How Your B2B Online Marketing Strategy Can Help You Improve Your Brand’s Authority (Updated March 2019)
Imagine a scenario in which your prospects end up blindly purchasing everything that you are selling. Sounds too good to be true, right? After all, when it comes to spending their hard-earned money, no one makes irrational purchase decisions.
For B2B brands, the process is even more complicated with multiple stakeholders whose trust you need to win. That is where B2B online marketing can benefit you immensely.
B2B online marketing can go a long way to build your brand’s authority. This is something many brands struggle with when selling B2B products or services.
Most B2B companies focus on generating leads or raising brand awareness. Not many of them take the initiatives to improve their overall branding.
Remember, a high brand authority can naturally increase leads and brand awareness. It also has an impact on your SEO and rankings. If you have a greater brand authority, your website is likely to show up in the top search engine results.
A higher brand authority also means that your customers will believe that your brand is more credible and trustworthy. This may lead to greater engagement and sales too.
Now that you know how important it is to improve your brand’s authority, let’s discuss how to do so. You can leverage effective B2B online marketing strategies to make your brand stand out.
Before we talk about a few popular strategies, let’s learn more about creating a B2B online marketing strategy and how it can benefit your brand.
How to Create a B2B Online Marketing Strategy for Your Brand
A successful B2B online marketing strategy is one that is based on the solid foundations of relevance, reliability, credibility, and trustworthiness.
Such a strategy can help you attract and engage new customers, ward off competitors, and drive more leads and conversions.
Here are the points you should consider when creating your B2B online marketing strategy:
1. Outline Your Marketing Objectives
You must align your B2B online marketing objectives with your company’s bigger goals. Each of these objectives needs to be measurable and specific. Also, you must quantify your objectives. Make sure that the objectives are achievable. Draw an estimation of the possibilities, including the best-case scenario.
Your marketing objectives need to be time-bound. Create a tracker for your objectives, and include small milestones for every month or every quarter.
2. Create an Action Plan and Decide KPIs
Design a roadmap or action plan for each of your B2B online marketing objectives. This action plan should be a summary of the methods or tactics you will use to achieve each objective.
The very first step is to identify and understand your target audiences. To get a better understanding of your potential buyers, study your buyer personas. When selecting a social platform for your marketing, make sure to select the one where your target audiences are present.
In order to monitor the performance of your objectives, you must decide on KPIs. Based on your defined objectives, you need to list your KPIs (key performance indicators). The regular monitoring of these performance indicators will help you understand if you are on the right track or not.
3. Build a Cohesive Campaign
A cohesive and integrated marketing campaign is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. Be it offline or online, you need to adopt an omni-channel strategy for your B2B marketing campaigns. However, you need to be careful when selecting social media platforms for your B2B online marketing campaign.
You must consider the following when selecting social platforms:
- What’s the preferred social platforms of your customers? The platform where your customers are present will help you get the most out of your campaign.
- Jot down the pros and cons of all social media platforms. Figure out how and which social platforms will be suitable for your campaign.
- Figure out ways of integrating all of your social media profiles.
To maintain consistency in your branding, design rules for visuals and set a tone for both offline and online channels. Make sure that these rules are easy to understand and use, and that all teams know them.
When running your campaign on multiple channels, ensure that the messaging is consistent. To do this, you can consider repurposing the same content.
When working with multiple social channels, you should have an accurate tracking mechanism for your campaign metrics. The metrics and tracking mechanism will help you track leads generated from various channels. This will further help you calculate your ROI.
4. Align Your Marketing and Sales Goals
Many B2B brands fail to align their marketing goals with their sales goals. When that happens, you may end up generating leads that may not be relevant to your sales team.
If you want to create a successful B2B online marketing strategy, you should ensure that your sales and marketing teams are on the same page.
5. Leverage Marketing Automation and CRM
It becomes very difficult to manage all offline and online B2B marketing activities at the same time. But having a centralized CRM system in place will help you manage them efficiently. A CRM tool can really come in handy for both the sales and marketing teams.
Have a centralized CRM system that can store information on leads, contacts, and the details of sales. This will help teams access customer details, purchase histories, and other important information.
It needs to also have lead tracking and analysis capabilities – which can help you calculate reach, effectiveness, and ROI. You can also examine which campaign activity is working for you by tracking the journey of a customer.
Marketing automation software simplifies and automates the heavy-duty tasks of B2B online marketing. Creating landing page and forms for email campaigns, and personalization of content on your website are easily done by automation software. Also, it can quickly and easily calculate ROI and track results.
Why Should You Invest in B2B Online Marketing?
It is important for B2B companies to build a brand that people can trust. You can only expect growth in sales and business when investors, clients, and employees value your brand.
And what better way to build that trust and credibility than B2B online marketing? I think none.
B2B online marketing can help you improve the authority and trustworthiness of your brand in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at how it can help.
