As the web has taken an important place in the daily life of customers, B-to-B companies are obliged to use digital marketing to improve their sales and reach their business objectives. Recent years have been marked by a significant decrease in direct commercial actions in favor of online actions. In this context, digital marketing is now a real opportunity for B-to-B companies to increase their sales, build customer loyalty and also stand out from the competition.
Why is it important to integrate digital marketing into your B-to-B business?
E-commerce, through omnichannel sales, increases the brand awareness and reach of a company in a significant way. B-to-B buyers behave like B-to-C buyers and expect the same level of quality in terms of offers, services, reactivity and want to have a smooth buying experience. In general, they use digital platforms to make purchases either via a website, a mobile application or even via social media channels.
In 2019, analysts from CEB stated that 60% of B-to-B purchases were made without needing to contact the supplier, they were based solely on digital content and therefore did not require the buyer to visit the company’s physical point of sale. To respond to this change in buyer behavior, B-to-B companies need to adapt and convince their customers without meeting them – and that’s where digital marketing comes in.
B-to-B e-commerce offers new growth opportunities for companies that integrate it into their marketing strategy to reach customers who are familiar with online shopping and browsing digital catalogs. Visitors use it to get as much information about products as possible, compare prices, and choose delivery options as well as for other features that are offered exclusively via online shopping and that they don’t find when buying in a store.
According to Fevad, the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling, online sales in B-to-B continues to evolve considerably. The B-to-B e-commerce industry alone reached 19% of the total turnover of French companies in 2020, with a record revenue of 150 billion euros. This is why integrating B-to-B e-commerce has become so essential for companies that seek to increase their return on investment and their sales.
How do you implement a B-to-B marketing strategy to improve your online visibility?
To have an efficient B-to-B digital strategy, it is essential to follow these 7 steps:
- Make an overview of your market sector and your company, to identify its strengths and weaknesses. During this analysis, it is important to be realistic and to take into account your current situation as well as what goals you want to achieve before investing in digital tools. To do so, it is important to answer these key questions:
- What digital channels do you currently use?
- Do you have a good SEO?
- Do your social media platforms that generate leads?
- Does your blog generate traffic and is it appreciated by your B-to-B audience?
- What types of content are you publishing and how often?
All these questions will help you to evaluate your current situation and to make the necessary improvements to reach your objectives. It is also a way to know more about your audience and what they are looking for.
Don’t hesitate to call on our experts at Eminence to help you to conduct a full audit of your website and your online presence.
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- Identify your target audience: Like every marketing strategy, defining your target audience is a crucial step that will impact all your actions afterward. Understanding your target audience means identifying their socio-demographic characteristics, determining their expectations, and their decision-making processes. To do this, you must define your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) which will enable you to determine which types of prospects are the most profitable for your company, to focus your efforts on those with the highest potential. The information gathered on your B-to-B social media platforms is a gold mine of information that can help you determine your ICP by drawing up a socio-demographic profile based on the type of company, sector, size of the company, skills, interests, etc.
Besides defining your ICP, it is also important to determine your buyer personas, which are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer.
Personas can be based on customer questionnaires, data collected on social media channels, and via your sales team who are in direct contact with your company’s prospects and current customers. They know their behavior and can therefore help you to build these persona profiles.
- Setting S.M.A.R.T. objectives. This method lists the 5 criteria to take into consideration when setting relevant and achievable B-to-B objectives, to increase your chances of success in your digital marketing strategy:
- S (specific): the objectives must be simple, precise, and understandable.
- M (measurable): you must be able to evaluate if your objective is achieved or not.
- A (attainable): your goal must be achievable and ambitious enough to be challenging and motivating. However, they must remain realistic because if their feasibility is not certain, it will not motivate your teams.
- R (relevant): The goal you pick should be pertinent to your chosen field, or should benefit you directly.
- T (time-bound): your goal must have a set deadline. This allows you to stay focused on the task at hand and to better organize yourself.
It is really important to be as precise as possible when setting goals. For example, choose to set a specific goal like this: “we aim to reach more than 30,000 visitors on our website in 6 months” rather than a more general objective, like this: “we aim to increase the number of visitors on our website”.
Once you have defined your objectives, you can move on to choosing the channels that will help you reach your goals.
- Identify the digital channels best suited to your business. To determine how you will communicate online, you must keep in mind the profile of your ideal buyer persona. Take into consideration their needs, profile, and expectations when developing your media plan. Several communication methods exist to improve your B-to-B presence, including:
- Paid Media: Google Ads, Facebook Ads, website banners, etc.
- Owned Media: Via your website, your blog, and social media platforms
- Earned Media: Via other companies who mention your brand and your content on their digital platforms
- Define a content strategy. When B-to-B buyers are considering a purchase, they spend a lot of time doing independent research online as opposed to browsing in-store. B-to-B marketers need to develop a carefully thought-out content strategy to enhance the buyer’s journey and convince them to make a purchase. A good way to implement this is to offer interesting and relevant content via blog posts, case studies, social media posts, etc.
- Measure the performance and profitability of your digital marketing strategy. To optimize your campaigns and make them more effective, it is necessary to regularly analyze your results. This data not only allows you to see if your objectives have been reached or are in the process of being attained. It also offers you the opportunity to identify possibilities for improvements and optimizations on current campaigns.
