With social media platforms available to everyone, B2B marketing has become a raucous jungle where only the savvy survive.Sadly, too many brands focus on outshining?(or outshouting) the competition?while ignoring what’s really at the heart of all marketing: The building of relationships. This approach takes time but will yield far more profitable, lasting results in the long run.
Below are tips from five top industry experts which you can apply immediately to your B2B relationship building and lead generation efforts:
1. Know your prospective partners and what would best serve them. Too many business owners assume that they know what their prospects want to see and fall far short of the mark when it comes to using that knowledge in relationship building and, later, lead generation.This is whyTed Rubin advises going so far as to ask your target audience what would best serve them – then delivering the answer to their prayers. Building an authentic?relationship takes more than “What can you do for me?” – in fact, the question should be “What can I do for you?”. Such dedication to service has a tendency to create brand loyalty.
2. Cut through the noise and buzzwords. We’ve made the B2B and B2C arena much more complex than it needs to be, says Bryan Kramer. Buzzwords such as “synergy” have been used by marketers almost as a tribal language to the point where the basic function of marketing – creating relationships between brands and consumers/other brands – has been lost. Kramer advises instead that B2B marketers get back to basics and reach out to the people behind the brands, speaking a common language we can all relate to. Simplifying what has become needlessly complex will set a business apart from the rest of the pack.
3. Be smart about social media. Any savvy business uses social media as a lead generation tool, butMari Smith advises her clients to avoid using it as a one-way feed of information. Consider using?VIDEO. There’s a new app on Facebook called RIFF – that allows you to post a video and then allows your friends to add to it! ?Too many brands simply publish update after update full of information but never take the time to ask questions of or engage with their followers in order to build a relationship. Acquiring new followers is great, but retention and engagement are better. After all, 10,000 followers who clicked “Like” but wouldn’t think of becoming a customer mean nothing. 100 engaged, interested followers who like your brand so much they spread the word to friends, however, are essentially free brand ambassadors. See the difference? Which would you rather have in your corner?
4. Stay on top of both praise and complaints. Anyone can quickly acknowledge praise – but are they as quick to acknowledge a public complaint?Yes, social media and the myriad other opportunities our customers have to engage us have made it easier to build relationships, but they’ve also made it possible to destroy a brand’s credibility with one click of the “Update” button. Deborah Shane points out that being able to respond to complaints and praise alike in real time is what will transform a B2B or B2C relationship. Even a complaint expressed on social media and shared with thousands of friends or followers can be turned into an opportunity when dealt with professionally, and with a focus on making things right. This turns the tables and allows these thousands of observers to witness your commitment to outstanding?service in action.
5. Have a content creation strategy in place. 86% of B2B organizations are using content creation as a tool for lead generation and brand growth, says Jeff Bullas, but not just any content will do. Poor content hastily thrown together will do nothing to build a brand’s credibility. A strategy must be put in place which ensures not only that high-quality content is being created but that it is the content readers need to see – and will be eager to share with others. It should be evergreen in nature, meaning it will be valuable for a long time to come, and it should comprehensive and authoritative enough to?set a brand apart as a thought leader. Readers will be that much quicker to trust and show loyalty to a brand that’s shown its commitment to providing long-lasting value.
Effective B2B marketing means time spent on nurturing relationships and then leveraging them when the time is right. Which of the five tips above do you feel could best benefit your brand?