What is B2B marketing?
Business to Business marketing, also known as B2B marketing is about grabbing the attention of businesses who may have an interest in buying the product or service you are selling.
B2B products and services are usually designed to help target companies increase their profits, or to make their lives easier in some way. For example, they may offer a way to streamline existing processes, offer time-saving solutions, or open up new revenue streams that may otherwise have been missed.
Sales pipelines in B2B marketing often follow a more traditional path than those found in businesses marketing directly to consumers (B2C). As the products are usually more complex and the transaction values larger, they will take much longer on average to complete. For this reason, forming long-term relationships with key players within a target company is crucial, not only for landing the business but also for retaining it.
Key differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing
The sales being chased by B2B companies – and crucially the time they take to land – varies greatly in comparison to their B2C counterparts.
Selling directly to consumers is generally a much quicker and simpler task. There will be just one person to convince and they’ll often make their decision much faster. In contrast, selling and marketing to businesses involves managing multiple touch points and convincing an average 6.8 stakeholders – the number of people who will typically be involved in any one B2B purchasing decision, according to the Corporate Executive Board. Each of these individuals will have their own agenda and set of priorities. When combined with a more complex product and a larger price tag, the result is a far longer sales cycle.
Business to business (B2B) marketers also have a much smaller target audience than those who aim at consumers directly. Because of this, it is vital to nurture each individual contact carefully. That means keeping a detailed record of each potential lead and any contact that is had with them, within an internal database or CRM. This ensures that everyone within the company knows exactly what stage each lead is at, what content they have digested, and who they have spoken to and when within the company.
B2B buyers make their purchasing decisions in a different way to consumers. They buy what they need, not what they want. Not only that, they will usually have to justify their purchasing decisions to a greater number of people. It is therefore up to marketers to appeal to their logic, not their emotions. That means understanding the product inside out, not just what it does and its features, but all the benefits and potential applications.
Having a good reputation and being considered a trusted brand is also important when you’re dealing with B2B buyers. Whilst a single consumer may be willing to take a risk on an unknown brand, business buyers are much more likely to research you and your reputation, long before they consider making a purchase.
What’s the difference between B2B sales and B2B marketing?
B2B sales and B2B marketing teams both share the same end goal – to bring money into the business – but their individual priorities and methods will be very different.
The focus for B2B marketing is to generate interest around the product or service being sold and convert that interest into business leads. Their purpose is to analyse the market and uncover the most effective channels for reaching those companies who are going to be the best fit for the solution on offer. They need to reach as many of these target businesses as possible and once they’ve grabbed their attention, to nurture them down the sales funnel by providing them with content that is relevant, interesting, and of value.
B2B marketers are there to secure the long-term returns – sowing seeds of interest that need to be nurtured over an extended period of time. They understand the importance of reputation and building a trustworthy brand and will focus on driving awareness for the company and its products.
In contrast, B2B sales is about getting a lead to sign on the dotted line and the product out of the door. Closing the deal is the most important thing to a sales rep. This means they take a much shorter-term outlook than their colleagues in marketing. Their targets are qualified sales leads who have already expressed a genuine interest in the product and have behaved in a way that suggests there is an intention to buy. They will look at who does fit the sales criteria, as opposed to marketing who will focus on who might.
While the two teams may have different priorities, when they work together the results can be phenomenal. B2B marketing should focus on bringing in the most relevant traffic, then nurture these leads along the funnel until they are sales ready. Sales should then step in to close the deal, creating a seamless experience. If B2B sales work closely with B2B marketing on every stage of the process, offering insights and feedback that helps strengthen marketing campaigns and targeting, then the whole process can be streamlined even further.
The B2B marketing basics
Getting started in B2B marketing can be a daunting task, as it spans such a huge range of channels and media – all of which will vary in effectiveness from company to company and will depend on the particular business niche.
Every business needs its own bespoke B2B marketing strategy to ensure that the right audiences are being targeted, over the right channels and at the right time. There are two core marketing methods that can be used – inbound and outbound.
