Everyone in SaaS is chasing the same goal — ARR and MRR growth.
This goal seems simple at first: market your product, create an effective conversion funnel, and ta-da — watch your growth skyrocket. The thing is, all of your competitors are one click away, and they are fighting for the same pool of customers.
To succeed, you need a lot more than just a plan. Great marketing is about being relevant to your audience’s needs while adding a unique twist to your promotional efforts.
While every marketer understands that concept, it’s still hard to execute a successful B2B promotion campaign.
This post will look at some of the best B2B marketing strategies and unique ideas and see how others are crushing it in the B2B space applying these ideas.
Best B2B marketing ideas for your startup
Ideas are worth nothing without an execution strategy. So, here are some B2B marketing ideas with actionable tips to help you execute your next campaign.
1. Cater to a longer buying cycle
B2B buying cycles have entirely changed after the pandemic.
51% of the marketers and sales professionals agree that B2B buyers conduct more profound research now.
Now, B2B clients have increased budget oversight. Top it up with information overload, and decision-making capabilities become slower. Clients today consider several alternatives before choosing any product or service. With the availability of other options, B2B buyers are becoming increasingly picky, too.
This changing B2B buyer trend makes it harder for marketers to generate effective results.
So, how do you deal with a picky customer?
By keeping them engaged through their whole customer journey.
In the world of B2B marketing, this means your content and offerings should cater to a longer buying cycle.
Remember the flywheel concept? It’s time to turn your marketing from a funnel to a flywheel.
Keeping B2B buyers interested throughout the lifecycle (and beyond) would help you stay relevant and grow your numbers.
Dealing with longer buying cycles
The best way to cater to longer cycles is to set up strategic growth channels that aid potential clients at every step of the lifecycle.
The best way to do that is by utilizing every bit of data about your audience (without invading their privacy) and creating resources around their common pain points.
Encharge allows you to track anonymous user activity on your website, product, or elsewhere. Once a user is identified (when they sign up or submit a form), you can connect all that data with an individual profile/segment to create a big picture right from the first interaction.
When you know exactly what a user/visitor is up to, you can:
- Automate email campaigns.
- Create a hyper-targeted Facebook ad audiences.
- Broadcast in-app notifications.
Sound profiling and segmentation strategies would help you create relevant content across paid and organic channels. Be it on your blog, newsletters, social media or email. Plus, you’ll address their exact pain points at every stage — making it easier for them to make a decision.
2. Supplement marketing automation with AI
AI in automation is here to stay, but it’s not going to replace marketers anytime soon.
Instead, AI and ML will empower startups to get better with marketing. AI works just like human intuition — it makes inferences based on context, so if you feed it with a lot of data, it will make guesses and act on those guesses.
And guess what?
Modern machine learning algorithms do so much more than just guesswork. They not only reason and come to a conclusion but offer recommendations and corrective actions.
Remember how Grammarly provides intelligent insights into making your writing clearer and crisper?
Similarly, you can supplement your marketing automation initiatives with artificial intelligence.
Combining marketing automation with AI gives you the best of both worlds: you save time and get the ability to make informed decision to the automation using data-driven insights.
Ideas for supplementing marketing automation with AI
There are many use cases of AI within your marketing automation activities. Think of contextual emails written by an intelligent AI. Automatically-generated parts of an email that enhance personalization can be much more effective and efficient than an email that is just sent to everyone.
An email marketing AI tool can create the perfect subject line and provide you with multiple alternatives for A/B tests within seconds. You can use this power to optimize campaign results.
There are many other marketing automation AI use cases, too. Like an AI-powered lead scoring algorithm, personalized recommendations, dynamic user experiences, etc. The possibilities are limitless.
4. Ask for feedback with email automation sequences
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you fail to convert a lead. However, you can leverage lost opportunities to your advantage with a simple email sequence.
Ben Soltana from Digidux shares how they’ve used an automation sequence for lost leads for a SaaS accountant.
Here’s how this sequence worked for them:
Step 1: Deal is marked “lost closed” in the CRM
A lead marked “lost closed” is the target for this automation sequence. The contacts are captured by integrating the CRM system with the marketing automation suite.
