Effective B2B marketing is no longer as simple as an attractive tradeshow booth at the industry show and some magazine and newsletter ads. In order to create an effective marketing strategy for your business, you need to first understand the modern B2B digital marketing funnel that will convert potential customers into leads and then into customers. As more and more people in business prefer to do their own online research and discovery of products and services, the following marketing funnel will become an essential point of reference when building out marketing material and planning sales activities.
This is the first stage and occurs when a potential customer first becomes aware of your business. During this phase, the goal is to attract people to your website and help them learn more about your products and services. During this phase of the customer journey, the marketing channels in which this new potential customer may discover your business are broad. Think of this stage as a large net, full of marketing materials across multiple channels to capture as many relevant eyes as possible.
A potential customer can discover your business through:
- An online search for relevant products or services (organic traffic)
- Direct web traffic
- A targeted online ad campaign (Google, Facebook, or Youtube ads)
- Social media content
- Industry events, conferences, or tradeshows
- Customer referrals or recommendations
- Print or online newsletter/magazine ads
The awareness stage is your opportunity to spark curiosity within your target audience and transition them to the next stage of the funnel. In order to spark that curiosity, it is important to understand the needs of your target audience and providing them relevant information with a unique sales proposition which will separate you from your competitors.
During this phase, your potential customer becomes a lead. At the point in the customer journey, a visitor is learning more about your company, products, and reputation. During this phase, your website content is essential in turning this visitor into a lead. This means that you need to have a website with easy access to product information and additional valuable information like merchandising tips or other relevant information.
A potential customer converts into a lead when you capture contact information in some way. This can be done through the following methods:
- Blog or newsletter email subscriptions
- Contact forms to access downloadable content
- Online catalog pricing requests
- Direct inquiries through a contact us form, email or phone call.
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An important factor in the consideration phase is the use of customer testimonials that demonstrate the value of your products and service. This is one of the most effective ways to establish trust with the lead. Reputation and trust is an important factor in the process of leading leads into the next stage of the customer journey.
This phase is where easy access to product, pricing, and logistical information is paramount. For leads who are already on your website, access to online ordering is preferable and convenient, so providing the links in a clear and attractive manner is very important. In order to move the lead towards a making a purchase, it is important to remove barriers in the purchasing process through open communication.
In order to assist in the decision-making process, your lead need online access to:
- The in-depth product, inventory, and pricing information so they can make an informed purchasing decision
- Quick access to sales rep contact info for excellent customer support
- A simple online order process that informs and reassures them at every stage of the order process
B2B purchasers have become accustomed to B2C e-commerce in there everyday purchasing and they bring those expectations to work when buying for their company. Barrier-free access to accurate information is what will drive a wholesale lead to become a new customer.
Yay! Now that you have a new customer, now it's time to develop a strong relationship with them. Customer retention is more affordable than customer acquisition so this phase is crucial for every wholesale business. Think of this stage as a never-ending campaign. Your goal should be to provide exceptional service and added value in order to delight your customers. An email once a year is far from delighting a customer, in fact, in the eyes of some customers that pretty much ignoring them.
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Here are few marketing opportunities to assist with customer retention:
- Email marketing that delivers valuable information relevant to them
- Convenient access to online product, pricing, and inventory information
- Assigned sales reps that communicate with customer regularly
- Product promotions
- Merchandising and product information resources
- Loyalty programs
- Added value services
The key to customer retention is outstanding customer service and relationship building.Reflecting on the modern B2B marketing funnel there are a lot of marketing materials and channels to build out to reflect your customer's journey. It can be overwhelming when you first start building out a marketing strategy to incorporate all four stages. Working with marketing tools that make marketing content and distribution easy should take the task a more achievable. OrderEase offers product information management, E-commerce integrations, and marketing tools that include an email client to help make B2B marketing simple.