B2B Marketing Blog

John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction –  creating killer landing pages

Landing pages are a core element in any lead generation campaign. A good landing page will capture prospective customers and help you convert them into leads.
Time and again, we see a misuse of this tool resulting in poor conversion rates and a baffled marketing manager, not sure when things went south.
The good news is that there are 5 rules of thumb which can help you create a killer landing page and increase conversion rate:

 

Rule No.1: Follow up on your promise

Most visitors arrive on landing pages from these main sources:

  • From your website
  • Paid ads
  • Email campaign
  • Social media post

Make sure that the content of your invite to the page is in line with the content on your page. Do not take this lightly – if a person on your website reads a blog post that invites them to download an eBook, the designated landing pages must deliver on that promise and revolve around that same eBook. A different offer would damage your credibility and will result in very poor conversion rates.

Rule No.2: No distractions!

Remember: you brought visitors to your landing page for one purpose: to turn them into quality leads by filling out the form on your page.

Be sure to eliminate any distractions that tempt your visitor leave the page. Remove the navigation bar that is normally on your website.

Here is an example of a landing page on our website:

 

 

As you can see the navigation bar that would normally be at the header or our website is gone.

Do not use any links that could encourage the visitor to leave. If you must use links, make sure they will open in a new tab and not make the user leave altogether.

Rule No.3: Keep the page as simple as possible

Be brief and to the point.

The basic structure should be:

  • A clear headline
  • A brief paragraph explaining your offer
  • A few bullet points describing the benefits of the offer (check out rule No.4 to learn more about this)
  • A Form
  • A clear Call To Action (CTA)

Remember – less is more!

Rule No.4: Describe benefits not features

Every landing page should contain a brief description of your special offer. Instead of focusing on the technical details/specifications/features of your offer, tell your visitor how these features will help make his/her life better.

Be sure you understand what the value of your offer is to your visitor.

A test I always find useful is the “so what” test, which I learned about in a book called “make your words sell” by Ken Evoy.

For example, if you are offering an eBook about lead generation you could describe it as:

The mechanics of lead generation

So what? 

How to generate leads

Getting better but still, So What?

We’ve compiled the 30 greatest lead generation lessons in this brand new guide, so you can start reeling in those leads.

Can you ask So what about that? It’s pretty clear what you’re getting right?

Rule No.5: Create a follow up thank you page

Once a visitor fills out the form and converts in a lead, make it a rule to always direct them to a “thank you page”.

There are two benefits here:

  • it’s polite
  • You can use this as an opportunity to promote another offer. In the following example, when an visitor leaves their details on our website we invite them to receive a free marketing consultation:

 

Always aim to extend your funnel.


Conclusion –  creating killer landing pages

In order to create killer landing pages you should always:

  1. Follow up on your promise
  2. Keep your visitor on your landing page – No distractions!
  3. Keep the page as simple as possible
  4. Describe benefits not features
  5. Create follow up landing pages

Have any more killer tips to share! Let us know..

If you found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to improve your lead generation, we invite you to download our ’30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, & Ideas’ eBook.

Get My FREE copy

 

 

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction – CTA

Calls-to-action (CTA) can make or break your conversion rates. They are the bottom line of your landing page effort. Effective CTAs will capture the attention of your prospective customers and should persuade them to click.

CTAs are mainly used on:

  • display ads
  • product pages
  • email marketing
  • social media
  • direct mail
  • …anywhere you market your offers.

Follow these guidelines to create persuasive, attention grabbing CTAs

 

Location, Location, Location

Make sure your CTA is visible, aim to place at least one CTA above the fold of your landing page.
When visitors need to scroll down in order to see your CTA, your conversion rates will drop. It’s pure math.

Use Contrasting Colors

At any stage of the funnel (display ad, landing page, etc) the CTA should be the first thing an observer lay eyes on, before proceeding to read your offer.

It should stand out with a contrasting color to the rest of your page/ad.

Using colors that do not contrast is a great waste – your CTA will drown out and your conversion rates will drop dramatically.

Always make sure your CTA stands out – we cannot stress this enough!

Write clear and compelling copy

Don’t be dull. If you’re offering a free eBook, don’t write something like “Download Now” or god forbid “Send” or “Submit”. Be very clear about the offer. Stress that it is free. Write FREE in capital letters. A compelling CTA for a free eBook would be for example “Claim you FREE eBook”.

Bonus Tip: Always Deliver!

Once a visitor clicks on a top of the funnel CTA and reaches your offer page, make sure the offer page is in harmony with the CTA from where the visitor arrived.

