Anyone who has been in the B2B marketing space for a considerable amount of time, knows of its particular set of challenges. Unlike marketing to end consumers, B2B businesses need to outclass longer sales cycles, smaller target audiences, and higher purchase prices.
Challenges for B2B marketers are increasing in number with outdated marketing practices. So, here we are to present you with the most comprehensive guide on B2B inbound marketing to attract more targeted leads.
What is B2B Marketing?
Business-to-business marketing (popularly known as B2B marketing) refers to the promotion of products and services to other businesses and organizations. This marketing strategy is generally coupled with lengthy sale cycles, large volumes of orders, and opinions from multiple decision-makers.
It’s much different than B2C marketing or catering directly to consumers. Products available from stores like groceries or shoes fall under B2C while leather factories offering their leather products to those shoe manufacturers come under B2B.
B2B Marketing Strategies That Work
The success of a marketing strategy is largely dependent on its audience. While B2B and B2C marketing strategies vary from one other, not every element of B2B marketing material is alike either.
Closing a sale in the B2B market space tends to be a lengthier as compared to B2C. Business customers tend to know every detail of a product or service before making a purchase decision.
Impulse purchases are a rarity in the B2B domain. B2B customers often discuss the purchase with other decision-makers in their company. Hence, you may end up dealing with several people from the same organization before closing a sale.
Here are some B2B marketing strategies that work wonders.
Define Your Audience
Before moving any further, you must identify who your ideal customers are. You also need to gather the maximum amount of information about them. Start with the following questions:
- How do they spend their time?
- Where do they collect their information from?
- What products or services do they care about?
Buyer personas are regarded as the backbone of B2B inbound marketing strategies. By knowing who you are creating content for, you can more effectively convey your message through various content types.
Curate Content around Users’ Pain Points
Analyzing problems in the buyers’ purchase journey simplifies the process of providing value-adding solutions to them. Ask survey questions, conduct qualitative sales research, and use intent signals to identify customer pain points.
Once you are handy with this information, develop content that directly provides solutions to these complex problems. Only then will your target audience relate to your products and solutions and improve your customer satisfaction levels. This will eventually end up boosting sales.
Offer Downloadable Content to Capture Leads
Creating strategic, relevant, and thought-provoking premium content in the form of downloadable ebooks or case studies is a critical part of your branding strategy.
Premium downloadable content is generally more in-depth and insightful. It’s meant to capture leads based on similar intent as your business vision, thus growing your email list with targeted clients that are more likely to make a purchase.
Nurture Your Leads Along the Decision-making Process
You must take good care of your leads in an attempt to convert them into buying customers. This Is critical in the B2B inbound marketing journey, given that the lengthier sales cycles may force them to choose other vendors.
Educating them along the buyer journey offering complete transparency and end-to-end solutions through products and services can nurture your leads and urge them to stick along till the buying decision.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing as defined by HubSpot is a business methodology attracting customers with the creation of valuable content and experiences tailor-made for specific audiences. While outbound marketing occasionally irritates certain readers with content that they don’t always want, inbound marketing establishes connections with readers that solve problems they are already having.
The concept of attracting website traffic and leading them to become paying customers through valuable insights has been around for decades. However, the introduction of ‘inbound marketing’ has developed an actual foundation for the concept.
Analyzing the Inequalities Among Inbound and Outbound Marketing Tactics
Inbound marketing is the process involving the promoting of your website and business through various forms of quality content.
The idea behind inbound marketing is to produce relevant content that the customers would want to read. These useful content pieces attract visitors to your website, enhancing their engagement and converting them into loyal followers.
Outbound marketing is also coined as ‘interruption marketing’. This term is quite familiar with someone who has had his or her dinner interrupted by unwanted sales calls. As stated by David Scott, using inbound marketing, businesses can ‘find their way through’ as compared to outbound marketing where they ‘beg or bug their way in’ using traditional forms of advertising.
- Search engine optimization
- Email newsletters
- Social media
- Direct mail
- Cold calling
- Trade shows
- Radio ads
- Television ads
The Basics of Inbound Marketing for B2B Businesses
The concept of inbound marketing gained prominence as highlighted by the following data:
As per a survey conducted by HubSpot, nearly 51 percent of clients are unlikely to do business with companies after a negative experience. In fact, 93 percent of users agreed to become repeat customers at companies offering remarkable services.
