-depth content on your website
- White paper downloads
9. Customer User Groups
Ever wish you could get inside the head of your B2B buyers? You can! Arrange customer user groups and events to get to know your customers. Learn more about your customers, their B2B business challenges and product needs. Your groups could include hands-on demos or feedback discussions to encourage open conversation.
These groups are two-way streets. While it gives you the opportunity to learn more about your customers, your customers will have a chance to learn more about your company. It fosters a positive relationship where both sides get to know and see each other in action.
10. Personal Branding
Personal branding has become one of the most important marketing B2B strategies available today. Previously, executives focused more on branding their companies. However, buyers have begun to look more at the faces and voices behind the company logo.
Your personal brand is how the public perceives you. It is a culmination of your reputation, industry expertise, and personality.
There are a number of ways to define, and even refine, your brand. For starters, showcase your industry expertise through your blog posts and social media. Look for opportunities outside of your company, such as speaking engagements at industry events. Individualize your style and delivery according to your personality.
11. Cross or Up-Sell
What do these terms mean? Cross-selling is when you offer more products complementary to the one your customer just bought. Up-selling is when you offer your customer a chance to upgrade a product or service.
When your customers purchase from you, it shouldn’t be the end of the line. Think about it -- they have already done their research, and decided on your brand. Why not show them a compatible product or service -- or an upgrade -- that may help them with a similar challenge or fit their needs even more? By doing so, your customers realize the array of options within your company. It also shows how well you understand their needs.
12. Referral Program
Encourage happy customers to spread the word about your brand -- and when that word-of-mouth turns into a completed sale, reward the customers who put it into motion.
Let your customers know the benefits of spreading the word to their fellow business owners about your products or services. That could be a discount on a future purchase or something else that shows your appreciation and motivates a customer. We cannot emphasize this enough -- word of mouth is the leading way to reach potential B2B buyers.
Artificial intelligence chatbots offer an inexpensive alternative for brands that want to provide a high-quality customer experience. Instead of paying a person to man your customer service 24/7, you can easily program chatbots to answer the most popular questions.
While some people may resist the idea of using chatbots to interact with customers, this tactic has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from both brands and customers. According to one study from Business Insider, 80% of businesses are already using chatbots or plan to implement them by 2020.
How can you implement chatbots in your strategy? Try out a tool like MobileMonkey to implement chatbots within your company's Facebook messenger or Instabot to use them on your website. Ask your team about the most popular questions that they field from customers, and program those questions along with succinct and helpful answers into your chatbot. It may take some time to work out the kinks and program it with the very best questions and answers, but many companies have found it worth the effort.
14. Marketing Automation
Although closely related to chatbots in its use of artificial intelligence, we wanted to highlight marketing automation as its own tactic since it can bring your marketing to a new level. What is marketing automation? It's the use of software to automate repetitive tasks, such as posting to social media, sending out follow-up emails, or monitoring brand mentions across the internet. It helps you to nurture leads and to measure the effectiveness of your marketing.
Why should you consider using marketing automation in your strategy? It helps to cut down on costs and leaves members of your team free to work on more important aspects of your strategy. It also cuts down on human error in many cases -- someone can forget to send a follow-up email or miss a key piece of data that could help a campaign. And it makes your marketing more intelligent, making it easier to measure your marketing.
Consider what marketing automation tools are available on the market today. Ask yourself which tools could benefit your team and improve your overall marketing.
15. Influencer Marketing
Sure, influencer marketing has been in vogue for a few years, but recent changes have led to a more mature marketing strategy B2B businesses can rally behind.
For starters, we see more tools designed to find and utilize influencers to their maximum potential. Tools like Traackr and Buzzsumo help marketers to find industry influencer who fit their brand, develop a solid strategy, and measure the results. Other tools include:
Another development in the field of influencer marketing is the rise of micro-influencers. These are individuals with between 1,000 and 50,000 followers who have the power to shape opinions and motivate purchase decisions.
Why would marketers want to use micro-influencers? Sure they have a smaller audience, but that's not a bad thing. In reality, these micro-influencers usually connect more meaningfully with their audience and it's more likely their messages will be heard and acted on.
16. Case Studies and Testimonials
B2B buyers are inundated on a daily basis with advertisements and marketing pandemonium. How can you break through this noise and earn the trust of B2B buyers in your industry? One very effective way: Customer testimonials.
The unbiased voice of other buyers can make all the difference. Studies show that 53% of B2B buyers rely on peer recommendations before they make any purchase decisions. Use customer testimonials i to get the attention of buyers. For instance, use this valuable material...
