The most effective channels for B2B marketing
For a B2B company, optimizing your marketing efforts can be difficult. Many of the more common channels don’t offer any guarantee of results, and some even require specialized knowledge to get started. In this article we’ll review many of the most commonly recommended channels for B2B companies and list their pros and cons with helpful real-world examples where we’ve seen them used effectively or ineffectively so you can decide which methods will work best for your business.
The channels for B2B marketing is listed below:
1. Direct marketing
Direct Marketing is any form of marketing that involves contacting prospects directly with information about your products or services. Email lists, email campaigns, direct mail, phone calls, etc. are all forms of direct marketing.
Direct Marketing can be an excellent way to get B2B leads for some businesses depending on which industry they operate within and their target market demographics.
For example, if you’re a local business in New York City targeting white-collar professionals who are likely on the go and spend most of their time commuting by subway or taxi it may make sense to invest in direct marketing efforts like cold calling or direct mail pieces sent via post. If you’re a construction company looking to sell excavators then having a list of every single person who owns land where there’s a chance to build a house might be cost effective. If you’re only looking for prospects in California or Florida, however, then those lists won’t do much good.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your web presence to show up in search engine rankings for particular keywords that are relevant to your business.
SEO can be an excellent way to get B2B leads because it tends to convert well over time if you host a truly helpful website with lots of great relevant content. You need to build links through directories, social media profiles, and relationships with influencers who share your site’s content on their own platforms for SEO efforts to be worthwhile though.
3. Social Media
Social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. are great places for B2Bs to spread brand awareness without having much cost associated outside of creating free accounts and maintaining them over time. Engagement rates are typically much lower on social media than they are with search engine traffic, but it’s also usually much easier to acquire brand awareness through social channels.
4. Online Advertising
Online advertising can be very effective at generating B2B leads depending on the audience you’re trying to reach and which ad networks your business is best suited for. Google Adwords tends to be cheap but has plenty of competition for highly competitive keywords, how to write a book about your life while banner ads tend to be expensive unless your industry doesn’t have much competition (like the excavator construction company example above).
5. Offline Channels
As you’d probably expect offline channels like TV commercials, radio spots, billboards, etc. don’t directly result in many B2B sales opportunities online or off unless they somehow tie into your SEO efforts. The best way to use offline advertising is to create a lead magnet designed specifically for offline responders and then collect their contact information in exchange.
6. Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing entails earning the attention of your desired audience by making yourself findable through resources like insightful blogs, webinars, infographics, podcasts, etc that your target market will actually enjoy consuming and sharing with others in turn. This type of content helps you build trust and credibility over time which can ultimately result in more qualified leads when paired with a good call-to-action at the end of each asset you curate.
While only 30% of B2B marketers consider themselves effective at In Marketing according to HubSpot’s 2014 State of Inbound Marketing Report, it’s the top performer in terms of ROI for companies that are able to pull it off.
The key takeaway here is that good B2B marketing takes time and patience to see results. While cold calling or direct mail may appear to be an efficient way to generate leads at first, they don’t typically convert well over time unless your company profile really fits with your target market demographics. SEO should always be a part of any modern marketing strategy because it helps you build relationships with prospects that you’ll ultimately turn into paying customers down the road if done right, but remember not to bite off more than you can chew by committing resources you simply don’t have yet.
Social media should be used primarily as a branding tool at first, but if you have a lot of budget to work with it can pay off in the long run to do some advertising on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Offline marketing channels may seem appealing because they’re very visible, but depending on your niche there’s a good chance that simply being found online will produce better results over time (and for less money). Finally, inbound marketing is worth exploring because it has an excellent ROI when it works well paired with SEO efforts.