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Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing

2 March 2022
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Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing

This ultimate guide to B2B marketing will look at how the process differs from B2C marketing, detail how business buyers have unique habits and behaviours, and outline how to document a strategy and get campaigns up and running cost-effectively. Just like other forms of marketing, SEO content published on websites is key to reaching and engaging customers, and building trust and credibility.

When marketing is discussed, there is often a distinction between B2B and B2C content. B2B refers to business-to-business marketing, where a company attempts to interact with and engage other businesses and sell products and services to them. It is business-oriented in contrast to B2C – business to consumer – where individual customers are the target audience.

If you want to reach business leaders, managers, buyers and decision-makers, the content needs to be tailored differently than it would be for general consumers. This is because the journey from product discovery to consideration then purchase and after-sale is shaped by different factors, habits and motivations. B2B customers generally:

  • Want return on investment (ROI) from a purchase, as well as expertise, quality and efficiency.
  • Base decisions on logic and reason rather than emotion (B2C).
  • Want informative content that solves specific pain points and helps them to make decisions.
  • Have to liaise with managers and other leaders before a decision is made.
  • Crave long-term solutions, contracts and relationships.

To this end, the latest “Benchmark. Budgets, and Trends” report from CMI found that content assets that produce the best results for B2B marketers are virtual events and webinars, research reports, blogs and articles with up to 3,000 words, as well as ebooks and white papers. Written word content makes up a large bulk of this, which makes sense, as B2B audiences want high quality, authoritative, in-depth content, to assist in making better decisions.

They demand this content at various stages of the cycle too, as the input from other employees and managers means they often go back and forth, and consume content voraciously before making a decision. Research by Focus Vision found B2B buyers read and watch around 13 pieces of content prior to the “final decision”, which is one of four key stages of the buying process, alongside “understanding the problem”, “looking for vendors” and “shortlisting”.

The first step here is often overlooked or misunderstood, according to Ironpaper CEO Jonathan Franchell. He notes: “A frequent mistake B2B organizations make is educating the buyer on their own company, product, or service. The buyer isn’t ready for that; they are just beginning to understand their problem.” During this phase, B2B marketers need to focus on SEO content creation to make buyers aware of specific pain points.

What’s the best way to create a B2B strategy?

Martech’s study found B2B audiences look at content on a “vendor website” at every stage of the cycle. This is backed up by separate research showing that eight in 10 buyers navigate to a website at some point before a purchase. So, crafting SEO content in the form of blogs and optimising web pages for search should be a top priority.

Conduct keyword research

You need to create content that business customers are looking for and this starts with keyword research. Using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer tool, you can enter any of your brand or industry-related keywords and see a full list of “questions” that people are entering in search. These keywords are sorted by their difficulty, volume and traffic potential too, so you can target keywords that you have a better chance of ranking for.

Define your audience

Next, to find the right buyers, you need to define your audience based on demographics. This should be easier for business marketing as customers usually have a distinct set of challenges and needs your products and services can fulfil. You can then create buyer personas based on demographics and your current customer base.

Optimise website

With a target audience in place, you now need to reach them at the right moment. As noted earlier, B2B buyers want content at different points in the cycle. When asked about discovery, Martech’s report found that 70% find content “directly through vendor website”, 67% via “internet search”, 53% through “social media” and 41% “sent to me via email”.

Your website should be viewed as the primary hub for B2B marketing. Any blogs you publish here need to be informative and engaging, with web pages optimised for on-page, off-page and technical SEO. That means tweaking titles, headers, images and tags based on Google’s best practices, and making everything fast-loading and intuitive to navigate. All of this optimisation makes your content discoverable in search.

Manage social media

A social media strategy is important too, as 96% of B2B content marketers say they use LinkedIn to engage buyers, while 82% use Twitter and Facebook. Sharing your organic content on social media accounts will boost its visibility and allow buyers to consume it as and when they need it. Remember, more than half are finding content here, so failing to create and manage accounts can result in lost leads and sales. Depending on the size of your business, you could also create customer service and news accounts on relevant platforms.

Other tools you can use to increase the scope and scale of B2B marketing include:

  • Email marketing
  • Account-based marketing
  • Public relations (PR)
  • In-person and virtual events
  • Digital advertising

Measure performance

The final step is to measure the performance of your content to see what works best. Franchell says that testing content at first may be best, as you can mix up your formats to see what “attracts the right type of buyers” and then use data analytics to “measure it down to an individual human level”.

Having strategic objectives linked to metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) will also make it easier for you to determine whether your campaigns are successful and to measure their return on investment (ROI). That objective could be as simple as growing organic traffic to a specific level by the end of the year, or it could be a combination of goals. Google Analytics will enable you to get a full picture of how everything is working, where visitors are coming from and the actions they take.

Two-thirds of B2B marketers expect their content marketing budgets to increase in 2022. If you want to start investing in content optimised for search engines that will engage business buyers, Atlas SEO can help. We offer a range of services, including content creation, blog management and outreach. Contact us today to find out more.

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