The Flywheel concept came into existence as coined by Brian Halligan. It depicts that the change in a buyer’s journey is particularly identified at the latter half of the wheel. Rather than throwing customers to the extreme bottom of the funnel, the concept presents an idea of bringing them back.
The basic ideology of the Flywheel lies in the concept that happy clients account for newer customers. Hence, barring the concept of a sales funnel, more B2B companies started adopting the Flywheel circle.
Now, let’s take a look at the three components of the Flywheel concept:
- Attract: The idea, here, is to present consumers with the best possible content in a quest to educate them about company offerings. With more of this data, companies establish themselves as a trustworthy entity.
- Engage: In the ‘engage’ stage, the optimization of content involves more of offering solutions based on the pain points of target audiences. Aiming for these goals, the content projects out as informational, problem-solving, and appealing.
- Delight: Finally, after the lead acquisition process is completed, businesses must offer adequate help and support to bring smiles to customer’s faces. This paves a way to turn them into loyal buyers for your company.
Why is Inbound Marketing Effective for the B2B Industry?
When a company is in the attempt of establishing a relationship with another business, the focus is on providing value-adding products or services. Attempting to offer deliverables that matter to other businesses, the only way to convince vendors is by offering complementary solutions to their businesses. Often these services begin at the B2B marketers’ end much before companies start dealing with their brand.
The idea of inbound marketing is to build relationships with people you meet or interact with. Your aim is to let users know more about your brand’s authority and offerings. As an inbound marketer, your primary goal is to build up momentum to strengthen your business identity, offering free and valuable content to your target B2B market. This will eventually convince potential buyers of the specific services that they might have been looking for.
Build your Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a semi-virtual representation of the ideal customer group and its buying preferences. It also involves real data about the browsing history of existing and loyal customers. The buyer persona informs marketers and decision-makers about their prospective clients who analyze their options to address problems that these firms aim at resolving.
For a B2B inbound marketing agency, the creation of a buyer persona is extremely essential to recognize the target audience and their buying preferences. With this strategizing you will acquire high-value viewers, leads that can eventually convert into clients.
The key to building an ideal buyer persona involves:
- Looking at the contact database to identify the kinds of clients and prospects on board.
- Check the data collected from your website’s submitted forms and get ideas to develop new survey polls to collect more information from client companies.
- Get in touch with your sales team and gather feedback about the new leads generated. Check whether they go in alignment with the line of your business.
- Check with your clients to acquire feedback and suggestions on improving your products or services.
After gathering this information, it’s time to optimize your data-set and identify commonalities. Your Buyer Persona should comprise of the following:
- Demographics: Gender, geographical location, age, and other similar information
- Business background: Business profile and past records
- Company vision and goals
- Needs and requirements
- Pain points
Buyer Journey Development
Developing a buyer persona is crucial to know about the target audience of a specific organization. Alongside this ideation, it’s also vital to develop the buyer’s journey to identify relevant content that can be promoted at the right time period.
Let us define each funnel stage to better understand the activities that seem relevant to each stage position.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
This stage, also coined as awareness, aims at attracting the target audience through insightful content. Once users identify their problems, they expect business solutions to resolve their queries through comprehensive support or educational articles.
Your website content must stand out offering answers to specific questions or solutions to their pain points, without seeming to be a sales pitch.
The key elements in this stage are in the form of articles and social media posts, mainly aiming at spreading awareness about the brand through resourceful content.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
During the consideration stage, consumers are more focused on finding concrete solutions to their business challenges. In situations where they find obstacles, they expect firms to resolve queries through ‘know-how’ content and knowledge-based resources. This stage determines the conversion status of clients to a large extent.
Hence, companies resort to case studies and whitepapers, in this stage, demonstrating the method incorporated to offer end-to-end solutions.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
The decision stage sits in alignment with the ‘delight’ concept. This is the stage where you are to make your services stand out and impress your clients. They are already convinced by the solutions that you have offered. Hence, the offerings can be extended to a customized level increasing the possibilities of ‘a sale’ or the establishment of a long-term relationship.
