Tag Archives: B2B Marketing

How to Generate More Sales Leads in the Next 60 Days

HR-and-Branding-–-The-Perfect-PartnershipLead generation is an aspect of running a B2B business that many people struggle with.

Growing leads may seem like a tedious, drawn-out process, but in the end, the relationships you develop will be worth the struggle. Whether you feel like you are in a rut or you’re just on a mission for continued success, make sure you are taking advantage of these strategies to keep your sales funnel full of qualified leads.

SEO/PPC

Put yourself in a consumer’s shoes: if you want to find out about a new product or service, what do you do first? You probably run a quick Google search to see what’s out there, and you likely don’t explore much further than the first page of results. From an SEO perspective, this means that you need to work hard to make sure that your site has a high organic ranking in the search results if you want your future customers to find you. PPC, on the other hand, is about ensuring you are targeting the right keywords with the right budget to deliver you the ROI you’re seeking. Neglecting either of these areas will hurt your lead generation efforts as you seek to grow your sales funnel.

Blogs

Writing blog posts is a strategy that will help out with SEO (organic search engine results) and generate sales leads at the same time. Producing quality content is valuable in shaping your company’s reputation as being relevant and trustworthy. The great thing about a blog is that it can be shared in a variety of different ways. From guest posting on another website to sharing your article on social media, blogs are a convenient way to broadcast your message across a variety of mediums and produce more brand awareness.

Email Newsletters

You can subtly remind leads about your business through a simple, informative newsletter. Don’t forget to take advantage of your newsletter signups. Visitors that voluntarily signed up for your newsletter have opted in, meaning they want to receive more information from you. Newsletters are subtle sales reminders and help turn warm leads into hot ones.

Customer Referrals

Your existing customers have the potential to be a gold mine for new leads. Networking with them can provide you a wealth of opportunity that you had never thought possible. Start with a phone call to your most satisfied customers thanking them for their business. Use this opportunity to ask them if they know anyone else who would be interested in your product or service. Want to really show your customers how much you love them? Invite them to a party! After all, word of mouth referrals are still an extremely valuable sales tool in business.

Social Media

Social media’s ease of use and accessibility to a wide audience makes it an effective channel for gaining leads, at least for businesses catering to consumers. Following companies on Twitter and Instagram, or making connections on LinkedIn, are easy ways to grow your network and find potential leads. You can also use these platforms to share content that you have created (e.g., blog posts, infographics, survey results). By using hashtags to share relevant content on social media you can make your content easier to find and make your brand recognizable to more people. You never know whose interest you might spark by simply introducing your brand on social media.

Networking events

While social media is great for attracting an online audience, don’t underestimate the power of networking with people in person! Attending networking events (think Meetups, industry trade shows, conferences like SXSW) is great for generating more leads because you are able to get face time with people. Practice your elevator pitch so that you are prepared to sell your business when meeting new potential clients. Putting yourself in a situation where you can get more name recognition is key to gaining the trust and attention of potential leads.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

Things to do in 2017 for your B2B brand

bigstock-124408637If you’re a marketing professional working on behalf of a B2B company, you understand the marketing challenges that can come with trying to sell to other companies. Establishing your brand’s reputation and gaining the trust of customers and prospects is the best way to win market share and beat back the competition in the long run.

So with that in mind, what can you do to ensure your B2B brand is showing your business’ strengths and building trust with your audience? Here are four great ways to improve your company’s brand in 2017.

Start a blog

Blogging is essential to building a brand’s status into an industry leader. If you want your company to appear credible and attract more traffic, there has to be a steady stream of valuable content coming from your website. According to a study by HubSpot, B2B companies who post at least 11 blogs per month get almost three times more traffic to their websites than those who posted one or no blogs per month.

By producing blog posts that are relevant to your target audience and add value to their businesses, you are establishing yourself as a company that’s capable of giving industry advice and aligning your brand as an important source of information. The same HubSpot study revealed that companies who post to their blog at least sixteen times per month get 4.5 times more leads than those who post under four times per month. And every marketing professional knows that it takes more leads to get more conversions and move the needle on sales growth.

Blog posts are also a great way to drive SEO. By following best SEO practices — adding relevant keywords with hypertext links, alt tags for your images and keyword driven titles —  you improve your website’s ability to be found on search engines when somebody is looking for your products and services.

Rethink your social media strategy

How is your company using social media? Do you make the occasional post to Twitter or LinkedIn and forget about continuing the conversation and come back to it weeks or months after? Or are you consistently making posts and creating a following of customers, prospects and influencers?

If you want to up your social media game and attract more website traffic and awareness for your brand, then you may want to get more strategic in your approach. Start by researching your target audience. What sort of pages do they follow on social media and why? What are these pages offering the people you want to engage with? Are their media outlets they follow and you should to? Do they “like” or share certain kinds of content over others? With this knowledge, you can develop a social media content strategy that will attract the exact people you want to visit your site and, with any luck, convert into hot leads.

For most B2B companies, the social media strategy and execution is very different from B2C companies. Because you’re catering to people in a business setting instead of marketing directly to consumers, you are often forced to adopt a more professional, facts-driven persona than what a typical B2C brand can use. That said, you are still free to create your own approach as long as it is in synch with your customers and prospects.

The most fruitful social media platform for B2B marketing is LinkedIn. The content you share can and should include your weekly blog posts, articles you read from the media or other influencers, content from your customers, important events impacting your industry such as trade shows, and more.

Not to be neglected are platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Twitter has become a go-to social network for media and influencers so ignore it at your peril. If attending a trade show is part of your annual marketing strategy then make sure to use Twitter to record your experiences and observations from the trade show floor. You can also retweet other trade show attendees — customers, prospects and influencers — to further advance your brand awareness and deepen your customer engagement.

