B2B Marketing for Startups & Solo Entrepreneurs: 3 Strategies to Drive Leads
January 22, 2021 14 min. read
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Starting a business is as pleasant and exciting as it is horrific. You should sort out documentation, think through all processes, build a plan, develop your strategy, find investment money, build a website, and generally take a whole lot of preparatory steps. When these first steps are done, you should gather a team of professional sales reps to sell your product and services and ensure high-quality leads are coming to your pipeline.
Wait a sec. Shouldn’t you?
Sales Backup: Marketing as a Standalone LeadGen Weapon
The thing is, startup founders and solo entrepreneurs count mostly on outbound sales – cold calling, emailing, face-to-face sales, and stuff like that. That’s an instinct – to sell and get clients, you should literally GET them. At the same time, they have a huge struggle with scaling sales and lead generation because:
• That’s costly: developing sales, hiring dozens of sales managers, and paying salaries may cost you a fortune with little guarantee of success.
• That’s horrifying: remember that horrible moment of calling someone you don’t know and trying to engage him or her. Bruh.
• That’s time-consuming – training salespeople, developing a solid sales playbook, searching for contacts, making sure this data is valid, and all that stuff.
Thus, outbound sales work, but the costs may be high for newbies to the B2B market, small teams, and anyone with a limited budget, capacities, time, or experience.
There is salvation, though – inbound lead generation via marketing. It’s time to break all the myths around the issues between marketing and sales departments, and realize that:
1. Marketing is as important for generating high-quality leads as sales.
2. Marketing and sales best work together, but if one needs to choose – say, you don’t have enough budget and want to focus on either pushing marketing or outbound sales, go with the first one.
By using various marketing strategies, you can both generate leads and promote your business in public. Thus, you’ll be attracting more and more leads and turn on a lead-capturing machine.
3. Via B2B marketing, you can generate natural demand for your products and services.
4. To be effective, marketing activities should be automated, i.e., you can’t get along without specific advanced tools that empower your marketing activities. Well, you can, but your efforts may be useless, while marketing automation helps to enable a stable inflow of leads.
By this point, you should be a devoted marketing-lover 🙂 Now, let’s find out how to drive B2B sales without actually selling – how to generate leads via B2B marketing.
Small Budget, Tons of Leads: 3 Basic Steps to Increase Sales via B2B Marketing
Among plenty of B2B marketing strategies that help to boost sales and dozens of automation tools that one can use to make them effective, we’ll have a look at:
1. PPC and tools to make ad campaigns work
2. Creating high-quality content, including blogs and tools to get inspired and help you to come up with insightful ideas
3. Your take-on-the-world strategy, i.e., your digital presence.
#1 Work on Your Ad Campaigns
Pay-per-click, or PPC, campaigns are probably the most known and effective digital B2B marketing strategy. In a word, you place your ad with the link inserted on the other websites to engage internet users (and particularly decision makers), make them click, and be transferred to your website.
Yes, you do pay the host website, say Facebook or LinkedIn, for every single click, and you’re in the right to say “Com’on, guys, it will cost me a fortune!” However, you may invest small money in that and get much bigger deals. Thus, you need to make it as effective as possible, and here is where marketing automation comes in.
Here are four rules to follow:
Rule #1. Target the right audience
One of the key mistakes is targeting irrelevant users that don’t give a shit about your product and services. For example, don’t target non-disposable plastic cup ads on explicitly eco-friendly companies whose employees bring their own cups to the office. Corporate mugs made of 100% recyclable material with customized prints? Yeah, that would work better.
In other words, don’t fail at the first step – choose the target audience interested in your offer. That’s why you should take defining an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) seriously. Think of a buyer persona who’ll be likely to purchase your product.
Once you decide on the ICP, you’ll need to find those people on the web: social media, forums, or anywhere else. AI-powered tools can help you to find such an audience – target accounts.
Rule #2. Choose the best moment to start a campaign
Challenge number 2 is choosing the right moment to place a campaign. Imagine you found target accounts likely to be interested, but then you postponed the ad campaign and started it a few months later? Half of those target accounts will no longer be “target” ones, especially if you’re providing seasonal services.
Conditions and customers’ needs change, and competition is high, so you may lose if you’re not on time. Collecting buyer intent data in real time lets you be aware of your target account’s desires and take actions immediately after you find out they may need you. Such tools as Signum.ai allow you to identify the signals, react, or also polish your offer. That’s how we come to the third rule.
