B2C marketing is, in many ways, pretty straightforward. You have a product. You need to get it in front of a large audience. This is how you plan to do it.
All of us have experience in this area. We’ve all made purchases as a consumer. But far fewer of us have experience buying as or for a business. That means that when it comes to marketing (of any type), we tend to fall back on the approaches we’re familiar with and have responded to ourselves.
Those at the top tend to do the same.
Marketing is for consumers. Business deals are made not through social media or content, but via direct sales approaches.
Except they’re not. Not exclusively. Not anymore.
Assuming that reaching out to decision makers directly is the only way to make a sale is an archaic way of thinking.
While things are changing (39% of the UK’s B2B marketers feel marketing is seen as ‘very important’ by their organization, with 33% saying ‘fairly important’) there are still so many ways B2B marketers could be leveling up their game.
Here are 6 things you can start implementing today that will help you generate more leads, more sales, and more revenue – without a direct sales strategy in sight.
1. Establish Your Buying Cycle
A typical buying cycle looks like this:
But there are many variations of it. Every business, and each of their customers, are a little different. Customers enter the buying cycle at different stages, with varying levels of knowledge. Some purchases are highly considered, while others are made on impulse.
While there’s no way to predict the process every customer will go through before buying, you can (and should) determine what your typical buying cycle looks like.
So how do you do that?
You can start by looking at the time delay between a customer’s first interaction with your site, and when they make a purchase. You can find this data in the Conversions section of Google Analytics. For ecommerce transactions, go to Ecommerce > Time to Purchase.
Or for all conversion data (i.e. goal completions as well as ecommerce transactions), go to Multi-Channel Funnels > Time Lag.
Next, try analyzing consumption of your online content. Are customers utilizing the resources you provide prior to converting? Which resources specifically are they using?
You can find this out in the Top Conversion Paths section of Google Analytics.
Most importantly, what interactions (if any) are occuring between you and your customers prior to a transaction taking place? Do they ask a lot of questions, or are they happy to buy without one-on-one assistance?
Together, all this information will help you determine the sales cycle your typical customer goes through. You can then use this knowledge to adapt your marketing efforts so that each tactic plays a part in moving customers from their current position in the buying cycle to the next.
2. Match Content to Customer Pain Points
What determines the content you create (assuming you create content, of course)?
Is it what you think will appeal to your target audience? Or do you choose ideas based on their perceived virality and potential appeal to publishers?
A quality content strategy will often incorporate content designed to drive shares, brand awareness, and links. Unfortunately, viral concepts that appeal to publishers rarely align with the needs of a target audience.
The best content strategies (this can apply to both B2B and B2C marketing) help customers and target customers overcome their pain points – at every stage of the buying cycle.
Don’t just carry out some brief keyword research and write articles based on industry-specific searches. Figure out what pain points your target audience faces at every stage of the buying cycle, and address these pain points in your content.
3. Push for Referrals
How do you approach customer acquisition?
Do you have a sales team sending cold outreach emails and making cold calls?
Many B2B companies don’t leverage their existing customer base enough – or at all.
They’ll invest heavily in acquisition strategies like cold outreach and on- and-offline advertising, but they won’t make use of one of their strongest connections to new customers – their existing customers.
Asking your current customers (your current happy customers) to refer others who they think may have an interest in your product or service is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to generate new business.
So how do you push for referrals in a B2B environment?
That all depends on your business model.
If you’re selling SaaS or a similar product that can be scaled with ease, use an automated referral scheme. This is where customers are automatically rewarded when they succeed in getting someone else to buy your product.
Better yet, create a viral referral scheme that rewards customers not just for their first referral, but for every referral after that, too.
If you have an agency model or similar – i.e. your business depends on clients – your approach should be a little different.
In this context, an automated referral scheme would probably come across as impersonal, and is unlikely to get great results.
A better approach is to reach out to happy clients personally, and incentivize them to send others your way.
4. Integrate Marketing Channels
Effective marketing strategies are rarely comprised of different channels working in silos. Marketing is most effective when channels are integrated and teams are working together towards a shared goal.
This means ensuring different departments, teams, and staff members are communicating.
It also means tying their efforts together for maximum impact.
That could entail (but is far from limited to):
- Enhancing content with CTAs designed to capture visitors’ details.
- Encouraging people who sign up to your email list to follow you on social media.
- Promoting content and other marketing tactics (webinars, for example) via other channels, such as email and social media.
Of course, the best ways for you to unify your marketing channels is dependent on the tactics you’re using.
5. Make Mobile a Priority
It’s pretty common knowledge that the majority of internet use now takes place on mobile devices – specifically, phones.
But this isn’t true across the board. Some industries see lower mobile usage than others, particularly those which target a predominantly older market.
The same might be said of B2B industries.
It seems logical that professionals will be researching and purchasing business materials from the comfort of their office, using a laptop or desktop computer, but in actual fact, this often isn’t the case.
Decision makers are just as likely (or more likely) to research on mobile devices while they’re on the go, or during evening or weekend downtime, simply because they don’t have the time to shop during office hours.
This means making your website as mobile-friendly as possible is crucial. Even if the majority of your visitors aren’t on mobile, odds are a not-insignificant chunk will be.
That said, you can easily find out your exact mobile-to-desktop ratio in Google Analytics.
Just go to Audience > Mobile > Overview, and you’ll see a breakdown of the device types being used to access your site.
6. Automate Wherever Possible
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve B2B marketing efforts (and many other tasks involved in the day-to-day running of a business) is to automate wherever and whenever you can.
Unfortunately, a lot of firms, especially those with a long history, are reluctant to move with the times. They’re happy to do things the way they’ve always been done because, well, that’s just how things have always been done.
They’re making a big mistake.
The right software can help you streamline processes by automating repetitive tasks. You can, for instance, speed up the sales cycle and avoid repetition and unnecessary interactions by storing customer data in a CRM.
You can then make these processes even more efficient by linking them together using an integration tool like Zapier.
The more processes you can automate, the quicker you can get the grunt work completed, and the better results you should get from your marketing efforts.
Do you have any other tips for getting better results with B2B marketing? It’d be great if you could share your ideas in the comments below:
Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency helping companies leverage the latest and greatest marketing strategy to fuel their businesses. Sujan is also a partner in a number of software companies including Mailshake, Right Inbox, VoilaNorbert and Narrow.