A platform like Encharge can integrate directly with a CRM tool like HubSpot or Salesforce.
Step 2: First email asking for opinion/feedback triggered one day after the deal is closed
One day after the deal is marked closed, send a personalized email.
The email can be from the CEO (or a person who the lead recognizes), asking for feedback. It asks the lead why they didn’t buy from the company.
Source: Real email sent to a lead who didn’t end up converting shared by Ben Soltana
You can create a similar email asking why they didn’t end up buying from you. Each of the reasons ends up segmenting the lost lead into one of the user segments (which will trigger another personalized follow-up email)
You can create a personalized email automation sequence with Encharge. Set automated triggers, segment the respondents based on their choices, and nurture leads further to make this happen.
Step 3: Second personalized email triggered the next day automatically
The lost leads will start responding to the email. Based on their feedback, they can be segmented into different user segments.
Each segment would automatically receive a unique and personalized email one day after they’ve responded.
For example, if someone responds by clicking on “offer is too expensive”, their email would be about how the offer can be restructured, what value they’d receive, and maybe even share an extra discount.
Getting such feedback helps improve your offer, product positioning, and even the pricing strategy.
For example, if 50% or more respond by saying your offer is too expensive, you know you might need to rethink pricing or create more focused content about the value proposition to nurture leads better.
Moreover, the follow-up sequence gives the sales teams another shot at pitching the services after improvising the offer based on personalized feedback from each lead.
The same feedback used by Ben, helped them achieve a 60% open rate and 24% click rate for email #1, 30% reply rate to email #2, and €18k in additional revenue.
3. Map keywords to the user journey and focus on search intent
If you go to Twitter and look at SEO communities for B2B marketing strategies, you’d indeed find a post that reads the same.
People have been swooning over Canva’s smart SEO strategy and Zapier’s SEO-driven acquisition game.
B2B buyers are researching a lot. And what better medium to research than Google. Right?
With progressive algorithm updates like BERT, SEO is more than just keywords nowadays. Searcher’s intent is now more crucial than just adding some keywords to your blog. Today, EAT means a lot to Google.
How should you tweak your SEO strategy to reflect these changes?
Creating comprehensive content around broad keyword clusters that capture the search intent would help. Tie your buyers’ journey with search intent and push contextual content. The idea is to be as authoritative and comprehensive as possible.
Ideas to address search intent in your organic content funnel
How to answer human intent by mapping keywords to the buyer journey?
After the BERT and subsequent core updates, algorithms got smarter.
Now, every query is done with a different intent, and it’s mapped to a different stage in buyers’ journey. In other words, intent adds context to a phrase. And you know how context is a useful element of personalizing your offer.
Every search query is informational, transactional, or navigational. You can tie these queries to the lifecycle as follows:
|Type of Search Query||Stage in User Journey (Buyer’s Lifecycle)|
|Informational Queries||Discovery Stage|
|Navigational Queries||Interest, Consideration and Evaluation Stage|
|Transactional Queries||Consideration, Intent, and Decision Stage|
Putting contextually correct information in front of the right people at the right time would help you do better. Even Google supports this theory and explains how every search results from four micro-moments in any consumer’s journey.
This strategy helps you get the most from your organic growth initiatives. Not only are you supporting your clients’ goals, but you’re also staying top of mind, displaying your expertise, and building trust throughout their entire process.
Read more: Aligning Your Content Marketing Efforts with the Customer Journey
4. Personalize your “everything” and use dynamic content
No one can deny the power of personalization in B2B. B2B clients appreciate the relevance and personalized customer experience in 2022.
While there are many ways to personalize the customer experience, the #1 tactic for personalized marketing is to build a mindset against generic content — be it in your blogs, email marketing campaigns, ads, or landing pages.
Knowing your ideal customer profile (ICP) deeply and creating personalized lead nurture campaigns is an excellent strategy in today’s crowded market.
