We know that B2B businesses operate in a different market than B2C, and therefore utilize different approaches and methods. For example, B2C businesses can find potential customers anywhere in the country, from many different walks of life; B2B companies, on the other hand, have to focus on businesses that can take advantage of their products and services.
So when it comes to inbound marketing, is there a different approach for B2B marketers as opposed to B2C folks? In practice, both businesses can use very similar marketing tactics, with a few key differences.
What stays the same
Regardless of the type of market you’re in, there are certain keystones of inbound marketing that will never change. Content will always be king. You’ll still have to produce multiple blog posts per week, as well as content offers. Keyword optimization is still important, too. And your website will likely need to be redesigned regardless of which market you’re in. Remember, an effective inbound marketing website is simple, pleasant and makes it very easy for a visitor to become a lead.
So far, it probably seems like the two types of companies (B2B and B2C) have identical methods. Where are the big changes? In your audience.
Marketing with the decision maker in mind
An effective inbound marketing campaign makes use of buyer personas. These personas are embodiments of the most appropriate customer for your business. If you were to step into a lab and create your most likely customer, the persona is what you would come up with.
For most B2B companies, their primary buyer persona will be what we call a “decision maker.” A decision maker is someone empowered to make a purchasing decision for their company. Usually, this means the person is some sort of manager or executive; if the business is small enough, it might actually be the CEO or owner of the company.
Your content and your marketing efforts need to be aimed at this person. Take a long look at your products/services and decide what sort of manager/CEO/owner would be most likely to purchase them. Is it a VP of marketing for a tech company? A small business owner? A restaurant manager? It’s critical that you fill out as many details as possible for your buyer persona, in order to create the most effective content. Blogs and content offers will be tailored to specifically reach this persona.
When you can’t reach the decision maker
However, keep in mind that since decision makers have some degree of power, they are busy folks. It’s very likely you either won’t be able to contact them directly, or your marketing efforts will get lost in the shuffle. Therefore, it’s important to have at least one other buyer persona for B2B companies.
For your second persona, you’re going to want to target a person who will actually end up using your product or service most often. This person might be a fan and even an advocate for your product/service, but unfortunately, they don’t possess the power within the organization to make a purchase.
However, what this person does possess is the ability to influence the decision maker. Therefore, you should also have content and marketing efforts aimed at this “influencer” persona.