This stage is generally accompanied by a free quotation template that can even come with added discounts or other benefits.
The Essential Elements of a B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy
Now we’ll define the key elements of your planning journey to craft the ideal B2B inbound marketing strategy. Pay heed to the following aspects.
1. Search Engine Optimization
A well-designed and structured website is vital for inbound marketing success. However, you could be missing out on important opportunities to drive traffic to your site without the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.
SEO is crucial in helping your site rank among the first few results in organic search. Many users do not go beyond the first page, sometimes not even beyond the first few search results. Hence, the higher that you rank as a potential solution to searchers’ specific pain points, the likelier you are to generate traffic.
An essential aspect of search engine optimization is to enhance the load speed, readability, and user experience of your site. All these optimization efforts result in continuous improvement making your site friendly for Google bots and also for our users. Your website becomes more dynamic and user-friendly, leading to enhanced lead attraction and conversion.
2. Landing Pages
The sole purpose of a landing page is to highlight the benefits of a specific offer and encourage web visitors to become leads. Once you have all the information from your background research, it’s time to put together a compelling form within your landing page.
However, you must ensure to follow the below-mentioned steps in creating the ideal landing page to reap benefits from your inbound marketing efforts.
A. Curate a Compelling Headline
As visitors reach your landing page, the first thing that they will encounter is your heading. Make sure to write a catchy yet informational title that will compel users to read on and find out what lies ahead on the webpage.
B. Clearly Convey the Value on Offer
Expressing the offered value on your landing page is key to its success.
Ever heard of the ‘Blink Test’? It states that businesses must convey their message and value before a user has the time to blink an eye. So, your creative mind must design a landing page that gets users engaged in a span of 3-5 seconds.
Failing to do this can result in losing out on a potential conversion. Typically, it takes only a ‘blink’ for someone to decide on staying on a landing page or not.
C. Design an Engaging Form
When you design the form for your landing page, be wary of the number of form fields that are being included. The form fields must correlate with every stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
- For an awareness section, you would want to keep the forms brief, asking for basic information like name and email address.
- As you move further down the funnel, the number of fields must be increased as leads are inching closer towards buying.
- At the decision stage, you’ll want to get maximum information from your leads to help your sales team understand the prospect and offer better solutions to close the sale.
3. Content Creation and Distribution
B2B customers rely heavily on expertise, are driven by data and logic, and desire to be educated about company offerings. What better marketing element to satisfy these priorities other than B2B content marketing?
A traditional PR marketing strategy interrupts a consumer’s daily routine with promotional material. Whereas, a content marketing strategy adds insights and relevant information for a B2B consumer educating him or her of relevant things about the brand. An added benefit? Content marketing goes hand-in-hand with SEO efforts, helping brands identify relevant search topics. This even allows companies to get themselves discovered among the ocean of businesses.
Content marketing is regarded as the most effective inbound strategy where companies align their content to various stages of their buyers’ journey. In fact, nearly 80 percent of decision-makers in businesses prefer to attain information from an article rather than an advertisement.
Strategizing content on the basis of user preferences is a key aspect of B2B inbound marketing. Use Google Analytics and similar tools to identify the most engaging pieces and curate similar content to enhance your target readers and leads. In fact, Content Marketing Institute tips ebooks and white papers (50 percent), case studies (47 percent), and social media posts (41 percent) as the most significant content types for B2B marketers.
4. Social Media Engagement
The notion of social media platforms are just for brands targeting their end consumers is not particularly correct. Nearly 75 percent of B2B buyers use social media while making a purchase decision.
However, most B2B organizations struggle to strike the right chord when it comes to social media marketing. It’s typically harder for B2B marketers to connect with other businesses on these platforms, the sale cycle being typically lengthier than B2C marketing.
Your social networking accounts might not convert at the same frequency as compared to content or email marketing. However, they’re equally important to expand your subscriber list. Social followers are just as valuable as other leads — you never know when they might convert into buying customers.
Social media is an extremely powerful tool for improving your brand awareness. This marketing hack allows your company with an online personality and gives a human touch to your business efforts. Both of these factors come across as powerful factors in terms of marketing and connecting with potential clients.
