No matter the business you’re in, one of your first tasks is to determine the target audience. This is a segment of the population that is most likely to purchase your products when properly marketed to.
Targeting a specific audience doesn’t only pertain to your advertising focus. It refers to all actions that you’re taking as a company. For example, when writing a piece of content, you need to use jargon that is common for this demographic. The same goes for packaging, product features, events that you organize, etc.
In this article, we’ll explain the term B2B target audience and B2B target market. After that, we’ll share a few tips that will help you reach just the right demographics.
Why is it important to find a B2B target market?
It’s crucial for a company to understand its target market. To sell menopausal drugs, you need to focus on women of a specific age group. Similarly, if your company is producing sports goods, most of your customers will be men.
Rules of B2B targeting are similar to rules of B2C marketing. Basically, your main task is to find other businesses that can benefit from your products and services. Even if your product has a bit wider use, you still need to focus on the segment of companies that are more likely to purchase.
Here are a few benefits of properly defining your B2B target market:
- Increased returns.
- More leads and easier conversions.
- Product improvements based on clients’ needs.
Discovering your optimal target market makes everything smoother for marketing and sales teams. And while you can still try to sell to a broad audience, finding the ideal demographics will improve your marketing efforts and increase overall efficiency.
How do companies make their purchasing decisions?
For a company to buy your products and services, they need to go through a similar customer journey as B2C clients:
- Identifying a need.
- Finding the right product specifications.
- Creating a list of potential suppliers.
- Analyzing different products and getting quotes.
- Negotiation and narrowing down the list.
- Making a purchase.
- Post-purchase communication.
B2B targeting is somewhat similar in terms of steps, although the process is much more complex. Furthermore, there are much fewer potential clients, which is why every sale matters. The orders are much bigger in scale, which is why having one large customer can make or break a business.
In fact, we’ll go as far as to say that B2B targeting is more important than B2C targeting due to massive fluctuations in order value. Nevertheless, mastering this concept is crucial thing that can help you grow a business.
4 Important factors for B2B target audience
When trying to find their ideal customer, companies focus on four factors: need, urgency and order fulfillment, budget, and decision-making. If a brand fulfills all these requirements, they’re more likely to purchase from your or a similar company.
Always remember that your clients are looking for you in the same way you’re looking for them. They’re profiling companies that can fulfill their needs in the best way possible while staying within the budget. In fact, the decision to go with one company over another usually comes down to price and product quality.
Here is a short breakdown of all these factors:
For a company to make a purchase, a product needs to fulfill its specific need.
Keep in mind that businesses are much pickier than regular consumers. Management will sit down and find the best solution for their needs. Purchasing by comity reduces the odds that a company will make an impulsive purchase. In other words, you really need to be better than the competition and can’t rely on marketing tricks.
Need is the most critical part of B2B targeting. In fact, it’s so important that it often affects manufacturers’ operational decisions. Unlike the regular B2C process, where you can push a product with good marketing and low prices, the B2B offer has to be tailor-made for clients’ needs.
Unfortunately, your target audience sometimes doesn’t understand the value they’re getting from a specific product. Perhaps they’re not acquainted with the technology or features that you’re using. This is why direct sales are so important for clarifying any misconceptions.
Urgency and order fulfillment
Although slightly less important than the need, urgency and order fulfillment can be crucial for certain transactions. In a nutshell, you need to have readily available products in your stock that can be quickly shipped to a buyer.
Urgency and order fulfillment are essential for client companies that rely on materials for further processing. For example, if a client needs a specific metal to create their products, a single day of delay can lead to massive losses. Similar can be said for small retailers that resell your products through their shops.
Urgency varies based on the product or service that you’re selling. Focusing on brands with high urgency has its pros and cons. Although you’ll need to have lots of products in your inventory, it helps you lower customer acquisition costs.
Budget and prices
Budget is perhaps the most common deal-breaker. Even if potential customers love your offer, they might have to go with a worse but cheaper solution just because they can’t afford your product.
The importance of budget can vary based on elasticity and market supply. If a business is looking to buy software that can simplify its communications, it might skip the purchase if it’s too expensive. However, they can’t do the same with a manufacturing machine.
In an ideal world, you would be the only supplier on the market. This might even force local companies to adjust budgets according to your prices. Given that this kind of monopoly rarely happens in the modern world, companies doing B2B selling have to adjust to competitors.
It’s imperative that you try and asses the lead’s budget before making an offer. Not only will this help you understand their financial situation, but it will provide more leverage during negotiations.
