B2B online marketing and networking is a different animal from B2C. It requires a subtler set of strategies and often a more creative approach. In this post, I will give you examples of activities I have used to get to results and new clients.
I should warn that being authentic is important here. For these approaches to work, you have to want to build relationships. If you are only carrying out these tactics to generate customers – business people will see through you!
# B2B online marketing activity 1: master LinkedIn
Linkedin is one of the most valuable tools available to the B2B business professional. Why?
- It’s where other business people in their millions hang out.
- It allows you to build relationships with virtually every company of note on the planet.
Any B2B professional who ignores LinkedIn doesn’t deserve to be called a professional, in my opinion! Also, if I’m honest, my experience of how the average business person uses Linkedin wouldn’t inspire me.
Make a LinkedIn time investment
- It’s clear that many users haven’t invested the time to properly understand this B2B social platform.
- There is no good reason why should be the case. There is a huge amount of (free) information and support available to anyone who is prepared to go and find out.
Learning to become a proficient, efficient and smart LinkedIn user is no longer about choice, it’s a must!
Become a Linkedin superstar like Frank Hannigan
The following interview is a stunning example of how smart business people can leverage Linkedin.
Frank Hannigan (one of the best users of Linkedin I know!) describes how he used the platform to raise over 200 thousand dollars in less than 2 weeks.
[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tA6w-j4Dhc[/youtube]
# B2B online marketing activity 2: content marketing
“Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” wikipedia.org
Plan to create REALLY great content
Creating content that your customers want is proven to be one of the very best ways to engage with new clients but only after you plan:
- What information your clients will really find useful
- And how you’re going to get your content to “go there”
The content marketing “chicken and egg” problem.
The online content game is a very competitive environment and many B2B content creators struggle to make their content work for them.
This happens primarily because of a kind of chicken and egg content marketing problem:
- Most B2B businesses have never really experienced the value that B2B content can bring them
- As a result, they’ve never end up investing the time and resource to do it properly. Hence, the vast majority of B2B content ends up being average at best.
- Where as, the B2B content opportunity was really, in producing higher quality and more focused content from the very start.
The Ahain Group uses reports to talk with new customers
The Ahain group are an independent, ideas-led social business consultancy and start up business, where I am a founder.
We needed to develop a business and content strategy that would position us within the marketplace and open client doors. So we started to produce high value content aimed at the sectors where opportunities exist for us.
So far, the Ahain group has produced two separate social business reports and the response has proven that this strategy is working for us.
- Each report takes approximately 10 days to complete
- Researching and creating each report gives us huge insight into that sector
- The people and companies we want to talk to are interested in reading these reports
- And then some are interested in becoming our customers
# B2B online marketing activity 3: use business interviews
Interviews are a super way to build business relationships.
When you interview another business person, you can find out about:
- What makes them tick
- What’s great about their business
- Their business philosophy and values
Promoting interviews builds value into your business relationships
Proactively promote and share their story with your network, which will result in them receiving:
- More kudus
- More exposure
- New customers
Tell me of a better way to find out about someone and their business, offer them value and position yourself as a good guy or girl?
Sian Phillips and Nellie R. Akalp
Our new TweakYourBiz Editor, Sian Phillips has used interviews effectively to develop new relationships and grow her businesses. For example:
- In May of this year, she interviewed the very successful US entrepreneur Nellie R. Akalp, CEO & Founder of Corpnet.Com Incorporation Services
- This interview resulted in Nellie and Sian forming a business relationship, with Sian now writing business content and articles for Nellie’s popular business blog.
There are many other B2B online marketing and networking opportunities out there and I would invite you to add your suggestions in the comments below.
I suppose my overall point would be, that unless you are prepared to invest the time to learn the skills required, the results will always remain limited. Online is a competitive and often unforgiving place for a mediocre B2B strategy, so your goal should be to be the very best that you can be.