For example, if a visitor clicks on a free eBook display ad, make sure the next thing they see is a product page with the free eBook offer. Do not let your visitors down. They will not hesitate to abandon your offer page if you do not follow up on your promises and CTAs. Building trust is crucial if you’re looking for meaningful conversions.

Here are some more Landing Pages best practices:

5 Rules of thumb for killer landing pages

Conclusion 

In order to create attention grabbing, persuasive CTAs you should always:

  • Make your CTA visible
  • Use contrasting colors
  • Write clear and compelling
  • Always deliver

Have any more rocking CTA tips? Let us know…

If your found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to improve your lead generation, we invite you to download our 30 greatest lead generation tips tricks and ideas eBook.

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

When setting up a new Facebook page or Facebook ad campaign, it’s best to use recommended image sizes in order to present pixel perfect results. Bear in mind, sometime an image will appear perfect on a desktop view and will be distorted on mobile. A blurred image can harm your conversion rates and simply look unprofessional.

This post will summarize the most common image sizes you should always ask your graphics designer to stick to.

Cover Photo and Profile photo sizes

 

Clicks to Website: Links/ Website Conversions

Design Specs:

Image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
Image ratio: 1.9:1
Text: 90 characters
Headline: 25 characters
Link description: 30 characters
Your image may not
include more than 20%
text.

Display Specs:

Desktop News Feed
Image: 470 x 246 pixels
Text: 500 characters
Headline: 1-2 lines
Link description: 2-3 line
Mobile News Feed
(on mobile devices with a screen size of
1,136 x 640 pixels)
Image: 560 x 292 pixels
Text: 100 characters
Headline: 1-2 lines
Link description: 1 line
Right Column
Image: 254 x 133 pixels
Text: 90 characters
Headline: 25 characters

If you’re designing a Facebook ads image, do not take the “no more than 20% text” rule lightly. Facebook will not approve an image with more text and they are NOT joking about this (they explain the idea is to keep images clean an not over-commercial).

In order to check whether an image includes more than 20% text, you can use this tool.

Clicks to Website: Multiple Product

Design Specs:

Image size: 600×600 pixels
Image ratio: 1:1
Text: 90 characters
Headline: 25 characters
Link description: 30 characters
Your image may not
include more than 20%
text.

Display Specs:

Desktop News Feed
Image: 200 x 200 pixels
Text: 500 characters
Headline: 1-2 lines
Link description: 1 line
Mobile News Feed
(on mobile devices with a screen size of
1,136 x 640 pixels)
Image: 460 x 460 pixels
Text: 120 characters
Headline: 1-2 lines
Link description: 1 line
Right Column
This placement is not available
for multi-product ads.

 

Page Post Engagement: Photo

Design Specs:

Image size: 1,200 x 900 pixels
Image ratio: 4:3
Right column image size: 254×133
Right column image ratio: 1.9:1
Text: 90 characters
Your image may not
include more than 20%
text.

Display Specs:

Desktop News Feed
Image: up to 470 pixels wide,
470 pizels tall
Text: 500 characters
Mobile News Feed
(on mobile devices with a screen size of
1,136 x 640 pixels)
Image: Up to 626 pixels wide,
840 pixels tall
Text: 110 characters
Right Column
Image: 254 x 133 pixels
Text: 90 characters

Conclusion 

This list should cover the basic most common image sizes you need to know.

If you’d like to learn more, we’ve compiled a complete cheat sheet for Facebook image sizes.

Click bellow to receive your FREE copy.

Get My FREE CheatSheet

 

 

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction – how to define your buyer persona

When implementing an inbound marketing campaign, the first things you have to understand are your current and prospective customers’ needs, behaviors, demographics, challenges, and motives. In other words, what is going to make these customers engage with your content. As we will elaborate, the best way to go about this is to map out your ideal customer personas and truly understand what their needs and challenges are. Here is how to define your buyer personas simplified.

 

Building Customer Buyer Personas

The first thing you have to do is narrow down your target audience based on their demographics and psychographics. Always remember that your customers, whether current or prospective, are your most valuable asset and will be the reason behind your success or failure. Research every single factor related to them whether it is their age ranges, education, housing/location, occupations, means of transport, family status, and leisure activities. It is important that you understand their attitude, personality, opinions, value systems, and interests.

By understanding this info, you can extract who your ideal customer personas are and create content tailored for them.

