By Alfredo Atanacio, founder UassistME.CO / Inc. 30 Under 30 2012 / Empact100 Showcase
It is undeniable that B2B e-commerce has been rapidly growing over the past few years. However, along with its rapid growth is tougher competition among the industry players. Everybody wants to take the lead, and one proven way to do so is by investing in marketing strategies.
If you are a B2B e-commerce business owner looking for fresh and effective marketing ideas that will help your company grow, you’re at the right place. In this article, I’ll share with you five marketing strategies that I think work best for B2B e-commerce companies today:
1. Content And Inbound Marketing
Investing in search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most basic, yet effective, marketing strategies that B2B e-commerce companies can use. This strategy can help your website rank higher for certain keywords on various search engines, especially on Google. This is important because these search engines serve as a gateway for leads to discover your products when they are looking for something with an intent to buy.
Here are some examples of this marketing strategy:
• Blogs: Blog posts are an excellent form of content that can significantly increase your brand awareness and website ranking on search engines.
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• Premium content: Some examples of premium content include podcasts, webinars and presentations. Premium content is considered to be among the best inbound marketing tools for lead generation. It can also help increase the authority and reputation of your website.
• Content upgrade: It takes less effort to revive an existing blog post. This can be an excellent tool for gaining a higher ranking SERP (search engine results page), as long as you optimize it by using target keywords or relevant, high-quality links.
2. Account-Based Marketing
Another marketing strategy for your B2B e-commerce business is account-based marketing (ABM). This is a long-term strategy that involves combining several optimization and marketing activities to maximize essential account opportunities.
Unlike content and inbound marketing, this type of strategy is mainly focused on the following aspects:
• Personalization of buying experience: This includes sending unique content and product suggestions to customers by using email marketing. You could also offer extended loyalty program privileges.
• Feedback analysis: Your main goal should be to get previous customers to buy from you again. One way to increase that chance is by listening to their feedback and eliminating any pain points they identified in their experience with you.
• Retention: You need to use a combination of excellent customer service, solid marketing activity and SEO optimization of your web store to retain your customers.
3. Reviews And Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials have a significant influence on the purchasing decision of customers in the B2B e-commerce space. This content serves as social proof that indicates whether a product is worth buying or not.
In many cases, products with more positive reviews and testimonials are preferred by customers because that is their only way of checking the product. Customers are even more particular about reviews and testimonials when purchasing expensive products or products in bulk.
To apply this strategy to your B2B e-commerce business, you can follow this checklist:
• Optimize your website so that reviews and testimonials are easily seen.
• Use a customer-centered approach, and be proactive in dealing with customer concerns.
• Encourage customers to leave a review or testimony after their purchases.
• Reach out to influencers in your industry and employ their help in establishing social proof.
It’s also a good idea to invest in several communication channels so that you can easily hear and respond to their concerns. You can do this by having a live chat option on your website or a responsive social media page on widely used platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a versatile content marketing strategy that is totally applicable to B2B e-commerce business. According to various research, you get a higher ROI with email marketing than other strategies.
Furthermore, email marketing can also serve as a direct and personal form of communication to customers. Many of them feel highly valued when you send them a welcome email or greet them on special occasions. You can also launch marketing campaigns designed to remind them about the items they added to their carts but have not yet purchased.
5. Loyalty Programs
A loyalty program is a marketing strategy that has been widely and effectively used in multiple industries. This can also be the case with B2B e-commerce companies. More often than not, many B2B buyers want to create a long-term partnership. One effective way of establishing it is by offering a loyalty program with a lifetime value.
However, it is important to ensure that the loyalty program you intend to offer is well thought out. Remember, this is a long-term offer, and changing the incentives frequently will not bode well for your reputation and sense of commitment.
Here are some of the examples of loyalty programs that you can offer:
• Referral programs: Offer bonuses or discounts to customers who provide you with new clients.
• Third-party and reseller programs: This is a type of loyalty program geared toward building a strong distribution network and increasing brand awareness.
• Tier incentive programs: The tier incentive program can be offered to repeat customers. This can encourage them to spend more to belong to a higher tier with more perks and benefits.
If you wonder whether your investment in your marketing campaign for your B2B e-commerce business is worth it, the short answer is yes. It is a key driver in ensuring that your business will flourish. However, with plenty of applicable strategies available, it is important that you streamline your marketing strategies to help you capitalize on your opportunities.