How B2B Advertising has Changed

How B2B Advertising has Changed

B2Bs have often done advertising wrong, from mimicking B2C techniques to not doing any marketing, at all. But now, digital technologies and greater, widespread access to information has changed the way businesses across all industries, especially B2Bs market their products and services.

Why cold calling is out

The difficult task of selling rather unsexy products is a constant problem in the B2B world,, and traditional marketing and sales rhetoric stipulated hard sells with direct, loud, interruptive messaging. Think: radio commercials, direct mail, cold calls. The truth is that these tactics were never the most effective for B2B products, which are in some cases compulsory purchases for the customer (like screws needed to assemble their product) and in other cases large, expensive, once-every-ten-years kinds of purchases (like heavy machinery).

This is why many B2Bs, especially those with steady customers, perform very little marketing at all, instead relying on the necessity of their product within its niche and their company’s industry reputation. When recessions hit, however, B2Bs who rely on such methods often find themselves losing income from struggling loyal customers and without the strategies in place to replace those revenue streams.

How to update your B2B marketing plan

Instead of essentially shouting at potential clients to buy a product, inbound marketing uses soft sell techniques to educate potential clients about the value of a product or service, how to use/implement/integrate said product or service, and other topics related to the product, service, or industry that will be of interest to the person responsible for sourcing, purchasing, or approving purchase of said product. No longer do you sell your product, you sell future clients on your company by providing high-quality information that addresses the needs of your target buyers and building trust and brand recognition.

Inbound marketing and modern technology

The transition to inbound marketing has somewhat coincided with the advent of wifi and smartphones; consumers have access to information, and they’re using that information to research products and services before making purchase decisions. This applies to people buying consumer goods, but it applies also to buyers for industrial and manufacturing companies. Buyers and component sourcing specialists at the companies who are B2Bs’ ideal customers are performing online research to compare suppliers and products and find the best product, and deal, for their application. Salesmen are no longer the arbiters of information regarding their products; clients can and do educate themselves and make informed decisions.

If you’re ready to transition from traditional B2B marketing and advertising techniques to a more buyer-centered inbound marketing approach, HA Digital Marketing can help. Contact us online now, or give us a call at (616) 841-9082. Our inbound marketing strategy is proven to produce exceptional results for B2B clients just like you. Check out the case study below to see exactly how HA Digital Marketing delivers for B2Bs:
multilab case study call to action

B2B Buyer Personas: Everything You Need to Know

B2B Buyer Personas: Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve been looking into inbound marketing, you may have heard the term “buyer persona” bandied about. Buyer personas are critical for inbound and digital strategy, because they define your audience, allowing you to create content and deploy marketing techniques that will reach your ideal buyers, convert them to clients, and provide an exceptional ROI on your marketing efforts.

Buyer persona definition

A buyer persona is a fictionalized version of your ideal client types. The persona defines what these clients are like: demographic information like age and gender, job title, job responsibilities, purchasing power, and more. Creating a persona allows you to visualize and understand your audience better, which allows you to hone your content and marketing efforts to be highly effective.

How to create buyer personas

You probably have a good idea already of what your typical client is like. If you create plastic injection moldings of automotive components, you know that your ideal client is a sourcing specialist or product engineer for an automotive OEM, and that this client is usually male, in his late twenties to early forties, and is under extreme time pressure to source components. From your work experience, you probably have this same background information on your other client types (e.g. a Tier II supplier who makes automotive assemblies) as well.

Use the information you have, but don’t just rely on your assumptions. One effective method for understanding your ideal buyer is to interview your best clients. Find out about their job responsibilities, the challenges they face in their work, and how your company can help them and meet their needs. This information can help you

 

Simple example persona:

Buyer Persona:OEM Oliver
Job title:Sourcing Specialist/Product Engineer
Age:Late 20s–early 40s
Gender:Male
Roles/job responsibilities:Sourcing components for vehicles
Challenges:Working under extreme time pressure

Needs quick turnarounds, on-time delivery, products that can meet OEM specs

Needs suppliers with capability to produce high volume of moldings

Goals:To source quality components quickly, at the best possible price, from a reliable supplier

 

Your buyer personas can be as simple (like the example above) or as detailed as you like, and as works for your application. Once you’ve written buyer personas for your major client types (probably two or three different personas) you’ll better understand your buyers and your audience, and better be able to market to them.

