You’ve heard of B2B and B2C marketing. But did you know that they have another, less known, sibling? That’s B2G (Business to Government) marketing. Also known as public sector marketing, this type is all about working with public sector organizations, from local to federal government. B2G marketing might seem daunting or even downright scary — but don’t worry, it can be well worth the effort (and even fun)!
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Meet The Family: B2G Marketing vs. B2C and B2B
If this was a family dinner, B2B (Business to Business) marketing would be the analytical serious one who’s always thinking long-term while B2C (Business to Customer) is the louder, flashier sibling who’s always in on the latest trends. B2G, meanwhile, is a bit of a wallflower — but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own successful (if less showy) career.
Why is that? Well, they have a ton of options. After all, there isn’t just one way to do government marketing: From helping a local initiative to building country-wide marketing campaigns, there’s a lot of variety in this field.
Considering that the U.S. government spent 4.81 trillion dollars so far in 2023 and that the biggest contract value in the UK since 2015 is 567 million pounds for a single company, there are certainly significant budgets in this field. In general, these budgets tend to be higher and the projects get much more visibility (we’re talking national over here, after all). A single government project can potentially be worth multiple private company deals, especially since sales can happen in bulk. In 2021, high-growth government contracting firms grew around 2.5 times faster than their peers.
Is your company not yet one of the big boys? No worries! The government is obligated to work with small businesses yearly as well so your company size won’t keep you out of the competition. That’s right: There are opportunities for businesses of all sizes, from startups to big enterprises.
Alright, it all sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?
Well, first of all, you need to prove you know your stuff. It’s not enough to just generate marketing content; you have to be an authority in your field to convince the potential government customer your company is the right one for the job. There’s a specific process for finding and applying for projects (more on that later). This requires research and an understanding of government legislation and procedures. And, yes, bureaucracy. Can’t escape a little bit of that.
And the Realistic
The competition is tough and there are many procedures you must be aware of — but it’s worth it. Rather than “high risk,” it’s more like high effort high reward. If you don’t get the first job, don’t be discouraged. It’s a working (perhaps even long-term) effort and there’s a lot you can learn in the process: see which companies have worked with the government the longest, what they offer, how they contribute to their field and what the partnership is all about. After all, even for Leslie Knope, it took a long time to get to the top of her field.
How to Get Started with B2G Marketing
Although you have to know your stuff for B2B and B2C work, the stakes are a little higher — and the process a little more formalized — for B2G marketing. After all, you’re working for government agencies here. These entities will first publish a request for proposal (RFP) outlining the entire process, list what businesses they’re looking for and what they expect to get out of the deal. All interested businesses will then submit their projects, joining the bidding, and the government decision-maker will go with what fits them best.
Each country has its own government site, and multiple databases collect all the currently bidding projects. For the US, SAM.gov shows government contract opportunities, and the same happens for Australia and the UK with their respective sites. You can search by needed marketing services or location. The bidding government agencies also publish their RFPs on their own site (and sometimes even on LinkedIn).
Remember: B2G marketing isn’t just about showing off your business. Account-based marketing (ABM) is essential here. The most important thing when bidding is defining your target audience and their needs. Your proposal should explain how your marketing services are just what the government contractor is looking for — basically, a unique selling proposition (USP). The focus is on them and what they’re looking for, not your business per se.
So be sure to check specifications and create a bidding project tailored to check all the RFP’s demands. Your marketing strategy should align with the government buyer’s values, properly use the budget and communicate a unique message that speaks to its target audience, subcontractors and stakeholders.
10 Best B2G Marketing Strategies: Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd
To get that so sought-after government contract, you’ll have to set your professional services apart from the rest. Your project bidding must check all the boxes, yes, but your company also needs to shine on its own. Show your work and what you do best. Here’s how:
1. Be a Thought Leader
Government decision-makers want to hear from those who lead, not those who follow. Your digital marketing should position you as an authority in your field. Don’t just cite others’ research — do your own and share that with the world. Educational content in general is well-viewed and highly requested by government organizations.
