Think about the last time you met someone new. You probably shook their hand and immediately took note of their body language or facial expressions. Typically in these situations, your conversation starts with small talk — perhaps what they do for work, where they’re from or acquaintances you both may know. If you find the relationship mutually beneficial, you may begin to follow each other on social media, or exchange emails or text messages to plan when you’ll get together again to further the relationship. I’d like to argue that it’s time to start thinking about your business to business (B2B) marketing strategy the same way you think about building relationships.
We expect to gain something from our friendships or relationships. Potential customers have the same expectations. You need to prove your value. Tactics like targeted media exposure contributed content, influencer relations, social media, speaking engagements and website downloads invite potential customers into your company story as friends versus onlookers. A strategic B2B marketing approach builds a relationship with the customer by providing valuable, relevant and consistent content.
While media relations is a tried and true component of most successful marketing strategies, it doesn’t work on its own. Converting target audiences into fans and fans into loyal customers requires a deeper level of consideration for your audience and the relationship you want to maintain with them. Start loving your customer in a new way today.
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the importance of social media, but if you’re not doing social media well or at all, you’re missing a huge opportunity. More than one in three internet users revealed that they go to social networks when trying to find out more information about a brand, company or product, according to a recent study (registration required). When you visit a company’s social media page, what do you like to see?
Start with sharing recent company news, media coverage and industry articles to keep a steady stream of content. Take your strategy one step further by adding corporate social responsibility initiatives, videos and behind-the-scenes photos to invite customers to explore your brand more deeply. Your aim in the social media game is to win as much engagement as possible, so be sure to write posts that encourage dialogue. And consider implementing gated content, a tactic that requires customers to give their email address in exchange for free, valuable content. Once you have access to your customer’s inbox, you can begin to deepen your relationship by offering your solutions to their pain points and gathering feedback.
Tell Your Story
Just as you would with any new friendship, your company must have a compelling story to reveal to potential customers. In the marketing world, this begins wherever your customer happens to find you. This could be via a search engine, social media, a bylined article or advertisement. Make sure each piece of content invites customers into your brand. Do you place a high value on corporate social responsibility? Make that known on your website, post volunteer efforts on social media or secure thought leadership placements about that topic. Do you have a page on your website and social media pages that explains your core values and company mission? Welcome new faces to your brand by proving you have a clear vision and showing how they can be a part of it.
Over time, the relationship with your customer begins to deepen. Make sure you’re honoring their time by using your social media, website and media exposure to explain how you can help solve your customer’s problem, not simply sell your services.
Renew And Recycle
You work hard to create informative and engaging content, so don’t let it be easily forgotten. Recycling is a wonderful way to extend the shelf life of previously published content to reach a wider audience. Consider repurposing a blog post into a series of social media posts linking back to your blog, a YouTube video, an infographic or a pitch for a bylined article. Beyond the internet, turn your blog post into a slideshow that plays on a monitor in your office lobby.
As a reminder, you want to strike a balance between quantity and quality. You can churn out content 24 hours per day, but if it’s not valuable to your target audience it won’t be read. When you renew previous content, take the time to think about how you can put a new or different angle on the existing copy. Could your advice be relevant to a completely new audience? How does what you’re saying change when applied to different generations or company sizes? The existing content is the foundation. From there you can build multiple masterpieces.
Marketing to businesses doesn’t have to be complicated. Shake up your current strategy by viewing your ideal customer as a new friend. Make a great first impression, get to know them and then do what you can to provide value and meet their needs. Now, you don’t just have friends of your brand but customers for life.