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B2B Advertising: How to Market Your Business to Drive Sales



What is B2B Advertising? 

B2B (business-to-business) advertising is an integral part of B2B marketing. Although you might have seen B2B marketing and B2B advertising used interchangeably in some articles, B2B marketing is a much broader notion. It stands for all the efforts the business takes to sell its goods or services to other companies and organizations. These efforts may include building a corporate brand, B2B email marketing, SEO, attending best B2B marketing conferences and exhibitions, creating referral programs, and B2B advertising.         

The main distinctive feature that sets B2B advertising apart from other marketing strategies is that you pay for a definite content or message to be served to a definite audience on a definite advertising channel.  

b2b advertising

Note that B2B advertising should not be confused with direct or inbound marketing. The latter is a more aggressive, and, yet, often justified way to get leads. Outbound marketing, its opposite,  consists of addressing people’s needs and building trust before voicing your offer. And it has been showing incredible results lately. 

B2B advertising allows the direct address to your target audience, but it does not mean that you must address it with an immediate “buy from us” message. On the contrary, B2B advertising can and should be effectively used for both inbound and outbound marketing. 

Keep reading to find out more about B2B advertising and its place in B2B marketing plans and templates. Doing B2B advertising the right way is sure to grow leads and sales for your business. 

Who is it for? 

B2B advertising is for everyone who works in the B2B market: 

  • companies providing raw materials to other businesses; 

  • companies selling goods or services that organizations need for general business operations (like office supplies or cleaning services); 

  • wholesalers selling the goods they produce to retail companies. 

The recent sales statistics gives compelling reasons to use advertising in B2B marketing: 

B2B Sales Facts 

Inferences to Make

In a company of 100-500 employees, about 7 people are involved in taking the B2B buying decision (Source)

While your sales reps communicate with one decision-maker, it is essential to aid them and make other influencers aware of your company and your offer

B2B buyers cover 50-90% of the journey before interacting with sales reps (Source

Do not expect that targets will contact your sales reps right away even if they are interested in your product or service. Build trust in a longer process, especially in B2B marketing. 

Use remarketing to help the target to find out more about your company and be more inclined to talk to your sales reps.

B2B digital ad budgets have grown by more than 100 percent in five years (Source

B2B companies are already actively leveraging the benefits that B2B digital advertising can bring. Not using these benefits means hampering one’s growth and losing the ever-increasing competition. 


While B2B advertising is mostly used to attract new leads and facilitate sales, it is not limited to this. B2B advertising can target existing clients too. For example, ads that communicate the authority of your brand increase the credibility and loyalty of your clients. You can also use advertising to inform your clients of special offers, exhibitions, and new products, upsell or cross-sell those who already buy from you. 

Types of B2B Advertising 

There is no uniform classification of the kinds of B2B advertising. We prefer to distinguish between three types: 

  1. traditional advertising, 

  2. search engine marketing

  3. social advertising. 

Let’s have a closer look at the peculiarities of these three types of B2B advertising and the channels they use to deliver marketing messages to potential clients. 

Traditional Advertising 

Traditional advertising comprises print advertising, TV and radio ads, and Out-of-Home advertising. 


And, no, traditional advertising isn’t dead. 

Actually, 82% of US internet users said they trust print ads more than digital. Trade periodicals and print publications remain a powerful platform for targeting a highly engaged niche audience. Moreover, modern technologies allow the expansion of the influence of traditional advertising. For example, the company can equip print and OOH ads with QR codes or retarget people based on their physical location, when they are likely to have encountered the ad.


b2b advertising

(Image source: http://clearchanneloutdoor.com/products/airports/)

Along with traditional radio advertising, podcast ads become remarkably popular. National Public Radio (NPR), which is called the most popular podcast publisher, suggests that B2B brands are one of their biggest advertiser categories

TV commercials are often the realm of big brands that use powerful visual images and celebrity advertising to prove their authority and speak to the emotions of decision-makers and stakeholders. Viewing the incredible B2B ad by Ford, you can’t deny the great impact it produces.   