Ideas for personalized marketing campaigns
|Medium||How to personalize|
|Website/App/Landing Pages||Create dynamic content based on visitor’s web activity|
|Emails||Personalize your emails powered by behavioral emails and user segmentation|
|Paid/Organic marketing campaigns||Personalize interactions based on user journey with automated marketing flows|
Joey Randazzo, the founder of SEO Growth Partners, has been leveraging personalization for generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs). He shared his process:
“95% of our leads come through our free SEO analysis page. Then an automated Slack message is sent to our sales team –> sales team uses a template to send an email within 2 hours (and personalizes it!!!! So important to have personalization!!!) –> our SEO expert is automatically notified to put together the personalized audit –> the sales team sends the audit and encourages the lead to schedule a call with their Calendly (which automates the scheduling process)”
5. Use segmentation in email marketing and implement behavioral targeting.
Behavioral email marketing involves sending messages to specific groups of people based on their actions and interactions with your company.
Earlier, transactional email marketing worked well for B2B clients. This type of email was sent to remind the customer of their order or provide updates after they made a purchase.
Transactional emails are not enough today.
With behavioral email marketing, you can keep your audience engaged and move them through the buyer’s journey. Behavioral email marketing is the future of lead nurturing and sales. It can help you generate more revenue, retain more customers, and increase your ROI.
Behavioral email marketing is also a great way to build trust and strengthen your relationship with your customers. In a world where an average American user receives 605 emails on a weekly basis behavioral strategy makes sense.
Behavioral emails powered by a solid user segmentation strategy will help you stand out of the crowd and entice users to take action when they’re most engaged.
User segmentation and behavioral email marketing ideas
You can use Encharge to segment your email audience, set up behavioral marketing campaigns, and automate everything. You can use behavioral emails to:
- Create marketing campaigns based on buyer’s lifecycle
- Send email based on transactional activity
- Send personalized emails based on dynamic tags
You can use behavioral emails to nurture leads, set up automated flows, and convert better. Dennis Strum, marketing manager at Samdock, shares how Encharge has helped them reduce time to acquire customers by up to 77%.
As Dennis explains:
“We were spending around 3-5 hours in sales and another 2-4 hours in customer success to acquire each new customer. Now we need less than an hour in sales and another hour in customer success. This is also an effect of the new product since it works much more intuitively and automated, but Encharge is an important part of that. We always keep close contact with our prospects and customers without using too many human resources.”
6. Give your audience a reason to come back — build a community
When people are bored (like the last three years of staying indoors), communities serve as a pleasant respite. Community building brings tremendous value for everyone and is already a hot idea among B2B startup founders.
80% of founders are building a user community, with 28% of these founders mentioning community as the critical moat for their success.
Starting a community can help you break the chain of one-time plain-old transactional interactions. This approach can be instrumental in creating an evergreen content channel.
In the age of Netflix, Spotify, and other content publishers/curators, a community can bring you back to focus in the eyes of your ideal clients.
Also, communities can lead to the network effect, which drives 70% of value in tech. Think of it as an engine to attract leads your way.
Big names in B2B are already killing it with their communities — Salesforce has Trailblazers, Atlassian has its community, and Intercom has Interconnected.
Unlike social media, where conversations can take a backseat in a crowd of influencers, communities make everyone a potential influencer.
User-generated content (UGC) validates the product and works as a criterion for leads just on the fence.
According to Holly Firestone, who built the communities at Atlassian and Salesforce, B2B startups and people part of the community had a great advantage over others.
In one of her sessions about communities at SaaStr, she revealed such companies had better growth numbers.
Community building ideas for your B2B startup
In his book The Embedded Entrepreneur, Arvid Kahl talks about benefitting from the community for building a business. His thoughts center around using the community for research but can also be beneficial in building a community.
Just think about how you can solve pain points through a community, why a community would be needed, and how to keep users engaged. You’ll have a great idea. And if building a community seems like a daunting tech task, solutions like Kommunity can help your cause.
7. Use blog boomerang strategy
Blog boomerang is a simple yet effective tactic for promoting your product via a blog. The rationale is simple. If someone has some sort of relationship with the blogger in a similar niche, then it’s likely that they will read your content as well.
In simpler terms, you only reach out to people who want to be reached.
