Although B2B business has always been in the shadow of B2C, the field has demonstrated significant growth over the past year. The industry continues to mature and attract more prospects, as companies adopt effective strategies to increase profits and engage more clients.
Some reviewers cite companies like Alibaba and Amazon to support the claim that B2B companies are becoming more like B2C. The B2B world seems to increasingly recognize the importance of customer experience and service, a domain it has historically neglected.
Apparently, this approach is paying off significantly. In the U.S., B2B e-commerce is already twice as large as B2C e-commerce. The same trend will likely expand to the international arena in the near future.
What specific strategies lie behind the success of modern B2B companies? Let’s find out.
Social Media Engagement
The role of social media for B2B companies continues to increase. Previously, this field has been dominated by B2C companies because it grants them access to an enormous client base. However, in recent years, social media has been increasingly used by companies that provide services to other companies, especially through Facebook ads. You have probably seen them in your news feeds; they invite you to connect with the business by visiting their site to request a quote or demo. There's definitely a strategy to marketing your B2B company with Facebook, so make sure you adequately understand the Facebook sales funnel.
Besides providing great opportunities to use digital advertising, social media networks are a good way to engage with your existing customer base and answer questions from potential customers. With social media, getting in touch with a company is convenient and low-commitment, providing prospects with an easy way to reach out and learn more.
The most effective social media profiles contain “contact us” buttons that encourage viewers to click them and visit the company website. Given that more than half of international B2B companies use social media, adding it to your B2B company’s online presence is a no-brainer.
The first international network for professionals has emerged as a great marketing tool for B2B companies. According to Jerome Knyszewski from Heavyshift Marketing, LinkedIn has generated 80 percent of B2B leads out of 100,000 posts, while the closest competitor Twitter raked in only 12.7 percent. Facebook is third with just 6 percent. Several years ago, LinkedIn was primarily used as a way of connecting with colleagues and business partners, but its function has evolved to include lead generation by connecting with businesses.
For example, experienced B2B owners say that a series of messages are sent to the representatives of companies as part of their marketing process. According to Martin Morgan, a senior marketer from Proessaywriting, this strategy works just like a standard lead generating and nurturing approach and is supposed to build relationships with potential partners.
For more information on engaging with potential contacts on LinkedIn, learn how to create a LinkedIn engagement strategy.
Use of Targeted Content
Targeted content marketing is another method of attracting customers that was initially applied mainly by B2C companies. Content is increasingly recognized as a primary factor in the decision to engage with a company because it helps to connect, entertain, educate, and improve brand image.
B2B businesses have recognized the importance of content for reaching new clients, and now use it to drive consideration and influence purchase decisions, in addition to building brand awareness. Examples of effective content include research reports, digital magazines, infographics, articles, and videos.
More than 70 percent of marketers today consider email marketing to be a vital strategy because it allows for concise and clear communication. B2B companies have been using it for quite a while now. Many great email marketing strategies have been developed specifically for B2B, many of which you can learn about by following thought leaders, taking online classes, following leading blogs in the space, etc.
For example, in this Smart Insights article we learn that Dropbox emails its users to promote installation of its desktop/mobile app by focusing on benefits of installing the product. Hubspot uses emails to inform its customers about upcoming webinars, and details specific benefits of joining an event to increase turnout.
Clearly, email marketing is a great method that can be used to connect with potential clients and show them the benefits of collaborating with a company. By leveraging your subscriber lists, client retention, up-selling opportunities and lead generation are benefits that can be gained at a relatively low cost. Be sure to understand the ins and outs of a comprehensive email marketing strategy.
The mobile experience is a big deal nowadays. Successful B2B companies are increasingly launching mobile-optimized websites because mobile traffic volume has widely exceeded desktop traffic. Mobile apps are often developed to accompany mobile sites and provide an even more enjoyable and fluid experience for users. According to Bizible, 83 percent of B2B marketers use mobile marketing tools like apps and websites to connect with clients, generate and nurture leads, and take advantage of cutting-edge technologies including voice recognition, QR scanners, and GPS systems.
Among the most surprising technologies in mobile B2B marketing is text messaging. SMS has been used by many companies, from cab services to electronic shops, to inform clients about upcoming deals and new offers. In addition to advertising, companies often include personalized messages to gain customers’ attention, and build rapport. According to Bizible, SMS follow-up after a phone call increases conversion by up to 112 percent. Therefore, if you’re dialing your clients, you should definitely be texting them.
Personalization strategies have proven to be effective in B2B and B2C companies. Just as it is important for a company to demonstrate its uniqueness through creative and effective branding, it is important to acknowledge the uniqueness of a customer. Personalization can be defined as a way of “presenting information to a consumer that acknowledges whom he/she is and what his intentions are — to make his/her interaction more meaningful.” Personalization makes interaction with a company more positive and individualized, making it more memorable.
In B2B, personalization can be applied through various means, including website design, social media, loyalty programs, packaging, phone and chat, ad networks, landing pages, wish lists, opt-in and transaction emails. The end results of a robust personalization strategy include higher conversion rates, and client satisfaction.
B2B companies continue to demonstrate growth, and marketing strategies are a main reason for their success. The strategies described in this article are proven to work for many B2B companies, so don’t be afraid to start applying them today!