Developing Good Relationships in B2B Marketing

A distinguishing feature of business-to-business marketing over business-to-consumer marketing is the importance of personal relationships. A consumer pay purchase from a large clothing retailer without ever knowing who owns it or who selected the clothes they just purchased, but when it comes to getting the clothing into the store, a series of personal relationships is essential. The business-to-business customer base is typically a lot smaller and more personal, and you’ll often rely on one or two strong connections that you foster over a long period of time. Therefore, knowing how to develop and maintain business relationships that are also personal is highly important.

  • Focus on a small group of people. The less people you have to concentrate on, the easier it will be to remember their face, name and details about their life and company. In B2B marketing, it is more efficient to spend a lot of time and effort nurturing one relationship that will continue to grow and provide returns than it is to spread your efforts around a range of different people. You’ll find that many people will be looking to do the same thing in return, allowing you to both focus your efforts and get what you want.
  • Go above and beyond. If you have a good relationship with a client, go out of your way to let them know it. Sending gifts at Christmas time, checking in with them via phone calls or email, or otherwise making other thank you gestures is all part of building a good relationship that sets you apart from other B2B clients they may deal with, and gives them a positive experience that they’ll want to continue with. Forming small, good habits is a large part of developing successful business relationships.
  • Provide excellent service and support. B2B business relationships tend to be long-term and therefore require you to provide long-term support. Be ready to explain the product or service, offer extra tips or advice, and troubleshoot if it doesn’t work out. This builds up trust and faith that you stand by your own products and won’t leave them high and dry. You yourself become an invaluable resource to them, which is a huge part of a successful relationship.
  • Offer customised deals. B2B relationships are fewer and therefore have room to be more nuanced. If you can provide someone the exact solution they’re looking for rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, they’ll be more likely to want to continue working with you over others who don’t do the same.

Creating unique, personal relationships is an essential part of B2B marketing and will serve your business well for years to come.

How To Successfully Navigate Business Change

All businesses must change – whether shifts in costs, demographics, audience, delivery, production or practices, it’s inevitable that your business will need to change in some way in order to prosper in the long term. Businesses who refuse to be open to change risk failing to maximise profits, or even being left behind entirely. This can happen well before it’s clear that change is needed, so you need to keep an ear to the ground for the signs of a diverging market or business strategy. The most successful businesses don’t just weather change, they thrive from it – you can be among them by following a few key principles.

  1. Decide what doesn’t change. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the absolute first thing you must do before developing a new strategy is deciding which parts of the old one you should keep around. Things like a core business ethic, structure, market or aim, or any part that has proven solid over the years can be worth keeping – you don’t want to burn everything to the ground and start anew, as you’ll risk not being able to build back up again.
  2. Cut down on non-essentials. Sometimes the best way to streamline and refocus a company is to cut down on extra efforts that aren’t providing the returns they should. It can be easy for the focus to become too widely spread over several years of trying different business approaches. Diversification and trying new things is important, but cutting out the ones that haven’t worked is even more so. Cut these loose and focus your energy and attention on the most valuable parts of your business. At the very least, cut down expenses as much as you can even without affecting your core structure.
  3. Restructure and rebuild. Once you’ve decided what to keep, it’s time to overhaul the parts of your business that need to be brought up to date. Restructuring can be a hard process – habits are comfortable after all, and have proven successful enough to become a standard. However, you always need to be open to the possibility that there’s a more efficient way to do things, and seek them out and apply them as much as possible. Look for more efficient ways to communicate, to structure command and project management, to source your products, to market and to measure results.

Navigating change is an essential part of any business, and doing so successfully can make your returns even better as you discover new markets, new production techniques and more efficient methods of management.

The Importance of Digital B2B Marketing

Some B2B businesses are sadly lagging behind their B2C counterparts in one key area – digital marketing. Though traditional marketing techniques and practices needn’t be given up on just yet, more and more businesses are switching on to digital marketing techniques, which means you need to do the same thing if you want to form connections with these businesses. It shows that you’re keeping up with current trends, and adapting the latest technology.

There are host of reasons to get into digital marketing for B2B that you ought to consider.

