It’s hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of 2022 and staring 2023 in the face. And like everything else in the world, the only constant is change. What does that mean for B2B marketing this next year? What changes might you need to make, and where should you focus your energy and resources?
What doesn’t change is the purpose of B2B marketing. This type of marketing still targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals making purchases on behalf of their business or organization.
It’s hard to get your marketing strategies right. There are so many ways to create a marketing campaign, spend your budget and invest your time that it’s no wonder the topic can seem overwhelming.
It may not be the newest idea on the block, but there’s been more emphasis on abandoning the popular concept of funnel marketing and replacing it with flywheel marketing.
For those of you who are still working with companies that use the funnel model in their inbound marketing plans, we’d like to introduce you to a bigger, better way to effectively strategize your marketing position.
Welcome to the Flywheel
Funnel marketing is a linear strategy that follows a customer’s journey from becoming aware of your product or service to purchasing. That worked really well when customers were limited in how they could research and become informed.
You’d give them information on your offering, they’d contact a sales rep who would give convincing reasons why you have the latest, greatest idea or product, and, if you won their trust, they would buy. If they loved the experience, they would come back and maybe even tell their friends.
The world has shifted. Customers no longer need to hear from you to convince them where to spend their dollars. They can access information from anywhere on any device and any platform. They can read and hear real-time reviews that will represent you, for good or for bad. All this before they even enter your orbit.
Flywheel marketing uses this incredible access to information to its advantage. Picture a spinning flywheel where customers can jump in at any of the three buying phases: attraction, engagement, and delight. Not only can they jump in where they want, but they can also catch a rhythm, build momentum, and travel a distance with your organization.
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It’s better for them, and it’s great for you.
Keeping the idea of flywheel marketing in mind, let’s take a look at the most effective B2B marketing strategies for 2023.
23 of the Most Effective B2B Marketing Strategies for 2023
We’ve gathered together 25 of the most effective B2B marketing strategies and divided them into five segments:
- Behind the scenes
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Gated content
Behind the Scenes
We all know that a lot of homework and research needs to happen before you can start to develop specific marketing strategies. Because these activities are so critical to your success, we’re including them in our most effective strategies for the new year.
Here are the behind the scenes strategies you’ll want to know:
- Using big data is the way to understand who your leads are and how to reach them. If you are struggling with interpreting your data numbers, it’s well worth the investment to connect with a data analytics expert or consultant to give you the valuable information you’ve collected that may not be optimized in your marketing strategies.
- Increasing brand awareness with a well-developed and consistent brand identity is critical before you roll out marketing strategies on social media, your site, emails, and content. Every part of your message needs to be consistent with your unique voice — one that your customers can instantly recognize.
- If you’re not measuring the ROI of your marketing efforts, your business will be in the dark when it comes to considering whether they’re growing the bottom line or costing the organization money. Pressure from the top will only get more intense, and the number one challenge B2B marketers face is measuring their ROI.
- Think about the conversation you’re having with your customer when it comes to gaining their business. By focusing on them, you’ll develop a “buyer-centric” strategy that seeps through every part of your communication with them. Today’s buyers are put off by pushy sales tactics and want to know you have their best interests in mind before they are willing to trust you with their business.
- Now is not the time to hang back or even stay in place when it comes to technology competencies. The more familiar you are with the digital and mobile technology world, the faster you’ll be able to adapt your marketing strategies to continue reaching and capturing customers.
There’s no doubt that social media is now entirely mainstream. You’ll miss huge demographics if you aren’t considering the power of social media; you should start immediately. According to Dusted’s digital metrics, “Most B2B brands are underperforming and missing real commercial opportunities for cultivating a social media presence.”
Here are the social media strategies you’ll want to know:
- By far, the most popular social media platform is LinkedIn. It’s where 80% of B2B leads come from. With 830 million registered users, more than 153 million of those users are senior-level management — the decision-makers when it comes to buying decisions. Make connections, send personalized connection requests, map out organizations and pick out the stakeholders who you want to work with.
- TikTok takes the second most popular spot, right after LinkedIn, and it’s one of the leading marketing platforms for B2B brands. Before you assume that TikTok is just for “younger folks and consumer brands,” it’s not. TikTok is where people “copy other users and turn things into a trend.” It’s a creative way to drive awareness and reach more people.
- Want to know what’s all the rage in social media right now and going into next year? Short-form videos. Emphasis on the short. B2B audiences find video to be the most effective format on social media for engagement. Keep the video between 10 and 30 seconds, introduce a new product, share a fun fact, or answer common questions.
- Work with B2B influencers. In general, 92% of “people trust recommendations from people rather than from brands.” Getting an influencer on board with your product or service can help you with the long sales cycle of B2B.
If social media represents faraway galaxies waiting to be explored, your website represents planet earth. As exciting as it is to travel to outer space, we all want to come back to our homeland. That’s where you set up your camp and invite people back too. Like all analogies, this breaks down if you push it too far, but the point is that in today’s marketing world, websites are still a vitally necessary part of any B2B organization.
