Marketing to consumers is challenging but sales are quick and audiences are wide. B2B companies, on the other hand, deal with longer sales cycles, smaller audience markets, and higher ticket prices. There is also lead generation to wait on and then follow up on. Not as easy as ringing up an artisanal kalamata olive loaf at an upstart bakery, now is it?
Digital Marketing is Essential
According to a 2014 study by Accenture, only 12.4% of buyers want to meet with a sales representative in person or over the phone. These days, most people prefer to do their own research and only talk to a person when they need help.
Get Consumers Interested in Your B2B Business
So, there are a few important questions you need to ask yourself about your online business and marketing goals.
- Do you want to become a destination for research and consumer opportunity?
- Are you willing to invest in the people and tools needed to educate buyers in order to earn their trust?
- Will you provide the best customer service possible?
One of the most important features of any successful business is customer service, especially in B2B. When you deal directly with businesses, your customer is a lot more knowledgeable about how a business runs. If you have people answering the phones that aren’t actually helping, they are going to be a lot less forgiving than your average shopper. When you are educating your customer about what to expect from your services, you should provide phone numbers and email addresses that are closely monitored and will always have a knowledgeable associate to help.
Quality content was the only way to market a business before the advent of the internet…then, we got lazy. Businesses thought it was enough to put themselves online with a few keywords and search engines brought customers. However, it’s a different story these days. There are so many businesses competing for the same website traffic and, eventually, customer loyalty that Google has created algorithms to rank them by content. Now, you need to invest in writers and SEO strategists who can identify the little business niches that will get you more B2B customer leads.
Turning Leads into Conversions
Create a Content Plan
Consider every piece of content you will need, such as text, images, video, and social media. Meet with your team writers, SEO, and social media teams (or external marketing team) and map out content ideas for the next few months or so, then determine the best format for each piece.
It’s really difficult producing fresh B2B businesses consistently enough to make a difference (take it from me). It takes time to think up, write, edit, and implement. This is why strategizing ahead of time is a good idea, time can be put in over multiple weeks and quality can be crafted into it. Once your business’s branding and voice become clean and cohesive, you will start to see the value much more clearly.
Decide How You Value Conversions
Since B2B businesses don’t sell products directly, you need to figure out what your version of a “sale” is. For the most part, it will be a lead that you convert into a customer that uses your services. A business will need to decide where their conversion points will be, such as:
- Submitted contact form;
- Phone call;
- Question submitted through website;
- Landing page visit;
- Download of a brochure, whitepaper, or ebook;
- App install.
After a few months, you should be able to choose one or two from the above conversions that work well for your business to get leads. If you are getting lots of leads that aren’t converting though, you need to choose a different method. It’s going to take awhile to start gaining momentum but when you do, the conversion values will keep increasing.