27 Digital Marketing Insights for the B2B Sector

1. Ditch Your Theme-Based Website: Once upon a time, theme-based websites offered a simple, fast way to begin building your online presence. However, today things have changed. Established companies are moving away from themes and toward a custom solution that’s tailored to their brand and their audience, and that’s not found under the hood of dozens of other websites out there. Why is this? There are several reasons, including:

  • Custom websites support and strengthen your brand.
  • Visitors know when you’re using a cookie-cutter theme.
  • Using a theme feels cheap and makes a savvy business audience wonder how authentic your brand actually is.
  • It’s impossible to deliver the best UX (user experience) with a theme-based site, which automatically drops your ranking potential in the SERPs.

2. Personalise All Communications: This insight applies equally to all companies, including B2B firms. Remember that, today, your buyers expect you to personalise communications in ways that suit them. If you fail to do so, they’ll switch companies in a heartbeat to a competitor who can do so. You should even go so far as to personalise prospecting emails and other early communication.

It’s not that difficult as long as you’re doing your due diligence. Simply research the firms you’re trying to contact, ensure that you have the name and position of the appropriate person, and use that in your communications. Doing so shows that 1) you care and 2) you’re not just sending out a form letter to any and all businesses out there.

3. Fuel Email Marketing with AI: According to a survey by MailChimp, less than 22 per cent of business-oriented emails are opened on average. That’s across 50 different industries. However, the same survey showed that using AI to empower your email marketing can dramatically improve the open rate you enjoy while delivering better value to purchasing agents and others within your target businesses. This goes beyond personalisation and includes tactics like serving different information to different audience members/prospects and even delivering emails at the exact moment the email is opened to gather data points to regulate the content shared within the email.

4. Get Social: Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to marketers. While B2C companies predominantly benefit here, that doesn’t mean that sites like Facebook and Instagram don’t have anything to offer the B2B segment. No, chances are good that you’re not going to make a lot of direct sales through Facebook.

However, you need to look beyond the immediate return concept and realise that social media offers a long-term return that’s a little more difficult to track. Using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others, helps to build your brand, solidify your authority within your industry, build brand recognition, and more.

5. Break Out of Your Old Social Media Mindset: While some B2B companies need to realise that social media has a lot to offer them, others need to break out of their old way of thinking about and using these sites. It’s essential that you take a strategic approach when it comes to social media marketing.

Define objectives for your social media presence. Then, identify and accommodate your specific audience on these sites. There’s no point in sharing info with businesses that have no need of your firm’s products, capabilities, or expertise.

Finally, make sure you’re using the right platform. Yes, Facebook might be a great place for B2C companies, but is it the best use of your own time and resources? Find a channel where most of your target audience is already present. Hint: that’s probably LinkedIn, not Twitter or Facebook.

6. Invest More Heavily in Content Marketing: Yes, there are all sorts of shiny new digital marketing tools. AI, machine learning, and the like all promise to help you make progress in reaching businesses in need of what you have to offer. However, don’t neglect the tools already at your disposal. Content marketing offers a dramatic ROI not found with most other digital marketing methods, particularly for B2B marketers.

Understand that you are in a prime position to benefit from the creation of accurate, unique, data-rich content that informs and educates your audience. B2B audience members have longer attention spans and more time to consume unique, educational content than B2C audience members, so long as that content is relevant to them and speaks to their needs. Redouble your content marketing efforts this year and beyond, and you’ll be rewarded.

7. Get Busy with Case Studies: While content marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for B2B companies, you need to focus on creating the right type of content to reach your specific audience. Here, case studies can provide you with a lot of traction. They position you as a leader in your industry, highlight the value of your offerings, show exactly how you’re able to solve the problems of other businesses and do all this in a genuine way that’s not quite direct selling. Make case studies available on your website (in addition to customer testimonials), and share them through social media, email marketing, and other channels.

8. Use Whitepapers to Your Advantage: In addition to case studies, it’s wise to invest at least some of your content marketing budgets into the creation of whitepapers. Think of these like a lighter version of case studies, where the focus is more on a specific problem and how your solution solves that issue, rather than on the results achieved for a specific client. Still, the benefits of whitepapers for B2B marketing are very similar to those of case studies, and they can be used in the same places, particularly on your website and in your email marketing efforts.

9. Highlight Capabilities with Video Content: Video is hugely popular today, even with your B2B audience. Creating video content is an excellent way to highlight things that cannot be explained or explored completely via text, such as in whitepapers and case studies. Take your viewers behind the scenes, interview clients or decision makers within your own business, highlight how your product or service fostered change and improvement within the businesses of your customers, and more.

