Business-to-business, or B2B, products and services are a slightly different animal when it comes to marketing. Traditional means of marketing like cold calling and direct mail are not as effective. However, marketing to businesses is not impossible. With a few out-of-the-box tactics, like social networking and email marketing, you can still generate some rewarding results. I've listed a few ideas below.
Email marketing currently boasts one of the highest returns on investments (ROI) in the marketing arena--currently a whopping $43 for every $1 spent, according to the Direct Marketing Association. The old trend use to be to buy a huge email list and blast them with your message. But since the CAN-SPAM law has been enacted, it is now illegal to email people without their permission. However, there are still ways to grow an in-house email list that can generate results.
Many B2B companies are using search engine marketing, both paid and organic (not paid), to generate traffic to their websites and landing pages. While going to a phone book might be the "search" method of the past, doing an online search using Google, Yahoo or Bing is what people do now when looking for potential business clients.
Social Media Marketing
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer businesses a variety of ways to provide valuable content, engage their audience where they are and generate referrals quickly. While some may think these sites are strictly for business-to-consumer (B2C) enterprises, the B2B presence is growing. LinkedIn, especially, is a business social networking tool. The popularity of these social networks stems from the huge potential for word-of-mouth. It's all about creating a positive buzz online about your brand that draws people to you.
Previously just the online journals of the cat lady, blogs, or Web logs, are now big business. According to Technorati's State of the Blogosphere report for 2008, they have indexed 133 million blogs since 2002, and they range from personal to business. Business blogging provides a way to showcase news and products, demonstrate your knowledge as a thought leader, and provide information that is valuable in your industry. Great content will pull visitors to your site, where you have the opportunity to develop trust and loyal customers.
Marketing has not only made a fundamental shift from push (interrupt audience with your message) to pull (attract people to your message) marketing in the B2C arena, but in the B2B arena as well. The tips listed above, when done correctly, can help draw business clients to your message, service, product and brand.