For marketing to work, it has to follow a structured, proven, and effective strategy. Suboptimal marketing tactics can be expensive and tedious. This is true for all categories but especially for B2B. Without an effective B2B marketing funnel, it will be challenging to raise awareness, find prospects, and convert them into clients or customers.
The traditional marketing strategies were mostly devised for the B2C category. Marketers in B2B would use those tactics, hoping that they would work with the same ease. But that hasn’t proved to be the case. For those in B2B, what’s needed is a B2B marketing funnel that will help them refine and optimize their sales process.
A B2B marketing funnel is different from a B2C funnel because the decisions are less impulsive and the buyer journey is longer. In the traditional method, a B2C marketing funnel has stages of attention, interest, desire, and action. For B2B, there is intent and evaluation added to the process. This makes the job more challenging.
But a structured process can be of enormous help. To make it easy for you, here’s how you can build an effective B2B marketing funnel irrespective of the category you operate in.
Choose a marketing channel to get website visitors
Here’s the thing about marketing in 2022. No matter what product or service you sell, no matter how specific or broad your audience is, digital marketing will be of the utmost importance. The most successful brands get this right and significantly invest in digital marketing with a long-term perspective.
The hub of all your digital marketing efforts is your website. A key action point of your B2B marketing funnel should be to drive visitors by using any or all of the following tactics:
Referral and social traffic
Referral traffic includes visitors who find your website through other websites and not search engines. To get referral traffic, you should be visible on leading blogs and websites. You can start by listing your website in directories and getting published on review websites.
One of the more effective ways to get referral traffic is by publishing on reputed blogs. You should focus on blogs that your target audience would be reading and then publish relevant, insightful, and topical articles there.
Nearly 90% of marketers believe that social media has given considerable exposure to their business, but without an established audience, you have to rely on third-party social media accounts to reach your customers consistently. Your social media channels can generate leads if you’ve established a relevant audience but it can take years to do this.
While it’s true that it’s usually associated with B2C, if done well, paid traffic can be a successful tool in your B2B marketing funnel. It can become one of your biggest lead generators in terms of revenue because the average lifetime value of a B2B sale would be exponentially bigger than a B2C sale.
To get it right, you should use specific keywords that your potential customers would be using. They should reflect their pain points and the existing solutions in the market.
Search engine optimization (SEO) will get you organic search traffic. The biggest advantage here is that those searching for your product or service would already have an intent to either buy or know more about it. Getting those leads will dramatically improve your conversion rate.
The key to getting consistent search traffic is by building authority in your category. Your website should be structured to provide relevant and value-added information to its specific visitors.
Continuously updating it with blogs, infographics, videos, and other content keeping in mind the relevant keywords will slowly build your expertise and drive leads to you.
Use conversion tools to turn website visitors into subscribers
Far too often, digital marketers focus on driving traffic and not on the content and tools to convert them. It’s one thing to get visitors to your website. Now lies the hard part of converting them into subscribers or users. Here are three ways to do it:
Lead magnets offer valuable content on a webpage for which the user may have to give their contact information. You can offer case studies, industry reports, how-to guides, and analyses to get your visitors interested.
Remember that the ultimate aim is to build a community through the contact information you get. So, your content should offer exceptional value but shouldn’t be too long or complex. The user should believe that they will be able to read or watch it in a few minutes.
Offers and discounts
While building a B2B marketing funnel, it’s good to understand the competitive landscape. Others in your category might have the same solution and strategies. Offers and discounts are an effective way to encourage your visitors to take immediate action.
The discount or offer should be time-bound and the reward should be worth it. For that, you’ll have to know precisely what your audience is looking for. Here again, your specific keywords will be of tremendous help.
Free trials are particularly useful for SaaS companies since you can use them to demonstrate your features without having to directly meet the potential buyer. It has almost become a category expectation now. In other words, if your competitors offer free trials, so should you.
Since the average B2B sale would need clearance from multiple levels, it’s a good idea to let your potential buyer experience the product or service. Free trials ensure that the buyer doesn’t have to take an immediate decision and can discuss the proposition internally.
Use email marketing to turn subscribers into customers
The third stage is the one that requires consistent content creation and audience engagement. One of the most productive methods to do that is through email marketing. This is especially true for the B2B sector. To effectively use email marketing, you can try the following methods:
Educational nurture sequences
The first step is to welcome the user into your world and introduce them to your product or service. These emails will be educational in nature and shouldn’t force the reader to make an immediate purchasing decision.
The focus should be to provide value that encourages them to regularly open your emails. Remember that if the content is not customized to their particular needs, they won’t have any reason to engage with your emails.
Benefits of a free trial nurture sequence
The first stage of an email marketing sequence is when you’re building the relationship. When you inform the user about your product or service, your intent should be to demonstrate your expertise.
It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to nurture a relationship since each email can highlight a specific feature and a free trial. It also allows you to share relevant case studies that might encourage the subscriber to sign up for the trial.
Expiring offer or discount email sequence
Even with compelling content, your email subscribers might need a nudge or two. That’s where the expiring offer or discount emails come in. These feature time-bound discounts on your product or service, encouraging the reader to act immediately.
But don’t flood the recipient’s inbox with offers or you would lose credibility.
Include analytics at each step
Without analytics, you could be going down the wrong track without realizing it. You would also end up spending too much on tactics that don’t produce results. When you use analytics in your B2B marketing funnel, you would know:
- Which keywords are bringing in more traffic
- What lead magnets are more effective
- What content gets more engagement on social media
- What subject lines get more email open-rates
- What offers get more sign-ups for free trials
Optimize your emails with Stensul
Stensul is how you can create high-performing emails within minutes. You’ll be able to create emails nine times faster and be twice as effective. This is largely possible because Stensul brings all those involved in the email creation process into a common environment for seamless, effective collaboration and real-time reviews. By helping you create emails that are relevant to the recipients, Stensul optimizes your email creation process. What’s more, it also effortlessly integrates with popular Email Service Providers (ESPs) and Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) as well as associated technology in your marketing technology stack.
Other than generating more sales and revenue, an effective B2B marketing funnel will also reveal the customer journey. With a more accurate understanding of a customer’s pain points, it becomes easier for marketers to demonstrate their value proposition at the most compelling of opportunities. The process will be substantially easier when you have an empowered email creation system.