Google doesn’t just enable our industry—it defines it. Our tactics and strategies are shaped and guided by Google’s algorithm changes. And we rely on Google’s leadership—like Webspam head Matt Cutts—to show us the best ways to drive traffic to our sites without running afoul of the search engine’s rules.
In a relatively short amount of time Google has overtaken other search engines, and other forms of advertising, to dominate the mainstream marketing landscape. Online marketing still proves to be a challenge for B2B companies, particularly those looking to implement an inbound or earned media strategy. But what if Google weren’t a hurdle for B2B businesses to clear? How could a B2B brand make a name for itself if Google weren’t an integral part of a successful marketing strategy?
The good news is that the basics of marketing haven’t changed: a business that offers the best products and services, and reaches out to its audience in an inviting and engaging way, will gain and keep customers. Of course, Google will likely be a building block of any online marketing campaign. But you can create a winning marketing strategy that isn’t Google-dependent, as long as you make it easy for customers to find and engage with you.
Inbound has become one of the fastest growing marketing methods in the industry, and for good reason: it works. And search is an essential tool of inbound: B2B businesses looking for vendors use search engines just like B2C customers do. The difference is that B2B prospects don’t rely on word of mouth so much as proven results. This year’s B2B Content Marketing Report shows that customer testimonials and case studies are the top two most effective content marketing tactics to engage B2B buyers. Creating the right content on your own Web properties and planning a solid earned media strategy can help you stay in front of prospects looking for your products and services.
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And reaching out
But don’t forget about outreach. One of the most dangerous misconceptions about B2B inbound marketing is that reaching out to prospects is either discourteous or unnecessary. But with the right content and community engagement, you never have to cold call a prospect; instead, you’ll be able to engage with businesses that are familiar with your brand and ready to explore how you can help them.
Building a qualified B2B lead list takes research, creative and promotional efforts; and giving prospects useful information can give them a reason to answer your emails or take your phone calls. Do your research on a prospect before reaching out, and track the content they’ve downloaded or consumed from your website or sites that host your content. The goal is to guide them down the sales funnel and provide every reason to say yes to an offer—not to push them into an interaction that might not lead to a sale. If you’ve made it easy for a company to learn more about you, you’ll make it easy for them to do business with you as well.
Although Google is here to stay for the foreseeable future, learning to tailor your B2B marketing strategy for businesses, not search engines, is the best way to make your business future-proof. For more insight, download our Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media and find out how you can build a future-proof B2B strategy for your own business.
Image credit: FindYourSearch