As a B2B marketer, you're probably experiencing the double-edged sword of digital marketing and technology.
On one hand, it gives you the opportunity to reach hundreds, if not thousands, more prospects all over the world.
On the other hand, you're competing against more providers that aren't in your immediate geographic location.
To successfully promote your B2B company, you need to focus on creating a customer-centric experience:
1. Experiential Marketing
Instead of emailing marketing messages just like your competitors, use experiential marketing strategies to cut through the clutter.
Experiential marketing is a great opportunity to tell your brand story and build relationships with your customers.
You can participate in conferences or design your own events, which could be more intimate and exclusive for high-quality leads or loyal customers.
Focus the online or in-person experience on building brand awareness and delivering an exciting experience so your brand becomes memorable.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to give out goodie bags.
If you do so, make sure the content is relevant to the participants and aligned with your brand images. Giving away poor quality gifts will negatively impact your brand image.
2. Social Media
In 2016, 39% of marketers reported significant ROI generated from social media marketing.
Social media allows you to interact with prospects in a more relaxed manner while connecting you with customers all over the country or the world.
Leverage social media platforms that allow you to easily find your potential buyers -- e.g. you can search by job title or join relevant groups on LinkedIn.
Use platforms that let you play to your strength. E.g., if your content is image-rich, you may want to focus on platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram.
Use social media to cultivate relationships with your buyers on a personal level by providing value and having conversations to present an appealing and familiar image of your brand.
You can use contests to build brand awareness and put your company name in front of more prospects.
Identify a theme for your contest and make sure it's in alignment with your brand image.
Your prizes should be tied to this theme and relevant to your ideal customers. Giving away an iPad may get you a lot of entries, but since everybody wants an iPad, you may not be getting a lot of qualified leads.
Get the most publicity out of your contests by leveraging user-generated content or encouraging participants to spread the word -- e.g. they'll get additional entries for sharing the contest information on social media:
4. Causes and Charity
Associating your brand with a cause or a charity can create a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Your customers will feel good about doing business with you while you can enhance your brand image by associating with something positive and meaningful.
You can generate good will by getting involved with your communities, partnering with local charities, sponsoring charity events, and promoting involvement at the individual employee level.
Turn these events into enticing stories and share photos on your website and social media. This will give an additional dimension to your company and make your brand relatable.
5. Referral Program
You can encourage your existing customers to refer new customers to you by offering incentives. This strategy works particularly well if you have a large and loyal client base.
Referral programs are effective because the leads tend to be "warm" and are more likely to convert.
To run a successful referral program, you need to start with a well-designed strategy. Then clearly communicate the process to your customers so they know what to do and what to expect.
Design a simple process to make it easy for your customers to submit referrals. Provide them with promotion ideas, pre-written content, and images so it's easy for them to spread the word.
Don't forget to make it personal -- give your customers a call to say thank you, or invite your most active referrers to a special event.
6. Customer Appreciation Events
Building trust and relationships with customers is an important piece of B2B marketing to increase customer lifetime value. Not to mention, loyal customers are more likely to refer others to your business.
Host a yearly gathering or event to show your high-value customers that you appreciate their businesses. Make it worth their while by creating a memorable experience or delivering added value (e.g. inviting industry leaders to speak.)
Encourage them to invite friends or colleagues who may also be interested in your products or services and make your customers look good for doing it -- everyone wants to be seen as "in the know."
For customers who have a smaller account, don't have the resources to travel or simply aren't available for an in-person event, consider sending a catered meal to their offices to show your appreciation.
7. Events, Tradeshows, and Conferences
These are still one of the best ways to generate leads for B2B companies:
Industry-specific events give you the opportunity to connect with a large number of highly qualified prospects. You can further position yourself as the expert by speaking at these events or leading breakout sessions.
Don't overlook virtual events such as summits or webinars. As people are more comfortable with learning and interacting online, virtual conferences can put you in front of a lot of prospects with just a couple of hours of participation.
Make sure you have a lead capture mechanism and lead nurturing strategy in place so you can follow up with the connections you've made during these events.