[embed the video]

Search Engine Marketing  

Since Google owns 71% of the search market share, search engine marketing typically means marketing with the help of Google Ads and Google Adsense

With Google Ads, you are paying to appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for a relevant keyword or key phrase. The strategy is clear: if a user is deliberately looking for the services or goods you provide, you want him to find out about your offer in the first place. Google Ads also allows targeting the audience with display advertising based on their recent searches. 

Google Adsense might sound similar to display advertising, but it isn’t. The difference is that you select the platforms where your ads will be displayed. The ads are placed on websites that provide valuable content for your target audience. Through this content, you can present your offer to the relevant audience before they even start looking for it.  

While traditional advertising targets a broad audience, Google Ads and Google Adsense drive relevant traffic to your website and can be a good starting point for further outbound marketing. You wouldn't let your visitors go without offering a lead magnet, would you? 

Google is a true giant, and it invests much in its efficiency. Thus, rest assured that it consistently improves its customization, testing, and analysis features to help you launch winning campaigns and reach main B2B marketing objectives. Those objectives include: 

  • building awareness

  • influencing decisions

  • driving action


Social Advertising 

Social advertising is B2B advertising on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Having researched many successful B2B marketing examples, we can confidently say that social media channels can and should be used for B2B advertising. Still, various channels have their peculiarities and might not work equally well for your company. This is why it is better to focus on one or two social media channels that work best for your audience and provide the best revenue. 

b2b advertising

Although Twitter can make a user engage with an ad, especially after repeated exposure, it remains less influential regarding B2B advertising. The same relates to Instagram. Visual storytelling gives the platform a high potential to engage both B2C and B2B buyers, but its advertising tools and algorithms can hardly compete with those of LinkedIn or Facebook. Thus, let us devote more time to the three primary social media channels used for B2B social advertising: LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.  

Social Media Channels that Work Best for B2B Advertising

LinkedIn

Marketers have rated LinkedIn as the number one platform for B2B lead generation, most of them choosing LinkedIn over other social platforms. The key benefit of the platform is the audience, which is focused on work and getting professional relationships from the very beginning. In fact, this is the place to meet business owners and decision-makers looking for expert insights and opportunities rather than friends’ news and amusing video. 

Professionals often take care to keep their profiles polished and up to date by utilizing LinkedIn templates and provide extensive details about relevant positions. LinkedIn helps marketers use this advantage for accurate selection of the audience based on criteria like industry, professional roles and titles, experience, and even seniority and company. 

LinkedIn presents some compelling statistics and case studies to persuade B2B marketers to give it a try:

  • 80% of all social media leads come to B2B marketers through LinkedIn;

  • 92% of B2B marketers prefer this platform to any other;

  • 46% of social media traffic to the website of the company working on the B2B market comes from LinkedIn; 

  • LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms allowed IR Prognosis double its conversion rates;

  • Sponsored InMail has 11 times better response rate than traditional email for Replicon 

  • NetBrain Technologies Inc. gets 94% of leads through LinkedIn advertising.   

b2b advertising

(Source: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-b2b-marketing/2016/get-proof--the-case-for-b2b-marketing-on-linkedin--infographic-)

You can run LinkedIn campaigns to increase brand awareness, get website visits, increase engagement with the content you are sharing, get video views, generate leads, and attract job applicants. 

There are several ways to advertise on LinkedIn: 

  • Sponsored Content: promoting an article or the post from your company page for it to be displayed in the feed of the users you are targeting 

  • Video Ads: promoting a video to the selected audience that will appear in the users’ feed

  • Text Ads: ads containing only a short text message, which you can find on the right side of the LinkedIn feed or under the “People You May Know” section 

  • Sponsored InMail: this is a personal message you can send to someone who is not your connection based on LinkedIn targeting. These ads need to be sent from personal profiles, not a business page. This makes advertising more personal and gives targets the opportunity to communicate with a representative of the business and clarify the details of the offer. 

The CPC may be higher on LinkedIn compared to other social media. However, LinkedIn doesn’t charge for the interactions with a sponsored post, which often makes it a more cost-efficient option for lead generation. 


Facebook

While LinkedIn takes advantage of its stress on building a professional network, Facebook, with its 2.41 billion monthly active users, is simply too big to ignore. While the platform has been traditionally associated with B2C marketing, the right approach makes B2B Facebook ads a solid cornerstone of B2B digital marketing.  

