In so many ways, 2017 is unlikely to be business as usual. That includes B2B marketing and lead generation, so don’t expect to draw up a marketing plan that looks the same as last year’s. This year, look at how to fine-tune the effectiveness of your most important lead gen channels while reducing effort on your lowest producers by taking advantage of the following trends.
Use Third-Party Reviews to Your Advantage
While service-oriented B2C businesses have been quick to see the value of a great Yelp or Angie’s List review, B2B businesses have tended to remain behind the curve. For businesses that want to turbo-charge their lead gen this year, it’s a perfect time to pay attention to trade journals, forums, and review sites specific to your industry. Many of these channels welcome paid marketing and can boost your signal to an already engaged audience.
The success of these sites for consumer-based businesses has led to a proliferation of them in the B2B sector. While you can’t create your own reviews, you can ask your best customers to share what they think. Even reviews that are less than positive present an opportunity for you as you respond to concerns and show other potential buyers that you’re committed to complete customer satisfaction.
Invest in Customers as Allies
Referrals are golden, particularly in B2B contexts. Reviews are an important step toward earning more of them, but don’t be afraid to leverage them directly by talking to your customers and asking them to pass your good name along to others. All the efforts you make to please your customer then pay double dividends – first by delighting your customers and securing their loyalty, and again when they help you find new customers. Personal introductions are an incredibly valuable resource, one that no business can afford to overlook. Some industries are more dependent on referrals than others, so work with a marketing consultant or business mailing list broker to get a better handle on what you can do to produce more quality referrals from your customer base.
Personalize the Customer Experience from the Start
We talk often in terms of a buying journey; customization gives you a way to present the most scenic views along that journey, which in turn encourages leads to progress along their chosen path. A personalized user experience from the earliest stages of lead interaction will help your prospects feel welcome and give them incentive to stay a while. With marketing automation tools that allow you to customize everything from your organization’s home page graphics to landing page text to email marketing messages, you’re able to custom-design an experience for every lead who interacts with you.
Emphasize Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing used to be for the major players only. That’s not the case anymore, and increasingly, B2B companies that want to boost their lead gen success are taking an ABM approach. By targeting accounts and understanding the larger corporate ecology in which they thrive, not seeing customers solely in terms of individual decision-making, B2B organizations can dramatically improve ROI on their lead gen activity. Marketing automation can be a valuable tool for identifying target accounts and creating user experiences that make sense for that account.
Make this your year to focus on these lead gen trends, and you’ll be well ahead of the curve by 2018. Get started today by talking with one of our representatives and learning about what you can do to send your lead gen ROI soaring.
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