Michelle Mckinley is the senior director of growth marketing at CareerArc, a team that offers technology-based social recruiting and outplacement...
B2B marketing is the process of one business marketing to another business. With this being said, business to business marketing needs to be personal and directed at your target consumer.
It is critical to the success of a business to business campaign that you remember you are still marketing person to person.
As technology has rapidly evolved traditional marketing and advertising has begun to decline and digital mediums of marketing and advertising are growing in popularity while also yielding higher levels of return.
These fields of digital marketing are robust and deeply technical in their execution. In a study done by Moz, they found that the four most searched digital marketing services for B2B were:
With this data in mind, let’s take a deeper look into each one of these B2B marketing channels and ask: “What is B2B Marketing via SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing, or PPC Management?”
What is B2B Marketing via SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of making your business’ information and thought leadership more accessible to search engines like Google or Bing. SEO is crucial in that it allows you to get new eyeballs on your business without having to pay for them to get there.
Because there is no initial cost per click (CPC), business owners and marketers alike are drawn to SEO. Furthermore, if each additional piece of information or content you create can add to the amount of people hearing about your brand, there is increasing marginal returns on each additional post.
Unfortunately, it can take time to develop the content and the authority of your website. While all great things take time, it can often take too much time, making it tough for a business to invest large amounts of cash. Also, there are many scams and poor approaches to SEO out there. We recommend finding a top agency by going to Clutch.co.
Within SEO, there are a multitude of niches and specialties. Depending on where you are at in your business’ marketing lifecycle you might need a special service and should find a niche provider or consultant:
- Technical SEO: This is great for businesses with content marketing in place and a strong brand. With a little technical SEO, your business can rapidly improve its organic rankings.
- Link Building: Link building is terrific for businesses with great content, but lack website authority or exposure.
- Content Marketing: Content is critical to new businesses and provides a foundation for link building, technical SEO, and on-page SEO. With content that your audience loves and that matches user intent, you organic traffic is destined for growth.
While there are many other specialties and services in search engine optimization, these are the core tactics in the SEO toolbox.
For more information on B2B marketing and SEO, here are some great resources:
What is B2B Marketing via Social Media Advertising?
Social media advertising for B2B marketing is the practice of leveraging social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and more to generate awareness and sales for your business.
B2B marketing and social media have long been seen as disconnected practices that are not suited for each other. I would argue that this premise is deeply misguided and that social media advertising provides one of the greatest opportunities to do incredibly well at a low advertising cost. The key here is to understand social advertising’s purpose and set the correct expectations around what it should be used to accomplish.
For example, when looking at the idea of “what is B2B marketing and how does social advertising play a role”, I would argue its role is to spread awareness and build brand affinity + authority.
For many B2B firms, leads are the singular objective. Unfortunately, they forget that leads can only happen with awareness. With social media’s affordable cost per click, you can spread awareness and drive desire at a cheaper cost than traditional channels such as radio or print.
While there are plenty of positives to social media advertising for businesses, there’s one large negative: without advertising, your organic posts will not reach your audience. As social media platforms have evolved, they have monetized their own audiences and now charge businesses to reach others and spread their message.
Within social media advertising, it’s appropriate to understand which platforms to leverage for different types of objectives and audiences. To help you out, we have broken down some of the biggest platforms below:
- Facebook: We love using Facebook’s brand awareness ads. They have a great metric call: Ad Recall. With this, you can measure how likely someone is to remember your ad two days later. Facebook also has advanced targeting that allows you to identify job titles, interests, income, etc. so that you can build an ideal persona. For promoting content, we recommend promoting your more general content on this channel.
- Twitter: The audience on twitter is usually more technologically advanced and allows you to engage with your most innovative content or thought leadership. While they also have great targeting, Twitter does not have as many types of campaigns available. As an expert tip, try retargeting with a small daily budget to increase your B2B marketing touches.
- LinkedIn: With LinkedIn, we have found that content such as case studies, testimonials, and news work incredibly well. A more professional audience often exists and the goal is to educate and cut through the noise. With LinkedIn, you will have targeting based around job titles, location, employee size and more. An expert tip is to run display ads on this target market with visual ads to increase marketing touches again.
- Pinterest: One of the most unique, but often profitable channels for B2B advertising. While it doesn’t apply for every industry, if you are selling goods in any way, Pinterest is a great asset in the discovery phase of your marketing cycle and provides with a visual way of generating desire.
Armed with a better understanding of social platforms and their purpose in understanding what B2B marketing is, here are some additional resources to expand our knowledge:
- 25 Stats About Social Media Management Companies
- A Guide to Facebook Business Manager
- Hiring Social Media Marketing Companies
What is B2B Marketing via Content Marketing?
