Let’s be honest. Effective marketing is difficult to get right, especially in today’s complex and challenging environment. As the world becomes more online, digital marketing and B2B Ecommerce Marketing are becoming more important than ever. Between the many decisions a marketer has to make, such as creatives, budget limits, etc, it should come as no surprise that marketers must be mindful when developing a marketing strategy. However, the biggest factor that you must consider is your audience! If you don’t properly target the correct audience, your ads will likely be overlooked. Every customer has their own needs and wants after all.
Many consumers are probably familiar with B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing; big brands such as Nike are extremely well-known for their ads that sway consumers’ emotions and drive traffic to their eCommerce website or mobile app. While B2C marketing caters to individual consumers, B2B marketing targets businesses, big and small alike. The two marketing tactics are very different, which is why B2B marketing exists.
In this article, we hope to provide you with a better understanding of B2B marketing, along with some strategies that could help your business grow! By the end, you should have a solid understanding of how to reach and convert your business audience!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What’s B2B Ecommerce Marketing?
Hubspot puts it best when they describe B2B marketing as any marketing strategy or content that is geared towards a business or organization. Simply put, the other businesses are the customers. In fact, Stiddle is an example of a company that engages in B2B marketing to sell its platform since our customers are largely small businesses.
B2B Ecommerce Marketing can take many forms, but a common trend they share is that their transactions are becoming digitalized and their focus is on providing the best online customer experience. Here are some of the most common forms that B2B eCommerce can take: Wholesalers, Manufacturers, Distributors, and Multichannel. Despite differences in the product/service they offer, there are many similar traits and characteristics between the audiences that B2B businesses target.
You will find that B2B customers make decisions based on logic and evidence, meaning that they will focus more on the results, such as ROI, efficiency and expertise. Since customers are always trying to make the best and most educated decisions for their business, customers would prefer working with account managers or salespeople. B2B customers are looking for long-term solutions which result in longer sales cycles and longer relationships with your customers.
B2B eCommerce Marketing Trends
Though we have mentioned a moon B2B trend earlier in this article, we will go more in-depth about it, along with some additional trends! As stated earlier, the biggest and most common trend that all B2B businesses are experiencing is their shift to the digital space. More and more B2B businesses are ascending to meet these demands with the help of technology. Much like B2C businesses, B2B businesses are beginning to cut out the middle-man to directly better serve their customers by giving them convenience, accessibility and transparency.
Here are some additional trends that are currently happening in the B2B space:
Over the past decade, we have seen a recent explosion in the number of smartphones owned. With 80% of customers using their mobile devices at some phase of the sales cycle, especially young people, it should come as no surprise that buyers are expecting a mobile-optimized experience when they shop online. It could be for various reasons, such as conducting research or simple browsing. As B2B buyers get younger, mobile will only increase in importance along with other newer technologies such as VR/AR.
Loyalty and Referrals
Loyalty programs are popular marketing strategies to use in B2B Ecommerce Marketing but are perfect for B2B’s lengthy sales cycle and larger order value (on average). After all, it does cost significantly more to acquire new customers than to retain the old ones, according to American Express. Capital has to be spent to get these new customers to be interested and buy your product/service which can be difficult to pinpoint accurately sometimes. To get around this, B2B businesses have adapted to using referral programs to tap into their loyal customers’ network. Many businesses have found success implementing this strategy.
In general, buyers do not like generic purchasing experiences, so you should try to provide them with an experience where they feel important, the center of the world. Much like B2C buyers, B2B buyers expect tailored recommendations and personalized pricing, along with quick fulfillment of their order(s). Software companies employ this tactic heavily in their marketing with great success! It’s important to keep in mind that B2B purchase decisions are not made by one person, but a whole group of company stakeholders, making the entire sales cycle more segmented and longer.
B2B Marketing Strategies
If you haven’t created a website yet, we recommend you do so immediately. Not to mention, you can’t even say you have an eCommerce business if you don’t have one! According to AdWeek, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase decision. Furthermore, since B2B purchase decisions are typically influenced by more than one person in an organization, it makes sense to have all the information in an easily accessible place for all to see.
