Anyone who plans to sell goods or services to businesses and markets online must understand the difference between business to business (B2B) internet marketing and selling directly to a consumer.

While some of the basic principles of marketing are the same, there are some differences that if not taken into account can sabotage your marketing efforts. The good news is that, in some ways, selling to businesses is easier than selling to consumers, and very often the profits to be made are much greater, especially in the beginning.

How Digital Marketing for B2B is Different

One of the biggest differences between B2B internet marketing and marketing to consumers (also called B2C marketing) is that you’re no longer trying to sell to a single person. At first, that sounds pretty obvious, but business purchasing isn’t just a group of people looking at your product or service at the same time and then making a decision. The question of whether to buy or not goes from one person to another, sometimes in a very long chain of command, and can take a lot of time (and convincing).

Sometimes you are dealing with committee approvals, or there may be issues involving something be approved by a businesses internal legal department. The same is true when you are dealing with government organizations too. Everything in the buying process just takes a little longer for a variety of legitimate reasons.

Understand that when you’re selling something to a consumer, you’re dealing with one set of eyes and one person to convince. An important key in marketing to consumers is repetition, as most people just won’t buy the first time after only one visit. However, once your items have been put in front of them multiple times in an appealing way, they’re more likely to make a buying decision. With B2B internet marketing the same principle applies, but this favorable impression must last down a long line of people who must make the decision. Getting the item or service in front of them many times is crucial with businesses, too.

Email marketing is one great way of keeping your products or services in front of them, but when digital marketing B2B with emails you have to be even more careful than when marketing to consumers. Many people who receive an email, particularly one they’ve agreed to receive, are going to be more concerned with the product or service offered, the discount, and what the item can actually do for them in terms of the benefit than how professional and well-done the email is. This is less likely with a business.

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Because the business may have its own marketing strategies for B2B, they’re going to expect a certain level of professionalism in any emails or correspondence you send them. Typos, strange line breaks, broken images, and anything else that screams “amateur” or “careless” is likely to ensure that your message goes no farther down the line—the kiss of death for anything you’re trying to sell them. Take extra care with your email marketing plan. Don’t just make them correct and tidy, make them very helpful, engaging and attractive. Your emails and correspondence need to look as good as anything coming from that company if you really want to impress them.

If you sell to businesses, you already know your target market very well. Be sure that all of your B2B marketing strategies are professional and focus not on you, but how you can fill their companies’ needs, and you’ll get your products noticed far more often with the B2B market.

Remember that the endurance factor needs to be there, especially for very large jobs. I remember one time on winning an SEO training contract where we were working together with a company who wanted us to conduct a private in-house corporate workshop for their staff, but the catch was they wanted to apply for a government grant to help pay for the event.

This required us to answer a few questions and complete some correspondence. We were told that it would take some time for the government grant to be approved and processed.

In this case, some organizations would have probably given up along the way, since the grant was finally approved after 2 full years. It had taken so long, that the person we originally corresponded with to process the application had left the organization and had been replaced by a new contact.

Was it really worth a 2 year wait? You better believe it was worth it. We ended up being flown down to a major university which was equipped with a high tech computer lab. It was a great workshop and the students were given our complete hands-on SEO Mastery Workshop and the government grant paid for the company’s tuition, the training facility, and for our travel and our accommodation expenses.

The event was one of our most memorable events and very much worth our while. The whole class was trained in SEO and mentored so that they gained the most important skills in a minimum amount of time. By the time we finished teaching, they were able to maximize their natural organic search visibility and they reduced their Pay Per Click budget by nearly $12,000.00 per month but without losing any visibility for their entire product line.

The moral of the story in these B2B type contracts: Fortify your endurance and never ever give up. Realize that while B2B marketing can take time, it will usually pay off in some very big ways for those who refuse to give up and can stand the test of time.

Find a hands-on SEO Training Workshop located closest to you here.