4 Outbound B2B Marketing Strategies to Leave in the Past
Outbound B2B Marketing Strategies no longer working? We've narrowed down 4 tactics to leave in the past in your digital marketing strategy. Read more...
Published: 13 May 2015
5 minutes read
You may be all too familiar with the old saying “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. Unfortunately, the outbound B2B marketing strategies which used to bring in a gold-mine of leads in the 90s simply don’t work anymore in the digital age. The scare-mongering surrounding ‘mobilegeddon’ (a Google algorithm update which saw a sharp decline in traffic to mobile-unfriendly sites) only stresses the point further that to survive and thrive in 2015, you must evolve and leave outdated B2B marketing strategies behind.
The fundamental mistake marketers have made in the past is focusing on finding people, rather than letting leads find them. The main issue with what we call ‘outbound’ marketing is that this approach is poorly targeted, and often interrupts people at inconvenient times. This strategy can seriously damage your ROI and lead generation capabilities. Below we analyse four ‘outbound’ tactics which have no place in 2015.
1. Cold Calling
How many times have you been annoyed by an overly-enthusiastic salesman: selling something you neither want, nor asked for. Your prospects have the same attitude when your sales team calls and after decades of fielding cold calls, they’ve gotten better at avoiding them.
With caller ID being the standard in most companies, millions of potential clients say ‘don’t call’. Despite the low success rate, cold-calling and other outbound tactics costs you an eye-watering 61% more per lead than leads gained through B2B inbound marketing – where leads find you, rather than vice versa. We’ll let you work out the ROI – low isn’t it?
2. Cold Emailing
Since the dawn of the internet, marketers have been quick to adopt email-marketing. After all it’s quick and gives you the opportunity to reach thousands of potential leads at the touch of button – what could be better? Sadly, you and thousands of other companies have had the same thought process: flooding your prospects’ inboxes with abrasive sales messages. With sophisticated spam detectors, the likelihood of your carefully constructed email being read by potential clients is dismal at best. If your email is lucky enough to stave off the advances of the spam filter, 44% of your recipients will trash it without even opening it.
3. Overly Promotional Content
Still operating marketing tactics like a sledgehammer, rather than a magnet? Think about this quote: “we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and start being what people are interested in”. – Chief Creative Officer J Walter Thompson
Every company believes that they are the best in the industry (and perhaps you are) but simply put: your leads don’t care! They don’t want to read masses of blog content promoting every new service under the sun. Your leads crave knowledge, expertise and life-enhancing content - which does a better job of placing your company as an industry thought-leader.
Facebook also has the same opinion on overly promotional content. Since November last year, the social giant has radically changed its algorithm – penalising overly promotional content and click-bait posts. As a result, Pages perceived as salesy and spammy (both B2C and B2B) are experiencing a nose-dive in organic reach.
Have this thought in mind when reviewing new content: will this content help the reader to solve his or her problem - or is it just about me? If the answer is the latter, consider re-focusing the post before it goes to live, or you could be driving leads off your site.
So when it comes to content, what is the winning formula? You can’t go wrong with an equal balance of promotional, personable and informative content.
4. Segregated Marketing Strategy
The majority of you may agree that we work better when we work together. Bee-hive analogies aside, marketing in 2015 needs a fully immersive team to succeed.
In the past few years, an unprecedented revolution has taken place in the marketing industry. The lines between previously separate divisions: sales, marketing, design and PR have become blurred. With the rising prevalence of social media, marketers have been thrust into the role of public relations – directly communicating with clients and leads in real-time (with varying success). In the hyper-connected marketing sector, communication and team participation are vital ingredients for an integrated marketing strategy.
So why is integrated marketing so important? Ever visited a company site from their Facebook Page, only to find that the branding and overall brand voice are completely different? Chances are it has left you with a bad impression of the company. An inconsistent brand voice can portray your company as disorganised and not focused, which is the last thing a potential client wants.
Which B2B Marketing Strategies Should I Be Using?
We’ve discussed in great lengths the B2B marketing strategies that you should stop using, but what should you be doing instead? You should focus your efforts on encouraging prospects to find you – not the other way around.
Over the past few years, ‘Inbound’ has quickly become the B2B marketer’s best friend. In a nutshell, inbound marketing is the process of getting found when people want to find you as opposed to interrupting leads with information they neither asked for or wanted. Inbound marketing is a concept which encompasses SEO and websites, nurturing email marketing, social media and content marketing.
Inbound marketing works by organically moving leads down the sales funnel, using the elements discussed above at various parts of the process. Inbound sees leads convert into prospects, and eventually clients – using nurturing content to build relationships and install trust.
The Key Components of Inbound Marketing
Want to communicate with potential prospects in real-time? Social media makes this possible. Start industry-related conversations, promote and drive traffic to your website and build your online reputation!
Did you know that 78% of B2B buyers use a search engine at the start of their buying process? Want your website at the top of their search results? Then ensure that your content is optimised for search engines! When it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation), content is king. Ensure that content is original and relevant to your target audience. Remember: SEO is for people first, search engines second – use relevant keywords that are easily understood by your audience and avoid over-stuffing them into copy (Google won’t be happy).
Creating additional site pages and blogs may be time consuming, but consider this: websites with more than 50 pages receive 2.5 times more leads than those with fewer than 50 pages. It therefore goes without saying that content marketing can’t be ignored! Content marketing works by nurturing leads with educational content that they are actually looking for, using your company’s expertise to solve leads’ problems and queries. Through a strategic combination of blogging and downloadable guides, you can help your leads naturally down the sales funnel and convert into prospects.
Email marketing is still worthy of your time and resources, but only if you use the right strategy. Nurturing inbound emails are essential for keeping leads engaged and excited about your company, while naturally moving them down the sales-funnel, rather than forcing them to the finish line.
Still unsure about the benefits of nurturing emails? Consider these points:
- Recipients have actively expressed interest in your company by filling in website forms
- They are much more likely to be within your target audience
- On opening their first email, they will already be further down the sales funnel
It’s therefore no wonder that nurturing emails receive four to ten times the response rate of standalone email blasts!
By integrating the principles of inbound into your marketing strategy, you can expect to receive more qualified leads for 61% less than outbound; while consistent and regular blogging content helps keeps prospects engaged - increasing the opportunity to convert into clients.
As previously mentioned, ignoring your mobile audience means ignoring a substantial 30 – 50% of your leads. Despite these staggering figures, a shocking two thirds of key B2B sectors are not mobile friendly, forcing mobile visitors off their site!
You may believe that mobile visitors are less likely to convert into prospects – but this couldn't be further from the truth. People often use their mobile devices when using public transport and so are cut off from distractions common in the workplace and at home. When accessing mobile devices, people are much more action-orientated, meaning they are more likely to request information or fill in a form.
If you need any more convincing that mobile is important, take a look at these facts below:
- 56% of B2B customers read reviews on their mobile device
- 52% of B2B customers are using smartphones to research products for their business
- 53% of B2B executives have downloaded and use branded B2B mobile apps regularly
- 57% of B2B marketers will access work-related mobile content outside of business hours
To summarise, it is time to adapt your marketing strategy to the behaviour of your buyers, using inbound marketing techniques to get found by leads and covert into clients. However – it’s important to take into consideration that the techniques discussed above will not help you achieve success in isolation. To succeed, a fully-integrated marketing strategy is essential.
As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented rate, it’s important to stay ahead and ensure that your marketing plan is aligned with new devices and tools. From 2015 and beyond, mobile is set to continually play an increasingly important role in online behaviour, so ensuring that your site is mobile-optimised is essential for maintaining a flow of traffic.