Writing by Nick Stamoulis in B2B SEO Marketing
Some may argue that B2B marketing is more challenging than B2C. A B2B marketer typically needs to convince more than one person within an organization that their product/service is the right one for the organization. Since multiple employees may have a say in the decision, the sales cycle is typically much longer than that of a B2C purchase. The team of decision makers need to conduct thorough research, consult with others within the organization, and ensure that the budget will allow for it.
Because B2B decisions typically affect the business as a whole, as opposed to a few individuals, research is important. Decision makers aren’t going to spend $10K for a product on a whim. They are going to do some serious investigating. One of the first places that a B2B decision maker will probably look for more information is online. This is why search engine optimization is a crucial part of the online marketing mix. Without any SEO, it’s doubtful that a business website will perform well in the search engines which is typically where people start their research.
While it’s true that SEO is extremely important, B2Bs can’t rely solely on it for online marketing success. Businesses that are marketing themselves online need to take advantage of the many outlets that are available. B2Bs need to market the business in many different ways and shouldn’t view any component of online marketing in a silo. Every online touchpoint works together to get that final conversion. Each online marketing tactic feeds into the next in order to cater to all of your audiences that choose to consume information in different outlets.
In addition to B2B SEO, B2Bs need to execute strong content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising strategies online in order to cover all of the bases. Many businesses make the mistake of only focusing on one or two strategies, because they think that the others aren’t having any kind of effect. The reality of the situation is much more complex. It’s very difficult to measure everything that contributed to the final conversion. A final decision may have been made after an organic listing was found (SEO), an article was read (content marketing), and an interesting Twitter post showed up in their feed (social media). Since all of these outlets contributed to the conversion, they are all important.
What you really can’t do is put too much emphasis on where that final conversion came from. For example, just because you aren’t seeing the direct correlation between sales and social media activity, that doesn’t mean that you should cancel your social media accounts. It’s likely that at some point along the line during the B2B decision process your social accounts were viewed. In fact, if you didn’t have a social presence that could be a potential red flag to B2B decision makers that have become more savvy about how online marketing works.
SEO is just one way to capture target audience attention online. It works best as part of a well rounded and integrated strategy that includes many other tactics. The businesses that have the most success are the ones that build a strong online presence in many different locations and outlets.