When Should You Resort To Paid Marketing At A B2B Startup
If you run a B2B startup, you're familiar with the challenges that come with it from what decision to make to what action to take.
B2B companies sell products or services to other businesses (and sometimes to consumers, too). Paid marketing at a B2B startup can be more tricky than a B2C startup given end users are usually buying on behalf of the organization.
B2Bs use a lot of metrics that analyze their target audience before pitching and selling a product to them. B2Bs can attract both inbound (when the customer comes to you) and outbound (when you contact the potential customer) lead by:
• Defining its target customer,
• Using the appropriate communication channels; and
• Maintaining communication.
B2Bs first consider the size of their audience before they start marketing and pitching them. They filter by small and medium businesses (0-100 employees), mid-market businesses (100-1000 employees), to enterprise businesses (1000 and above).
Effective marketing depends on the size of the audience as marketing is not a one-size fits all process; it is not possible to design a strategy that works for every size audience. Without understanding your target audience, marketing strategies will be ineffective.
All You Need To Know About B2B Marketing
To make the most of any B2B marketing strategy, it is important to consider the goal you wish to achieve. Is the strategy designed to just create visibility? Is it to drive partnerships and collaborations with other businesses? Or is it just simply to maximize profits?
B2B startups unlike B2Cs focus on strategies that help them to pitch their products and services to businesses that need them. The end goal of doing this is so that they can gain visibility and make profits.
The primary goal of every business is to maximize revenue and profits. Marketing strategies are used to reach your target market and drive awareness of your brand, product, and service. Strategies used differ from one business to another and are dependent on some basic factors.
Factors that cause marketing strategies to differ include goals, purchase motivation, purchase purpose, purchase process, content, and the people involved in the purchase.
1. Marketing Goal
The marketing goal of B2Bs is to acquire and retain (high-value customers) which are other companies. Customers will typically be focused on understanding the business case of using your product, the ROI, efficiency, and expertise. Ensure that your marketing strategies communicate these values to your prospective customers.
2. Purchase Motivation
Customers are not primarily influenced by emotion in B2B marketing. Instead, they are affected by reason, costs, and ROI - i.e. how companies can make more (financial) gains through their products and services.
3. Purchase Purpose
B2Bs tend to retain customers longer than B2Cs. Most times, the engagement with their customers is often long-term because of purchase purpose. Once customers have found what they are looking for, they won’t leave unless they are enticed by a better deal or better value elsewhere. In addition, switching costs in B2B solutions are usually higher than B2C solutions. Constant contact, feedback, and service with your customers is important to ensure client loyalty.
4. Purchase Process
Unlike B2Cs, purchases are not made directly. Specific employees in the company may be buyers for different types of B2B products. For instance, a Procurement Manager may negotiate deals for enterprise-wide software whereas a Design Manager may buy design software for their specific team. This way, relationships are enhanced and intensified between both parties.
Creating quality content (that informs and convinces) for B2B marketing is very important. Like direct consumers, the customers also need to be educated about new products and solve their problems.
6. People Involved
B2B customers are not the sole decision-makers. They are often representatives taking instructions from the decision-makers. Make sure you understand the buying process and the key influencers and decision makers in the process to drive effective marketing and sales.
Free Forms Of Marketing
Free forms of marketing include:
• Word of mouth and other referral channels that spread of your brand, products, or services
• Content marketing that leads to organic rank on Google (while “free” this does entail spending on building content.
• Barter based partnerships with other brands where instead of paying money, you barter on other things like cross-promotions.
If you don’t already have such channels set up and working for you, you’ll need to resort to paid marketing to start feeding your top of the funnel.
When B2B Startups Should Resort To Paid Marketing
There are several strategies that B2B startups can engage to drive sales. While some of these strategies can be free, there will come a time when the need for paid marketing will be very important. Some paid marketing strategies that you can engage for your startup include:
• Email Marketing: It was reported by Content Marketing Institute in 2020 that 81% of B2B marketers consider email newsletters as their most used form of content marketing. This means they are tapping into the 3.9 billion daily email users.
• Digital Marketing ( SEM ): This is about having a digital presence. Without one, people will wonder what your business is since everyone is present online. Get a website and ensure it is SEO-optimized. Define your audience and run PPC campaigns. You may want to bid on high volume, high purchase intent keywords that will help your potential users become aware of your service when they are searching for a solution.
• Social Media Marketing: This form of marketing is not quite emphatic for B2Bs as it is for B2Cs. Yet, social media is a powerful tool for creating brand awareness and management. The followers you have might be the key to connecting you with businesses in need of your services. You can focus your paid ad spend on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook to some extent.
• Content Marketing: Content available to B2Bs includes blogging, podcasting, newsletters, and even vlogging. Content marketing can drive traffic and convert leads when backed up by analytics. Once you have content ready, promote the content through sponsored channels such as Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Leveraging social media for business growth.
Paid marketing is essential for you if speed to market matters to you and leaving things to organic or word-of-mouth growth may drive things too slowly for you to realize the potential of your business. Also, if you have a short timeline of products and services with specific goals and benefits a big paid push may be necessary to maximize exposure to consumers.
But before you dive into it, you need to be familiar with your customers' interests and previous interactions. While paid marketing would allow you to target new customers, the old ones might be as new as gold. Again, communication with your clients is key to success.
Relying on paid marketing as your sole channel can be dangerous and give you a false sense of achieving product-market fit. Ultimately, you need to track your conversions from these paid channels and ensure that the customers you acquire give you an ROI that more than crosses your cost of acquisition. You also want customers that are a good fit and advocate your brand.
With paid marketing, you should be concerned about customer retention as much as customer acquisition. The right marketing strategies will keep your customers well related and inform them of their needs.
Marketing is fundamental to all businesses, be it small or large. Visibility and productivity are largely determined by the quality of marketing strategy that is engaged. B2Bs can make use of paid marketing strategies like email and content marketing to be sure they are reaching their target audience.