There is a plethora of information that can be found on the internet when you need to know how to do market research for your b2b company. There are blogs, articles, tools, and more all dedicated to helping you understand best practices for conducting your business. However, it can be difficult to determine what marketing techniques are most effective.
Whether you’re working for a startup or large corporation, business-to-business ( B2B ) Market research template is designed to guide you through the steps involved in this process.
Welcome email template
Example provided by Buffer
First impressions count. A lot. Therefore, if a subscriber signs up to something, whether it is to receive future blog posts or a series of email tips, it makes sense to thank them and welcome them. By doing nothing, you make it difficult to create a strong impression. When you sign up on their web form, Buffer’s welcome email includes links to their support email address and a link to their Twitter profile. Simple yet effective!
How to implement: Whether you use auto-responders or send the emails manually, welcoming new subscribers to your company email list is a great way to build a strong relationship from the beginning. In the email, make sure you introduce yourself and company. You can also provide helpful links to content such as most popular blog posts or white papers, or links to your social media profiles
When to send: Each time you get a new subscriber
Curated content email template
Example provided by Hiten Shah
Each week, CrazyEgg and Kissmetrics founder, Hiten Shah sends a roundup of his favorite posts on topics that include SaaS, marketing, sales and growth. Hiten is able to deliver great content directly to his readers without them having to search the content out online. He’s helping his readers do better, which adds a lot of value to his subscribers.
How to implement: Whether you’re in customer service, social media, banking or the automotive industry, you can create a list of the best content you’ve read and share it through email to your subscribers with links to this content. You don’t need a fancy design either! In doing so, you’re delivering value without being self-promotional.
When to send: Weekly or monthly, depending on how often you can curate content
Create an executive summary
This might seem a little too formal for some marketers out there but it’s essential and I’ll explain why.
Marketing plans tend to get really long so it’s better to create a quick summary and highlight some of the key points of every aspect of your plan right at the beginning. This becomes the foundation of your marketing plan.
There is no set length for an executive summary but it should cover all of the main elements of your marketing plan. It should also quickly tell your story and highlight what you are trying to achieve. Add your KPIs, marketing channels, strategy, and budget.
A good executive summary should give a quick taste of the entire plan and entice the reader (investor, upper management, CEO, etc) to read the rest.
Here’s a great 2-minute video from Hubspot that shows how to write an executive summary from start to finish.https://www.youtube.com/embed/SE-wnHBtP1s?feature=oembed
The next section of the marketing plan has to do with your “why”.
2. Create a mission statement
A good mission should have 3 key components –
- An overall mission or vision of the company
- The company’s core values
- The goals and objectives
The key is to keep it precise, short, and powerful. Don’t write a long essay, don’t just throw a bunch of jargon around, and do get some input from the employees at the company.
Employee feedback on this is critical because marketing and sales activities have to align with the mission of the company so all the various teams in the business have to be in agreement on the general mission.
The worst thing you can do is have a mission that has no direct correlation to the actual activities or tasks. Such a mission won’t help you grow your business.
What’s the difference between the company vision and its mission?
The vision is like the why, the overarching goal and foundation of the company. The company’s mission includes the vision and adds to it the actions and activities that the company will do to help advance its vision.
Company announcement email template
Example provided by SumAll (now acquired by another company).
“Extra, extra – read all about it!”
In in the mid-19th century, newspaper vendors would shout out when there was newer “news”. Even though the channels have changed (unless, of course, you have hired street vendors lately…), newsworthy content about your company is still valuable content for your readers. In fact, 26% of all B2B subscribers sign up because they want to be kept informed on company news, according to research by Chadwick Martin Bailey:
When SumAll acquired Flutter, a tool that helps businesses grow their Twitter following, one of the first things they did was inform their subscriber list. In doing so, they were able to create new interest in their product offering. So for prospects that were not sure whether SumAll was the right fit for their business, announcing this kind of news is likely to have a more positive impact.
How to implement: Whenever you have news to share, such as winning an award, changes to product offering or new pricing options, for example, announce this news to your subscriber list. You can either include all of the company news within the email or itself, or link the email to a landing page. (This email template works well for lead nurturing or customer marketing campaigns).
When to send: Each time you have news to share.
Identify your target market and buyer personas
The best way to create buyer personas for any brand is by creating a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a visual representation of all the various touchpoints that your brand has with a prospective customer.
This is a critical part of creating your marketing strategy.
Google introduced the moment of truth concept and this really relates to our discussion of marketing channels but it’s important to mention here as well.
