Lead generation is a key activity for B2B companies. It encompasses the process of attracting and converting prospects or strangers into customers. In this lead generation process, credibility is an essential ingredient. In other words, what makes a stranger or someone that shows interest in your product or service, decide that you are perfect for them to purchase from? The answer is to grab their attention, and then demonstrate the value of your product or service in a manner that solves their problem.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Generation of high-quality leads is the cornerstone of a robust B2B marketing strategy that continuously fuels the pipeline to ensure that steady growth is maintained.
Outbound and inbound marketing are both critical if you want to achieve the best results. Outbound marketing provides an immediate way of connecting and engaging with leads, while inbound marketing is useful in establishing credibility. The focus of this blog is on how to build credibility through the best inbound marketing strategies.
1. Content Marketing
Companies that have the opportunity to create exciting or captivating content should definitely use content marketing. Whereas traditional marketing was all about renting attention through mass advertising, the trend has now turned to one-on-one targeting and using data to understand buyer behavior as opposed to merely focusing on demographics.
According to the 2018 Demand Generation Report, almost half of B2B buyers rely on content for their research and to make purchase decisions. Other studies show that most buyers are already 66% to 90% of the way through the buyer journey before they engage a vendor sales rep.
Therefore, to generate quality leads, you need to understand what your target client wants to know, find out the right linguistics that will tune them in and even find out who they prefer to listen to, when, at what time and so on. All this should be geared towards creating and delivering high-quality content.
In the context of content marketing, credibility is not just about providing reliable information that is suitable for your customer, it is also about ensuring that you are consistent with efforts to provide this high-quality information. Some tools that can help you in this endeavor for consistency including BuzzSumo, and Accuranker.
2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
When used together with content marketing, PPC can produce fantastic results. Although content marketing and SEO are better in the long term, they often take time to achieve good results. PPC will get you results quickly especially if you understand your target audience. It is no surprise that almost two-thirds of buyer-intent keywords are paid clicks.
The downside of PPC is that some audiences may block all ads; a PPC can be costly; and in some regions, GDPR laws may deter advertising completely. That said, if you are able to target the ideal customer in places where they like to be found, then the results will speak for themselves. Google Ads is the leading platform you will want to focus on besides Facebook, and Bing. With Google your PPC campaign can follow the following paths:
- Ads on Google’s search network that are found when a potential buyer search intent aligns with keywords in the Ad.
- Ads on the display network that are found on websites that allow Google to serve visual adverts to visitors.
- Remarketing Ads that are similar to display network Ads with the distinction that they are served to audiences that have already visited a specific website. Remarketing Ads usually have a high conversion rate.
According to the State of Inbound Report for 2018, Word-of-mouth referral is the most important source of information (by 55%) for customers that wish to purchase business software. Second and third on this list are customer references (by 46%) and media articles by 38%. A similar pattern is reflected in most other B2B products. When your product goes viral, or there is a rave about it, then it is likely that someone can vouch for it and this immediately garners trust, credibility, and confidence in the product.
For an inbound B2B marketer, a well-thought-out website with backlinks is the next closest thing to word-of-mouth. Through the use of backlinks, a trusted website will refer customers back to your site. If the website has great media, then chances are that you will build even stronger trust and credibility.
Some of the ways to build backlinks include:
- Guest blogging on other people’s trusted websites
- Get listed on a website resource page
- Get people to share content (including blogs, infographics, images, memes, tweets, etc.) from your website
4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
SMM is a great way to garner leads, in fact, 80% of B2B marketers report that LinkedIn is an excellent place to source leads.
Generating leads definitely requires a strategy that is customized to your audience. A way to achieve this is by creating your content around what customers are searching for so that you can get almost instant engagement.
5. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
People are mostly wired to want what they cannot have. This is why the fear of missing out (FOMO) works quite well in most cases. That said, people will also spot a false offer quite fast, so you have to make sure that it is worth it. Some scenarios where you can use scarcity to boost CRO include:
- Offering limited seats to a webinar
- When you have a limited product offer
Besides using this scarcity tactic to instantly raise your conversion rate by creating urgency, some of the other fundamental ways to increase CRO for your business website include:
- Reducing form fields
- Using a contrasting color for your call-to-action
- Have a strong customer value proposition
- Ensure that your web page loads in less than three seconds
- Highlight social proof
Email is a must for most B2B marketers, its reliable effectiveness means that 86% of professionals prefer to use it for business communication. Emails need to have social proof on-top of laser-focused, personalized content that seeks to solve a specific interest or need, in order to have strong credibility.
Some of the things that you could do to build this credibility, and trust include:
- Make the most out of transactional emails. Transactional emails are opened 8X more often than regular marketing emails.
- Make your emails stand out. Use memes, Gifs and even emojis to achieve this. According to an Experian study, 56% of brands that use emojis in the email subject line have a higher open rate.
- Send two or three follow-up emails to increase your email open rate
Using a copy-and-paste strategy for your B2B lead generation and Inbound marketing is bound to get you poor results. The approach that works for one B2B company may not necessarily work for another. If you want to succeed you need to put in some work to understand your potential customers and piece together a strategy that engages the lead by building credibility and trust. The rest (Read: a long-term relationship with customers) will follow.