You can also show your expertise by gaining awards and certifications that increase your credibility and show your business understands and complies with government rules and regulations. Trust is essential when it comes to government work. If you aim for a specific type of RFP, start doing private or B2B/B2C type of work in the same area; for example, if you want to work with a government agency focused on the elderly, engage and do work on similar projects in the sectors you’re already in.
Experimenting with and mastering the newest tech can also be the difference between getting a contract or missing your shot, especially with still-new technology such as virtual reality, 3D design and AI tools.
Branding is also essential: Your agency should have a strong brand identity with well-established visuals, tone (more on that later) and style. It has to be clear for any viewer or reader that the content they’re consuming was made by your company — and that they’ll remember it later on when it’s time to decide who to pick.
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2. Create Unique Content
The best way to show authority in your field is by creating your own original digital marketing content and not just repeating what others have said before. Breaking through the noise while providing fresh ideas and data leads to a strong online presence. Using your own experience and creativity brings out an original angle that will reach your target audience’s interests and not just the search engine algorithm.
Your content should be educational, thoroughly researched, up-to-date, visually appealing and proof of your know-how. It’s your showcase to prove your professional services are on the front end of technology and content marketing. Multichannel digital marketing content is the way to go. Any and all product created increases your value and chances of getting that bid, but here are some that are particularly important:
Blogs are a good way to show your in-depth knowledge of your field and share industry news in a recurring schedule. They’re a long-form type of educational content that can discuss the most varied topics your business deals with. Having a frequent output of original content is a good sign for potential customers. A government customer could learn something new when reading a blog article published by your company and keep it in mind later on.
And it’s just as important to remember to reoptimize your past content: It saves you time, keeps your offerings evergreen and can increase the number of clicks a page generates by more than 40%. Adding an infographic drives 8x more clicks to the same blog article and makes your post more likely to end up in Google Image Search for your target term of choice.
White Paper and eBooks
These long-form content types can be gated assets showcasing your content with more time and space than blogs. They’re popular product types in the public sector and an excellent way to display your knowledge.
Many people are visual learners and videos are one of the best ways to quickly and effectively explain complex subjects. They can help boost engagement, increase organic traffic, enhance your return on investment (ROI) and generate leads. There are many types of videos that aid your marketing efforts, such as webinars, product videos, customer testimonials and even an “about us” type of video.
65% of marketers say case studies and success stories are the biggest value drivers for their business. Nothing is better than showing a problem you’ve encountered and the solutions found that pleased clients. It’s a transparent way to showcase your business’s flexibility and problem-solving skills, as well as what you’ve learned together with a client.
3. Have a User-Friendly Website
Your website is your modern business card. The design, navigation, UX and tech expertise shown on your own site will show your possible contractor how far you can go for them. It needs to have an assortment of all your products, educational and original content and, most importantly, be accessible. Any and all government-related sites and apps need to be accessible by law, so you can’t pitch your services to them if yours isn’t.
Don’t forget mobile, either: Your site needs to look just as good on mobile as on a computer screen (no matter how big or small). Mobile-friendly websites must take into account the same accessibility features: color schemes, alt. text, captions, general design accessibility and user-friendly for everyone (regardless of technological savviness). Since the average American spends 5 hours of their day using their phone, mobile functionality can make it or break it for your bid.
4. Don’t Forget SEO
It doesn’t matter how good your site looks if it’s impossible to find it. That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in; it’s how you’ll make sure to rank on Google. Understanding the top-ranking keywords in your field and getting that visibility can be the defining moment for your company’s ranking.
Another important factor is E-A-T: the importance of having expertise and being an authority in the subject to ensure your company is considered the best for public services. You’ve shown that in your blog and website copy, but your genius also must be visible to search engines.
