The type of digital marketing activity your business undertakes is dependent on the customers you are want to sell your products and services to. If those target customers are other companies rather than individuals then you need a B2B (business-to-business) digital marketing strategy. As a B2B company your marketing goals are to reach the right companies, with the right messaging, at the right time to instill confidence in your offering, generate enquiries, drive sales, and more! However, there are many B2B digital marketing tactics at your disposal and it can be confusing to know where to start…
In this article, I explain everything a small business owner needs to know about B2B digital marketing. Continue reading to learn about the key benefits of B2B digital marketing, the main types of B2B clients, and the effective B2B digital marketing tactics that will help boost your brand’s performance online.
What is B2B Digital Marketing?
“B2B digital marketing refers to any online marketing strategy or tactic intended to promote your business to another business.”
If want to sell your products or services to other businesses then you will need a B2B digital marketing strategy. Just like individuals (consumers), your B2B clients aka their employees are frequently online and you can target these company decision makers with carefully planned B2B digital marketing messages and tactics. For example, your business website should be easily discoverable at the top of organic listings on search engines such as Google whenever a prospective B2B client is searching for your products and services.
With a strong online presence that specifically caters to and attracts your target B2B clients you can fuel commercial growth and stand out from your competition!
The difference between B2B and B2C marketing
In the B2C (business-to-consumer) space individuals make purchases for themselves, whereas in the B2B space it’s individuals or groups of who are making purchases for their company or employer. This often means that:
– There may be multiple stakeholders (decision makers) to convince with your marketing and sales efforts.
– The decision making process is longer as it involves more stakeholders and/or complex details.
– Purchase decisions are heavily influenced by motivators such as logic and finance, in contrast B2C purchases can often be impulsive and based on a want rather than a need.
Understanding B2B clients
The variety and volume of the types of B2B businesses is huge! However, when a business purchasers a product or service from another business they usually need it to:
– Complete their own products and services (E.g. a florist will purchase flowers from a wholesaler to create bouquets)
– Improve or maintain their business operations (E.g. a florist may use Canva to create their social media graphics and videos)
The four types of B2B clients
Understanding the motivations of your target B2B clients and the problem that you can fix for them will underpin your B2B digital marketing strategy. Below are the four main types of B2B clients:
1. Producers: A producer requires other products or services to complete their own offerings and are often manufacturers or service providers. Examples include restaurants, clothing designers, dentists, aestheticians, car manufacturers, florists etc. Each of these businesses have to buy certain products or services to produce the products or services they offer. Even a law firm requires laptops and mobile phones for its employees to communicate with and advise its clients.
2. Resellers: A reseller purchases another companies products or services to resell without making any changes to them. The main examples are retailers, wholesalers, and brokers, and they typically have a lot of buying power within their industry. For example, a supermarket may buy milk from a farmer at a low rate due to the volume they purchase regularly.
3. Institution: An institution is typically a non-profit organization that purchases products or services in large quantities. They typically seek the best price as they need to keep costs to a minimum and greatly value a transparent supply chain.
4. Government: Local and national governments also purchase products and services from other businesses. For example, they may appoint contractors to complete a road resurfacing or office cleaning project. Service needs are often agreed with long-term contracts and products are purchased on a one-time or ongoing basis. Multiple procurement policies are in place at a department level so any marketing activity needs to be carefully planned with this in mind.
Which category do your target B2B clients fall into? Do have more than one “type” of B2B client? For higher engagement with your messaging ensure that you always tailor it to each target audience.
6 key benefits of B2B digital marketing
B2B digital marketing is an effective and proven way to improves a brand’s visibility online and support commercial growth, the greatest benefits include:
1. Measurable results: there are multiple software and tools available to monitor every piece of digital activity so that you always know how well your campaigns are performing, or not.
2. Strong ROI: especially versus other traditional marketing tactics. Digital marketing is easily measured so it’s easier to ensure that you don’t waste budget and resources on tactics that don’t work for your business, instead you can invest more in those areas that do!
3. Increased website traffic: quality website traffic is a key component of most effective B2B digital marketing strategies as it delivers quality conversions such as sales or leads.
4. Increased brand awareness and visibility: a good B2B digital marketing strategy will get your brand and its key messages on the screens of your target B2B clients via multiple channels and tactics.
5. Increased quality enquiries or sales: messaging that is tailored to each of your B2B target clients is more likely to drive quality enquiries or sales – this can also save time and cost within your business as less resource is needed to process them.
6. Highly targeted advertising. Traditional marketing often targets a broad audiences i.e. readers of or viewers of. In contrast, digital marketing offers very precise targeting opportunities to advertisers. Businesses can target users via their demographics, job title, employer and online activity (i.e. interests, previous website visits).
The most important B2B digital marketing channels
The following digital marketing channels are often used to target new B2B clients and/or maximise value from or retain existing clients:
– Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on search engines such as Google
– Email marketing
– Social media marketing, both organic and paid advertising.
– Content marketing
– Search engine optimisation (SEO) of a brand’s website
As a small business it is not necessary to publish campaigns across all of the above channels, particularly in your early months when budgets and cashflow is tight. Throughout your business lifecycle it is important to focus on those channels where your target B2B clients are most likely to be and which are most likely to deliver your digital marketing goals.
5 B2B digital marketing tactics for small businesses
As a small business you may have a limited understanding of digital marketing despite hearing numerous buzzwords or reading generic advice about what every business should be doing yo promote themselves online. Below are 5 digital marketing tactics that our clients at Hi Digital often see the most reward from:
1. Google Business profile. If you want to attract B2B clients who are local to your business then a Google Business profile is essential and good news – they are free to create! Create yours now and don’t forget to gain reviews from your existing clients to prove how good you are at what you do.
2. Stylish and “fit-for-purpose” website. Every small business should have a website that creates a positive first impression with their prospective B2B clients. A good website will also educate users, capture organic SEO traffic, convert traffic into leads and/or sales and more. If you’re embarrassed by your website, it’s time to upgrade to a new one!
3. On-site SEO. The only way to get your brand discoverable in the organic listings on search engines is to accurately describe every page of your website. Ensure that you add keyword focused meta data to every webpage.
4. Google Adwords. Your target B2B clients are actively searching for your produces and services on Google, so why not advertise your brand to them and invite them to your website to learn more? PPC ads are a quick way to grow quality traffic to your website and generate leads or sales.
5. Linked In content. Publishing compelling content on a regular schedule from both your company and personal profile will increase your visibility amongst your network and help you stand out from your competition.
Improve your B2B digital marketing strategy
For a small business, digital marketing can be a fantastic and cost-effective way to help reach your commercial and marketing goals. Whether you want to generate more quality leads or revamp your brand image, we’d love to support your brand’s growth! Hi Digital are a boutique digital marketing agency dedicated to growing small businesses with effective digital marketing strategies and custom websites – no big corporate brands allowed! Please get in touch with us to book a free consultation with our expert team.