Small business marketing strategies for B2B efforts

A lot of marketing advice these days focuses on ways that companies can connect to customers. Demographic research, social media campaigns and unique advertising strategies seem to be the most popular forms of marketing suggestions offered, but they leave out a key group of companies for whom this advice does little to help – organizations that cater to other businesses.

The tactics that involve reaching out to other businesses are quite different from those that seek to reach out to consumers. In addition to the fact that business-to-business sales usually have much larger shipment sizes than those to individuals, there is also the question of where to reach other companies. It won't always do to advertise the way one would with consumers to company managers and business owners who take off their commercial hats when they leave the office.

However, there are some interesting ways that modern marketing and the internet can help with B2B outreach. Small business owners whose customer base is composed of other commercial organizations should consider the following options.

Alternative social networking
While it's true that many companies that use Facebook or Twitter will be focused on customers rather than businesses, it is also the case that LinkedIn is rapidly becoming the B2B social media tool of choice. People join that service intending to network with other businesspeople, so there's no expectation of real social engagement. Rather, all interactions are seen as motivated by work and money. Creating a LinkedIn profile instantly allows managers to connect with clients, who will probably be in the same network as other members of the same industry. Collecting that contact information is a great way to expand a potential customer base.

Business gifts
Promotional products are actually quite effective for business-to-business awareness campaigns, since items such as promotional pens and logo USB drives are as useful at the office as they are in homes. However, items that are custom-made for the commercial world are business gifts. Luxury pens, leather executive portfolios and other high-quality products are the perfect way to begin a networking session or to show future clients how well a firm takes care of its existing contacts.

Professional publications
Finding a target audience is as simple as determining what they read. Many business journals, corporate periodicals and other professional publications give the opportunity to offer products and services to those executives and managers who may be looking for them in the first place. Additionally, these magazines and journals give a glimpse into the mindset of a company's core group of consumers.  

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