What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

Outbound marketing is and has been a lot of things. If we’re honest, it hasn’t always been great. Outbound marketing is probably best known for annoying push marketing.

Yeah, we’re talking telemarketers, cold calling, that delightful junk mail you’re always throwing away, and basically any form of marketing that pushes a product or service on you, without even attempting to be personal. It’s not relevant, it’s usually poorly timed (ahem, telemarketers who call at dinner time), and it doesn’t usually put you in a positive frame of mind to make a purchase. 

But now that we’re clear about how terrible outbound marketing used to be, we can talk about what outbound marketing is in 2020, and how it can be successful and useful today. We’re going to focus on effective outbound marketing because even though there are companies out there still using traditional techniques like telemarketing, there are better, more efficient, and more positive ways to implement outbound marketing in 2020.

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

In 2020, outbound marketing is an effective way to get your message in front of the right people immediately, and on a larger scale than organic and inbound tactics can deliver. 

It’s important to remember that while outbound marketing has been frustrating to consumers in the past, it’s still a successful marketing strategy when applied correctly in a non-interruptive way. As we move into 2020, outbound marketing will continue to evolve. We’ve already seen outbound marketing deliver results for our clients in forms like pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, and even strategic outbound email campaigns, and we expect that trend to continue throughout this new year. 

In 2020, successful outbound marketing has less to do with what platforms you use, and more to do with how you apply your own strategy to those platforms. Let’s take a look at what outbound marketing that works will look like in 2020.

Successful Outbound Marketing in 2020 Will Be:

Outbound marketing doesn’t have to be disruptive. In fact, it can be a really helpful form of marketing, especially for consumers who are ready to make a purchasing decision. Here’s a glance at what outbound marketing in 2020 should look like.

Personalized

Impersonal, disruptive messaging is the number one reason that traditional outbound marketing strategies fail. When done right, outbound marketing can produce serious results for your company. It puts you in front of a large pool of the right consumers. 

But, you’re only going to get their attention if your message is relevant to their goals and pain points and if it’s not disruptive to their life.

That’s why we’re hoping that in 2020, more people start to look at outbound marketing through an inbound marketing lense. There’s nothing wrong with paid and outbound tactics — they really do work! But, they work best when they’re approached with an inbound mindset of incorporating your message seamlessly into the consumer’s day, rather than interrupting them to shout out an impersonalized promotion. 

Take the time to understand what your audience is looking for. If you’re on Facebook, choose audiences who have a legitimate interest in your product or service. If you’re working on paid ad sets for Google, choose search terms that are relevant to what you’re promoting. No one wants to see an ad for gym shoes when they searched “ice cream near me.”

If you’re hoping to implement successful outbound marketing strategies in 2020, personalized, relevant messages that aren’t disruptive are the key.

Efficient

Outbound marketing tactics in 2020 have a specific purpose — to convert qualified leads more efficiently than inbound tactics can. Outbound marketing gets your message in front of the right consumers, right now. Make sure you’re using that to your advantage. 

Implement your 2020 outbound marketing campaigns where you know they’ll be the most effective, and efficient. Outbound marketing tactics like remarketing and paid search ad campaigns targeted to end-of-funnel keywords are great ways to quickly convert leads who have already shown interest in your company. They just need that little extra push to convert. 

That’s what you use outbound marketing for — efficient, tactical conversions of the leads you already know are interested in your product or service. If you’re trying to use outbound marketing tactics to nurture leads and build relationships, you’re not going to see those immediate results or the ROI you’re looking for, because that’s not what outbound marketing is designed to do. 

Cost-Effective

The time for massive outbound marketing budgets is over. We’re not saying you shouldn’t spend money on outbound marketing, but we are saying you should be strategic about where you spend your budget. Digital outbound marketing methods can be exceptionally cost-effective if you know what you’re doing. How to know what you’re doing? Here are a few good ways to start:

Target End-of-Buyer's-Journey Keywords

It’s worth it to spend money on outbound marketing campaigns that target people at the end of their buyer’s journey. They know exactly what they’re looking for, they just need to make a purchase. 

Long-tail keywords like “Honeywell Commercial Alarm System Installation in Grand Rapids” show you that the consumer has already done their homework, and made their decision. Now, they just need to find a provider. When you bid on these keywords, you’ll show up as a first option for those consumers who are ready to buy. 

Spend on High-Return Markets

If you have a specific product or service that secures higher returns, that’s where you should be allocating your outbound marketing budget. If you can spend less to make more with your outbound campaigns, you’re going to see the ROI and the results you’ve been looking for.

Above all, analyze your outbound marketing campaigns constantly. Keep a close eye on where your money is going, and where it’s delivering leads.

