In my experience, B2B companies seem to lag when it comes to Digital Marketing.
When you think about it, it kind of makes sense.
B2B companies often focus more on partnerships, channels, and other non-direct marketing strategies compared with B2C companies, and thus their digital marketing may be less sophisticated.
This is not a knock at B2B companies, not at all.
In fact, it’s an opportunity.
Embracing digital can give any B2B company a leg up on competitors.
Here’s three ways to do it:
1. Paid Search
Whether it’s sneakers, headphones, or life insurance – the paid search market for consumer goods and services if pretty crowded.
However, broadly speaking there’s less searches conducted for B2B compared to B2C.
Less searches means less competition for keywords, which often means less cost per click.
But I also think there’s less competition for keywords because many B2B companies either have tried PPC (and failed), or haven’t tried it at all.
Why? Probably because B2B is a longer sales cycle and people think PPC is always about quick results.
But you have to be patient, you’re not likely to get instant sales with PPC but rather build up prospects and contacts.
These prospects need nurturing, engaging, and the right information when they are ready to buy.
I’d guess that a lot of companies don’t have the patience, or don’t see the value of PPC campaigns.
But I often provide competitive PPC reports and findings to prospects, and am often amazed at the lack of competition and low potential cost per lead….and thus big opportunity to get a competitive edge.
2. “Utility” Content
We’re all sick and tired of hearing how we need to produce “valuable” content, so I’m using another term: utility, or utilitarian content.
In other words, is your content specific, and is your content useful for your audience?
Here’s some examples:
- Instead of “Tips for Procuring a Printing Vendor for Your Business”, how about “Tips for Procuring a Printing Vendor for Your Annual Report that Will Save You 10%”
- Instead of “How to Choose the Right Marketing Automation Software”, how about “Prospects & Privacy: How to Choose the Right Marketing Automation Software for Your Healthcare Organization”
- Instead of a blog post on SEO tips, a running video series on all the different aspects of SEO… like the MOZ Whiteboard Friday series…
And don’t just think of content marketing as blog posts and videos.
Ask again, what’s useful and specific for my audience?
Is it a checklist, a template, or an app? What would make their lives easier?
Want to know the answer?
Ask your customers.
84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral (Source).
Need I say more?
The same study shows that marketing owns referral generation at only 10% of companies, and only 22% have tools in place for referral programs.
In other words, B2B companies are not making the most of referral marketing.
In other words, an opportunity for your B2B biz the gain a competitive edge.
But referral marketing is more than just asking for a casual referral: it’s a systematic, organized program that is managed and measured for maximum success.
The least you should start with:
- An offer or way to incentivize a customer to make a referral on your behalf
- A referral platform to help you manage and measure your referrals
- An ongoing commitment to test and optimize your program with different offers, messaging, and marketing.
And if you know of any B2B companies that need some digital marketing work, I take (and reward) referrals 🙂