- Define the budgets for each action you take. Whether it’s about enhancing your website content, SEO, social media platforms, or because you wish to do a website redesign, hiring a digital marketing agency can be very helpful.
B-to-B customer acquisition methods
- Social media platforms, namely LinkedIn:
With more than 22 million registered users and more than 10 million monthly active members in 2021, LinkedIn is the leading professional social media platform in the world. Among the many interesting features, LinkedIn offers job search, publication of job offers, training recommendations adapted to each profile, and targeted advertising solutions that can help generate business opportunities in the B-to-B sector.
Depending on the type of message you wish to convey as well as your needs and your objectives, you can select a different type of ad format to contact your audience and attract relevant prospects. The following ad formats are available on LinkedIn:
- Sponsored Content: This feature allows you to amplify your reach and therefore the delivery of your content to your target audience.
- Message Ads: These allow you to send personalized and private messages to the right people, create a close relationship, and build your professional network.
- Text Ads: These are presented in the form of an image with a short text in a dedicated block to create curiosity and incite users to click on the ad to know more. This type of ad is ideal to use if you have a specific target audience in mind, as you can use it to attract more visitors from a specific sector for example.
- Dynamic Ads: These ads are focused on personalization. When you launch your dynamic ad campaign, the platform will automatically integrate the available data on the profile of the customers you have targeted. This will personalize your ad as much as possible to your targeted audiences.
- The Lead Gen feature: When a user clicks on your ad, their profile data automatically feeds into a form that they can submit in one click. They will save time and energy and you will get more accurate and complete information about your prospects.
- Use SEO tactics to get on the first page of Google
By using SEO, you can increase your website traffic and generate leads with high conversion potential. How can you do this? By positioning pages optimized for conversion on strategic queries. This will help you to increase your chances of generating quality B-to-B leads and to stand out from your competitors.
To do this, you need to identify the keywords on which you want to position yourself. These keywords must be chosen carefully to ensure that they correspond to the search queries your potential customers are likely to perform. Once you have identified these keywords, you will need to integrate them intelligently into your website, blog posts, case studies, and other digital content. It should be noted that content marketing and SEO are closely related. Other factors must also be taken into account to improve your SEO performance such as the technical performance of the website, mobile compatibility as well as website ergonomics, and content quality.
Backlinks also play a key role in the SEO of your B-to-B business. These are external links present on other websites that redirect to your website. Indeed, the more qualitative your content is, the more likely other sites are to quote you and thus offer you backlinks.
Search engine optimization is a rather complex field. However, if it is well mastered, it can become a powerful strategy to acquire new customers in the long term. Do not hesitate to contact our SEO experts at Eminence if you need support for your SEO strategy. Click here to get in touch with us today: https://eminence.ch/contact-agence-marketing-geneve
- Use SEA for instant lead generation
Unlike SEO, SEA, also known as Search Engine Advertising, allows you to precisely target your audience according to the keywords they are looking for to ensure that you generate qualified leads.
SEA is based on the principle of Cost Per Click (CPC), which means that you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. This allows you to control your budget. However, getting one click is not enough to automatically acquire a customer in the B-to-B sector. For your SEA campaign to be successful, the landing page to which your ad is linked must be particularly engaging, to give you the highest chance to convert a maximum number of visitors.
The advantages of SEA:
- Immediate results:
Thanks to SEA, your website is directly pushed via search engines. The results are immediate, even if you have not yet worked on the optimization of the content.
Paid search is ideal to advertise or launch a new website and quickly generate qualified traffic. This method is the most advantageous because of its simplicity and rapidity. Indeed, you will not have to wait several months to see the first results as is the case with SEO, which can take up to 6 months before you start to see your website ranking improve. However, an in-depth study is necessary before launching a SEA campaign. This will allow you to define the most relevant keywords, ad texts, distribution, and bidding strategies to use.
- An excellent match for SEO:
While SEO is a time-consuming process, paid search ads are ideal for launching a campaign quickly. It can be included periodically in your strategy to support your SEO strategy.
- Stay in control of your cost at all times:
Your paid search campaigns can be modified and controlled in real-time. For best results, you can analyze your results on a daily or weekly basis and improve your ad copy, keyword, bidding, and delivery strategies when necessary.
- Use Webinars to create educational and engaging content
Webinars are ideal for generating leads, they allow you to attract new customers by animating your community. Indeed, it is always interesting to engage with your audience via events and qualitative content. It’s a great way to move your B-to-B prospects through your conversion funnel.
Opting for the webinar as educational content can be an effective way to improve your brand image. For example, by offering tips and tricks on how to use your products or services, you can build audience loyalty and highlight your positioning as an expert in your industry.
A good webinar is engaging and interactive. It encourages people to ask questions about your products and services. This in turn can help you understand how your services are perceived, and draw on people’s ideas and thoughts to improve them. This kind of interaction helps build a relationship based on trust and exchange between the brand and its audience.
How to retain your B-to-B customers?
- Optimize your CRM solution
The interest of a CRM is to centralize the information related to your customers; which is extremely important, especially in the B-to-B industry. Your CRM must be constantly updated and well organized to be efficient in your approach to customer satisfaction. Indeed, a CRM facilitates and streamlines what actions need to be taken by a company to ma