1. Increase Exposure
To gain the trust of consumers and increase your brand’s awareness, it’s important to increase your B2B brand’s exposure. By leveraging social platforms, you can start interacting with your target customers and establish a relationship. The way you represent your brand on social platforms should reflect your company’s values.
Here are a few B2B online marketing tactics that can help you increase the exposure of your brand:
- Ensure you regularly post high-quality and relevant content.
- Be consistent with your branding and messaging.
- Make sure to reply to your customer’s comments and engage with them regularly.
Posting relevant content will encourage your customers to share it across their social circles. This increases the exposure of your brand.
2. Generate Traffic
When B2B online marketing is done properly, it can generate a high amount of quality traffic. Leverage social media platforms and make sure to present your brand in a way that’s appealing and useful. This will encourage your prospects to start engaging with your brand. Their curiosity may even lead them to your website, increasing your traffic.
Leverage giveaways, offers, and discounts. This will encourage your website visitors to stay longer on your website. However, don’t put up content which appears excessively promotional. Overly salesy content might drive away your prospects instead of attracting them.
3. Enhance SEO
B2B online marketing can have a huge impact on your SEO. You can improve your rankings by leveraging social media.
Backlinks from high-authority websites are a great way to improve your brand’s authority. The higher the Domain Authority of the site that links to you, the better your chances of improving your ranking.
Keep posting useful, valuable, and high-quality content that increases your chances of getting mentioned on social media. You can even work with influential bloggers or industry experts who can review your products and share them on social.
4. Generate New Leads
When you are able to generate a high amount of traffic, you can get a large number of leads too. Of all B2B social media platforms, LinkedIn is the most effective at generating new leads. Facebook and Twitter are the second and third most impactful platforms for generating leads.
LinkedIn is largely used by businesses and professionals. So it is an ideal social platform to target your prospects and run B2B online marketing campaigns.
5. Build Relationships
Social media platforms are meant for connecting with people easily. So use this powerful tool to build and strengthen relationships with your B2B customers. It gives you an opportunity to interact with them, and show that you care about them.
Be authentic, easily approachable, and humanize your brand. A lot of times, customers leave their feedback on social media. So you must actively respond to it.
Make sure you thank them for any positive remarks. And if you get any negative feedback, you must respond while being empathetic. Try to offer a solution and help them out. If it’s not possible immediately, bring the conversation offline.
The Best B2B Online Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Brand’s Authority
It can be difficult to generate leads and increase conversions for your B2B business. You need to think about creative B2B online marketing strategies to bring in new clients.
Let’s take a look at 6 of the most effective B2B online marketing strategies you can leverage in 2019 to increase your brand’s exposure and authority.
1. Live Videos
There is no denying that videos are fun to watch and easy to understand. And they have become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Livestream in collaboration with New York Magazine conducted a survey to understand how customers use live videos. The study found that 80% of participants prefer watching live videos over reading blog posts from brands.
According to the same study, 82% of audiences prefer and enjoy watching live videos rather than social media posts. This is because people can easily relate to videos. Also, videos make a long-lasting impact in the minds of people.
This makes leveraging live videos an effective B2B online marketing strategy for your brand. Through live videos, brands can successfully communicate their emotions and values to their prospects. When compared with pre-recorded videos, live videos are watched 3X more and they receive 10X more comments.
SAP is a leading enterprise software company. They team up with top executives and experts from the industry to organize various events. The events are conducted throughout the year and experts are invited to talk and share their valuable thoughts.
SAPPHIRE is one such event, where nearly 20K people can attend in person. With the help of Facebook Live videos, the company was able to reach an additional 100K people. The experts went Live, interacting with and answering the questions of audiences who were not able to join the event personally.
Image Source – socialbusinessengine.com
2. Tell Your Brand’s Story
For B2B brands, even if the aim is to sell to businesses, you essentially sell to people – people who run those businesses, not machines or robots. So, you need to connect with your audiences on a personal level.
And to do that, what can be better than storytelling? Storytelling has been a very successful B2B online marketing strategy to build personal connections with audiences. Through storytelling, you can humanize your brand, and present it in front of your audiences. This will not only help you establish a connection with your audiences, but also improve your brand’s authority.
Your stories present the real people working behind your brand. You must ensure that these stories are real, authentic, and original. Leverage social media platforms, as they’re an effective way to get your stories across to people.
Intel leverages social media to share inspiring stories of the company with their audiences. In the post below, they’ve shared a picture of the company’s founders and some fun facts about them. Such fun and engaging posts are great at improving brand authority.
Image Source – Instagram
3. Turn Your Employee into Brand Ambassadors
>Now, who can talk about your products and services in the best possible way? Obviously, your employees. Since they know everything about your products and services, encourage them to talk about your brand on social media. When it comes directly from employees, people tend to believe it quickly.