In 2020, the paid advertising market will be more competitive than ever. The best way to get ahead without breaking the bank is to spend strategically on just the campaigns sure to deliver you the best results, and the greatest ROI. 

Strategic

Outbound marketing is one part of a complete digital marketing strategy. It’s important to apply outbound marketing tactics in the spaces where they can provide you with the greatest returns. 

In 2020 outbound marketing will be one of the fastest ways to get your company out ahead of the competition, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the only marketing tactic out there, and it shouldn’t be the only component of your marketing strategy. 

Outbound marketing costs money. And as more and more people are buying into paid social media advertising, pay-per-click ads, display campaigns, and more in 2020, the costs of outbound marketing will continue to rise. 

In order to see significant returns, and to get the leads you want at a price that allows you to keep growing, it’s important to be strategic about where you use your outbound marketing tactics. 

For example, inbound marketing can help you nurture leads with relevant content that answers questions. Outbound marketing can’t do that. Outbound marketing can raise brand awareness, get your company in front of the right leads, and help you close those buyers who are ready to make a decision, but it can’t do the long, hard work of lead nurturing, educating, or building relationships — all important components of an effective long-term growth strategy. For that, you need other tactics and strategies like inbound marketing and excellent customer service. 

In 2020 the key to a marketing strategy that delivers growth is understanding how to balance inbound and outbound tactics for the best results. Use outbound marketing where you can get those quick wins: targeted and remarketing ads, calling consumers back to you at the end of their buyer’s journey, and raising brand awareness. But remember that in the end, outbound marketing is a tool to help you build on an already solid marketing foundation. 

If you use your outbound tactics to supplement an already amazing website, rich original content, and a robust digital marketing strategy, you’re sure to win in 2020. 

Not sure how to implement outbound marketing in 2020? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We’ve got a ton of resources on outbound marketing, and we love to chat about how inbound and outbound marketing can complement each other. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you’ve got. 

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Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

If you’re in the marketing world at all, you know that these two terms are the heavyweight champs of modern marketing. But how do they fit together? There’s a lot of confusion out there about inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Are they the same thing? And if they’re different, how?

We’re going to break it all down for you in this marketing terminology matchup of inbound marketing vs. content marketing.

Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Most marketers generally confer — content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. I like to think of it this way:

  • Inbound marketing is a big umbrella. A whole bunch of marketing tactics make up the umbrella’s individual components. SEO, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and so many more tactics make up everything from the waterproof fabric to each little rib that forms the shape of the umbrella. 
  • If inbound marketing is an umbrella, content marketing is the pole and handle that holds the umbrella up. Content marketing forms the base and the foundation for a quality inbound marketing strategy.

So to answer the questions posed in the intro: yes, content marketing and inbound marketing are different things. 

Inbound marketing refers to the overarching marketing strategy that draws in qualified leads. Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, but one of the most important inbound marketing tactics that lays the framework for the larger inbound marketing strategy as a whole.

Got it? Not quite? 

No worries. We’re going to keep on rolling with some more information to make that distinction a little clearer for you. Let’s take a closer look at what inbound marketing is, what content marketing is, and how they work together to deliver you the leads you want when you want them.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a marketing method that focuses on drawing in qualified leads and potential customers, rather than blasting information about your company to the general public. 

Inbound marketing is specific and tactical. 

The methodology requires that you know who you’re selling to, who you want to sell to, and that you market to those specific buyers in a way that is helpful to them. 

Inbound marketing was born out of the modern consumer’s desire to discover solutions to their own problems. Today’s consumer despises telemarketers, spam emails, and other poorly targeted advertising techniques that don’t feel personal, relevant, or helpful.

Inbound marketing recognizes this consumer pain point, and works to find a solution.

Inbound marketing is successful when a consumer seeks a solution to a problem, navigates to a resource that answers their questions, and self-selects the product or service that ultimately resolves their pain point. 

For the consumer, this is a seamless transition. 

They search their problem, find the ideal solution, and make a purchasing decision. The trick of inbound marketing is offering up relevant content and improving your company’s visibility so that consumer gets their seamless transition from you. And this is where content marketing comes in. 

What is Content Marketing?

Inbound marketing is built on content marketing. Though inbound marketing is made up of a variety of marketing tactics, like search engine optimization, email marketing, workflows, and so much more, content marketing is certainly the heavy lifter. 

Think about it:

  • What would you promote in your email marketing campaigns if you didn’t have content written? 

  • Where would you direct conversions from pay-per-click ads if not to a page of content? 

  • How would you optimize your website for search engines without content?