We can use a divide and rule policy – whereby we are splitting our target customers into different personas and attacking each of the personas with tailor made content targeting their specific needs. Using personas and dedicated content for each of the personas helps keep your content relevant and engaging.

What are the sources through which we can identify customer needs?

  •  Speak with current customers – send them surveys asking about their hobbies, occupation and family status. Find out why they chose your company, what are the benefits that appealed to them.
  • Analyze your website’s Google Analytics – check the demographics of your current traffic. Crosscheck what you already know about your customers.
  • Speak with your sales team – find out who they think the best customers are and what they already know about them and their habits.
  • Search social media and visit Q&A websites such as Quora – search for question that you believe your target customers would be interested in discussing. This will help you brainstorm, as well as to understand the slang of your prospects.
  • Search Google – find out average annual incomes, hobbies and interests.
  • Read Industry research reports, papers and presentations, news articles and industry expert interviews.

Sometimes, you will have to make educated judgements based on partial information available from research. Don’t hesitate to do that.

Execution

You should end up with a table such as this:

Persona Fictional Name Age Family Status Occupation Yearly Income Challenges What experience they seek Where do they go for information
               
               

Let’s take for example, an imaginary business to business (B2B) company that provides advanced web software development services.

Let’s call it ImagineTech.

ImagineTech provide solutions for companies that want to outsource complex developments. Their customers are mainly CTOs, product managers and R&D managers.

Here is ImagineTech’s target persona table:

Persona Fictional Name Age Family Status Occupation Yearly Income Challenges What experience they seek Where do they go for information
Joe CTO 40-50 Married +3 CTO at high-tech company USD$200K Time to market, Scalability He wants to deliver great products. He is looking Experts who will take full responsibility and threat his company product as their own. Business publications such as Forbes, Harvard Business Review
Product Penny 30-40 Married VP Product at a high-tech company USD$100K Prioritizing potential features, balancing business and development Wants to make sure she is outsourcing to a company that can deliver and is on the same page as her. Tech sites such as Mashable, TechCrunch
Business sites such as: Business Insider, Harvard Business Review
RND Andy 30-40 Single R&D Director or Manager at a high-tech company USD$120K Delivery, Quality and constant last minute issues A company that will be capable of solving urgent complex issues Tech sites such as TechCrunch, Ingadget

Conclusion

Understanding your different target personas helps in creating high quality content and messages which appeal exactly to a specific segment.

When you think about it, what is the point of spending money on marketing and content if your target audience isn’t interested in it? 

Next, read more on  how to reach your target audience using Inbound Marketing.

Have any insights? Please let us know.

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction

To reach your target audience using inbound marketing boils down to content. Here’s inbound marketing, simplified:

You have to present the right content to the right audience via the right medium at the right time.

 

At the end of the day, you reach your target audience members when you “feed” them the types of content they are seeking either directly on search engines or indirectly by congregating in social media communities.

How do you do that though?

The practical, inbound approved approach to reaching your target audience involves 4 steps:

  1. Identify your buyer personas
  2. Find out what their needs and challenges are
  3. Conduct keyword research
  4. Create and share content

Here are the basics….

Identify your buyer personas

To get a clear idea of how to reach your target audience, you first need to have a good grip on who they are. If you think your target audience is “everyone” – stop right there! You’re being way too general. Research and identify who your ideal customer groups are. This is what we in inbound marketing call buyer persona development.

Generally, you should find out what their demographics and psychographics are. What do they read? What groups do they identify themselves with? Why? What social media websites do they “hang out” in?

Take your time to do research, interview your current customers, find data and insights for your industry and create a set of buyer persona narratives that account for the unique environments these audiences live in.

Be thorough. For example, saying that your target market is parents is not good enough. Parents of teens face different challenges than, say, parents of infants. Busy career-oriented parents have different interests from homeschooling, homemaking parents.

Find out what their needs and challenges are

Identify the unique challenges and interests of your target audience. Speak to current customers, do research online and study your target audience.

Search social media and visit Q&A websites, such as Quora, and search for question that you believe your target customers would be interested in discussing. This will help you brainstorm, as well as understand the language your prospects use.

Let’s say you are marketing a homeschool planner app and your mission is to help simplify homeschool life and day-to-day management. You know that homeschool parents have a lot on their plate, from teaching and recordkeeping, to lunches, to play dates. You know that they are struggling with time management and daily parenting challenges.