For better impact and results, you can create an employee advocacy program within your company. In the program, motivate your employers to talk about your brand on their social media profile. When done correctly, employee advocacy is the best B2B online marketing strategy to enhance your brand’s authority. You can also ask them to re-share the content posted on the brand’s social platform.
But why employees? Apart from the fact that they know everything related to your brand, employees are approachable and more trustworthy to prospects. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer study, potential customers trust employees. And employees help them with their purchase decisions.
Employee advocacy platforms like Smarp can enable the exchange of ideas among your employees. It allows your subject matter experts to start or participate in discussions that may be valuable to your customers. Your marketers can use these topics to create content that resonates better with your audiences and better engage them.
IBM has been successfully running an employee advocacy program for a while now. They leverage their employees to promote their brand on social media platforms.
As part of the program, the employees are provided with the content and are asked to share it on social media. In this video, you can see Amber Armstrong, IBM’s Director of Digital, Social, and Influencers speaking about the program.
Image Source – resources.dynamicsignal.com
4. Collaborate with Influencers
Teaming up with influencers for B2B online marketing can deliver incredible results. Wondering why and how influencers can help you improve brand’s authority? Simply because influencers are the best at winning the trust of your potential customers.
Audiences always want the assurance that your products or services will work as well as you promise they will. Because they are investing their hard-earned money into buying your product or services. And influencers are better at giving that assurance to your prospects. You can either ask influencers to review one of your products or invite them for an expert interview.
But you must find influencers who are experts in your niche and who can talk about your brand. So, finding the best and most relevant influencers for your B2B online marketing strategy is a basic requirement. When selecting an influencer, you must take care of two important things.
First, to become a reliable voice for your brand, the potential influencer must be an industry expert. And second, they must have a reasonable number of followers, so you can achieve the desired results. But finding a relevant influencer is one of the toughest jobs.
So, how will you go about looking for a relevant influencer? Platforms like Grin can help you search for influencers by reach, engagement, category, etc. It can also help you run your campaigns, track them, and even measure your returns in real-time.
Incorporating influencers in your B2B online marketing campaigns can be truly helpful and beneficial.
For example, one of the biggest professional networking platforms, LinkedIn, collaborated with several influencers. The influencers are industry experts and were asked to promote LinkedIn’s business solutions. “The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn” is a resource created by the digital and social media marketing industry experts.
Image Source – LinkedIn
Each chapter in the guide contains the experience of each influencer using the solutions from LinkedIn. In the guide, the experts have also answered to relevant questions raised by the readers. Not only are the guide and expert insights useful, but they also improve the brand’s authority.
5. Use Customer Testimonials
According to a study, reviews, feedback, and testimonials from customers impact the purchasing decisions of more than 90% of prospects. The same study reported that more than 60% of marketers use customer testimonials in their B2B online marketing strategy.
Customer testimonials are the best way to improve brand authority and win the trust of potential customers. Why? The reviews and feedback from regular people about your products or services are more reliable and credible.
For instance, Okta, an identity management company, has used this tactic very successfully. They have a YouTube channel, where they post videos of customers talking about their services.
Below is the screenshot of one such video. Nasdaq offers their technology to more than 70 global companies in almost 50 countries. The VP of Nasdaq stresses the fact that security and data privacy is of utmost importance for them. In the video, he shared his experience collaborating with Okta, and their seamless and easy-to-use features.
Image Source – YouTube
6. Guest Blogging
The strategy of inviting industry experts to write a guest post can also increase your brand’s authority. The important point to keep in mind when using this strategy is to ensure that the person is an industry expert.
But why would the expert team up with you? To get them interested in the collaboration, you must explain the benefits it carries for both of you. Also, explain that your interests are aligned with the interests of their followers.
Invite them to talk about relevant topics which interest both of you. Once the topic is decided, ask them to write a detailed, useful, and attractive post. After the guest post is ready, you can publish it on your website and share it on social media.
You can even ask them to share the guest post on their social media channels. This will also help enhance your brand’s authority.
For example, American Express, the largest credit card company, teamed up with famous bloggers Emily Henderson and Grace Bonney. Though the core goal was to expand their brand’s reach, they also managed to improve their brand’s authority. With the help of the guest blog posts by Grace and Emily, the company was successfully able to improve their authority.
Image Source – Facebook
You cannot treat B2B sales, authority, and branding separately. Your B2B sales are largely dependent on your brand’s authority. So you cannot focus on sales without focusing on brand authority. You need to invest time, money, and effort into identifying the right target audience, winning their trust, and developing relationships.
It’s a long process, and will take time to generate positive results. Also, B2B purchasing decisions involve more than one layer of decision makers. But when done correctly, your potential customers will trust and select you over other B2B brands.
If you believe that social media platforms are not useful for B2B online marketing, you’re wrong. They add value to your business, generate high-quality traffic to your website, and improve your brand’s rankings. All of this can help to improve your brand’s authority and help you become a leader in your industry.
If you know of any other B2B online marketing strategies to improve brand authority, please feel free to comment.