A visual of the marketing funnel, with awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty stages
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A Beginner’s Guide to Business Marketing

What Is Business Marketing? 

Business marketing involves promotional activities designed to engage, attract, and retain customers.

Not every business marketing tactic is hyper focused on sales. You use different approaches to guide people through the marketing funnel—from awareness to purchase. And then, address how to keep customers buying.

How?

By building brand visibility, establishing trust, and positioning your products or services as the best solutions to customer needs.

A visual of the marketing funnel, with awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty stages

B2C vs. B2B Marketing

There are two types of business marketing: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C).

Both focus on engaging consumers and promoting products or services. But differ in their target audiences.

B2B brands target different businesses. While B2C brands sell to individual consumers.

For example, Slack is a B2B brand. While beauty company Glossier is B2C.

B2B and B2C marketing are pretty similar in their tactics (e.g., content marketing, social media, paid ads, etc.). But differences in those target audiences and their needs impact their overall marketing strategies:

Audiences

B2B brands sell to business teams. Which have multiple people on them who have to factor in different needs across the company. And account for things like efficiency and return on investment (ROI).

B2C marketing, on the other hand, can focus more on meeting the emotional and unique needs of individuals—ones who can make faster buying decisions on their own.

Relationship Lengths

B2B often involves longer sales cycles and deeper, ongoing relationships. While B2C transactions are often more singular and based on immediate needs.

Content Focuses

B2B marketing content tends to be more detailed, technical, and focused on demonstrating the ROI of the product or service. Like this Salesforce blog post that outlines the benefits of a new feature. And walks developers through its installation.

Salesforce blog post on ApexGuru

B2C marketing messaging is usually simpler. And focuses on immediate benefits and connecting with consumers on an emotional level.

Take the Wearing Warby series from Warby Parker, which helps prospective customers get to know different customers who wear the brand’s glasses.

Wearing Warby series from Warby Parker

Sales Volumes and Costs

B2B transactions usually involve larger volumes and higher costs compared to B2C transactions. Which are typically smaller in scale.

Outbound vs. Inbound Business Marketing

Use both outbound and inbound business marketing to attract customers at different points in their sales journey. Helping you nurture more customer relationships and drive revenue.

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Outbound vs. Inbound Business Marketing

Outbound marketing primarily focuses on driving sales through explicit product or service promotion. Usually through paid ads or widespread email campaigns. 

Like this Halloween Pepsi ad that took a playful dig at its main competition:

Halloween Pepsi ad

Image Source: Buzz in a Box

It can quickly reach a lot of prospects. And gives you control over who your promotional content lands in front of.

On the other hand, inbound marketing takes a “softer,” less sales-centric approach. Its goal is to naturally attract new customers (and keep existing ones happy) through valuable, relevant content. Like SEO articles or social media posts.

For example, this Gymshark blog post on protective gym hairstyles. While it mentions relevant Gymshark products, they’re not the main focus. Helpful tips are.

Gymshark's blog post on protective gym hairstyles.

How to Market Your Business: Foundational Best Practices

Don’t just choose random business marketing tactics and hope for the best. Before you start, do your homework to create a clear, actionable strategy. One that connects with the right people and lets you get the most out of your hard work and resources.

Set yourself up for success with these tips:

1. Conduct Market Research 

Analyzing your market shows you:

  • The size and growth rate of your market 
  • Who your main competitors are 
  • The market share of major players 
  • Audience demographics 
  • How your target audience behaves
  • Popular marketing acquisition channels
  • Your market’s geographic distribution

These insights help you strategically focus your business marketing approach to reach the most relevant potential customers. And stand out from the competition across channels.

Use Market Explorer to quickly research key market data points.

There are three options to choose from to:

  • Create List: Get data based on entering 100 of your own chosen competitors
  • Find Competitors: Get data based on entering your website and automatically generating a competitor list
  • Analyze Category: Get data based on selecting your industry
Semrush's Market Explorer tool

For business marketing beginners, we recommend starting with Find Competitors.

Choose your location and enter your domain name. 

Then, click “Research a market.”

"Find Competitors" worldwide options selected in Market Explorer tool

You’ll see a summary report that gives a market overview. Including:

  • Market Consolidation: A scale measuring whether there’s a lot of brands who “own” the market
  • Key Players: Who “owns” the market
  • Marketing Domains: How many brands were identified as competitors
  • Market Traffic: Total traffic of all marketing domains over a certain time period
  • Market Traffic Cost: The total estimated costs across domains to rank for organic keywords over a certain time period
  • Market Size: Total market demand
Market Summary dashboard in Market Explorer tool

To dig deeper, click on the “Audience” tab. This report offers insights into audience demographics, socioeconomic data, and online behavior. Including which websites people are visiting.

Market Audience Summary dashboard in Market Explorer tool

Scroll down to see each category’s report.

As an example, here’s Demographics:

Audience's demographics section in Market Explorer tool

After you’re done, head to the “Benchmarking” tab to see different trends in competitor traffic, including where they focus their traffic generation efforts. 