Inbound B2B marketing
Inbound B2B marketing is about drawing customers towards the business on their own terms. It is about using tactics that will help potential customers ‘find’ the business, rather than pushing to get in front of them, like outbound marketing does.
Success in inbound B2B marketing comes down to creating and sharing content that potential customers will actively be seeking and which will then pull them towards the company.
Content marketing is a key tool used by most inbound marketers. The idea is to produce interesting, relevant and educational content that will be of value to the target audience. This content is then hosted on the website and shared, helping to generate leads and nurture them at every stage of the buyer journey.
The content should cover problems that a potential customer may be facing and offer advice and potential solutions. It should never be salesy. The aim of the content is to get the company in front of buyers early on in the sales process, when they may not yet be considering buying but are researching an issue.
Different types of content will be required for different types of buyers and also for each different stage of the buyer journey. The key to success here is offering the right content, to the right person, at the right time and always including clear next steps to help guide the lead down the pipeline.
Social media marketing (SMM)
SMM is the process of spreading awareness for your product or brand via social media channels. The way you do this is by creating shareable content and also interacting with customers directly.
A strong brand presence on social media is important, not only to keep your business in the forefront of people’s minds, but also to gather and collate opinions, data, feedback and potential complaints. Making customers feel like they’re being listened to goes a long way. By dedicating resources to social media marketing, you can impress potential customers by responding quickly and succinctly to their questions and comments.
Email marketing is the act of identifying and contacting potential customers by email. By nurturing potential customers with relevant email content delivered at the right time, you can draw them further down the sales funnel, towards a potential purchase.
Email marketing can also be useful for building brand loyalty and trust over time, as well as cross-selling to existing customers.
Getting face-to-face with prospects and potential leads remains one of the most effective forms of marketing around today. Getting face-time with potential clients and forming in-person bonds is important, due to the lengthy sales cycle and multiple touch points required in B2B marketing.
Event marketing can be utilised in a number of ways. For example, you may host your own in-person event, or attend a relevant trade show that gets you in front of people who are going to be a good fit for your business. This audience will, after all, have made the decision to attend and may also have paid to be there.
Outbound B2B marketing
Outbound B2B marketing refers to channels which push messages directly in front of potential customers. Due to the interruptive nature of these types of tactics, many marketers are moving away from them in favor of inbound marketing techniques. However, a combination of inbound and outbound can be highly impactful.
Outbound B2B marketing tactics include:
While this medium may have dipped in popularity, if done well it can still prove very effective and often feels more personal than its email equivalent. The success of any mailer relies heavily on how well written and targeted the copy is. Personalisation is also a huge factor. As with email marketing, the biggest hurdle is getting recipients to open the mail in the first place. Think carefully about the materials you will use and what they will say about your brand. You may also consider including a small free gift that your recipients will find useful or noteworthy, to increase the likelihood of them opening your mail.
When placed in the right magazine, journal or equivalent, print ads are still a viable way to reach a specific target audience. Use the knowledge you have gained through your other marketing channels and from existing customers, to identify where the best print ad opportunities may lie. Make sure you use your buyer personas to tailor your messaging, as the more closely matched you can get it, the more successful you are going to be. Being eye-catching and relevant is a must, as it is the visual appeal of a print ad that will get someone to stop and read on.
This sales technique has been the go-to tactic for generations of marketers but it’s now harder than ever to make an impact. Modern technology means calls can easily be screened and blocked, which only adds to the challenge of getting to speak to the right person. Therefore, it’s important to look at ways you can make your cold calls more effective. Hitting the phones still has a valid place within the marketing mix, but if you can concentrate your efforts on warm leads, the results will be far better.
Never underestimate the power of having a strong network of contacts to leverage. Jump on every opportunity you can to meet new potential contacts and start building links. Get proactive. You never know who you might meet, who they may in turn know, and also where they may end up in the future.
To market effectively, you need to find the right balance of marketing channels, which will allow you to reach the people who are most important to your business. This requires a comprehensive marketing strategy, as well as detailed buyer personas.
