More and more technical B2B companies are incorporating inbound marketing strategies into their integrated marketing plans. Inbound marketing strategies that are directly tied to business goals can be a methodical, proven, and cost-effective approach to building corporate awareness and credibility, and generating high-quality leads.
Why are inbound marketing strategies succeeding? Because the traditional ways of marketing (trade shows, advertisements, word of mouth, cold calls) don't work like they used to.
From TREW's annual research study we know that more than 70% of the engineer's buying process happens online, from early research to final decision, before they talk to your sales team.
But if you don't have an inbound marketing plan in place, you may be missing out on quality leads and opportunities. It's time to start planning your inbound marketing efforts so you can start getting found on search, building credibility online, and generating more leads.
Create a Variety of Content and Optimize it for Search Engines
It could be anything from creating a white paper, case study or repurposing existing technical presentations into live or on-demand webinars. The objective is to pull your target audience into your website with content that interests them. This should be your first step in implementing an inbound marketing approach.
Content should include:
1. Weekly Blog Posts
Blog posts are critical for driving new and repeat traffic to your website. New content allows you to target new keywords, increases your site’s page count, and can position you as a thought-leader and expert in your industry. Blog posts should be 400-600 words in length with at least one image. Weekly posts too much for your team's current bandwidth? Consider asking partners, customers, and industry thought-leaders to submit guest blog posts that you can publish on your site. Guest blog posts are a great way to supplement your own posts and build credibility.
2. Monthly Web Enhancements
Your website is your 24/7/365 sales machine! Keeping it updated monthly with new content is key to ensuring that it's delivering visits, leads, and new contacts to help grow your database and help your sales team convert leads into customers.
3. Quarterly Graphics and Photos
Visual content including images and infographics is powerful for SEO and social media. Using keywords in the photo alt tags on your blog and web pages helps you get found on image search result pages and can increase your click through rate for social media backlinks.
4. Annual Videos
Human attention spans are decreasing, and more and more B2B technical audiences are interested in viewing engaging video content.
Videos can take on many forms including:
Ensure you have at least one video in your annual plan. Then, optimize it for search by posting it to YouTube with an appropriate keyword-rich title and description tags to get found on search and optimize content off your domain.
5. Corporate and Sales Presentation Decks
Have you revised your brand positioning and messaging recently? Do you have new products or services? Are you partnering with new companies? If you answered yes to any of these questions it's time to update your corporate slide deck and sales pitch decks. Leverage past presentations to repurpose content and create new slides and visuals that convey your new messaging or products/services and position you as an expert in your industry. Use it as a way to generate web leads and post it on Slideshare so people can easily share and find it on search engines.
6. Content Topic Clusters
This SEO best practice brings sense to the world of search. Instead of building web pages optimized around one keyword, you build your website around key topics that are central to your business and services. Start with your target buyer persona and map their central pain point or problem statement with long-tail, keyword rich blog posts, case studies, and white papers to illustrate how your company is uniquely positioned to solve their primary pain point and deliver results.
7. Optimize Page Copy, Titles and Tags
Content topic clusters may be a new SEO strategy, but keywords are still relevant in search. Weave your keywords into the page copy, titles and meta data so search engines and searchers understand what your site is about. Remember to optimize around one to two words per page, any more than that and you'll have an adverse effect on your search results.
8. Add Categories and Tags to Blog Posts
Tagging and categorizing your blog posts by keyword topics helps users find relevant content. It also helps search engines categorize your blog posts in the right area of search results.
9. Cross-linking on Your Domain
By linking to other pages on your site internally, it helps search engines identify what your content is about and creates a better user experience for visitors, because they can find related pages easily.
Promote Your Content to the Right Audience
There are a number of ways and channels to promote your content online. The most successful promotional plans integrate a variety of marketing activities around the content so it can be spread far and wide...and to the right audience, of course. Below are just a few of the main activities to consider when promoting your content.
10. Social Media
Content should be promoted on social media channels. Social media spreads your content to new audiences and boosts SEO by building backlinks to your site. For B2B technical companies, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most effective social media channels. You should promote content via these channels between 3-to-5 times a week, and 1-to-2 times per day while you are participating at an industry event or trade show. While the quantity of visits to your site from social media may be small to start, the quality of these visits is high, generating 5 minutes or longer time-on-site. Higher than from any other promotional activity.
11. Email Campaign
Emailing contacts in your database about new content that’s relevant to their interests can keep you top of mind and engage them to take action. A quarterly email newsletter to your database is a great way to nurture your contacts and promote new content, news, or events and generate an increase of traffic to your site and marketing qualified leads to your sales team.
12. Paid Social Campaigns to Generate New Contacts
Running a paid LinkedIn campaign with a call-to-action to download your lead-generating content offer can be an effective way to bring in new traffic and contacts to your database.
13. Landing Pages with Lead Forms
Creating a landing page for gated content like white papers and on-demand webinars helps convert web visitors to leads and is an important step in the conversion process. A well-written landing page showcases how a reader will benefit from accessing the content, enticing them to give their contact information in exchange for access.
In Summary: Marketers Who Plan, Achieve!
Ultimately, inbound marketing with content at that heart of your marketing plan, is the currency of marketing today. If you take a methodical and integrated approach to inbound marketing, you can successfully reach your marketing goals and generate the new leads and revenue you seek.
TREW client Knowles Precision Devices, has put these inbound tactics into practice with a full marketing plan, establishing buyer personas, marketing goals, specific campaigns, and overall marketing strategy. Read more about their results in this case study.
Looking for more marketing planning advice? Download our free Marketing Planning Guidebook.