Disruptions to global supply chains like, the Corona virus pandemic, have changed the way people live, work, communicate, and spend money – which means the methods that B2B businesses use to market their products and services have also changed.
B2B suppliers and service providers are including digital marketing into their B2B marketing strategy as a way to reach prospects, generate leads, and engage current customers where those buyers spend a majority of their time – online.
This article covers the following:
What is B2B Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the use of online content, videos, and advertising materials in any location that is accessible via the internet. Also referred to as “Online Marketing,” it creates brand and product awareness and is virtually “expected” by current and potential clients. Digital marketing is delivered through many avenues including websites, social platforms, and searchable content. The goal is to introduce your marketing content to other businesses and organizations that are interested in what your company has to offer.
B2B methods of digital marketing could be inorganic (paid) like sponsored website banners and paid social media advertisements or organic (free) such as high-value blog articles and industry-specific YouTube videos.
Digital marketing can directly target leads that are most likely to purchase or become recurring customers based on firmographics including geographical location, industry, size of the business, its structure and status, and how it performs. These efforts can result in qualified leads and improved conversion rates.
Types of B2B Digital Marketing
Digital marketing in the B2B sector offers the opportunity for creativity and imagination with marketing strategies. Anything from blog articles and website copy to digital coupons and free high-value guides is fair game to attract potential clients to your seafood supply or service provider business.
Clients and potential clients have come to expect companies to have a website – and may consider them less credible when they don’t. Not only can a website showcase your branding including mission, vision, and value statements, but it can house your product and services listing, descriptions, ordering information, contact information, B2B lead generation tactics, and even a blog with valuable content for your viewers.
Reluctant to build a website for your supply or service provider company? It’s not as intimidating or costly as you might think! Many website builders have plug-and-play functionality and affordable hosting plans for businesses in every industry.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a marketing strategy that improves website copy with the goal of ranking higher on internet search engines like Bing and Google. The closer to the top of the list of search results, the more apt potential clientele will click on your website link, review your content, and progress to a warm/hot lead.
Search engines use a myriad of criteria when crawling your website and earmark that data to help internet users find exactly what they are searching for quickly. Not only are the search engine crawling bots looking for content value, but it’s also searching for devious methods used to trick the system into ranking higher – which could negatively affect the website owner.
There are three primary types of SEO: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. On-page SEO looks for keywords or phrases in your website content to attract leads and rank higher on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Off-page SEO focuses on your relationships with other high-value content creator websites through backlinks (linking other industry-specific articles to your website content). Technical SEO concentrates on the behind-the-scenes coding of your website including page loading speed and file optimization. For best results, use all three types of SEO on your seafood supply or service provider website.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) uses paid methods to rank your website on SERPs. If you’ve ever performed a search on Google, for example, and noticed that the first few websites listed have a small “Ad” rectangle next to them – those are examples of Search Engine Marketing.
When creating an SEM campaign, target your ideal customer using firmographic criteria and industry-specific keywords to ensure the most effective use of your marketing budget.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay Per Click is an inorganic (paid) strategy where marking funds are only charged when they result in successful clicks on your promoted link. The most popular PPC methods are Google ads, but targeted campaigns can also be placed on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The goal of B2B content marketing is to gather leads, increase awareness of your brand, and increase traffic that leads to engaged customers. This can be accomplished through the optimization of digital content like blog posts, infographics, audio and video content, ebooks, guides, and whitepapers.
These pieces of content can be free giveaways to entice leads to opt-in to further communication from your company, posted on your website using SEO strategies, or promoted through other advertising platforms like radio, television ads, YouTube, and social media sites. YouTube and Facebook (among others) are also considered search engines. Be sure to use SEO strategies when posting video content to social platforms as well.
Sponsored content requires a company to pay a well-known person or company to promote your marketing material, product, or service to their audience. Contracting a high-performing influencer with a large audience that works within your industry to highlight your brand could bring in a slew of new leads. When targeting your ideal customer, micro-influencers (companies and people with less than 100,000 followers) may be a more affordable and targeted option for sponsored content.
Influencers could promote your supply or service provider company through social media platforms, blog articles, video content, or on their company/personal website. These professionals often feel more authentic to their (and your) audience and have already built trust with the shared customer persona – which can translate to your company through sponsored content.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media has become a staple for businesses in every industry, including B2B businesses. With an effective campaign, virality within your niche could promote your brand and products/services practically overnight. Social media platforms for B2B firms could include Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
For many business owners, producing enough content to progress leads through the buyer’s journey could feel like a second full-time job. Social media managers are often hired by companies with the sole purpose of creating, posting, and analyzing content effectiveness. The use of automation applications for social media postings can save company owners a lot of time by creating one piece of content and posting it in multiple places based on a predetermined timetable.