10. Build an Information Hub: One of the most critical things to understand when it comes to digital marketing, particularly to a B2B audience, is this: your prospects don’t actually want advertisements. They want information. They want a solution to their problem. It’s your job to position your brand as the answer to their quandary. One of the more beneficial ways to do this is to create an information hub on your website. Combine content types (blog posts, articles, guides, infographics, case studies, whitepapers, video content, and more) to create a rich online destination that ranks well in organic Google searches for specific questions that your audience members are asking.

11. Blogging Adds a Personal Element: Speaking of content types if you’re not already blogging, you should be. Blog posts allow you to speak from a more personal level and offer a less formal method of reaching your audience members. Blogging can help position your brand as an innovator, as a thought leader, and more, but can also be used to highlight product or service advantages, unique competitive advantages, the results you’ve been able to achieve for other companies, and more. 

11.5: Interactive Content: Polls, surveys, 360-degree video – these are all types of interactive content. It’s been used to great effect in the B2C realm, and it can also offer value for B2B digital marketing. Creating interactive content is an excellent way to make yours stand out and provide a uniquely engaging experience for your audience.

12. Use Accurate Data to Back Decisions: It’s important that decisions within your business, particularly those involving digital marketing, are made based on accurate information. Chances are good you’re familiar with CTR, ad impressions, social media engagement, and other forms of peak data. These are great, but you should look beyond them to more meaningful information, such as data that really affects your bottom line, rather than making you feel good. For instance, you could have thousands of purchasing agents, CEOs, COOs, and others see your PPC ad, but what does that really mean to your business? Not much. A more important metric would be understanding which keywords actually drove the most conversions at an affordable CPA.

13. Shift the Focus to Your Prospect: This is age-old advice, but it bears repeating. Focus on your client, user, or customer (whatever term you choose to use). Take the focus off your company, your product, or your service. It’s really not about you. It’s about them. Your clients are the only people who really matter, and solving their challenges is the only thing you should focus on doing. In 2020 and moving forward, it’s important to refocus on delivering experiences that address your clients’ core needs and hurdles and ignore vanity metrics and self-aggrandisement. So-called “great” marketing is only great if it somehow achieves something positive for your audience while also adding to your company’s bottom line.

14. Use PPC Ads: Few B2B digital marketing tools offer the ease of use and visible results of PPC campaigns, particularly Google AdWords campaigns. If you’re not already using PPC, a strategic campaign or two can augment your organic traffic by providing you with outstanding visibility near the top of the SERPs for targeted keywords and phrases. And, because you’ll be focusing on a B2B audience rather than a broad consumer base, you can save money on your bids.

15. Be Smart with PPC Bidding: PPC campaigns are essentially auctions. When you set up a campaign, you tell Google how much you’re willing to pay to be shown to a searcher, and then Google decides when that happens based on the bids of other companies. This can quickly become expensive, particularly if you’re bidding on keywords that are used by firms with very deep pockets. Instead, be strategic and focus on these two factors:

  • Who your ideal buyer is
  • What they want specifically

It’s all about audience identity and search intent. Those two metrics should inform the entirety of your PPC strategy.

16. Marketing IS Sales: If you still have a firm dividing line between your marketing and sales team, you’re going to see that slowly erode in 2020 and beyond. That’s because the focus is shifting in terms of how things work and how you must handle your prospects. Today, you need to focus on the entire customer journey, from the initial touchpoint through conversion to retention and beyond. That’s best done by a single team, rather than constantly trying to hand a customer off from marketing to sales and back.

Focus on creating a cohesive digital marketing strategy that follows prospects and supports them, while delivering a positive, unified experience throughout the entire relationship. This may require that you invest in developing new digital marketing tools that you may not have used previously, such as pre- and post- purchase email cycles, video demos, digital proposals, and more.

17. Consider ABM: ABM, or account-based marketing, has been around for some time, but it really began picking up steam in 2020. It will play a larger and larger role in B2B digital marketing moving forward, as well, particularly for companies that have long, complex sales cycles that involve multiple transactions and myriad stakeholders and decision-makers.

Not entirely sure what ABM is all about? According to HubSpot, it is “a highly focused business strategy in which a marketing team treats an individual prospect or customer like its very own market. The marketing team can create content, events, and entire campaigns dedicated to the people associated with that account, rather than the industry as a whole.”

18. Influencer Marketing: You’re no doubt familiar with influencer marketing from the B2C realm, but it can also be used in the B2B arena. In this area, you would identify and work with executives, business owners, and even entire companies that are well-recognised and respected within their industry (or in a vertical related to your own industry) to help build brand authority and recognition. Influencer marketing can be tied into a wide range of other activities, including social media marketing, content marketing, and more.

19. Virtual Events: Digital marketing and event marketing collide with virtual events. You can create and host an event through a range of digital technologies, and create full-scale environments without the cost or drawbacks of a live event. Your attendees can also join the event from anywhere, so long as they have a computer or a compatible smart device and an Internet connection. This makes it simpler than ever to demo products and services, and may ultimately foster virtual trade show attendance.

20. Invest in Chatbots: Your B2B audience has questions. They want to know more about your product or service, and how it can benefit their business. However, they don’t necessarily want to call and speak with you over the phone, or even send an email. Chatbots offer a simple, straightforward way to deliver the information that your prospects need along with your sales message. Chatbots can also be embedded in many places, such as Facebook Messenger and even your own website to facilitate conversational marketing.

21. Position Zero: In the past, the Holy Grail of search engine optimisation was the #1 spot in the SERPs. Today, that has been eclipsed by #0. Position zero is taken up by featured snippets – text from your website that directly answers a search query by someone. It’s impossible to overstate the value of position zero, particularly given the way the SERP layout has changed in recent years, coupled with the rise of local search surfacing and visibility. In order to rank for position zero, though, you’ll need to ensure that your website text and keyword use are up to par.

22. Organic Search Still Matters: While position zero might be a hotly discussed topic, the fact remains that only a small fraction of searches will yield featured snippets. Organic search still matters, which means that your entire website must be optimised correctly. You’ll need to ensure that you have done your due diligence when it comes to keyword research and implementation, coupled with original content creation for your website.

23. Off-Site SEO: On-site SEO is essential, but when it comes to showing value to Google and establishing your authority within the B2B arena, few things compare to off-site SEO. While there are many factors at play here, one of the most critical is the number and value of the links pointing back to your site from others across the Internet. A smart backlink strategy can help to build visibility and authority in the SERPs.

24. Identify Your Key Messages: What are you trying to convey to a B2B audience? What need are you addressing? What challenges are you helping business owners and decision-makers overcome? This should be the core of your content creation and all of your optimisation efforts, and it should come through loud and clear. Identify your key messages and then put them front and centre.

25. Know Your Audience’s Pain Points: Related to the tip above, you also need to ensure that you know your audience’s pain points. These are usually directly tied to the benefits your product or service offers but may be more difficult to define. Remember that their pain points may or may not resemble the benefits you offer. Get to know what motivates your clients or customers and then make sure that you’re meeting those challenges. Explore how you do that through content marketing, website content, email copy, and more.

26. Regular Website Updates: A B2B website might seem static. After all, your core products and offerings probably don’t change much from month to month. However, you need to ensure that your website is regularly updated so that Google’s search spiders come back to re-index it frequently. One of the best ways to do this is by publishing news and changes – case studies, whitepapers, reports, and the like that offer value to your audience while simultaneously building your brand.

27. Interactive Content: Polls, surveys, 360-degree video – these are all types of interactive content. It’s been used to great effect in the B2C realm, and it can also offer value for B2B digital marketing. Creating interactive content is an excellent way to make yours stand out and provide a uniquely engaging experience for your audience.


Keep reading to discover an additional three bonus digital marketing tips for B2B companies!

28. Create Remarkable Content: Creating good content is not enough. Your competitors are already doing that. Instead, it’s essential that you go beyond this and create remarkable content. That applies to everything from blog posting to social media marketing. Your content must be original, enjoyable, shareable, and engaging, while delivering value and supporting your customer’s journey. Sound challenging? It can be, but it’s also possible to pull it off.

29. Integrate a CRM: A customer relationship management platform (CRM) helps you build strong relationships with business clients, but also automate tasks to save time and money. Choosing the right CRM can be difficult though.

30. Measure Constantly: Finally, you cannot assume that you are succeeding simply because you’re seeing traction from your digital marketing efforts. How are you competitors doing? Are you really addressing the core concerns of business owners and decision makers? How are you doing now compared to last month or last year? Constantly measure you progress, make adjustments, and then repeat the process.

Work with specialists

Digital marketing offers a lot of benefits to B2B companies, but it can be challenging to make sense of them all. If you’re struggling, we can help. Reach out to Emarkable to learn more about how our digital experts can help you position your brand for better recognition and traction. Call us on 01 808 1301 to schedule a consultation today.

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Richard Coen

With over 21 years of experience in Digital Marketing, 31 years in sales and 25 years in business development, Richard assists companies to develop key growth strategies on a local or international basis. He can assist marketers to achieve balance in their approach to key areas affected by the growth in digital marketing.