Content shared by employee advocates or CEOs often receives more engagement than content shared by agencies or brands. So, it’s advisable to involve yourself or your employees in your B2B social media marketing strategy.
Take a look at Neil Patel’s followers as compared to his agency, Neil Patel Digital to get an idea.
5. Paid Ads Campaigns
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great method to generate leads for companies in a short span of time. B2B businesses can boost their marketing efforts by running paid ads on Google where they can target active buyers, relevant to their line of business, who are searching for similar products or services as the company deliverables.
Another great option is to boost the content on social media platforms like Facebook and Linkedin to reach out to passive buyers, engaging and educating them about your brand.
This marketing element allows your content and company deliverables in front of new audiences through search engines and other advertising mediums. Marketing veterans advise maximizing PPC investments by offering much more than just the company’s products or services. Things like brand personality, blog or social media content, or even company tagline can be included in PPC campaigns.
The best way to obtain the ideal ROI from paid ads is by:
1) Incorporating buyer persona data.
2) Boosting content that customers can relate to
For instance, it’s pretty abnormal to think of a brand new customer who hasn’t even heard of your company to search for an exact product or service of yours. They may be on the internet with a location-based search query or a particular product feature. To cater to the maximum number of relevant clients, put your money to target category-based advertisement as compared to promoting a specific service.
6. Email Marketing and Lead Nurturing
With 4.3 billion people, almost half of the world population is set to be active email users by 2023.
Here’s how businesses can perform effective B2B email marketing.
A. Write Enticing Subject Lines
Treat your email subject lines as movie trailers. If you fail to engage readers with a two-minute clip or a few dozen characters, don’t keep false expectations from readers to open and read your emails.
With email open rates stuck at 17.13 percent, it’s detrimental for marketers to spend as much time on crafting subject lines as the email itself.
B. Limit Your Emails to One CTA
Take a look at a bunch of emails from your inbox. Many of them will contain multiple CTAs (call-to-action) to choose from. Don’t commit this mistake, urging your readers to hunt for the first CTA to click, ultimately clicking on nothing.
With one CTA per email, you present your audience with the scope to focus on the email content and finally one action to act upon. Both the checkboxes, ticked.
C. Segment Your Email for the Right Audience
Not every email is meant for everyone on your mailing list. Various subscribers may be present at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
This is where email list segmentation comes into the picture. Along with the perfect relevance to your audience, it provides that personal touch to your emails.
D. Design Responsive Email Layouts
A majority of email readers access their inboxes from mobile devices. Poor formatting and a lack of mobile responsiveness result in emails getting deleted in three seconds. Don’t let your email be one among those.
Wouldn’t it be ideal for your business if every lead that you generate, resulted in a buying customer?
Even if it may sound lucrative, the reality is that most of your leads require some nurturing to be accompanied along the buying journey. Luckily, inbound marketing can help.
When a prospect is inclined towards a business solution that is offered with respect to a specific challenge, you already have the information that you need to strengthen your connection.
Reach out to such specific leads in your marketing funnel on a constant basis with relevant content that answers their queries. The goal is to establish your business as an invaluable, expert resource and ultimately transform the prospect into a customer.
Consider all of the touchpoints including lead nurturing emails from a sales executive or automated workflows that can capture the contact information of prospects via a landing page or contact form. This targeted approach will keep your leads happy and ensure that they stay engaged throughout the sales funnel.
Marketing Automation in Inbound Marketing
Marketing automation is a powerful and practical strategy. This technology involves the usage of tools to automate marketing efforts. When marketing automation is combined with inbound marketing methods, it can offer leads a more personalized experience. The combined methodologies not only focus on generating leads and developing those leads but also increases the efficiency of companies.
Based on interactions with your website, inbound marketing automation is capable of sending personalized emails to each lead. This makes sure the delivery of content that will be liked by the leads. And all these can be done anytime and from anywhere.
Irrespective of your leads’ geographical location, you can engage with them easily. The method of inbound marketing automation can define leads based on their content needs and preference and can create an email workflow. The process also supports the journey of potential leads to be taken to the buying stage. With customized and unique content for each potential lead, marketing automation can convert leads to customers.
