How to Build a Solid B2B Marketing Strategy in 2023
As a B2B marketer, you've probably been wondering how to create the perfect B2B marketing strategy for your business.
After all, a B2B marketing strategy does much of the heavy lifting.
Once you have your digital marketing strategy laid out, everything else will get a lot easier.
So, how do you build a solid B2B marketing strategy?
Let’s find out.
What Is B2B Marketing?
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing promotes your products and services to other businesses.
A B2B marketing plan is personalized, highly targeted, and leverages data and metrics to inform those who make buying decisions.
Companies of all sizes use B2B marketing, and marketing departments create content marketing plans that align with corporate goals.
B2B marketers typically conduct market research, analyze trends, design effective ad campaigns, and build B2B customer relationships.
B2B marketing teams also focus on boosting brand awareness and increasing product sales through strategies like content marketing, digital advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and social media marketing.
Examples of B2B marketing tasks include:
- designing digital marketing and advertising campaigns
- evaluating strategy performance
- analyzing market trends
- researching competitors
- writing case studies
- planning trade shows
- and generating sales leads
B2B marketers use marketing strategies that meet the business objectives. This can include long-term and short-term plans.
What’s the difference between B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing?
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is different from business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing in several ways.
In B2B marketing, the buyer's journey is more cyclical and includes a variety of people with different responsibilities.
In B2C marketing, the buyer’s journey is linear, and one person typically makes the purchase decision.
A B2B buyer has greater purchasing power, and B2B customers spend larger amounts of money and have more people to answer to.
B2C purchases are typically at a much lower price point.
B2B marketing is results-oriented. Unlike B2C marketing, where results are easily measurable, B2B marketing results can take longer to show.
B2B marketing is data-driven. B2B buyers want analytics that show results, and emotions have little to do with B2B purchases.
But in B2C marketing, emotions play a significant role in purchasing decisions.
In B2B marketing, the influential factors are often based on a business relationship, personal interests, or professional needs.
In B2C marketing, a buyer’s demographic information (i.e., age, gender, and income) influences their buying decisions.
B2B Marketing Channels
You can use different marketing tactics in your B2B strategy. The marketing channel you use will depend on your target audience.
Your website is the ideal place to begin your B2B digital marketing strategy because it's often the first point of contact between you and your prospective buyers.
Your website should have a clear value proposition. It should be above the fold (the top half of the screen) so it's the first thing visitors see. Explain the problems you solve and for whom.
You also want your site to provide a good user experience (UX). Make sure your website loads quickly and is mobile responsive.
Use website analytics tools to track user behavior and learn how to improve your site's UX.
Provide your visitors with helpful content, such as downloadable ebooks, case studies, or how-to guides that can help them solve their problems.
Use visuals to break up text and tell stories. Images that match your B2B brand are an effective way to communicate your message.
2. Content marketing
Content marketing will probably be vital to your B2B marketing strategy.
It helps develop brand affinity, loyalty, and trust among your target audience.
B2B content marketing allows you to show your expertise through blog posts, case studies, and white papers.
To make the most of your B2B content marketing strategy, include these three elements.
- Original content – Original content is king because it establishes you as a leader in your industry. It gives you credibility with your audience.
- Visual content – A visual content strategy can be a game changer in your marketing strategy. Visual content breaks up blocks of text, illustrates points, and keeps your audience engaged. It includes assets like videos, infographics, and images.
- Use storytelling – Storytelling is a powerful tool for marketing because it resonates with people and is more memorable than generic advertising.
3. Email marketing
Email marketing works well in the B2B niche and is a way to take advantage of marketing automation.
You can expect to get a $36 return on every dollar you spend on B2B email marketing.
Start with a clear call to action on your website for visitors to sign up for your email list.
Most people will only sign up when offered an incentive, so give them a helpful freebie in exchange for their email address.
