Jun 17, 2024 | 9 min read

Effective B2B marketing strategies for growth

Growing a B2B (business-to-business) company starts with developing the right mix of actionable and measurable B2B marketing strategies—especially if you’re looking for new clients, more sales, and better retention rates. (And who isn’t?)

If you’ve been scraping by with a haphazard, we’ve-always-done-it-this-way mix of marketing efforts, it’s time to clear the deck and start from scratch. Why? Outdated marketing methods are often assumed to be more profitable than they actually are.

In today’s landscape, the first principle of effective marketing is to focus on digital. There are a multitude of effective B2B marketing strategies within the digital landscape to explore, and one thing they all have in common is measurability. With the ability to trace clicks and views, and connect them to customer behavior and sales, you can make smarter decisions about where to put your marketing dollars and experience a significant return on investment.

Developing a B2B marketing plan

Let’s start by reviewing what makes B2B marketing strategies different from B2C (business to consumer) strategies. In general, B2B marketing needs to address:

  • A longer buying journey
  • More people and roles involved in making a purchase decision
  • Greater expectations of support and service
  • More interest in customized and scalable pricing vs. limited-time sales
  • Higher demand for provable expertise over flashy promotions

As such, it’s crucial to prioritize the following steps when developing your marketing plan.

Identify and segment your B2B audience

Who and where is your audience? If you’re selling individual online courses that fulfill the continuing education requirements for nurses, then your starting point for product use is, of course, nurses.

But when you dig further, you may find that your audience can be segmented by:

  • Credentials and course needs – Registered, licensed practical, nurse practitioner, etc.
  • Buyers – Individuals vs. those who buy for different types and sizes of staff groups
  • Location – Each state nursing board’s licensing cycle and education requirements

Who buys your products, and at what scale? Is your buyer the same individual who uses your products? For B2B marketers, it’s key to learn as much as you can about your target audience’s roles, motivations and demographic characteristics in order to identify where and how to connect with them. Without a robust process of u may find that your marketing dollars are being wasted on groups that aren’t as profitable to target.

Understand your buyer’s journey

The journey a B2B buyer takes to get to the point of a sale is more complex than “Shirley is thirsty. She sees a store display for a soft drink and buys a beverage.”

To that end, figure out how your customers reach these three stages and the steps within each:

1. Awareness – In addition to brand awareness, this first stage also explores how and when a potential customer becomes aware of a need, pain point or new opportunity, as well as the products or services that serve as a solution. Make them aware of your expertise and the solutions you provide to fulfill their needs.

Build brand awareness and develop and nurture leads with digital, social, email and content marketing.

2. Consideration – Make your unique offerings stand out as the best option in comparison to other companies and products.

➤ Employ direct communication, curated offers and personalized messages through relevant marketing channels.

3. Decision – Remember, purchases from B2B clients may involve multiple decision-makers or roles (user, influencer, buyer). There can also be budget cycles or constraints, bureaucratic delays or last-minute competitive offers that threaten a deal.

➤ Make product demos, samples, reviews and testimonials available, along with continued messaging to overcome purchase resistance.

Draft a marketing plan

Whether you start with a pen and paper, a spreadsheet or a slideshow, transform your research and ideas into actionable campaigns operating within a central budgetary and planning framework.

While effective B2B marketing strategies can operate continuously (rather than as a one-off tactic with a start and end date), you’ll still need to capture total marketing investment by year or other cycle within a master plan.

To that end, consider:

  • Budget (and whether it’s static or flexible)
  • How seasonality affects your core business and/or buyer behavior
  • What categorization is useful: product type, sub-brand, customer segment, etc.
  • How each tactic or campaign relates to stages of the buyer’s journey or lead generation funnel

Then, include these components in your plan and address how they fit into the budget:

  • Marketing objectives (increase traffic, engagement, brand awareness, etc.)
  • Launch and distribution schedules for all campaigns, events and marketing tactics
  • Campaign goals and results
  • Editorial calendar
  • B2B market research projects

You’ll also need to allocate resources to your marketing technology stack. This could include:

  • A customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • Marketing automation platforms
  • Analytics tools

Set and measure KPIs

A key performance indicator (KPI) represents a way to measure progress toward various goals. Keep in mind that for B2B marketing, success doesn’t mean that every marketing effort results in an immediate sale.

A brand awareness campaign, for instance, could be measured in how many times a digital ad was viewed by potential customers that fit your target market, without the expectation that they click on the ad and make a purchase. A lead generation campaign could be measured by the number of people who provide their contact information by signing up to download a free how-to guide.

