There are some basic essentials when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) marketing, such as targeting the right people and ensuring your message is appropriate for this target audience.
Before beginning your marketing campaign, make sure that your website and any marketing literature you plan to use is up-to-date, and gives all the necessary and relevant information in a succinct and clear manner.
Direct marketing is one of the most effective tools for many businesses, so it could be worth investing in a commercially available and well researched contact list, or building one yourself. Bear in mind that in either case, your list needs to be fully GDPR compliant.
Your marketing message should be refined to ensure it is appropriate for your audience; highlight the benefits of using your product or service, and make it as easy as possible for people to contact you.
Having completed the preparation, your campaign can begin!
There is a wide array of avenues you can choose from to reach your audience, with some of the available options including: direct mail, email, PR, advertising, and social media – among others.
Get The Ball Rolling
So, you have chosen your method of reaching your audience, and your first communication has gone out – now,
do you just wait for the enquiries to come in?
You could, but there is one aspect of business-to-business marketing that is often overlooked or easily dismissed – persistence.
Your first communication may yield very little, but that’s not because marketing doesn’t work. It could just be that you are an entirely new name who people have not heard of before, so in their minds, they do not know you.
This means we need to educate them and build trust in your business or brand. And the only way to do that is to stick at it!
Remind Them You’re There
The next step is to set up another point of contact with your audience; this could involve sending a programme of monthly email shots or direct mailings, placing an advertisement in a well targeted publication, producing a regular newsletter, or publishing case studies of interesting projects you have been involved with.
Try contacting your audience using a mix of different media. If your name keeps popping up in different environments, people will automatically become more familiar with your business or brand name.
Also, if you’ve launched a new product or service, or been involved in an interesting or unusual project, tell people about it! Announce it on the news page or blog section of your website, and shout about it on social media.
Sending a press release about your interesting new projects or services to industry trade publications and your local press, could result in an article about you being published in a place where people wouldn’t necessarily expect to read about your brand. All this exposure helps to make your company more memorable.
Then, when people receive your next mailshot or newsletter, or see your latest advertisement and social media post, they may feel they know you at least a little bit better than they did before.
Phone A (New) Friend
The telephone can be a useful tool for following up direct mail activity, particularly if you have sent something quite unusual or eye-catching. In this instance, why wouldn’t you want to phone the recipients and ask if it arrived safely?
Alternatively, if you choose to contact people using email shots, most email broadcasting systems allow you to download lists of recipients who have read your email or clicked on links contained within it. This can then give you a targeted list of people who have already shown some interest in your business and could be highly receptive to a follow-up telephone call.
Using the telephone to follow up direct marketing activity can be the first step in building a more personal relationship with your prospects, and can also provide valuable feedback on their needs and your marketing communications.
The choice of media you use may vary from industry to industry, but whatever business you’re in, try to get your name in front of as many potential clients as possible, in as many different environments as you can, and whatever you do – stick at it!
To give an example, a few years ago I was assisting a European business to develop in the UK market. They had appointed a UK agent who did everything himself, and as the market began to show some promise, they decided to expand the team by adding further Marketing and Sales personnel. In the previous year, UK turnover was around £70,000, so the new team set a target of £200,000 to reflect the increase in numbers from one to three.
A well-targeted direct marketing campaign, in this case using direct mail and telephone follow-up, commenced. We generated interest and had some enquiries, but after the first six months we had to inform their head office that turnover in the UK was, in fact, zero.
I convinced them to stick with the marketing campaign, as many of the projects they could be involved with were relatively long-term. Then, in the second six months of the campaign we generated a UK turnover of £220,000!
This experience shows that, in marketing, Persistence Pays!