B2B Marketing Strategy: Create a B2B Marketing Plan [2021 Guide]
Travis owns an office supply store and is looking for new ways to reach out to businesses.
Cold calling and newspaper ads aren’t working for him anymore, so he wants to figure out how he can reach more clients. He does some research and finds that many business-to-business (B2B) companies use online marketing to get new clients.
What is B2B marketing? And how do you create a B2B marketing strategy?
Get answers to those questions, plus tips for doing B2B marketing effectively in this guide!
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WebFX specializes in B2B client success!
B2B marketing focuses on helping businesses market to other businesses through digital marketing mediums. B2B marketing encompasses numerous online strategies to help you reach interested companies.
Ready to start building your B2B marketing plan?
Here’s your guide to getting started with B2B marketing:
- Pre-planning: What you need to do before you launch your B2B marketing campaign
- Planning: Choose your B2B marketing strategies
- Executing: How to market B2B effectively
Before you can start picking strategies and launching your campaign, you need to do some pre-planning.
Here are a few steps you’ll want to take before you start picking your B2B marketing strategy:
1. Know your target audience
If you want to be successful with your B2B website marketing, you need to know who you’re targeting first. Your marketing campaigns won’t work if you don’t know your ideal buyers.
As a B2B company, you’re appealing to both the company and its decision-makers. You’re appealing to many people, so it’s essential to understand who you’re targeting before creating your campaign. You’ll want to define characteristics like:
- Company size
- Company type
- Company location
- Position within the company of each decision-maker
- Pain points
When you know this information, you can create a campaign that appeals to these decision-makers.
2. Establish your company goals
Before you launch your B2B marketing plan, you need to know your company goals. What do you want to achieve with your marketing plan?
You can set different types of goals, like:
- Increase leads
- Increase sales
- Increase email sign-ups
- Increase brand awareness
When you set goals, though, you want to ensure they’re SMART goals. SMART goals are:
An example of a SMART goal is “Increase leads by 20% by the end of the fourth quarter.” This goal can easily be measured and has a time limit, so anyone working on this goal knows when to achieve it.
So, if you want to be successful with your B2B marketing plan, set SMART goals to keep your marketing plan focused.
3. Know your budget
Your budget is a crucial part of your B2B marketing plan. You need to know how much you’re spending on your B2B marketing strategy so that you can budget accordingly.
When setting your B2B marketing budget, consider costs like:
- Whether you’re hiring in-house or outsourcing
- What tools you need to manage your campaign
- How much each strategy you want to use costs
- What training you may need for your employees
You’ll want to factor in these costs when you establish your budget so you can ensure you have enough in your budget to run effective strategies.
Now that you have your pre-planning done, it’s time to dive in and start choosing your strategies.
Here are some marketing strategies for B2B that you’ll want to consider:
B2B marketing strategy #1: Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of boosting your website’s ranking in the search results through optimization. When companies look for your business, they’ll turn to search engines to help them. In fact, 71% of B2B clients start product research with search engines.
Without SEO, you won’t rank in relevant search results and will miss out on leads for your business. If your B2B company isn’t using SEO, you’ll lose those leads to your competition that’s investing in SEO.
If you use SEO as one of your marketing strategies for B2B, here’s what you’ll need to do to make the strategy work:
Integrate relevant keywords into your pages
Keywords trigger your site to appear in relevant search results. So, to rank in search results, you need to conduct keyword research and find applicable terms for your site.
You can use a free keyword research tool like KeywordsFX to help you find terms.
When you look at your keyword options, focus on long-tail keywords, which contain three or more words. These keywords have a specific search intent, which means you have a better idea of what people want when people search with them.
Ensure your site loads quickly
Users hate to wait for slow-loading pages. Your audience expects your site to load in two seconds or less. Slow-loading pages affect your SEO because Google doesn’t want to deliver slow pages because they provide a poor user experience.
To ensure your site loads quickly, use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to help you see how fast your site currently loads. This tool will provide you with tips for improving, too. You can also invest in page speed services from a digital marketing company.
Make your site mobile-friendly
Google uses a mobile-first index to rank sites in search results. If you want your site to rank in search, you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. You can check your site’s mobile-friendliness using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you can integrate responsive design to provide a positive experience for mobile users. Responsive design allows your site to adapt to whatever device someone uses, ensuring a positive experience no matter how they access your site.
