Since we talked about direct to consumer brands in our last blog, it only follows that we now talk about business-to-business or b2b marketing this time. If you live, breathe, and market in this category, you should be planning how to keep things fresh and optimized throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond. We\u2019ve got you covered.\u00a0 What is B2B marketing?\u00a0 B2B marketing is a term that refers to \u201cto the marketing of products or services to other businesses and organizations.\u201dCommon categories include transactions between manufacturers and suppliers, manufacturers and retailers, and companies with third-party service providers. Popular B2B examples include brands like Slack, WeWork, and MailChimp.\u00a0 In B2B, the organization is the customer whereas in D2C the individual is purchasing for himself or herself.\u00a0 Why is it important?\u00a0 B2B marketing in the digital age means that \u201ca B2B market has to remain always on the toes if it aspires to be a market leader.\u201d Platforms and digital practices change frequently. So you need to stay on top of best practices and market trends in order to reach your target audience.\u00a0 The benefits of B2B marketing are that it drives sales and conversions, cuts costs, and promotes innovation. Marketers in this field should be thought leaders and produce external content, valuable social media, and live events like conferences. When compared to B2C, B2B has trimmed down product and service costs. Which often \u201clessens the effort yet increases volume of investment.\u201d As for innovation, the sheer volume of competitors in the B2B market makes it essential for these brands to be creative and experiential.\u00a0 Types of B2B marketing The B2B industry can refer to a wide range of products and services. So it's crucial to understand the different types of B2B marketing. The most common channels include: Whitepapers or eBooks: These standalone assets can be lead generation tools and position a producer as a thought leader. You can also keep these downloads \u201cgated." Which means a user needs to enter info like an email to access them. An email that you can then use for client outreach and information in the future.\u00a0 Email: Using eNews or tools like LinkedIn InMail can help with lead generation and overall customer reach.\u00a0 Blogs: For any business, fresh content can help to boost SEO and inbound traffic. When B2B marketing, your blog can include your written copy, infographics, and case studies. Among other things. Blogs differ from white papers as they are often shorter, on the website itself versus a PDF, and used any time in the sales cycle.\u00a0 Social Media: Social sites like LinkedIn are invaluable in B2B marketing. Use a mix of paid and organic to \u201cengage prospects where they\u2019re active.\u201d\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0 How to keep it fresh\u00a0 The Internet has changed the B2B landscape from traditional direct mail, cold calling, and in person meetings to almost everything in a digital format. Now, \u201cB2B buyers are already 57% into the purchase decision when they first reach out to a vendor.\u201d So they likely already have most of the information you were going to give them right off the bat. Buyers are controlling their marketing consumption. And B2B companies are turning to social media and brand advocates.\u00a0 That said, there\u2019s no doubt that keeping your B2B marketing strategy fresh is a must. And B2B brands and their marketers are constantly driven to produce new content that resonates with their targets. In the digital age, you not only need to reach the right people, but provide value to and entice them. When following these best practices, consider if you are focusing on content, email, or social media marketing or a mix of all three. From there, you can employ the following into your overall marketing strategy.\u00a0 Focus on the customer experience\u00a0 It may seem counterintuitive as you are marketing to other businesses, but you still need to focus on the customer experience. In recent surveys, 80% of those involved said consistent customer experience was extremely important to their companies. And 90% felt that B2B brands \u201cneed to be as focused on customer experience as their B2C counterparts.\u201d To do this, you need to fuel your marketing strategy with consumer data and a solid understanding of your market(s) and channels. Which means knowing who your audience is, where they are, why they\u2019re looking for a specific product or service, and how your product can help them achieve their goals.\u00a0 B2B marketing takes place in different sales cycles that include \u201cgroups of decision makers rather than a single purchaser.\u201d The traditional seven-part sales cycle includes prospecting, pre-approach, the approach, the presentation, overcoming objections, the closing, and after-sales follow up. With each step sometimes taking months as a time to achieve. Which is why understanding your customer journey comes in handy so you can reach high value accounts in a personalized way.\u00a0 Use LinkedIn marketing solutions The most effective social platforms for B2B are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. With LinkedIn leading the pack by 78% versus 48% and 42% respectively. So it makes sense to leverage LinkedIn\u2019s marketing solutions as part of your B2B strategy. This includes creating native ads in LinkedIn feeds and using LinkedIn lead generation forms. As well as retargeting by tracking website visitors and crafting sponsored InMail to reach new potential customers.\u00a0 For those not familiar, native ads are paid ads that blend in with the platform on which they run. For example, rather than a banner ad on the side of the page, a native ad would appear in the feed with other content. Sponsored InMail allows you to reach your customers from their direct messages on LinkedIn using the platform\u2019s demographic data.\u00a0 Optimize your digital presence\u00a0 Your digital presence includes everything from your website to your social media channels. Before you can deploy your rock-solid marketing strategy, your website needs to be fully optimized. You can do this with on-page SEO like image alt-text and meta descriptions and off-page SEO like link building and social sharing. On social, you should also consider your linking, tagging, and hashtag research. When researching and implementing these best practices, find influencers in your industry who can validate your brand, be part of relevant conversations, and respond to followers. Keep in mind that these links, tags, hashtags, and engagement should all be working toward promoting and validating your brand.\u00a0 Optimizing your presence also means optimizing the user experience for B2B communications. Businesses are looking for easy-to-navigate sites that cut through the noise and get to the point. They also want total user control and simplified processes. The same goes for any content that you are producing.\u00a0 And, lastly, invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, \u201c which allows you to get your content and brand in front of new audiences via search engines and other advertising platforms.\u201d PPC is important because it gives you the best return on investment (ROI) on your paid ads as you\u2019re paying to appear within relevant categories and audiences.\u00a0 Make enticing content\u00a0 The content you create, whether it\u2019s for blogs, eNews, or other channels, should be informative and interesting to the brands you\u2019re attempting to reach and partner with. That means that your blogs and subsequent eNews content should be showcasing relevant stats (i.e. efficiency, useability), product features, and be industry-relevant. The same with social content.\u00a0 B2B customers are looking for information, so when content anticipates what your audience is looking for, you can reach them where they already are. And, interestingly, 80% of business decision-makers (i.e., your customers), prefer to get their information from an article or blog rather than an ad. Some content pieces we suggest include case studies, testimonials, product demos, buyer guides for end-use customers, and infographics.\u00a0 Be human\u00a0 Lastly, keep everything in your B2B marketing plan human and authentic. Just because you are marketing to businesses does not make the transactions any less human. Just consider that you are marketing to the people who run the businesses and make the decisions. People who are, at the end of the day, \u201cdriven by emotional and cognitive motivations.\u201d\u00a0 Savy\u2019s got you covered\u00a0\u00a0 At Savy, we stay ahead of the latest trends in marketing because we\u2019re wholly invested in your business and the people who run it. Whether you are in B2C or B2B, we have the tools and the team to bring your marketing plan to the next level. Let\u2019s create together.