“Living with the pandemic” has become the new norm, transforming customer behavior and business markets worldwide. Businesses that survived during the height of the pandemic were those that were bold, willing to move aggressively into new strategies that adapted to the ever-changing environment. You will need to employ these same tactics to reach your B2B customers in the post-COVID ecosystem.
This article offers seven tips to help you reach B2B buyers as we learn to live with the pandemic.
#1 Reach B2B Customers With Quality Content
“Winning in the digital space is going to come down to strong brand fueled by quality content.” Cindy Dubon
In other words, content continues to be one of the most critical elements in an effective digital marketing campaign—the emphasis on the word “quality.
Publish multi-format content that educates and delivers value.
All of your B2B buyers will not have the time to sit and read long blog posts or white papers. So you’ll want to continue to create those but repurpose them into bite-size content such as podcasts, videos, slideshares, and carousels.
You’ll need to experiment and reach out to your customer audience across a broader spectrum of digital channels.
#2 B2B Buyers Want Authenticity
The consumer audience, B2C and B2B, are exhausted from an overflow of digital information and too much screen time. In addition, a massive increase in ad spending contributes to a general distrust of what companies are promising.
- You’ll build trust in your company when you publish authentic content that is a true reflection of your mission and products or services.
- Recognize that your customers are going through similar adjustments and experience the same anxieties as you.
- Be honest about it, present your personal side.
- Return to business basics—developing personal relationships based on mutual understanding and trust.
- Don’t be afraid to share your story, ask for their stories, get to know your account managers or sales representatives on a personal level.
- Listen to your customers and create a proposal that addresses their needs. Show how your products or services help them do their job better or serve their customers better.
The most trustworthy channel today is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is perfect for publishing thought leadership content and posts that increase awareness of your services and products.
“LinkedIn [is] proving more effective and more affordable than paid advertising or other traditional methods of marketing right now.” Mandy McEwen, Founder, CEO of Mod Girl Marketing.
#3 Invest In Digital Resources To Reach B2B Customers
Even in the “learn to live with it” reality, most of your conferences and conventions will remain in the virtual sphere. Therefore, it’s worth investing in resources to improve your web-based digital event platforms. For instance, high-quality cameras, lighting, sound, and recording systems will make your digital event enjoyable.
Take advantage of your customers’ multichannel viewing habits by
- leveraging your social channels to promote upcoming webinars and live events
- broadcasting live events across your platforms
- posting links to your events in digital community groups, and inviting engagement.
#4 Reach B2B Customers By Remembering Their Consumers
“Follow the money! It Comes from the Consumer!” Michael Houlihan, Founder of Barefoot Wines.
Michael Houlihan says there’s no such thing as B2B, “but there’s B2B2B2C,” because there is always a “customer” at the end of the chain.
If your business customer feels the economic pinch from its customers, you will feel it too. They might scale down your services or purchase fewer products. As a result, it might take longer to work through the purchasing funnel.
Keep your buyers’ pain points in mind and shift your messaging to one that demonstrates how your products and services will help them better serve their customers.
Do Your Research
Find out what consumers want—what kind of products and services, their pain points, worries, interests.
A lot is going on in the world, and your B2B customer is dealing with consumers who are on issue over-load, uncertainty, employment, and financial disruptions. So keep these points in mind when crafting your marketing strategies.
#5 Word Of Mouth Still Works
While you’re focusing on sales and recruiting new customers, don’t forget about those you already have.
- Use Whatsapp and other messaging apps to reach out to your current customers.
- Maintain regular contact via emails.
- Invite your customers to your online brand communities.
- Send greeting cards on holidays and special occasions.
- Create remarkable experiences that they’ll share on their social feeds.
- Address customer concerns.
- Use your social listening tools so that you can respond immediately to customer questions or complaints.
A good word from your B2B customers to their network will generate more brand reach than you’ll achieve through paid ads.
#6 B2B Customers Are Not Only On LinkedIn and Twitter
Driving organic engagement is key to building your business. To reach B2B buyers, you’ll need to fuse lead generation with brand awareness.
LinkedIn is the top social channel for B2B marketing, but your customers are cruising other social platforms too. They’re on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram reels. If they see an engaging, entertaining, and authentic post from you, they’re more likely to remember it and share. The more customers see you, the more they’ll know you exist.;
Hybrid and remote work realities have changed conceptions about which digital channels to choose and when to post. Experiment with times and types of content. Monitor your analytics to discover what strategies are helping you meet your marketing goals.
“There is no playbook for brands in a post-COVID world. The fact that all commercials since March have been virtually identical suggests that brands have no idea what they’re supposed to do. Those who win today are the ones who have been deeply listening and empathizing with the customers and taking steps to reimagine their marketing strategies—not just copying what the other guy is doing.” Sarah Weise, CEO Bixa.
#7 Use Automation But Don’t Forget The Human Connection
Personalization is a critical factor in all marketing, especially to reach B2B consumers. Automation and artificial intelligence, like chatbots, are powerful tools to help you segment lists, improve customer service, and deliver personalized messaging. But protect the human-to-human connection. Your reputation will grow when customers feel you are empathetic to their needs. So utilize non-automated means to connect with your consumers at critical points or when they ask for it.
No one can predict what tomorrow will bring. To say that the global ecosystem is chaotic would be an understatement. But, you still want to grow your business, expand brand awareness and improve revenue. To reach B2B customers in this reality you need to
- be flexible and ready to pivot
- experiment and measure outcomes
- employ an omnichannel strategy
- stay personally invested in your customers and buyers
- use storytelling and empathize
- be authentic and honest about what you deliver
- protect your reputation
- invest in technologies and tools to help you create memorable experiences
- be patient.
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