How do I create a B2B marketing strategy?
March 13, 2015 6:21 PM   Subscribe

I want to CRUSH IT as a one man marketing team... but I'm inexperienced and don't know where to begin.

This is the B2B version of this question.

I studied media production in college and in some roundabout way, now find myself as the sole marketer at a startup. My lack of a "traditional" marketing experience/education is giving me extreme bouts of self-doubt.

I've been tasked with creating a marketing strategy that is heavy on inbound/content marketing. We're a B2B service. My goal is to generate new (hopefully qualified) leads for the sales team. The target is HR professionals at medium and large companies. We signed up with HubSpot but want to use our own tools with it (Wordpress, Mailchimp, and Salesforce) for more custom control of design and UX.

Luckily, my CEO believes in me and is confident that I'm smart enough to "figure it out and learn as you go" but my fear of failure is paralyzing. I don't want to disappoint my CEO, the rest of the team, or our investors. I feel like I'm in WAY over my head. Where do I start?

Finding this was a helpful example - I'd love to see more examples of strategy/process. How do people project manage their content marketing? My coworkers use Trello for their projects and I'd like to do the same.

More specifically on learning content marketing: HubSpot's materials are great but the consensus on my team is that "download our ebook!!!!" is tacky, and writing content for SEO keywords seems shady. I'm not completely against the idea, but I'm having a hard time coming up with good keywords since Google now hides organic search terms.

Lastly: I've been given a tiny budget ($25/day) to experiment with AdWords. Google's training materials look solid but is there anything you wish you had known for your first AdWords campaign? Thanks in advance for reading through my special snowflake fears and hopes.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
You might find this marketing plan for mint helpful. It's not B2B, but is heavy on content marketing which it sounds like might be part of your plan.
posted by heresiarch at 6:31 PM on March 13, 2015

Best answer: With Adwords, that's about $500 a month. Pretty small. You may want to invest it in Facebook ads or LinkedIn. With Adwords as well, it is super competitive, best to enlist some help from a hired gun who really knows what they are doing.

>More specifically on learning content marketing: HubSpot's materials are great but the consensus on my team is that "download our ebook!!!!" is tacky

Ebooks are very useful for gathering email addresses for newsletters, and for marketing your content in other parts of the web. However, it all depends on what your organization's goals are - do you need to build up a community of subscribers who might become customers? More about goals below.

> and writing content for SEO keywords seems shady. I'm not completely against the idea, but I'm having a hard time coming up with good keywords since Google now hides organic search terms.

SEO, while not at all defunct, has evolved considerably. Semantic search is key. While it might sound complicated, basically the key to doing well in Search is to write really, really good content.


I think any marketer, whether in-house or hired as an agency etc has to ask one fundamental question: what does my internal customer (the CEO) care about the most? Why did they assign this role to you? How will they evaluate your success?

Marketers can often spot opportunities, but the internal stakeholder (they person paying the marketing budget) may not always understand the opportunities. This is where persuasion and influence come into play, but fundamentally we have to deliver results that our internal customers care about.

Is it website traffic? Is it converting website traffic into leads? How big is your existing customer base? Is it a product or a service you are selling? What's the sales funnel like?

If you are able to answer any of these questions here in thread it would be helpful.

The MOZ blog (linked above) is a tremendous resource, especially "Whiteboard Fridays."

Here are some other links I have favourited recently:
posted by Nevin at 6:41 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know that you need to be all "DOWNLOAD OUR EBOOK!" with content marketing. I'm very new to the area myself but most things I've read say that being pushy is bad. You're establishing relationships and starting conversations, not forcing content down people's throats.

You need to be producing and/or sharing strong, interesting content that your clients will find interesting--stuff that hopefully they'll share with others who might find it interesting as well, driving engagement with your site. I wouldn't worry so much about messing around with keywords and SEO too much; I'd prioritize strong, compelling content first. Trying to beat the search engines can be tough as they are moving targets. Figure out topics your target clients care about and what keeps them up at night (as it relates to your product) and write posts about that.

