B2B Marketing Basics  


When it comes to business-to-business (B2B) marketing, small business owners face unique challenges and opportunities compared to their business-to-consumer (B2C) counterpart. Thinking strategically about each phase of the buyer cycle is needed for small business owners aiming to optimize their marketing strategies and drive conversions. So how do small B2B businesses maximize their marketing efforts and gain a competitive edge? Keep reading to find out. 

For B2B customers, it is important to note that the buyer journey is substantially longer than the B2C cycle, ranging anywhere from 3-12 months and beyond. This is because there are often big business decisions being made that come with a bigger price tag. Thinking about each phase of the buyer cycle and using your marketing efforts to hit users with the right message where they are on the journey is how you are going to turn impressions into customers. 


Phase 1: Awareness 

The awareness stage is the first in the buyer cycle. It’s here that potential customers engage in extensive research, often turning to search engines, social media, and other online platforms for their information. Getting in front of these customers by showing up in these research moments is a key driver of long-term results. Making sure your brand is visible and easily discoverable during this initial exploration means implementing social media advertising, display ads, and targeted Gmail campaigns. 


Phase 2: Consideration 

Once there is a general awareness of your brand established, users move to the consideration phase. At this point, they may search specifically for your company or brand to learn a little bit more about your offerings, who you are, and why you are different than competitors. A comprehensive branding campaign can reinforce your brand identity and values, making a lasting impression to potential customers. The consideration phase often calls for involving your entire team to nurture leads, setting up lead generation specific campaigns, and looking for engagement on social media platforms and professional networks like LinkedIn. 


Phase 3: Decision 

Saving the best for last, the decision-making phase is where prospects make their final purchasing choices. Through display and social media retargeting, you can deliver personalized messages and reminders, keeping your brand top of mind throughout the decision-making process. At this time, you can implement branded search campaigns to boost visibility when potential customers actively search for your brand or related keywords. 


The Importance of Micro-Conversions 

While moving users through the buyer cycle, it’s smart to monitor and engage with all their interactions. Micro-conversions, which may not necessarily involve form submissions, but indicate interest, should be tracked, and analyzed. This could include prospects visiting your social media profiles or engaging with your content. While not exactly signing on the dotted line, remember that leads are not the ultimate endpoint of the cycle; rather, they are milestones on the journey. Heat maps can be used to gain insights into user behavior and optimize your marketing efforts. Tracking user engagement helps identify the aspects of your business that resonate most with potential customers, allowing you to modify your messaging and offerings throughout the journey. 


While there are unique challenges that come with B2B marketing for small businesses, there are also incredible opportunities. Knowing how to implement a strategic approach at each phase of the buyer cycle and measuring along the way can help you stand out in a competitive market and ultimately, gain new customers. For more information or to talk to our B2B marketing experts, contact us today! 


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