Marketing to fellow businesses is a whole different challenge than marketing to a consumer.
Overall, there are fewer businesses than consumers, the path to purchase is much longer and the products and/or services offered are typically much more profitable per transaction.
Because of this, the internet seems to play a much different role in the marketing strategy when compared to the B2C industry.
Here at RevLocal, we work with both and have had found that we find the greatest success when following these five principles:
1.) People Go Online to Validate Your Credibility
Today, people can research and discover more about a business in five minutes then they would have been able to in five months a decade ago.
When we receive a recommendation for a business or are approached by a sales rep for the business, looking them up online is the natural second step before committing, especially in B2B.
With a proper online presence, a prospective customer can discover where a business is located, when they’re open, what their contact information is, what products and services are offered, what accreditations they have, what type of work they have done and what people thought about it.
How much more would you like your prospective customers to know about you? If your online presence does not clearly communicate these things, you are losing business.
2.) Big Fish and Little Fish Live in the Same Water
Indulge me for a bit with a fishing metaphor. When I was a kid living in Florida, I would go to the dock behind my house and use balled up pieces of white bread to fish.
I would catch all sorts of fish, including big minnows, bluegill and even a sun bass here or there. I would catch five or six fish over two hours and had a blast.
When I grew up and wanted to catch fish to turn into a fried fish sandwich, I went out to the same lake but switched my bread balls to live bait.
However, I did not catch as many fish – one in the same period as opposed to five or six – but that one fish was a nice sized bass rather than a little bluegill.
Marketing is no different. Do not throw away avenues of marketing online just because most of the fish in that pond are B2C customers.
If you are a commercial roofer, for example, people will search “Roofers near ______” no matter the type of roof they need.
You need to be found in a large pond but chosen by the right fish. Do that by using the right bait. But, what's the right bait? I cover that in the next principle.
3.) Branding Your Business Is How to Use the Right Bait
Branding your business online is simple.
While your logo design and core values are important, sometimes branding could consist of making the most of the pictures on your Google My Business listing, such as the types of products you offer.
Branding is about instilling confidence in your customer that you can meet their needs.
This is largely done on your website and Google My Business listing. Make sure people see examples of the type of work you do, including pictures, service listings, success stories and more.
4.) Be Clear and Simple Online
Here is a mistake we see often — B2B businesses try to sell themselves too much online.
They try to put an entire sales pitch into the content on their website’s homepage, complete with accolades and cherry-picked testimonials.
This is normally unnecessary, and even detrimental; jumping through hoops online is a great way to get people not to call you. You want to have these things, but not as the first thing they see.
If someone is on your website’s homepage, the main goal should be to simply state what you do, your main points of differentiation and give a clear direction in how to contact you to do business.
Eighty percent of the time, that is all customers want.
You will have the super conscientious person wanting to dig into everything they can find, and that is what having additional pages are for.
Most people want to talk to a real person, especially when the product or service is customized or complicated.
Therefore, keep it simple, keep it clear and watch people convert from an online “visit” to a real-life customer.
5.) Patience Is a Virtue
One main thing to consider when marketing online for B2B is the length of time it takes from the initial online interaction to a customer transaction.
The more complicated a product or service and the larger the investment, the more likely people will research and plan before they buy. This means exposure paid for in March may need multiple months before it pays off.
I suggest giving any marketing strategy at least a year to accurately assess their impact.
Not only does it take time for the market to respond to a marketing strategy, but the longer you market online, the more data you are able to use to make further strategy decisions.
Do not expect a marketing campaign to be amazing in the first three months. Sometimes it turns out to be amazing, and we have seen that more than a handful of times, but it is never to be expected.
Today more than ever, people are using the internet to find solutions for their business.
Word of mouth and relationships will always be the main force behind a good business, but the internet now plays a role behind it as we have talked about in this blog.
If you are frustrated, or even unsure how to apply the principles we talked about, please click here to request a demo and receive a free assessment of your online presence.