b2b inbound marketing strategy

Mediative’s The Buyersphere Project sheds some very insightful light on the intent of your buyers when they use online search.

When it boils down to it, there are 3 main reasons that search engine users conduct a search, and it’s important for B2B marketers to cover all bases to generate leads that convert to sales:

b2b education1. Intent to Learn

Odds are your buyers need to conduct some research before fully understanding their problem and the alternatives they have to your solution. So their intent when they hit the search engines is to learn.

Capturing their attention at this top-of-funnel or Awareness stage is beneficial to you because you will be at the top of their mind as the trustworthy source that taught them about their problems (assuming you do it right and don’t push your product off the bat).

So what should you do?

B2B marketers should figure out what kind of research your buyers would be doing, and where they would be doing it. Then you can create content around it (remember to be objective!) and make sure it’s easily found on the sites they frequent.

You can only do this by examining actual prospect behaviour (if you don’t have the data, then ask your existing customers). Make sure there’s a clear path to your site from the site you distribute your content on.

take notes2. Intent to Compare

This is the middle-of-funnel or Consideration stage, where your buyers are either comparing vendors, or comparing the different options they have for fixing the problem they have.

So what should you do?

If your product is a frequent repeat purchase (for example, a SaaS product with a fixed monthly fee), then odds are they are comparing vendors and pricing is a key factor.

In Mediative’s survey, 44% of buyers who make a frequent repeat purchase prefer to keep options open at least to limited extent, and there is online price checking at some point:b2b marketing ROI

  • Users tend to go to a website that lets them compare multiple products in one place (like ecommerce sites, vertical search engines, and directories)
  • Users are time poor, so once they have 2-4 alternatives they’re happy with, they’ll make a selection

This is because “B2B can be looking for a needle in a haystack. With a vertical B2B engine, you’re looking for a needle in a needle stack.” – Karen Vogel, B2B Marketing Consultant.

Other things that users said would increase your chances: big brand names, being at the top of the search engine results page, and having your prices in listings.

complex b2b purchaseIf yours is a more complex product, then purchases have a higher risk because they aren’t as frequent. This means it will need to be well thought out and generally buyers don’t mind paying a higher price if it’s going to be better in the long run.

There’s also the challenge of unrealised need. What troubles buyers to realise their need for a solution is unpredictable, so how do you make sure you’re there when it happens? By triggering a need to solve their problem with your content.

But that’s only one part of it – online resources are needed throughout all stages for more than each buyer to complete the sale. To be successful you’re going to have to figure out who your buyers’ influencers in the organisation are, create content that reduces the friction with each one of them, and try to get that content in front of their eyes (this is a lot easier said than done).

order b2b product3. Intent to Order

In B2B marketing terms, you can consider this the bottom-of-funnel or Consideration stage. Your buyer knows what they are looking for and want to buy. They know what solution they want, and are past educating themselves about the problem it solves.

So what should you do?

Give them the quickest and shortest online path to purchase. Hopefully your great SEO work has put you at the top of the search results so your well-placed CTAs can get them to contact you and lock it in.

Your best bet to get you at the top of these results is producing awesome content – however, your rank is increasingly impossible to predict thanks to Google personalising what each user sees according to a variety of factors.

For more on buyer behaviour, download our ebook on the buyer’s journey:

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net