THE 4 LAYERS OF B2B ADVERTISING AUDIENCES
B2B marketing systems need to be MUCH MORE than just a simple ad that asks a viewer to book a call.
In most cases, that type of advertising stopped working a few years ago …
In this ‘era’ you’ll need to be a lot more strategic, using content to transform an online viewer from someone who doesn’t know you, to a lead, to a customer, to a lifelong evangelist.
That’s not easy.
A good model for how to do this is to break your online audience into ‘layers’.
Referencing the diagram – the funnel represents your entire digital audience, broken down into 4 layers.
Towards the top is a ‘cold’ audience who hasn’t heard of you. Towards the bottom is a ‘hot’ audience, who have already bought from you, and continue buying from you.
Let’s explore each layer in the video below. Or, if you prefer to read, we’ve also laid it out in the article:
LAYER 1 – Marketing Process (top layer of the funnel)
At the top layer, the audience has the pain points you know you can help them with.
But they’ve never heard of your brand. You are just another one of endless brands trying to capture their attention.
Since you have built no trust with this audience yet, don’t ask them to waste precious time on a sales call with you.
Even if they do book the call, they are likely to not show up, or be difficult to sell to.
BTW This is a BIG mistake because it wastes your expensive sales resources’ time, and reduces your ability to scale your sales team.
Instead, show the LAYER 1 audience videos, social posts and articles about their pain points.
Chances are, they are already aware that they need help. If you can provide free content that helps them clarify the cause of their pain points, and how others are dealing with them …
You will make an impact in their mind.
*** KEY INSIGHT HERE: Your content must be deep and specific. Use your experience to give them unique insights that they simply can’t get from your competitors.
Once they have clicked and consumed an insightful piece of your content … As long as you have inspired them by moving the needle in their understanding, they will now be familiar with your brand.
There is some trust and familiarity built.
Here is a good example of LAYER 1 content from the Visionary marketing funnel:
Using LinkedIn Ads technology, you can automatically take them out of your LAYER 1 audience and into LAYER 2 …
LAYER 2 – Marketing Process (2nd from top layer of the funnel)
In LAYER 2 your audience is still in the marketing process.
But now you can start showing them ads that convert them from interested viewers into a lead for your sales team to speak to or give a demo.
Again – it’s so important the content in your ads is insightful, educational and inspirational.
But now, since you’ve already built a ‘digital relationship’, it’s more appropriate to suggest they book a call with your sales team.
In LAYER 2 it’s important to have multiple Ads in different content styles.
Since this layer is a significantly smaller audience than LAYER 1, they’ll see your ads more often. You don’t want to overwhelm them with the same piece of content over and over.
They may need to see your ads 3 – 12+ times before it’s the right time for them to book a call.
***As a general rule, only 5% or less of a B2B audience is actually ready to buy at any time.
So make sure each ad is adding another layer of unique education to their perspective.
Here is a good example of LAYER 2 content from the Visionary Digital Studios marketing funnel:
Once they’ve booked their call, they are removed from LAYER 2 and added to LAYER 3.
LAYER 3 – Sales Process (3rd from top layer of the funnel)
Sales cycles in B2B are anywhere from 3 – 12+ months long.
So, it’s so important that your prospects are being consistently educated by YOUR content (and not your competitors) during this period.
Since your sales team and your proposals will have already explained your service and buying options …
You can focus the Ads for this layer on:
– Benefits of your services
– Testimonials and case studies
– Specific insights that are relevant to your services
Bonus points if you feature your sales and presales teams in your content videos at this layer. Position them as ‘lovable experts’ in your prospects’ minds during the entire sales cycle.
During their buyer’s journey, your prospect is usually comparing 2 or more other proposals with yours. When you’ve got your LAYER 3 ads on point, you make it hard for them to choose anyone else as you educate them more and more.
Here is a good example from the Visionary Digital Studios marketing funnel:
OK, once you’ve closed that deal … the marketing process isn’t over!
Move them to LAYER 4 …
LAYER 4 – Delivery Process (bottom of the funnel)
So many marketers forget this key layer of audience!
But for many B2B companies, a majority of the customer lifetime value is obtained YEARS after that initial sale.
So the marketing engine must continue.
At LAYER 4, focus your content around your product and your brand.
Educate your client on how to get the best possible value out of your services.
Explain features and provide product updates.
Feature your delivery team in the videos so your customers respect their deliverables and suggestions.
And develop ‘brand love’ by keeping them updated with what’s happening in the office and work you’re doing with other clients.
When you get this right, your customers will see you as by far the best option to serve them properly.
(and, if you’ve cared enough to educate them so specifically like this, you WILL naturally be the best option)
Here is a good example from the Visionary Digital Studios marketing engine:
Key Insights When Building The Layers Of B2B Audience
– Notice that at each level, your content is focussed on GIVING profound, specific insights. You can’t fake this – you need to care about giving real value to your audience.
– You will need to think long-term. It takes time to build that LAYER 2 and LAYER 3 audience. But when a customer has been taken through this entire buyer’s journey via your content, EVERYTHING improves:
Customer value, effort in the sales process, referrals, retention and other opportunities …
– You’ll also be able to re-purpose the content from every layer to your organic social media profiles and to your highly strategic website.
So as you develop content, your online presence becomes a continually evolving learning hub for EVERYONE around your business – prospects, staff, partners and investors.
You become the true thought leader in your industry.
OK, so how the hell do I implement something like this?
I know the explanation seems complex. But a highly experienced B2B digital marketer can actually implement this reasonably easily.
LinkedIn Ads technology, combined with a modern CRM like HubSpot, will actually do all the heavy lifting for you.
The key skillset is creating the content that powers the 4 layers of the funnel.
That requires a very skilled marketer to:
1) map out the right content
2) Then get it out from your mind and your IP
3) Then get it in front of your audience in a way they can engage with.
But if you’re thinking long-term and looking to be a thought leader in your industry …
This is the roadmap.
If you consider yourself a ‘thought leader’ … are you marketing powerfully to all 4 layers of your audience?
To learn more about B2B Social Media Strategies, read our article here: