When one company markets its products or services to other companies, that’s B2B marketing.
Researchers valued the global B2B eCommerce market at $14.9 trillion in 2020, which was over five times the business-to-consumer market. It’s such a lucrative market!
If you’re considering moving to B2B marketing, read on to understand what it means and how to create a B2B marketing strategy!
What Is B2B Marketing?
B2B (business-to-business) marketing is where a business targets marketing campaigns to other businesses.
B2B marketing strategies aim to show the value of products or services to potential business buyers to convert them into customers.
An Example of B2B Marketing
SemRush is a search engine marketing company that offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
It’s a tool that is known to many marketers and anyone who is looking to rank their content.
Their target audience includes marketers and solopreneurs who run their marketing campaigns. Whenever SemRush launches new features, they send out newsletters to inform their subscribers (marketers) about the features and their value.
That’s B2B marketing via email and we’ll talk all about that next.
Types of B2B Marketing
Attending conferences and trade shows, referral programs, influencer marketing, newsletters, and other digital marketing strategies (social media, SEO, SEP etc.) are all types of B2B marketing.
I’ll dive deeper into the most common marketing strategies below:
1. Email marketing
The B2B email marketing strategy involves sending personalized emails to nurture prospects (companies’ decision-makers). Through email, marketing teams can introduce new products, offer discounts, and share valuable content.
For example, below is an email from SemRush introducing new product features.
2. Content Marketing
Like end consumers, B2B buyers also research online before making a purchase decision. And 30% of marketers believe content marketing has the highest Return on Investment (ROI).
B2B content marketing involves creating and distributing blog posts, videos, infographics, e-books, and other content types to attract and engage potential buyers and existing customers.
Besides educating an audience about your product or service, the power of content marketing lies in its ability to move prospects down the buyer’s journey.
Consider how HubSpot shares industry reports like the 2022 Consumer Trends Report. Such a report could reveal a problem that a marketer (their target audience) might not have known existed.
For example, the report shows that 78% of consumers prefer an authentic and relatable marketing video to a polished one with high-quality video and audio.
Ideally, the reader will then check out HubSpot’s articles and other resources on video marketing.
If the marketer creates better videos, they’ll have more customers. Then they’ll need to invest in a customer relationship management or marketing automation tool to optimize their marketing funnel.
Since HubSpot has guided the marketer up to this point, they’ll naturally go for HubSpot’s CRM first.
That’s the power of content marketing.
And as you create valuable articles targetting specific keywords that your business customers use, you’re already doing search engine optimization. SEO helps your business website reach business buyers who research products on Google and other search engines.
3. Social Media Marketing
B2B social media marketing helps to boost brand awareness, build trust and credibility, and generate leads. According to a 2021 B2B report, the top social media channels are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
How is B2B Marketing Different from B2C Marketing?
The main difference between business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing is the audience.
The B2B audience is corporate, formal, and strictly business. They’re companies’ key decision makers who don’t care about feelings, so marketing strategies revolve around factual data and logic.
In contrast, the B2C audience is laidback, and the end consumer is the decision maker, so marketing teams tend to influence their emotions.
However in saying that, industry and individual company culture plays a factor. There are definitely B2B audience who appreciate a sense of humor.
You can learn more about b2b vs. b2c in this detailed guide.
5 Steps to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy
Step 1: Clarify Your Goals and Budget
Have specific and measurable objectives, establish a framework for achieving them, and set the budget. Your marketing goals must align with the overall business strategy.
For instance, if you sell software and need 30 new customers monthly, you need around 150 to 200 leads. And to get 150 leads, you need about 1000 to 1500 new website visitors.
Write down your goals and how you will work to achieve them.
|New customers (monthly)
|New website visitors (monthly)
|Strategy to increase website visitors
|150 new email subscribers monthly
|◉ Publish content targetting relevant keywords.
◉ Share content on social media.
◉ Guest post to get high DA backlinks.
Step 2: Define your Audience
Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) guides your strategy.
What pain points is your audience looking to solve? How do they look for solutions? What kind of messaging do they resonate with?
Start with your current customers – the key accounts with a high lifetime value. What do they have in common? The marketing team needs to work with the sales teams to build the ICP. Note that you may have multiple buyer personas depending on the challenges you’re solving.