Content marketing forms the backbone and the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy. It’s everything from the optimized content on your website to your weekly blog posts to your monthly email newsletters to that new vlog you’ve been trying out.

Content marketing is what creates value for your potential leads, and its what draws those qualified leads into your sales funnel. 

If you want a more specific outline of the different types of content marketing and how to implement them, I suggest you check out our content marketing page. If you’re already familiar with content marketing, let’s move on to how inbound marketing and content marketing work together: 

How These Strategies Work Together to Bring You Qualified Leads

As we mentioned earlier, inbound marketing functions on the premise that today’s consumer ignores disruptive, non-personal messages. Inbound marketing instead encourages consumers to self-qualify, and search for and find the information and the solutions that best fit their own problems and pain points. Content marketing is a major component of that inbound marketing methodology, especially in a consumer’s early stages of the buyer’s journey. 

While your sales team might already have a great, inbound-focused method of converting leads into sales, content marketing is one of those key tools that brings those leads to your marketing and sales teams in the first place. 

I like to think of content marketing as the fuel that feeds your inbound marketing funnel or flywheel. 

Without content going out regularly, answering your ideal customer’s questions, solving their pain points, and nurturing them further down the buyer’s journey, your sales team might not get the chance to exercise their awesome, inbound-focused sales process in the first place.

While content marketing is also used extensively in the later stages of the buyer’s journey, it’s most commonly thought of as a way to draw in the right, qualified leads, so your marketing and sales team can apply the rest of your inbound marketing strategy to nurture and close those leads. 

Inbound Marketing + Content Marketing = A Successful Growth Strategy

In the end, it’s best to think about inbound marketing and content marketing together, rather than inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Both tactics are useful methods to draw in and close qualified leads, and they work best when used in conjunction. 

Content marketing forms the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy, drawing in the right leads with helpful, personalized content. Then, your inbound marketing strategy can do the rest of the work — taking the leads your content marketing strategy generated and converting them into customers and future promoters for your brand. 

Still have questions? We’ve got answers. Check out our inbound marketing and content marketing pages for more specifics on both strategies, and always feel free to give us a call or drop a line — we’d love to chat. And if you’re just not sure what an inbound marketing strategy can do for you in real life, check out the case study below. 

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5 Ways a CRM Helps Streamline Your Sales Process

5 Ways a CRM Helps Streamline Your Sales Process

5 Ways a CRM Helps Streamline Your Sales Process

Looking to streamline your sales process? It is an integral component of your business’ success. If your sales team has trouble selling efficiently, you’re going to see your company growth drop, which isn’t good for anyone. 

In general, sales reps spend a significant amount of time on admin work — scheduling meetings, setting up reminders, sending emails, and other small tasks that take serious time out of their day that they could be spending closing deals. 

So, how can you streamline your sales process in a way that all of that admin work still gets done, but your sales team has the time they need to close deals? For many companies, a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software, is the answer. 

Here at Evenbound, we’re big fans of HubSpot, but you might also have heard of other popular options like Pardot and Salesforce. While some options are better than others, the general purpose of a CRM is to make it easier for your sales team to foster positive relationships with all of the leads who come into your sales cycle and eliminate a lot of the busywork that keeps them from closing.

Here are just 5 of the top ways a CRM helps streamline your sales process. 

#1 Streamline Marketing to Sales Handoff Process

For most companies, the handoff from marketing to sales is where leads fall through the cracks. Whether your sales and marketing teams aren’t communicating or your sales team is just too busy to follow up on all the leads marketing sends over, it’s easy, and common for leads to fall out of the sales funnel during the handoff from marketing to sales. 

A CRM can solve the majority of these sales dropoff problems. 

The first fix is to notify your sales team. When the marketing team decides a lead is ready to move up to sales, a CRM can automatically alert your sales team of the move. This is a great way to eliminate lost leads who drop out of the cycle because no one contacts them.

The next fix is to help your sales team see immediately if that lead is actually ready for your sales team or not. A CRM shows your sales team exactly where a lead is in the buying process. The CRM will track every contact marketing has with that lead, giving the sales team a good idea of how warm the lead is, and how ready they are to buy. 

This makes it easy for your sales reps to see at a glance whether a lead is ready for them, or if they’d rather send them back down to marketing. 

And with a quality CRM, transferring that lead back down to marketing is a snap. Your sales rep just reassigns or recategorizes the lead, and they’re back in marketing’s “to nurture” bucket. 

For many companies, a significant percentage of marketing leads do not convert to sales. This is partially handled with sales and marketing alignment, but a CRM is also a very useful tool to make no one is losing track of those leads. 

Implementing a quality CRM not only helps make sure those leads get through the sales process, but it helps bring your sales and marketing teams together, and understand better what both teams need to effectively reach their goals.