  • Everyone else is doing it. It may not be an original or noble reason, but the fact that every other business is now turning to digital marketing means that you need to do so also in order to keep up. Otherwise you simply miss out on valuable customers just by failing to act.
  • You reach more customers. The fact is more and more businesses conduct their search for services and products online. Search engines, social media and email newsletters are all increasingly common ways that businesses will find and then research who they potentially want to make contact. It’s much easier to respond to an email than a direct mail marketing approach, and your response can be instant.
  • PPC has long-term passive gains. PPC may take time to set up, but once done your campaign will continue to bring in traffic boosts over a long period of time without needing much adjustment or additional expenditure. If you have your website set up to take advantage of these visitors with a solid sales funnel, this makes it a fantastic method of earning passive income.
  • You can get personal. Customers are extremely wary of standard business practices – especially when those customers are businesses themselves who can recognise these techniques instantly. Digital marketing allows you to be more subtle, and use things such as blog posts to offer information and products that create a more trusting connection between yourself and the customer.

Any B2B business without a digital marketing strategy should strongly consider implementing one – it represents a huge potential audience, shows you are up to date on the latest trends, and puts you in direct contact with other businesses who have switched to digital means of building connections and undertaking services.

More resources about B2B digital marketing:

How To Create A Customer Centric Website

When you’re a business owner with a website, the most important thing is ensuring the needs of the customer are met at all times. Without even realising it, the user will feel more engaged and therefore more likely to trust and continue interacting with your site, trusting you and your product and removing the obstacles between them and converting to a sale. By optimising your website around the customer, you increase the chances that they will stay engaged.

  1. Identify your customer. The most important thing to start with is to have a clear picture of who your ideal customer is. Use previous data to determine who the average person purchasing your product or service is, and use this as your key figure. You can have multiple customer models, but they should each represent a significant amount of revenue, or a different niche that you cater to.
  2. Conduct interviews with stakeholders and involved parties. It’s worth getting feedback from a variety of different sources, to decide what aspects are most important to focus on for customers. Decide which key elements are the focus of the website overall and where you need to put the focus.

3.Commission or conduct user testing. There are websites and online services where you can commission an experienced tester to visit your website and give you feedback on their experience, including what they immediately notice, whether they found the key areas of the site easily, and whether they would recommend your website to a friend. You can use this data to make targeted changes to your website.

  1. Experiment and test. Customers are constantly changing, and your website may need to also. Continually analyze your data to find out what’s working and what isn’t, and try new things to discover the best plan of attack.

Customer centric websites are essential for creating a user experience that encourages visitors to trust, interact and eventually convert into sales. It’s all about understanding your audience, testing with real people, and making changes to the structure of your website as a whole.

Getting Started With E-Newsletters

Email marketing can be a great way to create another marketing avenue for your business and one that can be very powerful when done correctly. The results can led to increased conversions, greater return on investment and allows you to segment your audience based on their interests for more targeted marketing.

The following email marketing tips will help you maximise your email campaigns for more engagement

Define Your Audience

One of the most important steps in email marketing is the ability to define your audience before you start writing your emails, designing and sending your campaigns. Doing so will give way to more targeted emails based on the interests of your email list. Having this information before you send emails to your list makes it a lot easier to determine the content of your emails and can thus led to greater engagement and more sales.

If you don’t currently have subscribers on your email list, this gives you a great opportunity to set up a subscription form based around a particular topic. By setting up a email subscription form based on a very specific subject you automatically know what your readers want to know about and you can customise your email campaigns around this information.

If you already have email subscribers but don’t know anything about them. Try to backtrack to how they signed up to your email list. What page did they subscribe on? What did your text say? Finding the page with the largest sign up rate can often lead to understand better about what your audience are looking for.

Determine Your Content

Once you understand what your audience are interested in, it’s time to start determining your content. If you have an email list with a focused topic one good way to try and see which content works better for your list is to spilt the email list to test different headlines/styles of writing and more. By testing different versions of content to the same email list you can track which of the campaigns has the most engagement. Over time you’ll understand which version of the content works better for your email. This can led to more sales and more engagement using the same numbers on your list.

Sending Frequency

Once you’ve figured out the above steps it’s time to work out how often you’ll send your emails. This can be tricky as emailing too often can lead to users unsubscribing from your list. Email too little and they may loose interest. There’s no real formula to use when figuring out how often to send emails to your list, unless you specify that they will receive emails, daily, once per week etc.  If you’re not sure we advise to start off with around one email per month to see how your audience responses then test it further to find the correct amount that works for you and your audience.

Get Organised

It’s important that you get organised with your email campaigns and set a schedule of when you’ll send the emails. Create a roadmap to work from, this roadmap can be designed in such a way that allows a product sell at the end of the campaign. There are a lot of options here but its important to keep on top of your work to maximise your email efforts.

Email marketing is both an art and a science. It’s important to follow the steps above to increase your chances of keeping and growing your email list. It’s also important to track what you are doing. Keeping an eye on email open rates, links clicked and more and help you drill down into what is and what is not working.