B2B Marketing: The most important factors for your success
Digitalization has changed B2B marketing from the ground up. B2B marketers, in particular, have to deal with customers who are Internet-savvy, strongly networked and therefore well informed. Companies that do not fit into the circumstances and ignore the changed information and decision-making behaviour of their customers in their marketing strategies are inevitably left behind. A strong Internet presence is therefore indispensable. Without the appropriate information content, however, it is unlikely to perform well. It is no coincidence that marketing guru Seth Godin claims that only content marketing remains of marketing.
Indeed, the importance of content marketing can no longer be denied. After all, 70% of B2B marketers had more content in 2015 than a year before. This is an unmistakable indication that companies are not dismissing the information needs of the B2B target group. The channels relevant for B2B communication range from company blogs to whitepapers to webinars.
In the following article you will gain insight into all important factors for your B2B marketing.
The Main Differences Between B2C and B2B Marketing
Although private customers and business customers may be guided by similar emotions when buying, business customers are more obliged to justify their decision rationally, at least retrospectively - whether in front of a superior or themselves. This is simply because business customers do not cover their own needs but represent the interests of third parties. This is why B2C marketing focuses on entertainment, while B2B marketing strives to convey facts and information.
Mass advertising in B2B ergo is normally not successful. In many B2B products, close customer contact in the form of customer success management, account management or similar plays an important role. In contrast to private customers, it is by no means sufficient for business customers simply to arouse interest in the product or service. At least business customers want to be fully informed about the benefits of the offer.
Use The Insights Of Your Own Customers For The Choice Of The Right Content
What seems paradoxical at first glance soon turns out to be the most logical thing in the world. Although it is called business-to-business marketing (B2B marketing), in the end there are always people behind it. And they want to be treated humanely.
Providing rich and compelling content on B2B blogs, portals and websites is an important, if not the most important, channel for directing potential customers to your website. In B2B marketing, marketers can't avoid worrying about their customers' thoughts. It is up to them to put themselves in the position of the customer and to ask themselves what ultimately triggers a purchase decision. What worries drive the customer? What is his need? Which of his problems does your product solve? How often does he look around the website before looking for personal contact?
Answers to the questions are provided by corresponding web analyses and customer research or simply A/B tests. If the necessary results and findings are available, it is easy to react with simple measures and to offer the right content at the right place at the right time.
Customer Experience More Than Just A Buzzword In B2B Marketing
The trend towards long-term customer loyalty can only be followed by those who see themselves in a position to address the customer personally. This identification with a company also plays an increasingly important role in B2B. It is therefore essential not to take customer experience lightly.
To take Customer Experience, or CX for short, into account appropriately means to understand the individual customer needs. This is important because B2B customers are increasingly transferring their customer experiences one-to-one to their business relationships with companies. What is therefore right and fair for the end consumer may also be demanded of the B2B company.
The Long-term Effect Of Recommendation Marketing
Ideally, customers become sales promoters. What Mouth-to-Mouth can achieve has long been known in the retail world. It is therefore not surprising that B2B companies are gradually beginning to gain customer recommendations by providing added value.
The thing is, it's just that: Recommendations become qualified leads, which not only convert customers who pay much better, but usually keep customers in the loop for the long term. However, the leads only become ready for distribution when the B2B company is able to provide the right information at the right time and in the right place.
Mobile Websites And Apps As Supporting Pillars In B2B Marketing
B2B marketing without the integration of mobile devices is no longer an option. After all, the majority of users now resort to it to get the necessary information. Responsive design is a must, the special preparation of web content for mobile devices an option.
While the web app is an integral part of the website, the mobile app can be downloaded and installed on the mobile phone. In principle, apps offer helpful and valuable information and applications that are more likely to turn users into potential buyers.
The Google App Indexing proves to be practical. The search engine checks the apps and displays the content in the results pages. It makes the company content transparent. In addition, the content of the apps also becomes visible to those users who have not installed the apps. The temptation to install them is correspondingly great.
The Appeal Of Visual Communication
Increased attention through photos and graphics
Picture galleries and infographics are very popular with B2B customers. Thus professional articles find rather attention, if they are illustrated. Infographics, on the other hand, are particularly popular in the technology sector. They influence the purchasing decisions of B2B customers more than almost any other medium.
A video as a good start
Nobody is surprised that in times of digitalization and stimulus overkill, the combination of visual and auditory stimuli finds a strong echo among business customers. B2B customers are also trying their best to make life much easier for themselves. Videos, it seems, are the tried and tested means of making complex issues comprehensible. And of course their consumption is less strenuous than printed paper or long text on the web. It is no coincidence that videos have been shown to increase the time spent on websites.
