Building an engaging B2B marketing strategy doesn’t happen by accident. Knowing how and when to effectively interact with your audience requires careful research and planning. But the benefits are worth the investment of time and resources this might take. Increased engagement invites your audience into the experience of your brand, helping to establish the kind of strong and lasting trust that you can’t buy.
Building a B2B engagement strategy might seem daunting since there isn’t one master blueprint that every company must follow. It requires time and patience to find what works best for your business and your customers. That said, here are three steps that will provide you with a solid foundation.
Know your audience.
Knowing your audience is necessary in marketing no matter what industry you’re in, but with B2B marketing it becomes crucial. B2B companies often have smaller, more specialized and highly targeted audiences, which makes personalization and customer intimacy even more important. You need to know who your audience is, what their buyer journey looks like and just about every detail of their industry. And that’s just the beginning…
Start by creating a buyer persona. Who is it that purchases your products or services? To reach your B2B audience, you’re going to have to dig a bit deeper than general demographic categories (e.g. gender, age, region). You need a clear picture of the people you call clients or customers. What are their pains, fears, motivations and opportunities? Do they rely on traditional or digital media? What social platforms are they on? How do they move through the sales cycle? What challenges do they face in their jobs every day?
Answer these questions to start building out the foundation of your B2B marketing approach. Focus on developing and communicating solutions that make the buyer’s job (and life) easier, safer and more efficient.
Provide personalized content.
Now that you know who your audience is, you should have a better idea of how to talk to them. You’re aware of your audience’s wants, needs and challenges, so use that information to help them overcome those obstacles they face every day. That’s the secret to creating strong, engaging content. Your goal here should be to make the buyer’s journey as simple and painless as possible at every stage.
B2B audiences typically ask more complicated questions and need more technical information than B2C buyers, but that doesn’t mean the content you create should be any less compelling or clear. After conducting research, you know your audience. You are trying to reach human beings, not robots, so talk to them like people. Give them content that is informative, but remember: informative doesn’t have to mean boring. Educational content can be exciting and engaging if it speaks directly to the needs and pain points of your personas.
So go ahead and push beyond the white paper. There are many different channels and media available, so B2B content should not be limited by traditional tactics. Use your persona research to inform the content you create. For example, maybe you learned that your audience is made up of visual learners. Focus on creating videos and infographics to deliver the information they need. Or maybe your persona works in a fast-paced industry with very little time for lengthy reports or videos. Create short, easy-to-consume content that will keep them informed without taking up too much of their time.
There is a form of content to fit every B2B marketing need, so determine what makes the most sense for your particular audience.
Measure, analyze, adjust, repeat.
Once you know your audience and you’ve delivered compelling (and personalized) content, make sure to measure and analyze your efforts so you can refine the details of your B2B marketing approach.
Modern marketing technologies allow you to see how prospective buyers find and respond to your content, which allows you to experiment with small changes to see what works and what doesn’t. Try tweaking email subject lines to see if your open rates increase, reword calls-to-action, measure the users who make it to the landing page and reduce the number of fields in your form to increase leads.
Each of these adjustments on their own might not seem important, but finding the right approach to engage with your audience is a continuous process. If you put in the time needed to experiment and adjust, your content will continue to improve and your ROI will continue to rise.
These three B2B marketing steps are essential but they are only the beginning of developing an engaging B2B marketing strategy. Following these suggestions will give you a solid head start on the competition, but don’t stop there. Continue to observe and adjust until you find the B2B marketing plan that fits your company’s (and your audience’s) unique needs.