Subscribers are more receptive to emails that are specific to them. So, personalize each email you send with the recipient’s first name.
Make sure your email marketing is relevant. What business problems does your target audience face? Discuss ways you can help them that apply to their needs and your expertise.
Make your emails mobile friendly. You want your emails to look good and be readable on all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops.
(Pro Tip: Make sure your email marketing is successful by tracking these crucial email marketing analytics.)
4. Paid search/PPC
PPC advertising helps you generate leads, gain exposure, and enhance your presence online. And marketing automation can handle many tasks in your marketing campaign.
One of the best features of running ads is the targeting capabilities. You can target your ideal audience based on factors like location, search behavior, and other important factors.
You can even re-target those who have previously visited your site but have yet to take action.
While paid ads are very effective, they only work for as long as you run them. Once you discontinue the ads, the leads will stop.
So, using paid search ads along with other marketing strategies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is best.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tool you must include in your B2B inbound marketing strategy.
SEO marketing strategy optimizes your website and content marketing to increase your organic search traffic.
SEO helps you connect with potential buyers already searching for your services online.
When you rank higher in search engine results, you get more visitors to your website.
These visitors are looking for answers to their problems, but they may not be aware of you.
By optimizing your website for search engines, you attract more people, giving you more opportunities to convert visitors to buyers.
B2B SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, so you won’t see overnight results. But the results you get will have long-lasting benefits.
(Pro Tip: for extra help with your SEO strategy, check out our picks for SEO keyword research and SEO marketing tools!)
6. Social media marketing
Social media marketing can be very effective for B2B marketing. Knowing your audience and identifying the right social media platform for your business is essential.
You need to go where your target audience is.
Social media marketing is often the fastest channel for lead generation and monetization.
You develop a relationship with your social media followers when you have conversations with them.
That relationship builds trust and fosters brand loyalty. It also builds brand awareness, credibility, and authority.
B2B social media marketing also allows you to send targeted messages to the right audience at the right time.
You can narrow your target audience by location, demographics, and interests.
And you get insights into customer behavior via social media.
You can use social media data to create buyer personas and define your customer's needs.
This helps you better understand your customers and refine your marketing effort accordingly.
And marketing automation tools and social media marketing tools make posting to social media easier.
7. Video marketing
If you want another B2B marketing strategy for consideration, look at video marketing.
The B2B industry has been slower to adopt video marketing than B2C marketers.
However, video is becoming a vital component of a B2B business marketing strategy.
Video marketing helps you engage with customers in multiple ways. You can explain your products, demonstrate how they work, and showcase their features.
You can also answer customer questions via video content, helping potential customers know and trust you.
Video marketing has other benefits too. Videos can help you rank better in search results, which will increase the traffic that runs to your website.
Videos also help you build brand loyalty, build awareness of your brand, and generate leads for your business.
8. Referral marketing
Referral marketing can be a great asset to your B2B marketing strategy.
Referral marketing is a strategy that allows customers to refer your brand to other buyers. The benefits can be great for your B2B business.
When an existing customer refers your brand to a friend, colleague, or family member, it increases your brand's reach among new prospects.
Your current customers do your marketing for you by spreading the word about your brand to their friends and family.
This is incredibly powerful for B2B marketers because it provides exposure for your brand without incurring high marketing costs.
However, referral marketing only works if it's done right.
Your referral system should be easy to use. You’ll need incentives to offer your B2B customer for their referral.
And you need to track referrals to know how well your program is working.
How to Build an Effective B2B Marketing Strategy
1. Use marketing segmentation to find your target audience.
Determining your audience is the first step toward developing an effective B2B marketing strategy.
Marketing segmentation identifies specific groups within a larger group of potential buyers. Then you develop a marketing strategy that targets these groups differently.
You could segment your audience based on:
- Demographic segmentation – Demographic segmentation divides the market according to age, gender, income level, education, marital status, occupation, etc.
