Your B2B Marketing Plan
As you’ve probably guessed from the headline, this plan is for B2B businesses only.
If you’re B2C, there’ll still be a lot you can take from what follows, but some of the specific advice we dispense just won’t be relevant to you, so make sure you take it with a healthy pinch of salt.
We’ve put together this plan based on our work over the last seven years, working with B2B businesses in dozens of different sectors, from marine engineering firms to solicitors, from HR advisors to rates reduction specialists.
The result is that there’s not a scrap of theory here – just a proven strategy that has worked consistently in scores of businesses over the last few years.
You’ll also notice that the strategy we suggest really is very, very simple.
You see, the truth is that B2B marketing just isn’t that complicated, but it’s not in the interests of most marketing coaches and consultants to tell you that, as it’d make it more difficult for them to sell tickets to events and get buyers for their latest programme, system or training.
As a result, the complexity of B2B marketing is regularly overstated, and the result is that B2B business owners like you remain confused and ill-equipped when it comes to knowing what marketing you should be doing.
We want to change that, which is why we’re laying it all out and sharing with you the simple, three-step marketing campaign we’ve used in our business, and in the businesses of our clients over the last few years.
We hope that you can take this plan, transplant it straight into your business and get and keep more customers in the process.
A word of warning though. This plan isn’t a ‘get rich quick scheme’, or a bullet made of precious (or even semi-precious) metal.
It’ll take time, effort and application. It won’t work overnight. But it will work.
THREE SIMPLE STEPS TO MORE B2B CUSTOMERS
So here’s the plan; it really is this simple:
- Build the biggest audience you can of your target market
- Make friends with your audience
- Give that audience opportunities to buy from you
Yep, that’s it! That’s the super simple strategy we’ve used over the last few years to generate many millions of pounds of sales for our clients.
Underwhelmed? We don’t blame you.
But the truth is that while we could overcomplicate it, we don’t want to – we’d rather make it more accessible and make it easier for you to get going with it, start seeing results and trust us more as a result.
So, let’s go through each of the three steps in turn, and put a bit more flesh on the bones:
- Build the biggest audience you can of your target market
Whatever ANYONE tells you, by far the single biggest success factor when it comes to marketing is your audience.
You can have the best product in the world, and produce the best marketing to support it, but if no one sees that marketing, you’re not going to be successful; end of story.
And that’s why building a big audience is fundamental and non-negotiable – without it, there’s little point in trying to execute the rest of the plan; it just won’t work.
The good news is that building a B2B audience is MUCH easier than creating a B2C one.
With B2C, you’ve got the complex world of Facebook advertising and Google Ads to contend with, as you seek to get people to give you contact details that you can market to.
In some circumstances, those lead generation techniques might be appropriate for B2B businesses too, but for pretty much all of us in the B2B space, creating an audience is as simple as getting out your credit card and buying it.
Yes, cold contacts won’t be as ‘qualified’ as leads that opt into your website via social media or other advertising, but when it costs you 15 times less to get the data, it’s fair to say that building a list by buying it is a lot more cost-effective.
B2B data is freely available, if you know where to look, and if you don’t, you’re in luck – we’ve detailed exactly where that is:
Buying Data From Data Brokers
Over the past few years, we’ve bought a lot of data, both for ourselves and for our clients.
Averaging at about 30p per contact record, you’re able to be incredibly specific about the data you want; job title, size of company (both turnover and number of staff, location, industry – the list goes on.
Yes, these people haven’t asked to be on your list, and haven’t yet expressed an interest in your product, but if you get your selection criteria right, you’ve got a straightforward communication channel to the people most likely to buy from you, and plenty of opportunity to explain why your product/service is worthy of their attention.
In terms of brokers, we’ve used Market Location (based in Leamington Spa) for a number of years, and they’re pretty good, but our advice is to speak to a few, see what data’s available and make your choice.
Always ask for a sample first – if they don’t give you one, they’re no good.
An alternative to buying from a broker is to do your own sourcing, searching on the web for pools of data.
One great place to look is on industry association websites, which often list their members along with their contact details.
Since that information is freely available, it’s also freely contactable – it just needs to be processed into a datasheet that’s usable.
You could do this yourself – both the research and compiling – but our recommendation is to outsource it to someone who’s more suited to doing lower value tasks.
If you want to stick to an agency in the UK, we can strongly recommend Emma Mills and her team at MiPA (www.mi-pa.co.uk); if you’re happy to go further afield, there are some great outsourcers in the Philippines who can do this sort of job in their sleep.
LinkedIn is the very best B2B database in the world, with many millions of business professionals on there, so it’s likely to be a key part of your B2B strategy. You can use LinkedIn in two main ways:
Grow your connections
Having lots of connections is great, because that’s more people you can engage with (we’ll come onto how to do that in a minute).
The LinkedIn search function’s pretty powerful, so you can be really specific on who you’re looking for. Once you’ve connected with them, your posts and articles will start appearing in their feeds, subject to the whim of the algorithm.
You’ve probably been sent private messages on LinkedIn (maybe you’ve
even sent a few yourself) – this might work as a strategy, but it’s generally too sales- focused and the truth is that people don’t like being sold to in the LinkedIn inbox.
Once you’ve connected with someone on LinkedIn, you can go straight onto their profile and access their ‘Contact Info’. The majority of users will have an email address on there, which can be taken off and stored in your database.
Back in the bygone days of old, you used to be able to export your entire list in one handy CSV, but those days are gone.
Now, it’s a relatively manual process, but it’s one that’s worth doing, since when you’ve got someone’s email address, you can email them as many times as you want until they unsubscribe.
So that’s how to deal with the people you’re connected to, but the super good news is that you don’t even need to be connected with someone to acquire their data.
If you’d like to know how you can get hold of fantastic quality data from LinkedIn without the manual process, and for very little cost, just drop Ryan a line at email@example.com and he’ll show you what you need to do.
So that’s step one: getting the data. Next question: what are you going to do with it?!
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