The landscape of B2B marketing has fundamentally changed with the advent of digital. The old buying process used to be that potential clients would create a budget, state their requirements, and send proposal requests to a wide variety of vendors. The vendors would then submit their bids in hopes of wooing a client.
That process has been flipped on its head.
These days the sales funnel starts with web visitors. In fact, 94% of B2B buyers are now initiating the buying process by first conducting online research on businesses and brands. They’re gleaning information through online searches, social media platforms, review sites and more.
Now, with information available at everyone’s fingertips, old-school outbound marketing is all but dead. The big obstacles these days are time and attention—your targets are inundated with so much info via their searches that standing out amid all the noise is harder and harder to do. So for those tech-company marketers out there, you need to offer relevant content to your target audience that engages them and helps them with their purchase decision.
Here are some fundamental inbound strategies you need to be investing in to achieve just that.
Search engine optimization done right gets to the heart of value. Anytime a person looks up anything online, they aren’t merely performing a search—they have a problem that needs a solution. Oftentimes this is mere information, but for the potential client, they have a problem and the solution might just be retaining the services of your B2B operation.
Now, what exactly your audience is searching for will determine the keywords you implement in your SEO strategy. Choosing the right keywords will be more complex than in B2C marketing because your potential audience is in all likelihood technically proficient. Plus, you need to always be worrying about the competition and the keywords they’re using (investing in a solid spy tool will help you with this).
To begin, target interested leads in the tech sector. The goal may be for your landing page to rank high in the SERPs, but what’s even more crucial is selecting keywords your audience is actively using in searches. Ideally look for keywords that:
- Are in your wheelhouse of technology services
- Have a high search volume
- Don’t have stiff competition
To do this invest in a good keyword research tool. Once you have the keywords in place, create landing pages for each of them. The keyword should feature in the page title as well as the meta description, and there should be a clear CTA on the page as well.
Whitepapers, blogs, ebooks, infographics—this type of content marketing is the bread and butter of the tech world. It appeals to B2B buyers because it speaks their language. For tech marketers, an authoritative ebook or whitepaper is going to help position your brand at the forefront of its field and communicate the value proposition of your specific operation. And an infographic will help illustrate the return on investment your targets can expect if they go with your company.
So get creative with your content marketing and be diverse with it as well. Most importantly, make sure you’re producing content on a regular basis so your audience doesn’t get impatient and go looking for their information elsewhere.
Social media marketing
There are few more valuable strategies that appeal to potential buyers more than social media. These platforms aren’t just for B2C companies, either—there are a number of tech brands out there who are crushing it on social media. But let’s be honest, the biggest issue B2B companies often face when attempting social media is one of engagement. Put more plainly, they are often boring.
You can’t afford to be boring on social media, regardless of how esoteric or niche your product or service is. Rules for not being boring on social media include:
- Putting a face to the company
- Hiring a social media strategist with a proven track record
- Going beyond status updates
- Focusing on brand awareness first and leads second
As to the first point, give your operation a human face by including a real person on your social media campaigns. This could be the founder/CEO, or simply a designated brand-front person who updates the campaigns, writes the blogs, and posts updates. Of course, going to the third point, solely posting updates is not a viable social media strategy. Your goal should be to create a movement of followers based on a singular branded message. Do this correctly, and that will play to the fourth point: get your branded message out there first, and the leads will follow.
We all know the value of email in today’s digital age. You might have even heard the famous statistic that every dollar of email marketing done right yields a $32 ROI. Therefore, you simply can’t afford not to have email as a cornerstone of your marketing strategy.
To do email marketing right means to ultimately adhere to the central thesis of this article: solve your customer’s problem. Be of value to them. To this end, don’t send emails to anyone who hasn’t asked for them. Rather, include an opt-in form on a landing page and/or incentivize email-list signups with free content like the aforementioned whitepapers and ebooks.
Also, personalization is key in email marketing now. Make sure when you send those emails you are speaking to each individual target. There are simple email personalization strategies out there that will help you to achieve this.
Above all else, tech marketers need to understand their B2B buyer. Understanding them down to a macro level (i.e. utilizing demographic data, psychographic profiles, etc.) will allow you create profiles that tell you, to a near certainty, their attitude, interests, purchase intent and pain points. It will also tell you which channels to use to reach them, how to tailor the messaging to appeal to them, and how to meet their unique expectations with a well-crafted marketing strategy.