The traditional way of doing marketing – outbound marketing – involved things like advertising and cold calling, methods meant to grab the world’s attention. Inbound marketing refers to things you do to draw customers to you.
But does this practice work for business-to-business companies the same way it does for business-to-consumer companies? Let’s look at some numbers:
- Nearly three quarters of business-to-business marketers use content marketing to generate leads.
- 43 percent of B2B companies have acquired customers from Facebook.
- People are more likely to visit a B2B company’s website after seeing a tweet from them.
Content marketing, Facebook, Twitter: these are all tools used by companies to do inbound marketing. Let’s look at four ways you can use inbound marketing techniques to reach your potential clients.
Make Relevant, Interesting Content
Inbound marketing starts with good content: posts on your company blog, white papers, e-books, newsletters, and videos, all of it shared on your social media channel, and all of it entertaining and useful to your audience.
The potential customers visiting your site aren’t always at the stage of the buyer’s journey where they’re ready to buy. They may have found you because they have a problem they’re looking to solve. We’re not saying you can’t use your site to share news about what your business is doing. But you should try to vary your content so that you’re reaching people in all stages of the journey from lead to customer.
For example, the first stage of the buyer’s journey is called the awareness stage. It refers to the idea that your potential customer is aware they have a problem. The content you create in this stage should be focused on solving that problem.
If you were a company that provides paper products to the restaurant industry, you could create an ebook on ways for kitchen managers to better organize their supplies. It doesn’t tell them why your company is the best at what it does – that content comes later – but it does show that you’re knowledgeable in your field.
Be Social On Social Media
Social media gives you a chance to share the content you’ve created elsewhere – images and videos should be particularly popular – but it also lets you engage with your customers. Answer their questions, and listen to what they’re talking about. The more you engage with fans of your company, the more likely they are to share what you do with others.
Make Sure Your Leads Are Able To Find You
Once you’ve got your content machine up and running, you need to be sure visitors can find what you’ve created. That happens through the magic of search engine optimization, commonly known as “SEO.” This is the practice of populating your site with keywords and phrases that people might search for a connection to your business.
A tool such as Google Adwords can help you determine which keywords are right for your company. It’s important to be specific. For example, the restaurant supply company we mentioned earlier couldn’t rely on “restaurants” to draw people in. And if your company mostly does business on a local level, be sure you have keywords that reflect your location.
Turn Visitors Into Leads, And Nurture Them
As visitors come to your site, you can offer them incentives to get them to stay awhile longer. These incentives can include downloadable content such as e-books, whitepapers, case studies, or anything else that you can use to request someone’s name, email, or any contact information that your marketing team can share with your sales department.
When you get that contact information, send a follow-up email with related content to help keep your company fresh in their minds.
If your B2B company is ready to embrace the world of inbound marketing, get in touch with IQnection. Our team of marketing experts can help you create content that speaks to their needs and wants, so that you’re bringing customers in, not going out into the world and hoping your message is heard.