Communications Strategy

A 3-Step Digital Marketing Plan for B2B Tech Startups

By Carly Ilvento


The proof is in the marketing analytics pudding. If you want to boost brand awareness, conversions, and, as a result, customer loyalty using digital marketing, the simplest and most effective approach is to:

1. Find your target audience

2. Distinguish your company with content

3. Retarget that audience to strengthen your relationships

Easy, right? Well it can be. Social media will help you accomplish every one of these. Let’s touch on all three pit stops you need to make on the track to creating a digital marketing strategy that works for your B2B tech startup.

1. Find your biggest fans and strongest targets.

To identify your future prospects, start with your competitors. Their social media channels are home to audiences that may also be interested in what your company has to offer. Targeting their followers with social ads is an easy way to see if your ideal customers are actually who you think they are.

Another option? Find a relevant industry event with attendees you want to target. Will a ton of your potential followers, partners, or investors attend CES 2020? You can reach them. Trust me. Target them with your stellar content (we’ll get to that later) using the event hashtags, event location, and social handles of other attending brands. If people engage or click through, your assumptions about your audience are probably true. If they don’t, it’s back to the WeWork conference room drawing board. I can say that because I work in a WeWork.

And finally, a more in-the-weeds (but still effective) approach. List out the interests you want your target audience to have and any keywords they’d use or see in their newsfeeds. Take that list and run with it. And by run with it, I mean input it into a paid social campaign to build out a target audience. Targeting based on interests and keywords not only allows you to create different audience segments, but also gives you the opportunity to cater your content to more specific groups.

Consider it your own social (media) experiment. If at first, your content doesn’t mesh with one audience, try again with different targeting.

2. Draw their attention.

So now that you know your audience, it’s time to appeal to them with content that makes your company stand out.

Potential customers want to be empowered; they want to gain something from you before investing in your product or service. Sprout Social reports that social posts with links to more information are the most preferred type of content on social media. People want to click through and learn more – if your content is worth clicking.

How is your product or service different than others in your industry? What do you know that others don’t? Turn your competitive differentiators and unique expertise into informative and valuable content for your existing audience and sales prospects. The formats that drive the most engagements, clicks, and conversions are:

  • White papers
  • Blogs
  • Webinars
  • Anything personable or conversational (podcasts, infographics, GIFs)

That’s right – kick buzzwords to the curb and get conversational. Distinguishing your company, especially on social media and in the B2B tech space, also means being more human and engaging.

Focus your marketing efforts on content that invites commenting, sharing, and the chance for a conversation. This is a helpful way to learn about your customers and their needs. Not only does this type of content make your company more relatable, but it can also lead to valuable suggestions, stronger relationships, and a customer-centric reputation.

3. Turn strong relationships into lasting relationships.

Sorry if that brought up your most recent breakup. Now you’re ready to capitalize on your fresh, relatable content and new audience relationships using paid social campaigns. It’s easy to capture your audience again and again with social ads.

First, run an engagement or awareness ad campaign that’s targeted at your social followers, your followers’ followers, and the groups outlined in the first step.

Next, follow up with those eager engagers and viewers with retargeting campaigns. You can either retarget users with new content or take the relationship to the next level with a conversions campaign.

A conversions campaign is how you’ll finally snag an email, employer, location, or all of the above. It’s the information you can use for later marketing campaigns to move prospects even further down the funnel. Just don’t ask for their phone number. They’ll be less likely to fill out the form, and we all know when asked, “Is this a good time?” it never is.

Where the rubber meets the road

Leveraging social media as a digital marketing strategy can absolutely work for B2B tech companies – even lean startups. To recap:

  • Have some fun brainstorming and testing your audiences.
  • Use those audiences to inform what content appeals to them most and what will drive them to engage through paid social campaigns.
  • Test that content until you find the right audience, and then reach that audience with a retargeting or conversions campaign.

In the end, you’ll see an increase in brand awareness, an expansion of your customer or investor database, and a library of content to continue your brand’s story.