If you have or run, a B2B company, then there’s no doubt that 2020 was an interesting year in one way or another. There’s also no doubt that the changes and evolutions that started last year have continued into 2021. Maybe it was good for your business, or maybe you had to change the way you operate. No matter what, things are different and the landscape has changed. Businesses started asking workers to stay home and work remotely, and they needed software solutions to keep connected. In response, thousands of startups came on the scene and flooded the marketplace. There has never been a time in history quite like it.
Your marketing strategies no doubt look different than they did prior to 2020 as well. The changing world in the wake of Covid-19 meant innovations and evolutions moved faster than ever before when it came to the B2B and digital marketing industries, and brought us to where we are now. If you didn’t adapt and stand out in a crowd, you didn’t survive. Here is how B2B marketing has changed in 2021, and what it might look like going forward.
Account-Based Marketing Strategies
Many B2B companies have increased their focus on account-based marketing in 2021. There are several reasons for this. For one, it’s much cheaper to retain a customer and hopefully turn them into a loyal one than it is to attract a new customer. Account-based marketing means that you build a deeper connection with your customers in the hopes that they will continue to purchase your goods and services as time goes on.
Every customer has an account, and you use the details and information that are stored in the account files to target each one for certain products and marketing materials. These are people who are already interested in your brand. In fact, they’ve already spent money on it. This makes them more likely to purchase again. With an account-based approach, you can gather clearer data on customer behavior, and make smart targeting choices to get the most bang for your buck.
Content Marketing is More Complex Than Ever, and More Important
There was a time not long ago that a B2B SEO strategy consisted of little more than short blog posts littered with keywords. With a strategy focusing on that quick and easy content, a B2B company could reasonably expect to find themselves at or near the top of Google’s search rankings soon after. However, that is no longer the case.
Content marketing is still incredibly important, but to make the best of it, you can’t do the bare minimum anymore. There is too much competition, and search engine algorithms have evolved over time. So, while content marketing can still get you huge traffic to your website, you need to go about it a little differently.
Now, instead of simple blog posts with some keywords thrown in, you need to provide content that is relevant and authoritative for your target audience. This means thoroughly researching your audience and getting a true understanding of what inspires them and how they behave. It also means your blog posts have to be well researched, and longer than your standard blog post from the past. 800- 1200 words should do the trick. To stand out as an authority in your industry, you have to do the work or hire someone to do it for you.
Content marketing will also involve leveraging guest posts to have your links placed in the content on other authoritative sites. To get approved, you must have writers of a certain talent level to meet guidelines and produce interesting and engaging content. It is not as easy anymore, and you will need to update your process, but investing in a content marketing campaign can still reap big benefits.
Interactive and Engaging Content
Along with upgrading the quality of your content, you also need to make sure that it is engaging and interactive. Web surfers will click away in a heartbeat if something does not catch their attention and draw them in. It also has to be something different than the usual cliches that a lot of content offers.
Quizzes, videos, infographics, and humor can all get the engagement you need. They are also more likely to be shared by your followers, making them ambassadors for your brand. Some companies have even found success through releasing informative E-books. Having something innovative and original, and that provides new content and information for your audience, is what you need.
Social media has to be a part of it as well. You should not only be posting sales and promotions. Make sure that all of your content is cross-posted to your social media channels, and answer questions and comments from your followers. Get them involved, and create a community around your brand. This will build trust and further cement your brand as a place where people can spend their hard-earned dollars on your product.
Engagement on social media can be part of a broader strategy of having two-way conversations about your brand, products, and services with your client and follower base. Why is this important? Because there are so many companies that are now in the B2B sector. There are competing products that do similar things and solve similar problems. However, to set yourself apart, you can make sure that your products have more value through features or customer service.
To truly understand what pain points your customers might be experiencing, you must talk to them. This can take place on social media, as mentioned. You can also produce surveys and polls to get a sense of what your customers are looking for. If there’s an issue you can solve with a new feature or upgrade, then initiate it. You may not raise your prices if you add features, but they will not be a part of your marketing and available to new prospective clients who are considering your product. The only way to know that you are adding value for your customers when compared to your competition is by listening to what they have to say.
Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence
One of the best things about having a B2B business is that your market can be anywhere. This means that it can grow as big as you can imagine, and your customers could be around the world and in every timezone. With so much potential, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with customer demands. You certainly don’t want to spend all day on the phone or chatting with customers when a chatbot can do that work for you. Artificial intelligence has evolved to the point where it’s able to help solve problems and act like a human being when interacting with customers. This means that you can provide quality customer service around the clock without needing to be available yourself.
Chatbots and AI can also help gather data for your metrics, and administer the surveys and polls that you need to get a sense of what your clients think about your brand. They can make your life much easier and take care of the details while you work on other important aspects of your business.
2021 has been and will continue to be a fascinating year for the B2B and digital marketing industries. There’s no doubt that things have changed so much already, and they will continue to do so as technology and customer behavior evolves. Make sure that you are on top of it and help keep your brand above the crowd by adopting strategies that will bring you success.