Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a B2B Marketing Agency for Your Business
What services and strategies do B2B Marketing Agency offers?
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Design & Development Services
- Paid Digital Advertising
What questions should you ask as the prospective client?
- What does the agency offer? Any specialty services that fit your business needs?
- Will this agency provide the strategy and support you’ll need? Remember, they are your expert in these matters.
- What sort of results can they deliver? Does this match your company’s goals? Timelines? Budget?
To the average consumer, it appears that everyone and anyone can be called a marketer or marketing agency. How can a small business owner tell the genuine digital marketing services from fake in an almost saturated industry? How can they choose the right marketing agency to suit their needs, and who can help them make the digital transition from brick and mortar to eCommerce?
Or, more importantly, what are marketing agencies? What services are they supposed to offer, and what can you expect from hiring a top marketing agency? And finally, can these marketing services help you reach other businesses?
Understanding B2B Digital Marketing Terms
Before your company seeks out digital marketing services, you must be aware of the types of marketing and the difference between marketing and advertising. Then you must know about the different kinds of digital marketing services an agency can offer and the difference between B2B and B2C. For some entrepreneurs, digital marketing equates to just advertising, and their mind, that means national TV ad spend budgets. That budget can still be true in some cases, but the value and reach will vastly differ. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the basic marketing terms you’ll need to know as a small business owner.
Considering that the American Marketing Association reviews the definition for marketing every three years, no wonder people get confused. The current definition for marketing; “is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large .” Advertising is a promotional marketing activity that aims to influence its target audience to buy, sell or even advertise its product, brand, or service.
To summarize, marketing is used to build relationships, educate and communicate, and advertising is used to sell.
Digital Marketing encompasses all forms of marketing online, on smart devices, electronic devices, connected TV and digital radios. Traditional marketing will be any offline marketing efforts that include tangible media like magazines, newspapers, flyers, non-digital billboards, posters, TV and radio.
To understand the impact of digital marketing over traditional means, look at ad spend and returns. Over the last five years, ad spending on traditional marketing has steadily declined, while digital advertising has doubled that of conventional means in the previous two years. As for the return on investment (ROI) are almost immediate for digital marketing, whereas in traditional, analytics and seeing the returns takes some time.
Digital advertising is where the lines between marketing and advertising get blurred for the consumer as every pop-up or banner can be interpreted as an ad. Digital advertising is similar to traditional, except more data is involved, and analysis and returns are easily measured. There are four ways to advertise online:-
- Display Advertising – This can include programmatic display advertising in banner ads, connected TV and billboards.
- Influencer – Using celebrities, spokespersons, and influencers to sell products and services. It’s nothing new to advertising.
- Search – Advertising via search engines. It can include display advertising services, influencer advertising and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads.
- Social – Using social media platforms to advertise.
Marketing to businesses is inherently different from marketing to individuals. Though both do their research before purchasing online, organizations tend to go a few steps further and allocate time and resources to marketing research. This difference means expertise and specialty services may be required for a marketing agency to gain an organization’s attention.
- Business to Business (B2B) – Marketing and advertising activities directed towards other businesses.
- Business to Customer (B2C) – Marketing and advertising activities directed to individuals.
- Customer to Customer (C2C) – Individuals can sell to others through platforms like eBay or online marketplaces.
Despite the increased interest and returns for digital marketing, be warned that traditional marketing isn’t dead yet. An entire 55+ age demographic still prefers to use traditional media, and people are 70% more likely to remember an ad in a newspaper or flyer than on social media. Creative marketers know well how to mix traditional strategies with digital marketing.
Then there is the issue of your B2B digital marketing and business goals. Before you end up at an advertising agency seeking marketing services, spending more than you budgeted, make sure you understand the minor differences between these marketing terms and what your goals are.
Services of B2B Marketing Companies
Digital marketing is a broad term, especially when using the 4 C’s of marketing; communication, convenience, client, and cost. Even with a seemingly limitless marketing budget, you and your digital marketing agency need to mind the 4 C’s and understand how they impact agencies’ services.
What Type of Services Can B2B Marketing Companies Offer?
A B2B digital marketing agency can offer traditional marketing services, just as ad agencies can provide digital marketing services. What they are called isn’t as important as what they can do. These are just 12 of the services B2B marketing companies can offer.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most high-demand services in B2B digital marketing, with 51% of consumers using search engines before purchasing. The Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) can be an individual or a B2B marketing agency that uses organic search to drive marketing efforts. Customers’ search intent guided by keyword research determines how your website ranks.
