Fifteen years ago, brochures and tradeshows were enough to reach your target audience, but these days, business to business companies have dozens of marketing tools to choose from. Which ones will work best for the people you want to reach?
There’s no standard formula for effective B2B marketing. Different tools work for different products, services and audiences. But there are a number of basic tools that simply aren’t on the radar of a lot of B2B companies, and they should be. These five resources are easy, inexpensive, and can be remarkably effective in getting your message out to those who need to hear it.
#1 PR. Got expertise? Share it! PR is simple, inexpensive, and can deliver excellent results for both brand awareness and lead generation. Lots of B2B companies have a compelling story to tell, and there are a number of trade publications looking for interesting, relevant content to fill their pages. All you have to do is get a few press releases out to them (consistently – one isn’t enough), and as long as you have a story that is compelling to a particular audience, they will eventually get noticed and gain some media pick up. This coverage is one of the best ways to get your company’s name into the heads of your target customers.
#2 SEO. Many companies don’t realize just how much business is being done online. Ten years ago, a website was a nice-to-have. These days, it’s a must. Think of it this way: when was the last time you DIDN’T use Google to find a product or service you were looking for? If you’re not doing search engine optimization, you’re missing a big opportunity to get the attention of your target market. And the sooner you start, the stronger the result will be; SEO is cumulative, so the more time you put into it, the better the result.
#3 Video. If a picture says a thousand words, a minute of video speaks volumes. For B2Bs with a complex product or service, videos can communicate a lot of information in just a short amount of time. You don’t need to be Steven Spielberg – high production quality isn’t necessary to be effective - and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make a great video that explains exactly what you do in less than a minute.
#4 Free trial. If they can try it, they’re more likely to buy it. Allowing B2B customers to use your product or service risk-free is a proven sales tool. This approach doesn’t work for every product or service, but it’s certainly ideal for products like software, where a positive initial experience makes the buying decision much easier.
#5 Lead nurturing. This may seem like an obvious one, but many B2B marketers simply don’t do enough of it. Studies show that it takes seven customer touches before someone will remember the name of your company - before they say “Yeah, I think I’ve heard of these guys.” The best way to ensure these touches are made is with lead generation software like InfusionSoft or HubSpot. These automated programs let you send emails, newsletters, video case studies and more at pre-determined times, making sure you stay on your prospects’ radar.
Effective B2B marketing doesn’t have to blow your budget – there are lots of smart, simple tools that offer solid ways of reaching customers to and influence their next buying decision. If you’re planning your 2013 marketing budget, think about including these 5 tools.
Looking for more help to make marketing work in your B2B company? Get proven tips in PROFITGUIDE’s Market Smart, the B2B Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers.