My career has consisted of online marketing, a skill I learned in the trenches without learning what “traditional” marketing is, what it can do, and how it works. Do I understand ad design and layout? No. Do I stuff flyers under windshield wipers? No. Do I help unprepared businesses dominate the Web? I hope so.
Everything I’ve learned has been trial and error and researching what others have to say about content marketing, social media, blogging, and websites. Unlike any other industry I’ve encountered, we online marketers teach ourselves and write the playbook as we go along. Sites (like this one) archive our thoughts, ideas, and experiences — otherwise known as a form of pseudo “industry” marketing.
There are plenty of opportunities and bonuses for the everyday business to take part in industry-wide branding, something that most modern marketers would suggest. Below is a rundown on this once obscure, now solid form of marketing and why companies need to consider connecting to the larger crowd.
Business-to-business branding is essential for any business, whether you own a local contracting company or market for a marketing firm. Here are a few reasons why:
The final point is the big one. Let’s just picture the everyday customer, one who may be interested in locating a marketing firm for his startup. While he may be aware of local companies and have been exposed to advertising, the first thing the startup owner will do is Google local firms and investigate outsourced marketing.
The entrepreneur may query search engines with: Marketing firms in Indianapolis. The best marketing firm for small businesses. How do I find a marketing business? What is outsourced marketing? How does content marketing help?
These questions need answering. Once Googled, results will be pulled up based on location and keywords. Most, if not all, matching firms will be listed in Google Maps and show up somewhere in the results, but what makes them shine on top is the power of each company’s online assets.
To become that big-hitter company that shows up on top, it’s essential to have the right assets in place. This includes a blog, social media, websites, LinkedIn profiles, and other points of exposure.
The difference between B2B and customer marketing, of course, is the type of content that businesses produce. From personal experience, I’ve found that B2B marketing goes both ways — this means it impacts other businesses and reels in the everyday customer at the same time. Consumer-centric marketing, on the other hand, is often overlooked by businesses because it is overtly promotional.
Crafting B2B Campaigns
The goal for B2B marketing is to open yourself up to your industry and become an authority. Are you a real estate agent? Re-post articles and blog about local trends that other agents may find useful. Do you own a roofing company? Branch out and publish insight into small business contracting, green building trends, and labor-intense entrepreneurship. While the average customer may not read or care much for this material, it does make you more prevalent, authoritative, and complete.
It’s important to note that content needs to satisfy both roles. Some of it can have an industry focus, and the rest (especially on social media) should target the customer.
For industry-centric content, the goal is to become an authority within a certain area. Are you writing for the consumer? Perhaps, but is it the consumer who reads your boring press releases and product updates? Not likely. This doesn’t mean your blog posts and industry statuses, links, and shares shouldn’t be written like technical documents. Loosen it up to match online style and appeal to the occasional customer who comes by your content.
This “B2B” trend is simply a way to generate ideas, traffic, and notice. It’s also less tacky publishing content within your business’ vertical than it is to write promotions and “why we are the best” posts several times a day. It keeps it interesting.