Digital marketing for B2B can sometimes fall into the trap of being boring. The marketing team may have a million ideas for fascinating content, but they never get approved. What does get out there is stale at best, and your prospects are half-asleep before they finish reading a single page on your site.
It doesn't have to be that way!
Even businesses in heavily-regulated industries like medical device companies or IT support and software sales can embrace effective digital marketing without having to leave personality at home. It just takes some preparation, a touch of planning, and a team that understands how to have a great time selling your product without stepping over any lines.
What Kind of Content Marketing Works for B2B Buyers?
Two-thirds of respondents to a survey of B2B companies and buyers by DemandGen stated that the content produced by the winning vendor had a significant impact on their final purchasing decision. Much of that influential content is likely to exist in the form of product spec sheets and cost comparisons, but those aren't the only things B2B buyers are looking for!
The content marketing tactics rated most effective by both B2B marketers and buyers include:
- Social Media
- Email marketing
- Interactive content (quizzes, webinars, product demos, etc)
- Video marketing
The number of sources used by B2B buyers for research has increased, as has the number of employees at a company actually involved in the buying process. This means that an effective content marketing strategy for B2B companies needs to include types of marketing geared towards very different B2B Buyer Personas.
You need content personalized as much for Jim from Accounting (who likes Taco Bell, dogs, and character-driven "mockumentary" comedies) as for Julie the VP of Operations (who enjoys none of those things, but does watch every episode of This is Us and won the company's March Madness bracket three years in a row).
Both Jim and Julie are likely weighing multiple vendor options while trying to choose the one that works best not just for immediate upfront cost, but also for ROI and the longer-term bottom line.
How can your business stand out from the crowd?
Don't Be Scared to Let Your Sales and Marketing Teams Have Fun.
We'll take any chance to mention the importance of making sure your sales and marketing teams are aligned, and that goes for mapping out your brand's personality, too! Brand personality should be reflected through every step of the Buyer's Journey, from the prospect's first visit to your website through every conversation with the sales team.
Marketing may have a good idea of what works to get the attention of a prospect, but the sales team will be best situated to explain the most effective way to take a prospect from a Sales Qualified Lead to a client ready to close the deal.
Your marketing team probably has some amazing ideas for compelling, relevant content—embrace it while making sure it suits who your company is and the Buyer Personas you're hoping to attract.
Two-thirds of B2B buyers said that brands should focus less on "sales-y" messaging and more on content that is compelling, without trying to strong-arm them into a purchase. This focus on producing relevant content that isn't just another sales pitch is where Inbound Marketing truly shines.
Let your marketing team enjoy themselves, and keep sales in the loop on everything you're doing! Put together "Five-Minute Fridays" where you introduce members of the team and let buyers get to know a little more about what you do.
Use social media to share candid details about the workday or connect personally with potential prospects just for fun, without necessarily leading right into the sales pitch.
Don't force your marketing team to stick to specs when there's so much more out there to use as a starting point! B2B buyers remember companies that stand apart, and they're more interested in working with vendors who are actually interested in them, too.
On the Other Hand... There is Such a Thing as Too Much Fun.
We're all-in on having your sales and marketing teams enjoy themselves while implementing your content marketing strategy, but... Well, there's definitely a but.
There are some lines that just shouldn't be crossed in the name of professionalism and, frankly, common sense. A medical device company shouldn't make jokes at the expense of physicians or doctors' offices, for example. A "video introduction" for members of a commercial IT support company probably shouldn't show everyone swearing up a storm, or even just pretending to.
You don't want any member of your team to come across as sloppy, unprofessional, or unpleasant. If even a single member of your team looks bad, it reflects poorly on the entire company.
Put together a list of social media and marketing guidelines that everyone in your office knows to follow. Try to keep every rule concise and to-the-point, but you can elaborate if needed on specific situations.
Something along the lines of:
- No marketing material should ever include profanity or vulgar language
- No explicit disparagement of competitors
- Any members of the team who appear in video marketing materials should be professionally dressed
- All social media posts should be approved by the marketing manager before sending
- ... and so on.
These guidelines should be as detailed as you feel is necessary. During a team meeting with every employee from sales and marketing, have an open discussion about how your brand's personality, your Buyer Personas, and their ideas can fit together while still maintaining your professional reputation.
Ask employees to read and initial a "master copy" of the guidelines, subject to revision whenever necessary. Give them copies to keep at their desks at all times. If you empower your sales and marketing teams to really represent your company to the best of their abilities, you may be surprised at what they can accomplish for you just by letting your company shine.
Inbound Marketing for B2B Companies is One of Our Favorite Things. Here's Why:
In the end, very few of your prospects are going to remember the intricate details on page nine in a set of spec sheets—but they will definitely remember the hilarious sales guy they spoke to who answered all of their questions and understood that they still needed a bit more time before deciding.
Modern marketing is all about that personal connection. Qualified Leads aren't only looking for a decent option, they're looking for the best company that they connect with, on a professional and a personal level.
Allowing your team to have fun with their ideas while keeping them within certain guidelines for overall professionalism can help you not just in generating more leads, but in nurturing them along into delighted clients.
Need a B2B Marketing Team? We Can Help.
Waypost Marketing is a growth-driven digital marketing agency in Greenville, South Carolina. We've worked with clients nationwide to produce serious results when it comes to website traffic, lead generation, and more. We have experience working with B2C and B2B clients to take their goals and turn them into achievements, and we'd love to take a look and see what we can do for you: