What you can find in this guide:
- What is inbound marketing?
- The benefits of inbound marketing
- Marketing objectives for scaling B2B technology companies
- 9 top tips to perfect your inbound marketing strategy for B2B tech
Inbound marketing is all about putting your audience first. This approach primarily facilitates friendly lead generation and building trustworthy, authoritative reputations.
The aim is to centre your marketing activity around supporting your audience’s success and helping them reach their goals. By delivering genuinely valuable communications and content you can entice prospects to come to you (hence the term inbound) and build truly lasting relationships with your customers.
- Cost-effective lead generation with greater ROI, exploiting digital marketing
- Building digital presence, brand authority, and brand equity
- Defining a customer journey that creates sales qualified leads
- Continually tracking, evaluating and adapting strategies based on performance
Why inbound marketing works for B2B technology companies
B2B technology businesses often have a diverse customer base with varying pain points, interests and knowledge. Each core audience segment, based on your different target industries, requires different messaging. Within each audience there are additionally a multitude of different buyer types that you need to engage – including technical users, managerial decision-makers, and financial gatekeepers.
That’s why the inbound approach is so effective for B2B technology marketing. It helps these businesses structure their activities according to their various audiences so they’re reaching the right people with the right message – and getting results in the form of warm leads.
As mentioned, inbound marketing also prioritises building trust and establishing a positive reputation with your audience. This is essential in the B2B tech market where the competition is so fierce, enabling you to not only establish a key differentiator against your competitors, but also to create long-lasting partnerships that benefit customer retention and consistent revenue growth.
While your marketing strategies will be highly influenced by your customers – the underlying objectives should be about developing your business and meeting your commercial targets.
For B2B companies in the scaling stage, these targets are likely centred around growth and building brand equity. This could be done by increasing your client list, expanding your team and reaching new global markets, or generally accelerating revenue growth. For established players, the focus may be breaking into new markets, targeting specific accounts, or dynamically retaining your leading position as your market and audience evolves.
Whatever your target, marketing helps you reach it through one primary activity – lead generation. Ultimately, without engaging your customer base, growing your potential prospect list, and actively generating warm leads your business will not be able to reach its commercial targets and scale.
Here are some primary marketing objectives that will help any B2B technology business drive lead generation and meet targets:
- Exploit cost-effective, high impact marketing techniques that help meet commercial and business goals
- Carve out a unique market position and specialism which is represented through your brand with clarity and confidence
- Grow brand equity and recognition through digital marketing in a way that supports commercial growth
- Create a product/solution infrastructure and narrative that can seamlessly scale
- Establish a narrative of expertise, trust, and authority in order to generate sales qualified leads
EV is a strategic marketing agency for disruptive B2B technology companies. With decades of experience delivering and implementing inbound marketing strategies for a range of tech companies, we’ve curated our 9 best techniques for achieving B2B tech marketing objectives.
*Our top recommendation – Integrate all these techniques into regular, long-term campaigns centred around a single objective for even better results!*
1. Find an authentic brand personality and voice
Your brand personality and voice are the gateways to your audience on every platform – from your website to social media to email marketing. It’s important to establish a consistent brand personality that’s not only engaging, but accurately represents your values and your offering.
If these things aren’t authentic to your proposition, they will jar with your core audience and fail to garner the right leads. If it isn’t consistent, it will confuse the audience and they won’t feel they’ve gained value from their interaction with your brand.
The first thing we do at EV is break down a company’s USPs, their value proposition, and what makes them truly unique in the context of their audience and competitors. We use this information to define and embed a brand personality, and subsequently a voice, that makes communicating these messages effortless.
Some quick tips for building a great brand voice:
- It’s tempting to use technical jargon when you’re an expert in the field, but it may not be how your audience talks. Use accessible language that your target audiences can relate to. Plus, we’re all human at the end of the day and most people will respond better to something that is easy and engaging to read.
