Build it and they will come.
We’ve all heard this, and those of us who have been in business for any length of time know it simply isn’t true. Especially, if you don’t have a storefront and are selling a more specialized product or service.
But that doesn’t mean generating leads for your B2B needs to be especially hard or time consuming. Not if you take the time upfront to develop a solid, scalable lead generating system that will work for you on your behalf.
In the past, that may have meant attending networking events, sending out direct mail flyers, cold calling and spending large sums on advertising campaigns (often, with little promise of a return) until you eventually “tipped the scales” and began generating referrals by word of mouth. Business would be good – for a while; until you inevitably hit a dry spell and began the process all over again. The good news?
There is another way. Thanks to the proliferation of modern technology, and a few simple, inbound marketing tools, you can now create cohesive online systems for gathering leads from your company Website 24/7. This strategy has three primary components:
- Creating educational content that takes prospective buyers through a complete sale cycle on your behalf.
- Drawing traffic to your site to interact with your content.
- Implementing a system for capturing the contact information of prospective buyers who are interacting with your content.
While there are many individual tasks associated with executing each of the above – that are beyond the scope of this article – there are 4 critical steps to getting started:
Commit to Long Term Game
Though generating leads via online marketing isn’t any more time consuming than traditional methods (it’s actually faster in some cases), it does require a long-term commitment.
Unlike a radio or television ad that can be created and “thrown out there” within a week, generating quality content for the Web takes time. Because you’re not just creating one piece of content, and you’re not overtly trying to convince prospects to do business with you, you’re becoming a helpful and trusted advisor.
Instead of screaming “Buy now!” you’re calmly saying “Here are all the answers to the questions you’ve been asking yourself.” It’s a different strategy and thus, requires a different mindset. The good news is once you’ve accumulated a large amount of blog articles, whitepapers, videos or whatever other type of content you’ve incorporated into your overall strategy, it’s there forever. Meaning, you’re never starting over from scratch, as in the traditional marketing example above, AND the results of your efforts will only compound over time.
Conduct a Visibility Audit
You can have “the best” content on the Web, but that doesn’t matter if no one can find you to read it. In the online world, visibility is created slowly and strategically over time. Google “pay-per-click” ads, social media ads and partnerships with more established industry players are just some of the ways this can be done. But, before getting started, it’s important to assess where you are. That way you can really celebrate your gains and see how far you’ve come in the future.
Begin by entering the ten most common phrases you think potential customers would search for – as related to your offering – in a search engine. If your Website isn’t appearing on the first page for any of your terms, you’ve got some work to do. Also, take a look at any social media accounts you have and notice the number of followers. While this isn’t a complete audit, this will provide a starting point to work with.
Conduct a Content Audit
An often overlooked part of online lead generation is maintaining your content over time. Periodically review the information on your site to make sure it is recent, relevant and technically correct. Depending on your industry, exciting, new developments may occur regularly. What you don’t want is to have a customer pouring over outdated articles that are no longer indicative of current “best practices” or solutions.
Remember your goal is to become a trusted partner in your customers’ research process. In addition to updating old content, you should be regularly publishing new stuff. Above all, make sure all content is serving your target audience in an engaging and relevant way, while still remaining true to your brand message.
Provide Multiple Points For Engagement
The majority of your prospects won’t be ready to do business the first time they arrive at your site, and that’s OK (especially, if you sell something with a high price tag). As in “the offline world,” different people will naturally be in different stages of the sales process when they first interact with you.
Thus, it’s extremely important to offer a variety of content options for prospective buyers in their respective stages: Easy to digest blog articles, videos and audio files for those early in the process; more comprehensive white papers for those further along; and clearly visible contact options for those ready to buy. That way, no matter where someone is in their information gathering process, you can offer something of value.
Finally, until you have obtained someone’s contact information, they don’t exist as a lead! If you only provide direct methods of contact via phone and email, you’re missing out on developing relationships with those prospects who are still early in the information gathering process. You can fix this by offering a piece of high-quality content in exchange for the prospect’s contact information. Such a system can be set-up quickly and easily on any Website with a simple plugin.
Implement these four steps and you will be well on your way to creating a dependable system that directs traffic to your company Website and generates leads on your behalf. Got questions
Creatunity is here for you. We develop comprehensive inbound marketing strategies for enterprise level B2B clients. Our goal is to help you determine what makes you unique, translate that into an online marketing strategy and increase your revenue – substantially.