The B2B marketer is selling to other businesses, as opposed to selling to an individual consumer. Since business decisions affect the business and its employees as a whole, they often take much longer than the decision that an individual consumer may make. This means that the sales cycle is typically very long. Decision makers need to conduct thorough research, consult with others within the organization, and ensure that the budget will allow for it.
Because B2B decisions are so crucial, it often requires many touchpoints to get that coveted conversion. This means that businesses that are marketing themselves online need to take advantage of the many outlets that are available and market the business in many different ways. A B2B decision maker isn’t going to pay $10K for a product after only clicking on a PPC ad or an organic listing to get to your site. It’s going to take much more work than that.
This is why B2B marketers shouldn’t view internet marketing, or each component of internet marketing, in a silo. It’s a joint effort among all marketing tactics to get that final conversion. Everything feeds into all of the other channels and internet marketing efforts need to cater to all of your audiences that choose to consume information in different outlets.
Because it often takes many touchpoints for a decision to be made, it’s important to execute strong B2B SEO, content marketing, social media, and advertising strategies online. Many businesses make the mistake of only executing one or two of the three. Or, they scale back on one or two because they don’t think that it’s having any effect. The truth is that it’s very difficult to measure exactly what contributed to that final conversion. A final decision may have been made after a PPC ad was clicked on (advertising), a SlideShare presentation was viewed (content marketing), and a LinkedIn post or comment was viewed (social media). Since all of these outlets contributed to the conversion, they are all important.
Many business owners make the mistake of focusing too much on where that final conversion came from, not understanding that it really took many more touchpoints. This is common for businesses that are active in social media. They aren’t seeing that direct correlation between social media efforts and sales or leads and begin to question their social media strategy and whether or not it is worth the investment. Even if someone didn’t click over to your site from social media and then convert right then and there, that does not mean that they didn’t take a look at your social media pages while they were making the decision. A robust social media presence with lots of great content may have had a huge impact on whether or not the target audience member continued to check out your company.
What it comes down to is that you never know where a potential client or customer is looking for information about your company online, which is why it’s so important to build a strong online presence in many different locations and outlets.
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