Lessons from Helping B2B Companies with the Inbound Marketing Process

After years of helping B2B organizations fulfill their inbound marketing goals, we've learned some key lessons along the way. While working with our clients and analyzing which inbound campaigns made them successful, we uncovered the sales and marketing strategies that are most effective for driving growth. Now, we'd like to share them with you.

Utilize, Create, and Distribute Content

With inbound and content marketing growing in popularity, content has now become the cornerstone of many B2B marketing efforts. The right kind of content draws prospects in with its high value. Blogging will drive top-level funnel traffic to a company's website. Once they make it there, more valuable content such as eBooks, whitepapers, and infographics can be discovered. This process can be repeated at every point in the funnel to help customers along their buyer journey. The main goal of using content is to add value for the prospects and build relationships that will generate revenue for your business. As Andrew Davis said during the 2013 Content Marketing World, "Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue."

Related: 5 Errors Killing Your Content Marketing Strategy 

Modern B2B companies are realizing the true potential that content holds and are working fast to harness it. A joint study done by Drift and Mattermark took a look at what the 50 fastest growing B2B companies in the U.S. were doing, and guess what? They're creating content. Eighty percent of those companies curate blogs and/or newsletters, while 44% of them offer downloadable content to visitors. For businesses that do offer additional downloadable content, 28% gate it and 16% don't.

Gated content requires visitors to reveal their name and email address in order to get something of value (like an eBook or whitepaper). By gating content, businesses can increase their leads. When content is left ungated, though, many more eyes can view and share it, which brings more people to a business's website. It's up to the marketing team to determine if gating content is right for the organization.

Key Content Takeaways for Businesses

Content can be used as an educational resource that introduces prospects to your product. Combine it with resources you have—blogs, webinars, podcasts—to draw prospects into your funnel. However, scale the amount of content. Trying to do everything all at once is never successful. Concentrate on one form of content and channel at a time. Also, make the decision as to whether to not your content should be gated.

Communicate with Your Consumers

Over the past few years, consumer behaviour has evolved. They like to do initial research on their own, discovering products that would be a good fit for them. Once that research has been completed, and they have some knowledge under their belt, they'll look for someone to talk to clarify any questions. Content can help address those concerns and communicate with your ideal prospects. 

Not all consumers are the same. Some will follow the process of downloading and consuming the information, whereas others may not have the patience to wait for an email. They may want to talk to a real live person as soon as possible. For the latter, there's a solution.

For prospects that seek out a real response to their questions, many organizations have created a live chat option on their websites. This one-on-one messaging allows prospects to communicate with marketers, salespeople, or other designated employees. Live chat options help prospects stay interested about the product. Their needs and questions are addressed instantly (helping to convert them), instead of waiting hours or days for an email back from a company representative. Adding a personalized photo of the employee who's speaking also goes a long way to making the communication feel real, allowing businesses to further engage with their target market.

Key Communication Takeaways for Businesses

Communication is a key component of the buyer's journey. Content can only take it so far. After that, individuals will seek out those affiliated with the company to get more insight into the product. Companies can use content to get consumers thinking, and then use live chats to help convert and usher them further down the funnel. Strategically use live chats to guide prospects along their buyer journey.

There are several takeaways from inbound marketing that businesses should note. Content drives traffic, educates prospects, and increases leads. It's the first point of communication between a potential consumer and the business. To further engage prospects and guide them along their buyer journey, build live chats into your homepage or a page where the most help is needed.