The increasing importance of cross channel marketing
But it is not enough to operate just one information channel. Rather, cross channel marketing is emerging as a trend in B2B marketing. In 2014, 68% of B2B customers used more information channels than in the previous year for research prior to their investment decision. B2B providers are therefore well advised to constantly provide their potential customers' channels with demand-oriented content.
B2B Marketers See Themselves As Content Publishers
To be found by the customer with inbound marketing
Not only, but also with inbound marketing, content marketing has found its way into B2B and has meanwhile become a fixed factor. Strictly speaking, e-mail marketing is also a sub-discipline of inbound marketing. After the mails have to be filled with rich content in order to attract attention, the content marketing of B2B providers includes e-mail marketing.
86% of B2B marketing marketers already have content marketing in their marketing mix. And according to recent studies, content marketing budgets are to be increased by 59% by 2017. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) will continue to play a role for B2B providers, but the trend is clearly towards user-defined content that meets the needs and interests of individual target groups.
Better search engine ranking through content marketing
Bending to the will of the market and serving business customers with content marketing pays off for B2B companies. High-quality content invites B2B customers to stay longer on the B2B provider's website. And in the long run, more traffic leads to a better ranking in search engines.
Click rates through micro content
As is well known, brevity is the soul of wit. This is especially true for Internet users. They want to be informed about the essentials as quickly as possible. With micro teasers, marketers in B2B marketing have a useful tool at their disposal that satisfies the wishes of Internet users. The combination of short text and image is made for high interaction rates. In general, the Micro principle ideally runs through the entire website. With short paragraphs, clear structuring and subheadings, Internet users feel that they are in good hands in the world of B2B contributions.
Content as an essential factor for the purchase decision
82% of the executives make the purchase decision dependent on the content of the B2B provider. Not by chance. After all, they are extremely annoyed by the meager supply of really useful information. Only 10% of Internet users find the information they are feverishly looking for on the Internet. The result is as predictable as it is gratifying: individual websites gradually take on the characteristics of a trade magazine in which no point or comma is left to chance. In short, the professionalism and information density of the websites (in the form of blogs, helpdesks, FAQs, etc.) is hard to beat for successful B2B companies.
From Strangers To Advocates In 4 Steps
The Hubspot inbound methodology is largely owed. With it, marketers in B2B marketing are faced with the great challenge of using relevant content to draw attention to their company. Naturally, keywords play an important role in maximizing traffic with blog posts, while the success of efforts is measured by the costs per click.
Recruitment is nothing half and nothing whole if visitors don't turn into leads. Here, the inbound process of B2B providers requires a clear positioning of their company through visible added value. Giveaways such as e-books, guidelines or collections of useful tips are common practice here. Visitors finally become leads by disclosing their contact details. In return, they usually receive whitepapers, case studies and webinars.
Of course, leads are not yet customers. To turn leads into sales, it is necessary to feed B2B customers further with webinars, assessments and personal consultations.
It goes without saying that B2B vendors are as anxious as possible to reap the rewards of their honest efforts as long as possible. Before customers become advocates of B2B providers through word of mouth, they must be forced to become returning customers. Only their loyalty is proof that they are completely convinced of the B2B company's offer. After all, it is only a small step from this personal conviction to recommendation.
Dialogue At Eye Level Through Specialist Knowledge
Content marketing in B2B is inconceivable without experts. After all, B2B customers are technically adept. They wish to be informed in a targeted manner. Therefore, well-founded knowledge is a matter of course for them.
Many B2B marketing agencies inevitably fail because of this indispensable prerequisite. In the rarest cases, spontaneous contacts are not to be thought of. In particular if the expert knowledge must be bought externally first. The crux is that a) experts are not available like sand at the sea and b) they should also be able to pack their knowledge into knitting advertising campaigns. It is no coincidence that the demand for B2B content is much greater than the supply.
By No Means A Purely Digital Discipline - The Types Of Content Marketing
Corporate publishing was once upon a time. Now it is simply part of content marketing. For example, annual reports and customer magazines are important content marketing channels for many companies. But when it comes to B2B customers, whitepapers and case studies are ahead. Whitepapers are used to 78%, case studies to 73% for the purchase decision to 73%. In addition, 67% of B2B customers use webinars and 58% each use videos and e-books to get an idea of the B2B offering.
The Right Content Counts
Numbers don't lie. 87% of B2B customers are influenced by targeted content, while 82% even consider it a decisive factor in their purchasing decision. However, no agreement can be reached quickly with B2B customers. Rather, the purchase transaction is a lengthy process that takes weeks and has a correspondingly large number of participants. It is therefore crucial that marketers in B2B marketing approach the individual participants with the necessary sensitivity and intuition for the respective need for information.
