Being part of a business supply chain is one of the best ways to ensure the ongoing and profitable success of your business. However, the practice of businesses marketing themselves to other businesses (B2B) is generally much more difficult than marketing one’s products or services directly to customers. To make it even more difficult, the B2B landscape is evolving annually.
That said, B2B marketing for many of the largest industries involves billions of dollars. Successful marketing guarantees repeat purchases, and if your customers–other businesses–succeed somewhere down the path, demand for your own products will likely skyrocket exponentially.
B2B Digital Marketing Trends That Will Shape 2021 Strategies
As with just about any customer, businesses want to be able to service themselves when it comes to such things as item selection, finalizing the payment process, and shipping schedules. Doing so allows business customers to order on their schedules, which might include hours late into the evening or early morning. This differs greatly from older service options that require customers to place orders via a service representative. Since service representatives have their own schedules, a customer might have to wait hours to place an order, which is why the most successful businesses are making it possible for customers to login to an online ordering dashboard and place orders.
Regardless of how autonomous customers want to be, they want immediate assistance for questions or problems that might arise. Again, as compared with the older support model centered around account representatives, this newer support model is based on a central database instead of a service representative. If a customer needs support, he or she can speak directly with any on-duty representative.
Since the representative will have access to the database, he or she can handle 90 percent of all inquiries and problems, bringing in an actual account representative or IT professional only when special issues arise. Having a central database ensures streamlined services for all customers during business or non-business hours.
Because most business customers conduct a lot of research prior to actually signing a contract with another business, it is important to provide the educational, promotional, or product-overview videos necessary to earn a customer’s business. This requires each vendor to have his or her own YouTube channel or some other playlist of videos.
Unlike general customers who prefer text messages, business customers prefer email, which allows them to communicate on a flexible schedule. As such, the following types of email-based marketing models work very well to maintain customer loyalty.
- opt-in email notifications
Without a dedicated email campaign, a vendor is not going to be able to secure and inform customers on a regularly basis, which will lead to customer attrition as a result of perceived neglect or lack or proactive communication.
5. Collaborative marketing campaigns
The best utilization of B2B marketing involves whole solutions via partners. When marketing a whole solution, a primary business will often name drop all the side partners, products, and services that come with conducting business with the primary business.
For instance, a local mechanic that wants to sign with a car dealer will have a better chance at securing business if he or she emphasizes that the shop also partners with specialized service providers, such as transmission specialists. As a result, the car dealer will be able to deal directly with the mechanic, often at a discount, while being able to benefit from a wide range of services.
6. SEO content
Being able to attract business customers via organic search results is increasingly becoming one of the most important focuses for B2B marketing. Of course, in terms of SEO, a business needs to have quality content because poor content might initially attract search engines, but it will not retain the actual customers. Consequently, your content should include or emphasize the following things.
- videos and infographics
- short-form and long-form content
- calls to action
- obvious benefit
- whole solution
- obvious ease of use
In terms of SEO for quality content, you need to ensure your SEO includes a variety of effective components.
- incoming and outgoing links
- effective use of HTML tags
- long-tail keywords
- use of keywords in URL or page title
- connection to social media
Finally, in terms of SEO effectiveness, one of the most important trends is the fact that more and more business vendors are conducting in-depth analyses of their SEO results. These assessments include dropped carts, conversion rates, and Google rank as compared to currently ranked web pages. Being able to implement, assess, and adjust your SEO campaign is the only way to keep up with competitors intent on generating free traffic.
Offering personalized products and services for business customers might not be as easy as it is for the general customer, but personalization is increasingly winning business customers wanting the following types of customized solutions.
- personalized ordering dashboard to save time
- access to specific products or brands
- custom billing arrangements
Being able to meet a customer’s needs often involves simply adjusting your administrative and technical arrangements to their particular processes.
8. Borrowing from B2C
Marketing to customers (B2C) is best accomplished via social media and video. In addition to the aforementioned personalized attention and 24/7 access to support, general customers often enjoy input, texting, and access to businesses via social media. Although this level of attention is not something for which B2B marketing is known, the most successful businesses are borrowing B2C strategies and treating business customers as if they were individual customers. Simply put, this approach works.
B2B marketing that involves subscriptions to apps, gadgets, or API capability enjoy a greater percent of customer loyalty because these services provide value in the form of profits, expertise, or time saved. Additionally, subscriptions often allow business customers to receive services or information before it reaches the general public, ensuring businesses can develop their own services or products long before others can. Because subscriptions involve contracts or established time periods, they are increasingly helping to maintain a predictable revenue level, which is important for projecting monthly or quarterly performance.
The best businesses are able to change three customer-facing elements to ensure more effective lead conversion.
For instance, businesses are becoming more attuned to just how effective a website can be in attracting and converting customers. As such, businesses are evaluating site performance and redesigning poorly performing pages. These pages might involve a new rotation of products or services, or the updated pages might simply receive a content update with a focus on different keywords.
Other ways businesses are learning to pivot to reach their business customers and maintain customer loyalty include the following methods.
- adjusting online persona
- adjusting message
- increased customer attention
- examine customer buying experience
In addition to pivoting to meet the general needs of business customers, the best businesses are remaining competently creative in their response to the new challenges created by the pandemic. From product delivery to curbside order retrieval, the best businesses are able to overhaul their processes to ensure business proceeds uninterrupted. Successful pivoting hinges on the ability of owners and staff to re-develop or re-position services and products.
However, it also involves editing your online content publishing practices. Adjusting content to match pandemic-related keywords helps keep content relevant. Additionally, making adjustments to publication time can determine whether the content reaches its audience or whether it is ignored due to emerging current events.
Top 10 B2B Marketing Statistics
As a result of the pandemic, digital communication is critical. In fact, it is projected that digital communications will increase by 24 percent for the foreseeable future. This increase impacts technical communication as well as customer service.
2. Spending stats
Spending will be down by up to 29 percent compared to previous years.
3. Subscription stats
To serve business customers craving up-to-date information, 60 percent of successful businesses offer subscription services. In terms of businesses that underperform, only 25 percent offer subscription services.
4. Content strategy stats
Of successful businesses, 60 percent of them have a specific outline of actionable steps in their content strategy.
Of all social media, 96 percent of businesses accomplish their B2B goals via LinkedIn.
6. Blogging stats
In terms of content, 93 percent of companies use a blog to deliver content to business customers. In terms of blog content, the most successful companies report the following blog components.
- 77 percent use newsletters in conjunction with a blog
- 68 percent incorporate anecdotal studies or research
- 68 percent incorporate video
- 54 percent incorporate an e-book
- 29 percent stream a channel or training webinars
7. Paid advertising stats
Over 70 percent of all businesses engage in paid ad campaigns. More specifically, the paid platforms are as follows.
- 67 percent: Facebook paid placements that target specific audiences
- 65 percent: PPC
- 40 percent: above-the-fold advertisements
- 27 percent: Twitter ads
- 17 percent: short-form video ads or caption ads on YouTube
8. Multiple marketing channels
Regarding the most successful business-to-business companies, 12 percent utilize three or more marketing techniques.
9. Technological purchases stats
Just over 75 percent of business customers predict an increase in technological purchases for 2021 and beyond.
10. Lack of loyalty due to lack of service
In the same way businesses always assess their marketing effectiveness, business customers are always assessing their vendors across a wide range off performance areas. As a result of less-than-stellar service, 65 percent of all business customers are planning on switching to other businesses for their supply or service solutions.