Conduct keyword research

Jot down a few keyword ideas based on how you think your audiences will search for your content. Next, plug those keywords in Google Keyword Planner to compile a list of long-tail keywords that have the highest search stats (low competition doesn’t hurt either). Don’t forget the value semantics play both for readers and search engines and add related keywords to your list. Prioritize your keywords identifying primary and secondary key phrases that you will use in your content.

Create and share content

When you know who your target audience is, what challenges they are dealing with, and what keywords they are searching for on search engines, you can create the content that they look for and ultimately put it in front of them.

Your content should be relevant and aim to help your target audience overcome their challenges and meet their needs.

Back to the homeschool planner app example, you can create blog posts and articles about day-to-day homeschool management, share them on Facebook and create Pinterest graphics for them, pointing them back to your blog. You can also make a video of your app and guest post on other homeschool sites.

Conclusion

Once you understand who your target audience is, the way to reach and connect with them is by creating and sharing content that is relevant to their needs and challenges.

Of course, reaching your target audience is not enough, turning strangers into customers requires patience and hard work.

Have any more inputs? please let us know in the comments.

If your found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting inbound marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an inbound marketing strategy.

 

Get My FREE copy

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction

Persuading top level management to adopt Inbound Marketing can be a challenge. They want hard numbers. They want bottom line forecasts. And they are not wrong to inquire why exactly they should give you an inbound budget. To get the buy-in from top-level executives you need to show that inbound marketing can generate ROI.

Here’s how.

 

1. Arm yourself with numbers that tell your current marketing story

Get relevant data and compile a report that shows your current marketing ROI. This will provide you with a starting point to entice a discussion as well as give you a baseline that you can use to set goals. Is your company even tracking marketing ROI in the first place? Use your company goals as a lead-in to the role Inbound may play going forward.

2. Bring in the statistics

You won’t have your own inbound statistics until you get the opportunity to adopt it, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t share industry data. In fact, this may be the quickest route to a buy-in. Your boss doesn’t want to be left behind when every other company jumps on the inbound train.
Here are a few key stats to start you off:

  • Companies that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t.
  • Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.
  • Content Marketing Institute reports that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles vs. an advertisement
  • 77% of CMOs at top performing companies indicate that their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to increase revenue

3. Get the social proof

Back up the validity of stats with real life examples and testimonials. Find real case studies and testimonials on inbound software and inbound consulting sites. Find a case of a company in your industry getting ROI from Inbound Marketing; it may be just what your top execs need to see.

4. Discuss Inbound/Outbound differences and offer a cost-benefit analysis

Explain that outbound marketing involves paying for ads, telemarketing, or direct mail in hopes of getting a response, while inbound allows you to build a sales funnel and have leads engage with your content and start a conversation with your brand because they want what you have in the first place.

In other words, outbound marketing is an expense because ads only attract attention as long as you pay for them. Inbound is an investment because you are creating valuable content that your target audience will appreciate again and again.

Read more about Inbound Marketing:
How Can I Reach My Target Audience Using Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing Vs. PPC

5. Show bottom line projections

Make estimates based on your experience, current data and Inbound ROI goals and compile a forecast detailing implementation timeframes and costs as well as revenue estimates. How will your leads increase if the company implements your Inbound strategy? What will the cost per lead be? How will your revenue grow? (Don’t forget to mention that it takes time and effort to produce results).

Conclusion

To convince, your CEO or board to adopt an Inbound marketing strategy, you will have to do some homework.

  1. Get current marketing ROI data.
  2. Prepare a list of Inbound stats
  3. Offer social proof
  4. Put together a cost-benefit report and compare Inbound and Outbound methodologies
  5. Show real projections to give you top-level execs something to sink their teeth in

If your found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting inbound marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an Inbound Marketing strategy.

Get My FREE copy

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction to B2B content marketing

When crafting B2B blog content, don’t forget that your end goal should be conversions. It’s no secret that a B2B sales cycle takes time – don’t expect to turn strangers into customers the first instance they come in contact with your content. Instead, make sure you initiate a relationship with them. Add value, build trust and push them down the buyer’s journey to a point where they’re ready and willing to buy what your company is offering.

The following B2B content marketing principles will help you drive conversions from your content.

 

Know who you are writing to

If you think your target audience is “everyone” your content isn’t resonating with anyone. Research and learn who your buyer personas are. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

Map out their needs, behaviors, demographics, challenges, and motives. Do this by speaking with your current customers,  research online in Q&A websites such as Quora as well as groups and forums.

Don’t waste a second creating content before you’re confident that you have a deep understanding of who your content is for.