- On your website
- As snippets on social media images
- In marketing materials that you send out to your leads
- In a blog post
- In a Slideshare
- In a video (with your customer front and center)
- In your email marketing campaign
17. Paid Ads
While this list has gone into a wide range of free marketing options, paid advertisements and campaigns are a necessary aspect of B2B marketing strategies. But as with anything else, it needs to be used strategically.
The most popular paid ads are on search engines like Google and social media networks like Facebook or Twitter. All of these platforms have very precise targeting features that help ensure that your messaging reaches the right audience.
Used correctly, paid ads help to drive highly engaged individuals to your site and help you collect highly qualified leads. What about ROI? According to one study, businesses make an average of $2 for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. That shows excellent potential for marketers who make pay per click ads a part of their ongoing strategy.
Personalization started out as a mainly B2C tactic, but has quickly grown to be one of the most important business to business marketing strategies available today. Through the years it has become more sophisticated. For many, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear "personalization" is their name in the header of a marketing email. But this small, software-automated example is just scraping the surface.
Let's start with a fresh definition. Personalization is the action of taking data about your audience, and using it to make your content (whether it's blogs, emails, infographics, etc.) more useful and pertinent.
This could mean using demographic data, such as age, gender, and career of your audience to create more engaging content. For instance, if the majority of your audience includes executive males in their late 40s, you could use this data to compile blog posts to fit their needs and concerns.
Or say you notice that the majority of your website traffic is from blog posts about social media. You will want to create content that's more focused on that subject, such as an in-depth eBook or video.
But you can take this idea of personalization a step further with our next point...
19. Niche Targeting
Some companies aim to be more general in their messaging, believing it will resonate with more people. This method, however, often produces a "meh" response. But the more specific a message is to your niche, the more engagement it will generate -- and the more it will truly resonate with your niche audience.
It really pays to segment your audience into specific buyer personas. Drill down to the specific niche you want to reach. Then create messages focused on each segment. Your audience will be more responsive to these messages and ultimately more loyal to you.
While data might not be the sexiest of B2B marketing tactics, it is integral to the success of your strategy. Instead of guessing at how customers are going to respond to a certain strategy, you can have clear-cut direction on exactly what they think and what you need to do in the future.
Consider how complex purchase decisions are in the B2B space. With so many individuals involved in a purchase decision, you need to ensure you're reaching the right people with the right message. Using customer behavioral data, you'll get insights to decide if you should change your marketing tactics, the channels you use and even your overall messaging.
The important thing is to have the data that will point you in the right direction.
If you're unsure where to begin, Google Analytics is an excellent place to start. It's free, integrates easily with your website and provides a rich trove of data that will guide your campaigns. If you find over time that Google Analytics no longer meets your needs, you may decide to invest in more sophisticated analytics software that meets your brand's unique needs.
3 Exciting B2B Marketing Examples
In 2018 Dropbox Business launched a savvy marketing campaign geared toward to marketers. It encompassed several tactics, but its most heavily-used tactic by far was content marketing.
To reach its targeted audience, Dropbox set up a microsite designed with all the trimmings to attract and engage marketers. The cloud management company drew in its audience with an interactive quiz, "What Kind of Marketer Are You?", which ended with an ebook offer. Other engaging content on the site included blog posts, infographics, and videos.
The clever way that Dropbox used content marketing positioned it as more than a simple file share service to a reliable resource for clients and their businesses.
Mailchimp is most well known for its email marketing services, but the company uses social media to expand beyond that tight definition and show off its personality in a fun and relatable way.
Throughout its social media channels, Mailchimp stays true to its original branding (everybody loves the cartoon monkey) that drew people to the email company in the first place. Even though Mailchimp lives in the B2B space, the company's not afraid to bring a little lighthearted fun and personality to the table.
Another feature of its social media strategy is its use of social platforms to highlight customer experiences. Whether it's on Instagram or Facebook, Mailchimp often showcases how its product has helped customers succeed.
Take the following example. Mailchimp uses a short video to tell the story of Roadie, a brand that uses its product. Although short, audiences can glean a lot from this video, including what's important to the brand, what challenges they faced, and how Mailchimp was able to help.
Cisco is a leading authority in communications technology in the B2B space -- due in no small part to its marketing strategy. An excellent example of Cisco's marketing prowess is Cisco Champions program, which is a cross between an advocacy program and influencer marketing.
As part of the Cisco Champions program, Cisco uses individuals who are enthusiastic supporters of its brand and who are active on social media to act as influencers or ambassadors for Cisco. They are encouraged to advocate for the brand through blog posts, social media posts, and interactions with Cisco users.
In exchange for their participation in this program, advocates get access to special technology groups, specialized training and sneak peeks at new technology from the company.
The more you use these 20 tactics in your marketing strategy for B2B, the more you will build your B2B strategy to an unbeatable height.
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