Strong relationships with clients and partners are critical for B2B businesses, and successful B2B e-commerce strategies need to reflect that. Today’s B2B e-commerce models go beyond automated ordering systems, putting more emphasis on relationships and less on transactions. Relationship-centered B2B e-commerce addresses multi-party deals, more complex transactions, and extended interactions with long-term business customers while decreasing the effort spent on low-value tasks.

Here are ten guidelines to help B2B companies make e-commerce the new cornerstone of an old-fashioned growth model. More relationship + higher-quality = revenue.

1.  MOBILE AND VISIBILITY MARKETING

As a marketer, you have heard this many times – make your site visible to others. B2B clients make targeted and specific searches, and with growing numbers of B2B businesses on the internet, the competition to the top is nothing short of challenging. The solution is “Link Building,” a way to succeed on appearing at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) to build brand awareness. Search engine algorithms highly favor shared content, and by inspiring others to share the link to your content. It drives traffic towards your site which increases your domain authority. The algorithms choose it, and it eventually increases your site’s visibility by pushing it up the ranks of SERPs.

  2. KNOWLEDGE AND RESEARCH

More than other marketers, a B2B marketer must have even more expanded knowledge about the services and products that their B2B e-commerce provides. This is because B2B buyers are insightful, specialists in their field and most probably know about your services and products more than you do. If a B2B marketer is unable to convince the client with dexterity and proficiency, there is no way the client will trust that e-commerce store. B2B marketers are therefore responsible for familiarizing themselves with every part of the business and do an excellent job of convincing clients that the product, quality and customer service will be excellent.

Moreover, with the coming of technology and the fast-paced progression of e-commerce, B2B buyer preferences are always changing. Most existing business models are unable to keep up with the speed of progression. Marketers must thus manage regular market research, regularly keep track of their competitors’ actions, and be aware of how to contrast themselves from the crowd.

3. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the ultimate goal of converting potential customers, B2B marketers need to focus on relationship building and positive communication from the start and right till the end of the customer journey. Marketing activities to build networks include tradeshows, webinars, email campaigns and after-sales follow-ups. Also, content is king for B2B marketing. Regardless of whether through emails, feedback surveys, white papers or media coverage, idea sharing between the customer and marketer should always be encouraged. With a greater exchange of ideas, the B2B marketer would understand the customer better, offering a more outstanding customer experience.

4. UNDERSTAND WHAT THE B2B CLIENT WANTS

Unlike B2C, B2B concentrates on very niche industries. This means that B2B clients have specialized needs and if marketers don’t pay close attention to their client needs, they face a high risk of alienating their potential clients. So how do B2B marketers capture potential clients?

A significant rule of thumb to keep in mind is always to address your client’s needs and wants, and not fixate on promoting the product features. B2B clients are not in the least interested in “cutting-edge technology,” “world-class manufacturing,” or “up-to-date systems.” They aren’t looking for a product or service solution but rather, they want YOU to solve their issues. To put it analogically, they don’t just want a fish, but to learn how to fish. Provide them with the tools and services that will convince them that your e-commerce business is of aid to them, communicate with them, and most importantly, emphasize on CRM and after-care services.

5. KNOW WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

B2B clients have on their hands is time. Sending irrelevant newsletters, messages, emails or catalogs will be deemed as irritating and intrusive. On the other side, content targeting never disappoints. Make use of statistics and customer data that are available to you and put it into good use by understanding your clients’ needs so that you can position your service or product in an exciting way that speaks to your client.

For example, personalized emails, which according to Campaign Monitor research, can increase revenue and CTRs up to an impressive 760%. For B2B marketers, personalization equates to greater efficiency and ROI. By targeting the right users with the right content, marketing budgets will be transformed into profits.

6. THE MOBILE EXPERIENCE

B2B marketers must realize that not having a mobile-friendly site poses significant risks –  loss in mobile site traffic, the decrease in organic ranking and increase in bounce rate. According to a study by Google, 43% of B2B clients use a mobile device during their purchasing process. Today’s B2B buyers increasingly prefer to transact and interact via online channels and utilizing multiple electronic devices to complete transactions. With the mobile experience now making a considerable impact on online sales, it is time to ensure your e-commerce site is mobile-optimized with a responsive design.

7. REAL-TIME MARKETING AUTOMATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no point in marketing sales and promotions if your clients are no longer interested in the service or product and it’s impossible to manually track and gather data and content for every potential client. However, real-time marketing automation systems help you stay relevant by providing B2B businesses the capabilities to offer the right material, individualized for the targeted client, gather other alternatives that the client may deliver and like automated responses in real-time. To prove its effectiveness, companies that used marketing automation have generated 55% more leads with 35% lower cost, and four out of five companies achieved ROI within the first year.

