B2B brands face special challenges when trying to reach their clients because they are businesses also and know all the “tricks of the trade” for trying to increase sales and leads. Selling to a business is like trying to tell a joke to a comedian, or show a magician how to do a trick, or sing Happy Birthday to a pop star. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you aren’t going to make the impact you want.

However, selling to other brands doesn’t have to be that hard — they do still need to invest in products or services to run their own operation, and if you have what they need to get ahead, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to land the sale. All you need is a little B2B marketing 101:

Really Get to Know Your Audience

Whether you are marketing to individual consumers or Fortune 500 companies, the first thing you need to do when creating a marketing campaign is to really get to know your audience. You can’t settle at basics like “small business” or “people who need finance software.” You need to define your audience as narrowly as you can without rejecting potential clients.

For example, you may sell finance software, and you may define your audience as “companies with 50 to 100 employees who have an operating budget of xxx dollars and perform professional services in house.”

You can narrow your audience by industry, company size, budget, location, and terms of operation. You can find out this information about your potential clients by looking at their own published materials, conducting focus groups, or even hiring a market research company. With a narrowly defined audience, you can create a targeted marketing campaign that you can measure. You can then create the strategies that are more likely to be successful.

Provide Solutions

Your audience doesn’t care about what you have to sell — they care about solving their problems. If you can show that your product or service helps them to solve a problem, you can make them care about what you have to sell. But before you do that, you often have to solve other problems for them by providing informative articles and white papers, video tutorials, and other content.

Whether you are writing content for your blog or you are interacting on social media, if you just keep in mind that your primary goal should be to solve a problem for your audience, you will be more successful. That goal should be in mind for every tweet you send, every comment you make in a group, and every post you publish on LinkedIn. Providing solutions will attract more readers and followers, who will become a captive audience when you are ready to promote your own products and services.

Become an Authority

More so than with B2C marketing, you have to establish yourself as a real authority to find success with B2B marketing. Businesses have too much on the line to waste their time — and their money — on products or services that will not give them what they need. You can establish your authority in a number of ways, such as through content marketing, referral marketing, and community marketing.

Perhaps the easiest way to establish your authority is through content marketing since all you really need is a blog and a quality point of view. Besides writing content that provides real value for your readers, you need to write extensively and authoritatively on a subject. You can start with your current blog and look for any gaps in your coverage. Write about those niche topics that you haven’t yet covered, or write more in-depth on those topics you have already covered. Turn your site into a true resource for your clients and then share that content across your channels.

Measure Your Results

You can’t know if your marketing campaign is successful if you don’t have clearly defined goals and if you aren’t measuring your results. You can measure your results by looking at the sales or leads you bring in following the launch of a specific campaign. You can measure them by monitoring your web traffic, your social media likes, or other forms of engagement. You can also measure them by monitoring your site’s ranking in search.

Again, it is important that you define your goals before you start your campaign. If you want to increase sales but you only get an increase in web traffic, that campaign could be considered a failure. You might leverage that traffic for more sales later, or that traffic could fizzle out after that initial bump. It doesn’t have to be hard to get results with B2B marketing, but you do have to be methodical and you do have to be consistent. Follow these basic tips to help you get started and to start seeing results.

Marketing B2B Marketing 101