Category: B2B Inbound Marketing

B2B marketing that talks “Outside-In” not “Inside-Out”


A few weeks ago, a colleague forwarded a post — “Better SEO through Integrated Content Marketing,” by Scott Fasser — that was on the Optify blog in 2012.

In the post, Scott recognizes that SEO is no longer a separate tactic but an integral part of B2B marketing strategy. He discusses four essentials to maximizing SEO. These include effectively using personas, which I discussed recently in “Personas: They’re not just for B2B marketing anymore.” He covers the importance of addressing all B2B marketing buy cycles, as well as the long list of the social media elements that are now part of any successful SEO initiative.

One point, however, was something I knew but had never seen presented in such a clear and definable way. That was his advice to “Talk Outside-In vs. Inside-Out.”

Here are the highlights of his important point:

“How you talk about yourself and market yourself dramatically impacts how well you are found via organic channels — especially SEO. If your website is driven by a brand perspective that creates new phrases to describe what you do that is unique to your communication, you are not creating a true differentiation in your product, but new words to describe something that prospects don’t understand.

Marketing AutomationA major marketing automation company has positioned themselves as a provider of ‘Revenue Performance Management’ software. This term could mean many different things to different functional perspectives, but the core term for this category of service is marketing automation. ‘Revenue performance management’ has about 590 searches in Google in North America per month while ‘marketing automation’ has 14,800. This tells us that marketing automation is a better known term and more people are looking for this type of solution than ‘revenue performance management.’

The lesson here is to review your current and future messaging from the point of view of a persona that does not know about your brand, focus on true differentiation/value proposition and create content that they will understand without needing an explanation. Finding that balance between pushing new concepts and terms vs. serving the market where it exists today is an important input into your content marketing planning.”

This point was strongly supported in an SEO copywriting training session I attended. It presented the background on Google’s SEO algorithms and why it’s important for top positions in Google to use the terms that customers are using. This is the same in all B2B marketing copy and messaging.

To truly connect with customers, it’s essential to use the words and phrases that they know and to always speak from their point of view.

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B2B marketing: The truth behind the trends for 2013


Hubspot, a leading inbound marketing provider, is a great resource for B2B marketing how-tos and best practices. I just took advantage of their offer to download the “20 Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2013 and Beyond” they compiled.

These are the issues that marketers are being encouraged to pay attention to and incorporate into their planning for 2013. Looking ahead and planning is one of the critical steps in successful marketing.

However, as an advocate of best practices, I have taken it upon myself to judge the validity and value of these trends. Here are the first 10 divided into three categories:

Good Information

“Inbound Marketing Grows Enterprise-Wide”
Yes, this channel should and will integrate into all aspects of marketing and all departments in an enterprise.

“Social Media Gets Integrated”
Having the ability to integrate social media with contact databases to build additional behavior data is a big win.

“Be Mobile or Fall Behind”
It’s the newest channel and it’s growing rapidly. As reported in an earlier post, 84% of C-level executives see their email on their smartphone first.

“Social and Content Impact SEO Even More”
This reports that search engines are now paying more attention to social media and content than “having the right H1 tag.” Treating all digital efforts and channels as one make a company’s SEO far more powerful.

“Companies Look to Hire More Inbound Marketing Talent”
The stats presented show that “inbound marketing” jobs have increased 53% and “content marketing” jobs have increased by 26% since October 2011. This trend may increase.

“Big Data Gets Bigger — and Digestible”
Data has always been the part of marketing that is the big deal-breaker. Any new technology that allows for access to more customer behavior data is a sure way to improve the results of inbound and outbound marketing.

Nothing New

“Know Thy Customer”
B2B marketing has always been and always will be more effective the more that marketers and companies understand their customer and prospects. Marketing automations systems are helping companies learn more about the behavior and attitudes of their prospective customer, but targeted list sources, modeling and regression-analyses have been around to provide this insight for decades.

“Marketing Becomes More Accountable for Revenue Generation”
Few individuals in C-level management believe in the value of marketing. However, any marketing group that is incapable of tracking lead source all the way to sales is centuries behind the times.

“Marketers Embrace ‘Smart’ Content”
What’s new is the embracing part. “Smart” direct marketers have been matching content to a prospect’s position in the buy cycle for years. Recognizing return visitors or responders and directing content to them based on their behaviors is now and has always been a best practice.

Don’t Believe It

“‘Campaign’ Fade Out, Real-Time Marketing Is In”
This is another way of saying that social media will replace traditional outbound email and direct mail efforts. As long as marketers want to keep control over the number of qualified leads they can generate and the efforts remain cost-efficient, outbound marketing campaigns will not go away. If the incoming calls and emails to sales start slowing down, my clients just crank out another “campaign” and get them going again.

Paying attention to trends is important. However, good B2B marketers should remember that best practices in marketing have not changed.

Review of the last 10 trends will come next week.

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B2B marketing efforts that deliver big payoffs.


B2B marketers get hammered daily with so many pieces of advice that it’s hard to know what to do next.

Just this morning I got an article from LinkedIn Today — “4 Blogging Tips to Double Your Site Traffic” — that endorses the power of videos and blogging. Written by Louise Julig for SocialMediaExaminer.com, it tells of how a video and a huge commitment to their blog and its content generated these remarkable results for Block Imaging International Inc.

“Sales volume has increased significantly enough since September that the company — which had been in a slump — hired 13 employees, including 3 additional salespeople.” But best of all, that single post with the video generated a $70K order.

This is a perfect example in which new technologies and new inbound channels deliver bottom-line results. But it took a huge commitment in time and effort by the players at Block Imaging to make it happen.

On the outbound side of the fence, I recently had a client send an email to its house list and experience a significantly higher-than-average response. This email did not offer free informational content, but was designed to generate calls and emails directly to sales.

The client is a company selling technology and services to CIOs in a very small, very vertical market. Most of the time, they send every B2B email marketing effort to their entire list of CIOs. However, in this particular effort, they put much time and energy into refining their targeting.

The product and service being offered related to a compliance issue faced by their market. With this email, they took the time and effort to select the specific state in which each company resided. Then they personalized each message with verbiage that read something like:

If you’re looking for ways to meet this (compliance issue)
look no further.

ABC Company has already helped [XX] companies
in [Name of State] achieve this functionality . . .

The client built 24 versions of the email, for prospects in 24 states, each in HTML and text. Within days they had gotten 25 responses — with many asking for more information. Again, this was not an offer for informational content but a “deep buy cycle” offer.

Both the inbound and outbound campaigns put in the extra time and effort necessary to use best practices. If B2B marketers reading this post get only one message, it’s that making a commitment and putting in the effort to follow best practices — whether inbound or outbound marketing — has a big payoff.

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