With 2022 fast approaching, it's time for businesses to develop a new calendar of events and a new budget. The first quarter (Q1) of the year often demands new goals and refocusing of efforts. Your brand is the most valuable asset, and you need to gain the audience's attention and trust in the brand when dealing with B2B buyers, especially when your business provides solutions with longer buying cycles that often require more research and collaboration among your target audience and their teams.
So, what are the best practices for B2B inbound marketing? To help you set and achieve those Q1 goals, this article sheds light on the latest best practices for B2B inbound marketing and sales.
Create or Evolve Your Inbound Systems
Before implementing specific tactics to increase your organization's visibility, it's crucial to know and understand what you want to accomplish and set up the foundation for the inbound marketing engine. You need to set up specific systems in preparation for the first quarter of 2022. What exactly do you want your inbound marketing strategies to do for you? Does your goal entail generating leads that will allow your sales team to follow up? Getting a head start on your content is essential to avoid being delayed by upcoming time crunches or holidays.
Here are some examples:
- If your goal is to get found online and grow your audiences, then you need to focus on keyword research, SEO, content marketing and social media to build an organic system for growing your brand.
- If your goal is to increase your subscriber list, you need to have a plan for sharing top-notch email content and how to incentivize prospects to subscribe to your lists with tools like content offers, webinars and other ways to deliver value in exchange for someone's email address.
- If your goal is to close deals at a higher rate, you'll have to examine the friction that currently exists in your sales funnel, how you can identify better-fit prospects from the start and how you can support your sales team to streamline their outreach and better demonstrate the benefits of your brand.
Understand Your Consumers and Their Needs
As an organization, building your inbound marketing system needs to begin with having an idea of your ideal customers and then formalizing the ideal customers or buyers. What are the profiles and critical information about your ideal buyers? The information points to be used include age, jobs, demographic information, goals and priorities, frustrations, or any other information that defines who they are and what makes them ideal. People's profiles, also called buyer personas, take the information and formalize it to create a fictional profile that will allow you to understand your customers better.
One of the biggest differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is that B2B companies often have longer buying cycles and sell products and services to buyers who conduct more research and consult with other team members before making a buying decision.
As a B2B organization, it's ideal to create multiple buyer personas to help you know and understand your potential customers because inbound marketing strategies target specific potential buyers - as well as how any one persona may collaborate with other personas over time to eventually make a buying decision. One of the biggest differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is that B2B companies often have longer buying cycles and sell products and services to buyers who conduct more research and consult with other team members before making a buying decision. This provides a huge opportunities for businesses that can nurture prospects with effective content and experiences to reinforce their value and points of differentiation over time.
Incorporate Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM is a popular and effective marketing trend, and it's the key to achieving extreme personalization, since it allows you to target your target audience's demographics. Incorporating account-based marketing will allow your marketing team to identify the best-fitting accounts for specific marketing efforts. It requires a strong collaboration between your marketing and sales teams to view major accounts as a target market of one and align resources toward going above and beyond to demonstrate to those accounts why your products and services are the best fit.
ABM really deserves its own blog post (or several), but here are the basic steps for conducting effective account-based marketing:
- Identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
- Document the attributes (tangible and intangible) that make a company an ideal customer for your business.
- Research companies and make a list of ideal-fit prospects. Mark that company as a "Target Account" in HubSpot. (Get in touch with us to learn more about HubSpot's amazing ABM tools, by the way.)
- Take the time to understand each prospect. What do they do? What challenges can you assume they have? How can your company solve their problems? Who are the individual contacts that would be involved in a buying decision?
- Through a strong collaboration between sales and marketing, come up with an outreach plan that may include landing pages, emails, personalized videos, ad campaigns and more.
- Implement the plan, for only a few prospects at a time.
- Do the outreach. Close some deals. Lose some others. Track what works and what doesn't. Revise and evolve your plans as necessary. Understand that the process of refining your ABM outreach never really stops.
Set Up Your Goals
After formalizing your ideal customers, it's important to set goals for your B2B inbound marketing system. This will allow you to align what you are building with the specific outputs you want to accomplish. Inbound marketing allows you to track more data, which lets you achieve accurate data that you can compare against your key performance indicators, including your number of leads in a period, cost per lead, and conversion rates. If you're a beginner, keep in mind that you lack past data, and therefore, you must draw a line from different information available, such as the sales win rate.
Understand How Customers Reach Out to Your Competitors
Another important practice for B2B inbound marketing is to conduct buyer research or find out your biggest competitors and how prospects are searching for solutions similar to what you're offering. Performing keyword research is a great way to identify terms or phrases that customers use on search engines and the search volume they get. Keyword research tools will help you find the keyword suggestions. You can then utilize the information you generate to duplicate and improve on what your competitors are doing in your marketing.
Create Captivating Content and Repurpose It for Maximum Distribution
The creation of content that is engaging and authoritative is something worth emphasizing. With lots of content out there, it's not advisable to regurgitate things done by everyone else. Find ways to make your content stand out from your competitors.
That said, creating great content is still not enough; that's why you need to exploit your content fully. Repurposing your content and putting it out there to a broader audience is one way of exploiting your content. For instance, you can repurpose your content by using a blog post as the basis of your podcast discussion.
Set up a Lead Capture + Collection System
The ability to gather and build leads online is one of the most powerful and crucial parts of a B2B marketing strategy. Adding a lead capture system to the website will make your generation process completely automatic. If done correctly, a lead capture system will help you grow significantly and overcome your competitors.
Optimize Your Website
If you want to drive the right visitors to your website, optimizing your website will help you rank better when customers search for your services. Use keyword research to help you determine the specific terms you need to incorporate into your website content, website title tags, or even image tags. B2B organizations that lack the essential components of the appropriate search engine optimization miss the opportunity to drive the right traffic to their websites.
Rather than running ads on local radio and newspapers or sending out business catalogs, inbound marketing helps buyers find your business organically in the process of searching for solutions. Inbound marketing techniques involve creating content that will draw customers naturally to the business, creating long-lasting partnerships, and therefore, increasing the overall growth of the business.
To learn more about B2B inbound marketing practices or strategies and how you can increase your business's overall growth, contact The Gist. We're an inbound marketing agency certified by HubSpot Solutions which serves B2B organizations.