8. SWITCH TO OMNICHANNEL B2B MARKETING

For B2B, omnichannel marketing is no longer just a catchphrase; it means business. B2B marketing is largely driven by ROI which is costly to manually monitor since the team generally doesn’t have the same extensive budgets as B2C marketing. With that, an omnichannel approach is the most excellent solution to making your B2B e-сommerce flourish.

Omni-channel management provides a unified and a seamless experience across all channels, in addition to built-in systems that assist in measuring cross-channel performance and ROI. This system generates more accurate and better data, giving you tremendous insights from inventory visibility, to internal department processes, to order overviews and communication systems between each user touchpoint. This is why more B2B e-commerce businesses have chosen to integrate with omnichannel systems as there is already substantial evidence that these systems are, and will continue to be useful in the long run.

9. LINKEDIN ENGAGEMENT

With 600 million users, LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform for any business that is trying to reach other business professionals. In fact, over 75% of B2B leads that are generated through social media come from LinkedIn. That is probably the most important reasons why 93% of B2B marketers use this social media channel to reach new leads over any other channels.

The reason why LinkedIn is such an active social media channel for B2B businesses is for the simple fact that it is where many of the business specialists are trying to target their time. According to LinkedIn data, of the 600 million members on the social channel, 62 million are senior-level influencers, and 41 million are decision makers. This presents an engaging opportunity for B2B businesses that are trying to reach new leads online.

There’re a couple of ways you can make an impression on LinkedIn. The first is to contract with your audience by starting a conversation. LinkedIn has industry groups where specialists can go to discuss hot topics in their field. By participating in these groups and providing a different insight into industry challenges, you can work to connect with new decision-makers who may be a good fit for your business.

In addition to bringing in new leads through proper group engagement, you can also go out and find new possibilities through LinkedIn’s advanced search. This feature enables you to identify your ideal clients on LinkedIn. With the Advanced People Search, you can find the types of clients that are the best suits for your brand and filter your results by industry or location.

Yet another way to create more leads on LinkedIn is through content publishing. LinkedIn has its content publishing platform which enables you to post your unique content for everyone on LinkedIn to see. This feature enables you to improve your exposure on the social networking channel and drive more traffic back to your company’s site. Not to mention, it helps you develop yourself up as an industry specialist or influencer, which can only reflect well on your business.

10. FACEBOOK ADVERTISING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn may be the premier social networking channel for business professionals and thus B2B businesses. However, Facebook gives LinkedIn a run for its money when it comes to B2B advertising. In fact, according to e-marketer, 59% of B2B marketers who invest in social media advertising choose to invest in advertisements on Facebook.

So why is Facebook so popular for B2B advertisements? While business experts may be expecting to see commercials targeted at their business on LinkedIn, they’re less likely to expect this type of material on Facebook, which they may frequently as a social media platform for their engagement. This means that an advertisement that could be relevant to their business tends to stand out more among the Facebook advertisements than advertising directed toward them as a user.

What is great about Facebook advertising is its targeting capabilities. Facebook collects tons of information on its users, which becomes valuable when you’re trying to narrow down your audience to those who are most likely to purchase from your brand. With the Facebook advertisement platform, you can target buyers based on some different factors, including their industry, job title, and position – all of which are essential to the B2B marketer.

The solution to getting the most out of your B2B Facebook advertising is developing a plan ahead of time. There’re many different factors that you will need to consider when creating Facebook ad content. For example, what’s the purpose of your Facebook advertisements? If you are trying to create brand awareness, you’ll use a different type of advertisement content and format than you would if you’re trying to drive sales.

Facebook advertisements can also be a great way to promote the lead magnets that we talked about earlier. You can advertise these pieces of material on Facebook, driving users to an individual landing page where they’ll submit their contact information in exchange for the asset. Since you are taking advantage of Facebook’s advanced targeting capabilities, you can be sure that the traffic which is going to your site is relevant.

CONCLUSION

Though B2B online marketing does have its challenges, it’s possible to effectively reach more leads online with a little training and a lot of work. From increasing engagement on LinkedIn to creating more robust video content, there’re a diversity of digital marketing strategies that businesses can use to reach their audience. The key to getting the most out of these strategies is to invest and identify in those that work best for your B2B business.

If you need help to get started with your B2B online marketing strategy, it may be time to call in the specialists. 

What is your best marketing strategy for B2B e-commerce businesses?

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