Driving prospects to your online resources such as your website, is often considered a more effective marketing method than overt advertisements. This is because inbound marketing tactics allow consumers time to familiarize themselves with your brand and its offerings before they decide where to spend their money. This increases the likelihood that visitors to your website already have an active interest in your brand, fueled by their own research.
This is particularly important in B2B Lead generation, where long sales cycles tend to be the norm. as such, every opportunity a b2b prospect has to interact with your content, email, ppc ad, etcetera, represents a chance for them to find out more before they contact you.
Consider for instance, if a prospect learns about your brand or product through a tv advert. If they walk into your offices without any further research, your conversation with them will start from basics; you have to tell them everything they would have otherwise read on your website. This prolongs the amount of time you need to convince the prospect to convert. On the other hand, if they visit your website before meeting you, you can shorten this period significantly.
In this article, we will discuss how to generate inbound leads through inbound marketing techniques such as email marketing, social media (especially LinkedIn), ppc, content marketing, retargeting, SEO, marketing automation and content syndication. But before we go into that, below is a roundup of b2b marketing trends that demonstrate the importance of the inbound methods mentioned above:
- Social media marketing continues to be a key lead generation technique for b2b. A report from LinkedIn shows that 50% of b2b traffic is generated from LinkedIn. (Source: LinkedIn)
- Content marketing. Blogging is a top priority for 61% of marketing professionals (source: Hubspot State of Inbound 2018)
- 3 out of 4 web visitors pay attention to retargeting ads. Retargeting increases the likelihood of conversion by up to 70%. (source: Invespcro)
- SEO affects search and brand perception. Appearing on search results will improve your brand perception by 30%. (source: SEO Tribunal)
- Ppc advertising can increase brand reach, awareness and growth. 45% of small business owners use ppc to stimulate business growth. Those investing in Google Ads alone gain access to a network of over 2 million websites. (Source: Serpwatch)
- B2B audiences value information they receive through business emails, while marketers prefer it due to its high ROI, among other reasons. 59% marketers achieved highest ROI with email marketing. Due to this and other benefits, 25% of marketers have plans to spend more on email marketing. (Source: MyEmma, 2018 email marketing report)
9 must have inbound marketing tactics
There are many unique tactics that fall under the umbrella of inbound marketing. These include:
Every time you visit the offices of a company you intend to do business with, you rate that business based on how they receive you and treat you. Even simple things like offering you a cup of coffee count. You also judge them by how much content they offer you, and the value of that content. In the same way, when people visit your website, their conversion from prospect, to lead, to customer, depends on whether they will find what they are looking for. They will perceive your brand negatively if they don’t find useful content.
To increase website traffic, you not only need to publish quality content, but you need to do so consistently. After that, check in regularly to engage with any visitors who have commented, liked, shared or downloaded. Content marketing is an effective b2b lead generation strategy particularly if you employ its multiple forms. Don’t just focus on blog articles; create videos, infographics, white papers, etcetera.
Search engine optimization
SEO is an inbound marketing method that works by driving traffic organically to your website. SEO involves optimizing the content and structure of your website, thereby increasing the chances that your website will rank higher on search engines.
Search engine algorithms can identify websites with optimized structures, which they then rank before other websites. This is because optimized websites are identified as being more user friendly to web visitors. Content optimization is also a factor when it comes to ranking. When you create content, you have to optimize it with relevant keywords so that it can be easily found. You will lose business if visitors can’t find you.
Unlike SEO and content marketing, ppc is a paid inbound advertising tactic. It works by targeting web visitors who conduct searches relevant to the keywords you specify in your advertisement. PPC has several advantages such as:
- It can work for small or big budgets
- Targeting parameters such as geography, language, age, time, among others, ensure that you can identify your most valued leads and market to them anywhere in the funnel.
- Flexibility to test different marketing messages easily, allowing you to customize and test until you find the message that works
- The results are visible immediately
- PPC is measurable. You can quantify the number of leads you receive for every dollar spent.
Note that for PPC to be effective, you need to optimize your campaigns. Additionally, it’s always best to combine ppc campaigns along with other tactics such as content marketing. PPC will lead customers to your website but once there, your content is what will keep them interested.
Growth-driven web design
Web design has come a long way. Traditional website building techniques produce websites that are rarely scalable and that don’t adapt with agility to data-driven insights. If the design of your website doesn’t include aspects meant to improve customer experience, you will have a problem converting more leads. As such, web design should be growth-driven. Growth-driven web design is smart and it achieves the following:
- A systematic approach that minimizes risk. It takes a shorter time from creation to launch, and the design is geared for results.
- There is room for continuous improvement through testing and research.
- Integration with sales and marketing. This helps all stakeholders to align their lead generation strategies, monitor campaign results, discuss performance and make decisions that support business goals.
Social media marketing
As mentioned above, quality content is important for generating quality leads. But without effective content promotion, your content may not reach its intended target. This is where social media comes in. Through social media, you can attract new prospects or engage with returning customers. you can also exploit new upselling opportunities.
Although there are many social media channels to choose from, LinkedIn is usually the preferred choice for b2b. Nevertheless, your choice of platform should depend on the customer profiles you have built. If your personas are inclined to platforms other than LinkedIn, then that is where you should focus your efforts.
Note: Avoid stretching yourself too thin; instead of marketing on many social media platforms, focus on one or two that will give you the best leads.
Once you capture leads through your lead gen forms on your website and social media channels, you need to nurture them through one on one engagement. Email marketing is a great way to do that, as you can send tailored messages directly to your leads’ and prospects’ inboxes. You can send newsletters, blog posts, whitepapers or invites to webinars and events. Email is also a good method for appointment setting, given the high open rate experienced when emails are optimized.
Retargeting is an inbound tactic that nurtures leads on external channels. Not all visitors who come to your website will convert during their first visit. Some of them may even convert after multiple visits. But just because a visitor exits your website, doesn’t mean that you have lost them forever. They may exit because they need to do more research, they didn’t see what they were looking for, they ran out of time, etcetera.
The point is, whatever the reason for a visitor leaving your website, you can always guide them back by advertising relevant products, services or content to them on other websites or apps. This is called retargeting.
Retargeting works because it focusses on visitors who have already declared interest in your offering.
As you accumulate content on your blog, your company’s reputation as an industry leader will continue to grow online. Top online publications and websites are always looking for publications from industry experts. Publishing your content on such websites will give your brand additional exposure with very little effort. Some examples of content syndication sites include:
- Free platforms such as slideshare, medium, growth.org, etcetera
- Paid platforms such as Taboola and Outbrain
- Social media platforms such as Facebook business and LinkedIn
Marketing automation is not an inbound marketing tactic per se, but as it is instrumental to every online campaign, we cannot fail to mention it.
Marketing campaigns are a lot of work: You need to send emails, schedule blog and social media posts and create workflows. As well, data can accumulate quite fast especially when your lead generation efforts start to pay off. This can leave you with a lot of manual work to do, which can impede your marketing efforts.
After you initiate your campaigns, marketing automation software will ease the effort you invest in planning, organizing, optimizing, execution, performance monitoring, reporting and analysis. Marketing automation software can also capture leads automatically, freeing your time for other tasks.
Have you tried any of these inbound lead generation techniques? If your answer is “yes” and you are deploying every campaign in the right way, you have probably started getting results. But, if your ROI hasn’t been encouraging up to this point, you shouldn’t give up. This performance could be attributed to the following;
- You have not been running your inbound campaigns long enough to see results. Besides ppc which produces results within a shorter time, the other tactics can take some time to bear fruit.
- You have not optimized your campaigns. For instance, your target focus could be too wide or you could be using keywords with lower search volume.
Success doesn’t come overnight. You need to be patient, remain consistent, test and change tact where necessary. Your efforts will pay off if you follow these principles. That said, if your challenge is lack of time or skill needed to run effective campaigns, you can always outsource your lead generation.
Also published on Medium.