There are an increasing number of small businesses that are focusing in on B2B or business to business sales. These are actually a very different type of sale than business to consumer or B2C sales. Capitalizing on this difference is just one of the marketing tips for small businesses in this very lucrative market.
No matter what you may be marketing from consulting services to IT services, B2B sales require more of a structured approach that includes having a great product presentation, a top marketing strategy, and an ability to connect with buyers and close the deal.
LinkedIn, as a business professional’s social media network, offers a lot of opportunities for small B2B businesses. It literally can put a small sole proprietorship, startup or entrepreneurial business in the same market with larger national or even international service providers or product suppliers.
To tap into the possibilities offered through LinkedIn, here are some site specific marketing tips for small businesses that can help you to network, connect and sell directly to companies.
Your Profile Matters
It is important to realize that LinkedIn is not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media site. It is really directly related to professionals, companies, employees and employers having a way to connect and interact.
As such, one of the big marketing tips for small businesses getting into selling through LinkedIn is to create a profile that is professional. It shouldn’t just be a dry resume, but it should include your accomplishments and your experience.
Avoid cute pictures, pictures of your pets, or pictures that aren’t appropriate for professional interactions as this can send the wrong message. Also, make sure your profile is completed in full to make it easy for people searching for your talents, skills, products or services to find you.
Have a Company Page
It is simple to set up a company page on LinkedIn, and all of the profile pages for your staff should link back to the company page. On this page choose keywords carefully and create unique, interesting and informative descriptions to highlight what your business offers.
Be sure to include your branding materials and links to your website. This will be an excellent source of traffic once you start to network and connect when it is set up to link back to your full business website.
Specific LinkedIn Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Here are some very specific issues to consider when using LinkedIn as a B2B source of leads. By following these marketing tips, you will find that you make connections, get referrals and quickly build up a network of potential customers that are your target audience based on your online interactions.
- Join relevant groups – groups are a great way to allow people to pre-select their areas of interest and expertise. Getting involved in groups allows you to share information, join in discussions and generate interest around how you are able to help others in the group as a resource.
- Have conversations – getting involved in the actual discussion in the groups is another important part of this social media site. Just liking comments or posting a link to your latest blog isn’t going to help, but actually having discussions and sharing ideas will be very helpful to your online reputation and your ability to be recognized as a resource.
- Mentioned LinkedIn connections – with the ability to network online, you will never have to make a true “cold call” again. In fact, you can mention a comment or an article posted by the very individual you are trying to connect with for a sale. Being able to make that connection is one of the most important marketing tips for small businesses as it allows the individual you are calling to also associated you and your expertise with the person on the other end of the line.
- Start a group – once you are comfortable with the site and have a few connections, you may want to start your own group. This is a great way to have a steady stream of new connects and prospective B2B customers, and you can invite people to join to create a more robust group that is constantly expanding.
LinkedIn is not always intuitive to use, but it is not difficult to learn and to utilize as a top marketing tool for a small B2B business.