B2B marketing strategy #2: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
PPC advertising involves creating paid advertisements that appear at the top of the search results. You’ll see them tagged with the word “ad” to indicate paid content.
PPC ads are great for B2B businesses because they put you at the top of search results. That means that when companies are looking for a business like yours, they’ll see you first and be more likely to click on your listing.
If you’re considering PPC as part of your B2B marketing strategy, here’s what you need to know:
Optimize for long-tail keywords
Like SEO, PPC runs on keywords. When someone types a keyword into search, it triggers your ad to appear in the search results. So, to get the best results from your PPC campaign, focus on long-tail keywords.
Since long-tail keywords are specific, they have less competition. Less competition means a lower cost per click (CPC) because fewer companies bid on the keyword and drive up the price. As a result, you can get more clicks for your budget.
Use ad extensions
Ad extensions are a valuable tool for helping you generate interest in your ad. These extensions enable you to add more information to your ad, which can compel more people to click your ad.
From sitelink extensions, which add more links to your site, to callout extensions, which highlight your business’s offerings, you have many options for adding information to your ad.
Create a dedicated landing page
Many B2B companies make the mistake of using an existing page on their site as their landing page for a PPC ad. You want to deliver a tailored experience to keep leads focused, and the best way to do that is with a dedicated landing page.
A dedicated landing page enables you to deliver tailored information to your audience, so they get the information they need and stay focused on your information.
B2B marketing strategy #3: Content marketing
Content marketing is an excellent strategy for establishing yourself as an authority in your field. As a B2B business, your sales cycle is longer than most companies. Decision-makers take their time, weigh all their options, and make sure they’re choosing the right company.
With content marketing, you can help nudge those leads further down the sales cycle towards converting.
If you want to add content marketing as part of your B2B marketing plan, here’s what you’ll want to know:
You need to use a variety of content
When you share information with your audience, you must deliver it in different formats. Not everyone likes to consume content the same way, so creating a variety of content helps you appeal to different decision-makers.
You need to post content consistently
If you want your content marketing to work effectively, you need to publish content consistently. Posting content consistently enables you to drive more traffic to your site because more people can discover your content.
To help you post content consistently, use a content marketing calendar. A content marketing calendar will help you schedule a time to create, edit, and publish your content. This calendar will ensure you post content consistently and don’t have gaps in creating content.
You need to match user search intent
If you want your content to drive interested leads, you need to match the user search intent. The user search intent is what your audience expects to find when they search for a specific topic.
When you create a piece of content, make sure you search the core keyword of that piece first and see what others have written about the topic. It will help guide your content and ensure you’re providing your audience with the right information.
B2B marketing strategy #4: Social media advertising
When you learn how to market for B2B, you learn the fundamental role social media plays in helping you reach and engage your audience. Social media platforms are an excellent place for you to connect with decision-makers and guide them toward your business.
Social media advertising is one of the best B2B website marketing strategies for putting your business in front of decision-makers. You can have your company appear in the decision-makers’ social feeds to catch their attention.
To launch a social media advertising campaign successfully, you must do the following:
Pick the right platform
If you want to succeed with your social media advertising campaign, start by choosing the right platform. You can choose from multiple platforms to reach your audience.
A great platform option for B2B businesses is LinkedIn because it’s a professional social platform. Since you’re appealing to decision-makers, it’s an excellent place for you to connect with them professionally.
Refine your targeting
Social media advertising offers advanced targeting options for your business. Since you’re appealing to different decision-makers, you want to create ads that appeal to those different decision-makers.
You can create multiple ads and refine your targeting to appeal to each type of decision-maker. It’s an excellent way for you to deliver tailored ad content that gets these leads to engage.
Using eye-catching visuals
Social media ads typically use visuals, so you want to ensure you’re using high-quality, eye-catching visuals to get someone’s attention. Whether you opt for a photo, video, or graphic, make sure it stands out in a person’s feed.
Don’t use grainy, blurry, or low-quality visuals, as it’ll deter your audience from engaging with your content. A clear, high resolution visual will garner better results.
B2B marketing strategy #5: Email marketing
Last on our list of marketing strategies for B2B is email marketing. If you’re looking to connect directly with decision-makers, email marketing is the strategy for you. This tactic enables you to send tailored content directly to interested leads’ inboxes.
Email marketing allows you to create personal connections with your audience and deliver tailored information that nudges them closer to conversion.
