B2B marketing strategies are changing fast as new technologies transform the landscape. However, many businesses are way behind the times when it comes to implementing the latest techniques. In competitive markets, this can shut you out of millions of dollars in revenue seemingly overnight.
As times change, B2B marketing strategies must evolve with them.
Let’s look at two major strategies that are already making a difference in the B2B world.
Put LinkedIn First When it Comes to Thought Leadership
Millions of business professionals are on LinkedIn, but ask them why and many wouldn’t be able to give you a solid answer. LinkedIn serves as a way to chronicle your professional achievements and gather recommendations from others without the awkwardness, but most companies just aren’t using it to its full potential – especially when it comes to B2B.
The familiar refrain heard on LinkedIn is “thought leadership” – publishing updates that give your brand’s take on the latest industry news. This is one element of using the platform. If you stop here, however, there’s not much difference between LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn generates the most B2B leads of any social media platform. With a focused, specialized approach that leverages its unique strengths, it can generate a following of ready B2B clients. How? The answer comes in using LinkedIn Groups the right way.
While many entrepreneurs raise their profile by posting useful answers to the questions they find on LinkedIn groups, businesses at scale need to go a step further by creating their own Groups.
Prospects who would usually be hesitant to join your email list are more likely to join a LinkedIn group – one dedicated not simply to your brand, but to the problems they want to solve. Consider these three hypothetical groups:
- Manufacturing Automation Tips: Increase Productivity & Reduce Costs
- Product Prototyping: Accelerate Time-to-Market & Validate Your Ideas
- Dental Marketing Info: Get More Clients, Referrals & Repeat Business
Each of these groups prioritizes the main interest of the B2B decision-makers it’s intended to appeal to. The benefits of joining the group are made clear in the title. The “corporate sponsor” is never mentioned, so visitors aren’t on guard to defend against a sale.
With a quick, customized invitation to join the group, you can get dozens or even hundreds of prospects in your sights. You may want to moderate posts at first to ensure that competitors will not start fishing in your pond. Then, do what you would normally do – post value-added content that will keep you “top of mind” with your prospective customers.
As they grow to recognize you as an authority figure, you will likely be the first person they go to when they need help in your area of expertise. That’s far more compelling and effective than trying to get those very same decision-makers to follow any purely corporate presence.
Create an End-to-End Visual Content Ecosystem
As mobile content proliferates and even big names like Google start to put mobile first, it may seem like the average attention span is simply getting shorter and shorter. Of course, this isn’t really the case – research dating back to 1997 showed that people don’t read online, they skim.
Nonetheless, what constitutes “long” content is changing – and the ability of many users to get value from written works is deteriorating. At the same time, visual content like infographics and video is becoming more powerful. In fact, infographics may be the most shared content online.
The lesson for your B2B marketing strategies? Start putting visual content first!
Instead of being something secondary that gets produced if a blog post is right for it, each post should be written with its visual complement in mind. No matter what topic a prospect looks for or where they search throughout your Web properties, they should find visual content.
Let’s look at some ways to start putting visuals ahead:
Use Webinars as the Tentpoles for Your Content
Interactive online training events – popularly known as webinars – have been a mainstay in some B2C areas for decades. In B2B marketing strategies, these same events can give prospects an unparalleled feeling of investment in your brand and solutions.
Once prospects sign up to your mailing list, one of the first offers they should receive should be for a webinar. Keep close tabs on who attends and who doesn’t and be sure those who miss out on the live session have an opportunity to see the recorded versions.
Build Visual Hooks into Your Blog Posts
Every blog post should have two major components: The finalized version that the public sees and the “cheat sheet.” What should the cheat sheet include? Statistics, statement of fact, and their sources – the framework for an infographic. Consider including infographics in your blog posts!
Ideally, each blog post should also have a video version, even if the visuals are kept very simple. Conversion research shows users are more likely to engage with a page that has a video even if they don’t look at the video at all.
Last, but not least – near the top of the page, provide a prominent estimate of how long a blog post will take to read. The shorter the time investment, the more likely people are to give it a look.
Make YouTube a Major Part of Your Strategy
YouTube is uniquely positioned to help smaller B2B businesses succeed. Video results on the platform can appear prominently alongside Google results, making it possible to raise a site’s visibility for a given search term even if it’s too competitive to rank for in Google.
Businesses shouldn’t hesitate to pursue a “YouTube first” strategy for video content, then share the content through their social media channels. According to Google, 54% of executives share videos with their colleagues at least once a week.
Dare to Go Live With Streaming Video
Streaming video is one of the biggest trends in the world of B2C marketing, but it also has a place in B2B. No matter how sober, serious, and sophisticated a B2B decision-maker may be, he or she still needs to know, like, and trust you before you’ll make a sale.
Unlike consumers, B2B decision-makers will rarely interrupt their day to attend an unexpected stream. Announcing a stream 2-3 days in advance on your mailing list can subtly clue you in on which subscribers are most engaged and where they stand in the sales process.
This is Only a Taste of the Revolution in B2B Marketing Strategies
No matter what industry you’re in or what your customers are like, all successful B2B marketing strategies share one thing: Laser-focus on the prospect’s interests and pain points.
The business decision-makers of today are unlikely to buy from you unless you show you offer genuine value. What they get from you before the sale serves as their evidence your products are worthwhile. One major challenge marketers face is finding the best way to deliver that value.
As technology marches on, new approaches are already visible on the horizon. Ultra-interactive chat bots will serve as virtual customer concierges and proximity-based marketing will strike with precision-tailored offers.
Every new strategy offers exciting opportunities – but never lose sight of who all the effort is for.