Yes, it’s about business, but you’re still selling to people
Everybody thinks B2B marketing is vastly different from marketing B2C.
B2B marketing is not about getting a company to buy. That’s because, at the end of the day, you’re not selling to a company or a business. The entities themselves don’t make the big decisions.
The people in them do.
Just Like B2C, You’re Selling to People
Right now, there is some decision maker sitting in an office thinking, “Who should I partner with to increase our distribution? What should I look for? What are some mistakes I should avoid?” They’re frantically surfing the web looking for their own answers.
And that is who you’re selling to.
Get familiar with them. Who are they as a person? What role do they play in their company? Are they the CEO? The head of marketing? What do they struggle with on a day-to-day basis?
Then, ask yourself,
“How can I provide this person value?”
This is what so many marketers get wrong.
Your goal isn’t to sell them on anything. Chances are, they already know what services you offer just by glancing at your company’s website. Your goal is to get the person searching for their own answers to say: “I trust you. You would make a valuable partner.”
Because, ultimately, that’s what they’re looking for — someone they can trust.
Going Viral Isn’t What Builds Trust
This is the other big mistake marketers make.
All too often, the thought process is as follows: “I want to market B2B. I’m in the business of selling X, Y and Z — and I want to sell strictly to other companies.”
The immediate afterthought is mass exposure, which has to be ratified by a ridiculous — not to mention arbitrary — number of views. The thought process continues: “How do we get 100,000 followers? How do we get a million followers? How fast can we get there? How do we go viral?”
Their ultimate goal is to market to those decision makers — and yet, they decide to pour all their time and energy into optimizing for exposure, instead of highly targeted messaging. They spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads and influencer marketing and even Twitter bots to follow and unfollow a quarter-million people. Meanwhile, they’re doing nothing to showcase their own industry expertise.
I have a little over 6,000 Twitter followers — but they’re all organic. And if you look through them, the vast majority of them are big decision makers. They’re founders. They’re heads of partnership at big brands and publications. They’re other Top Writers. They’re people who can actually reciprocate the value I provide them.
I would much rather have 6,000 organic, targeted followers that can actually put the value I provide to use, versus having a quarter-million half-spam-half-scroll-past-what-I-put-out types of people.
Getting those decision makers to pay attention to you should be your primary focus.
However, the only way to get them to pay attention to you is to provide them some sort of value in return.
I Encourage Every Founder, CEO, and Leadership Exec to Share What They Know
Decision makers don’t need more options. They need answers.
Write an article that directly addresses your target decision maker’s biggest pain point. And if you really want to get targeted with it, connect with them on LinkedIn, send them the article you wrote, and say: “Hey, I saw you’re a marketing manager, and I wrote this because this is something I’ve learned working with managers a lot. I thought you would find this helpful.”
That’s how you start a meaningful conversation.
More often than not, they’ll think: “Wow, you just taught me something. This is really helpful. I love this article. Thanks.”
Your article was exactly what they were looking for.
You don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers to build a successful company — especially when marketing B2B. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of people reading your content. What’s important is that you share your knowledge in a way that resonates with the right people — the people making the decisions.
At the very least, write in such a way that even if it doesn’t reach those people directly, the message is so clear that whoever does come across your article — maybe an intern or an HR manager — will have to pass it to the founder, the CEO, or whoever is making those big B2B decisions.
Success in B2B Isn’t About Pure Exposure
It’s not about going viral.
It’s not about having a million views on your work. It’s not about being popular.
It’s about writing something thoughtful or sharing something that conveys who you are as a person: “This is the way I do business.” By providing that value free of charge, you position yourself as a thought leader. Not to mention, you inherently establish trust.
And that’s how you stand out to people.