Avoid hitting every channel at once, as you risk stretching your resources too thin and will have greater difficulty tracking the results, which is important as you need to know what’s working and what’s not to be able to improve your processes. Instead, test 1-2 methods at a time, ensuring you have put processes in place to measure the return on investment you are generating. Only once you’ve refined these channels should you then think about adding some additional ones.
B2B marketing best practices
With so much conflicting advice out there, it can sometimes be difficult to know where best to start. Whilst each market sector requires a unique approach and the use of different channels, there are some core behaviours and practices that hold true for every B2B marketer.
Research your audience
If you want your B2B marketing to really hit the mark, then you need a complete and comprehensive understanding of who you are aiming it at. You need to know your target market inside and out.
Creating buyer personas is a great first step and will help you to tailor your messaging and create effective content. You should always speak your audience’s language. If they don’t use jargon or an overly formal tone, you should be seeking to mirror this. That said, even if readers will be familiar with their industry’s jargon and used to more technical terms, it’s always better to provide something that is easy to read.
Build trust with your leads
Establishing trust with potential customers is massively important within B2B marketing. You need to be seen as a trusted voice and an expert within your target market, by showcasing your expertise and what it may be like to work with you. The perfect way to do this is through a combination of content marketing (that will prove your extensive knowledge and how well you communicate) and social media marketing, which helps you keep in regular contact with potential and existing clients.
Set realistic KPIs
To be able to set the right goals, you need to understand what the key metrics are that you need to be tracking and how these align with the overall goals of the business. It isn’t just about revenue. Some marketing channels will focus on getting a set number of followers, or driving a certain amount of inquiries. In some cases, metrics such as bounce rate and time spent on the website will be much more important than the sheer volume of traffic.
Every marketing channel needs to have an expected cost and outcome outlined in advance, which should then be measured against. Once you’ve decided on the best metrics and KPIs, you can use these values to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, then see which areas need more work and equally where you should be investing more resources.
Take an inbound approach
B2B marketing used to be about forcing your way in front of as many people as possible, at a time of your choosing. While this may have been effective in the past, modern B2B buyers are increasingly cynical of these tactics. This has led marketers to adapt a methodology that considers buyers’ needs and preferences and aims to attract them through relevant and helpful content.
Inbound marketing is about drawing in relevant businesses so they find and come to you, rather than forcing your way in front of them. A well rounded inbound B2B marketing campaign will produce much higher quality leads, as many will qualify themselves though their behavior, making the sales process more straightforward and often helping to shorten the sales cycle.
You need to set and track KPIs and goals to succeed in business, but it’s always important to make sure any objectives you set are achievable. If you aim too high, you run the risk of making your lead generating channels appear less successful than they actually are. You should be ambitious but always realistic, otherwise the goals you are setting are pointless.
Timescales also need to be set realistically. If you don’t give a marketing channel or project sufficient time to run, or be established, then you’ll be analyzing an unfinished product and incomplete data set. It will be a much harder – if not impossible – task to draw accurate conclusions from this. The result will be data that fails to help you improve your current B2B marketing methodology, as is it likely to be flawed.
B2B marketing best practices
B2B marketers are juggling lots of balls at any one time and there are many challenges that will need to be overcome. Here are some of the most common issues faced by B2B marketers, as well as advice on how to overcome them.
One of the biggest challenges faced by B2B marketers is generating enough of the right type of traffic to their website, as having the best content in the world is meaningless if no one sees it.
There are loads of ways to generate traffic and the effectiveness of each approach will vary, depending on the niche area the business is operating in. For a comprehensive guide on how to generate traffic.
From SMEs to multinational corporations, one of the top problems remains: ‘How can I prove to internal stakeholders that what I’m doing is actually working?’.
If you can’t prove that you’re generating a positive return on investment, then you’re unlikely to be able to secure more budget in the future.
Clearly defined end goals need to be agreed right at the start of the process. It’s important to manage expectations at this point and set realistic goals, especially while campaigns are being established and are gaining traction. Once you have agreed on them, you can track these goals and use the data to see which campaigns are performing most effectively.
