How to Select the Right Channels for Your B2B Marketing Mix

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing, Search, Social Media, Media Strategy, Marketing Automation

  • Date:

    July 11, 2023

How to Select the Right Channels for Your B2B Marketing Mix

Content Marketing Search Social Media Media Strategy Marketing Automation

B2B advertising investments are trending upward: In 2023, total U.S. ad spend by B2B businesses is expected to reach roughly $35 billion (eMarketer). But with so many marketing channels available to reach B2B customers, how do you devise the best mix?

According to HubSpot, the top channels used by B2B marketers in 2023 include:

  • Social media

  • Websites

  • Blogs

  • Email marketing

Smart businesses employ an omnichannel approach, taking great care to ensure online and offline touch points work together to deliver a seamless, customer-centric experience.

Here are four things to consider as you build your B2B marketing strategy.

Best Practices for Selecting B2B Marketing Channels

1. Understand Your Target Audience

    Personas, surveys, website analytics and other insights can help you better understand your target audience’s pain points, preferences and buying decisions. Determine who they are, what drives them and what challenges they are facing. By tailoring your approach to your audience, you can choose the channels they trust the most and increase your chances of success.

    2. Align Your Marketing Objectives and KPIs

      It’s critical to evaluate the success of any campaign through the lens of your marketing objectives — and to do so from the point of inception. Clearly defined goals provide clarity and focus so you can measure the right things to continually optimize your campaign. Without appropriate KPIs, you risk losing your way and wasting resources on ineffective tactics.

      3. Develop an Integrated Approach

        Depending on your goals, you may need different channels and tactics to reach your target audience. With 72% of customers preferring an integrated approach, it’s more important than ever to ensure your communication is consistent and correlated across channels.

        4. Test and Measure Results

          Marketing measurement isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your specific objectives, from brand awareness to lead generation, should guide your measurement framework. Consider what actions you want your audience to take, whether it’s learning something new, downloading a guide (in return for their email address) or making a purchase. This, in turn, should inform your KPIs and will ensure you’re tracking the right metrics to achieve your goals.

          Evaluating Different Marketing Channels for B2B Campaigns

          Now that you know the best practices for selecting your marketing channels, let’s explore some of the most popular that have proven to reach, engage and convert customers.

          Email Marketing

          Email marketing may be the OG of digital marketing, but it still reigns supreme. Today, global email marketing is projected to reach $17.9 billion by 2027. Furthermore, 40% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the most critical aspect of their content marketing success, and 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email. Meanwhile, the number of email users worldwide continues to grow every year.

          Leverage email marketing to build direct relationships, convert prospects into buyers and turn one-time buyers into loyal fans of your brand. Email marketing that is interesting, shareable and relevant to your target audience is usually effective because:

          • Emails invite subscribers to take the next step in the buyer’s journey, generating engagement and turning subscribers into leads and leads into customers

          • They keep your audience informed by linking articles from your content marketing efforts

          • Since 43% of professionals check their work email outside of work hours, you have a better chance of reaching them if you can find a way into their inbox

          To help you craft the kind of emails that break through the B2B marketing email clutter, check out four surefire ways to improve your email marketing performance.

          Content Marketing

          As the pandemic accelerated B2B buyers’ shift toward digital channels, connecting with buyers via relevant content has become more important than ever. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their overall marketing strategy. From blog posts and videos to white papers and case studies, the content your business creates can showcase what your company offers and who you are.

          In B2B marketing campaigns, content marketing can:

          • Fend off competition by leveraging high-performing keywords

          • Establish trust and increase conversions

          • Generate and nurture leads

          • Build a social media following

          But it’s not just about creating any content — it’s about creating targeted content that addresses the needs, challenges and pain points of your potential customers. By using the right keywords and phrases, you can create content that performs better than the competition’s by helping customers find the information they need when they need it.

          Search Engine Optimization

          A winning B2B SEO strategy will place your website in front of the right people who are actively looking for your services or products. While B2B marketing differs from B2C, the fundamental pillars of SEO remain the same: technical SEO, content, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

          Carefully researching keywords and creating content that demonstrates E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) are two of the best ways to boost your website’s organic traffic. Once you know the terms people use the most when searching for your products and services, you can implement them into your headers, title tags, meta descriptions, URLs and more.

          Whether B2B or B2C, following SEO best practices in your marketing campaign can help your business:

          • Garner quality organic traffic

          • Rank higher on search engine results pages

          • Support content marketing efforts

          • Improve user engagement

          • Drive leads and sales

          If you consistently develop and publish content with a people-first approach that has also been optimized for search, you’ll build your authority on industry topics and can begin to experience a steady increase in organic search traffic and higher placement in SERPs.

          Here are 15 SEO tips to help you get started.

          Social Media Marketing

          Chances are, your B2B customers are on social media. In addition to connecting with their peers and staying informed about industry developments, B2B buyers use social media as a tool for learning about products that can help them grow their businesses.