Add value. Write content that is relevant, unique and … incomplete

Once you know who you are writing to, make sure to craft different content for the different stages of the buyer’s journey.

The buyer’s journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. Simply put, most of the time, your buyer’s are researching about their challenges and needs way before they consider your solutions or decide to buy. There are three stages to a typical buyer’s journey:

1. Awareness

2. Consideration

3. Decision.

The different elements of the journey:

 

 

 

Trying to sell to a prospect who is only at a stage where they have realized they have a problem and have expressed symptoms, would be like asking someone to marry you on a first date – too soon! Make sure to write your content in correlation with your presumed prospet’s different stages of the buyer’s journey:

  • Awarness stage content should be educational and help the visitor identify their problem. It shouldn’t be about your company it should be about the prospect’s needs and challenges.
  • Consideration stage content should help the prospect consider certain solutions. At this stage you can include your solution, however don’t pull out the ring just yet and don’t try to sell.
  • Decision stage content should help the prospect make a purchasing decision. The decision stage is your time to “propose”.

Style wise, make sure to write clearly and to support your writing with data, examples or stories. Be different, be interesting and evoke emotion.

On each stage, give enough information to interest your audience, but not enough to fully meet their need. This creates a sense of urgency to receive more information from you, thus motivating your readers to progress down the funnel and convert from stranger–>visitor–>lead–>customer.

Capture your prospects’ info along the different stages

Help your leads find their own path leading to a purchase.

If a visitor reaches your blog, reads your content and isn’t invited to receive more value in exchange for providing info about themselves – consider that a missed opportunity.  

When a prospect visits your blog for the first time, your main goal should be to capture their email and turn them into a lead:

 

 

 

In order to convert visitors, include CTAs in your blog posts, leading to compelling landing pages with one goal – to get the visitor to fill out a form and become a lead.

Once you capture their info, don’t send them to sales! Seize the moment by using a thank you page inviting them to read another blog post with consideration stage content. Keep pushing them down the buyer’s journey and capturing more info about them. Ask them for info  that will help sales close the deal further on down the line. For example, find out what their job title is or what they find most challenging about their work. Gathering information will also help you screen out irrelevant leads who aren’t your buyer personas. Consider how much time your sales team is currently wasting on leads who aren’t your target audience and will never become your customers.. By asking the right questions you can avoid such waste and as a bonus, improve sales and marketing collaboration.

When building relationships in this method, once your prospect is at the decision stage, selling to them will become natural and mutual. When done right, they will want to know how you can help them and what you’re offering. Essentially, that’s the opposite of interruptive marketing – it’s marketing people love.

Optimize for different devices

Keep in mind that your readers use desktops, laptops and an array of mobile devices to view content. If your content is not displaying properly, you will lose a portion of your audience before they ever get the opportunity to read your content. If your CTA is not visible, you’re shooting yourself in the foot – your visitors won’t convert and your efforts will be useless.

Make it easy to share

Turn your readers into promoters by adding share buttons for social media sites. Linkedin is most relevant for B2B, yet provide them a chance to share at whatever network they prefer. A great plus is that readers who share are more likely to convert.

Read more about Inbound Marketing:

Conclusion

A lot of factors play into conversions, but each conversion starts with an impression and has great content at its core. To drive conversions, start by understanding your buyer personas and the buyer’s journey. Write engaging and relevant content that connects with your audience. Always remember your goal is to turn your readers to leads and to then push them down the buyer’s journey from awarness to consideration and eventually to a decision to become your customers.

Good luck!

P.S. If you found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting inbound marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an inbound marketing strategy.

Get My FREE copy

 

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction

This is a fairly common question asked by lots of businesses. Every business has a limited amount of resources (human, cash, time) and needs to utilize those as efficiently as possible.

The truth is that both methods have their ups and downs: there is no single right answer here, just like pretty much anything else concerning marketing. It depends on your business, budget, target group, website content, design, short term and long term goals, company vision and a few dozens of other things.

To make your life a little easier, we have put together a comparison of inbound marketing vs. ppc so you know what you are dealing with when you make your decision. Let’s jump in.

 

Short Term Solutions: PPC

Depending on your present conditions and goals, you need to decide what does your business need: Do you need traffic? Do you need conversions? Does your website have the content needed for conversions? Are you confident your sales team can handle leads well?

Answering questions like these will help you understand which strategy you have to pick, when and why.

Pay Per Click can be considered a short term solution in terms of driving website traffic, which will help you bring in tons of qualified visitors when managed correctly. You basically pay a third party site (say Google) to post your ads on their website.

