Seven Essential B2B Marketing Strategies For 2021

Finding the right mix of B2B marketing strategies to grow your company is a critical decision. The marketing strategies outlined below will equip you to hit your goals like more leads and ultimately more B2B buyers.

Refresh your mix of B2B marketing strategies to grow your leads.

Pick and choose from this menu of B2B marketing strategies to get all of the buyers you need. Generally, each of these strategies supports other strategies. For example, event marketing can boost your network and brand recognition, boosting your account-based marketing campaign results.

Business to Business Marketing Strategy #1: Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-based marketing (ABM) is an excellent way to support a B2B sales team. For instance, your account executives might have a territory such as “enterprise technology companies in the Pacific Northwest.” On conducting further research, you find out that there are 50 high priority accounts. This narrow focus means it is easier to research and define your buyer personas.

Using account-based marketing, you will produce marketing content and campaigns directed at the specific needs of accounts. This might start with market research to identify common problems for the list of accounts. You might also decide to run virtual events tightly focused on the Pacific Northwest.

The advantage of account-based marketing is two-fold. First, using this strategy guarantees a high level of alignment with the sales team. Second, measuring and achieving success may be higher because you have a tight focus.

The disadvantage of account-based marketing includes tools and effort. There are emerging tools like Influ2 that make account-based marketing easier. However, there are relatively fewer account-based marketing software tools, and they can become quite expensive. Also, ABM tends to require a reasonably high level of effort to tailor messages to the accounts and maintain alignment with the sales team.

Tip: Use social media channels to support your account-based marketing efforts. Your B2B customers are on social media, so you need to be there as well.

Business to Business Marketing Strategy #2: High-Value Long-Form Content

Do you want to be found with organic search and more website visitors? Then you need to publish high-value long term content.

In the B2B world, long-form content has been one of the most enduring B2B marketing strategies. When I wrote about content marketing examples, I highlighted the excellent reports and articles that consulting firms like McKinsey and Deloitte publish. The commitment to high-quality content isn’t limited to consulting firms either.

B2B software companies tend to invest heavily in long-form content. For example, Mailchimp publishes multiple podcast shows. Unbounce, a marketing automation platform, produces high-end reports like the Conversion Benchmark Report. This in-depth report is based on original research and distinguishes Unbounce from other marketing automation software companies.

The advantage of high-value long-form content includes positioning and longevity. By dedicating the effort to produce this content level, your B2B brand will be seen as a thought leader by buyers. Further, many types of long-form content are evergreen which means that it can drive traffic and leads for weeks, months or even years after publication. That long term advantage offsets a key disadvantage of paid media (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads), which stop when you pause the campaign.

The disadvantage of high-value long-form content comes down to talent. Working with a content marketing consultant is one way to solve the content creation process. If you take this B2B strategy in-house, ongoing effort and monitoring are still needed to hit your goals.

Business to Business Marketing Strategy 3: B2B Email Marketing

Some consumer purchases are an impulse buy. You see a product on sale on Amazon and buy it seconds later. B2B buyers might get excited quickly, but the purchase takes longer. For example, if you choose to work with a content marketing consultant who doesn’t know B2B markets, there is a higher risk of marketing failure.

Email marketing plays a vital role in maintaining a relationship with prospects over time. In fat, this digital marketing strategy is a must have if you are serious about effective B2B marketing. For example, a prospect might download a resource from your website and then forget to use it. Companies that follow up with a series of helpful emails will ultimately see a better conversion rate than those who do not connect with their audiences by email.

By staying in touch with regular valuable messages, your B2B buyers will keep you in mind. If the in house marketing team is focused on other projects, consider working with an email marketing agency.

What if your website doesn’t have enough traffic to build your email list? That’s a common problem. Publishing more content that speaks to your customer’s problems and goals will help.

Business to Business Marketing Strategy 4: Building Authority Through Thought Leadership

This strategy may look similar to strategy two above. There is some common ground because both of these B2B marketing strategies involve publishing and promoting content. Thought leadership content achieves a different goal.

Instead of driving traffic from search engines and social media, thought leadership is about creating new ideas and research. Publishing a book is one way to express thought leadership: you can see my marketing book here: The Marketing Blueprint: Scale Your Startup Business To 1000 Customers. In the sales world, books like “The Challenger Sale” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson and “How to Get a Meeting with Anyone” by Stu Heinecke are great examples of sales thought leadership.

Thought leadership sets you apart from your competition because you are bringing new insight to potential customers. It is best used to enhance a premium position in the market so that you can charger higher prices and deliver more value to your customers.

Business to Business Marketing Strategy 5: Marketing Automation To Target Your B2B Messaging

Marketing automation is a marketing strategy that increases the relevance of your marketing using technology. For example, you might use marketing automation to segment your audience into three categories: highly engaged (e.g. a potential B2B buyer who has viewed a webinar), past customer and new leads (i.e. a person who signed up for a free trial or email list).

When it comes to marketing automation, it is easy to get excited by technology. For example, you might notice that your platform integrates with Zapier, and then you imagine coding together dozens of automation. Whoa! Slow down. It is better to build one or two automation per month, measure their effectiveness, optimize them and build from there.

Marketing automation works best if you are at an intermediate or advanced level of B2B marketing. If your company already has thousands of email subscribers, a significant following on social media and the budget to pay for marketing automation tools, then go for it!

Business to Business Marketing Strategy 6: Using Paid Media To Get More Traffic Fast

In the last quarter of 2020, Google earned $46 billion in advertising revenue, a major increased from the $37 billion the search giant earned at the end of 2019. B2B companies can use paid media like Google ads, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn ads to drive more leads.

The most significant advantage of paid media for a B2B company is speed. You can start running this strategy and start to see activity in a matter of hours or days. Note that I said “activity”! Paid media, especially when you are first getting started, takes time to optimize. Depending on your budget, optimizing paid media in B2B can get quite expensive.

According to Wordstream data, the average cost per click for B2B keywords can be relatively high: cloud ($49.52 cost per click), insurance ($54.91 cost per click) and conference call ($42.05 cost per click). Let’s say it takes you 1,000 clicks to optimize your landing page. That means you might end up spending tens of thousands of dollars to achieve your goals.  

Fortunately, there is a potential shortcut to reduce the high costs of paid media: retargeting. With a retargeting tactic, there are a few steps. First, users come to your website, and then you use a retargeting pixel to build a list of those people. Second, you run an ad specifically to people who have previously visited your website. Conversions tend to be much better because these people already have some level of awareness about your company. As a result, it gets much easier to reach your marketing goals because you focus your marketing efforts.

Business To Business Marketing Strategy 7: Event Marketing

As I write this article in February 2021, businesses have largely cancelled all of their traditional events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, millions of vaccines have already been distributed worldwide, so there is some hope that events will return this year or next year.

Done right, events offer a robust ROI because you can talk to people and quickly identify qualified leads. Further, money is less likely to be a problem because these potential buyers have spent the time and money to attend the event. Further, potential buyers often attend events to do deals, attend parties and discover new business opportunities.

The disadvantage to formal business events includes high costs (ten of thousands of dollars), long lead times (i.e. months to arrange the event) and identifying the right target audience. Even if an event offers plenty of great information, networking opportunities and free perks, your target audience may not show up. These disadvantages can be reduced by organizing a smaller-scale event or moving an event to an online format.

How To Attract The Interest Of Potential Customers With Your B2B Marketing Strategy

Knowing is half the battle. The other half? Focused execution on the marketing strategies you select. If you are not hitting the marketing key performance indicators you’ve set for leads and traffic, you might need external help. Find out more about how I help B2B software companies grow with inbound marketing services.

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