When was the last time you bought the newspaper?
Chances are, a business won't reach you there. But they can probably reach you on Facebook, through a reseller, via email, or even at an event.
B2B marketing channels ebb and flow, but one thing they're not doing is going away.
The financial growth of an organization is what should determine marketing investment. Depending on various factors like industry, business size, product category, etc., every B2B marketing method and channel strategy will differ. Year after year, new avenues of communication open up and create opportunities for advanced marketing ventures (while others may die). As the amount of B2B marketing channels continues to increase, you'll find that each one serves a different purpose, audience, and industry.
Developing an effective lead generation strategy starts with understanding what marketing channels are available, and the best ways to use them. As each type of B2B company may benefit from one channel over another, it's essential to optimize and test campaigns until you get it right.
As marketing channels are constantly evolving and coinciding, it's easy to see how these marketing trends can prove overwhelming. This article will cover the B2B marketing channels available, their benefits, real-life examples, and key considerations when choosing a digital marketing strategy for your business.
Benefits of Using Digital Marketing Channels
It's important to understand your target audience and potential customers before choosing a digital marketing strategy that works. To understand the deep advantages of entertaining these types of marketing programs, here are a few benefits of B2B channel marketing:
Online marketing for B2B brands is extremely cost-effective compared to traditional strategies. It allows a business to gain the highest possible ROI for campaigns and enables easier monitoring of spend. Compared to old-school marketing efforts, you get the most out of your marketing campaigns by focusing on B2B marketing channels. Easily monitor investment, social return, and return on marketing to ensure you’re getting the most out of your strategy.
Ease of Tracking
Advanced tools like Google Analytics make online marketing a lot easier to measure. Track key metrics like:
- Conversion rates
- Time spent on page
- Total visits
This data filters through customer relationship management (CRM) software to help determine which channels are the most lucrative for your business. It puts you in the driver's seat to optimize your budget and campaigns for a higher marketing ROI. All of this means you can better pinpoint the exact strategies that earn your business the most money.
Improved Brand Awareness
Online marketing helps a business appear higher in a SERP (search engine results page) for keywords and phrases related to your brand. This allows more potential customers and decision-makers to find you online and learn more about what you have to offer. So even if they aren't ready to buy yet, they will likely remember you in the future or even recommend your business to friends.
Promote High-Quality Leads
B2b marketing channels allow you to reach prospects online that are already ready to buy. Rather than budgeting for broad general awareness campaigns to convert, you can put your money toward people actively looking for your services or products. When you reach qualified leads from the start, you waste less time and money trying to reach people who aren't interested. So, which are the most important reseller channels to maximize sales? It all depends on your industry and audience.
Creates Quick Results
If you’re looking to boost revenue and increase web traffic quickly, digital marketing channels are a strong bet. For example, PPC campaigns can be customized on-the-fly, and optimized to hone in on potential customers. You can start earning qualified leads in a matter of hours. Then, change strategies based on the data you gather to reach even more customers.
13 of the Best B2B Marketing Channels
One of the secrets to reaching new prospects is understanding all of the opportunities available at your disposal. Here are 13 different B2B marketing channels that are hot right now:
1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
There is an average of 3.5 billion Google queries run each day, so it's no wonder playing to the search engines is a successful tactic. Search engine optimization (SEO) is optimizing your content (website, social media platforms, landing pages) so that it appears organically in search engine results pages for the keywords you want to rank for.
This evolving discipline uses keywords and metadata to send the right signals to search engine web crawlers in order to improve your rankings. As Google algorithms become more advanced, the results are increasingly influenced by user signals who indicate if the result matches their search. This raises the bar for quality content that truly addresses search intent. When done correctly, SEO can be a goldmine for intent-qualified, cost-effective web traffic.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating and sharing educational and entertaining materials that will deliver concrete value to the readers, and is relevant to your brand. This channel is much different than advertising, as you are not promoting anything or asking something from the reader. Rather, you are developing a piece of content that serves to raise brand awareness and establish your company as an industry thought leader. Content marketing can include:
- Press releases
Content marketing is more of a strategy that encompasses a few channels. It still belongs on this list because it's one of the most ubiquitous business approaches. The content serves as powerful sales collateral and resources for account-based marketing (ABM) strategies.