B2B marketing at its core relies on content. Content is everything, from the words that you use to describe your services to the videos you leverage to tell your story. As a B2B marketer, it’s crucial that you utilize content marketing to hit your business objectives.
As a marketing channel, content is the information that you use to sell your services or product. From product descriptions to white papers, compelling content is the difference between purchasing and bouncing. As you develop your strategy for content it’s critical to keep in mind the following:
- Short 300 word blog posts are things of the past and should be avoided
- White papers should be awesome and interesting, even to people not in your industry
- Just because your industry is boring doesn’t mean your content should be
- Provide details and content around the services, solutions, and industries you service
While content is the life-blood of your marketing, it should not be abused or avoided. No one likes to write 24/7. Mix up your mediums, do video, podcasts, webinars and more. Play to your strengths and ask yourself: “would I show this piece of content proudly to my industry’s thought leader?” If not, hit the drawing board and make it better!
To develop your content marketing strategy for B2B, here’s a simple process to follow:
- Ideate: Killer ideas are hard to come by. We always recommend a little brainstorming with your team. But, if you are on your own, here are some terrific tools to get the juices flowing:
- Research: In B2B content marketing it is critical that you do keyword research to best answer the questions that are most important to your target market. By identifying these keywords, you will be able to match search demand with a supply of your content and ideally drive sales/leads.
- Write: The often hardest part of this equation. Writing awesome content is an art as much as a science. Frankly, posts like this rank well. Don’t fall into the trap of quantity. Go for quality posts. A search engine and user traditionally looks for content that’s:
- 2,000+ words
- Better than anything else on the topic
- Links well to other content on and off your website
- Promote: If nobody ever sees your content what’s the point? Unfortunately, most of our time goes into the creation of content and we forget to promote it. Remember your social media channels above and promote with wisdom by matching your audience to your topic.
- Analyze and Learn: Don’t be a content machine. Be a scientist. Scientists have hypotheses, do research, create carefully, and then test with precision. They then learn from their initial hypothesis, fix, and retest. I can’t think of a better way to define B2B marketing for content.
- Re-Promote: Being the scientist that you are, you know how critical it is to re-promote content. Not only did you put so much time into your initial draft, it’s now time to rep promote your content. In the B2B space, touches are king and busy business leaders need to be reminded.
With this B2B content info in hand, try your own strategy. Mix in different mediums and don’t bore yourself or your audience in the process. Here are some great resources that will help in your journey:
What is B2B Marketing via Pay Per Click?
PPC advertising for B2B marketing is the process of paying for traffic by the click. Multiple B2B marketing channels exist for pay per click advertising including:
- Google Adwords
- Bing Ads
- Social Media Ads
- Paid Lists
- Review Sites
- Display/Banner Ads
- …and countless others
The principle behind PPC advertising is that a business pays for a click in a specific channel. By doing so, the business can control supply of targeted traffic by adjusting budget.
The difficulty for many businesses is that they cannot convert the traffic. To do a better job converting the traffic and to improve the ROI of your B2B marketing campaigns, here are some tactics to follow:
- Custom Landing Pages for Each Campaign: As an Unbounce partner, we’ve had the blessing of creating countless landing pages for B2B advertisers. We’ve found that the greatest way to bring down your cost per acquisition is to have specific landing pages for each campaign that your run. The goal is that there’s a seamless transition from ad > landing page that matches or exceeds a user’s expectations.
- No Broad Match Keywords: When you’re running a B2B search ads campaign there’s no quicker way to flush money down the drain than with broad match keywords. Be careful in the setup of your ad campaigns and use phrase, exact, or broad match modified.
- Clear Objectives and Testing in Place: If you do not know what you’re testing then what’s the point? With clear testing and objectives in place, you will be able to measure your ROI, increase ad spend, and carefully monitor your campaigns. Don’t launch until you have that clear objective and purpose in place.
- Setup Retargeting Campaigns: The second you spend money to acquire a user it makes sense to spend a little more money to talk to them if they don’t convert. We know that users often have to hear about and visit your site multiple times before they fill out a form. In the meantime, you can use remarketing ads to stay top of mind and grow your conversions.
Within the B2B pay per click advertising space there’s plenty of opportunity to lose money. First off, always have a pro on your team or hire a PPC pro. With their expertise, you can save money and re-invest into your campaigns.
While there are countless other B2B tactics for PPC, the purpose here is to help you better grasp what is B2B marketing for PPC. Here are some other great resources to help you out:
With “What is B2B Marketing” properly defined, push your marketing and advertising efforts across SEO, Social Media, Content, and PPC through a clear process of ideation, research, launch, test, re-launch.