When considering B2B marketing strategies, some businesses think mostly of direct or outbound options in an effort to be persuasive and capture the audience’s attention in order to get them to interact with the company. While this is certainly an integral part of any marketing plan, it isn’t the only option and there are a number of different avenues to explore when developing a successful B2B marketing strategy. Jose Duarte, a Costa Rican businessman and entrepreneur, shares ten examples of other possibilities that will help provide a well-rounded marketing plan.

At the heart of any marketing effort is research. From investigating the market to researching the brand, scientific studies will help any business make decisions that are more precise and more accurate. Conducting research allows the business owner to better understand the customer, which will make him or her serve the customer better.

One of your most crucial business considerations is niche targeting. Creating a niche-driven strategy will allow the business to specialize in a particular area, making the marketing plan easier to manage. The area of concentration needs to be one that is completely understood by the business owner, leading to the business becoming the leader in the field.

In the present marketplace of professional services, the business’s website is one of the most important assets. The site is a basic device for building the public’s conception of the company. Potential customers look online to discover service providers, and they should have the capacity to locate your company’s site with the goal for you to get an opportunity at winning their business. Says Duarte, “Your website is more than just a digital billboard; it is the center of the company’s online presence and can be an information-rich presentation of its expertise.”

Building on the website strategy, the intended audience can’t take advantage of the expertise if the website cannot be found. This is why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important. There are different SEO formats, such as on-site or off-site, but they are all crucial to ensuring that the site is easily found and prominently displayed in online searches.

Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, are here to stay and are an integral component of a marketing plan. Not only is social media inexpensive to maintain, more than 60% of potential customers turn to social media to find out more about a business before making contact. It is now a bigger source of customers than referrals or recommendations.

There are various places where a business can advertise successfully – industry publications, social media, search engine marketing (Google AdWords, etc.), retargeting. Advertising isn’t just about promoting a product or service; it is also how visibility and expertise are driven. “In advertising,” explains Duarte, “You must make sure that the types you select are best for professional services. Advertising that is industry-focused typically works best and leads to higher conversion rates.”

The practice of making referrals for professional services has changed, which has resulted in B2B marketing strategies having to change, as well. Some studies have shown that more than 81.5% of referrals were from individuals or companies who weren’t even clients. Content marketing, combined with other strategies, gives a brand the ability to garner an established reputation, even among those who aren’t customers.

Marketing automation allows for routine, repetitive manual processes to be replaced with automatic ones. It pulls together all online marketing tactics into a single system that can be used to create, manage and measure campaigns and strategies. “In order to implement marketing automation – including CRM and email campaigns, the size and scalability need to be reviewed first to ensure that they match the level of the business,” asserts Duarte.

Research is the fundamental process for any marketing plan, but it isn’t the only time science is involved. Testing, as well as optimization, will allow a business to reinforce its marketing efforts and to make decisions that are based on hard facts, not just intuition. “No business can ever afford to stop testing its marketing ideas and campaigns,” explains Duarte. “Commerce is always changing, as is the customer’s focus.”

Closely related to constantly testing marketing strategies is the necessity to constantly analyze metrics in order to ensure that the desired results are achieved. Tools such as Google Analytics are an effective method of measuring and analyzing website traffic, while other tools – such as Hootsuite – allow for the marketing professional to analyze detailed social media data.

In growing a business, it is important to stand out – not stand still. Those companies that can continue to move and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly are the ones that will be in a better position to win.

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