Since you're a one-person team, start basic--probably with a blog--and keep things manageable to start. But before you do anything, sit down and figure out what your goals are, who your audience is, and plan plan plan.
posted by synecdoche at 6:43 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I work in marketing for a B2B company. Synedoche has some good tips.

If your goal is to generate leads, I would:

In terms of marketing channels:

--Start a blog and post it regularly (about 2x a week)
--Set up the blog so that you capture email addresses
--Work with the product and data team to get email addresses of current subscribers. They are a great base to begin marketing to even if they already have the product
--Email about 2x a month with content
--Have you considered conferences? They are a great way to get a lot of leads in one spot

In terms of content ideas:

Easy content (quick to write up, require few resources)

--Case studies or interviews with current customers. Doesn't have to have a video - but you can easily have a picture of them in a Q/A format
--Repurpose content that is already out there about HR professionals
--Listicles about best practices
--Product features tips and tricks
--Interviews with industry experts

Moderate content
--Decks (Slideshare has some nice ones you can embed in a blog post)

Hard content (longer to create, require design and $, but can generate more leads)

--E-books (can be a PDF document of a deck). You can gate this by asking for names, email addresses, etc.
--Infographics (Visualy makes nice ones for 2k)

Paid media

---$25 a day is NOTHING. I would not waste it on Adwords, that only shows results at scale.
--I would invest in paid Linkedin posts targeted at HR professionals in certain places or relevant interests. Have this direct immediately to a free trial page and not content like a blog post yet. Maybe a few months in you can experiment with promoting an ebook.

I think the key is managing expectations, setting reasonable goals, and then hitting them. B2B doesn't require as high volume - but it's more about retention and size of companies. Start with small goals - 50 leads a month for example (not sure how big your company is, but assuming it's brand new). Also, does your product have a free trial? That's a lot easier to get leads for than something that requires paying upfront.
posted by pando11 at 8:13 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

nthing the recommendation to start in on making content. The great thing about interviews and case studies is that you've got a company full of experts and stories to tell - all the resources you need to get started are in-house, and people naturally like to talk shop!

Definitely take the time to find out about your B2B reputation and the tenor of your sales and bizdev operations, and make sure that your marketing materials complement that experience in tone. You're not alone!

And yeah! Make a modest plan with a KPI or two, stick to your schedule, and manage expectations with your superiors as to how much you can accomplish with your budget, time, and manpower. Building authority takes time!
posted by lumensimus at 9:50 PM on March 13, 2015

Media production is all about making products for others.Really, you need to be using adwords while also publishing articles and getting earned media coverage by calling journalists and bloggers and offering to start writing the story for them by inviting them to come see your startup and test the product (if it's ready). Tough sell, but hopefully they already have a salesperson you can work with.
posted by parmanparman at 1:22 AM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: Besides linkedin ads you could also try the DIY sponsored posts feature on Facebook and Twitter. Depending on the type of business you're targeting that could be more successful in generating leads.

Before anything else though I would answer the following questions (or if someone at the company already knows, find out from them): who are your target customers? What firmographic info defines them (eg how many employees do they have? How much revenue do they generate monthly? Etc) How big is the market? What segments do your customers fall in to? Who can your sales team NOT sell to? Where do they hang out? What are the biggest challenges they face that your product can solve? Etc. This will shape every other strategy you put in place.

Once you know your segment, find out what other companies are out there that are both competitors or peers (those that cover the same segment but don't really do what you do). Target the former's customers in any way you can--buy or scrape lists of their users and reach out to them--and partner with the latter by swapping blog posts or trading email blasts or working together on Webinars and White Papers or cocktail parties. This takes FOREVER so start reaching out ASAP.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:34 AM on March 14, 2015

If you have a chapter of the Business Marketing Association in your area, definitely look into joining or at least attending meetings. Our local chapter is very active and hosts great, practical speakers. I've learned a ton.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:02 AM on March 14, 2015

$25/ day for Adwords is a decent budget uf it's spebt strategically. If your busines is a M-F business, don't run on weekends which increases your daily budget. Consider also Google display ads.

Im one of those Adwords wonks mentioned up-thread.
posted by bricksNmortar at 7:12 AM on March 15, 2015

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