The idea is that if a company spends enough time and budget on keyword research, bid management, keyword match type, clever targeting, site links, negative keyword removal and scheduling, they’ll get a good amount of qualified visitors that are very interested in their services. If enough budget is spent on ads, the tactic will produce rather satisfying results. Here is a detailed Pay Per Click ROI calculation guide you should check out.

 

 

 

(Source)

On the downside, the value of PPC ends there. It does not guarantee that visitors will convert on your website, or that they will ever become one of your customers, unless you have high quality, top notch content and design to encourage conversions and purchases.

Another thing to think about is that the traffic stops flowing the moment you stop paying for ads. Its super inconsistent and is only there while you have cash to fuel it, otherwise your website visits will be brought down to what you had before starting your Pay Per Click campaign, regardless of how long it lasted.

What this technically means is that Pay Per Click is a good, short term solution for getting highly qualified website traffic for a company that has pretty damn good infrastructure (compelling content and intuitive design mainly) to advance the visitors in their buyer’s journey. It won’t take too long either: your website visits will grow like mushrooms in a forest on a rainy day.

Long Term solutions: Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing offers more of a long term solution for businesses in terms of consistent, high quality website traffic, lead conversions and customer gain. It’s a much slower take off than in the case of Pay Per Click (a well-executed inbound strategy typically takes around 6 months to start producing results), but on the upside, whatever you get in terms of traffic, leads and customers, will stay with you for a very long while. In some cases (evergreen content) website traffic will be there forever and you won’t need to continuously worry about it.

Today, most people use search engines to research any purchase decision they are willing to make, be it a service or a product. Studies show that 81% of customers research products online before going to the store. Because of this absurdly large number, SEO has quickly become one of the most important online marketing aspects for any company.

Here is a chart showing the impact of SEO on US consumer market:

 

 

 

(source)

Inbound offers search engine optimization with the help of creating high quality, relevant, compelling content that will push your content higher on SERPs. This basically means putting in tons of hard work and effort to make your way to the top, instead of buying it (in case of PPC).

Also, by giving away high quality content (whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, etc.) for free, helps build trust among your audience and position yourself as a thought leader in the industry. This way you will not only gain high quality traffic thanks to search engine optimization, but also acquire a good number of qualified leads for a much lower price and build trust with them. All of these efforts combined will eventually lead to gaining loyal customers.

(Source)

The downside of inbound is that it accepts nothing short of selfless dedication, patience and consistency. Everything you do (SEO, content generation and distribution, building trust, offering valuable tips to consumers, etc.) take a lot of time to get started and more often than not, you won’t see any satisfying results for the first few months, in contrast to Pay Per Click.

Also, if you someday decide to put your inbound campaigns on hold, it will basically result in a few months of work, cash and effort lost for nothing. You need to make sure that you have the dedication, budget and patience first, before taking the initiative with this approach.

Read more about Inbound Marketing:

Conclusion

To sum it all up, inbound marketing is a perfect solution for almost every business out there. It will provide very high ROI in the long run, along with a stable sales funnel, consistent website traffic and highly qualified leads for as long as you maintain quality content production (which you are going to do no matter what strategy you choose to go with).

PPC campaigns can work miracles when a business is in need of a strong traffic boost in a very short amount of time. It’s an effective way of getting qualified prospects and converting them with the high quality traffic you already have on your website.

While both strategies have their ups and downs, getting the best out of both worlds can be a good plan to go with: you basically get the ball rolling with PPC and focus your efforts on inbound to keep it rolling.

If your found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting inbound marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an inbound marketing strategy.

Get My FREE copy

 

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

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Introduction to high quality B2B leads

Here is a fact: 94% of B2B buyers conduct at least some form of research online prior to making a purchasing decision. This essentially means that acquiring leads online is one of the best ways to increase the sales of any B2B company. However, not all leads are created equal and should be treated the same way.

Now, even though B2B companies realize the opportunity lying in generating leads online, most of them forget the most important thing: B2B is not B2C and the lead generation efforts aren’t the same either. Decision making processes in B2B are far more complicated and you can’t just focus on generating large amounts of leads. Most of those leads probably won’t even consider becoming a customer.

This aligns with the top goal B2B marketers are setting for 2016, according to the report by Technology Marketing and Partners, to improve the quality of their leads. In addition, in the same report, 59% of the respondent said that generating high quality leads is their biggest challenge when it comes to lead generation. So, don’t worry, you are not alone.

