Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics

Link building is obviously one of the most important steps in your journey towards achieving that perfect SEO score.

Based on the kind of business that you are involved with and based on your target customer, it is true that your SEO measures, as well as your Link building techniques, are going to differ. The practice of link building and the art of creating a great link profile can immensely help your business meet its end goals. Again, this end goal is going to differ from business to business, whether it is a B2B business or a B2C business.

Over the surface, we all know that building links helps in building relationships. These relationships are an important pursuit for the growth of any kind of business. Regardless of the fact of you being a B2B business or a B2C business, strong links will always help you earn a referral, which will stabilize or increase the traffic to your website; hence, more leads and more sales. Lastly, when you take care of your link building activities seriously, either as a B2B business or a B2C business, you help promote your brand.

Now that we have briefly discussed the relevance of link building for B2B business as well as a B2C business, it is time to ponder over the next obvious question: What is the difference between B2B and B2C link building tactics? Or is there is a wide difference between the tactics followed for the two? Can tactics for the two be interchangeably used? We will know as we move ahead in this blog post. However, before we jump into the meat of the blog post, here is a brief explanation about B2B business and B2C business.

B2B business vs B2C business

Here is the major difference between the two modes of business operation:

B2B business

B2B business stands for business-to-business. Under this kind of business, the transactions are being done between two businesses, that is, the sale of products and services between two or more businesses.

B2C business

B2C stands for business-to-consumer that is when a business is dealing directly with end-consumers to sell its products or services.

Understanding this key difference is important because as we mentioned earlier, based on the kind of business and your target customer, your SEO measures, as well as your link building techniques, will differ. So, now let’s talk about the key differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics.

Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics

We all know that no business can thrive solely on the act of randomly asking other entities for backlinks. Based on their audience and the likes/dislikes of their respective audiences, these B2B and B2C businesses will have to pick up relevant tactics and trade them with relevant sites so that they can eventually create a very strong link profile.

So, let’s talk about the different approaches between the two.

B2B Link Building Tactics

  • Based on the audience, a B2B audience is mainly composed of vendors, board members, and stakeholders. Now, these members from the audience will browse through B2B websites. Setting up a blog is a compulsion for B2B websites because they serve as the point of high-value information/solution source. Choosing a website/domain name from sources such as namefresh.com helps these businesses get the right address for their business offerings. In a B2B business, the audience is mainly looking for other businesses to trade in intangible technology, software, and services.
  • Also, the lead count on B2B link campaigns will always drive a low volume over a definite period of time. This is mostly because of the fact that an average B2B transaction takes a lot of decision-making time. In that case, the completion of a transaction can take anywhere between 3-24 months. The long sales cycle has a huge effect on the link building tactics employed here.
  • Link building for B2B business is primarily about doing the solid groundwork for putting together educational prospects for the B2B audience. This means that more emphasis is put on relevant sites that will educate prospects about the product or service offering.
  • Link building in B2B business is comparatively more hard work. Hence, they are required to incorporate keywords from all levels of the buyer’s journey. Its primary motive is to reduce the time taken for decision making and complete the buyer’s cycle at the earliest.
  • Influencer outreach, Infographics, White papers, eBooks, and guest posting in industry publications is a major link building tactic for B2B businesses. Most of the other content that B2B companies want to push through link building is about the product pages and our solutions pages. ‘Partners’ is also a great real estate for link building for B2B companies.
  • Other popular B2B link building tactics include Wikipedia links, affiliate link building, forum posting, expert round-up articles, guest blogging, conference sponsorships, and HARO (Help a Reporter Out) among others.
  • Forum posting is a great way to build your links as a B2B business. This is also a great way to provide insights to your target audience. However, the true motive here should be to help your forum audience and not plug your own site every time because this is going to create issues. Forums like Quora and Reddit are a great place to expand your link profile. Becoming a helpful contributor will help you scale your link profile to a great extent.
  • LinkedIn, as a social platform, is the largest network of professionals on a single social media platform. B2B companies can effectively use it as a medium to target their audience and deliver relevant, informative content apart from link building.

B2C link building tactics

B2C link building is for the purpose of garnering everybody’s attention. This link building activity is done for the audience which is active on multiple social media channels. This audience has a lot of content to consume and as a result of this super tough competition among B2C marketers, garnering all the attention for the brand is the primary purpose.