- Psychographic segmentation –Psychographic segmentation divides the market according to customers' lifestyles, values, interests, attitudes, and personalities.
- Geographic segmentation – Geographic segmentation divides the market according to location or geographical boundaries.
- Behavioral segmentation – Behavioral segmentation divides the market according to customer behavior.
- Firmographic segmentation – Firmographic segmentation divides the market according to business characteristics such as size, location, revenue, etc.
Different customer segments have different needs, so it's crucial to segment your audience accordingly.
This allows you to deliver the right messages to the right buyers at the right times.
2. Create buyer personas.
After you've segmented your audience, you need to create buyer personas.
A buyer persona represents your ideal customer based on market research and data.
Creating a buyer persona allows you to better understand and connect with your potential customer.
Imagine you own a fitness center. One segment of your target audience might be 30-year-old males who work out every day after leaving the office.
Another segment of your audience is women in their 50s who are interested in strength training to increase bone density.
These two audiences are both interested in physical fitness but have different pain points and will respond to different marketing messages.
When you create personas, you can better speak to each group.
3. Conduct a competitive analysis.
Now you need to conduct a competitive analysis.
In a competitive analysis, you gather information about your competitors' products, services, strategies, and B2B marketing tactics.
This gives you a better understanding of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, so you can create an effective B2B marketing strategy.
Do your competitive analysis regularly. This ensures that you remain aware of your competitors' moves and that you're on top of your game.
Use their social media pages, blogs, and websites to learn more about their strategies.
And take advantage of marketing analytics tools like Ahrefs and Similar Web to gain insight into their popular website pages, posts, and ranking keywords.
Create a running list of your company's strengths and weaknesses and your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. Think about how your products or services can fill the gaps.
4. Prepare a USP for each target market.
Creating a unique selling proposition (USP) is necessary to establish credibility and build your brand.
Your value proposition must address your customers' needs and offer solutions to their problems.
Your USP should be concise and easy to understand.
We offer enterprise-level solutions at small business prices.
In your USP, highlight the value you provide to your customers and the relief they will get from using your product or service.
For example, here at Xperiencify, we work with course creators on a mission. Our platform offers students a unique online course experience using gamification. So, our USP for course creators is:
The simple (and fun) way to get more people to complete your online course.
5. Lead your prospects through the customer journey.
Now it's time to set up a marketing funnel that covers all aspects of your customer journey.
The sales funnel is one of the most effective B2B marketing tools because it gathers leads and converts them into customers.
A funnel is a visual representation of a sales process, starting from a B2B company's first interaction with your website to when they become a customer.
Funnels map out the customer journey for your buyers, making it easier for you to see where they are in the process.
The funnel shows all the steps to turn a lead into a customer.
The funnel has three stages:
- Top of the funnel — attract visitors to your website
- Middle of the funnel — convert that traffic into leads
- Bottom of the funnel — convert leads into customers
6. Determine your B2B marketing goals.
Now it's time to set your B2B marketing goals.
Setting your marketing goals is crucial to developing your B2B marketing objectives.
Your B2B marketing goals should align with your long-term vision and be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART).
Be realistic when you set your goals. A good goal has a deadline, so set a goal that is a stretch but doable.
For example, if you're setting a goal for revenue, make sure it's a realistic amount based on your current capacity.
Concentrate on the right metrics. Your metrics should include leads generated, conversions, sales, revenue, customer satisfaction, etc.
Focus on the metrics that matter to the growth of your business, not on vanity metrics.
Are You Ready to Build Your B2B Marketing Strategy?
Creating B2B marketing strategies doesn’t need to be an overwhelming process.
When you break it down step-by-step, as we did here, the method is quite doable.
A B2B marketing strategy will help you meet your long-term business goals.
Are you ready to get started?
Jennifer Ayling is a freelance SEO content writer. She specializes in creating blog content for female entrepreneurs in the online business and digital marketing spaces.