Naturally, it is up to the user of the B2B offer to make work easier or to solve problems. He stimulates the purchase. He draws his inspiration from professional articles, videos, podcasts, guidelines, webinars and workshops.
In contrast, the buyer is primarily interested in calculations, calculation aids, whitepapers and transparent offers. After all, it is he who puts the purchase out to tender and processes it.
The company's experts who ultimately evaluate the alternatives base their assessment on specialist articles, reports, studies, checklists and comparisons. The same applies to the management, which ultimately gives its blessing to the purchase of the B2B offer. Due to time constraints, it is of course better served with infographics and corresponding references than with long reports and studies.
Content Marketing As A Must-have
The unstoppable increase in meaning
The facts speak for themselves: 69% of marketers in B2B marketing are currently busy creating high-quality content. The visual content has absolute priority. While 60% of B2B marketers are already working on it, another 26% intend to do so in the near future.
The goal is to better understand the concerns of B2B customers and to best meet their information needs. In any case, 63% of B2B marketing marketers claim to be serious about it.
The effectiveness of content marketing according to the assessment of B2B customers
Irrespective of the intensive use of social media, personal contact at trade fairs, for example, is still very popular with B2B customers. 75% consider these meetings at eye level to be highly effective.
The effectiveness of webinars and webcasts is only slightly worse. After all, they consider 66% of B2B customers to be extremely effective. This is immediately followed by case studies, which 65% of B2B customers regard as an effective instrument of content marketing. Whitepapers find 63% of B2B customers to be effective, while videos are the most effective with an impressive 62%.
Accident-free B2B Content Marketing - 3 Stumbling Blocks
User Centered Content
In times of permanent accessibility and non-stop accessible information of any kind, stimulus flooding is virtually pre-programmed. The consequence of this is an ever shorter attention span and decreasing patience to find out whether the information being consumed contains what is really being sought.
This hurdle has to be overcome by marketers in B2B marketing. And in order to master this, he doesn't have to ask himself what he should tell his audience, but rather what the audience wants to hear from him.
What applies to B2B marketing in general applies increasingly to B2B content marketing. In the age of digitalization, anyone who does not care about the personalization of their content and the individual approach to their customers through solutions for specific problems has gambled away.
Employer Generated Content
Authenticity can only be mentioned if all employees of the B2B company pull in the same direction. Simply knowing the corporate philosophy is by no means enough. It must inevitably be internalized and lived by all parties involved in the B2B provider in order to convince B2B customers and motivate them to buy.
The Dead Live Longer - Emails As Survival Artists
The announcement sounds more dramatic than it actually is. While some B2B companies have nothing to do with email marketing, the signs of the times are changing them too. After all, growth in the mobile sector is progressing at a drastic pace. And according to a study in 2015, 67% of all e-mails are opened on mobile devices, 75% of them on smartphones. So what could be more obvious than relying on email marketing for attention, acquisition and conversion as well as customer loyalty?
However, it is in no way done by stacking mails and sending them en masse without distinction to the person. Rather, the targeted, individual approach is desired.
The missed touchpoint
Another channel of email marketing that many marketers simply overlook is email signature marketing. This refers to the integration of a marketing banner in the e-mail signatures of all employees of a company. This Owned Media Channel works particularly well in the B2B environment. Because what many responsible people often overlook: The e-mail signatures of a B2B company are usually seen more often than the website. This is not surprising, since e-mail is simply the most common means of communication to customers, partners and interested parties in B2B.
What to keep in mind
But also here there are a few stumbling blocks to consider: First of all, the same banner should not be sent in the signature for months. Otherwise they will lose their topicality and attention.
Then it depends of course on the objective of the banner. If, for example, it is primarily a matter of generating clicks, it would be advisable to integrate as strong a call-to-action as possible.
Personalization and evaluation
Last but not least, this also applies here: The better the marketing banner is personalized to the respective recipient, the better it performs. Therefore, it rarely makes sense to give all employees of a company the same banner with the same (advertising) message.
But the more employees a company has, the more complex it becomes to coordinate which banner should be displayed with which employees, let alone to evaluate how well which banner performs.
Fortunately, Mailtastic is committed to solving these challenges with easy-to-understand software. With Mailtastic, you can assign the appropriate banners to different employees with just a few clicks and then track how well each banner performs live in the dashboard using clicks, impressions and the click rate - without any IT knowledge at all.
The customer's insight should always be at the centre of all B2B marketing and therefore also in content marketing. What are the customer's needs? What information does the customer need to make a purchase decision? And the better the individual measure is personalized to the respective customer, the better it will ultimately work.
Last but not least, supposedly "old" channels such as e-mail marketing or underestimated touchpoints such as e-mail signature marketing remain highly up-to-date and extremely efficient - for this they simply have to be used correctly.
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