#2 CRMs Increase Prospect Visibility in the Sales Funnel

Your sales team is busy. There’s no getting around it. As long as your marketing team is delivering leads, your sales team is busy contacting them all, establishing which of your products or service is the best fit for each and then getting through the actual nurturing and closing process. A CRM streamlines your sales process by offering greater visibility on all of those prospects in the sales funnel. 

CRMs make it easy to see where every prospect is in the sales funnel, at any given time. If your sales team is managing their leads with a post-it note system, a notebook, or any other method, they’re probably letting leads drop out of the sales funnel. And it’s not their fault — we’re all only human! 

But, a CRM can help resolve this problem, and make it easy for your sales team to prioritize the warmest leads above leads who still need a bit of nurturing. 

  • Organize leads by priority. Most quality CRMs allow you to segment leads based on how qualified they are, and where they are in the sales funnel. When your top-priority leads are listed right at the top of the page, your sales team doesn’t even have to think about who to call first. 
  • See at a glance which leads have been contacted, by who, and when. Another key visibility benefit that comes with a quality CRM is that your sales reps can see at a glance who has contacted what lead, and when. They’ll be able to see which of your resources a lead has already received, and what information they might still need to make a final decision. 

Increased visibility thanks to a quality CRM leads to a more effective, efficient sales process. When your leads are automatically organized by industry, job title, interest level, and more, your sales team can spend more time on what they’re best at — closing deals. 

#3 Automated Tasks Help Streamline Your Sales Process

Even though it’s necessary, sending out product catalogs, brochures, and pricing guides is repetitive and time-consuming. Your sales team already knows that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every email, but they do have to take the time to copy-paste their text, change the names, attach the documents, and then finally send the email. A CRM can automate these repetitive tasks so your sales team has more time to actually sell. 

Quality CRMs offer tools like automated workflows, follow-up emails, chatbots, and more, so your leads still get the quality service they need to feel nurtured and supported through the sales process, but your sales team is freed up to use their time for more important tasks. 

And for tasks that CRMs can’t automate, they can send automated reminders. Your sales reps have to talk to any contact multiple times before they close a deal. Your CRM can automatically remind sales reps when to make those calls so that no leads fall through the cracks. 

#4 Easy Reporting

No one likes to make reports. What if they didn’t have to? 

Quality CRMs can generate sales reports at the click of a button, so your team can easily see what’s working, and what’s not.

One of the greatest benefits of a CRM for any sales team is the data it has to offer. In addition to supporting your sales team, your CRM is constantly collecting data. Data about your clients, how long they take to close, what content offer brings in the leads most likely to close, and what sales tools are most effective at closing those sales.

All of that data, combined and compiled for you by the CRM, helps you interpret your sales team’s success, and further streamline your sales process for even better results. 

#5 Sales Leaderboards and Productivity Reports

We’re a big proponent of teamwork. As a growth agency, we’ve seen that companies who encourage their sales reps to work together tend to do significantly better than companies with sales reps who are all using different sales tactics, and even different sales processes. 

Advanced CRMs, like HubSpot, are designed to give you and your sales team all of the data you need to optimize and streamline your sales process as a team. Sales leaderboards and productivity reports are one great way to do that.

They show you which of your team members are doing great, and which might be struggling with your new sales process or CRM. You can use these stats to bring your whole team up, by asking those at the top of the leaderboard to share what they’re doing to close so many deals. 

Generating a sales leaderboard and a productivity report also helps give you a better picture of where your reps are spending their time.

Maybe one rep has been spending a ton of time in your CRM, and is super productive, but is low on the leaderboard. This might be an opportunity to show them some more of those automation tools, so they can get out of their inbox, and back on the phone with clients. 

A CRM is designed to organize and store all of your sales team’s information and data in one easy-to-access location. In addition to providing exceptional visibility, a CRM helps streamline your sales process by handling the repetitive tasks that take time out of your team’s day of selling. The goal is to enable your sales team with all the tools they need to be able to sell better, and more efficiently, and when implemented properly, that’s exactly what a CRM does. 

If you’re thinking about a CRM, but aren’t sure how to get started, or are afraid of a lengthy learning curve, get in touch with the Evenbound team. We have team members dedicated to onboarding and training sales reps and marketing teams on how to use the HubSpot CRM effectively, and we’re confident we can help you too. Just take a look at the results we provided for this company in the case study below!

