This article is going to show you 3 marketing strategies that have worked wonders for our (B2B) clients in 2019 and will continue to do so into 2020.
With real examples, we are going to literally show you how to do it and tell you how much it costs.
Business owners and CMOs are inundated with options – for the purpose of this piece we are skipping over all the noise; building your brand, getting followers and likes on social media, getting backlinks from a blog, reverse-IP lookups, brand awareness etc…
That’s all lovely stuff but we are going to cut straight to quality lead generation – 3 things that can get you your next sale next week if you knuckle down.
Sound good? Read on…
#1 Flagship Content (Content Marketing)
“You should do content marketing” – you’ll have seen this 100 times, thought about it and felt either good or more likely bad about the (lack of?) high-quality content you produce.
So here’s a tip: create just one very high-quality piece of flagship content that perfectly fits your target market.
If you don’t know your target market generally or for any given campaign, you may need to get back to the drawing board, but let me elaborate on “flagship content” with an example of one of our own.
Real-Life Example: Peer Growth Report
We generally do a very good job for the IT Sector and, in particular, Value Added Resellers (VARs). We understand their business & sector, we deliver quality leads and they get sales – we have genuine expertise in this field.
So we have one flagship piece of content around this:
How the most successful VARs grow…. Fast
41 pages of researched VAR content, of genuine interest to Business Owners and CMOs with three simple, interesting and actionable conclusions for the reader.
This example flagship content ticks all the boxes:
- Business owners & CMOs of VARs want leads and to grow – it’s their top priority
- It’s relevant
- The audience has an obvious and immediate desire/need for it
- It’s no-friction – easy to say yes to
And it can serve so many purposes for your marketing and sales function:
- A version for your blog
- Organic and/or boosted social posting
- A Pay Per Click hook
- Telemarketing conversation starter
- Direct Mail (a hidden gem if you’re clever about it)
- Social outreach
- Other targeted outreach
How To Get It Created
“Where do I even start with making something like that!?” I hear your brain cry…
Here’s how – dice the job up into four small parts:
Now that you have your flagship content, your whole business can use it – in 2019 we have had serious success from pushing it to the right audience on LinkedIn – the right way.
2. LinkedIn Ads & Networking
You have your carefully selected perfect piece of flagship content – now the target audience is everything.
And when it comes to Pay Per Click, only spending on that perfect audience is your aim.
Yes you *can* go to a wide, imperfect audience on Google Display/Video, Facebook and other ad platforms and you can make it work – but to save all that lead inefficiency and effort required to sieve out the good & bad, head straight to LinkedIn.
- Yes, the Cost Per Click is crazy compared to other platforms
- Yes, the platform is clunky and horrible to use
- Yes, you can waste tens of thousands if you don’t know what you’re doing
…but the targeting in display network is a B2B dream for PPC experts and, once you know what you’re doing and have optimised, worth every penny for the quality.
The right ad type
Ads sending people to a blog post and getting awareness might deliver value for you – at £8-15 per click it’s very expensive for 20 seconds of “awareness” though.
Absolute direct response “get a proactive yes-i-want-that optin” is #2 of the three strategies I am talking about for pure, high-quality lead generation though.
Now when you have a very targeted audience, this does not need to restrict itself to pure PPC. Great, highly relevant content is well received organically too.
a) The PPC Example
The results (in 2 weeks):
All OWNERS of good size businesses, pre-vetted in other clever ways that match our ideal prospect, and who we absolutely want to work with.
This is one short sprint of two weeks – actively opted in, full contact details shared, dream leads of the perfect profile.
No filtering resource required, no quality issues, just A-grade perfect conversations for the sales team. Gold.
b) Organic Outreach
Mix this with organically reaching out to the same audience and you can add 50-100% more actively engaged leads to your CRM, at no cost except for the time involved to do it the right way.
And there is a right and a wrong way to organically reach out.
Tip: “Hi I’m Dan and I’d like to sell you some stuff immediately after saying Hi please buy my stuff now let’s talk about my stuff” is rarely the right way in bigger-ticket B2B.
3. Follow Up & Nurture
If your message is relevant to your service and you get a good flow of leads in at a decent cost-per-lead, the only thing that can go wrong is bad, lazy or non-existent follow-up.
And that is common. Popular examples:
- “I left a voicemail”
- “I couldn’t get through, I tried twice now”
- The receptionist said they don’t take calls
Come on, try harder.
Set up and executed correctly, you get appointments.
A standard problem with marketing and sales departments though is that they struggle to align – they compete, point fingers and all kinds of other fun stuff.
That conference call goes something like this:
Impatience is typical too – outbound calling is not at the top of most people’s bucket list so it’s easy to make excuses after two failed attempts and marking that up as “lost”.
For all of these reasons, quality, automated sequences and triggers are essential.
Automated what and what?
In a nutshell:
- Sequences = automated follow-up, showing off your expertise, other content on the same topic, occasional offers etc…
- Triggers = “hey sales team, this person just revisited or watched this or did that – they’re engaged right now”
A real example
Carrying on this VAR theme we started with, what does this look like?
Using various, related vanilla content we have created over the years, the standard template looks something like:
- Weekly email, dropping to fortnightly email
Blog posts, infographics, tips <<< the key = useful, free, not pushy.
- Drop in the occasional more pushy email
Offering something extremely compelling, easy to say yes to <<< e.g. a free data build
- Handwritten letters – yes, it still works
Not a boring, wordy template in a white envelope, franked saying “buy my stuff”, no no no no no. Done right it stands out a lot and gets you business.
- Other Direct Mail
Printed versions of your content, or appropriate offers, with an accompanying letter – it’s different, it starts conversations.
- LinkedIn Connecting – as described above.
- Phone Calls
Carefully timed with a careful pitch (not always “buy my stuff”, good callers can gage that though).
Get your best sales caller on this, their skill can make 1000% difference and that’s no exaggeration.
Sometimes appropriate for the very highest engagers, and can ultimately be automated.
- Remarket something else
Pixel/cookie-based and list-based remarketing – not a vanilla here’s our homepage but more content on topic (tip: put video in the mix).
Triggers, or “tripwires” are either minor or major alerts that warrant more urgent action.
It pays to plan for this at the very start, and it includes your plan for “not right now thanks”… they are absolutely not lost deals.
Some obvious examples:
- Connected on LinkedIn – ALERT TO SALES TEAM, UPDATE CRM, GET ON IT!
- Clicked on email content – exactly what they clicked on – ALERT TO SALES TEAM, UPDATE CRM, GET ON IT!
- Direct Mail sent – 2 DAYS AFTER LIKELY ARRIVAL, SALES TEAM AWARE, CRM UPDATED
- Revisited website (reverse-IP lookup) – SALES TEAM ALERT, UPDATE CRM, GET ON IT!
- Opted in to Remarketing content – HIGH INTENT ALERT, UPDATE CRM, PAY CLOSE ATTENTION!
However you alert your best salespeople; email them, text them, trigger an automated call to their personal mobile – they need to be put on high alert and go go go!
With a decent campaign set up correctly, you’ll find these triggers are still occurring 6-18 months post optin.
Fill up the pipeline and it happens – when you take the time to do it right.
Putting It All Together
- Create the content
- Get it out there
- Follow up
Sounds easy huh?
No, of course it’s not.
Just the part of getting marketing and sales to work in unison can be a human nightmare.
Done badly it can be a frustrating waste of time and your team get despondent.
But carefully pre-planned and done right, these three things alone can double your sales.
So what should your flagship piece of content be?