The concept of inbound marketing in its purest form is beautiful! You create relevant content targeted at “personas” and distribute it on digital channels with compelling calls-to-actions hoping your “personas” will find you on. And “Voila!” the leads start flowing in.
That may work great if you have a massive geographic B2C market with millions of people but there are not too many B2B markets like that.
Marketing for B2B Businesses
We have learned many lessons over time (some the hard way) about inbound marketing to a narrow target market. Sure, some leads come in from people who are actively looking for what you offer. However, for every company that is actively looking, there are several dozen ideal prospects that need what you have. You can’t wait for them to hopefully stop by your website. You need a more proactive approach.
Identifying Your Ideal Clients
So, a question for you if you’re wondering if an inbound marketing strategy is right for your B2B business: Do you know who your ideal clients are and are they clearly marked in your marketing automation/CRM databases?
- If the answer is “no,” a follow up question: Why not? As a first step,I would recommend changing that. Define who your ideal client is and ensure those ideal clients are called out in your marketing automation and, depending on how you draw the line between sales and marketing, your CRM. There are many options to acquire and maintain data on your ideal clients.
- If the answer is yes, then why would you wait for your clients to swim by on your website? A more proactive approach should be taken to bring on more of the clients that are the most profitable to your business.
If you know who your ideal clients are, you are well on your way. In our visionary’s book, Revenue Growth Engine, Darrell says that if you are a B2B company that knows who your Ideal Clients and Prospects are: “You don’t need leads, you already know who these people are. What you need is intel and engagement.”
The steps outbound marketing concept does not throw out the concepts of inbound marketing. It builds on them.
Outbound marketing process can be summarized in 4 steps:
- Create fantastic content (just like in the inbound methodology)
- Distribute the content (ditto, just like in the inbound methodology)
- Listen to your audience
- Engage with your audience
Everyone knows the saying about two ears and one mouth, right? Listening is very important. Now that you know who your ideal clients are, you need to listen to what they are saying. How do you do that?:
- Read their website, especially their blog
- Ensure you are listening to what they are communicating on social. Look at the company Pages as well as the pages of each of the key contacts inside of your ideal client organizations.
- Leverage some of the countless tools out there that can notify you when specific things happened
The big idea here is to create relationships and build your value by providing help. When you see opportunities to help people in your listening process, provide helpful resources for those that you are listening to. You can engage directly on social platforms, email, phone, website chat.
As you work through executing your outbound marketing process, it’s very important to ensure that you are adding value to your marketing automation and CRM by keeping them up-to-date with valuable insight learned from your efforts.
So, while the content part of inbound marketing might apply to your B2B organization, a pure inbound marketing approach is not enough. When you think about it, it’s hard to argue that an outbound marketing strategy would not be right for your inbound business, right?
While the steps are simple, implementing this inside your organization does require a good bit of change. That said, the change is worthwhile as there is no better way to make your business healthy than getting more ideal clients!