Lead generation and nurturing is important for any business, but for B2B marketers, it’s critical. Your customers don’t typically see your product in shop windows and walk in for a quick impulse buy. They take time – weeks, months, sometimes more than a year – to go through an extensive, multi-layered decision process. With that much effort going into a decision on your leads’ side, it’s time to meet them halfway by upgrading to next-generation lead management with marketing automation technology.
Paid media’s still a mainstay for B2B businesses, and owned media has risen in importance with the expansion of content marketing. The third category is where the exponential growth has been: earned media. Whenever you get a positive mention in the press, a referral from a satisfied customer, or social media buzz, you’ve earned publicity that no amount of advertising spend can buy. Yet B2B companies aren’t always quick to invest time and energy into the channels that contribute most to earned media because they assume those venues belong to B2C.
In fact, it’s more important than ever to have a strong, recognizable social presence that lets you earn media cred. Broaden the appeal of your blog, Twitter feed, and Facebook page with content that’s associated with you and your brand without advertising directly. For example, you might feature an employee of the week or take viewers on a virtual tour of your facility so they get to know the people and places behind your company name.
Well-educated leads are engaged leads, and what better way to educate than with a multimedia event? Webinars serve multiple purposes. First, they let you gather data about your leads from the leads themselves when they sign up for the webinar. You also have a reason to connect with the leads on your mailing list and social media channels when you have news of a webinar to share with them. Finally, the webinar itself will guide leads farther along their buying journey by giving them the knowledge they need to make decisions.
Data-Driven Email Marketing
Email marketing isn’t new, but the way it’s implemented and integrated with the rest of your marketing strategy is. Along with other digital activity, email marketing used to exist in isolation; it wasn’t linked up to a relational database that could create holistic customer account files and correlate behavioral data on everything from email opens to time on site. Email append services that add multiple layers of new information to the knowledge you already have about your leads make data-assisted email marketing even more flexible and customizable.
Automated Nurture Programs
What if you could field just about every question your leads pitched at you and do it within seconds of their asking? You’d have happier prospects and higher conversion rates, but the time and personnel required would be a challenge to muster.
Enter marketing automation technology. With a marketing automation system, you set up the content in advance and let leads flow through it along guided paths, but at their own pace. Leads pour in at the top of the funnel, and the system routes them into the nurture stream that most closely aligns with their needs based on behavioral cues. It might help to visualize the process as a sophisticated flowchart.
Without an effective, flexible lead generation program, even the most robust business can become lean and hungry. Make sure you get the leads your organization needs to thrive with lead gen strategies that go beyond last decade’s methods.
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