- Your brand personality should reflect how you want to be seen as well as your offering. When establishing a personality, think about everything this might affect. Your language, your imagery, how frequently you communicate, how you communicate, and the topics you talk about.
- Refer back to your values, mission and core brand messaging every time you’re creating something. This should be your guide to all things brand related.
- Put yourself in the target audience’s shoes. What are their pain points? What do they want and how can you solve it? Speak directly to these elements without beating around the bush.
- Remember it’s a two-way conversation – when speaking to your audience, give them openings to speak back.
2. B2B digital marketing
Digital marketing is already the key to 21st century inbound B2B marketing, but it’s even more essential for promoting tech businesses. Digital transformation has caused the tech market to explode, with technological solutions or capabilities underpinning a vast majority of offerings. The communication landscape is close to saturation – making an impactful digital presence and strategy necessary to cut through the noise.
Building a B2B website
Your website is one of the primary digital touchpoints that all members of your audience will be using. It acts as a foundation to back up all your other communications, so it should clearly display all your core messaging, your USPs and your products and or/solutions in order to take your prospects on a journey towards conversion. In short – here’s where you implement your brand personality and voice to their fullest.
Firstly, bear in mind that you need to cater to your entire audience here which will consist of various segments, buyer types, and pain points. Utilise different pages, clear headings, smart navigation and tailored language to lead your different audiences towards the right content for them. For B2B technology companies, investors are also a core audience that need to see value in your website.
Next, consider your buyer journey. Not only do prospects at awareness, consideration and decision stages need to see a different kind of message – but your aim should be to lead these prospects into conversion and then retention using your website. Once again, smart navigation and links are a great way to facilitate this journey.
Nevertheless, more content isn’t enough to elicit conversion. You need to give your audience, at any stage, something to do in order to move them down the sales funnel and progress your sale. That’s why including engaging, targeted calls-to-action is essential. These will change depending on their buyer stage and the audience – it could be downloading an e-book where you capture their email, or it could be calling a sales member to close the deal.
Your web pages are your static landing pages, built with an overarching message and journey in mind. But you should also utilise tailored landing pages for specific campaigns. These pages can be more targeted than your usual webpages in order to optimise visitor conversion and purposefully encourage your audience down the pipeline towards a defined goal.
B2B email marketing
Email marketing is a great opportunity to talk to people or businesses more directly. This is the chance to resonate with more focused pain-points, demands and questions that are relevant to this particular recipient. For B2B, it’s wise to avoid click-bait style subject lines and vague content, as this audience is more likely to respond to direct, tangible benefits or offers.
This approach should also play a primary role in your post-campaign customer engagement, following up with people who have demonstrated tangible interested in a certain product or topic through downloads or contact forms. In this case, make sure to personalise your email to engage with this interest and offer up more value alongside a call-to-action.
3. Paid marketing techniques
Sometimes with B2B tech there’s a product or message that is too specific for your entire audience. You don’t want to spam your whole customer-base with irrelevant messaging, but if it’s an important campaign that you want to see good reach, engagement and conversion on, paid marketing is the answer.
Paid ads on social media or online publications and pay-per-click (PPC) ads on search engines allow B2B technology companies to efficiently target their segmented audiences with benefit-led, highly specific content. It obviously requires greater financial investment than other digital techniques but backed by in-depth research it can be a powerful form of inbound lead generation with a greater guarantee that your audience is interested and ready to engage.
4. Integrate marketing with sales
Inbound marketing workflows rely on the integration between marketing and sales. If marketing is generating leads, sales teams need to be nurturing those leads and guiding conversions. This links up all stages of the buyer journey so prospects are being taken care of throughout their buyer journey – all the way from awareness to decision stages.
For B2B technology companies targeting business clients, this is even more essential. How trustworthy, responsive and reliable you are as a partner is first showcased by how well your sales team follows up on marketing leads. This relates to both timing, i.e. a quick reply, and messaging, which should be consistent.