Shoppers can find and interact with your brand through hundreds of channels, both online and brick-and-mortar. The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) concepts represents that stage of the buyer’s journey that leads them to find your product or solution for their problem.
Identifying the specific problem that your target customer is looking to solve is critical. This is how you define your persona and this is what ultimately affects the rest of your marketing decisions.
6. Define your goals and KPIs
The first step when building a business marketing plan is to understand and define which business goals are the plan aiming to achieve. Business and marketing should always go hand-in-hand – remember that.
Questions you should answer are:
- What are the business goals I need to achieve?
- What KPIs will get me to achieve my goals?
- What does my marketing funnel look like?
New article email template
Example provided by Gerry McGovern
Gerry McGovern has long been sending new articles that he publishes in his weekly “New Thinking” email series. The email content, which is a copy of the article content that is published on his website, is a great way to update his email subscriber list of new content, without the subscriber having to visit Gerry’s website. It’s not promotional in anyway, other than providing the reader with some thought-provoking content.
How to implement: Whether you use this example for new blog post content or article content, you can copy and paste the content directly into the email, like Gerry does, or provide a link to the webpage and drive readers to your website.
When to send: Each time a new blog post or article has been published
Video email template
Example provided by Backlinko
When Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko, sends an email, the chances that it contains a video are pretty high. By providing actionable content through video, Brian is able to not only deliver value, but build a rapport with his subscribers as they get to see and hear Brian on a regular basis, which builds an even deeper connection with his audience than he would create compared to reading web copy, as the person watching the video feels like they really know Brian.
How to implement: Take one of your best performing pieces of content and create a video version, and provide the tips in the content in your video. It doesn’t have to require a film crew or include special effects, all you need is to be visible and on screen.
When to send: Monthly. It’s a great way to engage on a new level with your audience
Define your marketing budget
Your marketing budget plan depends on your business stage
Much like marketing goals and KPIs, your budget planning depends on your business lifecycle stage (are you a startup or an established brand). Normally, startups invest more in gaining market share and acquire new customers, whereas established brands would invest more in retention and reputation.
Your niche is also a factor
Each industry has a different marketing structure and consumer behavior, so your niche defines your marketing budget allocation as well. E-Commerce in a competitive niche like fashion, for example, will need ways to lower its CAC (customer-acquisition-cost) and upsell.
Spending tipping point
You can’t expect that if you invested $20,000 and got 1,000 leads to keep the same proportion at $200. Every channel should have a different amount allocated to it based on the ROI and your profit margins.
So make sure you invest enough into each channel to move the needle. You can benchmark with other businesses in your niche, or use a rule-of-thumb by which at least 20% of your expected revenue should be invested in marketing.
Lead generation and branding
Up until recently, only big brands invested in their brand. Small eCommerce brands could only spend their marketing dollars on advertising campaigns. But as PPC prices are rising and the cost of acquiring new customers is getting higher due to the competition, small online brands have to increase their retention and build relationships with their audience, to be sustainable.
We recommend investing 15%-25% of your marketing budget in inbound marketing activities such as content, social media, and influencer marketing. And we have all of this in the marketing plan template for you. These are especially effective for eCommerce brands. A customer is not going to put their credit card in without making sure that your brand is reputable and that’s why branding yourself on social media is so important.
You can read more about the e-commerce marketing challenge in our about the 2021 E-commerce Marketing Bubble.
Start planning your budget
The first step when planning your marketing budget is to understand what are the growth channels that have worked for you so far and are part of your marketing strategy for the next year. According to each channel’s effectiveness, cost, and financial projections you can start allocating your monthly and yearly spend.
Questions you should answer for that are:
- What are the most effective growth channels I have so far?
- Are there more growth channels I want to test next year?
- Does seasonality affect my sales?
- Align your budget with your KPIs (!)
Inactive user email template
Example provided by Perfect Audience
According to Epsilon, approximately 40% of your email list in inactive!
This means that each time you send out an email, almost half are no longer interested in hearing from your company. In the example above, Perfect Audience has sent out an email to a new user who has become inactive. This email is a great way of restarting the conversation and reminding the user that they can use the product, or get answers to any questions they may have.
How to implement: Create a list of email subscribers who have not read or opened an email during the last 12 months (or, customers who have not logged in to the product within 60-90 days), and send an email that includes:
- Who you are and what you do
- Why they signed up in the first place
- A question or an invite to start a conversation
When to send: Two-three times per year
Above is a simple template you can use to conduct your b2b market research. I’ve been using this template for years and it has helped me save time and get more information. This template may not work for everyone but at-least it’s something to get you started on your next project or client.”