Unlike sales teams, who have clear-cut figures and targets to hit (for example, securing X number of sales per month / landing business worth £X per quarter) measuring return on investment from marketing can be exceedingly difficult.
If a potential prospect sees an advert, blog post or any other piece of content, and converts at a later date, you played a vital role in generating that lead and the subsequent revenue. The problem comes in being able to attribute that lead to a specific channel.
The secret here is to use analytics to track exactly where a customer has come from and the journey they have taken.
If your website reads like it was written by a robot, no-one is going to engage with the content. It’s as simple as that. To be successful in B2B sales, it’s important to form and retain connections with potential clients, and your website should sit at the heart of that. It will often be one of the first points of contact that a prospect has with your company and should effectively be working like an extra member of the team.
If your website is full of jargon, difficult to read and hard to ‘get’ then that will say something about you as a company. It is the equivalent of getting a call from a sales rep who is reading robotically from a script. No connection will be made and no relationship started. The customer is likely to get bored and look elsewhere.
The answer is to think about the user experience you are providing and to humanize your messages. Also write directly for the target reader you are aiming to address, not for search engines.
Turn each interaction into a one-on-one session and you’ll be well on your way to forming those first vital connections with potential leads. That isn’t to say you can’t have a professional or more formal tone to your copy. Many B2B businesses find a balance of the two – being both professional and accessible. You can be formal without sounding soulless.
Customising content for each stage of the buyer’s journey
Content marketing is a core tool in the inbound armory, but often not enough thought is put into where along the buyer journey each piece is aiming, and what its purpose will be.
Far from just writing a load of content and seeing what happens, you need a strategy. Each piece needs to be carefully tailored to its intended audience, both in terms of tone and what stage of the sales pipeline they are currently at.
Someone at the beginning of the sales process, who’s just beginning to research a problem they have, will want very different information to someone towards the end of the journey, who will be after more detailed, technical information and examples of the solutions in action.
If you have an existing library of content, begin by performing an audit to identify exactly what exists for each buyer persona at each stage of the buyer journey. You may be surprised by the scale of the gaps this activity flags up for you.
The hard work doesn’t end after you’ve completed an audit and filled in any gaps in your content library. To ensure the maximum effectiveness of any content you create, you need to be constantly assessing, managing and updating what you have.
Any content created needs to be held in a central location, so everyone can get the full use and benefit of it. Sales teams need to know exactly what resources are available and to have easy access to them. Also think about ways your existing content could be re-purposed, to ensure you are making the maximum impact from all your efforts. For example, your content can cross both the online and offline marketing fields if you print off a version of your key content for use at any events you are attending.
Look at your content and ask yourself these key questions:
- Can your sales and marketing teams quickly find the content and resources they need?
- Is the information in your content library completely up to date?
- Have you covered each stage of the buyer’s journey, for each of your buyer personas?
If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, then it’s time to focus on your digital asset management (DAM).
Integration of technology
Having the right tools for the job can make all the difference for any company, but buying in the wrong software, or implementing it poorly, can be a costly mistake. The first step when purchasing new technology should always be to research how it might benefit your business and teams.
Speak to the staff on the ground who will actually be using the tools before you make a purchasing decision. Ask them – do the features sound useful? Will the kit save them time and effort (and therefore money for the business)?
Once you’ve chosen the right digital tools for your business, you need to make sure your entire team can use them confidently. Training is key for both sales and marketing teams as it doesn’t matter how good your tools are if no one knows what they can do and how best to use them. Ensuring your teams are comprehensively trained will help you reap the full benefit of the tools and will also help you overcome any potential resistance you may face.
Aligning B2B sales & B2B marketing
A constant problem for nearly all B2B businesses, and one we’ve touched on already within this guide, is how to get your sales and marketing teams working together as one well-oiled machine.
Well-aligned B2B sales and B2B marketing teams can make a huge difference to the smooth running of your business, as well as driving greatly increased revenue.
What is a buyer persona?
