The Basics of B2B Digital Marketing

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B2B digital marketing is essential for any business-to-business company (B2B) looking to promote its products and services. But where should you begin with digital marketing? That’s a challenge for many.

Before deciding what avenues to explore in B2B digital marketing, let’s break down what B2B marketing is, how it’s different from consumer marketing, and what elements can be included in a B2B digital marketing strategy.

What Is B2B Digital Marketing?

B2B digital marketing refers to marketing a product or service via online channels such as websites, email, and social media to reach and engage with potential customers. B2B digital marketing can expand to include website design, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and social media marketing. While all of these elements can also be wrapped into a business to consumer digital marketing strategy, they can greatly differ in follow-through, presentation, and more.

B2B Vs. B2C Digital Marketing: How Do They Differ?

Digital marketing for B2B is different from consumer digital marketing (B2C) because it focuses on reaching other businesses rather than individual consumers. Several key ways B2B digital marketing differs from B2C can be seen in campaign structuring, lead generation, and measurable results.

One of the most significant ways B2B digital marketing differs from B2C is how leads are generated. In most cases, B2B marketers rely on inbound methods, such as content marketing and organic search traffic. In contrast, B2C marketers often use outbound methods such as paid advertising and direct mail to generate leads.

This being said, many B2B companies do leverage paid advertising and direct mail to generate leads – but it often comes at a much higher cost per lead.

How Does Digital Marketing Work for a B2B Company?

B2B digital marketing can be tricky for companies to effectively pull off. Typically, it requires a lot of content, quite a bit of research, and a healthy budget.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Your customers are not looking for you on Google. Because of this, you need to make sure that your website pages are up-to-date and SEO optimized. This way, your customers will indirectly make their way to your website.
  • Focus on creating great content. The better your content is, the more likely it is that others will want to find it, link to it, and share it. This is especially important for backlinks, email marketing, and B2B heavy platforms (like LinkedIn).
  • Use social media to connect with potential customers. While a large majority of B2B companies tend to skip social media altogether, this is usually a poor decision. You might be surprised how many connections and leads you can gather with a weekly LinkedIn video or resharing your thought leadership in relevant Facebook groups.
  • You’ll need to layer on the tactics. A restaurant might be able to get away with just social media and a local carpet company might be able to get away with an up-to-date Google My Business listing. However, a B2B company looking to grow will need to leverage a variety of platforms and tactics to be successful. 

What Can Be Included in B2B Digital Marketing?

Like we said, you’ll need to layer on the platforms and tactics to be truly effective and nurture quality leads. Here’s what this can expand to include:

  • Social Media Marketing: Businesses use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with potential customers by creating original content, answering questions, and engaging with leads. For B2B marketing, Facebook and LinkedIn are likely the platforms you’ll need to pay attention to.
  • Search Engine Optimization: When people search for something online, they’ll probably use Google. The right SEO will help you get to the top of Google. You’ll need a strategy that includes regular updates, relevant keywords, and lots and lots of blogs.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing is an effective way to nurture leads and reach customers. You can create monthly newsletters to promote new content, send information about your products or services, and offer useful tips. No matter what, always include a call to action and consider developing extensive processes for following through with engaged prospects.
  • Full Marketing Campaigns: A digital B2B marketing campaign involves multiple digital marketing techniques to generate leads and reach potential customers. Content marketing can include podcasts, videos, ebooks, free courses, white papers, articles, and more.
  • Digital Marketing Ads: Digital marketing ads are advertisements that appear on websites, in apps, or on social media. These online marketing B2B ads can be text, images, videos, or a combination and can retarget certain individuals at various stages of the marketing funnel.
  • Video Marketing: Video marketing is a great way to connect with potential customers (especially since most B2B services and products require more explanation). These can then be distributed via email marketing and social media or hosted on your website.
  • Lead Generation: Lead generation is part of a marketing technique that attracts mildly interested parties and converts them into prospects and eventually, into customers. This can involve a variety of tactics, but popular ones include email marketing campaigns, Google Ads partnered with downloads, and LinkedIn ads.
  • LinkedIn Marketing: LinkedIn can be a major powerhouse for B2B companies. Not only can you run LinkedIn ads that target specific titles, industries, and companies, but you can directly connect with target audiences and message them personally. (Pro Tip: Consider sending a short video to introduce yourself.)

What Are Good Benchmarks for Digital Marketing for B2B Companies?

Benchmarks for digital marketing can vary greatly depending on the industry and service. So while we would love to give you exact benchmarks based on marketing tactics, that would be unwise and not very helpful.

For example, when it comes to setting a Google Ads budget, this will vary depending on what keywords you’re targeting, who else is operating in the same ad space, and what resources you have available. For certain companies, the average CPC could be around $2. For other companies, you could be looking at $80 per click. 

It’s important to do your research, know what your options are, and decide on the best path based on your budget, resources, and target audience.

Pro Tip: Just because your CPC is hovering around $80, doesn’t mean your target audience is the one actually doing the clicking. That $80 could be better spent on LinkedIn ads or developing new blog material. Make sure you weigh your options and all possible results.

How to Get Started With B2B Digital Marketing

When it comes to B2B marketing, you can start small or go big. This all depends on your budget, internal resources, current needs, and future goals.

Here are some ideas on how to get started with B2B digital marketing:

  • Automated tools are a big time saver. These tools can help you manage campaigns and track results. For example, social media software can automate posting and produce monthly reports, while an email marketing platform can organize email lists, automate email campaigns, and score leads.
  • Hire a well-qualified employee or full team. If you have the budget for it, start with a marketing assistant, manager, or director. These individuals are usually multi-talented and can handle a variety of marketing tasks.
  • Outsource your marketing efforts. This could involve a marketing agency, a fractional CMO, or a fractional marketing team. A traditional marketing agency is great for one-off projects or templated marketing services. A fractional CMO is great for strategy and helping to manage internal resources and budget. A fractional marketing team is great for customized marketing services and marketing strategy implementation.

What To Include in Your B2B Digital Marketing Plan

  • Strategy: Tailor your strategy to your business and include goals such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, or boosting brand awareness. Create specific goals to accurately measure success.
  • Budget: What’s your spend for digital marketing? This will determine, in part, the platforms and strategies to use.
  • Goals: What are you hoping to achieve? Increased website traffic? More leads? Greater brand awareness? Define your goals and ensure they’re SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).
  • Roadmap: A roadmap with a timeline lays out the steps you’ll take to achieve your goals.
  • Responsibilities: Identify team member responsibilities for clear accountability in your digital marketing plan.
  • Platforms: How will you reach your target audience? This depends on your budget and goals. Some popular channels include various social media platforms, email marketing, and paid advertising.
  • Dates: When will you start and finish your digital marketing plan? Include review dates to track the success of your efforts and make adjustments.

Kickstart Your B2B Digital Marketing with The Marketing Blender

B2B digital marketing is a complex process with a vast array of moving parts. However, if you understand the basic elements of a successful B2B marketing plan, you’ll be one step closer to a more effective campaign, more leads, and increased revenue.

If you need help getting started, contact the Marketing Blender for expert B2B digital marketing and fractional CMO marketing services.