How To Market B2B Products & Services
With so many paths to go down to market your services/products, it can be an overwhelming task to prioritize your time and money. Here’s a guide that we live by for our business and our clients.
Depending on who you’re getting advice from and the business model they are in, everyone will tell you that their methods are the best and you’ll get the quickest ROI. You have to consider their services/products and target market first to see if there’s any overlap into what you do.
Let’s review what I think are the main categories, I am intentionally leaving off Advertising which is a whole other article and tactic:
- Social Media
- Email Campaigns
- Phone (cold calling)
- Content & SEO (blogs, articles, website optimization)
With so many choices, where could you possibly start to determine which avenue you should push all of your chips into? Reverse engineer your clients’ demographic to narrow down the options. You have to figure our their mentality, behavior, schedules and what they respect as “good tactics” first. It doesn’t matter if people think Social is better than Print or Blog Posts are more valuable than Cold Calling; the only thing that matters, is what your potential client thinks and no single tactic will work for ALL of your potential clients…you will have to pick at least 2. You have to use multiple forms of marketing in some way and pull in opposite directions, because all of your potential clients will not fit the same profile.
Let’s start with ruling out some based on a long description, with the understanding that each tactic will consume a lot of your time to be the most effective.
- Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – some are great for B2B while others are meant for B2C. LinkedIn is by far the least “noisy” with politics, funny videos, “breaking news drama”, or people sharing their daily schedule so it’s more designed around the B2B crowd. Industry events thrive on Twitter, Facebook is great for personal branding and B2C as well as Instagram.
- Email Campaigns: You’ll need an automation/distribution system to efficiently use this tactic (Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, etc.) which is a relatively cheap monthly expense ($0 – $250). With correct execution you can overcome the stereotype that everything goes into spam (future article on this playbook), and with automation you don’t have to worry as much about long term follow up. It’s a great tactic for mass distribution but the execution is important. It will be key to not come off pushy or too much like a marketing email from Macy’s.
- Print: Very niche and a dying tactic for 75% of businesses. Inexpensive and easy to distribute to mass quantities but probably the most unquantifiable marketing tactic available unless you’re using a specific code that is only available to your print campaigns.
- Phone (cold calling): Dubbed as “old school” but the only tactic that will never go away. 100% necessary but the most unattractive tactic by a lot of businesses. It’s a big time-consumer with a lot of unanswered phones and most people are uncomfortable doing it. Preparedness and organization will be paramount to execute this.
- Content Marketing & SEO: I’ve put these two tactics together because I believe they are of the same mindset, a defensive or passive marketing approach. Creating content will verify that you are a subject matter expert, just like winning industry awards. Distribution of that content is most important and you will use one of the above other tactics to drive traffic to your posts/blog/articles. SEO was the buzz word for so long, and many businesses have started and failed by focusing on this marketing tactic. Companies offering SEO/SEM optimization is a commoditized industry, anyone that is older than 12 (literally a 12 year old) is an “expert” that will drive traffic to your website and blow up your business. For the B2B marketing; If you’re waiting for someone to google search you and for your phone to ring, you’ve already lost. You may have clients now, but eventually your business will fail because focusing too much on these 2 tactics is defensive and passive. You have to go out and take clients, not wait for them to find you.
A lot of companies don’t set a realistic marketing budget because they either aren’t familiar with the costs or haven’t considered that area as time well spent. You need to prioritize based on your specific business services/products, the target market, their demographics and how many resources (financially or only physical time) you can put behind this. For most businesses, you should focus on these specific tactics: LinkedIn – Email Campaigns – Cold Calling
Pull on all 3 tactics and you will get exponential results, some will require a financial commitment while others will be a massive time hog sucking up hours per day, every day. If you aren’t using at least 2 of the 3 above, then your ROI won’t be satisfying and eventually you will give up because it “failed”.
Failure is only a result when you give up, you can’t fail if you never stop trying.