5. Master Social Media Marketing …
This tool is just as important for B2G marketing as it is for its siblings, as 88% of marketers say social media marketing increases business exposure. After all, a government agency usually has its own online presence and brand awareness — plus, it’s an excellent way to engage with younger audiences.
There are 4.2 billion active social media users across the globe and that number is only growing by the day. Your B2G marketing strategy must include an effective and innovative use of social media to ensure your brand will be memorable. While creating your organic content, spending on ads in social media is another way to increase visibility. After knowing your target audience and the RPF you applied to, you can also run specific campaigns that refer to their marketing purposes and messaging.
6. … And Email Marketing
This one might not be as catchy or as visual as social media marketing, but it’s very effective and an essential part of your marketing strategy. For every $1 marketers spend on email marketing, they receive $36 in return. Government agencies produce their own newsletters and that content must be as authentic, fresh and educational as possible. Knowing how to create and keep a successful email marketing campaign can deliver a stable ROI and increase interest for potential future leads.
For example, an email newsletter must have design, content and value — all things the public sector is looking for. Your newsletter can display the best of the content you create (item #2) and even curate content from external sources.
7. Automate Your Schedule
To avoid dropping the ball when scheduling your multichannel digital marketing content (especially if you create a lot of content), marketing automation can be your savior. From blogging to email marketing, properly scheduling and automating it can save a lot of time and stress. And to make things even more organized, you can also use a content marketing platform to keep everything in one place and easy to check whenever needed.
8. Have the Right Tone
After doing thorough research on your target audience and building fitting personas, it’s essential to not only communicate the right message but also have the right tone. Content created for the government will be displayed and seen by people with different backgrounds, political opinions, professions and social classes. Never cater to a single audience and alienate others. Even seemingly innocuous posts on major holidays like Memorial Day have led to uproar due to improper handling. Cause-related marketing in particular needs proper tone and research put into it.
9. Keep up with Trends
Since all government work has a huge and varied population scope, it’s more essential than ever to understand the latest news across all demographics. B2G marketing content needs to be aware of current ideas and thoughts. A product released in 2023 can’t look and sound like it was released in 2001.
10. Networking: Take Part in Events
You gotta go where the potential customers are. And for government work, what’s better than taking part in public sector events, such as trade shows, community events, holidays and the like?
Networking is already important in any type of marketing, but it’s double so for B2G marketing. It’s essential to develop your own market connections by meeting and getting acquainted with government employees. Getting a chance to interact directly with the public sector isn’t always easy, so it’s essential to take advantage of those opportunities when they come up.
The Sky is the Limit: Product Examples
So you know now what you need to do. But what types of products do government agencies want, really? You’d be surprised by the variety! From IT services to the marketing you’re already doing to physical products, there are a lot of requests. There’ll most likely be an RFP that caters to your exact type of service.
We’ve talked a lot about the do’s and don’ts so far, and you must be wondering: “Okay, but do they even do B2G marketing?” You betcha. We don’t just talk the talk, we have the work to show for it too. Over the past 4 years, we’ve completed more than 200 deliverables for government agencies and adjacent organizations. Here are some of our favorites:
eBooks for the city of San Carlos:
Product Landing Page for Tactiv
Brand guidelines for the US Department of Defense
And even a Quiz Mockup for Queensland Academies
If there’s a particular type of product your company excels at, chances are this is what will be the best way to put yourself in the spotlight and what you should bet on when searching RFPs. The government does serious work and the final product must be serious, but you should still have fun when creating content. Just like for any type of marketing, don’t make it bland; it might fall flat and you won’t stand out from anyone else.
Time to Roll Up Your Sleeves
B2G is a type of marketing different from, but just as rich and as important as, B2C and B2B marketing — even if it doesn’t get as much attention (yet). Many things can set it apart from its siblings, such as level of visibility, scope of work and the possibility of creating products that impact people in ways only the public sector could achieve.
Jumping into this exciting world can definitely be worth it, especially if you have the tips and tricks you need to feel confident. Let out your inner Leslie Knope and don’t be afraid to give it a try!