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Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of mouth marketing has been a subject of discussion in inbound marketing circles for quite some time. It’s a particularly challenging subject for B2Bs, who function in niche industries like manufacturing. Many B2Bs feel that word of mouth marketing is the only, best way to get leads. And while we certainly won’t disagree that word of mouth marketing is powerful, we do have some thoughts (and some stats to back them up), about why traditional word of mouth marketing is out, and why modern word of mouth marketing can’t stand on its own if you’re trying to grow your company. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about what word of mouth marketing is, in both the traditional and the modern sense, and we’re going to talk about when you need it, and when you don’t. 

Word of mouth marketing (or WOMM for short) is a big component of many marketing strategies, but we’re here to tell you why it shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy. Let’s start by taking a look at what WOMM is: 

Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing

Traditional word of mouth marketing is exactly what it sounds like. Before the internet exploded in popularity, companies built brand awareness and grew their business primarily from having their customers talk about them to other industry members. 

In B2B applications, especially in the manufacturing industry, this was a major driver of business because the industries are so niche. The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation. When you had that, you could rely on WOMM to get you both the leads that you wanted and the ones you needed. 

Unfortunately, following the internet boom, WOMM has seen a slow decline in success, even for those B2B manufacturers who have relied on it as their primary form of marketing for decades. So why isn’t traditional WOMM working anymore?

Why Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing Doesn’t Cut it Anymore 

The number one answer to that question is the internet. When the internet blew up, it became easy for anyone to find the products, services, and solutions they needed, right from their own computer or smartphone. No need to pick up a phone or talk to a friend — the necessary information was directly at the consumer’s fingertips. 

For B2Bs, and particularly B2B manufacturers, this change happened slowly. These industries are niche, and many manufacturers feel that they know the key players without heading to the web. 

Today, though, as many incoming engineers and manufacturing sales professionals are tech natives, used to finding solutions and products online, manufacturers are realizing the importance of having a web presence and a dedicated marketing team. 

In all honesty, if you’re still relying on traditional WOMM to bring in leads, you’re not going to see the same growth as your competition. 

To continue to grow and be successful as a company, in any industry, a legitimate digital presence is a required qualification. 

Why? Well, that’s where modern word of mouth marketing comes in.

Modern Word of Mouth Marketing

If I had a dime for every time a prospective client said, “oh we get 90% of our leads through referrals. We’re not sure if digital marketing will really move the needle.” I probably wouldn’t be writing these blogs anymore. 

Guess what? They’re almost always wrong. Why?

Because while traditional marketing methods did bring in a whole bunch of leads for a number of B2Bs in the past, in today’s digital world, the internet has flipped the switch. 

Enter modern word of mouth marketing.

What is Modern Word of Mouth Marketing?

Also known as amplified word of mouth marketing, this new, modern version of WOMM takes advantage of all the new technology that has erupted in the past decade or so, like Facebook, Linkedin, and Google. All of these platforms encourage what is essentially a digital form of word of mouth marketing with reviews that can be published and shared

For many companies, this amplified or modern WOMM has taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. But it’s better. 

With traditional marketing, you could get referral leads, but usually only from people in your area, who you knew or had talked to at a conference or trade show. 

How Does Modern Word of Mouth Marketing Work?

Modern WOMM eliminates the need for any of that proximity. You get all of the benefits of traditional marketing — the company goodwill, the great reputation, and the warm leads — without the constraints.

Anyone can go online, read your reviews, and make a decision about your company and product. They don’t have to be from the same town or even the same country! 

Studies have shown that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much, or more than personal recommendations. 

According to PowerReviews, 97% of consumers consult product reviews.

You already knew that WOMM was important. These facts just drive home the point that digital reviews have taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. 

What’s more, this digital strategy works much harder for you than traditional word of mouth marketing. Take a look:

  • Reviews can be shared, posted, and boosted with social media ad spend
  • Digital reviews make it easier for you to connect with your clients and customers. Easily see who’s left a review, and what they’ve said.
  • Build visible trust. The more positive reviews and comments your company gets, the more trust you’ll have with people just learning about your brand. 
  • The ROI is outstanding. According to IMPACT, word of mouth marketing generates 2x more sales than paid ads. And it doesn’t cost you much if anything at all. 

Why Any Form of WOMM  Alone Won’t Get You Leads

Alright, so modern word of mouth marketing is awesome. I hope we’ve made that clear. At no point would we ever say that word of mouth marketing wasn’t worthwhile, for any company in any industry. 

With that in mind, it is important, especially for my B2Bs out there to remember that modern WOMM isn’t going to help your company grow on its own. To explain why, let’s go back to a statement I made about traditional word of mouth marketing earlier.

“The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation.”

That’s still true of modern word of mouth marketing. 

In today’s world, you can’t have a quality reputation without a quality digital presence. 

