I'm in the process of launching my start-up and I just finalized my website today. I'm beginning to enter the initial marketing stage of my business but I'm not sure what strategies I should implement.
We're a marketing company that help businesses promote their products on social media websites. Although virtually any business in any region is a potential client, we're going to target niches through direct mail. But as far as online marketing I'm not quite sure what to do.
We're bootstrapping so we can't do anything too expensive. I've been thinking about doing Adsense but is there any better way to go for a B2B startup?
Business to Business marketing is a fantastic challenge. Depending on your market segment there are resources which work better -- or less well. 90% of our clients are in the B2B space. Even when we work in the B2C space, we focus our energy on the B2B aspect of their overall marketing.
Not the end-all Over the years we have learned that there are significant advantages to incorporating online marketing as an aspect of the overall marketing. Perhaps nowhere is it more apparent than in B2B marketing and sales -- but online marketing can not be all there is to marketing a B2B business.
Have your systems in place As with all marketing, you need to have a good CRM process in place. You need to have mapped out the process of lead identification, through to prospect qualification, to opportunity development, landing in closing, and then providing ongoing customer support. The automation of this process into a CRM platform is not required until volume justifies the expenditure -- but investing the small amount of time necessary to document the process, the steps, the outcomes, and the milestones of the process itself is absolutely essential.
Having the ability to track your sourcing, and calculate the ROI of specific marketing efforts will be essential for your start-up to learn and move forward rather than spin its wheels.
Start off-line first The online aspect of the marketing of a B2B business needs to support the non-online portions of the B2B marketing. Due to the "intrigue" factor of the online platforms and the seductive nature of the pop-wizz-wow of the internet; we have found that the marketing campaigns that we have built which started with the off-line components first and leveraged the online resources to support them consistently delivered better B2B marketing-ROI.
Know Your Target Different targeted business will interact wit the web in different ways. Some will do source potential vendors online, others only maintain pre-existing relationships online. All "businesses which want to promote products on social media" is not a target market. It is the overall market. The target market will provide more specificity on the industry, sector, size, and internet-saviness. As you hone in on one or a couple targets -- then you will be able to more clearly identify how that target market makes its' purchasing decisions. In fact the differentiation of your market should incorporate the distinctions of their purchase patterns as a primary criteria.
Understand on the Purchasing Decision How and Who. As you get to know your target market you will see the patterns of how they choose vendors in specific areas. One way is by looking at where the competitors in your space market or advertise to that target. You also need to know who is making the decision. For some target markets it will be the CEO and others it will be the VP of Marketing.
Match the Target Market's Purchasing Decision Some target markets will immediately go to the web to figure out who to use for social media advertising. Some of them have no idea how to use the web, just know about this platform called "social media" and are hiring you to figure it out and implement it for them. The marketing
The conventional wisdom on B2B Social Media The conventional wisdom is:
In plans our team develop for clients we try to use all of the above. We also try to challenge the conventional wisdom every single time. We strive to do something out of the box and a little different. These are usually items that are very specific the industry and target market.
Your business authenticity It is critical that you are able to demonstrate that you do for yourself what you are selling to do for others. If you are in the market to sell EDI services-- then you better use EDI services for your own billing. If you are in the business to teach CEO's to make powerful presentations-- you better make a powerful presentations. If you are in the business to promote products and services via social media -- you better have the best social media presence promoting your product and service of all times.
Even if it doesn't make a specific or tangible business sense for you and your market -- it is an issue of business authenticity. People sense that authenticity. They will meet you and listen to your pitch, and then they will go and search you online. If you don't show up the way that you promised they will if they used your services -- well, it might not even be a conscious decision-- but the doubt will have been placed in their mind. They will intuitively feel like something is off.
And they will be right.
You mention that you're "a marketing company that help businesses promote their products on social media websites" and you're having trouble figuring out how to market yourself? As a client that'd be an immediate red flag to me.
Your clients are likely going to look at what you do for your own marketing as an example of the quality of your work. Maybe that's not a fair comparison because you're B2B while it sounds like you clients will be B2C but they're not going to care about that.
Many if not most will assume what you do for marketing your business is similar to what you will do for them, even before talking to you. So how to you intend to serve your clients? Of those ways, which of those would be helpful to marketing yourself? It might be that anything that isn't harmful should be considered helpful, because essentially you will be your own portfolio.
Alumni networks are a good way to target very specific clients. Alumni services usually provide contacts database.
I'm at a loss too. We tried AdWords and got mixed results, at any rate the thing was turning to be too expensive because our competitors have more ad budget.
Listening to Twitter and making direct contact with people talking about something related to your business works quite well in my experience, the problem is that it doesn't scale.
You might want to consider focusing on a target market. Helping small startups for example. Engage in forums that small startups visit, a blog about how small businesses can market themselves, free templates for brochures and business cards. A podcast or videocast is easy and free to create. Get involved with the community. Maybe your focus could be on something your already interested in, and already have contacts and knowledge in that community.
Regardless of the medium, you'll have to give people a reason to follow you. These things can help establish your brand, and your credibility.
The downside of this kind of marketing is that it takes time, you won't get clients overnight, and you got to work (I only say that because at times it can feel like a lot of work) to create the content.
For something more immediate look at advertising on Facebook, I've actually had better luck with that than adsense.
Did anyone try making tele-calling to the target market and explain to them the the idea and then ask or offer a trial of their services?