 

The starting point for getting high quality b2b leads

What online marketing made a lot easier compared to traditional marketing is that most activities can be monitored and measured. Therefore, it’s wrong to base your decisions solely on experience or assumptions. Take a look at the data first. Numbers do have a surprising nature sometimes.

When crafting a marketing strategy, think about it from a different perspective: put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyers and try to assess their behavior. In other words, identify your buyer personas.

After that, think about stuff that is most relevant for their current stage: some people know exactly what their problem is and what needs to be done to fix it (this is basically what you call a qualified lead) others are lost. They just know they have a problem, but don’t know how to fix it or where to start (these are the bad quality leads).

Your job is to guide those customers who seem to be lost, and show them the way (not enforce!) to solving their problems by providing relevant, helpful and valuable content. Quality content is exactly what you need to start with if you hope to acquire high quality leads.

 

This is what a customer’s journey (or buyer’s journey as a more preferable way of calling it) looks like and this is what you need to get straight as your top priority.

Lead nurturing is your best friend

Closing sales as fast as possible is the dream of any B2B company. You find the person, you offer him or her the product, you close the deal. Nice and easy.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the best approach for B2B companies. It’s surely excellent if you can find those sales-ready people, but what about potential customers that just don’t know whether they need you yet, or those that need a bit more information in order to become a customer?

Here is something important: 73% of acquired leads are not yet ready to buy. This technically means that around 1 out of 4 leads you get will be ready to close the deal on the spot, but this doesn’t mean that the other leads should be neglected. With effective lead nurturing campaigns, you will be able to bring them to the point where they too are ready to become customers.

Lead nurturing is an effective online marketing practice that builds relationships with your potential buyers (or low quality leads for that matter), engages with them and helps proceed further down their buyer’s journey.

While there are a lot of lead nurturing tactics that can be utilized, emails are the most effective and cost efficient strategy available out there. By Far. For every dollar spent on email nurturing efforts, the average return you get is equal to $44.

Moreover, according to Mckinsey, emails are the second best channel for acquiring customers, after organic search.

At the end of the day, you will be investing a bit more resources into lead nurturing efforts, but it’s going to be worth it.

Lead nurturing helps establish trust with suspicious/non-sales-ready clients

One of the main reasons why people (and leads) don’t close the deal on the spot is suspicion, and that is understandable. With so much content out there and so many companies offering technically the same thing, how do you know which company you can trust?

This is where personalized and unique tailored lead nurturing content steps in. If you have identified your buyer personas correctly and targeted the right people, this means you already know a lot about them: who they are, what they love, their lifestyle, their hobbies, their interests, etc.

This kind of information combined with the information on your landing page form that people fill out to become a lead, can become your life saver. You will be able to create personalized, unique tailored content and emails that fit each lead perfectly on his or her own, and not take the matters the general way. A single approach never works for more than a few people.

Every person wants to get personalized approach, whether it’s online, at a store or any other place. Lead nurturing gives you the chance to provide that approach with the help of all the information you have about each specific person and therefore, prove that you are a trustworthy company.

Keep the communication going

After you prove that you can be trusted, it’s important to maintain steady communication with your prospects and nurture them further down their journey.

For example after you send some tailored content to the prospect, monitor the behaviour of the lead and act accordingly. If he liked the content and responded to the CTA you provided in your email, it might be a good time to move to the next stage.

You can also consider using a marketing automation software for lead nurturing purposes as lead nurturing has been continuously reported as the most beneficial feature of any such software, just a shy edge more than reporting and analytics.

Its also important to understand that each lead comes from a different stage of the buyer’s journey. This means that each lead will require a certain amount of time (awareness stage requires most time, while decision requires the least) to move down the funnel and convert to a customer. Be patient and don’t push your prospects: keep providing relevant content and let them choose themselves.

Use lead nurturing insights to get a better idea of what your customers want to get

Another great thing about lead nurturing is that you can use the established trust and communication to get a better understanding of what exactly your customers are looking for. You can include a survey or ask direct questions related to the features of your product/service in your emails and gather their feedback.

Once you have it, you can then conduct an internal research to understand whether those suggested changes should be implemented or not.

Conclusion

On a final note, it’s important to keep in mind that even with nurturing, you aren’t going to close the deal with each of your leads. Some people that become leads are just plain uninterested in what you have to offer or just needed to get your ebook from you, since it’s great content obviously.

