The 6 Worst B2B Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

b2b marketing mistakes

The 6 Worst B2B Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Picture of Elfie Tan
Elfie Tan
A marketing and PR strategist dedicated to helping companies leverage greater customer engagement, brand visibility and profits through tried and tested digital methodologies.

I’ve heard it too many times from small businesses who no longer invest in digital B2B marketing. “We tried it and it doesn’t work.

After consulting with them, I’ve found the same mistakes being made, leading to many small businesses owners thinking that digital marketing doesn’t achieve anything worthwhile

That’s just not true.

When done correctly, marketing gets you more leads, more clients and more sales. It also broadens your network and increase the value of your products and services.

But few people do it right. Unfortunately, even marketers can get it wrong.

So here are the 6 most common mistakes people make in digital marketing and how to avoid them.

Ignoring Facebook because you think it is exclusively for B2C and cute cat memes.

“My customers are business users so there’s no point in doing anything on Facebook.”

Facebook definitely works for B2B.

Why is that?

Simply put, Facebook is Australia’s most popular social network (16-64 years olds) with 66%, or 16 million, Australians using Facebook on a monthly basis

Australian social media statistics

The Global Digital Report 2018 found that Australians spend an average of 1 hour and 39 minutes on social media each day, with the majority of the population spending a large proportion of this time on Facebook.

social media usage in Australia

Your target audience are humans, humans spend a lot of time on Facebook so your target audience is very likely to spend time on Facebook.

C-Suite DO engage on Facebook!

Let’s deal with another common misconception; that decision-makers don’t engage with business content on Facebook.

This is also untrue.

Statistics from Facebook show that decision makers spend 74% more time than other people on the platform. This is because they don’t just use Facebook more often, they use it to engage with a wider variety of content, including discussion groups, business pages and instant messaging.

What’s more 35% of senior executives in business are happy to communicate via Messenger apps for business purposes: (State of Inbound 2018)

decision makers use Facebook

Facebook is a slow burn

Another reason small businesses often fail at Facebook is because they expect an immediate or quick return. If this doesn’t happen within a couple of months, they give up.

In reality, making Facebook B2B marketing successful takes time and consideration. Here are the general steps required to execute an effective Facebook marketing strategy.

  1. Create and populate a business page – 1 week
  1. Contribute regular content to it while investing in Facebook ads to get traffic to your page – 2 weeks
  1. Create a testing strategy for ad types and self-built audiences – a day
  2. Carry out testing every week – done properly, this will take up to 6 months

When you’ve finally built up a following on Facebook and you know which audiences work with your ads, then you can start expecting to pull in some leads. Over time the cost of your Facebook leads will decrease, but only if you continuously test and improve.

Don’t be surprised if it takes over 6 months to start getting leads, but as you learn more, the time and investment you put into Facebook will start to pay off and your leads will gradually cost less.

The cost of a lead on Facebook obviously has many contributing variables including the level of competition without your industry, the layout of your ads and the demographic of your audience.

Contributing blog posts to other websites.

Guest posting is a complex topic and rumours that it’s dead are overstated.

However, the days of guest posting on spammy sites and putting lots of spammy links in your post certainly are dead.

When contributing guest posts, you should focus on contributing quality content to good quality sites. If you don’t visit the site you want to guest post on then it probably is not a good place to post.

Your highest priority should be creating high-value content for your own website. Use your blog posts as a way to keep intouch with your list of leads via regular emails. Once you have published a few blog posts that rank in the top 5 on Google for your keywords, getting backlinks will be much easier as you’ll have something to offer to high-value websites.

B2B Marketing on a social media network – just because.

B2B marketing for lead generation on social networks takes up a lot of time and manpower. Just like everything else you do with your time, you need to make sure that it generates a good return on investment.

So make sure that you are investing in the right social media platform before you open an account for your business and start putting the money and effort in.

It’s pretty safe to say that if you are in B2B, LinkedIn is a good option. But this also depends on who your buyer persona is and if they use LinkedIn.

Not all types of professionals use LinkedIn. For example, if your target audience is a builder, the chances of them using LinkedIn are pretty slim.

Similarly, if you want to target professionals in Australia, it’s important to know that Twitter is not a very popular medium. Only 3 million people use it in Australia.

If you find out that your buyer persona fits into the 3 million that use Twitter, then it could be worth it. But research is key and this is where a buyer persona comes in.

This takes me to my next point.

Assuming you know your buyer persona without any data to back it.

You may have a vague idea of what your existing clients are like but guessing doesn’t work.

Guessing is dangerous as you could base entire marketing campaigns on bad assumptions. People often assume that their buyer persona will behave in a similar way to themselves or one of their clients. Not necessarily true.

Buyer personas should not be assumed from your own habits and assumptions – you are a sample size of one!

You need hard data to know;

  1. how much they earn, which suburbs they live in
  1. what kind of education they have
  1. which social media networks they use
  1. what their pain points are
  1. where they hang out
  2. what they read and many other attributes of a thorough buyer persona

So build a persona based on a larger pool of your existing clients and prospects. Get a survey done. The things you find out about your clients and prospects could really surprise you.

We've put together a detailed eBook on creating an effective buyer persona:  Download Now

Trying to reach everyone with B2B marketing.

When it comes to advertising on social media, getting organic reach on your website, and building marketing campaigns based on a buyer’s journey, it’s very tempting to throw a big net hoping to catch everyone you could possibly do business with.

The problem with this approach is that your campaigns are vague and you risk reaching lots of people who are not interested in clicking on your ad.

It is counterintuitive but targeting fewer people can often drive more sales.

So be more specific. Focus on particular pain points, industries or job descriptions. Anything that could focus your campaign.

This way, the smaller pool of people you do reach are much more likely to find relevance in your campaigns and thus more likely to convert.

For example, a marketing campaign selling software for B2B businesses could have a vague campaign like:

Easy Project management for B2B”

or you could run a series of industry-specific campaigns like:

Construction software made simple”

run simultaneously with:

Project management software for smooth sailing logistics”

targeted at shipping companies.

Running multiple specific campaigns at once allows you to understand which ones perform best. You could even learn a bit about who your ideal customers are in the process.

Not having B2B marketing campaigns at all.

Why do marketers even create campaigns? I’ve already given you one major reason in the point above. Here are three more.

  1. It ensures that over time, you produce marketing materials that are different and thus not boring to people who have seen advertising from you before. Every time you run a new campaign, you have the chance to capture a lead who may not have been interested in your previous campaigns.
  1. It allows you to determine what works and what doesn’t, making it easier for you to get organised and test multiple variables effectively. Measuring the success of campaigns gives you the knowledge to stop spending on things that don’t work.
  2. A specific campaign with a single outcome is easier to broadcast across multiple channels. This increases the likelihood of a prospect seeing and understanding what your brand is offering, the optimum, 6-9 times before they finally convert into a customer. A well-executed campaign with a unique theme, audience and final outcome allows your brand to make a greater impact at specific stages of the buyer’s journey.

There you have it. These are experiences I’ve had working in-house and in agencies. Have you had different experiences?