The image below is a sample B2B buyer persona.
Without an established customer base, you can’t learn about your target audience from your social media followers and people who engage with your posts.
But let’s say your audience is not niched down or you don’t have much of a following – this is where you can rely on your competitors.
Explore your competitors’ social media platforms to learn how they market their products and the kind of audience who comment and like their products.
See the example below where Hinch House Soap company markets their guest soaps on Facebook.
The marketing data is in the comments section.
From the comments, you’ll learn that most audiences showing interest in soaps are women.
Secondly, if you follow one of the commenter’s Facebook profiles, she posts pictures of restaurants and advertises foodstuffs.
So if you are marketing guest soaps, you’d want to target restaurant and hotel owners or managers.
You can read more about prospecting and defining your audience here.
Step 3: Determine your Marketing Channels
The best marketing channels depend on your buyer personas. Where/how do they look for solutions, and where do they interact?
Consider these B2B Marketing Channels:
- Websites – you publish authoritative blog posts and customer testimonials to showcase your brand, collect emails, and monitor how your audience consumes your content.
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) – you share social media posts (images, infographics, video content, etc.) with information about your brand/product and answer customer questions.
- Emails – you send regular messages to nurture leads and build personal relationships with them.
- Digital advertisements – displaying banner ads on websites, pay-per-click ads, and paid social media ads for lead generation.
- Forums and Q&A sites – e.g., Quora, Slideshare, and Medium sites have high traffic; you can spot the leads, reach out via email, and convert them to customers.
- Conferences and trade shows – you meet company insiders, introduce them to your products and services and collect their contact for follow-up.
- Print ads – billboards, magazines, newspapers, and trade publications that target audiences by location.
- Sponsorships – to build awareness. For example, you can sponsor sports events.
- Referral programs – word-of-mouth is still the best inbound marketing strategy.
Step 4: Determine your Marketing Materials’ Formats
What kind of information do your buyer personas consume?
Consider these B2B Marketing Content Formats
- E-books, white papers, or reports – allow potential buyers to dive deeper into topics and challenges affecting their industry.
- Testimonials – short videos or quotes from verified customers explaining their experiences with your products or services.
- Case studies – in-depth writing that shows how your solution solved another business’s problem.
- Webinar – host digital events where you can promote your products and services.
- Email newsletters – monthly emails that nurture potential buyers and educate existing customers.
- Videos – you can publish educational video content on social media platforms.
- Podcast – host audio recordings on your website to educate potential customers about your brand and solutions.
- Blog posts – to move leads down the buyer’s journey.
After choosing the relevant channels and creating the content, implement your campaign. For example, share your blog posts on social media with a link to your website. On your website, add a subscription form for prospects to share their emails. Then nurture these leads through regular marketing emails.
Step 5: Track Data and Improve
As you run the campaign, monitor how your audience reacts. Check your social media platform’s analytics reports for data like engagement rate and leads generated from the platform. You may also want to consider employing chatbots to help.
In addition, check your Google Analytics and compare the number of visitors who come from social media and the organic visitors.
If you notice that fewer visitors click your blog links from social media, research further on your competitor’s LinkedIn accounts and learn the keywords they use. Make improvements on your next content and track the engagement.
Finally, check your email automation tool’s analytics to track your lead nurturing progress. The crucial metrics here are the open rate and reply rate. Then A/B test different subject lines and email previews to find the best performers.
There are also other tools like AI marketing that can help.
B2B marketing involves sending marketing campaigns to company decision makers like department heads, CEOs, or business owners.
This lot is mostly corporate and logical, with a formalized process for making purchasing decisions. So your marketing materials need to appeal to logic, showing how your solution impacts the business’s bottom line.
The general steps for creating a B2B marketing strategy are:
- Determining your marketing goals and budget
- Defining your audience.
- Choosing your marketing channels.
- Choosing your marketing materials’ format and crafting them
- Tracking the customer data and making necessary improvements
Of course, the process is easier said than done. You need patience and an experimental mindset.
If you struggle grappling with this process, reach out to me (I don’t bite).
Good luck in your marketing journey!