Keep in mind that companies might occasionally decide to go above their budget and even take a loan to purchase your solution. But for this to happen, you really need to offer something of high value that will significantly improve their profitability.
Decision-making is more of a technical aspect of a sale. Simply put, you should never pitch to a person who doesn’t have the capacity to make the purchasing decision. Even if a manager loves what you have to offer, it won’t matter unless the owner gives it the green light.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s completely useless pitching to some managers. If they’re high enough in the hierarchy, their opinion might influence the boss. There are also cases where a person is so enthralled by your offer that they’ll be willing to advocate for your brand.
Finding the decision-maker isn’t always easy. In fact, there are cases where owners completely delegate this decision to their subordinates. A good example is when we’re selling technical equipment and machinery. For example, the boss might not understand a product’s technical specs as well as the chief engineer.
In some cases, decisions are made by comity. This is especially true when it comes to small mom-and-pop shops where both partners have a say. Whatever the case may be, make sure to find the decision-maker before starting outreach.
8 Strategies that will help you target B2B audience
Given that most companies do business online nowadays, we’ll focus on digital B2B targeting. In the end, MiroMind is, first and foremost, an SEO company.
Here are digital marketing strategies and tips that will help you get in touch with your ideal customers:
1. Discover your target audience
The first step of the process is finding your target audience. Truth be told, most businesses are well aware of their ideal customer persona. In the end, if you’re selling video games, you can bet that the majority of your clients will be younger men.
However, the fact that you have some insights doesn’t mean that you know everything. So, you’ll have to dig into traffic and intent data. SEO tools such as Google Search Console, AhRefs, and SEM Rush provide the most value for this particular action.
If you’re already getting some organic traffic to industry-related keywords, you can check out the demographic data. Your readers are probably the best example of an ideal customer profile, although there might be some inconsistencies. For instance, you need to differentiate between people who randomly stumbled on your content and those who are potential leads.
Even better, you might want to analyze the biggest competitors’ data. They are getting lots of traffic from worldwide sources, so the information will be much more relevant.
2. Use the right keywords
Whenever you can, use quantifiable data to gain additional knowledge about the target audience. In other words, you need to find a way of marketing a product to increase the likelihood of sales.
When analyzing a keyword’s commercial potential, we can benefit from any small piece of information. A fantastic way to do so is by checking cost-per-click within SEO tools. This data shows how much money advertisers are willing to bid to place at the top of search engine ranking pages for specific phrases.
In other words, this is the amount of money they’re willing to pay for a lead. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to do with keyword volume or difficulty, nor does it refer to how hard it is to rank a phrase. Instead, it tells us what buyers are looking for when using Google and other search engines.
PPC analysis is especially important when dealing with similar keywords. If there are major discrepancies between cost-per-clicks, this might indicate that focusing on a certain phrase is much more lucrative. Such analysis can affect not only your paid campaigns but also your organic content marketing strategy.
Keep in mind there might be some overlapping between B2B and B2C audiences. For example, the same keyword can appeal to both groups of customers. There are also cases where brands focus on a specific phrase but completely miss their target because they start attracting regular customers.
3. Analyze closed accounts
To better understand the discovery process, you should analyze your current accounts. Of course, this type of analysis is much easier if you have a few high-value clients. Implementing the method is much harder for companies that are dealing with numerous retailers.
Analyzing closed accounts is especially beneficial for finding the optimal marketing channel. Some companies believe that organic traffic is the way to go, but they’re actually closing most of their clients via social media.
If you wish to go even deeper, you can find the specific keywords and articles that led them to your brand. If you get clients through influencer campaigns, you can learn more about the content your clients are consuming.
While this method is fantastic, the data is less relevant for small companies with few users. You need to gather lots of information to extrapolate valuable insights. Otherwise, the data might provide misleading insights taking you in the wrong direction.
4. Find a way to connect
Depending on a product or service, the issue might not be the price or product features. Instead, the problem might lie in a lack of trust. This is especially common for services where client companies don’t have enough data about the provider. Having a close relationship with a lead is also important in the case of interchangeable products.
Creating a real connection might help you smooth out any bumps in the road. Here are a few ways you can approach the issue:
- Create a specialized industry group on Facebook. Invite all decision-makers from that industry and related industries. Avoid advertising yourself, and talk about innovations within the field. By doing so, you can slowly increase your reputation and authority.