Here are the benefits of B2B advertising on Facebook:

  1. Retargeting. You must have heard about the magical Pixel. It tracks visits to your site and allows retargeting those who have visited a specific page or performed a particular action on your website with a custom message. This is a potent tool that helps to build powerful automatic sales funnels

  2. Lower Costs. Although Facebook advertising has become much more competitive, and you will likely have to boost the posts from your page to get more visibility, it is still more affordable than LinkedIn. What’s more, Facebook provides ample testing opportunities for you to end up with optimal CPC after all. 

  3. Wide Variety of Form and Placement Options. Facebook is flexible regarding the form of ads and their placement. You can use a photo, a video, or create a whole landing page from your ad. It can be placed in the users’ feed, on the right column, in Messenger, in instant articles, and instream videos. The last two act like advertising on a channel within a channel. 

  4. Messenger. Messenger has placed Facebook advertising on a new level, as it allows using an ad get users to subscribe, just like they subscribe to your mail list. Further, you may use your sales chatbot to deliver useful content, clarify the needs of your subscribers, introduce sales and special offers.  

  5. Lookalike Audiences. What if you are not sure about your target audience? Facebook can help you resolve this problem with the help of lookalike audiences. The system can find people who match key attributes of those who already interact with your brand (buy from you, visit your websites, interact with your business page, etc.). 

Although Facebook allows optimizing for a wide variety of campaign objectives, the following four work the best for B2B marketing: brand awareness, traffic, lead generation, and conversion. Take a look at the B2B Facebook ideas and examples to understand how they can work for you.    


YouTube 

YouTube is more than a video-sharing platform. It is also a search engine. It’s the third most visited website after Google and Facebook. 

YouTube advertising is all about video content. According to Aberdeen Group, companies using video in B2B marketing grow their revenue 49% faster year-over-year than their competitors and get 41% more traffic from search results. This way, YouTube advertising can be viewed as a more affordable alternative to TV ads. 

What type of video content works well for B2B marketing? Some of the best content may include:   

  • Vlogs. Video blogs or “vlogs” are excellent ways to educate your audience on a specific topic. Vlogs may be entirely original or converted into the video format from the blog posts.  

  • Product demos. Written product descriptions may be dull and confusing. The video makes product demos more trustworthy and more engaging at the same time. Actually, 43% of B2B buyers already use the videos they find online to research products or services for their companies. 

  • Brand Story Video. Brand story video adds a human face to your brand. By sharing your culture and values, showing your customers, or including interviews with employees, you can evoke a strong emotional response and willingness to partner with your business. 

While a lot of traffic may come to your video content organically, it is better to use targeted advertising to grow traffic and promote important video campaigns. You can advertise your YouTube video using:  

  1. Ads that play before viewers can access the video they intend to watch

  2. Promoted videos that appear on the YouTube search result page

  3. Advertisements that display in search engine results  

Keep testing, and you will be sure to see what type of YouTube advertising brings more views and conversion.  

Defining the target audience for B2B advertising 

Anything that relates to B2B marketing, starting with your logo and ending with the images and the tone you use in your ads, should speak to a well-defined buyer persona that represents your target audience. The target audience renders your ideal customer with defined pains, attributes, and preferences.  

This is why it is vital to keep the target audience in mind both 

  • when developing a B2B advertising strategy: choosing the types of B2B advertising and the channels to market your ads,  

  • when executing ad campaigns: choosing specific images, marketing messages, particular time to display your ads, ads placement, etc.

The bare minimum you need to know to define your target audience is: 

  • demographics

  • what pains your product can solve

  • advantages and disadvantages of alternative products and companies that address the same problem 

  • what can prevent your audience from buying your product

  • what types of advertising and advertising channels your audience prefers. 

If you are still not sure about what your target audience is, it’s high time to start your research. Let us remind you of a few strategies to use here: 

  1. Analyze your existing customers. A customer base, email subscription base, Google Analytics, and insights gained with the help of Facebook Pixel,  can all provide much information. 

