In the health industry, there are many different audiences to consider when marketing your products and services. While some businesses purely focus on customers, others need to strategically target other businesses with their marketing efforts.
Targeting marketing messages towards your specific audience is critical – this is what encourages people to try or buy! And if you’re targeting the wrong audience with your marketing, you may as well not waste the time and money! So let’s consider ways to effectively market to businesses, and how these strategies differ from the marketing to customers that we’ve discussed recently…
B2B marketing is often used by businesses that sell products or services to other companies. So it makes sense that the messaging needs to target the needs and challenges of individuals within the business – especially people who are making purchases or buying decisions for their organisation. So basically, the company is your customer for all intents and purposes.
Whereas when you’re marketing towards customers, the individual is your target buyer, so you’re focussed on their needs and wants instead. B2B marketing can be incredibly lucrative – even more so than B2C marketing!
So let’s dive into some ways to ensure that your marketing spend is effective and rewarding when it comes to B2B marketing messages.
- Define your target audience and listen to your customer.
Before anything else, spend some time really analysing your target audience. What kind of businesses do you want to reach? What kind of products and services can you offer these companies? What messages do you want them to take away? What impression of your brand do you want to give them?
Once you’ve really nutted this out and have a clear idea of your audience, consider how you’re going to speak to them.
While we normally focus on “telling” the customer what they want/need in B2C marketing, B2B marketing needs to emphasise listening and understanding your customers, and providing what they ask. Social media is a great place to start.
Opening a dialogue with your customers, so they can provide feedback, requests and constructive criticism, is vital to ensure a free flow of information, and allow you to listen to what your market is in need of. It’s a great tool for educating your customers on what you have to offer and why it’s right for them, creating awareness and brand preference – similar to how you would in B2C marketing!
However encouraging this two-way communication flow is vital for B2B marketing, so again the focus is on listening rather than persuading.
Marketing efforts must always be informed by research – whether they’re customer-focused or business-focused. Combining market research, customer feedback and scientific studies (where appropriate) will help you create a strong marketing strategy, tailored to what your audience wants to see.
Research has shown that businesses which spend the time conducting research on their customers and offerings grow between three and 10 times faster, and are doubly as profitable as companies who don’t invest this time or money.
Market research also gives you a great benchmark to compare the effectiveness of your marketing against. Think about it – if you’ve looked into your competitors, and their strategies, you have a solid understanding of how your own marketing should be performing, and can alter it as needed to achieve your desired results.
- Maximise SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is critical in B2B marketing. This involves using keywords to make your website and content appear in relevant online searches to your target audience, which focus on your areas of expertise and offering.
After all, your audience needs to be readily able to find your content and website for your marketing efforts to be effective. If they can’t easily find your services or products, they won’t even consider your brand or offering!
Ensure you’re using relevant terms that your potential referrers would search for – put yourself in the shoes of your desired audience, and write accordingly!
- Make the most of social media.
While social media is mostly associated with B2C marketing, it is just as valuable for B2B communication these days! In fact, social media is now a more commonly used source of information than word of mouth and recommendations, so it’s important to have a strong presence here.
Pick one or two platforms, and concentrate on making your marketing efforts on these channels really strong and effective – this will achieve far better results than trying to establish a presence across all social platforms, and only putting half the effort into each.
Social media will allow you to network and form relationships with businesses, encouraging brand loyalty and preference amongst potential referrers. It also facilitates that two-way conversation we discussed earlier, allowing you to listen to your potential referrers, and interact with them in positive, meaningful ways.
Social media offers a powerful tool for working with a business to leverage your referrals, increase awareness and drive traffic to your services. For example, consider things like collaborations, Instagram takeovers, Facebook live videos and sponsored posting as a means of reaching a whole new audience – that of your potential referrer’s followers and customers! This opens up your potential reach, engagement and customer pool hugely!
- Form strong relationships.
When it comes to B2B marketing, it is essential to form lasting, positive relationships with your potential referrers. Considering your audience are largely businesses, this means they’re more likely to be repeat customers adding significant value to your business, compared to B2C marketing where individual customers can only offer so much added value.
Spend time networking with GPs, allied health businesses etc in traditional ways, forming and fostering these relationships. After all, you want it to be you who they recommend their own customers approach for your services! Attend events with these potential referrers, and go above and beyond for them in any way you can!
You want to do everything in your power to ensure an engaged, loyal customer base of potential referrers. This often means spending more time, energy and effort in responding to customer enquiries and feedback, attending business events or trade shows, and positioning your business in spaces where different businesses interact. Remember, building these relationships could equate to huge value or sales down the track, so it’s worth your time!
- Analyse your performance and make changes.
Considering the performance and analytics of your marketing efforts is pivotal in ensuring the success of your B2B messaging. This requires the right tools to allow you to collect accurate data which reflects the success of all your marketing efforts – whether they be social media, SEO, paid advertising etc.
Things like Google Analytics can help you measure your site traffic and SEO, and Hootsuite can provide analytics on social media marketing. Make sure you’re using the right tools for the platforms you’ve chosen, and regularly review the results these tools are providing.
These analytics will show you what’s working, and what isn’t. This means you can make the necessary changes to maximise the potential of your marketing efforts, and ensure the money your spending is going towards the best possible channels and messages.
If you’re always learning from these analytics, you can embrace your learnings and use them to continuously improve your marketing messaging. This means every form of marketing is based on fact and results instead of guesswork, so you’re better able to reach the businesses you’re hoping to engage.
B2B marketing is different to B2C, however the fundamental principle is the same: always keep your customer (in this case, businesses) at the forefront of every message or platform you use. Take the time to understand them and their needs, and form strong relationships and brand loyalty – it will pay off in time!