After you have created your own website, it’s time to begin implementing your marketing strategies and best practices. Keep in mind that every customer base is different and requires extra work. It is best to do additional research since there isn’t any clear path to success. However, there are some general B2B strategies and best practices that have proven to be effective.
Here are a few of them:
Utilizing Email Marketing
Email marketing has proven to be one of the most effective and widely-used methods to attract customers, new and old. In fact, email is inexpensive and drives an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent, making it the most effective option available! However, you will only see these returns if your email is relevant to your buyers, which is why it’s important to touch on subjects that matter to them. Email marketing can be more than just sending out promotional offers and discounts, in hopes of converting a customer!
Recall that B2B buyers make purchase decisions based on logic and results. Rather than sending off an email with a generic promotional deal, you should take this chance to create a newsletter about topics or events that are going on in their industry. For example, at Stiddle, we understand that our customers are using our product to optimize their social media marketing. In July 2021, when NCAA athletes were finally allowed to earn money from their image, we sent out an email to our subscribers, describing the unique marketing opportunity this event has presented. Hubspot found that 83% of B2B marketers utilize email newsletters, while 40% named it the most critical aspect to their content marketing success!
Furthermore, if you decide to utilize email marketing, we recommend putting some time into the designs to make your email stand out and responsive, mainly on mobile. With a constant barrage of emails being sent and received every day, it’s more important than ever to create an effective email campaign and stand out. Even the subject line matters! So, make it catchy! Unimpressive and unresponsive emails typically get deleted within seconds of being read, if at all!
At the end, always remember to add a CTA (call-to-action) and only one. Adding any more than one will likely confuse the reader.
Focus On The Buyer Experience
There are many things you can do to improve the buyer experience, such as streamlining the checkout process and creating an F.A.Q web page, but, we are going to focus on content marketing and SEO. Once again, recall how B2B buyers make their purchase decisions. Incorporating content marketing will add value to your business and keep your customers informed and up-to-date, which is exactly what B2B customers are looking for! Additionally, your content marketing will directly support your SEO efforts; so, it’s a win-win situation!
For example, here at Stiddle, we understand that our target audience is primarily small business owners who are interested in marketing their brand. Therefore, we want to educate them about the problem(s) that they’re facing and how our company can provide the solution. We understand that 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information from an article or blog post, rather than an emotional ad. As a result, our marketing strategy consists of marketing-related blog posts, email newsletters, informational videos, ebooks, etc. We love to do blog posts because it allows us to rank higher on Google by contributing to our SEO efforts. To understand more about the process, we recommend checking out our blog about the buyer’s journey.
Tips For Your B2B eCommerce Platform
Simply put, YOU NEED TO STAND OUT ONLINE! A robust and well-managed eCommerce platform allows you to do that by personalizing the buyer’s experience, speeding up the process, etc. Here are some features that you should include:
In 2019, an Optimizely report found that 44% of business buyers agree that personalized pricing makes it easier for them to do business with B2B businesses. After all, whenever businesses buy you can always expect them to purchase your product/service in bulk.
Multiple Payment Options
Consider providing multiple payment options like payment terms, payment plans, purchase orders, and extended credit to provide more flexibility for the buyers. This could result in more frequent and bigger orders as time goes on! When a business tends to like a product, they often stick with the brand for an extended period of time, allowing you to build a relationship with them.
Buyers are usually looking for the most up-to-date information and would appreciate any accurate information, especially about your inventory and their orders. This allows you to better manage your business and provide transparency to your customers.
However, keep in mind that there are many more factors that can contribute to the success of your business. Therefore, we would also like to recommend putting in some time to investigate and select the best eCommerce platform for your business. To get you started, check out Shopify and Salesforce, as well as Stiddle!
eCommerce marketing is imperative to growing your audience, making sales, and sustaining your business and customer relationships. Your marketing strategy should include educating customers on their problems and how your business is the solution. If you want to keep your customers at the center of your marketing strategy and provide a wonderful and enjoyable experience, we guarantee you will see your ROI rise!
We hope you find this article informative! We wish you much luck!
If you’re interested in reading more blogs about digital marketing, please visit our blog.
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