In a B2C company, to be actually able to leverage the content on your website through a strategic yet personalized link building campaign is all the deal. The overall aim is to drive backlinks and increase rankings as the main goal. Since there is so much content to give out and so many resources to exchange links with, B2C links tend to grow at a faster rate.

  • For B2C, the best link building tactic is to optimize links for all the primary social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As a platform, Facebook holds a more significant value to B2C companies. B2C companies have been using Facebook to move the focus of the target customers on the company culture in order to represent your company’s brand and image.
  • Link building strategy for B2C often tends to have a click-bait approach. Again, this is because of the unending competition and the duration of transactions that happen within minutes. Hence, there is no time to lose.
  • Most successful link building strategy in B2C business is through brand affiliation which happens to be a huge part of successful link building. The brand affiliation tactic has come across as the ultimate conversion strategy. Brand affiliation > Link building > Strong SEO > Lead formation > Conversion > Sale > Brand loyalty
  • In a B2C setup, product reviews work like a charm and can help a business garner a lot of authentic backlinks from sources that either put up genuine product reviews or paid ones. In this process, the name of the brand gets validated as well.
  • Guest blogging can be a savior when you are looking to accomplish link building as a B2C business. Strategic guest blogging can work wonders for your business as blogs generate an average of 97% more inbound links and 55% more site visitors. Imagine the number of links that you can build with strategic guest blogging when done the right way.

Endnote

To be honest, there are a lot more B2B and B2C Link Building tactics that are widely used by marketers from around the world. However, in this blog post, our approach was to help you figure out the core idea behind the reason as to why there is a difference between B2B and B2C link building tactics and strategies. Also, the ones mentioned above are permissible by Google Algo and they won’t end up getting your website penalized. By this point in the article, we hope that you have managed to grasp the differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics and strategies.

If you would like to provide us feedback on the context, please drop a comment below.

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LinkedIn retargeting strategies: B2B advertising for the win

We all know the importance of retargeting users who have visited your website but haven’t converted. If yours is a lead generation business that has a longer sales cycle, you know it is even more important to interact with prospects after you receive the initial lead. This can help you optimize to the bottom of the funnel and push users to convert.

Because of its professional, content-heavy focus, LinkedIn gives B2B advertisers some unique capabilities to interact with users who are still in the funnel but have not converted. In this post, I’ll walk you through how to push users closer to purchase with LinkedIn retargeting strategies.

Early-stage retargeting

LinkedIn’s lead generation forms, which capture a user’s information with pre-filled fields, are a great way to interact with past site visitors. This information can be automatically populated into Salesforce or other CRM platforms. We have also found that lead generation forms on LinkedIn lead to a stronger CPL and CVR than lead forms on the site or other on-site actions.

Lead generation forms can be used with “Sponsored InMail” and “Sponsored Content” ad formats.

  1. Sponsored Content: This is the ad format with which we’ve had the most B2B retargeting success, shows up natively in a user’s feed and can feature a video, static image, or carousel format.
  2. Sponsored InMail: This is a direct message to users and appears in messaging.

1. Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn retargeting strategies inmail

 

2. Sponsored Content

LinkedIn retargeting strategies sponsored content

 

Email addresses allow advertisers to constantly show the value of the product or service that you are trying to push, so give users a good reason to hand you that information. Showcasing free demos or providing genuinely helpful content in the form of briefs or whitepapers will get you deeper into the customer’s purchase process.

Mid-Funnel retargeting

Nurturing leads is extremely important for businesses with longer sales cycles, which is why mid-funnel retargeting is so valuable. It allows you to reappear before your users with relevant content that informs them about your value propositions and the benefits of working with your business. These are users you have already interacted with, so email capture is not important. It is more valuable to showcase testimonials from current clients, non-gated whitepapers, blogs, infographics, videos, and more.

Depending on the size of your CRM lists, you can break out your targeting into different lists and push different content at various stages of the funnel. For example, create different segments for high-value leads who are close to converting, leads who might have gone cold, and leads that have just started speaking with the sales team.

Good content strategies are essential when working with longer sales cycles. There will be a lot of value in testing a variety of content at different stages in the funnel, someone who just watched a product demo will consume different content than someone who downloaded a whitepaper. Whatever content you’re serving, I’d recommend testing “Sponsored Content” as your ad format because of its native appearance in a user’s feed.

