The B2B Inbound Solar System: Dimensions of a Solid Inbound Strategy
B2B inbound marketing is complex and multifaceted. Each inbound discipline works best as one piece in an overall strategy. It’s not enough to have great content, or a stunningly designed website. In order to get the most out of inbound, you have to understand how all these different things work together. In that sense, it’s better to have every piece of your inbound strategy functioning, than to have a few of the pieces working perfectly.
The Ideal Buyer – everything in the inbound universe revolves around the company’s ideal buyer.
The buyer is the center of the universe and powers everything else. Without the ideal buyer, the universe would cease to exist. Defining your primary buyer persona is your first order of business.
In a case study, MarketingSherpa found that defining their ideal buyer with buyer personas created a 900% increase in length of visit, a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue, a 111% increase in email open rate, and a 100% increase in the number of pages visited (Acton).
Branding – Your brand is the way your company presents itself to your ideal buyer.
Your branding unifies every other planet in the solar system. Without good branding, all the planets will cease to orbit together and will instead move off in independent directions. Your brand also sets you apart from your competition. Your brand includes everything from your logo to the ethics of each employee. A good brand will work its way into your ideal buyer’s dreams, a bad one will create nightmares for your down the road.
According to Forbes, branding is the most important thing about your company.
Website – Your website is the center of your marketing efforts. It’s the throne that your branding sits on.
The other planets’ job is to direct attention toward your website and hold it there. Your website works 24/7 to turn your ideal buyers into customers.
I don’t really have to convince anyone how important a website is, but is your website doing everything it can? Check out these 7 Keys to Enhance Your B2B Website.
Content – Content fuels your marketing engine. Without it, you’re not going anywhere.
Without good content, no amount of optimization will have any effect, and your social media efforts will be worthless. Some marketers are stuck in the Dark Ages and write content like the inbound galaxy revolves around them. Scientists have discovered that it actually revolves around the buyer’s needs, so now your content, like everything else you do, must revolve around your ideal buyer’s needs.
Content is becoming a more and more integral part of how b2b companies interact with buyers. 67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago (DemandGen).
But effective content marketing is more competitive and complex than ever. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Report, only 32% of marketers have a documented content strategy, and only 30% of marketers say that they are effective at content marketing. Both of these numbers are smaller than they were in last year’s report.
SEO – Great content isn’t enough to win the race. You need SEO to help your content be effective.
Search Engine Optimization is probably the planet that moves around the sun the fastest. It is always changing and morphing. Good SEO incorporates a lot of different things, from hyperlinks in your website content, to your popularity on social media. In order to optimize for search, you have to do some planning before the website copy is set in stone. You have to decide what keywords to target; where to put links in your content and make sure you have keyword focused meta tags, titles and urls. Your job doesn’t stop here, optimizing for search is always an ongoing process.
Having more content gives you more leads and organic search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites (beating social by 300%). Needless to say, if you want more traffic and more leads, optimizing for search is a must.
Lead Nurturing – The B2B buying cycle is notoriously long. Once you attract some leads, it’s time to warm them up.
According to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance, and according to Forrester, Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.
Client Care – Delighting your customers is one of the best ways to earn more.
Some people don’t think that this planet belongs in the solar system, it’s just a bunch of touchy feely gas with some rings around it. But client care care has become a big part of successful b2b marketing today.
A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% (Leading on the Edge of Chaos by Emmet Murphy and Mark Murphy), and 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience (Defacto Research). Check out this article on the importance of delighting your customers.
PR / Social Media – Aren’t getting the attention you hoped for? How’s your social media presence?
Social media has become one of the main ways that company’s can connect with the public. This planet has the ability to help a brand connect with their ideal buyer, amplify content and drive traffic to the website. While search engines drive more traffic than social, successful social media will help improve search rankings.
54% of B2B marketers have generated leads from social media (CMO).
Ads – Online ads, if used correctly can offer your inbound engine a little extra oil.
This planet is one of the most abused in the inbound solar system. It has been abused by marketers for so long, that people didn’t believe that it could really do much good any more. Though it shouldn’t be used as a primary inbound tactic, it can help your other channels be more effective.
Facebook ad revenue is expected to grow 42% in 2015 (Marketing Land). Mobile is becoming the dominant platform for ads: by 2018 mobile search spending will reach $28.41 billion, or 85.9%, of the U.S. digital search advertising market (eMarketer).
Print – Print isn’t dead. With today’s technology, there are more ways than ever for print to help you stand out.
Many inbound marketers don’t even think print is a real planet. It’s status as a planet has been challenged numerous times over the years. But the disease that almost drove print to extinction is beginning to plague email marketing.
Some marketers are finding ways to use print to liven up a completely digital marketing industry. At this day in age, print is often the perfect option to break through to a lead.
Don’t believe me? 79% of households say they read or scan direct-mail ads (DMR), and more than 75% of customers enjoy receiving special offers in the mail (Visually). In fact, direct-mail marketing yields, on average, a 13 to 1 return on investment ratio (DMR).
Check out this article about how direct-mail can add some splash to your lead nurturing drip campaigns.