  2. Research your competitors. Look at your direct competitors. Which keywords bring organic and paid traffic to their websites? What social media channels bring the most traffic? What problems do they describe? What do they have on their landing pages? If this works well for their audience, it might work well for you too.  

  3. Do marketing research. If you know your customers’ demographics, but lack data about their preferences and buying process, it great to use primary marketing research, i.e., to survey or interview a selected group representing your marketing persona. 

How B2B advertising fits in with an overall marketing strategy

B2B advertising should accomplish definite goals that will help you succeed with the overall B2B marketing strategy. It may work well on every stage of the customer journey, but of course, the channels and the content of ads will differ. 

While many B2C ads offer the client to purchase the item in one click, you can rarely see B2B ads that would try to close the deal right away. Instead, B2B ads are used to grow awareness and interest, increase traffic, generate leads, affect decision-making, and nurture existing relationships. 

Here is the example of what B2B ads and advertising types and channels can be used depending on the stage of the customer journey. 

 

Awareness and Interest 

Consideration

Concluding a deal

Relationship strengthening 

Characteristics of the stage 

A person has little or no knowledge of your company or product

A person has shown interest in your company or product (watched your video, visited your website, subscribed to a lead magnet, etc.), but is not ready to negotiate the deal

A person is negotiating the deal with sales reps and (probably) presenting the offer to other decision-makes 

The deal is closed, your companies enjoy ongoing relationships

Goals

Trigger interest and awareness;

Convert into a lead 

Convert into a prospect

Close a deal

Breed loyalty;

Make a promoter 

What ads and advertising channels can be used 

  • Traditional and social media advertising to a broad target audience 

  • Search engine marketing 

  • LinkedIn Sponsored InMail  

  • Retargeting (Facebook, YouTube, Google Ads display advertising)

  • Advertising to leads (Facebook and LinkedIn ads targeting by email addresses; Messenger Ads)   

  • Advertising to leads (these ads may close contradictions, display social proof) 

  • Advertising to companies on LinkedIn and Facebook - our prospecting tool can help you gather your prospects’ emails (these ads are meant to grow awareness, build authority and trust) 

  • Social media ads (these ads may congratulate new clients and ask them to join the community; ads notifying existing customers of sales and special offers)

  • TV, YouTube, OOH ads proving authority, nurturing brand awareness  


Final Notes 

In the initial stage, it would be better to use several channels that will provide maximum exposure to your target audience. However, when converting leads to prospects and clients, you might benefit from precise targeting B2B digital advertising can offer. 

Well-thought B2B advertising effectively complements B2B marketing and results in more leads, clients, and promoters of your company. Anyleads is happy to support you in this goal providing valuable tools for growing traffic and generating customers all in one suite. 

 

Author

Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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Enrichment data software to find emails

The perfect product to generate high quality leads from B2B to B2C.

  • Access / extract from more than +15M B2B companies.
  • Extact local businesses from Google Maps.
  • Find company domains from names.
  • Get all employees emails from a list of domains.
  • Send all the data to your CRM via Zapier.
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Extract emails, phones on the page of websites and download it to Excel or CSV.

  • Upload a list of websites to extract emails.
  • Export phone numbers from landing page.
  • Export social media urls (Facebook, Instagram ..) from pages.
  • Export to CSV or Excel in one click.
  • Send the data to your CRM or other software.
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Find emails from first name, last name and company name

Discover emails from a CSV from 3 columns (first name, last name, and company name).

  • Upload big batch of CSV online to find emails.
  • Email discovery is fast and build emails from patterns.
  • Find valid emails from 3 data points.
  • Export to CSV or Excel in one click.
  • Send the data collected to your CRM or any software.
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Transform your visitors into leads by capturing information from them.

  • Install unlimited chatbot to capture unlimited leads.
  • Customize the scenario of your chatbot.
  • Customize the color, position and the widget.
  • Export the leads into Excel or CSV.
  • Send directly the leads captured to your CRM or any software.
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  • Send collected data to your CRM or other software.
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  • Create unlimted lists, filter by country, industry, size and job title.
  • Hyper targeted lead generation.
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  • Super fast emails generation.
  • Send leads to your CRM or other software.