The key to attracting the right people to your B2B business is being attractive to them. A buyer persona is a fictional character you create to represent each of your ideal customer types. Once produced they can be used to guide your strategy, helping ensure you reach the right audience, in the right way, with the right message.
Far from being simply a job title in a certain demographic of business, buyer personas take an in-depth look at what may be influencing a potential buyer’s decision making. Pulling together buyer personas is essential if you are to truly understand your target audience, what their needs and preferences are, how they prefer to communicate, and where they go for information. Importantly, they can help you pinpoint how best to influence your potential buyers.
Buyer personas are essential for any marketing strategy and should shape everything you go on to do. They can help you create effective and engaging marketing campaigns that are based on exactly the type of buyers you want to attract.
Why use buyer personas?
Having clearly defined and documented buyer personas will help you to:
- Get to know your target market better
- Create a consistent tone of voice in your communication
- Create tailored marketing campaigns
- Achieve better company alignment
- Generate more high quality leads
- Close more sales
How do you create detailed buyer personas?
- Define your buyer personas
The best starting point when trying to define your B2B buyer personas is to look at your existing client database and ask yourself the following questions:
- Which clients are bringing in the most profit?
- Which clients are bringing in the most revenue?
- Which clients do we enjoy working with the most?
Put a list together of your ideal customers and break down the information that you hold about them. See what all those ideal customers have in common and how they might be grouped.
The different types of customers that emerge from this exercise will be a good starting point for developing your buyer personas.
What to do if you don’t have any clients yet
If you’re a start-up and don’t have an existing client base, then research as much as you can. In this instance, your buyer personas will begin as quite a lot of assumption and guesswork, but as you move forward, you should check those assumptions and update your personas accordingly.
You could also reach out to people in your network who may be aiming at a similar audience to you. Forming mutually beneficial relationships with other businesses who aren’t in direct competition but who want to target similar buyers can be very beneficial in many ways.
Form an idea of what your buyer personas are and once you have some customers, find out as much about them as you can and work hard to really understand their needs and challenges.
- Do your research
- Revisit your personas regularly
Do your research
Many B2B marketers take a passive approach when developing their buyer personas and will start out by trying to imagine what their target audience is like, what they want and what their challenges are. However, there is a much simpler way – speak to your target audience!
Reaching out and speaking to the people your business is trying to attract is the surest way to learn what their needs and goals actually are. There are many ways in which you can do this – conducting short interviews being one of the simplest. If you have the budget for it, then consider paying an external consultant to run a small focus group for you with some members of your target audience. They should provide you with an impartial view and a professionally created and written report containing valuable insights.
Once you have conducted interviews with your ideal customers and have gathered loads of information about their challenges and goals, pull it all together in a usable document. Create your buyer personas in a format that can be accessed by your whole team and distribute it across the company. Make sure everyone agrees and understands what the personas are and how they can be used.
Everyone within the business needs to be aware of the types of people and companies the business wants to attract. Each team will have different insights and ideas, which can all be useful in creating your personas.
Revisit your personas regularly
Make sure you keep your buyer personas up to date. You may discover new information about an existing buyer persona, or a new product might need to be targeted at a new type of buyer completely. For your buyer personas to continue to be useful and effective, you need to treat them as a dynamic document that is revisited and revised regularly.
What information should you include in your personas?
If you are wondering what exactly needs to go into your buyer personas and how much detail is required, then you can use this example framework:
- Name – Give each one of your buyer personas a name that is memorable. Often people use a first name and a job title as their buyer persona name, for example, “IT Ian” or “Marketing Meg”
- Personal details – Flesh out your buyer persona by providing some personal details. Are they male or female, married or unmarried? Do they have children? Where do they live? What is their household income?
- Education – What is your buyer persona’s educational background? Did they go to university? What might they have studied? Were they required to do additional professional qualifications?
- Personal interests – Think about your buyer persona’s personality and social life. What are their favorite pastimes? How do they spend their time outside work? What media do they follow? What websites do they visit? What clubs and organisations are they part of?