If you want to add email marketing to your B2B marketing plan, make sure you follow these best practices:
Segment your subscribers
If you want to get the most from email marketing, segment your audience. Segmenting your audience enables you to deliver tailored information to each decision-maker at a company. You can segment your audience based on the decision maker’s position within the company.
For example, you could segment the financial officers into one group to send them content that shows how your services fit within their budget, while you send the purchasing manager information about how your products fit their needs best.
Segmentation helps you tailor your marketing to their area of interest.
Send different types of emails
Not every email should be a pitch for your products or services. If you’re always advertising, companies will quickly lose interest in partnering with you. Instead, focusing on sending them a variety of information to keep these decision-makers engaged.
You can send informational blog posts, videos, or information on how your products or services will help other companies. You may want to consider creating content like email newsletters to help keep your business at the forefront of their minds while also providing helpful information.
Use tools to simplify the emailing process
It takes time to create and send your emails to prospects. Then, once they’re sent, you must monitor them to check performance. If you’re doing this manually, it takes a lot of time out of your day to track your email campaigns.
To stay efficient, you can use a tool like MyEmailFX to manage your email content. This tool enables you to create, send, and monitor your email campaigns all in one place. It simplifies the process so you can save time!
You’ve prepared your B2B marketing plan. You have your marketing strategies selected. Now, it’s time to launch your campaign.
If you want to get the most from your B2B marketing strategy, though, you need to follow these four best practices:
1. Create marketing personas to appeal to every decision-maker
As we’ve stated multiple times, B2B marketing involves appealing to different decision-makers. If you want to appeal to these decision-makers effectively, you need to create marketing personas for each.
Marketing personas are fictional representations of real customers or clients. These personas help you understand who you’re appealing to, so you can create a more effective marketing campaign.
For example, you may create a marketing persona for the financial advisor and then create a separate persona for the purchasing manager. These decision-makers have different wants and needs for their company, so creating individual personas enables you to appeal to those pain points.
For example, if you create a persona for all the financial advisors, you know that a big pain point for them is cost. They want to ensure that their company spends every dollar wisely. So, by creating the marketing persona, you know how to market to them most effectively.
Use marketing personas to help you tailor your marketing to each decision maker’s needs.
2. Always keep your sales cycle in mind when marketing
When you choose your combination of marketing strategies for B2B, you need to keep your sales cycle in mind. Having a marketing plan in place isn’t going to speed up the selling process automatically. While it can help decision-makers decide faster, it won’t change the fact that your sales cycle is longer.
You need to remember this lengthy sales cycle as you create and develop marketing campaigns. You’ll want to consider focusing on strategies that can help you keep these companies coming back to you to learn more.
So, keep your sales cycle in mind as you develop new campaigns to ensure you’re slowly nudging these leads towards converting, rather than expecting them to convert immediately.
3. Monitor your campaign performance and adjust
Once you launch your campaigns, you’ll want to keep track of performance. Monitoring your campaigns is critical to ensure you’re putting your budget towards strategies that drive results and help your business grow.
What you monitor will depend on the strategy. Some common metrics companies monitor include:
- Dwell time
- Form submissions
- Open rate
Each campaign will have unique metrics you can monitor that will indicate the success of your campaign.
If you monitor campaign metrics and see that your campaigns aren’t performing as well as you hoped, you’ll want to revisit those campaigns and consider altering them to drive better results.
You can use a tool like MarketingCloudFX to help you compile and organize all your data in one place, so you can analyze it and make strategic decisions to improve your campaigns.
4. Determine who will work on your campaign
When you’re using multiple marketing strategies for B2B, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’re too busy trying to run and manage your business, you may not have the time to dedicate to running your campaigns.
So, you need to determine who will run your campaigns.
One option is to hire someone in-house to manage your marketing. With an in-house marketer, you’ll always have access to them. However, the downfall with this is that one person can only handle so many marketing campaigns — plus, you’ll pay the costs to hire someone, like salary and health benefits.
The other option is to hire a marketing company. With a marketing company, you get a whole team of experts working on your campaign at once. The downfall with this option, however, is that some marketing companies can be expensive.
You’ll want to consider your options to ensure you get the most from your campaign.
Now that you know how to create a B2B marketing plan, it’s time to launch your campaign! But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can rely on the experts at WebFX to help you with your campaign.
We have a team of over 250 experts that know how to launch B2B marketing campaigns that drive results. In the past five years, we’ve driven over $2.4 billion in sales and over 6.3 million leads for our clients.