- Follow leads on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Although some of these networks might seem “unprofessional,” they give you an easy way in. Comment on their posts from time to time, and tag them when appropriate. Most importantly, do so without being annoying or intrusive.
- Contact potential clients for round-ups and interviews. Feature the leads on your blog as an industry expert. Link out to their blog, and provide some value without asking for anything in return. Stay in touch after publishing the content.
- Invite them to real-world events and webinars. This will create a fantastic opportunity to communicate face-to-face and exchange opinions. Among others, it’s the best and quickest way to create a strong bond.
All these methods only work if you’re consistent. You should consider them more as lead funnels than choirs. Keep in mind that some industries are extremely closed to newcomers, so you’ll have to create real bonds before closing anyone.
5. Show expertise
An old saying goes: “Business people deal with business people.”
In the previous section, we’ve mentioned how important expertise is for closing large business clients. Most owners have an aversion toward companies and entrepreneurs that don’t belong. And trust us when we say this, it’s easy to differentiate experts from beginners.
Expertise is vital for numerous reasons that go beyond simple trust. It tells your leads if you’re well equipped to handle a crisis. It can help you score points on intangibles that will sway a client toward you. Furthermore, expertise makes it easier to retain existing customers even when you change your offer.
For example, companies that have been in the business for a while can better tackle material shortages. They would have the necessary connections that would allow them to acquire supplies to help their clients stay in business. Most notably, they can ensure the same product quality and quick delivery over a longer period.
Among others, reputation and expertise can increase brand awareness. People who’ve heard about your company are more likely to become your customers. You will no longer have to target a B2B audience, as they’ll start gravitating toward you organically.
The best way to demonstrate expertise is through your blog and social media posts. This is why it’s so important to hire a top-tier content creation agency.
6. Create a transparent product page
When talking about high-value deals, all companies do their research before making decisions. They visit companies’ product and service pages to learn more about their offer. Here is some data you should provide:
- Retail price.
- Wholesale price.
- Product specs.
- Shipping cost.
- Shipping price.
A company might still contact you to negotiate the bulk price. They also need to check your stock and whether you can deliver lots of units quickly. That way, they can rest assured there won’t be any shipment delays.
Even if you can’t close a client, you can at least segregate between real and false leads. If the offer is good, the fact that a person declined tells you they probably weren’t your target audience.
Transparency is also fantastic for distinguishing between B2C and B2B entities. Unlike companies, individuals often make whimsical purchases and can be manipulated by pricing techniques. On the other hand, a business will put your specs and price on a sheet and compare it with other offers.
Of course, some businesses work exclusively through quotes. In these situations, a client needs to contact you to learn more about the prices and the offer. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that you should be as transparent as possible during these calls.
7. Stay consistent with your messaging
If you’re looking to target a B2B audience, you need to be consistent when you develop messaging. You need to speak to company executives and avoid attracting smaller buyers.
Messaging can be seen in any piece of your copy. It’s crucial when creating a homepage, product, and service pages, but also blog articles. If your target audience is looking for more technical pieces, you need to speak in a way that will reflect the brand’s professionalism.
A brand must use the same messaging on social media, websites, and other platforms. For example, you should use the same tone of voice during public events.
If you don’t stick with the same voice, it can indicate a few issues. For example, you might’ve previously specialized in the B2C market, but due to a lack of results, you decided to switch to B2B. Alternatively, you might be catering to a completely different industry.
Sending the same message into the ether over and over again makes for fantastic brand positioning. You can create a unique value proposition for your prospective customers that will separate you from the pack. So, as long as you think that the message is enticing enough to target audiences, you’ll likely achieve the required results.
8. Guide your visitors
As previously mentioned, every brand has to go through the customers’ journey phase regardless of company size. They will start by learning more about potential solutions, and then they will start looking for a company that can help them out.
Ideally, you should try to retain clients during the initial phases. As they’re reading your blog looking for a solution, you need to attack their pain points and immediately drive them to product pages. Otherwise, there’s a risk they will bounce off your articles and seek a solution someplace else.
So, like in any other type of sale, you need to close a deal as soon as possible.
Use interlinking to drive guests from one page to another all the way to service or product pages. When a person reaches the top of the funnel article, send them to a post in the middle of the funnel. This page should lead to the bottom of the funnel and, eventually, to your sales pages.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that a person will reach several blog posts at once after reaching a random website. Still, that doesn’t reduce the importance of creating a structure that will lead them down the funnel.
MiroMind is a B2B SEO agency that can help you drive relevant traffic to your pages. Call us today for a quote!