Higher the rank in Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) or any search engine pages means more traffic and potential customers for your business. There are two ways SEO does this: white hat SEO, which follows the ethical rules of SEO, and black hat SEO, which gets you to rank fast or can get your website shut down. Knowing the difference between SEO tactics can mean life or death for your website and business.
Every type of marketing on the internet needs content. Whether blogs, vlogs, social media, ads, marketing case studies, or courses, they all need high-quality words, images, infographics, videos, and audio. Content marketing mainly uses inbound marketing strategies fueled by SEO to help drive traffic back to the primary source of content or home base. Blogs, videos and ebooks are the top 3 sources of content used in 2019. Content writing can be used in all marketing strategies, just as copywriting is used for advertising.
Social Media Marketing
Social marketing began as a simple tactic to use social media platforms as a promotion and brand positioning but has since evolved into its marketing strategy. Businesses now use social media pages as their home base, and social media marketing is known for exceptional lead generation and customer acquisition. User-generated content, viral content, influencer, and video marketing are some of the high return strategies that work well with social media marketing. According to Hubspot, it also works well with referral marketing, as 71% of customers are more likely to share a brand’s content if they have an excellent social media experience.
Web Design & Development Services
As a business owner having a website or sales page is now a natural requirement of business operations as of 2020. It was a requirement before the pandemic, but it wasn’t until consumers were forced indoors businesses were forced to wake up to the new digital reality. Considering that search is the number one source of traffic to all blogs and sales is one of the main goals of marketing, building websites and eCommerce stores plays a crucial role in marketing and sales. Every 1-second site speed delay reduces conversion rates by 7%. Without a digital storefront, businesses may as well not exist for Gen Z customers.
When you have a relatively new company to launch on the internet, this is where you need a branding specialist. Branding isn’t just about choosing your logo, tagline and brand colors. Brand positioning helps define you and your company’s presence on the web, and it should not take it lightly. Watch out for branding agencies that provide cookie-cutter branding packages to have your company look and feel like everyone else. Google receives 77,000 searches each second, and with almost 2 billion active websites, your brand cannot afford to be another copy-paste website.
Generating sales-qualified marketing leads is the goal of all marketing activities. For 63% of marketers, lead generation is one of their biggest challenges. B2B lead generation takes center stage when planning the customer onboarding process and building your customer acquisition funnels. Most of the marketing services used here will form part of the lead generation strategy.
Paid Digital Advertising
In Search Engine Marketing (SEM), paid digital advertising methods are used to get your business found on the SERP. SEM uses PPC as a bidding method to get your ad placed. The success of your SEM strategy depends on the searcher’s intent, keywords and the quality score of your pages. In some circles, SEM is considered an outbound marketing tactic as it uses more display advertising to push its message onto customers, and affiliate marketers use it to drive sales.
The internet runs globally 24/7/365-366 days a year, and it is humanly impossible for any marketer to stay online all the time. Automation is the solution to completing multiple tasks and handling multiple customer accounts. For B2B marketers, 98% use Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programs to manage various customers, and 67% use other forms of automation. These include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), social media posting tools, automated payment services providers, content scheduling, booking, and calendar management tools.
If you are not sending emails, then why are we here? On average, email marketing yields a 4400% ROI—the highest ROI in both engagement, re-engagement and sales conversions. Add a video, optimize for mobile and kill it with the subject line, and what do you have to lose? Any B2B marketing agency that has the means to reach your target audience via email re-engage, clean your lists, and include geofencing mobile marketing and videos, is your go-to for email marketing.
One of the top SEO tactics used to generate results is optimizing mobile devices. Doing so makes strategies like local SEO more powerful and increases use among mobile users. Another way to do this is through Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Top B2B marketing agencies can utilize these messaging services via messaging apps like Whatsapp, with over 2 billion users to send advertising and marketing messages. Conversational marketing strategies using online live chat yield an 82% response rate.
Regardless of being a data-driven marketing agency or not, all forms of B2B digital marketing need to be backed by data. Therefore marketing research and the collection of data, much like SEO, content and email marketing, drives a lot of the marketing activity on the internet.
Collecting data is only half the job done. Data validation services and data enhancement should be a part of all top B2B marketing agencies’ services. Given the amount of data presented so far in this blog, you can see how it is used for content creation. Analytics plays a crucial role in choosing your buyer persona and marketing strategy. So, it should play the number one role when selecting your B2B marketing agency.
