B2B marketing – or marketing aimed at professionals – is totally different from B2C marketing, which is aimed at individuals. If this is true for marketing in general, digital is no exception to this rule. You have to understand that the buying process differs in many ways between B2B and B2C, and this necessarily includes the strategy that you should implement. Here, we’ll take a look at the features of B2B web marketing.
1. What’s the difference between an individual buyer and a professional buyer?
Even if individual and professional buyers are similar in their search for service quality or their need to trust their seller, there are nevertheless many points of divergence in their buying behaviour.
- The buying processes within the context of B2B relationships are much longer in time, and they may involve several actors: logistics managers, accountants, directors, etc. The sales process generally involves several steps – for example, an initial audit phase followed by a budgeting phase, or a stage involving the development of a precise specification.
- The professional buyer will seek out a trusting relationship, as opposed to the individual, who is more focused on products and prices. The goal for a professional buyer is to find the best solution to increase the productivity and success of their business, and to save money. The emotional nature of this type of purchase should above all not be neglected.
- You should understand that this type of customer will be running a very high risk by ordering from you, since, in general, the sums involved are much higher than those for a purchase by an individual. On the other hand, an error can compromise the future of the business if it’s a particularly sensitive subject. In such cases, the reputation of the selling company is essential.
- The professional buyer is also an informed buyer. Specializing in a field of expertise, they may hold information that you don’t possess. The very demanding nature of this buying behaviour should therefore be noted if you want to approach this type of customer.
2. What are the features of B2B marketing?
Before looking at the features of a web strategy in this context, let’s ask ourselves the question of what broad strokes characterize B2B marketing in general.
- B2B marketing is aimed at a more sophisticated and complex target than that of B2C marketing. The prospective customer should understand exactly what you’re offering and what the specifications are for your products or services – what you can offer them that could benefit the performance and success of their business.
- In a B2C market, brand image is very important. And if that’s also the case for the B2B market, it’s only for the purpose of being noticed and potentially consulted, since brand isn’t a sufficient reason for a professional buyer to choose a supplier.
- In B2B marketing, it’s necessary to consider a much more intellectual and rational approach. You should ask yourself what purchasing criteria will be considered when choosing a supplier: are these criteria economic or technical? Some companies have very precise specifications, and in these cases, it’s a matter of helping them understand that your products or services satisfy their criteria exactly.
- In addition, B2B marketing should be a very targeted and specialized form of marketing. In a B2B market, you generally won’t be addressing a wide audience, but rather a particular sector.
3. What are the applications on the digital level?
We’ve seen the features that marketing oriented towards professionals should have, but what might the applications of this be on the online level? Here, we share a few good practices for a B2B web strategy:
- The first application should be to have a very focused web marketing strategy. Talk to the right people and determine your target as accurately as possible. This targeting is particularly attractive for your keyword research, within the context of SEO strategies or AdWords campaigns. In addition, strict targeting lets you save significant amounts of money if you plan to buy email databases for your campaigns.
- Professionals are fond of mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. It’s therefore better, as part of a B2B web marketing strategy, to adapt your content and your SEO to this reality.
- As professional buyers are searching for specific and concrete information, it’s essential to offer them content that interests them. Write relevant articles in your areas of expertise, and don’t hesitate to share this information on social networks. In addition, offer interesting newsletters to your subscribers, rather than tirelessly talking about your latest promotions.
- Customize your media, especially your email campaigns. The buyer is looking for a real partner, so the communication should make them feel this.
- Use testimonials to drive up your confidence index among your prospects, especially on the homepage of your website.
- Incorporate calls to action in your emails or web media, preferably in the form of pre-filled forms for requests for information.
- Don’t hesitate to increase your presence on professional social networks; this lets prospects understand your position and your field of expertise and reassures them if you have contacts in common.
- Consider webinars, which are rather popular at the moment. In brief, these are virtual meetings before or even after the sale (within the context of training after the sale of software, for example). Above all, they help develop this closeness that’s so sought after by buyers.
- As with any type of web marketing, it’s necessary to monitor and calculate the ROI for all your actions. Only rigorous monitoring will let you have an optimized and effective strategy.
You’ll find that it’s quite possible to adapt your web strategy to a B2B environment. The secret is the same as for traditional marketing: know your target! However, a B2B web strategy will never replace commercial prospection in a professional-to-professional relationship. It’s a very effective additional way to make new contacts and attract prospects, but the complexity of the business and the presence of serious competition makes prospecting work in the field unavoidable.