Blog boomerang involves writing a blog post that appeals directly to your audience, then retargeting that audience (blog readers) with hyper-focused communication. This increases the likelihood of a conversion.
Ideas for implementing the blog boomerang strategy
Blog boomerang is about creating and distributing content to highly interested prospects. Say, the ones who are just on the brink of buying/trying your product.
If you take it from an SEO standpoint, you should write to serve queries with transactional/navigational queries.
For example, suppose you are in subscription management services. In that case, you could write a post on “5 things you need to know about subscription automation with [your brand name]” or a detailed, actionable guide on subscription/payment automation.
The readers of this blog would be somewhere in the middle or bottom of your conversion funnel. Retargeting blog readers with a Facebook ad having a hyper-targeted offer would instantly make them interested.
The key is to make the offer or call to action relevant to the blog they initially visited. In most cases, if you’re offering a product or service, it’s best to follow the buyer’s journey to influence them into taking action.
8. Grow your reach beyond the horizon and start an affiliate marketing program
An interesting way to create buzz around your product quickly is by launching an affiliate marketing program.
But isn’t affiliate marketing dead? Not anymore. It’s not all spammy like in the 2010s.
Well, not for B2B SaaS, at least. A well-planned affiliate program can boost your conversion by at least 30%.
Andy Cabasso, the co-founder of Postaga, says that affiliate programs allow B2B SaaS startups to leverage the audience of others to drive traffic and leads to a website. He recommends finding affiliates who have a strong are promoting similar or complementing products.
Ideas for launching an affiliate program
Launching a rewarding affiliate program requires much legwork. But the basics involve:
- Defining the program structure — commissions, tracking, and terms
- Building the marketing kit
- Finding the right affiliates
It seems simple, right? But that’s not it.
You can’t just float an affiliate program and get marketers to pick you up. You need to have smart, attractive rewards. You might even have to reach out to a few influencers initially.
Using an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush would give you enough insights on who is backlinking to your competitors and promoting them as affiliates. Build a prospect list, use your outreach skills, and pitch your affiliate product to generate sales.
Once you launch your affiliate program, you want to help your affiliates promote your product. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is developing your own affiliate kit — guides, resources, and creative materials to help affiliates generate revenue with your SaaS.
9. Leverage PR
We all want to be featured in a newspaper or a magazine.
Using public relations (PR) as a medium, a SaaS startup owner can kill two birds with a single stone. You can be featured in a reputed publication and get some solid leads and clients simultaneously.
High-traffic websites and magazines are often featured on Google, where your audience with transactional intent is already searching for solutions. Having a feature on such publications would give you the best results.
While PR is a great way to bring the spotlight to your baby, a lack of a targeted approach might leave money on the table. We all know PR can be a costly affair, so you don’t want to make mistakes.
The answer is simple — supplementing the features by targeted landing pages that move users further into their buyer’s journey.
Marketing ideas for starting a conversion-oriented PR campaign
Well, you already know the basics. Outreach to best publications or hire a PR agency. But there’s more.
If you’re not targeted in your messaging, there are high chances that the traffic you get won’t impact your lead generation efforts. So, the best way is to revisit your homepage, or better, craft a dedicated landing page with links (with UTM parameters) for the PR piece.
You can take inspiration for a PR campaign from reality TV. You must have seen how Shark Tank featured startups revamp their homepage on the night of their telecast. They create unique coupon codes to track shoppers who come by seeing them on Shark Tank.
You can also use a similar strategy by creating dedicated landing pages and setting up UTM links. Here’s a detailed piece on setting up the website for an instant traffic influx by HubSpot.
10. Set up lead nurture campaigns
How would you feel if the date you liked didn’t even text back after dinner? Or worse, they propose to you on your very first date!
You won’t be happy, for sure! The relationship needs some time, right?
You’ve heard the quote — haste makes waste!
In marketing, too, if you’re too eager (or not eager at all), your prospective buyer would just stop taking you seriously.
So, how do you market the right way without scaring (or being forgotten)? Well, the crux lies in setting up lead nurturing campaigns.
You can’t lure a lead into your funnel by offering a freebie anymore. Today, users are naturally skeptical. No one will trust you if you start shooting emails right off the bat.