There are many more services than listed here that B2B digital marketing companies can offer. Not every B2B marketing agency will offer all of these services. Most of them include various marketing strategies that they will specialize in, like website building, branding or email marketing.
How to Choose Your B2B Marketing Agency?
You may think a Master’s degree in Marketing is one sure way to recognize an expert in B2B digital marketing. Wrong! Marketing is an ever-evolving field; newbies without a high school level education get better results than seasoned marketing agencies, all because they keep abreast of new methods, trends, and algorithm changes. The focus on B2B digital marketing as a course only started a few years ago, and B2B experts mainly arise from within specific industries, not in general.
One surefire way to know you are dealing with an expert is to check the analytics. Results don’t lie. Testimonies and even cases can be faked, but checking the dashboard of a current client will tell you everything you need to know about the tactics they used and how they grew the brand. Due to those algorithm changes, you can now tell who bought leads to grow their audience and who has genuine sales.
Aside from actual expertise, you need to check if this B2B marketing agency is an excellent fit with your brand and campaign goals. With that in mind, there are a few questions you should ask the prospective B2B marketing agency before you engage their services.
What are your strengths?
Find out their go-to marketing strategy and how well it worked for them in the past. Most marketing agencies niche their services to deliver more high-quality and specialized services. Since you seek B2B services, B2B marketing companies should be the first niche you check after choosing based on the specialty services they provide, such as B2B branding, B2B lead generation, or B2B digital marketing.
Will there be after-service support?
If your B2B marketing agency seems ready to end your relationship as soon as the campaign is done, that is a huge red flag. If they demand upfront costs, then leave after payment, that was a scam, and contact the relevant authorities. If they do offer services, what are the terms and conditions? Make sure you know any disclaimers, warranties, or special conditions upfront. Remember, the devil is in the details.
What were your past results?
Again you shouldn’t just demand analytical data you don’t understand. You look for how well they know the data and explain it in layman’s terms. When seeking investments, nobody wants technical terms, and neither should you. When they present their results, they should be easily seen, understandable and explained. Do not accept that ‘it’s too complicated to clarify if it is hard for them to explain their results to you. Then it’s probably hard for them to achieve.
How do you receive and manage data?
Whether you’ve collected data or not, data management should always be a priority, especially when dealing with an email marketing campaign and your customer data. If they supply an email or marketing lead list, tread very carefully. Only purchase lists from reputable sources who are GDPR compliant and can verify their sources.
Discuss timelines, goals, cost, results and overall budget.
This is the information in the contract between you and the B2B marketing agency, so pay attention and take notes. In the excitement of salesmanship, there is a tendency to over-promise and underdeliver. Top B2B marketing agencies always over-deliver on their promises. They will never promise you the moon but provide clear, realistic, achievable milestones. You, too, should be realistic with your budget, results and timeline. Remember, they are your expert in these matters, so pushing for unrealistic goals with a limited budget does no one favors.
Questions the agency can ask you:-
- Target Audience / Buyer Persona
- Brand Goals
- Campaign Goals
- Current Market Reach
- Who previously handled your marketing?
- A sample of your brand voice and style, e.g., existing content
- Who are your competitors
Top B2B marketing agencies will take the time to get to know you and your company. They won’t mind answering any questions you might have and naturally will have a few of their own. They will need to understand your drive and passion so that your target audience will not tell the difference between a professional agency and your current mission.
Sometimes this meeting can seem probing and personal, but the end goal is to create a better marketing strategy that will work seamlessly with your brand and campaign goals.
Choosing A B2B Marketing Agency that Works With Any Industry
Depending on the specialty of your B2B marketing agency, it will be versatile enough to work in any industry. For instance, a data-driven marketing agency like FrescoData with data validation services and email marketing at its core would be able to work in any niche for almost any campaign. With omnichannel marketing, geofencing mobile marketing, and programmatic display advertising as specialty services, there isn’t an advertising campaign we can’t handle.
Omnichannel marketing works best for B2B, especially when transitioning from a brick-and-mortar store. You can have clear, consistent goals for your B2B lead generation strategy backed by data and personalized across multiple channels in omnichannel marketing. In your omnichannel marketing lead generation strategy, you can include email marketing, geofencing mobile marketing, creative content and programmatic display advertising for social media and SEM.
We provide data validation services and buy opt-in email lists of critical decision-makers for better B2B lead generation for your email re-engagement campaign. Our creative content works well when paired with our display advertising services or your emails or mobile marketing campaigns.
Talk to FrescoData today, and Let’s strategize your next B2B lead generation strategy.