Google “how to market your business” and you’ll find a wealth of information on how to reach the general public. If your business caters to consumers, these tips can be very helpful indeed. But what if you're with one of the many businesses that exist to support the needs of other companies? The business community is full of organizations that specialize in selling software, office supplies, marketing tools, and a wide variety of other products to other firms. Reaching those customers can be tricky, but these tips can help.
1. Become a thought leader.
As much as business owners want to support fellow business owners, they usually gravitate towards working with the best in a particular field. If a company wants to partner with a local company for IT services, for instance, its leader will likely look for the top local provider. One way to capture the attention of businesses in search of excellence is to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. Conduct workshops, write insightful posts for various websites, and produce content on your own platforms that make it clear you are a well-respected authority in your field. Don't expect results right away. Generate new online material consistently over a long period of time, and you will develop a following, especially if you network.
2. Network like a boss.
In a B2B context, networking is essential. The more your potential clients see your name, the more likely it is that they’ll consider you when they’re looking for the type of services you offer. Set up a LinkedIn profile and create content that others will share on the site. Attend conferences and follow up after the event to create a lasting relationship with the people you meet. Webinars can also be an effective way to attract new customers and you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your office. I know CEOs who spend spare moments answering questions on Quora, or hold podcasts with various industry luminaries on a regular schedule, which helps increase exposure.
3. Tell a story.
The most successful brand marketers tell a story, realizing that customers react well to that approach. Case studies and testimonials allow your website visitors to connect with others who use your product. A business searching for your services may relate to one of those stories and see your brand as providing exactly what it needs. It’s important to show your brand personality in everything you share with customers to make a lasting connection.
4. Use paid ads.
Many B2B businesses mistakenly skip ads, assuming those are designed for B2C-based companies. Actually, paid ads are a potent way to reach your target audience. Today’s paid ads allow you to narrow your focus to a very specific subset of consumers. For B2B ads, this means segmenting your audience to specific businesses. One useful outlet for B2B advertising is LinkedIn, which helps advertisers target audiences by job title and company. This includes the site’s sponsored updates, which give users the ability to boost a post in the same way they would on Facebook or Twitter.
5. Use integrations.
B2B businesses often interact with professionals throughout a specific industry. Those interactions can be bolstered by simply conducting research on people before sending an initial email or continuing an existing conversation. With the right plugins, you can put that information directly in your inbox, which lets you see a person’s social media information without leaving your email client. You’ll be able to capture information that could be relevant to your conversation, as well as potentially locate a connection you might have in common with a person you’re contacting.
B2B marketing has its own unique challenges, but with the right tools in place, you’ll be on your way to mastering it. As a result, you’ll build lasting connections with people in industries that are vital to your own business. Over time, those connections can lead to referrals, which will help your company grow.