          Successful organic B2B social media strategies can:

          • Build awareness and visibility for your business

          • Establish your business as an authority

          • Create an opportunity to engage with your prospects

          • Drive more website traffic

          • Generate high-quality leads

          For the launch of GE Appliances’ Air & Water Division, Wray Ward took a holistic approach that included paid, earned, owned and shared media channels. The video series we produced from content captured at the AHR Expo was explicitly created for Instagram, where GE sought to grow their audience and increase engagement. Wray Ward selected this channel due to the amount of plumbing and HVAC professionals on that platform and the opportunity it provides to connect directly with those audiences.

          GE saw audience growth of 161% and engagement growth of more than 700%. Additionally, GE’s content marketing program provided a lift in website traffic from all channels including organic social media, providing a deeper way to connect with those audiences.

          Paid Media

          Advertising is a powerful way to take your message to your target audience at scale. By amplifying your story and the value of your products or services through paid channels, you’ll be able to reach even more of that audience.

          Wray Ward ran a paid media campaign for Grubb Properties, targeting their primary target audiences of investors, investment consultants and independent financial planners/advisors to drive brand awareness, share thought leadership and education, and foster new relationships. Tactics included publisher partnerships (promoted with targeted emails, newsletters, sponsored articles, webinars and display banners), LinkedIn sponsored content and LinkedIn message ads.

          Using a mixture of message ads and sponsored posts, the campaign targeted investor audiences across the platform while hyper-targeting by audience (e.g., job title, company and industry). Our team also took advantage of direct lead capture programs.

          With the right message getting to the right audience, the overall estimated results were exceeded, with over 1.6 million impressions, 21,000 website clicks and 2,100 leads. Meanwhile, Grubb Properties surpassed its anticipated number of active participants by 14%.

          Paid Search

          Struggling to climb your way to the top of the search engine results pages? Paid search allows you to bid on keywords in search engines against other competing websites, bypassing organic search results and driving qualified traffic by targeting people actively looking for your brand, product or services.

          Paid search generally has a high conversion rate since it targets people seeking your business in the moment. Because you can specify which keyword searches you want your website to show an ad for, you can be strategic about who you target and match the language your audience uses against the search results you show up for.

          Here are a few things to know about paid search for B2B businesses:

          • Product specification: Since you’re targeting keywords and not audiences, it can be difficult to know who is actually clicking on your ad: Are they in the trade audience or an average homeowner? By narrowing down your targeting to highly specific product information, you’re more likely to reach someone in the trade audience over an average homeowner. For example, instead of “wall insulation,” you may want to bid on “2x4 wall R30 foam insulation board.” The latter is narrower and likely has less competition, but you can feel good knowing the people you reach fall in your targeted audience.

          • Competitive search: You can also bid on competitive brand terms. In the B2C space, this can be inefficient and costly, but in the B2B space, there’s typically less paid search activity and using your competitor’s brand terms can also help narrow down your audience. If only people in the industry know your competitors, you can assume that the people searching for those terms are people you may want to reach. Thus, you can gain some visibility and market share from competitors.

          • Messaging: Specific value messaging is another benefit of paid search since other media channels tend to be more word restrictive. In fact, Google encourages advertisers to take up more real estate with their headlines, descriptions and extensions by describing the business in detail and giving users other opportunities to interact with the ad. This is a great way to explain your value proposition to your audience. If you speak to your audience in your ad, they are more likely to click than people who fall outside of your target audience.

          Here’s an example of how we used paid search for AZEK, a manufacturer of premium residential siding, trim and molding products. For the campaign, it was critical to prioritize reaching builders and contractors, with the end goal of getting them to order a product sample. While our team ran ads against product-specification and AZEK’s brand terms, they also targeted competitive terms.

          For a large portion of the campaign, competitive keywords were 25% less expensive than normal product searches. These keywords had a 43% higher CTR and a 64% lower cost per product sample than normal product search terms.

          Our team also found success in product-specification terms for siding materials, which differentiated our targeting from normal homeowners. The most cost-effective sample orders came from things such as “pvc composite siding” and “board and batten vinyl siding.”


          A majority of B2B buyers’ purchase decisions begin with an online search, and your website is often the first impression they have of your brand.

          Want to make your website more dynamic and successful? Here are two tips:

          1. Add landing pages to target specific audiences, showcase new offers or run promotions.

          2. Keep your website fresh with regular updates, including new content and embedded videos that are optimized for mobile devices.

          Wray Ward recommended creating an interactive landing page for IDEX Fire & Safety that would visually align with the advertising and create a more robust experience for visitors to explore. Leveraging an embedded brand video, product filter and top-of-page call to action to get in touch created an intuitive way for visitors to find the equipment they need on the IDEX Fire & Safety website.

          Need a strategic partner to help design, execute and optimize your B2B marketing campaign? Email me.

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