If you’re a marketer and you’re paying attention, you know that traditional marketing (outbound) has taken a back seat to inbound marketing in terms of effectiveness and ROI. Even if you’re armed with this knowledge, you still might be wondering how customer acquisition and B2B marketing can be accomplished through inbound. The following B2B marketing tips demonstrate how inbound can result in successful lead generation.
Embrace the true meaning of inbound marketing
Your marketing team should know what actually qualifies as inbound marketing, and what qualifies as a spammy marketing ploy disguised as a blog post. Done wrong, inbound marketing could result in futile effort, and no return.
True inbound marketing gives your target audience something they want – that’s what makes it work. If you’re not meeting your customers where they are by creating quality content that supports their interests, then you won’t generate the organic following inbound is known for. From there, your business builds its reputation as knowledge leaders in the industry, and eventually your audience will see your product/service as something worthwhile.
By definition, “marketing” is self-serving; the whole point is to generate revenue for the business it supports. However, inbound marketing acts more like a customer advocate, and less like a pushy salesman.
Your blog is important
Now that you know what inbound marketing should look like for your business, it’s time to use your blog to drive lead acquisition – aka, content marketing. Information is being consumed faster and more digitally than ever. Any inquiry can be answered in seconds with a few clicks or swipes. Use this to your advantage, and make your company the industry authority through valuable blog content. A company blog allows you to extend beyond the products and services pages of your site, and get into the “why” of your product/service instead of the “what”. It gives you a platform to be the customer advocate.
Not only does a blog bring traffic to your website, but it can give your company instant credibility by showing your expertise, and not just selling it. Use your blog to address a potential customer’s pain points, and provide solutions. What is your target audience “Googling”, and how can you create content around this topic so they will find you?
Once you unlock the answer for your company, your blog can turn into a sales funnel. How? Call to action at the end of every post. Make an offer, give the reader a chance to learn more in exchange for their contact information, create a subscription feature – the opportunities are endless, so don’t miss out on the chance to make your blog a lead generation machine.
Visual is better
Let’s talk about infographics. They’re informative, easily shareable, and (let’s face it) pretty to look at. Not to mention, infographics are a quick way to digest information that might take a few hundred words to explain in a normal blog post. Humans are becoming increasingly visual, so incorporating visual elements into your content will bolster your inbound marketing efforts.
Creating visual anecdotes for your blog content, or even standalone infographics is time consuming, make no mistake. However, the extra energy it takes to consistently infuse imagery into your marketing strategy will be worth it, especially if it helps your content go viral.
Social media is your friend
Social media is no longer just a vehicle for teenage gossip, but is a legitimate B2B marketing tool. Ads are becoming smarter, and more in line with what the businesses who buy them want: customer acquisition, not just engagement metrics. Outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn now offer objective-based advertising methods to ensure your reach your audience and can run revenue-generating campaigns.
For a specific example, look at Twitter Cards: this form of advertising is displayed just like a promoted tweet, but expands to reveal an offer to sign up, and is already auto-populated with the user’s name, email and Twitter handle. That’s just two clicks and you’ve got yourself a new lead.
When considering social media in your inbound marketing strategy, don’t count out LinkedIn. Although it has significantly less users than Facebook and Twitter, it is the premier platform when it comes to B2B marketing and customer acquisition. That’s because the mindset of LinkedIn users is less consumer-driven, and more business-related. LinkedIn users aren’t viewing business marketing as spam, but as a learning resource. Utilizing LinkedIn’s Lead Collection, direct ads, and sponsored updates can prove more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter combined.
For inbound marketing to be successful in generating leads, you must offer content that connects with your audience, delivering genuine value to prospective customers. Over time this approach will build trust in your company at large, and be your best asset in acquiring new business.