Generating leads is the foundation for any B2B brand to cornerstone their success in any niche. Inbound marketing is one of the primary ways to attract qualified leads and push them down the funnel for conversion.
Doing so requires experimenting with several facets of the said marketing approach.
Inbound marketing for B2B businesses is all about offering the right answers to the right customers at the right moment. However, it’s easier said than done and poses a challenge for many.
The essence of inbound marketing is to create strategic and qualitative content that draws customers in.
As per a CMI report, 62% of top performing B2B brands have a documented content strategy and 71% describe it as sophisticated/mature.
Content marketing is an inseparable part of inbound marketing and a proven way for B2B brands to capture new leads.
But what does inbound marketing mean and how is it different for B2B to B2C?
What is Inbound Marketing for B2B Businesses?
At its core, inbound marketing is a methodology B2B businesses can follow to achieve hyper-growth in product sales. It’s focused on creating high-quality and strategic content that delves deeper into resolving pain points and needs your clients have.
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While people love to buy, at the same time, they do hate being sold to. They don’t like the idea of listening to a representative selling them an unwanted product. Instead, they like to do their own research and get to the bottom of things to determine which product is better for them.
In fact, the statistics also say that 80% of decision-makers in B2B read through a series of articles to research a product.
On the quest to find the best product, they’ll come across relevant content that helps them reach the end of the customer journey and make a final decision. This process of creating and marketing relevant and value-adding content is known as inbound marketing.
Your B2B business can leverage inbound content marketing to build brand awareness and set user preferences.
This essentially helps pull customers in and generate more leads for your products and drive new revenue for your company. But what does lead generation for B2B look like?
How Lead Generation is Different for B2B from B2C?
The primary difference in B2B vs B2C lead generation is that the former caters to enterprises and corporations while the latter deals with individuals. To truly understand the difference, we need to go deeper into how each sector works.
While many believe that B2B buyers are also consumers and individuals who make the decision, in reality, they differ greatly from B2C buyers. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that B2C sales are driven purely by emotions and the majority of them are impulse buys.
The same isn’t true for the B2B sector. Here, the sales and conversions are managed and driven by decision-makers to solve their problems, better their business services, smoothen the internal workflows, and grow their business in the process. Individuals here are not primarily driven by emotions and never buy a product on impulse.
Thus, the tactics applied to generate leads, convince prospects, and lead them down the funnel for conversion differ greatly for B2B. Further, in B2C, the sales cycle is shorter and easier for consumers to complete. But for B2B, the sales process is a bit complex and requires additional resources and a mighty force to convince users to take any action.
That’s where inbound marketing strategies come into play. Now, let’s get to know how you can utilize inbound strategies for lead generation:
Inbound Marketing Strategies for B2B Lead Generation
1. Creating Knowledge Base with Content
As mentioned, well-crafted content is crucial for success in inbound marketing. It helps your B2B brand to attract the right kind of prospects for your products. However, creating just a couple of content pieces isn’t going to cut it for you. To ensure your B2B business gets a fresh flow of new leads, you need to devise a compelling content strategy.
A strategy that helps you win your customers over and guide them to your product pages to trigger action will involve creating a substantial amount of insightful content. There’s also a concept of content hubs or knowledge bases where you create multiple content pieces that revolve around a single topic.
Also, you can adopt a pillar-cluster model for building a strong brand presence. Here. you create a detailed guide on a particular topic, which will be your pillar content and a few cluster topics that add value to your pillar content.
With a strong internal linking to and fro from your pillar and cluster pages, you can build a great network of content for your audience to read and research your product.
Further, it’s also the best way to build a good SEO score and rank higher for relevant terms to get high-net-worth clients only.
2. Optimizing Web Presence with SEO
Now that I have riled up the strings of SEO, let’s get to know how SEO aids your B2B inbound marketing.
Generating leads through search engine optimization is a dream every marketer wakes up with but only a few succeed in reality. Why? Well, firstly because of the competition and secondly because of a limited understanding of how SEO works.
Since B2B owners or marketers don’t know how to approach SEO, they don’t get the desired results. To approach it correctly, you first need to understand the basics or hire a team of SEO experts.
They’ll know how to optimize websites, create quality content, build high-authority links, and utilize industry-specific keywords.
For instance, if buyers want to know the cost or price of your product, they’ll initiate a search with the cost or price as part of their keywords. Thus, it makes sense to create quality and valuable content that target and rank for such keywords.
Further, you also need to ensure your SEO team has implemented a robust technical SEO and off-site SEO. This will improve your B2B business’s web presence further through inbound marketing efforts.
3. Using Social Media Marketing Strategically
Today, social media hasn’t remained social networking platforms anymore. They have grown leaps and bounds to help brands take their business awareness and lead generation game to the next level.
The strategic planning and implementation of social media marketing will get you way ahead in your lead generation funnel. You need to create tailored social messages for each platform to target only the right kind of B2B prospects and convince them to take the next step.
As important as it is to post tailored content, it’s also important to select the right social channels to generate the desired amount of leads. There are several platforms B2B businesses can tap into and leverage the power they hold.
Facebook has been at the forefront in lead generation for B2B followed by Twitter and Linkedin platforms. These social platforms are the starting points for your B2B lead generation strategy, so you must adopt them for strategic inbound marketing.
4. Leverage Video Marketing for Hyper-Growth
Offering value at every stage of the funnel has become a necessity for your B2B to gauge the buying behavior of your customers. Videos are an excellent content type to offer value to your customers and remove the barriers to purchasing.
A well-rounded video marketing strategy attracts, educates, converts, and retains your prospects across all stages of the buyers’ journey. This includes stages like awareness, consideration, conversion, and retention.
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Videos that target clients in the awareness stage showcase your product’s benefits and solutions. They make your client aware of the problems they face and what they can do to resolve them.
Once they are aware of the problems, you want to move them into the consideration phase. In this phase, you can create product demos to show how your product works and empower them to make informed decisions.
Similarly, you can nurture your leads effectively using compelling video content like client testimonials, product tips and tricks, and others when they reach the conversion stage. Now the final stage — retention is hard to nail.
It requires creating personalized videos to address clients’ segment-specific needs. Doing so will help grow your B2B brand exponentially.
5. Utilize the Power of Emails for Lead Conversion
Emails have always been the most powerful content type utilized by marketers for lead generating and conversion. Since the majority of your audience will consist of CEOs, CFOs, and other business executives, they’d hardly have time to read blogs, do social media, or watch long videos.
That’s where a crisp and concisely written email copy can help you stand out and spring interest in the minds of your prospects. Research by Litmus found that emails can bring a return of $36 for each dollar spent.
But the question is how can you stand out and achieve the same for your B2B?
Here’s how you can do so:
- Get to know your prospects as much as possible
- Segment them to tailor your email messages
- Personalize the subject line for each prospect
- Keep it short yet state the purpose of the email
- Write value-packed email copy
- Lastly, automate the follow-up emails
Inbound marketing strategies are a boon for B2B businesses struggling to generate leads. It highly relies on creating value-adding content that pushes your prospects down the sales funnel to generate sales.
This requires you to adopt strategies like creating a knowledge hub, web presence optimization, video marketing, social media, and email marketing. These strategies will help you improve your lead generation and conversion ratio. So, get on with these inbound strategies right away.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.