Rule #3. Create high-converting ad creatives
Okay, you found the right audience fitting your ICP and caught the best moment to run a campaign. But the conversion is still low. What’s the problem?
Your offer and ad creatives. Do they correctly express the right message? Are they catchy? And do they call for a precise action? These are the questions you should reply “YEAH” to, without any doubt.
If you’re not 100% sure about that, work on your ad creatives, and particularly the text. Ad slogans and call-to-action (CTA) texts placed on the banner should be relevant, creative, nontrivial, and most importantly – they should make a person click.
Rule #4. Test!
This is a rule that goes through all the demand generation stages – run tests to make sure you’re on the right way. However, don’t forget that experiments should make you effective, but not grab your priceless time. Run multiple A/B tests and check the combinations of various offers and target audiences to find out what works the best as soon as possible. And get in the game!
Tip 1: When choosing marketing automation tools, try to find all-in-one software that will assist you at all stages of demand generation: finding target accounts, collecting buyer intent data, running tests, creating offers, etc.
As a result, you’ll be contacting one team who’ll be aware of the whole process you need to be assisted in. You’ll also be using tools with a single mechanics or interface and get a coherent toolkit to empower your B2B marketing strategy.
#2 Create High-Quality and Converting Content
We’ve already mentioned the pivotal role of catchy PPCs. But what if one of your target users gets excited with your ad, goes on your website, and sees illiterate, poorly structured texts, hard-to-get product descriptions, vague texts, half-empty sections… What will their impression be – no need to explain.
Stay consistent in everything: if your ad is great, make sure your landing pages are too. Particularly:
1. Sort out your product descriptions – make them clear and effective, i.e., raising the desire to buy. One great, simple technique is to ask yourself, “Would I buy it?” Answer honestly. If you wouldn’t, neither will anyone else.
2. Work on CTA and website navigation. Don’t make anyone search for the way to go to another page, find a contact form, etc. Place buttons at the right places and make sure the CTA is explicit.
3. Fill in your blog regularly. Writing blog posts is a must-have for any company that aims to flourish. By providing high-quality, valuable content, you can attract people to your website and make them interested in your expertise and the B2B services you provide. There is a saying, “There’s only one step from reading your posts to using your products.” Wait, was it about hate and love?… Anyway, you got us. 🙂
Also, articles play a pivotal role in driving traffic to your website. Of course, that only works well if you think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in advance.
So, create a reason or a condition to come to your website and explore it.
We know that’s hard work: you may not have enough time to deal with text, you may be bad at writing and creating, or you may run out of ideas. Fortunately, you can delegate some of the brainstorming to and content generation to Artificial Intelligence.
Tip 2: Don’t be skeptical: try out marketing automation tools for content creation, even though you think the creative part can’t be delegated to algorithms.
Language generators won’t replace a copywriter completely, but it will certainly time for you or your teammate. Moreover, since it’s analyzing billions of ad creatives, news, product descriptions, and other content pieces, it will be picking the providing the most effective and high-converting options.
#3 Be Everywhere
Yes, it’s so simple. Just strive to be everywhere on the web – in blogs, on social media and forums, in B2B events devoted to your niche. Do everything to make people see you, know you as an expert, and then get interested in your business and offers.
You don’t need a big budget to publish a couple of posts in a week on Instagram or LinkedIn, or to look through other corresponding posts and tweets and comment on them. You don’t need a big budget to apply to take part in a few events, repost and comment on corresponding tweets, or start a discussion on your Facebook page.
If you have time and resources, launching podcasts and webinars are awesome ways to catch attention. Invite experts (maybe you know someone in your niche or have knowledgeable friends or acquaintances?), talk to them, give an expert comment or interview yourself.
Also, write guest posts and publish them on other companies and services’ websites. Thus, you’ll expand the audiences and get new people interested in your expertise and coming to your website.
If you’re here and there, everyone will be like, “I’ve heard about that guy with N business,” and be willing to find out more about you, and some of them will become actual clients.
To Sum Up
Sales don’t depend exclusively on sales teams. Neither do they require a big budget or dozens of employees involved. By building a solid B2B marketing strategy and pushing marketing automation, you may enable a stable inflow of inbound leads.
Believe us or not, don’t lose your chance to try it out! 🙂
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