By Luke Bull

Get your B2B marketing messages through, and the customer will come to you. But if you perfect it, they’ll be halfway to becoming a buyer before they even pick up the phone.

Back in the pre-internet days, a B2B PR campaign consisted of getting your client featured in the appropriate trade publications and newspapers’ business pages when the opportunity arose.

There might be the odd trade fair or a story that got some publicity in the local or regional press but the routine was pretty much set in stone.

I’m sure you’ve realised, but the internet changed all that. It laid bare the opportunities to attract customers to your business.

Now, word of mouth also counts – and that’s why a good presence on LinkedIn is important. It’s a great way to generate leads, keep up with contacts, network and engage in some content marketing.

Research and decisions

But, essentially, whatever a customer wants, they can find it on Google. Obviously, businesses aren’t sitting with a finger poised over the “buy now” button. They are more considered in their research and decisions than you are when you’re looking for an Ethernet cable on Amazon – “Oh, I’ll just get the one on Prime, it’ll get here quicker.”

But like the Prime user, they are also willing to pay a premium, if not for instant delivery then for quality of product. They will want the best they can afford and that means research on the product, its capabilities, hardiness, longevity, usability … you know the drill.

A lot of people are involved in the buying process now, with procurement departments carrying out deep research and costings before proceeding to contract negotiations and a sale. If your B2B marketing is effective, they will know your product or services almost as intimately as you do in a way that those 1500-page catalogues from the old days could never explain.

Those catalogues, remember, now just sit on the shelf while people type keywords into Google – that’s if the catalogue is even printed at all.

In fact, even typing is starting to look antiquated. One in five Google searches is a voice search. So you’ve got to be listening or your business won’t be heard above the rabble. Your SEO game has to be top-notch, and finely attuned to the demands of voice search as well as regular search.

Online profile

If you want to attract customers, your online profile has to be high, your reputation better. Remember, prospective customers will check your social media accounts for complaints and feedback as easily as you’d check out your daughter’s new boyfriend online.

But it goes beyond that to things like using chatbots on your webpage once the prospective customer gets there. What could be handier than a guide to help them through your website, suggesting alternative and more appropriate products on the way?

OK, perhaps the customer is not going to place an order online but at least they are gaining knowledge of your product. And when it comes to that all-important phone call, traditional sales techniques can exploit that advantage.

The customer knows what you are selling. They want to buy it. So build a relationship and up-sell! Up-sell!


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