Lead nurturing involves developing an ongoing relationship with a lead and nurturing them through the buyer’s journey.
Lead scoring, user segmentation, drip campaigns, behavioral emailing, retargeting, and personalization are some lead nurturing tactics.
11. Transition towards permission-based marketing — Use first-party data.
The recent iOS 14 update and new cookie policies by Google make it hard for every marketer right now. It seems third-party data analytics will soon become a thing of the past.
But knowing your audience is the fundamental step for all types of marketing.
Well, there’s still hope in transitioning towards first-party-data-friendly marketing campaigns.
What is first-party data now? You’d be wondering!
It’s nothing but the information you directly collect from your audience or simply the data you have explicit permission to use for marketing. First-party data includes data you gather from PPC ad campaigns, audience building, etc.
Google AdWords alternatives (like Bing or Microsoft) are very good at collecting first-party data, while content testing on your blogs allows you to find out more about your audience. With Facebook Ads Insights, you can even create custom questions in Facebook ads to collect first-party data.
Recall the GDPR policies. We’re all expected to be ethical and use explicit permissions in our marketing campaigns.
Want ideas to start using first-party data and start with permission-based marketing? You can begin with permission marketing for audience building, lead nurturing, and email marketing.
12. Get offline and send physical postcards
Marilyne Dupuy — the head of marketing at PickYourSkills.com, shared how their “phygital” strategy worked wonders for conversion. They’ve got a SaaS platform and were looking to find new mediums to reach their leads during the slow months of summer.
They created printed, handwritten postcards to 150+ leads with a QR code that directs the person to the “book a demo page.”
Their idea was to send a postcard in the middle of summer wishing everyone a good time.
The result: 78% of the receivers checked out their website, and many of them even booked a demo during the lowest-performing months of their business.
13. Organize virtual events and fairs
COVID brought a halt to B2B industry events altogether. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get a chance to network, increase awareness, and get more leads.
Virtual events and fairs are an excellent opportunity for any B2B brand to market themselves better.
Platforms like Goldcast allow you to create engaging events for your audience. And that’s a great way to get people more interested in your product.
Alyce, a personalized B2B gifting platform, leveraged a carefully-thought personalized virtual event strategy to increase its client pipeline.
According to Nina Butler, the director of event experiences at Alyce, “Virtual events helped them create experiential moments for audience/attendees and improve their demand generation function. Using a virtual events platform enabled them to gather insights about engaged attendees, product adoption, and platform usage— everything a marketing campaign looks for to measure success.
You can even think of conducting industry-specific webinars periodically. These webinars should address the recurring pain points of your audience.
For example, Google updates and subsequent SEO troubles people face. You can conduct such virtual events, build an audience, and strategically nurture leads to grow your lead pipeline and conversion rates.
B2B Marketing Ideas FAQs
1. What are the best B2B marketing ideas?
All of the above strategies are valuable, and the choice depends totally on your growth goals. But if you need a headstart, you should focus on behavioral email marketing, permission marketing, blog boomerang strategy, starting a community, and catering to longer buying cycles.
2. Where can I find more examples of some brilliant B2B marketing ideas?
If you’re looking for swipe examples for marketing campaigns, check out Swipefile.com. For early product adoption marketing, you can check out First100users. Zero to Marketing is also an excellent resource for inspiration from real marketing case studies. You can also search on Product Hunt to access unique directories with brilliant B2B marketing ideas.
3. Is there a way to discover fresh content marketing ideas around the year?
You can use your standard SEO tool stack to discover content ideas — Ahrefs and SEMRush work well to find content marketing gaps (and explore ideas). If you’re looking for a direction to start, you can use SerpStat to gather content ideas based on Google autocomplete suggestions.
The B2B marketing space is full of twists and turns, thanks to the ever-increasing competition, recent privacy concerns, compliances, and general perception.
If you’re planning to rejig your strategies, make sure to stay ethical, keep an eye on B2B buyer trends, and work towards planning marketing content that’s designed to convert.
And don’t forget to use marketing automation wherever possible!
We hope these marketing ideas gave you enough inspiration to build your next campaign.