The marketing funnel is a visual representation to apprehend the process of converting leads into customers. The idea is to cast a broad net capturing as many leads as possible and educating them about the company’s offerings (awareness process). This is followed up with the gradual nurturing of customers leading them to the purchasing stage (decision-making process). With the advancement of deeper stages into the funnel, customers are narrowed down to discover the ideal matches for the business.
Marketing automation tools make difficult and repetitive tasks look easy by automating them. Scheduling posts and sending emails all is done automatically. This saves a huge chunk of your time while increasing productivity. The software is well aware of all the potential leads and the journey of the individual leads to the buying stage.
A marketing automation strategy should be implemented to save time, increase productivity, and scale down the possibilities of losing potential leads.
- First, you need to set ways to measure the results of the success of a marketing automation plan. Set specific, achievable, and relevant goals.
- It is then important to develop the automated content you will roll out in different stages. This will help acquire leads and furnish them with dynamic and tailored content and finally convert them to become a client.
- Finally, based on the results, periodic content optimization or a little tweak in the strategy will help to get the optimal results and the best out of inbound marketing automation technology.
Live Chat on Websites
Every lead visiting a website might have multiple questions about the products and services of the website. In this competitive market, it is of utmost importance to keep up with all the potential leads. You tend to fall behind if you fail to cater to their concerns or queries immediately. As a fix, a live website chat can serve as an excellent resort.
The introduction of chatbots can do wonders at this age of digital urgency. When customer support representatives are away at off-working hours, having chatbots in place can save firms from losing out on potential clients. Design your chatbot functionality to match user queries with relevant blog content or direct them to an FAQ section.
Customer satisfaction increases with the lesser time you take. As mentioned in Econsultancy, around 79 percent of the clients prefer live chats for quicker responses. For a similar set of questions and to deliver a faster solution, a well-designed chatbot solution is the way to go. Keep scripts handy to answer clients quickly.
Email automation is another practical strategy for marketing automation. With customized content, information, offers, and events, you can create and schedule multiple and unique mails for different leads.
As evident, email workflow is a key aspect of inbound marketing efforts. You need to optimize your content in a manner that attracts leads to open your emails. With multiple emails coming into our inbox every day, it becomes essential to grab the attention of the leads. This can be achieved by framing an attractive subject line.
Maintaining an email calendar is a good practice. It will help you become consistent with your email marketing efforts. Try and segment your email list based on groups with similar interests. This will streamline the email list in a much more organized manner.
Pay attention to urge users to be taken from the TOFU (awareness stage) to the BOFU (decision-making stage) in the funnel to leverage drip campaigns.
Drip campaigns are automated sets of emails sent out to users on the basis of user actions or specific timelines. They enable companies to stay engaged with clients based on particular events such as user sign-ups or the frequency of user visits to your sites.
B2B Inbound Marketing KPIs
“Strategy without tactics is a daydream; tactics without strategy is a nightmare.” – Mark Schmukler, CEO and co-founder of SageFrog.
Without the apt strategies and marketing KPIs, business owners would struggle to gather leads and enhance user engagement. Enlisted below are some of the most significant B2B marketing KPIs that are sure to scale your business.
1. Website Content
- Popular pages: This shows the traffic of different pages on the website.
- Return visits: This indicated the number of visitors that came back to the website within a specific time period
- Time on site: This highlights the amount of time spent by visitors on the website
- Unique visitors: This shows the number of visitors coming to the website for the first time.
- Downloadable content: This refers to content in the forms of ebooks, comprehensive guides, or even detailed surveys that are provided at the completion of form fill-ups. They help acquire client data, email addresses, and newer leads.
The various forms of website content allow companies to gauge their audience, their engagement with each content type, and also measure the performance of each content piece. This analysis helps ideate a better content strategy for the future.
2. Traffic Sources
- Direct traffic: This is the number of visitors who visit the website by directly typing the website address in their browser
- Organic Traffic: This gives you the number of visitors who visits the website through search engine results
- Paid traffic: This indicated the number of visitors through tracked and specific campaigns
- Social traffic: This is the number of visitors that land on the website through any social media post or stories.
