Marketing your business products and services to other businesses can be lucrative. First, you have to find ways to understand the diverse needs of businesses. This is especially true if your business only sells to businesses and avoids business-to-customer marketing. Use these ideas to reach out to small biz owners and expand your customer base:
* Email marketing. If you use a list of target businesses provided by a media marketing firm, you can cull the list of prospects down to businesses that your research shows really need your products and services. Some media firms can provide a highly specialized list, perhaps even specific to your location. When you send that first email in your marketing campaign, ensure your message will turn a prospective business into a customer. For example, offer a great sale that businesses are willing to try with very little risk.
* Internet marketing. Your website is another tool useful for marketing to entrepreneurs. If your markets are both B2B and B2C, you need different sections of your site designed to meet the needs of businesses versus the needs of consumers. Update your company website regularly so it provides information that business owners need to choose a company in your industry.
* Cold-calling. Despite what you may have heard, cold-calling is not dead. You don’t focus a lot of time on cold-calling in a small business. You focus on strategic phone calls to companies you’ve researched as being a perfect match for company’s products and services. During a cold call, sometimes the right choice is to schedule an appointment to discuss what you offer (either in person or over the phone). This cold-calling approach respects a fellow entrepreneur’s busy schedule while leaving the door open for a business relationship.
* Green marketing. You can adapt any B2B marketing strategies—print, telephone, web, email, broadcast, and mobile—to market green products and services. Be sure that you package messages that reflect the true green practices of your business. Avoid green-washing, or creating marketing copy that presents your business practices as good for the planet when a little research would reveal these practice really aren’t.
* Professional networking. Don’t underestimate the power of in-person marketing. You should have a business card, coupons, catalogues, and brochures in your car and in your briefcase at all times. Your business card should include the company’s Web URL. Give these marketing materials out when everyday conversations reveal someone who might consume your offerings directly or forward your marketing literature to someone who would. Attend industry events and community events such as job fairs and trade shows. Talk about yourself and generate buzz about your business.
Good B2B marketing efforts should be followed up with quality products and services and first-rate customer service. Otherwise, B2B marketing generates one-time customers. You can build a profitable B2B company, but it takes time to build relationships with other entrepreneurs that sustain your company.