- Career history – What is your buyer persona’s career history in their current role? Have they been at their position for a while, or are they fairly new? What likely career path did they follow to get to where they are, and what did they need to achieve to get there?
- Employer – Provide information about the company in which your buyer persona works. What is the industry, size, revenue, and location?
- Job role – Outline your buyer persona’s current job role. Include information on what their key responsibilities are, how senior they are, who they report to, and whether they manage a team.
- Skills – Describe what professional skills your buyer personas have and need in their roles, what training they have received, and what they do for their professional development.
- Typical day – One of the best methods to get a better understanding of your target audience is to put yourself in their shoes – imagine what a day in their life will look like.
- Successes – It is key to understand what your buyer personas’ goals are since your job should be to help them achieve those goals. Understand how their success is measured, what evidence and figures they collect, and how they present that to their team or management.
- Challenges – What are the problems that your buyer personas face in their jobs, how do they feel about them, and what are they doing to overcome them?
- Preferences – How do your buyer personas prefer to interact? Do they prefer to speak in person, do they want to be reached via email or on the phone, or do they prefer to seek out help on their own only when they need it? Overall, what would their ideal sales experience look like?
- Research – Where do your buyer personas go for help when facing a problem, where do they look for information or recommendations on certain solutions? Who do they ask, what networks are they part of, what online and print publications do they read?
What is the B2B buyer journey?
The buyer journey is the process that any buyer goes through when making a purchasing decision. It is a path made up of four different stages – Awareness, Consideration, Decision and Post-purchase.
Your marketing efforts need to reflect this journey, so when creating a marketing strategy – especially when looking at your content marketing planning – it is essential that you have mapped out the buyer journey. That is how you will ensure you are answering all the questions that buyers may have at each stage.
At this stage, potential buyers will be aware of a problem or opportunity that your product can help them with. At this point, prospects looking at your website, social media and blog are interested in general information regarding the problem or opportunity. They aren’t yet thinking about buying your product. The most suitable content formats at this stage are eBooks, whitepapers, blogs and reports providing neutral top level information that will help buyers identify possible problems and opportunities.
By this stage buyers will have put their finger on what it is they are struggling with and will have started researching solutions in more detail. Here it is important to provide accurate, factual data that helps buyers understand their options. At the consideration stage buyers are still not ready to buy, so it is important to keep providing detailed information about your solution, without actively trying to sell it. Marketing formats that work well at this stage of the buyer’s journey are technical reports, comparison whitepapers, expert guides, webinars and in person meetings.
In the decision making stage the buyer is deciding which supplier they will work with. This is when you need to show them why they should choose you over your competitors. Buyers will be trying to get a good feel for your experience and what it may be like to work with you. Formats such as case studies, client testimonials, product literature and live demos will all be helpful here.
Once the buyer has signed a contract with you, they enter the post-purchase stage. Many marketers wrongly believe that marketing ends once a sale has been closed, but this shouldn’t be the case. You should take advantage of every chance you have to delight your customers and keep them happy.
Don’t forget that the best marketing channel around is word of mouth. Happy customers can become your most powerful marketing tools. At the post-purchase stage, show genuine interest in how your new customer finds the process of working with you. Provide useful content and guidance to ensure they are making the most out of your product and offer troubleshooting support if it’s needed.
At Lead Forensics, we educate our customers on how to use our software and give them advice on B2B sales and B2B marketing best practice through the Lead Forensics Community.
B2B landing pages
How to optimise a landing page
A well optimised landing page can be your secret weapon, but making one that works well is far from easy. Here are a few key pointers on how to get the most out of yours:
- Reduce distractions
- Use strong imagery
- Have a clear purpose
- Tailor every approach
- Have a clear call to action (CTA)
- Don’t ask too much
- Build trust
- Offer a complete experience
It’s best practice to strip back everything from your landing pages, other than your company logo. The entire purpose of these pages is to keep a customer’s attention focused exactly where you want it. Having any additional distractions only adds to the potential ways you might lose a visitor. Get rid of everything unnecessary, including the header navigation, and use as simple a layout as possible. Anyone landing there should be able to quickly scan all the information, with no interruptions or distractions.