Important note

LinkedIn is expensive, and isolating LinkedIn metrics won’t get you the whole performance picture. Make sure you’re pulling the data from your CRM to see how your LinkedIn-nurtured leads are progressing throughout the funnel.

Conclusion

LinkedIn lends itself well to content consumption, which is a valuable step in the B2B sales process. Make sure you’re offering something of value and aligning your content with the right stages in the buyer’s journey. Get a variety of creative and messaging options ready, and prepare to offset high CPCs by measuring user progress in your CRM. There’s no magic pill to successful retargeting on LinkedIn, but when used strategically, it can be an efficient lever in moving users through your funnel.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

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Interview with Tony Uphoff: Digital Marketing for B2B Manufacturing Industry

Most of my clients are from B2B industrial manufacturing. I have many challenges with this industry because my clients’ products and services are very specific, niche websites.

I have developed new B2B SEO and PPC strategies in my everyday hands-on experience by managing multiple projects. In addition, there is another challenge that the industry is facing, the adaption to digital transformation.

Tony Uphoff interview on B2B SEOI decided to talk about B2B with Tony Uphoff, the CEO of Thomas. Thomas is a leading resource for product sourcing and supplier selection. Tony is the video host of the popular, “Thomas Index Report” on industrial sourcing trends, and he is a regular Forbes.com contributor who writes about the industrial marketplace.

I was curious to know what Tony thinks about the challenges that B2B manufacturing companies are facing when adapting to digital transformation and data-driven culture. I know that my fellow B2B marketers who are dealing with the same challenges will find a lot of value for themselves as well as B2B manufacturer business owners. We also spoke about SEO, KPIs, and lead generation in B2B. Here is my interview with Tony.

Karina: How do manufacturing and B2B advertising differ from wholesale and B2C advertising?

Tony: There are some key differences, but also some similarities that many people overlook. One difference is that B2B purchasing often involves a longer sales cycle. Buying a piece of capital equipment or choosing a new supplier is not something to be taken lightly. A lot of research and vetting goes into the process as there is a material risk for the buyer, both, personally and professionally.

Another key difference is that B2B buyers aren’t typically completing a one-off purchase. They’re looking to find a supplier they can partner with for the long-term. As for the similarities, a B2B purchase is more personal for the buyer than many people understand. While B2C purchases are often very personal, consumers identify with certain brands that they want to be associated with. But with B2B, purchases are often personal similarly because the buyer that makes the decision on the purchase has a lot on the line.

Karina: Manufacturers have long relied on trade shows and other physical events for marketing and sales. Do you see this trend changing?

Tony: Yes. Many businesses understand that the digital transformation of industrial marketing and sales is here to stay, and they’re trending away from traditional methods such as trade shows and word-of-mouth exposure. There are still several well-attended mega-trade shows, as well as smaller ones, hosted every year, but we’re seeing that those types of events are typically taking up a smaller percentage of the marketing and sales budgets of the customers we work with.

Karina: Are U.S. manufacturers finding a greater need to make their marketing more data-driven?

Tony: Yes, because the buyer is in control of the sales process in today’s industrial world. Today’s buyers have unprecedented levels of information at their fingertips. Buyers are as much as 70 percent of the way through their buying process before they engage with a sales rep. This is a massive shift in the way businesses need to reach, engage and sell to industrial buyers thanks to the digital transformation of marketing and sales. Companies that still rely on old-school marketing tactics to try to drive growth and retain customers are going to find it increasingly difficult to stay relevant in today’s market.

Karina: How long do you think will it take for B2B to fully adapt to data-driven, analytics, and digital marketing?

Tony: The industry is still in the early stages of the digital transformation of marketing and sales. While we’re seeing a good number of businesses that are aggressively and enthusiastically embracing the transformation, we are also seeing a significant number of businesses that have yet to make a real commitment to a digital strategy. It may be a generational challenge as these incredibly successful industrial and manufacturing businesses were built and grown by Baby Boomers whose expertise is in engineering, product design, and manufacturing. Nearly half of the users of Thomasnet.com are millennial buyers who are helping to accelerate the digital transformation.

Karina: The industrial manufacturer’s market is very niche and faces big challenges in content marketing due to specialization and sometimes very low search volume results. How can content marketers take advantage of this?

