Business to business marketing is easier in some ways and harder than others compared to consumer marketing. With business to business marketing, there are fewer potential customers (consumers outnumber businesses by about 100 to 1), who can often be targeted fairly precisely by company name and demographics. This allows your marketing to be more focused and generally less expensive.
But business to business marketing is also more serious. You’re not going to attract many business customers by saying “I’m Lovin’ It” or “It’s the real thing.” You need to clearly communicate the benefits of using your products or services with language, images and other forms of marketing that resonate with your target decision-makers. Businesses also tend to stick with their suppliers and not be as fickle as consumers about trying something new. So realistically to get yourself a few new business customers, you are probably going to have to pry them away from their existing relationships – not an easy task.
We are often contacted by individuals who have left Corporate America and have decided to start an executive coaching or consulting business. This is a hard row to hoe because it is very competitive, so many people want to enter the field, and most business managers and leaders do not want to be coached or consulted. How much experience do you have coaching or consulting other business executives? Years of business experience in Corporate America or industry in some kind of management role do not automatically translate into coaching or consulting expertise.
Another common need for business to business marketing is someone who wants to become a motivational speaker or has written a book. Again this is very competitive, prospects are often not interested, and you may have experience that does not translate into value for your potential clients.
But let’s say you have given this a lot of thought, you do have relevant experience, and you’ve decided to pursue being an executive coach or consultant – or similar one-person/small business – marketing to business executives. How would you best go about this? Here are some fairly economical forms of proven business to business marketing for you to consider:
- Brand Name – The name of your new business is one of the most important marketing decisions you can make. We once had a client who had named his business “Jones & Associates.” (Actually it wasn’t “Jones” but we’re protecting his identity here.) If you Google “Jones and associates” you’ll see that there are over 250,000 other websites or companies using that name. So the best approach is to start with a unique name. We worked with a woman whose first name was Margaret (again not the real thing but an example) and she came up, all on her own, with Teragram – Margaret spelled backwards. For other clients we have combined two words or names into one new one for a unique brand name. Of course if you have a very unusual last name like Smerconish or Grutzenfelter, or our name Lawrimore, you can much more easily stand out online and in the marketplace. We can help you develop a distinctive, effective brand name if you don’t have one already.
- Website – Did you know that more than 85% of business buyers check out a company’s website before buying and in some cases even contacting the supplier company? And that number continues to grow as more and more young decision makers take on the responsibility of finding suppliers for their companies. In some cases solo practitioners have such a wide circle of business contacts that they can successfully grow their business by word of mouth, calling prospects by phone or taking them out to lunch. And there’s also the conservative few who believe it’s better to “fly under the radar” with no website rather than being visible to competitors. The truth is an effective website is essential for growing the vast majority of new businesses, because so many potential clients who are searching online or checking out the possibilities want and expect to read about a potential supplier company or consultant before hiring them or even meeting with them. We can help you start with even a one or three page website to have an online presence, an enlarged business card if you will, so that potential clients have the right perception of you and want to meet with you from the beginning.
- Getting Traffic – How are you going to get potential clients to visit your website if they have never heard of you or your business before? In internet marketing this is called “traffic” and it is extremely important to marketing and business success. Without going into too much detail, the most effective options are:
- Search Engine Optimization – Modifying your site with targeted search terms (“keywords”) that potential clients might use when searching for a provider like you, and getting links from other sites across the web to your site. Search engines consider these inbound links to be highly important in terms of how high they rank websites, especially on the first page of Google. We have a team of search engine specialists around the world that can help with both of these areas very cost-effectively.
- Content Marketing involves producing regular content (like this blog post) which will be interesting to potential site visitors and help them solve their problems or provide other useful value. The most effective approach we’ve found is to produce blog posts at least twice a month (once a week is better), and use some free online tools that automatically post excerpts of those blog posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, a Facebook business page, Google Plus and other social media. This is much easier than trying to post to multiple social media in addition to blog posts every week or so! And the search engines love fresh content. This is a great tool for higher rankings and a valuable component of Search Engine Optimization.
- Online Ads – The advertisements that you see at the top or side of Google, Bing and other online media when you enter a search term can be very cost-effective for getting traffic to your website if you choose your keywords carefully and write appealing ads. In some cases advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media can also be cost-effective, depending on your budget. Importantly, you usually only pay when someone clicks on your ad, immediately taking them to your website. This is called “pay per click” advertising and is why Google is worth billions of dollars.
- Public Relations – A story about you and your business in newspapers, magazines or on TV can really help promote your brand reputation and attract potential customers. There’s an old saying that “three fourths of NEWS is NEW.” So you really need to have something NEW, different and relevant for media to give you “free publicity” on their pages or airwaves. We can help you judge if this is a viable option for you and then get your story to the right media at the right time. This is not for everybody, but if you do have a unique story it can be very valuable.
- Other Business To Business Marketing – there are dozens of other forms of business to business marketing, each with its own advantages, requirements and costs, which you can learn more about by reading the Services pages of our website.
So what does this kind of marketing cost? Aye, there’s the rub. Most start-ups have little or no income, and sometimes not even any substantial savings to cover initial marketing costs. They are pursuing a dream and often haven’t given the “how” part a lot of thought. But if you are reading this page, we’ll assume you do have a keen interest in using business to business marketing to get customers and generate income. We have worked with many many people over the years to help them with this very thing. Lawrimore Inc. is really a specialist in business to business marketing. So we’ve developed some very cost-effective programs to help start-ups and other small businesses afford marketing that works.
Basically we can’t do anything to help you for less than $600 a month. This is the lowest cost of our special business to business combo package (B2B Combo) that includes content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and PR when appropriate. In essence we are producing relevant content about your targeted keywords on a regular basis, at least twice a month, embedding it in your site and your social media accounts, and building links to that content from other sites around the worldwide web. You get to review all the proposed content before it is published, and if you can write some yourself, that’s even more content we can promote (but it’s not essential for you to do so).
Prior to starting the B2B Combo package, we will work with you on your brand name (including a logo if needed) and a new or improved website, at the same monthly rate, or if you can afford it, a one-time start-up fee to get the website working right before we start driving traffic to it. Prices for that generally vary from $1,500 to $3,000 depending on number of pages, new images or photography, new logo if needed and other options. We’ll give you a specific quote for that after we meet with you or talk by phone.
So, having read all this, if you want to pursue business to business marketing for your small business or start-up, to get more traffic, more customers and more income, contact us today at 704-332-4344 or use the quick contact form on the right side of this page. We look forward to helping you!