3. Paid Search/PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising
Paid search is precisely as it sounds. It's running paid ads on search engines to appear at the top of results for relevant terms and queries. These ads are called "pay per click" (PPC) because advertisers pay the search engine a fixed rate every time someone clicks on the ad. Paid search also works under a "pay per call" and "cost per impression" structure. Ad rates vary based on factors like keyword competition, industry, and ad quality score.
Unlike SEO—which is more top-of-funnel- paid search is quicker and more reliable than organic search, especially when reaching a ready-to-buy audience.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is the practice of sending customized messages via email to a cultivated contact list. The content often pertains to products, promotions, sales, and other company updates. One popular form of this is email newsletters. However, as inboxes continue to overflow and spam is on the rise, marketers are more challenged to deliver clear value. Sometimes direct mail makes more of a statement.
5. Social Media
Often, a company’s social media channels are arguably more popular than its website. That’s because people are not congregating on your website. A brand’s social media presence has become the cornerstone of full-funnel B2B channel marketing. Most companies have several social media accounts across multiple platforms, with benefits that include:
- Building brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Post-sale brand loyalty
- Advocacy and referrals
- Influencer marketing
One of the best business channels for a social media strategy is LinkedIn. In a recent study, 93% of B2B content marketers use LinkedIn to distribute organic content, and 77% say it produces the best results for social media. The next-highest-rated platform came in at 37%.
6. Web Design
A website is the first point of interaction between your business and potential customers, so it needs to make an incredible first impression. Do not skimp on the web design, or you'll have a low visitor rate and a high bounce rate. The better the aesthetics, the greater the user experience. People want to easily navigate the site and quickly find what they're looking for. The more enjoyable it is, the more time they will spend. It's as simple as that.
One of the newer initiatives to reach and engage customers online is through webinars. Hosting a webinar gives a business the chance to present information while engaging with potential clients in real time. A webinar can also be repurposed later on and published on your website with a blog (or by itself). It remains a great resource that can generate leads and traffic for years to come.
Referral marketing primarily relies on brand advocates to grow your company's customer base. This can take on many forms, from satisfied customers posting a review online to influencers posting an ad for thousands in their audience. It's about having your biggest fans spread the word and is a powerful style that drives 5x more sales than paid impressions. Additionally, customers acquired by word-of-mouth tend to spend twice as much and make twice as many referrals. It's a win-win.
Podcasting is a relatively new B2B marketing channel that's an excellent way to nurture an audience and establish brand trust. Companies often create podcasts to discuss relevant subject matter to their industry. You can also seek out other industry leaders to interview, which enables cross-promotional opportunities and audience sharing. The trend continues to grow, and as of 2022, 62% of U.S. consumers have listened to a podcast.
10. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
If you’re looking to convert more visitors when they get to your site, then conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a strategy you might want to check out. CRO tests elements and versions of your site to see which results in more conversions. For example, a developer might create multiple versions of a call to action button, using different words and colors, and see which one generates the most clicks. This helps to get the most out of web traffic and leverages revenue for your company.
11. Programmatic Display Advertising
This is ad placement done robotically. Programmatic display advertising uses technology to automatically purchase display ads (those that appear on websites) from advertising platforms. These programs then decide where to place the ads based on an algorithm that evaluates the potential impact and relevance of the placement.
One case study is ad experiences on LinkedIn. The user selects a target audience, matches them to the ad, and selects a budget. The algorithms then take over. The program handles the distribution of the advertisement through an optimized and streamlined process. In other words, programmatic display advertising powers omnichannel ads at scale. It completely automates your ability to serve the right person, at the right time, in the right place.
12. Events (In-Person and Virtual)
Get away from the computer screen and meet potential customers face-to-face. B2B brands can host or participate in events that promote their products and/or services in person. Events can be explicitly promotional, like product demonstrations, or more focused on educating, like roundtables and webinars. Although events reach a smaller audience than other forms of marketing, they offer invaluable direct contact and engagement with potential leads. Additionally, event registrations can be used as a form of lead generation, with contact data being fed into a sales team funnel.
13. Video Content
Video is the number one grabber of attention online, and it can be deployed across different environments and platforms all over the web. From YouTube to social media feeds, email marketing, website displays ads, and beyond. There are a variety of types of video content for marketing purposes, including:
- Explainer videos
- Product reviews
Video content is highly engaging and versatile, and, when done well, can capture and hold the attention of your audience.
