Anyone who’s attempted B2B marketing knows that it’s no cakewalk. All too often, companies fall into the trap of sounding just like every other business in their industry. To make things even more challenging, many of these companies unwittingly employ B2C keywords throughout their campaign while failing to actually take advantage of B2C tactics. They’re appealing to a crowd—just not the right one.
Let’s take a close look at some of the challenges that make crafting and executing B2B content marketing and other digital strategies so difficult.
The Complexity of the Products and Services
B2B customers, for the most part, aren’t after products that anyone could find at their local Target or Wal-Mart. No, more often than not, they’re looking for raw materials that will be further processed or refined, advanced software, or technical machinery and services that can streamline their operating processes. And these customers aren’t just purchasing one of these products at a time, either; they’re typically ordering in bulk.
The average consumer doesn’t need to think about details like raw material sourcing, quality control, inventory methods, and so on. But for B2B customers, these details are everything—and that’s exactly what makes marketing such products tricky. After all, when we talk about “superior raw materials” or “impeccable quality control,” a riveting ad campaign probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. The trick is finding your audience, and then speaking directly to them.
Many B2B Companies Forgo Social Media
You read that right—and in the age of social media marketing, no less! It’s a shame, because sites like Instagram and Facebook are fantastic for protecting and developing brands and appealing to a visually-oriented audience. At the end of the day, the minds behind those behemoth companies you sell to are still people—people who like to scroll through social media now and then.
Go on, then, create a company Instagram account, and tell your brand’s story! Be sure to develop a consistent brand voice beforehand, especially if your subject matter could be a little dry in the wrong hands. Telling your story can mean collaborating with an influencer, interviewing employees, recording your staff at work, or writing regular blog posts. What do you think will be most appealing to your customers?
Besides telling your story, social media is a nuanced way to connect with and educate clients without coming across as being overly sales-focused.
Longer Sales Cycles Than B2C Companies
We’re talking one month to over a year, so a quick, transactional sales approach isn’t going to work here. Your average B2B client isn’t likely to buy your product (and a bulk order of it, no less) upon their first visit to your website; you need to build a relationship with them over multiple visits and points of contact.
Because potential B2B clients will usually visit your page or reach out multiple times, you’ll need to make sure your site is up to snuff. Does it have that human touch we mentioned earlier? Those eye-catching visuals? And is your online support similarly outstanding? What about those eventual phone conversations or in-person interactions, are you well-prepared for those?
Every single aspect of your digital presence acts as a spokesperson for your brand at all times, and consistency over these long sales cycles is key. The takeaway? B2B marketing strategies aren’t about instant gratification. You need to be deliberate and reliable in your process, and have the patience to follow through with the plans you develop.
Data Beats Emotion (But You Still Need to Utilize Both)
In a way, it’s easy to stir up the emotions of a B2C client (impulse buying, anyone?). But B2B clients take much longer to weigh their options and decide on the most logical approach.
How can you use analytical, data-driven insights to appeal to your B2B customers? Develop an ad campaign that emphasizes trust, integrity, and quality, for one. In a similar vein, numbers are your best friend. If you can offer a quote on a shipment that’s cost-effective, or if you have promising market research and success-rate statistics at the ready, include those wherever possible. When a client orders massive shipments of your products, failure is a risk most companies can’t afford—on either end of the transaction.
With all this in mind, don’t forgo the emotional aspects of your business entirely! We touched on this when we talked about social media and sales cycles. Human beings are behind even the most logical, data-driven campaigns, so encouraging brand loyalty is essential.
Find a Fresh Approach to B2B Marketing
Snap excels at helping B2B brands overcome a wide range of marketing roadblocks (including challenges you haven’t even thought of yet). From conversion rate optimization to a killer content marketing strategy, we’ll get you set up with the digital tactics and tools you need to boost lead generation and drive sales. Take a look at some of our case studies, and you’ll see what we mean!
Whether you’re developing blog content for a very specific niche, attempting to define your business objectives more clearly, or hoping to stand out as an authority online, we know just how to help. And if you need to amp up your SEO strategy, update your social media presence, or create a straightforward marketing approach for a sophisticated product line, we can help with that, too. Message us today to get started.