Creating content for your buyer personas

The way that you take advantage of the personas that you’ve created is through creating targeted content that addresses those specific personas. You’ll need to create content—blog posts, infographics, social posts, ebooks, white papers, videos, etc.—specifically geared toward the goals and challenges of your buyer persona. Returning to our previous example, if you are creating content for OEM Oliver, you might write a blog post about how to select a plastic injection molding supplier, create an infographic about the plastic injection molding process from design to receipt by the customer, or publish an ebook about maximizing your plastic molding’s design to reduce structural and cosmetic imperfections. These pieces of content address the needs of OEM Oliver, which include finding suppliers (blog on selecting injection molders), quick turnaround times (process timeline infographic), and high-quality, spec-meeting components (ebook on minimizing defects). This content is useful and interesting to OEM Oliver, which may prompt him to read it, convert from a site visitor to a lead by providing contact information, or reach out for more information or even a quote.

Buyer personas are a useful and under-utilized tool for understanding the prospective customers you want to target with your marketing efforts. By researching and creating buyer personas and then creating content that addresses the needs of those personas, you can become visible to the type of person you want as a client and peak their interest about your company’s offerings.

If your B2B could use help in creating and implementing buyer personas and a digital inbound strategy, HADM can help. Give us a call, shoot us an email, or send us a message, we’d love to hear from you.

New Call-to-action

Switching your B2B Sales Team from Outbound to Inbound

Switching your B2B Sales Team from Outbound to Inbound

The importance of inbound and digital marketing is undeniable in our increasingly digital world: we carry computers around in our pockets, everywhere we go, and we see everything through this new digital lens. As a sales professional, you know the importance too of embracing digital strategies. If your focus has always been on traditional outbound and push marketing methods, however, it can be difficult to make the transition. Here are a few things you can do to convert your sales team from outbound to inbound marketing.

Recycle mail content to email content

Any marketing materials that you’ve sent to prospective clients, you can probably send via email much more conveniently and at much less expense. This includes direct mail fliers as well as newsletters. You shouldn’t just scan a paper copy of your newsletter and send out an email blast, though. While much of the content may stay the same, digital newsletters and email marketing pieces should be made interactive—by directing people to your website or to contact your company—and should focus on relevant, educational topics that speak to your readers’ (a.k.a. your future clients’) pain points, rather than exclusively promoting your company.

Switching to email provides several advantages, such as lower initial cost and time-saving automation, but it also allows the recipient to opt-in (through a website submission form or through traditional methods of obtaining contact information) as well as opt-out. If leads can opt out of marketing materials from you, you know that they aren’t interested in your products or services, and you can focus your efforts on other potential clients.

Turn brochures and handouts into website content

Brochures are dying, and we’re really not sorry about it. That doesn’t mean that the work that went into your brochures should go to waste—it’s often a great starting point for developing website content. The content is already succinct and discusses your company’s products and services, which is what your site needs to do, too. Chances are that your brochures also contain professionally captured, high quality images of your products, key team members, and facilities, which could be incorporated into your website as well.

Business cards aren’t going away anytime soon, so keep handing those out, and include a link to your site to direct your leads to your website and the valuable information it contains about your company. Instead of forcing it on them with a brochure (that often as not, gets tossed immediately), interested parties, who are already looking for what you’re selling will find your site through search results, digital ads, and even the old standbys, like a meeting with a member of your sales team or through word-of-mouth.

Forget cold-calling, start posting

Social media is ubiquitous and inescapable—use that to your advantage. Again, it can save you money on advertising, and it has better reach than older tactics. We talk about LinkedIn all the time when it comes to B2B marketing, because it’s an excellent tool; want to target people with specific job titles at specific companies with information about your services or products? You can do that with LinkedIn. (Check out 6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy for more on LinkedIn.) There are numerous other platforms that can be of use, too, depending on your industry and target audience, and they all allow you to communicate with hundreds, thousands, even millions of people very easily, and it allows them to communicate and interact with your company as well, pulling them in, rather than pushing out to them.

Social media is also a great way to promote and get people interested in some of the things your company has already created. Take your white papers, reports, forecasts—anything that might be valuable and interesting to your target buyers—and digitize it. Turn those things into blog posts, ebooks, infographics, etc. and put them on the web. Then use social media to let people know where to find it and how it can help them with their business’s challenges. These strategies draw in interested parties, bringing the qualified leads to you, rather than the other way around.

Don’t think that transitioning from an outbound to inbound strategy means that you have to reinvent the wheel—you don’t. In fact, many outbound strategies are easily digitized and can even supplement your newly implemented inbound strategies. Start with the amazing content and resources that you’ve already cultivated, and work on making them digital friendly. When the leads start pouring in, your sales team will know just what to do.

