B2B marketers who artfully blend the four essential ingredients of inbound marketing will have a recipe for consistently delicious success.
In a recent Marketing Over Coffee podcast with John J. Wall and Christopher Penn, the hosts talked about how B2B marketing has been completely revamped and “torn to bits.” Co-host John J. Wall, author of B2B Marketing Confessions said “what marketing people did fifteen years ago is nothing like what we’re doing today.”
One of the most important marketing developments in recent years is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is about attracting attention online with remarkable content related to the customer problems you solve. This is in contrast to the traditional, interruptive outbound marketing that is losing the power and effectiveness it once enjoyed. And, inbound marketing costs cost considerably less per lead than outbound marketing leads.
To understand what makes for succcesful inbound B2B marketing, there are just four main ingredients: 1) traffic generation, 2) lead generation, 3) lead nurturing and 4) measurement. If any of your online marketing is not falling into one of these four areas, ask why not.
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- Traffic Generation – When done properly, this is about getting not just more visitors to your site, but more of the right visitors. It includes things like website development, keyword research, search engine optimization, blogging and social media. All these areas build upon and strengthen the others, but arguably the most important for traffic generation is your company blog. Social media marketing thought leader Chris Brogan on blogs: “No matter what, the very first piece of social media real estate I’d start with is a blog.”
- Lead Generation – Once you’ve got visitors to your site, you’ll want to use calls to action, landing pages and offers (ebooks, buying guides, whitapapers, etc.) to capture the visitors key contact information and turn the visitor into an early stage lead. While this is known as “lead generation,” it’s really more like “contact info capture” because that lead is most likely not ready to buy from you. The lead at this point tends to be in an information gathering stage.
- Lead Nurturing – Now you start to warm up the lead. Lead nurturing (sometimes known as drip marketing) is where you send a series of automated emails to the lead in order to pre-qualify the lead and nurture it down the sales funnel before handing it off to sales for follow up. During the lead nurturing process you’ll want to offer additional, relevant content related to what the lead has been doing on your site since becoming a lead (number of site visits, pages visited, downloaded content, etc).
- Analysis & Measurement – One of the advantages of Internet marketing is that you can measure just about everything. The primary benefit of marketing analysis and measurement is that you can take much of the guess work out of what to do next. By turning your marketing into an iterative process, you can identify what’s working (and not working), find ways to improve, and implement more tactics to improve your marketing.
Is your company using a different inbound marketing recipe? Share your recipes in the comment section!