There are many directions you could take with you B2B sales and marketing efforts. It can be difficult to choose the right strategy to invest your time, energy and money into.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top 5 sales and marketing strategies for your B2B business. These strategies have proven to be some of the most impactful ways to boost B2B sales in the long term. However, all of them require quite significant upfront time investment. But the rewards are potentially massive.
Email Marketing and Personalization
Email marketing is an effective marketing channel because email is so widely used – Over 4 billion people have emails and that number is expected to grow. And more importantly, business executives and managers use emails daily. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have an email address?
When done right, email marketing campaigns can be very effective for customer acquisition. Email marketing works best when it’s personalized and timely. With lead nurturing email campaigns, you can personalize and automate your emails at the same time.
Transactional emails are triggered by events and user actions. For example, after you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email. Smart ecommerce marketers have set up cart abandonment emails. For example, when a user adds an item to cart, but doesn’t proceed to checkout in 24 hours, they’ll get an automated email. That email contains personal information about the user and the cart and encourages them to finalize the purchase.
Another smart way to set up personalized automated emails by using lead nurturing. For example, when a user reads 3 blog posts on your website on a certain topic, they’ll get an automated email suggesting a product regarding the same topic.
Marketing and transactional email software allows you to track the open rates and click-through-rates of all your email campaigns. This gives you important insight as to how well are your recipients perceiving your emails and how attractive they appear.
Subscribers are the lifeblood of your email marketing campaigns. Content upgrades are a great way to get people on your email list. For example, you could offer a free handbook PDF or a report that becomes available after a visitor subscribes with their email.
Webinar Marketing and Audience Engagement
When email is about numbers and large amounts of subscribers, then webinar marketing is more about creating a personal connection during an online live event. Even a 100-attendee webinar can generate over $5,000 in sales, if done right.
Hosting webinars are especially effective for high-ticket sales. For example, courses, online products and services that cost $1,000+ are ideal candidates for webinar marketing.
The reason for this is simple – when your prospects have to pay such a high price, they want a personal live demo of the product. They want to ask specific questions and get answers live. Interacting with the attendees is one of the most important tactics of hosting webinars. That’s why it’s important to choose the best webinar software for hosting your webinars. For example, WebinarJam is a great choice for small and medium sized businesses.
Another important aspect of webinar marketing is the educational component. Webinar (online seminar) is expected to offer some educational value to the attendees. The attendees want to learn a skill or get expert insights in a certain industry.
Typically, the webinar host is an expert in some field and qualified to talk about that topic. For example, a data science architect is seen as an authority in the AI and machine learning field and is qualified to talk about machine learning trends for the next year. As the webinar host establishes authority, the attendees are starting to respect and trust them. The host can leverage this trust by offering a product that helps attendees to manage their online marketing campaigns better.
Content Marketing and SEO
Content marketing is a marketing strategy of creating written or video content around a certain keyword, which would bring organic traffic to your website through search queries via Google and other search engines.
Content marketing has its pros and cons. The most important pro for content marketing is capturing visitors with strong intent. When you’ve created a blog post targeting a certain keyword, you’re acquiring visitors that are specifically looking for that answer at that moment. In marketing terms, they have a high intent.
Another attractive merit for content marketing is that once a piece of content is created and published, it will continue to bring your traffic without any additional costs.
The downside of content marketing is a huge upfront time investment and delayed rewards. Meaning, it can take 3-4 months before you start seeing any organic traffic from a produced piece of content. Even if you’ve done everything right. Ranking on Google just takes time.
Even after publishing a blog post, you still need other websites to link to your blog post to rise in Google search results. The field of optimizing content around a specific keyword and getting other websites to link to your article is called Search Engine Optimization.
It takes a lot of upfront time investment to consistently produce high quality content and get the content to rank in search engine results. But once you manage to get on the 1st page of Google with a high-volume keyword, you can potentially reap the rewards for years to come, without any additional costs.
Social Media Marketing and Social Groups
The first step in your Social Media marketing strategy is choosing the right social media channel. All of them have slightly different usage habits and demographics.
- YouTube and Facebook are ideal channels for video ads. You can also go quite narrow in targeting.
- Instagram is the hanging place for millennials and Generation Z. Great place for image of video ads for clothing, jewelry and other emotion-based products.
- Pinterest is vastly populated by female users. The content is mostly image-based and revolves around social shopping.
- LinkedIn is inhabited by professionals and educated business people. Industry-specific and in-depth content works best there. There’s also quite specific ad targeting and probably the best place for when you’re targeting business professionals.
In fact, 93% of B2B marketers consider LinkedIn to be the most effective channel for lead generation. Use action words, build curiosity and give actionable steps. For example, give 3-4 thought-provoking or even provocative sentences and link to the full article on your website’s blog.
LinkedIn Groups are huge. Think about it – they’re a collection of professionals from a specific industry, who are exactly your target audience. Create conversations, ask for opinions and create relationships on these groups. And the best part – it’s free.
To be successful on any social media platform, it’s important to post frequently. Social Media marketers create the posts beforehand and schedule them using social media marketing tools like Buffer.
If you’re not ready to go big with Social Media just yet, then at least use Facebook retargeting. For example, when a visitor has viewed the product page of a red sweater, you can create an ad with that same red sweater and show it specifically to them on Facebook. This kind of targeted advertising converts extremely well.
Affiliate Sales Programs and Partnerships
Creating an affiliate sales program can massively boost your B2B product sales and achieve your growth goals. Affiliate programs typically allow for anyone to sign up, receive a unique promo link/code and promote your products. Affiliate partners create written and video reviews and promote your products. In exchange, they’d receive a commission whenever someone signs up using their promo link/code.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you’ll only pay for acquired customers and the cost is fixed. That means you can plan your marketing budget better and the risk is minimized. Affiliate partners usually create content that continues to bring customers for a long time.
However, there are upfront costs for creating an affiliate program for your company. You have to pick a platform to have a members’ area, curate affiliate signups and create payout methods. Luckily, there are affiliate program platforms that handle all that for you. These costs are miniscule in comparison to keeping a team of marketers on a payroll.
Affiliate partners create reviews and the best ones put emphasis on honesty. That means your product better be good, otherwise it might actually backfire on you.
Summary and Key Takeaways
There are many B2B marketing strategies you could invest your time and energy into. Email marketing could bring in a lot of sales if you’ve built a large list of subscribers. So, you should at least start building an email list.
Webinar marketing works best with expensive online products and courses because of the live element and personal touch. Interact with your audience, allow them to ask questions and answer them live. This alleviates doubts and makes them more likely to make the purchase.
Content marketing strategy is often a long-term investment, so don’t expect immediate sales boosts. On the other hand, running ads on social media will most likely bring faster results. But then again, social media ads cost a lot and the CPA is often very high, but you can get results fast.
Creating an affiliate program and incentivizing affiliate partners to promote your products is also an important strategic decision. This works best if you’re confident that you have an awesome product, but people just can’t find it. Affiliate partners create reviews that gets your product or service more visibility.
I encourage you to experiment with all of these B2B marketing strategies and see which one has the best ROI for you.