Words that spring to mind when we think ‘B2B’ are corporate, formal, professional and dare I say it… boring? With this in mind, businesses are generally seen as more of a challenge to market to than your average consumer.
It can certainly differ to B2C marketing – the sales process if often much longer, more people are involved when it comes to making the final decision and most importantly, these people need to be sure that the product or service you are trying to sell can make a difference to their bottom line.
One thing to remember however is that whatever your business, B2B or B2C, you’re still marketing to people. People with needs, wants and fears which makes them a lot more similar than you might think. Here are a few unexpected ways B2B businesses can approach their marketing in the same way as B2C:
Embrace all social channels
Although they are the obvious choices, B2B businesses shouldn’t limit themselves to LinkedIn and Twitter…
There are 1 billion (and counting) active monthly users on Instagram, so it’s going to be extremely likely that the decision makers you’re targeting are using this platform. Research has also shown that brands get 20 times more engagement on Instagram then on Linkedin, so you’d be a fool not to utilise the power of this channel.
You might not have a visually appealing product in the same way a B2C brand might, but create a business account and start to showcase the more ‘human’ side of your business. It can be a great way to give a behind the scenes look into the day to day goings-on, company culture and staff activities.
Although it might not directly help sell your products, it’s a way of building up trust for your brand as a whole and potentially driving prospects to your site. People like to see the human side of a brand, corporate or not, so be sure not to dismiss the social channels that are typically more ‘B2C’.
Mix up your content
Although B2B brands tends to be more complex and ‘serious’ by nature, it doesn’t mean that your content has to follow suit at all times.
Although it’s important to provide your audience with informative ‘evergreen’ articles and guides relating back your product/service, don’t forget to mix it up with content made to engage the people behind the businesses you’re trying to target.
Video content for example shouldn’t be restricted to the ‘fun’ B2C brands. If done correctly, it can be extremely powerful for the B2B market too. Interviews with staff members, repurposing popular blog content and behind the scenes footage can provide a refreshing change of media, and gives potential customers more of a reason to be invested in your company beyond the product / service you provide
Don’t forget to jump on seasonal trends too – the CEO you’re trying to target is probably into the Champions League as much as the next guy, so be creative and try to incorporate up to date, topical content within your strategy.
Find a good balance between engaging the people who might be interested in your service, and remaining an authority in your niche.
In 2018 there were over 2.1 million sponsored posts on Instagram. There’s certainly no denying the power of influencer marketing for the B2C market, but you might be wondering how B2B brands can utilise this phenomenon in a similar way?
It’s undoubtedly more difficult – it’s not just a case of sending out a pair of trainers or the latest teeth whitening product to popular names in the hope they will post a picture on Instagram. B2B companies are selling something that’s likely to be far less glamorous, of higher value, ultimately resulting in less spontaneous purchase decisions. But when B2B marketers manage to crack the world of influencer marketing, it has been proven to deliver 11x higher ROI than other forms of digital marketing.
You might think that finding these B2B influencers would be the hard part, but they can often be right in front of you. There are no better influencers than your own employees… are there certain members of staff who are active with the community, often network at events, and have built up a following on certain social channels? They can be extremely powerful brand ambassadors.
The same goes for your clients – they know your product, have seen the benefit with their own eyes, and would probably have no hesitation is recommending your product. If you have some influential brands using your service, influencer marketing is already at your fingertips…
Aside from that, B2B businesses need to look outside of Instagram for their influencers. Find niche industry blogs, trade publications, journalists, general ‘names’ in your industry and reach out. Build relationships and see how you can work together.
B2B marketing needn’t be that different to B2C – just remember that you’re not marketing to a faceless corporation, you’re still marketing to people.