- Email traffic: This is the number of visitors visiting the website from generated emails and newsletters.
- Referral traffic: This is the number of users that visit the website by clicking links from other websites
Monitoring the traffic sources provides light on the best-performing channels for a firm’s inbound marketing efforts.
3. Paid Ads campaigns
- Impressions: This is the number of times the network displayed your ads
- Click: This is the total number of times people clicked on your ads
- Total spend: This indicates the total amount of money you have spent on a campaign
- Cost per click (CPC): This represents the total cost each time anyone clicks your ad
- Leads: This is the total number of visitors converted into leads.
- Cost per lead (CPL): This is the total cost incurred for each lead
- Conversion rate: This is the referred to the number of visitors who are completing a particular action (a conversion) as compared to the total number of inbound visitors.
4. Email Marketing
- List size: This is the number of subscribers on your mailing list.
- Delivery rate: This is the total number of emails delivered to subscribers.
- Email open rate: This is the ratio of the number of emails opened to the number of emails delivered.
- Click-through rate (CTR): This is the percentage of clicks on the email link to the number of opened or delivered mails.
- Spam rate: This indicates the rate of the number of subscribers who receive emails as spam.
- Unsubscribe rate: This highlights the rate at which people unsubscribe from your mailing list.
- Conversion rates: This is the number of people who make a purchase or become clients by clicking the link in the emails sent.
5. Content Marketing
- Downloads: This highlights the number of times visitors provided their contact details to download a pdf, attend a webinar or event, or access any form of content
- Marketing qualified leads (MQL): This is the number of leads that are likely to become customers.
- New leads: This indicates the number of visitors who subscribe to your email list while engaging with your content.
- Organic traffic: This is the number of visitors who found your website by searching a keyword on your content.
- Pages per session: This is the number of pages a visitor visits within an interval of 30 minutes.
- Time on page: This is the amount of time spent on your blog.
Client Value: This represents the total amount you spend with each client.
- ROI: This highlights the return on investment that helps to decide if it makes sense to launch a campaign.
How Dintellects Helps B2B Companies to Grow?
Dintellects Solutions is an end-to-end marketing agency boasting a plethora of professional services to help B2B businesses to scale their growth with a data-driven approach. Here’s how you can benefit from Dintellects’ offerings.
Planning for Effective Inbound Marketing Strategies
Search Engine Journal states that inbound leads cost almost 61 percent less than outbound leads. From a recent survey conducted by HubSpot, nearly 59 percent of marketers vouched for inbound leads that finally convert into sales as compared to 16 percent of marketers who regarded outbound leads as more beneficial.
Dintellects tips inbound marketing strategies as one of the more cost-effective resources that generate a higher ROI in the long run. These strategies involve the acquisition of qualified prospects and using helpful and relevant content offerings to generate leads. This targeted approach adopted by Dintellects Solutions results in converting more leads into purchasing customers, thus boosting sales.
Generating Sales Through Qualified Leads
A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a user who has expressed interest in buying or interacting with your product, service, or website. An SQL is acquired and developed through effective inbound marketing strategies and is then qualified for conversion.
Dintellects gets all of this under its belt, sending out insightful emails for outreach and collaborations, tracks lead flow, and seamlessly aligns sales and marketing efforts.
Timing it Perfectly for the Right Target Audience
Dintellects markets to the right sets of people (identifying its buyer persona) at the right time (according to the buying stage). All of our work is data-driven, allowing us to analyze which clients to market to and how to approach their concerns (adhering to their pain points).
Customers are open to advertising. However, they are only relevant as long as they aren’t invasive. The end consumer desire to derive some value from them. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that three out of four people preferred few yet personalized ads. Brands investing in ad personalization are more likely to create and cultivate profitable relationships with customers.
Transparent Work Process and Efficient Project Management
While some business owners feel that providing transparency poses risks to certain projects, the benefits of having a transparent work model can outweigh various project risks.
Dintellects comes with a dedication of trust and teamwork, timely delivery, and dedicated project managers. Not only does this boost your campaign with a personal approach, it even provides you with complete freedom and clarity on your project progress.
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