Digital marketing is the business buzzword of the century. There’s barely a place that we don’t interact with it, nor a company that doesn’t do it. B2B marketing for small businesses is not a new approach but is perhaps a more recent transition than for B2C. As a small B2C or B2B business, digital marketing will be both your lifeboat and potentially your biggest obstacle to success.
Small business owners need to continuously enhance their digital marketing strategy to succeed, understanding that it is not a static task, but rather an ongoing process. If you are part of a small business looking to scale, then digital marketing will be the key to helping you do so.
Why digital marketing matters
Today, running a business will only go so far without a digital marketing strategy. Using social media platforms, email marketing, and delivering valuable content pieces such as blog posts and video content, will help you reach your target audiences and power lead generation.
Digital marketing is no longer a nice-to-have approach, but a necessity for both B2C and B2B companies. Anything less than a contemporary, comprehensive and coherent online presence will not suffice for small businesses looking to thrive.
Digital marketing helps to build brand equity, reach national and international markets, nurture the buyer’s journey and can increase ROI. Without these things, your small business is limited in its growth potential.
Building a B2B marketing strategy
While you might be keen to get your digital marketing efforts ‘out there’ as soon as possible, there’s some necessary planning and research that must happen first.
Markets can be fluid, with consumer ideals changing, and new and competing products and services emerging from every corner. Beginning by collecting data and insight will help you create more authentic, relevant and (therefore) successful strategies backed by a clear direction.
Get to know what your competitors are doing, how they are ranking and what their weaknesses are. Familiarise yourself with audiences. When planning B2B marketing strategies, ask yourself “what is the pain point of a B2B buyer?”. Pain points are always crucial as most all buyers, B2B or B2C, are looking for solutions to their problems!
Want to discover more about B2B market research? Read more here: Every question about B2B marketing research [answered]
Establish your skillset
Whether you’re engaging in B2B or B2C marketing, audiences can be easily put off by poor quality content. Creating content for digital marketing purposes is about diversity, consistency, purpose, and integration. You can have one great asset, e.g. a beautiful video, but your audience needs to see a vast range of content to engage. Each content piece needs to be connected to multi-channel activity with a wider purpose to really help further your objectives.
For small business marketing, then, having a multi-skilled team is crucial, but can be difficult to source and expensive to maintain. That’s why outsourcing a digital marketing agency is such a popular choice for small businesses and start-ups.
A successful B2B marketing agency will have employees who are experts in all necessary fields, from content writers to social media savvy executives to graphic designers, your small company can execute the ideal digital presence, without any strain on other roles.
Get to know the sales funnel
Understanding each stage of the sales funnel is important for small B2B companies. While you could use an umbrella approach for all, you are much more likely to nurture leads if your content marketing is tailored to different audiences, different buyer types, and where audiences are on the buyer’s journey.
This is especially crucial for B2Bs because decision-making is a much more elaborate and lengthy process than with B2C audiences.
Learn more about nailing the perfect target audience
Establish a presence on every relevant platform
An omni-channel strategy will help small business owners to leverage their digital marketing efforts. However, being present across various marketing channels must be done with some caution and consideration. This can slip into a quantity over quality approach, which may not portray your company in its best light.
Be where your audiences are – on the platforms that are relevant to them and to your brand, product and/or service. Draw on your market research and marketing or business strategy to ensure everything you put out is purposeful, authentic to your brand, and has a relevant outcome or call to action for your audiences.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
The best way to know what really works for your business is just to experiment. Be creative in how you try to reach people, but let yourself be led by data and lessons learned so you aren’t just wasting effort.
Experiment with email messaging (but keep tone of voice consistent), explore multi-media content and invest in paid advertising. You can trial each digital or social media channel, perhaps one at a time to suit your budget, and see where gets the most engagement.
Get to know your audience
We’ve spoken a fair bit about your audience and getting to know them, let us just hammer it in some more! Engaging and interacting with audiences online can give you real insight into what their pain points are and what they’re looking for in a solution.
Developing this knowledge will benefit your business plans as well as your digital marketing, helping you to be more targeted and optimising activity. You may even find this is more effective than spending your budget on paid advertising!
Understand your limits
It’s natural to want to aim big, we all do. However, aiming too high can be unrealistic. You can’t expect leads to pour in in just a few weeks for example. Branding building and lead generation takes a lot of time and resource. Set realistic goals and constantly evaluate the current position of your company and adjust your efforts accordingly.
When marketing opportunities come in, gauge whether the work is worth your company’s time or services a valuable purpose. Prioritise the things that, collectively, drive your objectives rather than always trying to fit in the ‘nice to haves’.
Being level-headed and intuitive about your limits will ensure you can market, grow and survive sustainably.
How to stand out against the competition
You can see above some of the basics that will help shape a winning B2B marketing strategy for small businesses. If you want to go that bit further, then put some time and effort into the following:
Be loyal and devoted and don’t let that slide as you grow!
People like to feel valued. Closely and continuously engaging your prospects, and existing clients, will be key to building long-lasting relationships. Ensure you maintain this as and when you scale. Nurturing your audiences is a full time job but will pay off in loyalty.
It pays to pay
Paid advertising does heighten your chances of being seen and gaining business. Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable in today’s marketing environment. If you want to boost B2B sales, then investing in paid advertising will be worth your money. It’s worth at least trying it out and seeing where it gets you!
Content, content, content
Digital marketing master, Neil Patel, explains that Google prefers content rich sites over those that are lacking in content. Fill your website with well-written, attractive, concise and stimulating content to drive traffic and engagement.
Be there when and where your audiences need you. It can be difficult to know this upfront, but with continuous research, monitoring and analysis you’ll build a more accurate picture of people’s behaviours. As we mentioned, consumers are trying to solve problems. If you can be there at the right time to do exactly that, then you’ll be better positioned to generate leads.
Build a really powerful brand
Being part of a small business doesn’t come without its challenges. One thing you do have control over, however, is your brand. Establishing a high-quality website, perfecting your brand messaging and honing your brand image to suit your company and its ethos are both effective and essential. A well-executed brand cultivates trust, respect and competency, and incites confidence.
Leverage your small business with EV
Do you want to boost your small business’s digital marketing efforts, but don’t have the time or skillset to do it successfully? That’s where our expertise as a B2B marketing agency can come in.
Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help your small business to excel and help you to scale sustainably.