Use strong imagery
A common mistake with landing pages is not to put enough thought into the imagery used. Think about who you’re targeting and use images that will suit them. Are they younger creative types? Then something more casual, cool or fun may work well. Are they an older business owner? Then lean more towards traditional, professional-style images. Think about whether you want to show off your product, or what people can actually do with it. What is likely to resonate more with your audience?
Using stock imagery will do little for your brand identity. Where possible, always strive to use your own, high resolution images. These will be much more in keeping with your brand and help you stand out from the crowd. Don’t stop at images either, studies have shown time and again that landing pages which feature video content perform extremely well – providing it’s well made and relevant.
Have a clear purpose
Each landing page you create should have a single purpose that you target with pinpoint precision. You need to think about who you are designing it for, what their priorities are and how best to grab their attention. Landing pages, especially those linked to paid advertising campaigns, need to be able to grab the user’s attention instantly. The first thing they see when landing on the page should be exactly how you will solve their problem, without the need to scroll down and read on. Always focus on potential benefits, rather than your product or service. People don’t want to buy a product, they want to buy the result it will have for them.
Tailor every approach
Each point in the sales funnel calls for a different approach. If you’re aiming your landing page at those in the awareness stage, then you should be focused on providing information rather than trying to push for an instant sale. For those who have shown intent to purchase, you should be pushing your product much harder.
In addition to this, you need to think about who you’re aiming the landing page at. Is it for one stakeholder or multiple? What are their priorities? What tone should you take? For maximum effectiveness, you should have landing pages tailored towards each stage of the sales funnel, with bespoke content created for each stakeholder you’re targeting, based on their needs at that time.
Have a clear call to action (CTA)
Make sure you always include a call to action and preferably have at least two located at different points on the page. Your main call to action should be near the top of the page and have a strong sales intent (such as “buy now” or “sign up for a free trial”). It’s quite common for B2B businesses to stop here and stick by the one-CTA rule, but you could be missing a huge opportunity. Instead, make sure you include a secondary, softer CTA towards the base of the page that is tailored towards those slightly higher up in the sales funnel. This might offer them more content or information relevant to their interests. You can then work on them further until they are ready to buy at a later date.
Don’t ask too much
One significant trap that marketers can fall into with a landing page is the design of the contact form. Contact forms are a vital piece of the puzzle for what you’re trying to achieve, but no-one likes handing over their personal details without good reason.
To give yourself the best shot, always keep your forms as short as possible. Don’t ask for any information you don’t absolutely need, especially on pages aimed at those higher up in the sales funnel. Instead, aim to gather additional data from them over time, each time you make contact. If your landing page isn’t working well and has a high abandon rate, the answer could be as simple as removing or renaming some fields.
With any landing page you need to work on building trust with your audience. This can be done in multiple ways simultaneously. Firstly, it’s best practice to always have your website hosted on a HTTPS domain. This security certificate helps users to feel safe and assures them that their details are secure.
Secondly, leverage any social proof you can, such as case studies, social media comments and customer reviews. Unbiased sources can be a hugely powerful tool in the decision making process, especially those that can’t be faked. A huge majority of buyers will research solutions long before ever making a decision to buy. If you can provide the proof of quality they need in one place, it prevents them from abandoning the website to do their own research elsewhere. Selling in B2B is very different to selling in B2C, in that you’re appealing to a buyer’s rational side, not their emotions.
Offer a complete experience
Finally, once a user has handed over their contact details, remember to direct them to a thank you page. This is more than just common courtesy as these pages can be used to offer additional content tailored to them, drawing them immediately further down the sales funnel.
Thank you for reading our latest best practice guide on our Marketing Blog – B2B marketing: everything you need to know. We publish fresh content every week, please subscribe for alerts, or come back again for more.
In the meantime, you may be interested to read 11 growth hacking strategies for marketers.
And, if you are interested in knowing who is visiting your website, you can request a demonstration of Lead Forensics here.