Information from Forrester Research Inc. shows that B2B marketers still spend the lion’s share of their budgets on in-person trade shows and events, closely followed by digital advertising/marketing, with content marketing, websites, and digital marketing tied for third place, followed by a broad range of other expenditures.
Our experience in aviation, aerospace and defense marketing confirms the Forrester findings. We especially see that website updates and development has become a priority for many clients. In some cases, these marketers have realized that the time has come to modernize their current site for content, design and functionality. But, increasingly, the need to update a website is driven by a higher-level strategy to use the site as the hub of a larger marketing effort, often an inbound marketing program designed to generate leads from a pool of self-directed buyers who navigate the sales process without the help of a sales rep. In fact, Forrester reports that today’s B2B buyers are two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through their purchase journey before reaching out to the vendor they have found online.
If your marketing group wants to begin using inbound marketing techniques for lead-generation, start by evaluating these four areas:
- How will you get visitors to your website?
- How will you reward visitors who visit your site? What will you give them?
- How will you collect information from them?
- How will you use the information you collect?
How will you get people to your website?
The first step in converting a website visitor into a lead, is to attract and build web traffic. But how can you make sure the right people are finding and visiting your website?
- Organic SEO — Optimize your website to appear in top-ranking search positions by using targeted keywords and by frequently publishing content, including helpful blogs, that is relevant to your audience.
- Social media — Engage with a social media audience by posting content that is entertaining, educational, relevant, and timely. Observe patterns, note when your audience is the most active online, and post then. Posting articles and links back to your website will drive traffic.
- Eblast marketing — Sending out an email is a great way to increase website traffic. Eblasts can include a brief preview of blog posts (this week’s most popular blogs, recently published, etc.) or links to other tools on your website, webinars, and other events.
- Cross linking — Make sure that your business is listed in all relevant directories, and offer to guest blog on other websites. Reaching out will increase your reach and drive additional audience to your website.
For more information, refer to “What is Inbound Marketing?” the first blog in this Flight Manual series.
How will you reward the people who visit your website? What will you give them?
To generate leads, you need to collect contact information from the people who visit. But once a visitor is on your website, they are not just going to fill out a form for the sake of filing out a form. Make sure your website is full of useful tools, and valuable information or offerings that are so desirable visitors will be motivated to complete a form.
- Variety — Provide a range of content types (checklists, infographics, tool kits, white papers, educational seminars or webinars, etc.) and subject matter to attract the audience you want and to ensure that visitors find something that is a good fit for them.
To see a related infographic, click here.
How will you collect information from the visitors to your website?
Leverage technologies to gather the contact information you seek in the most efficient, effective ways possible.
- Forms — Forms are the most common way to collect information from website visitors. Make sure you aren’t asking for more information than you need, though, because lengthy forms may scare leads away.
- Subscriptions — Encourage people to subscribe to your newsletters or podcasts.
- Register for an event — Host local events (panel discussions, happy hour mixers) or virtual events (webinars or conferences) and encourage people to register ahead of time online.
- Download content — Consider gating some of your content (with a form) to gather additional information from website visitors.
SumoMe — Evaluate tools like SumoMe that make it easy to add forms to quick and easy sign ups on your website. Free and paid options are available, depending on your needs.
Landing pages — Research tools like Unbounce to create custom landing pages. For each campaign, there should be a specific landing page that drives the visitor to convert, instead of allowing them to get distracted on your website and venture away from completing a form.
How will you use the information you collect?
Once you have your leads, what happens next? Is there an immediate handoff to sales? Is marketing out of the picture?
This is where lead-nurturing techniques come into play, and where close alignment between marketing and sales is essential.
Next week’s blog will focus on setting expectations and how to nurture and guide prospects through the funnel to a closed sale and satisfied customer.
Don't forget: Digital marketing is key to most lead-generation efforts. Download this useful digital marketing guide to learn more.