On your plan, show specific, quantifiable goals (number of dollars, leads, clicks, etc.) that are realistic based on past campaign performance, industry benchmarks or other relevant guidance.

Key components of successful B2B digital marketing strategies

An effective digital marketing strategy for your B2B company isn’t limited to paid advertising. It also encompasses:

  • Social media marketing (SMM) including accounts, posts, listening and paid ads
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) to boost your website listing on organic searches
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) based on keyword bidding
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising including ad and search retargeting
  • Content marketing including blogs, newsletters, case studies, white papers and videos
  • Email marketing
  • Mobile and text marketing
  • Affiliate marketing

Putting a digital marketing campaign into play and setting it up for success comes with several steps. Before you hit a launch button:

  • Establish goals, metrics and budget
  • Identify your target audience
  • Choose the types of digital marketing and specific tactics to include
  • Select the platforms and/or third-party ad services to engage
  • Write appealing offer or ad copy
  • Create and format eye-catching ads and other components to fit specifications
  • Craft relevant blog content that establishes thought leadership from your B2B brand

Measuring success: KPIs and metrics for B2B digital marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, setting up campaign parameters, identifying your goal and using analytics reports available on dashboards like the Nextdoor Ads Manager can help you track and refine your campaign based on how it meets KPIs.

What is your campaign goal? It could be any of the following:

  • Brand awareness – Measure with cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and view-through conversions (VTC).
  • Web traffic – Measure getting people to visit a web page, site or social account with click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC) and/or click-through conversion (CTC).
  • Lead generation – Are your campaigns providing new leads to follow up on? Metrics can include marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and click-through conversion (CTC).
  • Sales and ROI – How many sales dollars are the direct result of each dollar you spend on marketing or a specific ad campaign? Metrics include return on investment (ROI) and return on advertising spend (ROAS).

Future trends in B2B digital marketing

Practices and technologies are quickly emerging and improving to help automate, track, improve and guide B2B marketing strategies and campaigns. To that end, keep an eye on1,2,3,4:

Nextdoor’s Generative AI Assistant is an example of how AI is being used to make your marketing campaigns more efficient and effective. It employs language analysis technology to help small businesses quickly create more engaging posts based on rave reviews and localized insights.5

Nextdoor for B2B digital marketing

B2B marketing plans contain many layers and components, but there are user-friendly, cost-effective ways for businesses of all sizes to grow through digital marketing. Partnering with platforms like Nextdoor to make data-driven decisions is a potent B2B growth strategy that can lead to lasting success.

Nextdoor is the neighborhood network that connects you to your customers, as well as prospective customers in your own backyard. Use the comprehensive Nextdoor Ads Manager dashboard to track and analyze engagement and campaigns against KPIs as you build new business leads, nurture your reputation and boost your community presence.

Start with a Nextdoor Business Page. Then, connect using business posts and build trust through recommendations from other users. Additionally, with Nextdoor ad campaigns, you can pinpoint targeting, build brand awareness and serve curated messages and special offers to the professionals who use and make purchasing decisions about your products and services.

With Nextdoor’s business tools, Canseco’s Gardening Services grew their business by 40%,

Houston real estate agent Michael Brombacher saw 7x ROI with Nextdoor Neighborhood Sponsorships and Texas real estate agent and broker Chandler Crouch quadrupled expected attendance at a hosted event.

Looking for more insights and guidance on B2B marketing strategies? Browse our business blog for other success stories and more effective campaign ideas.



Sources:

  1. Gartner. The Future of Marketing: 5 Trends and Predictions for 2024 and Beyond. https://www.gartner.com/en/marketing/topics/top-trends-and-predictions-for-the-future-of-marketing
  2. Improvado. Navigating the Future: Unpacking 2024 Top B2B Marketing Trends. https://improvado.io/blog/b2b-marketing-trends
  3. LinkedIn (Mike Kleinemass). The future of B2B marketing: Trends and changes in 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-b2b-marketing-trends-changes-2024-mike-kleinemass-6lsrf/
  4. Exploding Topics. 10 B2B Marketing Trends For 2024-2027. https://explodingtopics.com/blog/b2b-trends
  5. Nextdoor. Unlock the value of generative AI with local data. https://business.nextdoor.com/en-us/blog/unlock-the-value-of-generative-ai-with-local-data




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Author image Nextdoor Editorial Team At Nextdoor, we love local. The Nextdoor Editorial Team is dedicated to telling stories of local businesses, providing product education, and sharing marketing best practices to help businesses grow.