Here are the strategies you’ll want to know regarding your website:
- SEO is still the name of the game in 2023. Effective SEO techniques use topic clusters rather than keywords. Topic clusters let Google see how your content is related in terms of EAT: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Focus on quality link building and collecting click-through performance data to help traffic find your site.
- The speed at which your website loads is crucial. Studies say that 40% of users will click away from your site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Make sure to speed-check your site, as once a potential customer has experienced a slow load speed on your site, they may never come back to check if you’ve dealt with the problem.
- Creating personalized content that speaks to your customer’s pain points and challenges is as important as ever. It’s the key to building relationships at scale. The concept of buyer personas lets you create actionable insights and programs that are based on a deep understanding of your customers.
- The next-level blog posts make sure to regularly include some type of interactive content. We’re all driven by the fear of boredom, and a fresh way to capture and keep your audience’s attention is by including quizzes, polls, surveys, and any other type of content that engages them. Plus, adding interactive content lets you capture data and learn more about your customers.
- Adding images and video content to your site promotes brand awareness and recall. Visual marketing is associated with creating trust and engagement with your audience, and “in order for visual content marketing to be successful, it must obey a certain number of rules. Of these rules, one stands above the rest “if it looks good, it will do great.”
- Now that more than 50% of the world’s web traffic is viewed on mobile devices, if you’re not making sure your website content is quickly responsive on any mobile device, you run the risk of losing touch with the over 5 billion mobile users around the world. Department heads and even senior executives are using their devices for work, so it makes sense to get ahead of the curve.
Email marketing is also still one of the “most impactful and widely used tactics in the B2B marketing toolkit. It faces a lot of competition from other attention-demanding strategies, so you’ll need to keep on the cutting edge of the how, what, when, why, and where of this technique.
Here’s what you’ll want to know about email marketing:
- Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) offer you the opportunity to analyze real-time feedback, which allows you to “tweak” your content for better results. It’s amazing what AI content writing can give you: subject lines that cause more readers to open the email, sending the email at times when more of your audience opens them, recording the links your readers click, and customizing language that ranks high in SEO.
- If you think you can wait to optimize your email campaigns for mobile devices, think again. Stats from Hubspot show that nearly “55% of global website traffic is generated from mobile devices,” “46% of smartphone users prefer to receive communications from business via email,” and “launching a mobile-responsive email design can increase unique mobile clicks by 15%.” Yet, in spite of this, “nearly one in five email campaigns is not optimized for mobile devices.”
- Since COVID-19 hit, less is more when it comes to writing informational emails. Your emails should be short — not more than four or five paragraphs, with each paragraph limited to two or three sentences. Concise, clear, and straight to the point.
- Best B2B email marketing practices for 2023 include writing enticing subject lines, limiting a call-to-action (CTA) to one per email, segmenting your email for different audiences, and making sure your audience can read your email on their phones. And don’t be afraid to send cold emails as, when they’re done well, they prove to win new customers.
- While some people feel that SMS marketing is only suitable for B2C companies, that’s simply not accurate. SMS marketing is “so powerful because SMS is the most popular and most widespread mobile phone application.” It’s easy to use, familiar, and extremely efficient. While it’s not technically a part of email marketing, it can be used to send the same message as you would with email.
If you’re not familiar with the term “gated content,” it refers to online materials like white papers, articles, videos, and other valuable content that you offer for free to your audience. Free, that is, in exchange for their email address or other contact information. Gated content helps to generate leads that expand your marketing reach.
Here are the strategies you’ll want to know regarding gated content:
- Building a strong landing page lets you focus on one dedicated conversion goal. A high-converting landing page has only one goal, whether it’s to get leads, clicks, or sales, it’s one page that achieves one goal. The five core elements to get you there include a USP, an engaging hero shot, compelling benefits, inspirational social proof, and a strong call to action.
- White papers and ebooks are both excellent examples of gated content. Both are concerned with a specific topic. A white paper is an authoritative, in-depth report, while most ebooks tend to be shorter guides. You’re giving away valuable information on a topic or topics that will help your customers, and you’ll get the benefit of becoming a recognized expert.
- Prospects interested in what you offer but who haven’t yet decided to buy will often be willing to participate in a webinar to learn something that will enhance their work. Webinars have a high perceived value; if you offer helpful content, you will likely move a prospect toward a buying decision.
Almost 50% of marketing leaders plan to change their marketing goals in the next year. After surveying 500+ marketing executives, the team at HubSpot identified their top five goals for 2023. Increasing revenue and sales, improving marketing alignment, increasing brand loyalty and advertising, along with helping customers better understand products and services were the top priorities of a wide range of B2B businesses as they looked to the future.
What will your priorities be? And how will they shape your marketing strategies this next year? We’ll be incorporating as many of these 25 effective strategies as we can and continuing to put our customers first. That, at least, will not change.
Claudine is the Chief Relationship Officer at Level 6. She holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology. Her experience includes working as a certified conflict mediator for the United States Postal Service, a human performance analyst for Accenture, an Academic Dean, and a College Director. She is currently an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. With over 20 years of experience, she joined Level 6 to guide clients seeking effective ways to change behavior and, ultimately, their bottom line.