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And look at the “Social Media Distribution Strategy” chart to understand which platforms are used the most.

“Social Media Distribution Strategy” chart under "Benchmarking" tab in Market Explorer tool

2. Set Clear Goals 

Before you figure out how you want to market your business, you need to set clear goals.

Why?

So you’ll be able to:

  • Pick channels that best support those aims
  • Measure whether your efforts are working
  • Understand when you need to make changes to your marketing plan

Use the SMART framework to create focused goals—ones that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

SMART Marketing Objectives Framework

Say you want to boost web traffic. A SMART version of that goal would be:

“Our goal is to increase web traffic by X% by Y date. This will help us grow our brand visibility.” 

Further reading: Marketing Strategy 101: A 7-Step Plan for Beginners

3. Use the 4 P’s of Marketing as a Roadmap

Also known as the marketing mix, the 4’Ps of Marketing emphasize four key areas that impact your overall business marketing strategy:

  • Product: What you’ll be selling and to who
  • Price: How much you’ll sell your product or service for
  • Place: Where you’ll sell
  • Promotion: Where and how you’ll market your product or service

You should be able to clearly define each “P” for your business. And, more importantly, be able to explain the “whys” behind those responses.

Let’s say you’re selling organic skincare products. For “Product,” you wouldn’t just list “body lotions and face creams.” You’d want to also outline why you use certain ingredients and what benefits they offer customers.

Your responses help you establish a clear value proposition that shows what your brand brings to the table. And decide on the best ways to convey that value to attract customers and drive sales.

The 4 P's of Marketing

4. Use Topic Research to Guide Your Content Ideas

Content brainstorming is key for developing business marketing content and messages that resonate with your target audience.

It needs to be grounded in what potential customers truly need and want—not just what you think they need or want. Otherwise, you risk spending time and money on marketing that falls flat.

Enter Topic Research. This tool shows you trending topics and subtopics related to your industry. Which helps you see what potential customers are interested in. 

Use these ideas to shape your business marketing. And tackle customer pain points that competitors’ haven’t addressed as much.

Type in a starting topic. Then, pick your country from the drop-down menu and click “Get content ideas.”

"interior design" entered into the Topic Research tool

You’ll see connected topics pop up on cards, each showing popular headlines. Use the “Prioritize topics” drop-down to sort them by volume, ranking difficulty, or topic efficiency. 

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Or click the “Trending subtopics first” toggle button to see what topics currently have the most interest.

"Trending subtopics first" toggle in Topic Research tool

Click the “Show more” button to see additional information, including related searches, questions, and sub-topics.

Headlines, questions and related searches shown for "interior design app" in Topic Research tool

If you’d like to see the information presented differently, you can also choose one of the “Explorer,” “Overview,” or “Mind Map” options. 

For instance, this is what Mind Map looks like:

A Mind Map for "interior design" in Topic Research tool

Once you’ve got your ideas together, check out our copywriting guide and content writing guide for tips on creating high-quality short- and long-form content.

5. Include Relevant Keywords in Digital Content

Optimizing your digital marketing content with strategic keywords, or search terms, is important for business marketing.

Why?

Because when you naturally incorporate them, your content has a better chance of being listed on related Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Which gets your brand name in front of more people.

And the higher you rank, the more likely it is that potential customers will click through to your page. As noted in a Backlinko study, the average click-through-rate (CTR) for the top search result on Google was 10 times greater than the CTR for the 10th spot.

Start by thinking of what people might search when looking for a business like yours. Say you own a dog training and daycare business. Potential phrases could include:

  • Dog trainer near me
  • Dog training
  • Doggy daycare
  • Petsitting service 
  • How to choose a dog trainer
  • How to train your dog
  • Affordable dog sitting

Once you have your list of starting, or seed, keywords, use Keyword Overview to analyze those terms. And discover more related keywords.

Copy and paste or type them into the Keyword Overview search bar. Then, select your country and city from the drop-down menu. Click “Search.”

Keyword Overview search bar

You’ll see a Bulk Keyword Analysis report. Focus on each one’s:

  • Intent: The reason why someone is searching for that keyword (Navigational, Informational, Commercial, Transactional)
  • Volume: How many monthly searches that keyword receives
  • KD% (Keyword Difficulty): How easy or difficult it is to rank for that keyword
"Intent" "Volume" and "KD%" metrics in Keyword Overview tool

Look for keywords with a low to medium difficulty that have at least 100 monthly searches. This will help you focus on keywords with realistic ranking potential and decent traffic.

If you want to explore a keyword in more detail, simply click on it to open the Overview report.

Keyword Overview report for "dog training near me"

Scroll down to see variations of the keyword, related questions, and keyword clusters (related groups of keywords).

Keyword variations, questions, and keyword clusters section in Keyword Overview tool

As you scale your business marketing efforts, you’ll also want to scale your tech toolkit to support your changing needs.

With over 55 tools, Semrush’s user-friendly platform gives you flexible options that make it easy to market your business—whether you’re B2B or B2C.

Get started today with a free account. 

منبع: https://www.semrush.com/blog/business-marketing/