Anyone who hears about an awesome company, whether you manufacture parts for automobiles or you develop excellent machine test technology, is going to head to the company’s website first. 

If your website is shitty and from 2001, that lead won’t stick around. 

For the sake of example, let’s say you have an awesome new website. That lead is interested in your company. 

But, when they start clicking through your website, they can’t figure out how your products are priced. There’s no pricing sheet for them to download, or even a content offer explaining to them the differences between your products and product models. Or worse, maybe they can’t figure out how to contact you. 

You’ve lost that lead again. 

WOMM is Best Used in Conjunction with a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

There are a lot more examples I could use, but I think you’ve probably gotten the point. In today’s digital era, WOMM on its own isn’t going to help your company grow. 

While modern WOMM — with reviews and comments that can be shared, liked, and interacted with — is a useful and proven tool, it should not be the only way you expect to generate leads

If you’re a manufacturing company that’s lived off of word of mouth referrals for decades, it’s important to realize that the times are changing. Even with excellent referrals, you’re not going to see the growth you could be capitalizing on if you don’t invest in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Things like:

  1. A website optimized for search engines
  2. Calls to action
  3. Unique landing pages that capture leads
  4. Well-ranking content that puts you ahead of the competition
  5. A professional presence on social media platforms

All of these are factors that will help boost your modern word of mouth marketing potential, and help your company grow as a whole. 

Digital marketing works best when it is applied in a comprehensive fashion. 

Just one or two strategies aren’t going to help your company grow. 

While word of mouth marketing is important for your B2B company, it’s important to realize that there are so many other strategies out there that could be helping you get more word of mouth leads, and just more leads in general. 

If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, or if you’re convinced that digital marketing isn’t going to put you that much farther ahead than the referrals you’re already getting, I invite you to check out the case study below. 

In it, we’ve outlined with clarity how a comprehensive digital marketing strategy has put this cleanroom manufacturer ahead of the competition and helped them grow significantly throughout our partnership. 

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And if you’ve got more questions about word of mouth marketing for B2Bs, or if you’re interested to see how a full digital marketing strategy could put you ahead of those manufacturers who still rely solely on word of mouth, please get in touch. We’re here and we’re more than happy to help.

7 Content Marketing Strategies to Take Your Company to the Next Level

7 Content Marketing Strategies to Take Your Company to the Next Level

7 Content Marketing Strategies to Take Your Company to the Next Level

Content marketing tends to get a bad rap. First of all, it’s hard. It takes a lot of effort, and no matter what type of content marketing strategies you’re invested in, you need a writer to make it happen. 

As a content strategist and writer myself, I could be a little biased in my love for content marketing, but study after study has shown that content marketing is one of the most effective inbound marketing methods to take your company to the next level when it comes to digital presence, lead generation, and most importantly to you — ROI. 

Once you have a good content marketing strategy in place, it can provide some of the highest returns, with very little investment on your part. With all of those awesome benefits in mind, then how do you get started with content marketing? 

Are there some strategies that are better, more proven, or easier than others?

We say yes. 

While nearly all forms of content marketing are effective, there are a select few that are proven to drive serious results, especially when implemented and executed properly. We’re here to talk about those seven. Use the menu below to jump to the strategy you’re most interested in, or read all the way through for everything you’ve ever needed to know to set your company apart from the competition with intuitive content marketing strategies. 

7 Content Marketing Strategies to Take Your Company to the Next Level

#1 Blogging Strategy

Blogging feels like a given, but we’re going to talk about it anyway because it’s that important. If you want to up your company’s digital presence — that is, rank ahead of key competition, be the first in search results, and more — you need to blog, and you need to blog with intention. 

Start by developing a true blogging strategy. Do keyword research and figure out which search terms are:

  • Relevant to your business
  • Highly searched
  • Easy to rank for (that is, they have low competition for organic search results)
  • Interesting and useful to your ideal buyer personas

Then, develop a blogging schedule and strategy around those keywords. When you’re developing a blogging strategy to stick to, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Blog regularly (on a monthly or weekly schedule)
  • Write blogs that satisfy a buyer persona’s pain point or question
  • Ensure that your content creation structure makes sense. This is important for SEO and ranking purposes. See this blog on topic clusters for more information there. 
  • Write blogs that are long enough to satisfy readers and search engines alike. We recommend at least 1,000 words.

If you blog regularly, on topics that are relevant and useful to your ideal buyer personas, you’ll start to see results. And if you’re honest, and your information is actually helpful to those ideal buyer personas, you’ll keep rising up through the SERPs for those keywords that matter most to you, and your ideal buyers. 

