The prevalence of internet use has greatly changed the business landscape. Depending on your capability to adapt to the new technology, your business can either survive or not at all. It’s not just transactions between business-to-consumers that are done, business-to-business transactions are also common.
However, as online competition continues to grow significantly, learning how to improve your marketing strategies has become a necessity.
What is B2B E-Commerce?
B2B e-Commerce, short for “Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce”, refers to business transactions done online from one business to another. This is more preferred nowadays due to the processes done digitally and provides most of the traditional business operations with unbelievable efficiency.
The types of transaction-makers in B2B e-Commerce are generally the same as the traditional ones. They can be flexible in their functions and have an extremely wide reach. They’re as follows:
- B2B2C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer e-Commerce)
- Flexible B2B (Consumer-turned-Business)
There are obvious advantages in utilizing the B2B e-commerce platform. You can:
- Reach new customers
- Manage the operations better
- Provide more options in selling to your existing customers
- Obtain more accurate and relevant data analytics
How to Market an Online Store with B2B e-Commerce?
In order to grow more as a business, marketing strategies must be employed. In this digital format, many technical skills are needed since the competition can come from numerous locations. Here are the most effective strategies you can use to market your online store:
- Paid Advertising On Search
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing can allow B2B sellers to publish text ads on the SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages. This is advantageous since people who search for keywords related to your products can see the ads directly and will likely click on them if interested.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As the name suggests, you want to maximize your exposure on the search engines. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, allows your site to rank as high as possible on the search engine results, thus increasing your overall visibility.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
PPC or pay-per-click advertising refers to a digital marketing strategy wherein you pay for every user who manages to click on any of your published ads. This is designed to increase the number of visits to your site.
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, aims to improve the users’ online experience. A B2B business can obtain more conversions from leads, calls, chats, and others out from the current website traffic.
- Social Media Marketing
It’s a no-brainer to use social media platforms where almost half of the world’s population is active. Like any other strategy, social media marketing will require a lot of effort and time, but it can be fruitful in the long run.
- Paid Advertising On Social Media
If you want your product to be prioritized or dominantly appear on the newsfeeds of social media platforms, then you can opt for paid advertising.
- Content Marketing
This strategy may be a broad term, but it is one of the most eye-catching approaches in marketing. It involves making digital content, whether in a form of a blog, vlog, infographics, or others in order to establish awareness of your product. People are often drawn by this strategy because they want information as assurance.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing relies on the help of other people, known as affiliates, to promote your products. It is some sort of a partnership deal wherein the promoter is not necessarily a customer of your business.
- Email Marketing
This strategy may be one of the oldest in e-Commerce, but it still works since all businesses and clients use emails.
- Leveraging A Loyalty Program
A loyalty program refers to a feature that seeks to build a long-term relationship between the business and the customer, which in this case is another business. It can be a point-system, a commission-based approach, or anything that entices the customer to stay loyal to the product while promoting it.
- Targeting the Right Audience
In the digital world, anonymity is highly valued and so, specific marketing technicalities will try to figure out how to reach the right audience rather than having a great number of random users.
- Aiming for Pain Points
Curiosity plays a minor role in enticing customers. The major role falls into assurances, and that can be reflected in how you market a product. Instead of focusing on catching the user’s attention, aim for the pain points which are the problems that force them to search for solutions online and arrive at your product’s site.
Which is Best for B2B e-Commerce: Purely Online, Traditional, or a Combination of Both?
Now that you have known the different marketing strategies for B2B e-Commerce, let us evaluate whether a combination of traditional and online strategies is better than a purely digital approach.
Traditional marketing strategies include the use of printed advertisements in the form of posters, magazines, billboards, and newspaper postings as well as and analog forms of advertisements such as commercials on radios and televisions.
Make no mistake; before any digital marketing strategy was made, traditional strategies were the only things that businesses rely on. However, there’s no denying that digital marketing strategies can bring plenty of advantages to a business, whatever its size. Here are the following:
- Digital marketing strategies, in its simplest form, utilize only a computer, internet connection, and a wide range of computer programming skills which make it more cost-efficient.
- Digital marketing strategies reduce the usage of resource materials like paper and ink.
- Digital marketing strategies can be done anywhere as long as there is an internet connection.
Traditional marketing strategies may be bound to be obsolete, but the love for nostalgia, it’s still very marketable. Aside from that, in the event that technology fails to function, traditional marketing strategies will fill up the void somehow.
To answer the question as to which is better, the answer is it depends on your business’s technical capabilities, your target audience, and the location of operation. Most of the time, however, a purely online approach or digital marketing is highly preferable.
If you have the time, resources, and skills to apply all marketing strategies, you may do so. However, it is advisable to stick to a few marketing strategies and milk them as long as possible.
That way, you will have lesser things to evaluate and more concentration on building better products. As a B2B seller, digital marketing strategies can provide you with almost limitless possibilities under a minimal budget, but it also requires creativity mixed with technical know-how.