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There is a common misunderstanding that business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing efforts are significantly different from those which are business-to-business (B2B) oriented. The truth is both have a target audience that decides whether or not to purchase your business’s offering. The key differences are time, value and relationship.
For the B2C buyers, decisions are based on desire, price, status and how convenient the transaction process is. B2B, on the other hand, is more relationship driven and involves a multi-step buying process. The sales cycle takes longer because buying decisions are based on the value proposition your business provides the client.
Lead generation and lead nurturing are the key factors to maximize your business-to-business marketing efforts. Picture the top end of a funnel as the lead generation efforts. This is where the most prospects are located in the sales pipeline and it is filled through email campaigns, cold calls, inbound leads, referrals and any other leads generated by your company’s sales force efforts. Although there will be customers who are ready and willing to buy your company’s service or product, not all of them will – at least not at this time.
For those customers who expressed interest but have not yet made a decision, we move on to the middle of the funnel and begin the lead nurturing phase. This is your opportunity to further educate potential customers on your value proposition, price point comparisons, potential discounts and industry trends. Lead nurturing is one of the most important ways to build trust, which is the foundation of every good business partnership.
Unfortunately, recent surveys show that lead nurturing is not a top priority for marketers. A study conducted by tech-industry marketing VP Holger Schulze of 800 LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community members found that 71.4% of B2B high-tech marketers use content marketing for lead generation, but only 35.4% use content to fuel lead nurturing. Lead generation was a distant fourth on the list of content marketing goals behind general lead generation, thought leadership and customer acquisition.
The disconnect between an interested buyer and a business marketer often happens when they lose touch. To avoid this, lead nurturing materials need to be created and shared that are engaging and beneficial to prospects. Whether this is done through email, newsletters, white papers, case studies or digital interaction on social media platforms, the content must have ways to move the buyer down the next step of the sales funnel. Make sure that your messaging, call to action and copy align with your business and the value proposition to the customer.
Oftentimes small companies choose to write their own marketing material without the targeted buyer’s perspective in mind. Inconsistency in writing voice and the timing of outreach can make or break a campaign, which is one of the reasons it is better to hire an integrated marketing agency with industry expertise. If you are interested in seeing how your messaging aligns with your company’s brand, let us know how we can help. Or should you prefer, you can download our free guide to internet marketing and begin learning how to match your messaging to your brand.
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