#2 Email Marketing Strategy

If blogging is how you leverage content marketing to reach strangers, then email marketing is how you leverage content marketing to reach leads you already know. 

Email marketing gives you a decided advantage when it comes to nurturing leads through to close: 

  • You already have the lead’s contact information
  • You have a general sense of what they’re looking for — which product or service they’re interested in
  • You likely know what company they work for
  • You know that they already have at least some interest in your company — they did give you their email address, after all. 

Use this information to your benefit. Email marketing is about strategy. Given what you know about your contacts, what information will they need to keep moving towards closing a sale?

And, considering that many email marketing tools allow you to automate workflows, you can use these features to set up email workflows and let the tools do the work for you. While you can’t quite forget about your workflows, you can check back on the analytics and optimize as you go. 

Email marketing is one of the only tools that allows you to market directly to people who are already interested in the products or services you’re offering. If you’re looking to boost your digital presence and close more deals while you’re at it, a solid email marketing strategy is a must. 

#3 Social Media Marketing Strategy

If we’re talking about taking your company to the next level, we have to talk about social media. 

There’s no better way to get the word out about your company, and build a brand and personality, than on social media. And remember that building your social media presence is about more than just getting likes and comments. The more followers you have, the wider reach the rest of your content will have. 

Your social media marketing strategy should be just as calculated as your blogging strategy — it’s a common misconception that keywords don’t apply to the wild west of Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter. 

That’s not true, especially for a platform like Linkedin, where people are searching for companies and employees by the keywords you’re already trying to rank for. For a killer social media marketing strategy check out this post, and keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Follow a regular posting schedule
  • Curate content that’s specific to each platform. What resonates on Instagram isn’t what resonates or is appropriate for Linkedin.
  • Vary your topics. Don’t just talk about what’s happening in your office or promote your blog posts. Share great posts from other industry leaders, share fun content when appropriate, and make sure you’re curating an interesting feed for followers.
  • Incorporate your keywords where it’s relevant. Don’t spam your followers with unnecessary hashtags, but do be conscious about what terms you’re using in social media copy. 

If your company is new to social media, we always suggest starting small. Pick one platform, like Linkedin or Facebook, and put all of your efforts into building a following there. When you feel comfortable managing one platform, and you feel like you have a handle on how to get and maintain followers, you can expand into additional platforms. 

#4 Video Strategy

Video is hands-down one of the best ways to engage visitors. 

People love video content, search engines love video content, and you should love video content, too. 

That said, we know that developing a video strategy can be a little scary. It’s a much more involved process than writing a blog post, and it takes more time and money than any other content marketing strategy out there.

Remember that you don’t always have to produce professional-quality videos. While you might invest in professional help for videos that are going up on your website, a simple how-to video can be done on a smartphone, as long as your audio quality is good, and you have plenty of natural light. 

It’s true that video is a lot of work. It’s usually one of the last content marketing strategies that companies tend to invest in, for that reason. But if you’re really looking to stand out online, video is a surefire way to do it. Don’t take my word for it, though. Here are a few stats that should convince you, if I haven’t already:

Okay, so not only are most marketers already using video content, but one-third of all the internet activity online is spent watching video. Put that with the fact that video is highly shareable, and that most marketing professionals report it as having a very high ROI, and you really can’t go wrong. 

We live in a visual culture. 

People are watching videos constantly. 

Most millennials would prefer to watch a two-minute explainer video that tells them about your services, rather than read about it. 

Investing in a quality video strategy will boost your digital presence far beyond your competitors. Just make sure you’re transcribing all of your videos, so search engines can rank that valuable content for you, too. 

#5 Content Offer Development

One of the most tried-and-true content marketing strategies to exist in the digital world is content offer development. Plain and simple, content offers work. 

When you take the time to put together a valuable resource that someone interested in your product or service genuinely wants or needs, it’s going to pay off. 

Since we’re content marketing strategy fiends, we’ve tested, written, rewritten, and retested about a million content offers. I can tell you with confidence, nothing converts leads better than a quality content offer. 

So what does this do to grow your company? 

Well, if you have an awesome content offer, you can share it around social media and promote it on your email marketing strategy. It’s great for your company’s digital presence in that way. But, if we’re talking big picture, which we should be, content offers are what get you leads. 

If someone is interested enough in what you have to say that they give up their email address, they’re a qualified lead. 

And when your content offers are drawing in qualified leads, your company is going to see some growth. 

But how do you develop content offers that work?

Think about the questions you get the most often.

What holds people up from making a purchasing decision? Do they have trouble deciding between your products? If so, create a product comparison guide. Are they on the fence about how much of a difference your service will make for their company? Create a content offer that talks about the specific benefits your service provides. 

