Today more than ever, an extensive portion of the B2B buyer journey takes place before prospects engage with sales teams. In fact, 60% of the entire process, on average, is self-education: identifying problems, exploring solutions, creating potential vendor lists.
With an expansive, growing universe of content enabling those efforts, your content needs to be in the mix. And your company name should pop up in all the right places. Of course, there are myriad channels — from social media to advertising to digital marketing to PR campaigns — to get in front of potential customers.
But which efforts are most impactful?
In 2020, these are the 10 foolproof ways to reach B2B audiences:
1. Practice organizational thought leadership
The term “thought leadership” is broad-scoped and can be defined in a number of ways.
But most popularly and relevantly, thought leadership involves company leaders sharing industry insights and their unique perceived best practices on social media, in publications, and on company blogs. In 2020, B2B buyers want to hear from real people — namely company leaders — about your organization and products.
2. Produce informative case studies and customer success stories
In sales and marketing, it’s better to show than tell. And you should sell futures, not features.
In order to do so, you need quality case studies and convincing customer success stories.
A case study is a vital piece of insight into the true value your product or service offers; a published piece of information examining your product’s impact on a particular customer.
Common case study KPIs include:
- Lowered operational costs
- Increased lead generation
- Higher closed/won rates
- Increased revenue generation
- New market expansion
Customer success stories also aim to inform, but can be anecdotal rather than data-driven. A good example would be a video interview with a CMO customer talking about how great your martech product is.
3. Work social selling into your sales strategy
The relatively new concept of social selling involves networking and engaging with prospects, primarily on LinkedIn.
The general strategy is to create genuine relationships before or while selling to prospects. This often involves liking prospects’ posts, sending them valuable information (not necessarily related to your product), or simply striking up human conversations in direct messages. Of course, this requires a good bit of time and effort — but it’s highly effective. B2B companies practicing social selling are 40% more likely to meet revenue goals.
4. Don’t discount direct mail
News alert: Direct mail still works, and it works well.
In fact, 39% of B2B buyers have become customers of a business that sent them direct mail. Another surprising statistic in this regard: Direct mail is actually more effective with Millennials than previous generations — 65% of Millennials pay attention to direct mail advertising. Despite its lofty costs, direct mail remains cost-effective in most cases.
5. Attend trade shows, conferences, and expos
It’s always worth sending a rep or two to your industry’s biggest events.
77% of executive decision makers found a new supplier at the last trade show they went to. 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. And 92% of attendees are looking for new products. And every B2B industry and their niches, from real estate CRM to healthcare AI, put on well-attended events of some sort. Find them, and be there.
6. Conduct webinars
Hosting webinars — informative video conferences on a particular topic, concept, or strategy — is a great way to generate and connect with leads. Today, 58% of B2B marketers use webinars.
There are a few popular webinar formats:
- Single speaker — great for small audiences, this is a webinar in which a single speaker (an expert) discusses a topic using content and answers audience questions
- Interview format — here, an interviewer proposes a series of predetermined questions to a panel of experts
- Moderated Panel Discussion — facilitated by a moderator, several speakers discuss a predetermined topic
- Q&A — similar to the interview format, but all questions come directly from the audience
7. Use effective email marketing strategies
Over 306 million emails are sent per day. Your target prospects likely receive over 120 daily. And by virtue of that volume, email open rates are at an all-time low.
But email marketing is not dead — about 25% of the average B2B company’s revenue is driven by email marketing efforts. So it’s still highly effective when done right.
In 2020, your email marketing should be:
- Personalized — create email templates with opportunities to insert companies, titles, and names to grab attention
- To take it a step further into account-based sales, have your sales team craft individual emails speaking to customer problems in alignment with your product’s value proposition
- Well-timed — consider your prospect’s timezone, and hit their inbox between 9-11am and 3-5pm is a safe bet, per the data
- At the right frequency — don’t send so frequently that the prospect blocks or unsubscribes, but still keep scale (2+/week in most B2B industries)
- Ideal frequency depends on your market and product
- A/B tested — this is the best way to optimize subject lines, messaging, send times, and virtually any other aspects of your email marketing efforts
- Fed by lead magnets — these are the pop-ups on websites that collect email addresses by offering a newsletter, ebook, industry report, or other valuable info source in return
- Well-designed and aesthetically pleasing — images, videos, flashy gifs, etc. all increase clickthrough rates
- Actionable — make sure recipients know what’s next (book a meeting, register for a webinar, download an ebook) and how to do it
8. Create engaging social media content
Today, 54% of B2B buyers conduct vendor research on social media.
On social platforms (primarily LinkedIn), B2B buyers find discussions about companies and products, seek recommendations, consult thought leaders, and even begin engagements by direct messaging vendors.
Often, though, B2B companies just aren’t sure what the goal of social media is. Generally, what you want is engagement — customers liking or reacting to your posts, or even better: commentary and dialogue. The latter provides the opportunity to engage with a prospect. And to garner engagement, you need to create engaging content — photos, videos, interesting messaging, and the like.
9. Target niche industry media and news outlets
Find your industry’s foremost niche pubs. Research the content to get a feel for what they’re looking for. Reach out to editors and pitch them some article ideas. Publishing articles in a niche industry outlet usually grants more exposure than does posting to your company blog. And if you can’t manage to place your pieces, they can always be published to your blog as a second choice.
10. Boost your SEO
Don’t forget to consider the path your prospects take to actually get to your content. It doesn’t matter how great your content is if prospects don’t find it.
To boost your website’s SEO, you should:
- Improve site navigation — the rule of thumb is that it shouldn’t take more than three clicks to access any part of your website
- Remove duplicate content — make sure your content is unique across your website and elsewhere, or your SEO will take a hit
- Optimize your website for mobile — so smartphone browsers don’t find your website lacking function, and Google notices and docks your SEO
- Improve your website’s responsiveness and speed — large images, lack of browser caching, and poor script handling can inhibit download speeds, and with them, your SEO
- Produce high-quality, valuable content — a company blog, ebooks, datasheets, videos
- Improve your metadata — this tells Google what your site’s all about
If you have an in-house digital marketer, they should be able to audit your site’s SEO and handle most of those fixes alongside a developer. If not, you should hire a consultant or digital marketing agency to help.