With the advent of the Internet and other technologies, buyers are better informed, smarter and more meticulous in choosing which company they will bring their business to. In order to successfully reach your buyers, you continuously need to reinvent and transform your B2B marketing strategy to incorporate the latest developments.
Here are six of the best B2B marketing strategies and tactics that you can implement to remain competitive in 2018.
1.Customer-Centric B2B Marketing Strategies
Welcome to the “Age of the Customer”. Customer buying habits have changed in recent years, and customers have gained much more control over the interactions they have with brands.
Thanks to advancements in technology, you now have the ability to analyze numerous data points that your customers provide, enabling you to improve and personalize your customers’ experiences according to their needs and desires — something that customers have become accustomed to and expect, these days.
You must make the customer the center of everything. Know your customers’ wants, needs, problems and pain points — provide that added value that they will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Be sure to address their problems and provide answers to common questions in your online assets, and show customers that your company gives effective solutions to whatever they need.
Doing this, as opposed to writing pure marketing copy, is key to building trust, which is a key factor in your success when guiding customers through the buyer journey.
Ultimately, it is all about personalizing your buyer’s experience by understanding what they need and giving effective solutions to their problems — not selling your products/services.
2. Combining Inbound Marketing and Account-Based marketing
The days of choosing between Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Inbound Marketing are over. In fact, the two methods complement each other greatly and are arguably more effective when used in conjunction.
ABM is a marketing approach that is based around a single account. It’s methodology is highly personalized and hyper-focused on all decision-making individuals within the account.
Inbound marketing on the other hand, seeks to attract prospective clients through valuable content.
Although the two B2B online marketing strategies may sound like they take opposite approaches, they can be combined very effectively. This is because they share the core principles of valuing the client and adapting their practices to fit the client’s lifestyle.
Together, ABM can guide you in targeting specific prospects, while inbound marketing can focus on attracting a target audience similar to your ABM prospects. To successfully engage in both approaches, using a tool such as HubSpot can be very helpful.
HubSpot is a sales and marketing automation platform with a powerful CRM giving you deep insights on every account, contact, and prospective client—along with a marketing hub to help you build traffic and increase conversions.
3. An Increasing Focus on Mobile
Mobile is becoming an increasingly popular channel for B2B buyers. In fact, a June 2016 survey of B2B buyers worldwide by Salesforce found that the majority of participants described mobile as an essential channel to their work.
Additionally, Google announced plans to release their “Mobile First Index” in which if your mobile website is not fully optimized, your SEO ranking will decrease significantly.
In order to prepare for this, marketers need to make meaningful changes to their B2B digital marketing strategies and adapt them to mobile.
Begin with conducting a mobile site audit to test how mobile-friendly your existing website is. You can use Google’s own mobile-friendly test to get a comprehensive report about the responsiveness of your site.
Based on your results, determine where you need to improve. Some common issues with mobile website are:
- Mobile load time
- Lack of drop down or accordion menus
- Unresponsive design
4. Multimedia Content Becoming Increasingly Popular
Not all audiences are the same when it comes to consuming content. Some prefer to read, while others prefer to listen or watch. Today’s audiences expect to see multimedia content on the internet, especially video. More and more people are consuming digital videos and numbers of podcast listeners continue to grow.
Much of B2B content includes demonstrating expertise and educating audiences, which lends itself seamlessly to video content.
You can repurpose existing blog posts or come up with new content to incorporate into videos as a fun and engaging way to interact with your audience and demonstrate your expertise.
Additionally, hero images are losing their effectiveness as the default choice for website homepages. A better alternative is creating a short video explaining the value proposition for your brand.
You can see an example of an effective homepage video on the Personali website.
Having a weekly or bi-weekly podcast is a great way to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry. It is also especially helpful in furthering your influencer marketing efforts because it enables you to host industry influencers on your podcast and collaborate with them to mutually build and engage your audiences.
For example, MarketingProfs hosts weekly interviews on their podcast with renowned marketers, PR professionals, and writers.
5. Data Intelligence And Predictive Analytics
Your company already has a huge amount of data from every inquiry, interaction, and transaction from your customers. This allows you to gain crucial insights about what pushes buying behavior and decisions.
With predictive analytics, you can turn data into intelligence that will help you personalize offers, find upsell or cross-selling opportunities, and offer tailored advice to each customer.
Predictive analytics will also help you identify buying trends. Once you can accurately predict what actions your prospects will take after exposure to certain stimuli, you can select specific B2B online marketing strategies that will effectively close the deal.
This type of data also feeds the budding trend of deep personalization in B2B marketing strategies. The data used to gain client insights goes beyond just first name, last name, and contact information. It is in-depth data regarding past purchasing behaviors, online buying/browsing behavior and more, enabling B2B companies to connect with their prospects on a much deeper level. This makes buyers feel appreciated, understood, and that your offering is very much relevant to them and their concerns.
For example, today’s marketing automation platforms allow companies to compose email texts based on complex segmentation of their target audiences—with as much as 50-100 unique emails sent out to communicate a single overall message.
6. IoT And Customer Evangelism
We are now living in a smart world, where people are connected infinitely through various gadgets, or “things”. This interconnected web of Internet of Things (IoT) gives you a lot more data about your customers than you previously had access to.
It makes it possible to know more about them, better understand their individual needs, know more effectively how to reach them, and provide more targeted and personalized customer experiences across all platforms and wherever they are located.
For example, let’s say you sell smart refrigerators to supermarkets. By tracking the performance of the refrigerators, you can send the store managers alerts about needed maintenance before the machines break, saving the stores time, money and frustration — and building customer satisfaction, which can lead to evangelism.
Happy customers are usually keen to spread word of their satisfaction with others in their industry. And these type of testimonials have a huge impact on the purchasing decisions of others.
Your customers will surely post raving reviews of your brand in forums and social media groups, but you can also provide a place for them to connect with your brand further and show off their success.
By incorporating testimonials on your website with a testimonial widget, like Spectoos, you can give your customers the spotlight, a place where they can feel appreciated by you and have an opportunity to feel like they are helping others achieve the same success they experienced with your brand.
Giving them a place to share their testimonials is also a great way to strengthen customer loyalty.
Trends are ever-changing and your company needs to be vigilant in adapting to these changes in order to remain competitive. Deciding which combination of these methods to use in connecting with your unique potential customer base is the key to success.