What Are the Best B2B Marketing Channels for Your Business?

The law of shitty clickthroughs

George Aliferis
Mar 25 · 11 min read

A decade ago, I worked in financial derivatives sales.

We had a fairly typical setup: phones, email, a website, a CRM that we were not entirely using, a bit of PR. I left the industry at the time when social media for business took off — it came with the promise that there was a better way to reach customers.

That promise eventually gave way to the “Law of Shitty Clickthroughs”, a term coined by author and venture capitalist Andrew Chen. Although finance and fintech are lagging in their adoption, using multiple channels has become the norm. With the addition of blogging and discussion sites, choosing the right channel(s) is a critical aspect of content marketing.

Source: https://andrewchen.co/the-law-of-shitty-clickthroughs/

The problem is that, whatever channel you use, the resulting click-through rate (CTR) will gradually decline. Chen offers a detailed analysis of why it happens, but what ultimately matters is answering these questions: How do you choose the best channels for your business? And how do you fight decreasing CTRs?

Chen’s law reminds us that using channels is a means to an end. Unless you’re in media, it’s not about followers — it’s about selling. Eventually, you need to click on that “purchase” or “get in touch” button.

Chen’s advice is to “keep discovering the next untapped marketing channel”. Unfortunately, that’s not very helpful for enterprise fintech. If you work in the industry, you’re unlikely to have the budget and resources to explore continuously. Even if you did, your content probably needs to be more educational than entertaining — it won’t work everywhere. What can you do instead?

Here you’ll find a suggested list of proven channels for the enterprise fintech segment, with the framework we use to evaluate them. (TL;DR: Linkedin is often not the best choice for B2B marketers).

For most of us, the dream of developing a vast organic reach is over. But mix regular content with paid advertising and the people that matter to you are easily reachable.


My Encounters With This Law

Website

The live streaming article gradually lost its SEO juice. Changes to the YouTube API killed the YoupTimizer.

Quora

Source: Quora

Quora used to be an easy SEO hack — the answers often appeared on the first page of Google. There were a lot of interactions on the platform — I had a few conversations that started there and evolved into real business deals.

It worked so well that marketers flooded it and became extremely hard to stand out from the crowd. It also doesn’t work so well for SEO.

Vine

If Instagram (bought for $1bn — worth $100bn) and YouTube (purchased for $1.6bn — worth $300bn) are the best acquisitions of all time, Vine is probably the worst divestiture of all time. It looked a lot like what Tik Tok ($75bn) looks like today. Twitter (Market Cap $27bn) bought it a few years earlier but never knew what to do with it.

It’s the platform where we encountered the most rapid success and the one that vanished quickest. I don’t mean that the clickthrough decreased or the organic reach faded — I mean that it closed down. That’s always a possibility when you build your empire on borrowed land.

Soon, one of our videos posted had 10 thousand likes and over a million loops. The account reached 50,000 followers and became part of a community. We were making new friends and also finding business opportunities. Then Twitter decided to discontinue it.

So I know a thing or two about the law of shitty clickthroughs!


The Enterprise Fintech Channel List and Framework

Without judging, I’d like to offer a different perspective. I will rank channels by monthly active user (MAU) instead and will consider these 7: Email, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Quora, Linkedin, Medium.

Source: Orama

Medium is there as a reference and if you read this, you must be aware of its marketing potential but as it is not an advertising platform we won’t go into it.

The Missing Ones

I am not discussing ‘website’, because it’s an obvious one and a much bigger topic.

The rest are too small, or I don’t have sufficient experience to discuss them. It’s worth linking to some reports that explain how Reddit, Github, or Stack Overflow can be great B2B marketing tools. One might also consider Snap, Yahoo Answers, Reddit, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Byte, Minds, to name a few. With the explosion of podcasts, audio-only channels such as SoundCloud and Spotify, may present an expanding opportunity.

To clarify what I mean by channels — you might say, platforms or simply, places where you can post content online. Sometimes SEO, video, and content marketing are described as channels. In my book, the first is a tactic, the second a medium, and the third a component of the marketing strategy.


The Framework

  • Organic reach — How hard it is to reach a Fintech audience with marginal efforts.
  • Organic and paid CTR —The proportion of people reached who will take action.
  • Paid reach — How much it costs to reach X people in your audience.
  • Targeting — How accurate can you be when setting up an audience for paid promotion. Keep in mind that all platforms allow you to upload your email list.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) — This is an indication based on our experience in the Fintech space. The cost can vary greatly, so this is a rough benchmark.
  • Cost Per View (CPV): — Same as CPC but for video views, again costs can vary greatly.
Source: Orama

Now let’s look at each of them in detail in order of MAU.


Email

The author and internet entrepreneur Paul Jarvis only use email and a website. He explains his absence from social media: “platforms own your data and own your social connections, not you. They own the connection you have with the people who connect with you there.”

For marketers, email offers two main advantages over social platforms, advantages that render it essential:

  1. Your reach does not depend on an algorithm controlled by someone else
  2. You own the connections

I use Substack because it is free and easy, after having used Mailchimp and Zoho Campaigns, but it’s a tool I could walk away from by simply downloading the emails list.


Facebook

Source: Facebook — ads transparency

Organic

You should still set up a page because Facebook is a great place for advertisers. You don’t need to post anything there; you can use it as an advertising only account.

Targeting

It’s also worth mentioning that the automated ads option work well, so you can let Facebook do the iteration for you.

Paid

The cost advantage makes Facebook a great place to experiment and test the creative — before scaling and using it with better targeting (but much higher cost) on Linkedin.


YouTube

Organic

Targeting

Paid

Source: Google Ads

Instagram

That makes you think that there must be excellent B2B opportunities too. It uses the same platform as Facebook, so advertising opportunities are similar.

If you’re interested in giving it a go, I wrote an article with visual strategies for Fintech on Instagram.


Twitter

Paid

Source: https://cxl.com/guides/click-through-rate/benchmarks/

Quora

Organic

Targeting

Paid

Source: Quora Ads

Linkedin

Organic

Targeting

Only show your ads to a few people who are relevant to you. Don’t waste your money on anyone else. Sounds like a B2B marketer’s dream doesn’t it?

In practice, very low CTRs (0.06% based on this report) make it much harder than it first appears. To be specific, 0.06% means 1 in 1,666. So if your target group has 1,000 members, you’re likely to see 0 clicks — and worse, you won’t learn anything from the campaign.

Paid

I would advise using Linkedin ads selectively:

  1. When the creative, copy, call-to-action have been tested and optimised on “cheaper” platforms.
  2. With potentially higher conversion posts. (i.e. Not for “subscribe to our newsletter”, but maybe for “book a demo” or a “free consultation”.)

Conclusion

There’s no miracle pill, but writing this article has inspired me to improve my regime. I will try to be more active on Linkedin (organically only) and post articles there. Facebook will be a test platform with minimum budgets. I’m considering spending more on Quora. Given time, I’ll try to follow The Economist’s strategy on Instagram.

What channels are working best for you? Do you see significantly different figures in terms of paid reach and CTRs? Let me know in the comments.

Better Marketing

Marketing advice & case studies to help you market…

Thanks to Niklas Göke

George Aliferis

Written by

Fintech Marketer & Filmmaker http://orama.tv, ex-investment banker. I write a fintech marketing newsletter: https://georgealiferis.substack.com/

Better Marketing

Marketing advice & case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and efficiently.

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