This is a price we all have to pay though. There is no company that is able to close their sales with every potential buyer, but this doesn’t mean that trying to is a bad option. Lead nurturing will allow you to boost the number of your Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)s significantly and get you a giant step closer to achieving your business’s financial .

If you found this helpful, let’s pick up the pace, learn how to rectify your sales pipeline and grow your business in our FREE 14 B2B Marketing Best Practices that every CMO must know eBook!

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John Doe

Architect & Engineer

We love that guy

Introduction

‘Creative’ is not the word to go with ‘marketing’ when it comes to B2B marketing. In fact, B2B companies should only generate a straightforward message to their potential buyers. And, sales representatives in suits are the ones to be in charge when it comes to lead generation and everything required to make a sale happen.

Time to rethink this oldschool approach!

B2B companies need to step out and be creative in their marketing efforts. In fact, some of them are not only creative, but also managed to master their presence on social media. It’s all about interacting with fans and potential prospects before even trying to make a sale. Here are some of the most creative B2B marketing examples out there.

 

1. General Electric

General Electric seem to have mastered their presence on social media. And they have it all. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you name it. But the channel that they truly dominate seems to be Instagram with over 216,000 followers. Using appealing visuals they manage to engage their followers and get closer to them, even though they’re a big B2B brand. The range of topics they cover is strongly related to what they do, but they speak less about the brand itself and more about the technology and innovation in the respective fields.

 

2. Moz

When it comes to SEO tools Moz is one of the unquestioned leaders. When it comes to their marketing efforts we can easily say they are the most active one. They have a very informative and industry leading blog about search engine optimization and they also let users create their own content. Although everything they do is outstanding, their one brilliant piece of content marketing is Whiteboard Fridays. Each Friday, Rand Fishkin creates a video where he gives latest advice about various topics related to SEO. (Source)

3. Caterpillar

The best case scenario for any blog that aims to attract a certain audience is to create their own, unique styled, consumer specific content. Not only does it save money and time creating the content yourself, but it is also exactly what is necessary to attract your audience.

Caterpillar, construction machinery and equipment company, managed to turn this idea into a very creative advantage. They created a blog for each of the industries they serve, went into the niche market and started encouraging their members to contribute to the blog. The result: not only do they have invaluable content created absolutely for free, but also a dedicated community ready to back them up whenever necessary. (source)

4. Maersk

Danish magnate and the biggest container shipping company never seemed to shine with their social media presence. But what they represent is a good example of other values that be be derived from utilizing the power of social. Since the company employs more than 25,000 people, they encouraged every employee to follow their social pages and then invite their friends as well. As a result, within a year they acquired more than 700,000 followers on Facebook alone. The initial idea Maersk had is to create a concise image of who they are and what they do, which payed off unexpectedly well with the help of their creative idea. Talk about increasing social reach.

5. Cisco

Cisco managed to push the boundaries when it comes to demonstrating creativity in B2B marketing. They created a series of videos where the tech leader is being interviewed by a waiter, just an average guy. In the video, not only they include lots of humour, but also manage to sneak in some technical information. It is a perfect example of how a brand can be humanized. (source)

6. American Express OpenForum

There are plenty of B2C examples when a company creates a product that is completely separate from their brand in order to eventually encourage consumers to refer to their main product. Some B2B companies managed to utilize this method as well. American Express created Open Forum in order to help business owners with advice on different aspects of running their business. In addition to having content in form of blog posts, they also encourage members to contribute by sharing ideas with rest of the community to the ‘Idea Hub’. (source)

Honorable mention: Daimler AG, Mercedes

Although these should be strictly B2B examples (this one to some extent is), a latest LinkedIn post by Daimler AG that went viral is worth of mentioning. Mercedes recently congratulated their main competitor BMW on its 100th birthday in a very creative way and created huge buzz on social media. Two car producers have a long history not only in competing, but also communicating with each other much like Pepsi and Coke. These, in return engage their audiences, communities of people who are in love with one of these two brands, resulting in increasing loyalty and retention for both brands.

Read more on B2B Marketing:

Conclusion

Doing your targeting right is the crucial element of success when it comes to creating out-of-the-box strategies like these. When you know who exactly you want to attract with your campaign, you know how will they act and ultimately, know how you should act. Doing what everyone else does can only get you half the way, but if you really want to achieve greatness, you need to excel at words (yeah, this IS a Microsoft Office pun).

If you found this helpful, let’s pick up the pace, learn how to rectify your sales pipeline and grow your business in our FREE 14 B2B Marketing Best Practices that every CMO must know eBook!

Get My FREE copy

 

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