Marketing and sales activities must therefore be linked to one another to ensure the communication throughout the buyer journey is following a logical path, from high-level information to more detailed capabilities and specific selling points.
5. Use account-based marketing for your high-value prospects
In the B2B world, in contrast to B2C, you’ll often be targeting very large, high-value clients. To truly woo these clients, you want to provide them with personalised campaigns that directly address their needs and pain-points.
Account-based marketing (ABM) involves personalising the buyer journey, the communication channels, and all the accompanying content as if this account was an entire audience. In addition, ABM more closely connects marketing and sales workflows to understand every stakeholder role and fully personalise the buyer journey from start to finish.
Overall, the outcomes of ABM are extremely consistent customer experiences, high ROI and conversion rates, and confidently secure relationships with high-value accounts.
6. Take advantage of your thought leaders for content marketing
As discussed, providing value-add content to your audience is key for inbound marketing. B2B customers are even more demanding, seeking out expert-led, industry-relevant, and data-driven content that delivers unique knowledge.
This may seem like a challenging task – and on one hand you would be right. Creating good content is an integral pillar to the success of inbound marketing and therefore you should be dedicating a large chunk of your marketing resource and time on it. But on the other, utilising your internal experts is a great way to reduce resource spent on content creation whilst also boosting its value.
The benefit of using your team members is that they understand the tech, they understand the market and its trends, and they will have unique insights to share that differentiate your content. An article outlining the key pieces of advice gained from a 20-minute interview with your CEO will more successfully gain attention and build trust with your audience than generic industry commentary. Plus – it saves time on extensive research!
7. Don’t sniff at SEO-optimisation
All that being said – SEO is still a valuable resource. SEO research clearly shows you exactly what people are searching for and the questions they’re asking. It would be unwise not to listen. Plus, creating SEO-optimised content and implementing SEO practices is an excellent way to drive traffic to your site and compete with other companies for attention. If you aren’t performing some level of SEO, you’re likely to get overlooked by search engines.
Many technical companies look down on SEO content. They think it’s generic and unoriginal, or too high-level for their needs. They instead want to get stuck into the nitty gritty of the science behind their solutions. While scientific information is excellent content for your more technical, or decision-ready buyers, it will quickly turn off other audiences.
Plus, SEO and original, detailed content aren’t mutually exclusive. They key to making SEO content feel unique is to maintain an expert, thought leadership stance and add your own spin to the questions being asked.
8. Why social media isn’t just for B2C
B2B technology companies are often put off by social media, or are unsure on how to fully capitalise on this resource. People think it’s too direct for targeting entire businesses and too casual to promote technological solutions. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a business is made up of individual influencers, all of whom are likely to spend their lunch breaks and stay up-to-date with their market on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.
That makes social media an excellent channel for promoting thought leadership and establishing expertise in your market. Use these digital channels to engage with your community and contribute value-add content to the conversation. Although your social activity won’t be as high reward as your website or account-based marketing techniques for converting leads, it’s a perfect place to start raising awareness and gathering interest.
Several ways B2B technology companies can use social media marketing:
- Publish industry-related content through LinkedIn
- Build the reputation of individual thought leaders within your company
- Engage with LinkedIn communities
- Host targeted ads on Reddit forums
- Use LinkedIn Ads to promote new products, whitepapers, or free trials
- Provide free value-add content, such as templates or guides
- Get feedback and ask questions on Twitter
- Provide insights on live threads on Reddit or host original posts
- Provide live updates to events on Twitter
- Create short videos with your advice or insights
9. The value of PR
Two primary selling points for B2B technology clients are reliability and capability. For example, public sector contacts will want their vendors demonstrate that they are a trusted partner.
Building a market presence using public relations techniques can help to establish a verified reputation and build some authority in the industry. It requires some manual resource, but performing outreach activities to get your company news or thought leadership published outside of your digital platforms can greatly pay off in building relationships.