Online Public Relations (PR)
Online PR includes partnering with other businesses or individuals that put out digital content like blogs, recurring publications, or media-focused creators. Public relations online could include positive reviews of your company and its offerings, engaging discussions on your website or social platform, or gaining media attention through digital means like podcasts or video productions.
Affiliates are companies or individuals who promote products and services on behalf of businesses commonly in exchange for a monetary commission or free products. The company only compensates these affiliates when the sales have been made – not based on the time and effort spent to produce the marketing content. A user-specific web link is assigned to each affiliate and used to identify those whose content led to the sale. Oftentimes these links are included in SEO-focused blog articles, video content, or social media posts.
It’s important to lay the ground rules when using affiliates to ensure your brand is presented in a way that aligns with your company’s mission, vision, and values. Spamming affiliate links everywhere, offering confusing or incorrect information about your company or products, and the production of low-value or inappropriate content could lead prospects to envision your company negatively.
Create an agreement that spells out the terms and conditions of the partnership including company information, payment structure and frequency, and any direction on content posting.
Once a prospect becomes a viable lead, many B2B companies include them in their email marketing campaigns to communicate new products/services, trade show or expo schedules, promotions, and to direct them to any digital content like videos, ebooks, and your website, for example.
How to do B2B Digital Marketing
Many B2B supply and service providers have shied away from creating online content and have relied on in-person networking events like tradeshows and expos or physical marketing materials to showcase their products and services. Once implemented, digital marketing has the potential to reach exponentially more prospects than the former strategies. The question becomes… how?
Create Goals and Set the Budget
Before creating any digital marketing campaigns, develop your overarching goals and set a realistic budget. Consider who you want to reach, what you want to promote, and the funding reserved to achieve them. When setting these company targets, ensure that they are realistic and measurable. Once the objectives are created, use the most effective marketing approaches to meet or exceed them.
Develop a Strategy to Reach Company Goals
If your goal is increased brand awareness, creating short-form social media content for free in larger frequencies can lead more potential clients to your website for additional information, publicized content, and data-gathering methods. Ensure tracking is implemented to see how many new visitors have viewed your content and if it’s not working, the metrics spell out the need to pivot. Most website builders include integrated mechanisms to track visitor data, or you can install a tool to view the information.
If you’re looking to promote a specific product you may be launching, use pay-per-click or SEO-driven blog articles to attract clients. Marketing data can be extracted from these strategies to analyze the campaign’s success. With paid PPC campaigns, it’s important to set a budget within the ad-creation process to ensure that you don’t unintentionally overspend. Instead, nurture the leads that the campaign brought into “active customer” status and repeat the PPC campaign method to draw more prospects using the generated revenue from the first round.
Set up Measurable KPMs (Key Performance Metrics)
Choose the Key Performance Metrics (KPMs), also referred to as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that matter most to your company. These KPMs could include measuring revenue created from the marketing strategies implemented, visitor count to your website or promotional content, number of generated leads and the cost per lead, successful client referrals, advertising return on investment, and email open rates.
These KPMs must align with your previously developed goals and be measurable. If the efforts are not meeting or exceeding target KPMs it may be time to reevaluate, try other methods, or allocate more (or less) manpower to marketing. Once you’re firm on the goals, the strategies, and which metrics you’d like to measure (and how they fit into the buyer’s journey), things become more clear on how to proceed.
Test and Measure KPMs
No one has it all figured out before they begin… especially with marketing. Testing and experimenting with strategies that align with your preset goals and KPMs can help lead the way. Start creating smart content that works to achieve those goals with existing customer persona knowledge that you know now.
As the KPM data begins to roll in, analyze it. It demonstrates the success (or failure) of each marketing campaign and allows for repeatability, iteration, or complete abandonment of a current marketing endeavor – paving the way for something more targeted. Use the collected KPM metrics statistics as a guide for your next strategy.
Digital marketing promotes creativity and imagination to raise brand awareness, product introduction, and sales – but often is trial and error. When you’re armed with actionable goals, measurable KPMs, and a host of varied strategies that focus on your target audience, digital marketing can be an invaluable asset to your supply and service provider company.