What to include (and what not to include!) in your B2B marketing plan

From social media and blogging, to networking and advertising, there are an overwhelming number of ways you could spend your business’ marketing dollars. Unstructured marketing makes your business look unprofessional, so it’s important to develop a solid strategy. Here are the most important elements you need to include in your B2B marketing plan, plus which avenues you shouldn’t bother wasting your time and money on.

What to include in your B2B marketing plan

Networking: Just as location is crucial in real estate, networking reigns supreme for B2B businesses as the most cost-effective way to gain new business.

Blogging: Regularly updated blogs are critical to your website’s success They allow you to show off your expertise and keep your website looking fresh with new, dynamic content. Blogs are also vital for your site’s SEO, as they’re the best way for search engines to pick up on your keywords.

Website redesign: When did you last refresh your website? If you have to think about the answer, it’s definitely been too long. Ideally, you should be updating your website every one to three years to keep up with technological advancements and trends.

Client recognition and referral programs: Since referrals are key for B2B businesses, it’s important to have client recognition and referral programs in place to show your clients how much you value their business. Treating your clients to lunch or a day of golf is always appreciated, but try to think of a more personal idea that they’ll directly associate with you. For example, our Kevin Maynard loves movies, so every year he treats his top clients to VIP tickets for screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Focus on client retention: It costs much more, both from a financial and time perspective, to get a new client than it does to keep an old one. One simple way to keep your work fresh in your client’s mind is to make your invoices more detailed. Don’t just write that you handled their marketing efforts for May – your invoice should be itemized to remind them of exactly how much work you’re doing, such as writing blogs and managing social media accounts.

What NOT to include in your B2B marketing plan

Advertising: Unless you’re a very large business, forget about advertising. Small- to medium-sized B2B businesses will see much more success from networking and referrals. Advertising works better for B2C businesses, but for B2B businesses it’s almost never a smart way to spend your money.

Too much time on social media: Chances are, if you’re in a B2B space, your target audience isn’t spending a lot of time on social media. Having a presence on LinkedIn and being semi-active in related LinkedIn groups can be helpful, but if you have a limited budget and limited time (who doesn’t?), it’s not worth it for you to spend too much time worrying about social networks.

Too many trade shows: If you plan on attending trade shows to help reach your networking goals, make sure you do your research on each event. Trade shows have changed dramatically in recent years and attendance has dropped significantly, so make sure the attendees will be in your target market.

Building a mailing list from scratch is tough, but we’ve got a few sneaky ways to help you grow your numbers fast. Don’t miss our next blog post!

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