Consider offering a freebee
There is nothing wrong with offering a taster of your product or service, in order to show potential clients what you can do. Whether it is a free sample, a complimentary period of service (one week, or a month, for example), or a basic version of your offering - as long as the cost to your company doesn't present a huge risk- the future financial benefits of adding a new client could outweigh any short term financial investment. Don't give your product or service a high barrier to entry which makes it seem unattainable to potential clients. If you are truly confident in what you are selling, allowing businesses to try before they buy can turn skeptics into believers.
Especially in the case of digital products, solutions and services, offering a 'Freemium' model allows clients to get on board, before you can upsell a paid version of your service to them. It is a proven way to attract new clients; just look at this article in the Harvard Business Review, which offers more ideas on making the most of your Freemium strategy.
Create your own 'community'
In B2B circles, sometimes nothing carries more weight than a personal referral. But why rely on one or two people to vouch for your business? If you succeed in creating a community of industry members which can reflect trust in your brand, the effect can be far more powerful; positioning you as a respected partner offering genuine business benefits.
There are so many ways to go about building a community of supporters. In nearly all cases, it starts with offering something of value. Maybe you could hold or sponsor a business event designed to bring together industry members of all levels - this could be an agenda-driven conference, round table, or a more social event; the key thing is to be an active organiser and influencer. You could also consider sponsoring an event, or contributing to a conference or exhibition with a keynote speech.
Then there are the opportunities which social media gives us for community building. Why not set up a LinkedIn group which is dedicated to discussion and problem solving within your industry; make connections on Twitter, offering advice related to your industry, and getting involved with debates; and invite previous clients to leave you reviews and recommendations on Google or LinkedIn, offering to do the same for them in exchange.
Define and execute your user experience perfectly
User experience - shortened to 'UX' - isn't just the preserve of B2C. The user, or client, experience is just as vital when you are selling to other businesses. This client journey begins at the first point of contact - it comes into play with the quality of your advertising and marketing collateral, the impression left by you or your team members when meeting at live events, and the clarity and presentation of your website.
You must make sure that you are ticking the box of consistent branding - are you giving potential clients a polished and refined look throughout your digital and paper-based communications? Pay close attention to the language you use, and tailor it to your target audience. Be meticulous in any communication you make - be it an email, instant message or presentation - avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors like the plague! Where B2B marketing is concerned, this article has some useful tips.
Implement inventive inbound marketing campaigns
If you have toyed with, or used, the idea of advertising as a B2B-focused business. If so, how happy were you with the results? Of course, one of the problems which print or digital advertising can pose is that it is sometimes difficult to measure success. In the modern day business world, advertising campaigns which are too 'salesy' can also prove a turn off for potential clients.
The answer can be inbound marketing, which can be seen as a subtler way of persuading potential clients to learn more about your business proposition, or even make an inquiry. There are many different inbound marketing strategies available to businesses with an online presence, and the one thing they have in common is that you should offer your audience something of value. Whether you are giving away something for free, in exchange for the submission of an email address for your mailing list; offering education or advice in the form of a webinar or white paper; or creating content such as blogs and videos which serve the purpose of informing or entertaining - the important thing to remember is that your purpose is not self-promotion, but rather offering something of value, which can provide a pathway to engage further with potential clients.
When you are designing content for inbound marketing - be it an eBook, bite-size video or free tool - be conscious of the fact that there should be a clear connection with your brand, and the product or service which you are offering. This can make it easier to contextualise your 'call to action', giving you a way of connecting further with the consumer of the content - be it by receiving their contact details, or them actively making an enquiry. Leads which are generated from inbound marketing should be nurtured rather than relentlessly targeted. Leave a few days between each phone call or email which you make in an effort to foster a business collaboration. This piece has some top B2B inbound marketing tips.
Understand both the person, and the business
But even with the best inbound marketing strategies, it isn't enough to simply send out a bulk email and hope for the best. Each time you generate a lead in the B2B world, you should devote enough time to researching a) the company which the contact works for, including their business objectives, and b) the individual themselves, and what their job role demands of them. Here are some best practices for nurturing B2B leads.
In some cases, your lead might not be the best person for you to speak to in relation to your product or service. But this person might be able to offer you a way in, by introducing you to another contact within the company. Don't be afraid of inserting digital media within email communications - from videos to presentations and audio. You need to offer the recipient an incentive to meet you face to face, where appropriate - but this shouldn't be rushed. In the first instance, it is important to give them an incentive to want to learn more, by offering a genuine solution which can benefit them, and their company.
Those are just a few ways in which your company can position itself as a trusted provider of a B2B product or service. Remember, be prepared to trial certain strategies and techniques, until you find a blend of activities which works for you.
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