B2B Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide To Achieving Digital Success
Greatness isn’t achieved overnight — it’s earned. Respect doesn’t happen with a handshake and a smile. Trust and authority take time to build, and real relationships cannot be purchased from an advertisement.
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing follows many of the same traditional principles as building a new business relationship with a client, executive, customer or influencer. I think about the trust I have built with esteemed executives throughout the past two decades and the immense gratitude I feel towards those relationships. Digital advertising cannot replace this type of authentic connection with people. While some of our values have shifted as a society, not all relationships are for sale. And although greed is real, trust is still the most important factor in growing a business.
Why Does Any of This Matter in B2B Marketing?
Businesses that value this type of thinking will create content and connections with purpose — to build trust. In B2B marketing, every statement and gesture is an extension of your brand’s ethos. Just as I have cultivated trust with influential executives through years of sincere interactions, the digital space demands a similar, albeit virtual, approach to relationship building. Marketing communication is your brand’s message that speaks directly to your audience’s needs and values, fostering a sense of reliability and respect.
With our industrial automation client, Masked Owl Technologies (MOT), the JSMM team utilized relationship-building at an Auto Trade Show to leverage strategic integration of digital marketing tools and targeted advertising. Attended by a diverse group of technology leaders and professionals interested in automation innovations, the show was an ideal venue for this client’s marketing efforts.
“Our approach at JSMM is about more than just marketing; it’s about creating connections,” said Sophie Shafter, JSMM’s PR strategist. “With Masked Owl Technologies, we’ve showcased our ability to integrate branding, PR and competitive strategies. Our campaign not only met but surpassed benchmarks, with our email strategy achieving an impressive open rate that exceeded industry averages.”
Our JSMM team created a dedicated splash page and employed geofencing technology and engaging video ads to direct attendees to the MOT booth at the Auto Trade Show. This approach, a cost-effective alternative to traditional, expensive ad spaces at trade shows, resulted in significant exposure and reach. The geofencing campaign alone garnered over 63,000 impressions and 61,000 video views, demonstrating how innovative digital strategies can effectively target and engage a specific audience.
Alex Pool, president of MOT said, “I think the most impressive aspect of dealing with JSMM is their ability to get me thinking in a new way. I don’t know if it is the questions they ask, the experience they bring to the table or the approach to marketing, but it has allowed me to rethink some of the areas of our industry that I have struggled to put into words over the years. This allowed me to finally put into words our competitive strengths and differentiators.”
Types of Content that Build Trust in B2B Marketing: The Power of LinkedIn
In B2B marketing, certain types of content stand out for their ability to build and reinforce trust. LinkedIn, for instance, offers a unique platform for professional trust-building content. It’s a networking hub where the quality and substance of what you share can significantly influence your brand’s perception.
Based on SproutSocial study, LinkedIn’s 720 million members play a crucial role in business decision-making, marking LinkedIn’s extensive influence in the professional sphere. This platform’s users boast a purchasing power double that of the average online audience, and 93% of B2B marketers utilize the platform for organic social marketing.
What Can You Post on LinkedIn?
Posting content weekly is also crucial since, according to HootSuite, “Pages that post weekly have 5.6x more followers than those posting monthly.” Examples of content that can build your credibility are:
- Thought Leadership Articles: Share insights, trends and expert opinions to position your brand as an authority in your industry. According to the LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact report, “54% [of LinkedIn’s B2B decision-makers] say they spend more than one hour per week reading and reviewing thought-leadership content.”
- Case Studies and Success Stories: These prove your success and reliability in narrative format. Based on the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) report, 39% of surveyed marketers reported success using case studies.
- Informative Posts and Updates: Regular updates about your industry, company news or changes in market trends keep your audience informed and show that you are active and engaged in your field. One CMI survey found that 48% of marketers had the best results using posts with less than 3,000 words.
- Educational Videos: Short content that educates or provides useful insights can be highly engaging and shareable. It humanizes your brand and connects with your audience more personally. According to a CMI report, 39% of marketers reported achieving successful outcomes through videos.
- Research reports: These comprehensive documents present detailed findings on specific topics, often involving extensive data collection and analysis. CMI research reported that 48% of marketers found research reports effective for establishing authority and credibility.
When utilized effectively on LinkedIn, these content types can create a powerful narrative for your brand. At JSMM, we have successfully used these tactics for various clients across various industries, including technology, construction, logistics and transportation. We’ve learned so much and have truly become subject matter experts. This type of knowledge in B2B industries also naturally lends itself to keeping pace with all of the evolution of both business and media happening due to artificial intelligence and emerging technology. We leverage all of this industry knowledge in B2B to create new opportunities and adjust to the new verticals we’re adopting today.
Understanding Buyer Personas and Journeys in B2B Marketing
A buyer persona represents your ideal customer based on actual data and buyers. By developing these fictional personas, you gain insights into your audience’s goals, challenges and behavior patterns.
Upwork lists 11 must-haves of your buyer persona:
- Goals and objectives
- Values and fears
- Product challenges and pain points
Similarly, mapping out the buyer’s journey — the process through which a potential customer becomes aware of, considers and decides to purchase your product or service — is vital. Each stage requires a different approach and type of content. For example, educational content that addresses a potential problem or needs is more effective in the awareness stage. In contrast, detailed case studies and product demos might be more appropriate for the decision stage.
