The Essentials of Business to Business Marketing

August 20, 2010

Renjith Krishnan

Marketing is the Path to Growth

This blog is devoted to Business to Business (or B2B) marketing. It’s not meant to sit at the bleeding edge, but to offer some home truths and practical steps for those who need to promote their company without wasting money, hopefully achieving a suitable return on investment for their efforts.

It’s a big topic but I hope that the following tips will get you started, or at least help to create a brief in order to recruit additional specialist help in the form of a Marketing Director or Marketing Consultant.

How to Win New Clients

  • Perform a full audit of your website. Make sure that it explains your services clearly and that you would be proud for potential customers to see it. Second, look at where it appears in the search engine rankings. To improve its positioning, read my blog on search engine optimisation, ‘What’s the Importance of SEO?’ to get you started.
  • Identify your existing and potential clients. If you’re in business to business marketing, the customer base may not be that large. In some industries, and for some products, the potential target client base could be as low as 500 people, yet those people have the ability to make or break your sales figures.
  • Once you know who you should be talking to, make sure that you have up to date information about them. Even three month old data will need rechecking. This is quite a big job, but be careful who you ask to check the data for you. Whoever contacts the companies should be prepared to speak on behalf of your business, so don’t just see it as a job for the tea maker. You can also check client data by visiting online sites such as LinkedIn.
  • Decide how best to engage with your target market – do some of them know you already? What are their views on your company? Which services do you need to promote? Be prepared to segment your target list into even smaller groups. If each target is worth a lot to you, think about personalised mailings combined with very good telesales follow up.
  • As part of this, you’ll need to consider whether you use email marketing or conventional direct mail. Approach this with an open mind, depending on the target market, the message and the best way to explain your product or service.
  • Where possible, try to engage your targets further with an invitation to an event, a gift of some industry data, or anything else that helps you to open up a dialogue. This is where sales and marketing need to work in absolute harmony. Sales calls need to follow marketing activity on precisely the right day and time. Don’t even consider starting this until you have the Sales Director’s absolute commitment to work alongside you.
  • Start blogging and tweeting. They are now essential routes to raising your profile the Web 2.0 era.
  • Think about industry events where your clients are likely to be in attendence. Consider sponsorship, hiring a booth or at least buying a ticket. Be active, be vocal.
  • Develop relationships with the trade press and industry websites. Issue regular press releases and consider advertising in trade magazines.

This is by no means every part of the strategy you could adopt to increase your presence, but it’s a good starting point. If you’d like to discuss your requirements in more detail, I’d be happy to buy you a coffee and talk some more – here’s where to find me.

Why Blog?

August 18, 2010
Easy Blogging for Business

Easy Blogging for Business

There’s so much blogging taking place these days that it’s got to be worth asking why it’s suddenly so popular.

There are many reasons for a corporate blog post and the following is a brief explanation which will hopefully shed light on the reasons that so many of us are now involved in this activity.

Why We Blog

Apart from the admittedly enjoyable aspect of blogging, here are the more practical reasons for writing digestible sized posts on a regular basis.

  • Blogging is a great way to tell customers more about your views and services. I write this blog as it is another way to explain marketing issues in more detail to clients and people I meet. It’s great to be able to send links to people on subjects we might have only had time to half-discuss in real life.
  • Search engines are becoming increasingly fond of new content. Even if you use a separate blog engine, the content should also appear on your company website, thereby helping your website in its crawl up the search engine rankings.
  • Believe it or not, writing will help to get your thoughts in order. It will help you focus on what is of interest to your clients and the wider business community and awill help you answer questions in a straightforward way.

How to Blog

  • Decide on the days of the week that you’re going to blog and then stick to your plan. You cannot expect people to follow your posts if you are not consistent with your publication dates.
  • Create a blog strategy where you work out what you are going to cover in each post. This will make your posts read in a coherent style, from one to the next, and will also enable you to reference future, as well as past, content.
  • Don’t feel that your posts always need to be long but keep them in line with your readers’ expectations  – you are trying to build a following, after all!
  • Write from the heart. OK, you might be blogging about oil pipelines or yeast allergies, but care about your subject and the words really will flow.
  • Even if you have the budget to integrate your own software into your website content management system, use a blog site – it’s much better for search engine optimisation and you can always reskin your blog to match your corporate branding.
  • Be sure to make use of the categories and tags in the blog software to help your SEO.

I hope that these tips on blogging have been useful. It would be great to hear your comments.