Facebook is the wildcard of B2B social media strategy. At this point, Facebook lags LinkedIn and Twitter as a B2B platform but that may not be for long. It’s the world’s largest social platform with nearly 1.2 billion active users. The social network is hands down the best advertising platform and has the incredibly accurate demographic targeting. It’s only a matter of time before Facebook becomes a go-to resource for B2B companies as well.

No matter the platform, however, if you are not paying to boost the reach of your social media activities you are missing the boat. At one point it was possible to organically grow the reach of a brand on social media. Those days are long gone. So in 2017 you would be wise to research the various social media networks and how to optimize their advertising platforms to maximize your effectiveness.  

More inbound

Successful B2B brands have figured out how to drive new leads from the web. What does that mean exactly? Inbound marketing refers to a strategy of creating content across a wide variety of company owned and branded assets — website, landing pages, social media, white papers

If “content is king”, then consistency is the queen. Without consistency in your message, your brand seems confusing and unaligned, making people less likely to do business with your company.

Along with message consistency, you should regularly post on your blog and social media channels to drive the most amount of traffic as possible to your website and build a relationship with your customer base. Posting consistently keeps you top-of-mind with your customers and gives the impression that your company is stable enough to put time and effort into their online presence.

Improve your website

The importance of having a great website is easily overlooked. Yet it’s the first thing prospects usually see, and they judge you heavily on its appearance and quality of information provided. Like it or not, your brand is represented by your website, so it should portray your company just as you want to be perceived.

Ask yourself – Does your website still reflect your current goals and message? Is it downloading fast and does it feature fresh content such as white papers, case studies and current call-to-actions? Is the website traffic growing over time and capturing new leads? If you answered “no” to any these questions, it is time to revamp your website.

You could always do this yourself by using a user-friendly platform like Wix or SquareSpace. If you are on WordPress, however, you may be better served by purchasing a dynamic, easily-maintained template and have a developer assist you with any back-end programming. That said, if you don’t have much graphic and web design experience in-house, it makes more sense to hire an outside web design agency to get the job done right.

About Kris Bushong: Kris is a student at Texas State University in San Marcos and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Hot tips for 2017 trade shows

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-3-40-58-pmRegardless of business sector there’s bound to be a trade show opportunity for your company at some point. Exhibiting at a trade show can provide countless benefits for the growth of your business. From reconnecting with existing customers and meeting new ones to scoping out the competition, the list goes on. On the flip side, trade shows are very competitive and require a lot of time and effort that might not be suitable for every company.

Here are a few general categories to keep in mind as you make your decision about whether a trade show is worth the investment:

Picking the best venue

With the variety of trade shows available, you will have no shortage of options to choose from. To make the most of a trade show and avoid unnecessary costs, however, it is important that you choose to participate only at trade shows that make the most sense for your business. Deciding between attending consistently successful industry trade shows or less established ones can be tricky. If you are going for the less established route, then it will be useful to do your research beforehand to see what kind of media coverage, guest speakers, and attendance there’s been for past events.

Plan ahead

Every successful trade show depends upon a tremendous number of activities coming together seamlessly in a matter of days. The process of preparing for the trade show must therefore begin months in advance and involve multiple departments within a company including marketing, sales and communications. The planning process must be thorough in order to gain the maximum amount of impact and results from your booth and includes everything from brainstorming to budgeting. If you want to stand out amongst competitors, either learn from them by taking a look at how they presented at past shows, or consult with a third-party to get some fresh ideas. Anything that helps generate the most traffic and buzz for your products should be considered during the planning process.

Get the word out

Contrary to popular belief, the bulk of the work for trade shows actually happens before the event itself! The sooner you start the better – especially when getting the word out on your booth. Start with social media – announce the trade show to your followers and keep them updated with constant tweets and posts. You should also take advantage of the event hashtag to gain attention from people who aren’t following you and to keep yourself associated with the event. In addition to social media, reaching out to the media is a necessary step if you want your company to be noticed in a sea of trade show booths. Get a hold of the media list from the trade show organizer and send out a release announcing your attendance at the show, as well as any major product announcements. Also try to secure one-on-one meetings with the media to help you get the most media coverage as possible.

Be Memorable

With the amount of competitors at trade shows, you have to make sure that you are thinking out of the box and doing something to stand out so that people remember you. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the average time that each visitor spends at each booth is about 5-15 minutes. In order to keep them interested and get them to stay longer, your booth needs a dominant theme, 1-3 highlighted products/services, and something interactive for people to engage with and remember at the end of the day. Less is more when displaying and talking about your company’s services or products – you don’t want to overwhelm them with information but you do want that information to be memorable enough to stick in their minds.

To properly relay product information and to promote your company, you need to choose the most outgoing and capable staff members for the job. Networking is key at industry events and hiding in your booth won’t do the company any good. Make sure the staff is well versed on product features as well as providing quality engagement with visitors, so the company is represented in the most positive and beneficial way.

Follow-up

While trade shows are a lot of hard work, most of the work takes place before and after the show. You need to be able to track results following the show and follow-up with connections made. Send the people you met an email or a follow-up note on LinkedIn to let them know that you want to keep in touch. Even consider asking for their feedback about the trade show booth to get the customer perspective and discover ways to up your game next time around. It’s also a good idea to share any media coverage around your booth or company. Track all media placements and then share the media coverage on your company website and all social media platforms. It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments and share them with others!

Aquilah Allaudeen is a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications, an Austin based tech PR and marketing communications agency specializing in B2B technology startups and fast-growth enterprises. Aquilah is a Marketing and Corporate Communications major in his final year of studies at the Singapore Management University.

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