Tony: For our customers with niche markets, the niche works to their advantage simply because it’s in the lower competition of their industry. From an SEO perspective, this makes it easier for them to stand out on result pages. There are a huge number of categories in manufacturing that are not at all niche. However, there’s massive competition in areas such as “CNC machining” and “metal stamping”. Whether in a highly competitive category or a niche category, we’ve learned from our customers that the pillar page strategy works well for overarching terms. Then we drive users to niche terms.

Karina: What is the right approach for digital marketers to run successful digital campaigns for the B2B Industrial manufacturer sector?

Tony: Getting their website in order is the foundation for everything else. Is it responsive? Is it secure? Is it easy to use, comprehensive, and informative? It’s also important to implement a program that reaches buyers at every phase of the industrial buying process. Understand that building brand awareness is often just as important as generating leads. In terms of strategy, it’s easy to get caught up in all the tactics and solutions, but while the vehicle is important, the most important thing industrial marketers need to keep in mind is that whatever they’re putting out there. It needs to resonate with a specific persona that has a specific job to do. Marketing and advertising content should be focused on helping your ideal customer(s) solve problems and accomplish important tasks, specific to where that buyer may be in their buying journey.

Karina: What does the future of publishing look like?

Tony: While it’s obvious that much of the publishing world is moving to digital platforms — if they haven’t already — a more relevant question is “What does the future of advertising look like?”. For years advertisers have relied on display networks, buying data on users and employing programmatic advertising. Not only has this proved to be quite costly and relatively ineffective, but privacy laws such as GDPR are making this approach obsolete. The trend today has publishers moving away from those broad ad-serving networks to the “walled garden” approach. A “walled garden” approach is one in which they’re creating their own ad networks and selling advertising directly on their online assets. Interestingly, this approach mirrors the ad sales approach that publishers in the print world have used for over a century.

Karina: What KPIs should B2B businesses focus on in marketing?

Tony: Obviously, lead generation in the form of marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads are a key KPI for digital marketing. But as I mentioned earlier, it’s important to build brand awareness as well. The reason is simple – when your sales team calls a lead that has never heard of your company, just getting that lead to continue the conversation is a challenge. When the lead is aware of your brand before the salesperson calls, that person is more likely to be receptive to the call. Other important KPIs are the cost of acquisition and average order value – and internally, businesses should also focus on RFI/RFQ response time. We’ve surveyed tens of thousands of industrial buyers, and invariably one of their pet peeves is the lack of responsiveness from suppliers to which they’ve requested information. Today, all the great marketing in the world will have little value if you aren’t following up on incoming RFIs and RFQs within a day – and preferably the same day you receive them.

Karina: How is Thomasnet.com using data and analytics to add services that bring new elements of value to their advertisers?

Tony: The first-party data generated by users on Thomasnet.com®, as well as data that is captured by buyers interacting with customer product information generated by our Thomas Product Data Solutions and our Thomas Marketing Services, gives us incredible insights into in-market buyers of products and services. We’re approaching three petabytes of buyer behavior data that helps us understand what buyers are interested in, how their purchase process works and when, where and how they’re engaging with content as a part of their buying journey.

Using our free Thomas Webtrax™ platform, our customers (as well as other qualifying industrial companies) can see and use that data to turn anonymous web traffic into leads, and create more targeted, meaningful messaging when targeting those leads. We’re also introducing a weekly data feed that businesses can use to determine exactly which buyers are actively in-market within a certain segment or vertical of industry. Our Thomas marketing services team also leverages the buying and sourcing trends from our data to help their customers enhance their organic and paid marketing.

Key takeaways from the interview

  • Clarify the differences and similarities between B2B and B2C
  • Discuss the reasons why B2B is trending away from traditional to digital marketing
  • Understand how B2B marketing is adapting to digital transformation
  • The importance of B2B manufacturers companies to adapt to a data-driven culture
  • The challenges of content marketing in niche B2B businesses
  • The steps to run successful digital marketing campaigns for B2B businesses
  • The KPIs that B2B businesses should focus on

I had a great conversation with Tony where I understood better the transformation of the B2B manufacturer industry. The industry has evolved from hard copy directories like yellow pages to an entirely data-driven culture (happening now). This is a huge opportunity for marketers to generate leads. Then, it is key to fully understand and overcome the challenges.

Note: This interview has been condensed for publishing purposes.

Karina Tama is a contributor for Forbes, Thrive Global and the El Distrito Newspaper. She can be found on Twitter @KarinaTama2.

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