When businesses talk business to other businesses, that’s some serious business right there. Business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy is one tier up from business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, which is likely what you see every time you switch on the TV. (‘Netflix generation’ translation: this is what you see when you watch YouTube without the Premium subscription.) In B2C marketing, your target audience will likely respond to some fairly standard strategies. However, when you’re marketing business-to-business, you’re dealing with professionals on an equal playing field. They know the tricks of the trade, so you need to play your cards more with subtlety.
With the right volume of visitors, a business blog can be the best addition to your B2B marketing toolbox. Think of it as your online ‘brag book’ for all your business achievements. Are there any advertising campaigns or new products/services you’re particularly proud of? Post about it in the blog and watch your leads grow. By posting quality content on the regular, you build interest and transparency, and customers dig that. Here’s how you can gain other businesses’ trust with a high-quality business blog.
What is B2B marketing strategy and how do blogs fit in with it?
B2B marketing strategy is a tough concept to capture in a nutshell, because it will look different from business to business (no pun intended!). It is a series of actions driven by business decisions, which, in turn, are made in accordance with business goals and digital analytics. B2B marketing strategy can take different forms, including:
- Brand messaging, aka creating content consistent with your brand’s tone and priorities that also aligns with your customers’ needs
- Competitive analysis, which is the business equivalent of keeping your friends closer and your enemies closer. By analysing your competitors’ strategies, you can learn what works and emulate where appropriate. More importantly, think about what your point of difference could be and what you could do to set yourself apart from the competition.
- Measurement and analysis, which is a critical step for any marketing strategy. By taking note of your analytics, you will gain insight into your marketing performance; hence, you can make the changes necessary to improve your outcomes. For optimal improvement, you should make these reviews on the regular.
So, how does this relate back to blogging? For one thing, the mere act of having a B2B marketing blog will bring 55 per cent more visitors. And if that blog is particularly active—say, spitting out 15 posts per month—you’ll attract an average of 1,200 new leads in that month alone. It gets better. By blogging, you’ll be increasing your inbound links by a whopping 97 per cent. This, in turn, improves your search engine optimisation (SEO), which gives you huge online rankings. Blogging is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to draw attention. With stats like these, why wouldn’t you give it a go?
How can I work my blog to my advantage?
Now you’ve actually started a blog, it’s up to you to create content that you think will generate leads and reader interest. Consider some of the following tactics:
- Displaying thought leadership: Flaunt your expertise to establish yourself as a trusted resource. To back this up, show off your involvement with your industry at large. Thanks to the interactive nature of blogs, you can also use the space to answer questions and connect with others.
- Writing with the audience in mind: Use Google Analytics to your advantage here. Take note of readers’ key interests and use this to help decide future blog topics. Take note of other things, too, like time spent on the page, click-throughs, and what readers shared to social media. These are all important pieces of the puzzle.
- Getting people onside: Sometimes, you need to work hard to pull a prospective customer off the fence and onto your side, where they become an actual customer, handing over their cash. Blogs are an outlet for this opportunity. Answer people’s burning questions and showcase your expertise to convince your customer to finally cough up.
- Keeping ahead of the competition: Having a blog will force you to research. What will you research? Your industry, of course. This helps you keep your eyes peeled for upcoming industry trends and news. This, in turn, will inform your marketing strategy and give you an edge over your competitors.
How else can a blog improve my B2B marketing strategy?
You mean apart from all of the above? Well, blogs have the advantage of being cost-effective. Each time you create a new post, you create a new page that is shareable to social media—or that can show up on a Google search. Use the right B2B marketing strategy—and enough SEO tactics—and this might just be the cheapest way to create leads. Depending on how sustainable your strategy is, this is can be more effective than blowing the budget on an ad campaign.
Blog posts also provide fuel for your social media accounts. There will be no need to come up with new social media content if your blog is going strong. Your audience will share your blog posts on social media, which will ideally bring more readers to your blog. Use your website and social media accounts to complement and strengthen your online presence all round.
Any final tips?
When writing blog posts, make sure each post is memorable. Don’t just write any old rubbish to fill a quota. Try presenting your information from alternate perspectives or in different ways whenever possible. Make sure that your points follow one another in a sensical flow that entices the reader to the final word.
To make your blog as concrete as possible, illustrate your points with specific examples. You can source these examples from personal experience, or do some research to fill in any gaps. Linking to external studies or other sources can help solidify your claims. If you’re putting forward your opinion, justify it in full. Make sure your explanation follows that sensical flow discussed above. And once you’ve reeled in the reader, throw in a cheeky call to action—even if it’s a small request like subscribing to a mailing list or checking out a product.
Finally—and this is a big one—be mindful of quality control. Every single word will represent your business, so the least you can do it turn over high-quality content. Make sure your tone is consistent across blog posts, and make sure you do a final proofread. All it can take is one misplaced apostrophe or glaring misspelling to discredit your entire article. Read and re-read your copy until you think it sounds just right. Being critical of your own work is the best way to improve.