The question I get asked the most by prospective clients is “Please find me distributors”. This always gives me a great opportunity to explain that in today’s world of online marketing, our job is to help the distributors find us, and not the other way round! Let me explain how this works for Business to Business (B2B) lead generation:
Traditional (Outbound) Marketing
In the good old days, we would use a combination of the following techniques to reach our target audience:
- Attend international exhibitions (very expensive when you add up the cost of renting space, setting up a booth, flights, hotels and time, not great for keeping stress levels low and a good chance that your target audience might not even turn up in today’s economy of reduced travel budgets.)
- Advertise in trade publications (expensive and no way if you are reaching the target market or of calculating ROI).
- Buy email lists or database information and cold call or cold email (lower cost but not very effective since most communication will be recognised as spam)
This type of marketing is known as Outbound Marketing since you are reaching out to the target market in the desperate hope that they will listen. It is expensive, inefficient and often when it brings in leads, these prove to be unqualified and unsuitable.
Online (Inbound) Marketing
Today’s online tools allow us to create content that will be finely tuned to the target market and, if we do things right, will have a high chance of appearing before them and generating interest. The content must add value and is not necessarily trying to sell them anything.
Content means blog postings, articles, videos, news, case studies, brochures, give-aways, or anything else that provides value to the person consuming it.
The 7 steps of Inbound Marketing are shown in the diagram on the right but here are a few key points:
- Inbound marketing is all about Content. Once you have created it, then promote it using social media, your blog, twitter, pay per click and email.
- Use LinkedIn to its fullest. LinkedIn is arguably the most relevant social media platform for B2B. Conduct searches using your relevant keywords to find people you might be able to contact directly (consider paying for a premium account). Add your blog to your LinkedIn profile and consider paying for a LinkedIn PPC campaign.
- Don’t ignore Facebook. 1 in 9 people in the world are on Facebook so even though you may not consider it relevant for your business, the likelihood is that the people you are targeting are there, even if they’re not doing business there. Don’t try selling to them on FB, but create your business page and promote it.. you just might find them Liking your page. Remember though… people expect something in return when they Like your business page!
- Blog regularly. Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages, 97% more inbound links, 55% more website visitors and generate 67% more leads than those who do not.
- Make sure all your pay per click campaigns link to Landing Pages where you can measure performance and offer a call to action.
- It is easier than ever to sell direct to the consumer today by developing eCommerce on your website. Inbound marketing principles are similar to those described in this article and generally the biggest perceived barrier to selling to the consumer is the logistics. Please see this page for more information on this subject..
Inbound marketing has a significantly higher ROI than all other types of marketing and you are encouraged to start using the techniques described here. Finding distributors for your products is far more efficient than ever before because of the availability of tools that can help bring in qualified leads. Selling directly to the consumer is feasible due to the possibilities of eCommerce and fulfillment services. It is up to you to take advantage of these and help your business grow.
We would be happy to talk to you about working together to help your business grow. To contact us and set up a time to talk, please click on this link.