Develop content offers for specific stages of your buyer’s journey.

You know who your buyer personas are. You know what they’re looking for. You should know the places that they tend to fall out of the buyer’s journey. Whether they get stuck comparing your product to a competitor, or they just can’t decide if your service is worth the money, develop content offers that speak to those specific stages of the buyer’s journey. 

When you have at least one content offer for the awareness, consideration, and decision-making phase of the buyer’s journey, plus content that nurtures potential leads through some of your most common sticking points, you’ll start seeing more leads convert, in less time. 

Only gate the content offers that matter most. 

No matter how many content offers you’ve developed, make sure you’re only gating the ones that matter most. 

The new, most effective trend in digital marketing is to leave most of your content offers open to the public. Instead, you can offer those content offers as downloadable PDFs. This works to help you weed out unqualified contacts. Readers who are really interested in what you have to say, and want to take your offer home with them to read again, are likely to download the PDF and give you their contact information.

While you can still gate a few content offers — like checklists or product pricing guides — try to make your content as accessible to leads as possible, while still giving them the opportunity to give you their contact information. 

#6 Targeted Landing Pages

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times — your home page is NOT a landing page. You’ve dedicated time and effort to a specific, relevant content development strategy that’s designed for multiple buyer personas — why would you send them all to the same bland, basic landing page?

They don’t have the same goals for your company, they don’t have the same needs, and they’re not all at the same place in the buyer’s journey. Targeted landing pages are one of the most effective content marketing strategies you can implement to directly improve your company’s digital ROI. 

Don’t take my word for it though. This company increased online ROI by 60%, just by optimizing their landing pages. 

That’s so easy! Landing pages are some of the shortest, most simple pages of content. Just write a lot of them, and develop them with specific keywords in mind, and you’ll start to see some serious results. 

Before we get off the landing page rant train, let’s just close with one more example. 

Say you’re scrolling through Instagram, and an ad comes up for a really awesome hoodie. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for, and you’re ready to make the purchase. But when you click the ad, instead of being sent directly to that hoodie’s product page, you’re sent to the Amazon home page. 

What a disappointment. 

Are you going to search through Amazon’s massive website to find that specific hoodie and checkout while you’re on your 10-minute coffee break? Yeah. Didn’t think so.

That’s all targeted landing pages are. Pages that offer your ideal buyers exactly the content they were looking for in the first place. Invest just a bit of time in landing pages that are targeted to specific buyer personas and specific content offers, and you’ll start to see results. 

#7 Content Promotion Strategy

Our final content marketing tip is to have a content promotion strategy. All of your other content marketing strategies — your blog, your social media, and even your email marketing — won’t mean much if you’re not working to get the word out. You should spend at least as much time promoting content as you do creating it. 

When it comes to content marketing, you can do all the work of building and developing an awesome content marketing strategy, but if you’re not drawing people into your website to read your content, you’re not going to see the benefits you were looking for. Here are a few ways to take your content promotion strategy to the next level:

  • Cross-Channel Promotion. Promote your blogs on social media channels. Add social media buttons to the bottom of your email newsletters. Share your email subscribe link on social media, at the bottom of blogs, etc. You’re creating content in a variety of channels, as this blog has shown. Make sure your followers know about all of the opportunities you’re offering them to read more amazing content. 
  • Search Engine Optimization. The better optimized your site and content are, the more likely you are to boost organic traffic coming to your site. And when you have more traffic, you have a greater potential for leads. Check out this blog for tips on ensuring your content is following SEO best practices. 
  • Paid Search Advertising. If you’re just getting your content marketing strategy up and running, paid search is a great way to draw in the traffic you need now, without waiting for your site to organically come up in SERPs. Make sure you’re only bidding on relevant keywords, and stick to a budget, but with a little help from paid search, you’ll start seeing the traffic you’ve been looking for. 
  • Boosted or Paid Social Media. Boosted social media posts and paid social media promotion is a great way to get your social media marketing strategy off the ground, too. Boosted posts help ensure your content is reaching all of your followers. Social media ad campaigns can help you expand your reach, by getting more likes, more followers, or just getting the word out about your company.

Start with one or two of these content promotion tactics, and see how they work. Then, make sure you’re adding them to your content marketing strategy and schedule. When you’ve scheduled in time to focus on content promotion, you’re more likely to make it happen.

Content marketing is tough. It takes a lot of work and it takes a good writer — or three. If you don’t have a writer on staff, or if you’re just not sure how to jump into more content marketing strategies, we can help. Get in touch with the Evenbound team for more information, or check out the case study below to see exactly how we’ve helped our clients stand out from the competition with killer content marketing strategies.

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