B2B Marketing Channel Examples
To better understand how B2B channel marketing works, it's best to see it in action. So here are a few real-life examples of channel marketing you can use today:
Mailchimp - Web Design
Mailchimp is a brand that uses its website to truly speak to customers and create a voice that's memorable. The homepage is easy to navigate, clean, and focuses 100% on customer pain points. With quotes like "Get down to business and grow sales," it feels like they're speaking directly to the small business owner (their key customer). The website also allows customers to choose which language they'd prefer to view the page in. This inclusive approach is another way to draw more people in and serve a larger audience.
Shopify - Content Marketing
Shopify is an e-commerce company that produces a variety of different content, including blogs, community events, business courses, ebooks, social media streams, and more. One content avenue that makes the brand stand out is its podcast.
Placing Shopify as an industry thought leader, the podcast is aptly titled "Shopify Masters: The ecommerce business and marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs." Episode topics include exciting concepts like "Disrupting the Soda Industry with a Healthy Spin" and "How Masks For Dogs Landed a Deal on Shark Tank."
Venngage - Client Testimonials
98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. This is a number that's up from 81% in 2019. Venngage took their positive reviews and sprinkled them throughout their online content (like website and social media). It's a form of social proof that lets prospects know your business has a track record of reliability and happy customers.
Adobe - Social Media Marketing
Although it seems like an unlikely platform for a tech company, Adobe has a lot of success marketing on TikTok. The brand has managed to attract millions of viewers to its videos, which are of high-quality content. Adobe know boasts 262.3K followers and 2 million likes on the social media platform.
The brand's second TikTok video received 2 million+ views. The video asked its audience, Who is a creative TikToker we should know about? which subsequently encouraged a high audience engagement rate.
TravelPerk and Google - SEO
Did you know a buyer spends 27% of their time in the purchase journey independently researching the concept online? In this phase, they potentially use at least one search engine, which makes it worth the time and effort to invest in SEO.
This is precisely what the brand TravelPerk does. They pay for a diverse range of search ads and SEO. They use an impressive strategy of topic clusters and sub-topics to reach their target audience. TravelPerk ensures that search engine pages like "company travel expenses" have a paid ad linking to the website and a high-ranking blog that provides valuable information to travelers. This is what running a successful channel partner program looks like. TravelPerk is partnering with Google to expand its reach and engage a broader audience.
Considerations When Creating a B2B Marketing Strategy
When developing a B2B marketing strategy, it’s important to identify the most suitable marketing channels for your business. Here are some key considerations to help you get there:
Identify Brand Identity
To create a successful strategy, you must understand your brand positioning. This answers the questions of who, when, why, and how of a brand’s identity. It’s best to devise a brand positioning statement that everyone can believe in.
Determine Target Audience
Determine your target audience. Who is really looking for your products/services? This can help marketing teams create buyer personas and better understand how customers make purchasing decisions.
Create a Competitive Analysis
Look at what your competition is doing and run a competitive analysis. Examine their product offerings, sales tactics, campaign results, content, and social media presence. What are they doing right? What can you do better? A general overview of the competition can help you recognize their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is also known as a SWOT analysis.
Research Marketing Channels
What channels has your competition used successfully? Where are they failing? Make that your starting point. Now, it's time to diversify your B2B marketing portfolio and reach businesses beyond. Depending on your competitive analysis and customer segments, a company should explore strategies, channels, and tools to optimize lead generation. This may take leveraging a modern tech stack and automation to onboard new partners and launch paid programs.
Every marketing channel exists to serve a different audience, with varying expectations. In this highly competitive digital landscape, it's critical to fully understand all of the opportunities and marketing channels available for your industry. B2B businesses consistently benefit from multi-channel marketing strategies and how marketers implement them.
One of the most successful strategies behind B2B marketing is creating a mutually beneficial channel partnership. Companies like Relevize make it easy to bridge the gap between marketing on a solo mission vs. bringing other brands along. Sales pipelines are built using effective marketing channels, and partner marketing is the new way to expand efforts.
Relevize helps a brand seamlessly onboard new partners and launch paid programs with the click of a button. Easily understand where leads are coming in from and how effectively your partners nurture them. The technology helps you rapidly scale campaigns and measure results every step of the way. Ready to get started? Request a customized Relevize demo today!