Want to know more about digital strategy and how HADM might be able to help in your shift to inbound marketing techniques? We’d love to hear from you. And for more information on boosting your B2B’s inbound marketing power, check out this exclusive guide to Inbound Marketing, specifically for B2B manufacturers:

New Call-to-action

How to Increase B2B Customer Lifetime Value

How to Increase B2B Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the amount of money you can expect to make from a client over the course of your business relationship. Fostering a good relationship with your customers can increase this lifetime value, and there are a variety of digital marketing tools you can implement to help nurture those relationships. Most of these tools fall into two categories––segmentation, and tailored content. By performing just these two basic steps, you can seriously increase the customer lifetime value, ensuring you’re providing your clients with quality customer service, while increasing your ROI at the same time. Here’s how to get it done:

Segmentation

The first step to increasing customer lifetime value is to segment your customers into groups based on shared traits, such as revenue or industry. This will allow you to determine the shared characteristics of clients in these segments—their wants, needs, and pain points—and make product or service changes to meet those needs, as well as create content that addresses them.

Once you’ve segmented your customer base, you can determine which of those segments is the most valuable to your company, and you can focus your marketing efforts on attracting and retaining clients in this segment. By focusing your efforts on the most valuable client segment, you attract and retain more clients in this segment, increasing overall customer lifetime value, as well as extending CLV for this segment.

Tailored content

Create content that addresses the pain points that your customer segments have at each stage of the buyer’s journey, including post-sale. No matter what products or services you offer, you can provide information that will increase the benefit your customers derive from their purchase at all steps of the buyer’s journey, which ensures you keep previous clients, as you’re gaining new ones.

Use your segments to tailor follow-up messaging to the client type’s needs with relevant content, news, and offers. You can also take time here to thank your clients for their purchase—clients who feel that their business is valued and appreciated are more likely to be loyal customers. Follow-up messaging also provides an opportunity to collect feedback from customers that you can incorporate into improving your product, service, or customer experience.

To improve customer lifetime value, you need to do two things: attract clients with a higher initial customer lifetime value (marketing) and extend the customer lifetime (retention). Through strategic messaging and content creation, you can attract more clients from your ideal buyer type (buyers in the highest CLV segment) and retain your best clients, increasing their lifetime value.

If you’re interested in using digital marketing to attract new leads and increase retention and customer lifetime value,  HA Digital Marketing can help. For more information on using inbound marketing to your advantage, be sure to check out our Inbound Marketing Guide specifically for B2Bs:

New Call-to-action

Case Study: 90-Day Manufacturing Lead Generation

Case Study: 90-Day Manufacturing Lead Generation

Multi-Lab is a custom laboratory manufacturer out of Spring Lake, MI. They build, design, and install laboratories for most every lab application out there. Multi-Lab’s unique variety of clients, from hospitals to universities to pharmaceutical companies, meant they were in need of a unique inbound marketing solution that could target each of these clients and produce results. Though Multi-Lab was satisfied with their website, they knew they needed to generate more traffic if they wanted to remain relevant in their competitive industry.

A Challenge to Boost Sales

Multi-Lab’s ultimate objective was to grow sales and hit a stretch sales goal, and they knew to achieve this they needed a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy that could bump up the low traffic rates they were currently seeing. They needed to increase traffic for more qualified leads and they wanted to do it in a way that was measurable and provided transparent results.

HA Digital Marketing took on the Multi-Lab inbound marketing project, and as we applied our unique strategy tailored specifically to Multi-Lab’s goals, they began to see immediate results.

Inbound Marketing Results that Stand Alone

In the first 90 days, the HADM inbound marketing strategy has delivered the following results for Multi-Lab:

  • 20 new sales leads per month
  • 4,655 site visitors
  • 1,986 new contacts
  • 7 new customers
  • $800,000+ in forecasted sales

If you’d like to know exactly what HA Digital Marketing did to achieve these exceptional results for Multi-Lab, check out the case study below. In it, you’ll learn just how our unique inbound marketing strategy drew in qualified traffic, converted leads, and boosted Multi-Lab’s overall revenue in as little as 90 days.

 

New Call-to-action

 


 

If you’re a manufacturing company looking to surpass your own stretch goal, HA Digital Marketing can help. Get started by scheduling a consultation.

 

Lead Generation Tips, Tricks & Tools: DOWNLOAD FREE EBOOK