While using paid advertisements (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads..) is great for driving growth for your startup, unfortunately, comes along with one big problem. Once you stop paying for ads your growth will immediately stop (no new sign-ups or demos).
The advantage of organic (non-paid) marketing channels is that you do not rely on marketing spending.
Why test different marketing strategies?
For every (early-stage) startup it’s important to start testing and experimenting with new traction channels and hopefully find new sources of customers. You have to spend your energy and resources only on the marketing channels that impact traction for your business (and stop the ones that don‘t) and those will vary for every startup.
But how do you find the right marketing channels and balance your resources and budget?
The answer is to test new strategies and channels fast and only with a small amount of money or time. The goal is to quickly find out if those channels could return good results for your business. Based on that test either invest more in those channels or move on. Make sure you are tracking the results of each of those tests.
12 B2B Marketing strategies
Take the time to think about creative ways how you could test the following 12 B2B growth marketing strategies for your business.
Inbound marketing means that potential customers get in touch with you. They either sign up for your free trial or book a demo with your sales team (depending on your business).
#1 Content on LinkedIn
If you’re building a b2b product you should definitely consider posting content on LinkedIn. Sharing relevant information for your target audience on LinkedIn helps you to:
build authority and trust
be seen as an industry expert
increase brand awareness
engage with your ideal customers
drive demand for your product
#2 Content on Twitter
Similar to LinkedIn, Twitter can work really well to drive demand for your product. Don’t spam your followers, be selective on the content you share, and always aim for high-value content. If your published content is valuable for your potential customers, they are more willing to click your CTA, get in touch with you, try your product, and even share your content with others.
#3 Start a Podcast
Starting your own podcast takes a bit more effort. But if you know how to do it, it really helps you to build a high level of authority (and differentiate yourself from potential competitors). A great way for startups to launch a podcast is by inviting customers and industry experts as podcast guests. In the podcast, don’t be too sales-driven and only talk about your product. Instead, talk about big topics, challenges, or problems of your customers. The content needs to be highly valuable for them.
Tip: Ask your podcast guests to share the podcast also with their audience (cross-promotion).
#4 Youtube Channel
Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world (after Google). Youtube is mostly used for search queries around things you don’t know (e.g. How to build a website, How to get more inbounds…). That’s a great opportunity for you to start a channel and create content that educates/helps your ideal customers with their problems/challenges/questions.
#5 SEO (Blog Posts)
Compared to the other inbound marketing channels SEO takes way longer to show results (mostly 12 to 18 months). But in the long run, SEO can be really beneficial for your marketing growth (e.g. ranking on search page one on Google for relevant keywords).
I would suggest you write valuable blog posts on your website (for SEO reasons) and repurpose the content for the other inbound marketing channels like LinkedIn and Twitter. Vice versa can also work, e.g. repurpose your Youtube and podcast content for your blog articles. Check out Hubspot’s article on Repurposing Content.
#6 Find your niche on Product Hunt, Reddit & Indiehackers
Think about platforms and existing communities where your ideal target customer already hangs out. Especially if you target prosumer and SMB businesses, building a community (or sharing relevant content) on Product Hunt, Reddit or Indiehackers can work quite well.
Start early with building a community and sharing relevant content. I see more and more startups building a community first, and then building the product for this specific community.
#7 Referral Program
A referral program is super powerful. Here are some relevant tips for a successful referral program:
target only happy customers (e.g. track your customers NPS score)
timing: ask your customers for referrals only at the right time (not straight after the signup, give them some time to experience your product and become a happy customer). Think about triggers in your customer journey where customers are happy with your product and willing to refer your product.
use a two-sided referral program and incentivize both parties (the referrer and referred) - check out some referral program examples
Compared to Inbound marketing, Outbound marketing means that you’re outreaching to your potential customer. It can be highly efficient for b2b companies. The higher your ACL (average contract value) the more important it is.
#8 Cold Email (personalize)
Yes, cold emails still work. Make sure that you personalize your email and don’t spam your prospects. There are great tools that help you to write personalized cold emails and even automate the process later on (Email marketing automation). If you don’t have the email addresses of your potential customers, think about purchasing emails, hire a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork to scrap leads for you, or use lead scraper tools like Phantombuster.
#9 Sales letter (in envelopes) for large deal sizes
If you are selling products with a high ACL, sending personalized letters can work. The advantages of physical old school letters are:
most companies don’t use them (so you are special)
they have an almost 100% open rate
you can be creative and design nice envelopes
#10 Cold Calling
Similar to cold email, cold calling still works. Especially if it’s hard for you to target your ideal customer online, phone calls can be a very powerful strategy.
As for most strategies, make sure you have a great sales pitch in place. This means, engage with your customer, asking questions, talking about pain points, and presenting values (and not features). It makes sense to do some training for cold calling.
Marketplaces & Partnerships
Another great way to grow your startup is to leverage existing large marketplaces, where your ideal customers already are. Think about other marketplaces for your specific industry.
#11 Marketplaces like Chrome Extensions, Salesforce Appexchange, Hubspot Ecosystem, Shopify Appstore, or Zoom Marketplace
If you’re building a digital tool or SaaS product, the chances are high that integrations and APIs to other market-dominant players can help you with your own growth. Even if your core product would not require integrations to Salesforce, Hubspot, Shopify, or Zoom, or an extension for Google Chrome, it still could make sense to build it (or create a simple chrome extension), leverage the power of their marketplaces to generate sign ups, and later upsell your core product.
Maybe there is another dominant marketplace in your industry? How can you leverage them for your own growth?
#12 Partnership & Co-marketing
Find a potential partner who is targeting the same ideal customer (just with another product). You can do co-promotions and help each other to grow. E.g. if you’re selling email marketing software for digital freelancers, partner up with a company that sells accounting software for digital freelancers or job platforms for freelancers. You can co-promote each other in newsletters, run a co-hosted webinar, or be guest speakers in each other’s podcasts.
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