“Organizations that exceed revenue and lead goals are more effective at creating, using and consistently maintaining personas than companies that miss lead and revenue targets. Companies that exceed lead and revenue goals are 2.2X more likely to have and document personas than companies that miss these targets,” according to a study by Cintell, a SaaS customer intelligence company, as reported by BusinessWire.
Creating several buyer personas for different buyer journeys in our agency helps us tailor our marketing strategies more effectively to various audience segments.
Recreating In-Person Sales Processes and Meetings Online
It’s challenging to replicate the personal touch and effectiveness of in-person interactions in a digital format, but we’ve achieved success by utilizing these methods:
Virtual Meetings and Presentations: Tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet can be used for virtual meetings, allowing for a personal connection with clients via video. These platforms can conduct presentations, discuss and even close deals.
Interactive Online Demos: These can be videos, interactive guides or even live demonstrations via web conferencing tools.
Personalized Email Communication: Tailoring your email communication to reflect each prospect’s individual needs and interests shows that you understand and value each client’s unique requirements.
Digital Tools for Engagement: Utilize digital tools like chatbots for instant responses, CRM systems for personalized follow-ups and social media platforms for ongoing engagement and nurturing.
By understanding buyer personas and their journeys and effectively translating your in-person sales processes to the digital realm, you can create a more cohesive, personalized and trust-building B2B marketing strategy.
The Significance of A/B Testing in Building Trust
A/B testing compares two variants of marketing materials to determine which is more effective with your target audience. By experimenting with different elements like copy, design and calls to action, marketers gain valuable insights that guide them in crafting messages that attract attention and establish credibility and reliability.
A/B testing is essential because the algorithm constantly changes: Google reset, Instagram is different and TikTok changes everything we do with creatives. But we should not be chasing trends.
At JSMM, we have always been careful in managing, monitoring and testing these changes. An early adopter of social media since 2005, we have a history of A/B testing and staying on top of it. We’ve always had strong research development — presenting ideas to clients, putting conservative budgets behind these tests and knowing when to pivot quickly. We always spend time internally at the agency, rolling things out and analyzing the metrics. Then, we help our clients manage these changes by examining what works and talking through it together.
Thanks to a data-driven marketing approach and A/B testing, one of our clients, Tensentric, increased its LinkedIn acceptance rate from 5% to an impressive 25% in just a few weeks.
Additionally, In three months, they saw a 4.5% increase in followers, a 5.71% increase in organic impressions and a 71% increase in page views!
Demonstrating Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EEAT)
Simultaneously, providing valuable information and insights to potential clients and prioritizing their informational needs over direct selling demonstrates your Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EEAT). According to Search Engine Journal, these four pillars are vital for Google search rankings.
Experience reflects the practical knowledge and skills gained through direct involvement in activities or situations.
Expertise indicates a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular field.
Authoritativeness means being recognized as a reliable source of information.
Trustworthiness refers to the reliability and integrity of the content.
By providing in-depth guides, webinars and comprehensive research reports, your brand is poised as an industry thought leader and a helpful resource. Following these guidelines allows your brand to be seen as trustworthy and knowledgeable, leading to stronger, more fruitful business relationships.
Leveraging Client Testimonials and Project Profiles
Client testimonials and detailed profiles of successful client projects on your website are a form of social proof that can be compelling endorsements of your services or products. Include the challenges faced by the client, the solutions implemented and the outcomes achieved to highlight various aspects of your work.
In our agency, client testimonials from our Google Business profile are reposted on our Instagram, website, Meta and LinkedIn accounts. Case studies of our clients’ challenges and how our team has helped clients achieve their business goals are posted in our portfolio.
Testimonials help potential clients visualize what your company can do for them, building a foundation of trust before the first meeting or pitch. This approach is effective in the B2B sector since “83% of a typical B2B purchasing decision — researching solutions, ranking options and benchmarking pricing — happens before a buyer engages directly with a provider,” according to the LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact report.
The Journey Back to Purpose, Trust and Authentic Relationships
Returning to core marketing values such as purpose, trust and authenticity is challenging in the noisy realm of social media, where messages often get lost in a sea of content. Strategies that focus on content marketing, SEO and leveraging Google My Business (GMB) reviews are approaches that help your business establish a voice of authority and trust in a crowded digital space. Effective content marketing serves to inform and connect on a deeper level, while SEO helps put this content in front of the right audience. Furthermore, reviews on platforms like GMB provide authentic testimonials, enhancing credibility and driving leads more effectively.
Digital advertising, including tools like Google Ads, must be reexamined in the context of these foundational values. While digital advertising can be a powerful tool for extending reach and reinforcing messages, its effectiveness is greatly amplified when a base of trust and brand credibility has already been established. Before investing heavily in digital advertising campaigns, businesses must build trust through consistent, authentic and valuable content.
Synthesizing Trust, Credibility and Innovation in B2B Marketing
Achieving digital success in B2B marketing hinges on a harmonious blend of trust, credibility and innovation. The key strategies involve developing trust-building initiatives and ensuring they are woven seamlessly into every aspect of digital marketing. The role of innovation is equally crucial, as it drives the adoption of new techniques and platforms that can enhance engagement and reach. However, innovation must always be aligned with the core values of trust and credibility to ensure it resonates authentically with your target audience.
Businesses can create a robust and effective B2B digital marketing strategy by integrating trust, credibility, innovation, data-driven insights and authentic engagement. As we’ve seen here at JSMM, this comprehensive approach fosters a strong connection with audiences and can position a brand as a leader in the digital marketplace, setting the foundation for continued growth and success.