Marketing Strategy: You Still Need to Persuade with Content ; Before Search and Social.
With so much marketing noise out there talking about inbound marketing, social media, and SEO, sometimes we forget one mission-critical component to marketing strategy; advertising. I have recently been engaged with some regional b2b firms, and have been asked to help generate leads and conversions. The two firms have similarities:
- They only wish to target regional markets due to competition and limited sales staff size
- They market very specific services; services that aren’t searched for on Google all that much
- They wish to use content to generate awareness toward audiences not in the purchase mode yet.
Targeting specific industries and specific geography does have its challenges from a scale and efficiency standpoint, but nevertheless if you’re creative enough, and have done thorough research on your target audiences and what mediums they consume, there are opportunities.
Generally, any marketing plan must address two types of audiences:
- Those not currently in the market for your service, but are potential leads if messaging addresses their needs. This process is called Outbound Marketing, and covers advertising, trade shows, and direct marketing.
- Those in the market; This marketing process is called Inbound Marketing, and covers paid search, search engine optimization, and social media. Be there when your prospects are looking; or lose a lead.
For firms that target regionally, SEO and social do bring concerns, because search engine listings and social chatter are national and international marketing strategies. Just something to be aware of if you target Pennsylvania, and get a lead from Michigan…
Lead Generation Overview
A lead generation engine encompasses the following elements.
- Websites and landing pages. However audiences find your website, they need to be convinced of your solutions. Once they are persuaded, visitors become inquiries. Relevant content, a professional look, and easy-to-follow navigation are the key elements to an optimal lead-generation website that converts prospects.
- Content Strategy. At the beginning of any lead generation is the message. Do your solutions embrace the needs of the target audience? Do the words; the tone; and the context of what’s written allow prospects to engage further? Does your brand resonate with your prospects? What is your value proposition and your points of differentiation? These and other issues need to be addressed before a tactical plan is implemented.
- Outbound and Inbound tactics. Development of a sound mix of tactics that encompass both outbound and inbound processes in order to reach the key decision makers.
- Nurture Strategy. Once inquiries enter your “funnel” many are not ready to buy yet. They need more education and evidence before contacting sales and beginning the closing process. Therefore content not just convinces visitors to become inquires, but also those inquiries to become sales opportunities.
From an outbound marketing standpoint, find out all of the print and digital portals that cover your specific industry, and do some homework. Remember, we’re reviewing geo-targeted marketing opportunities. You may find tactics such as these:
- Email blasts: Partner with a publisher to email relevant content or offers towards their email database
- Enewsletter sponsorships: Many times, publishers have regional editions of enewsletters. Find out about banner ad sponsorship availabilities
- Pre-printed inserts or regional ads. Can be pricey- but is an option.
- Geo-targeted banner ads on publication websites or industry portals
- List rental from publishers, giving you the ability to target geography, industries, and titles. Beware of minimal counts and spend however. Snail mail and email options exist.
In summary, I just wanted to give a quick overview on advertising and digital marketing opportunities if you are a local or regional b2b. By combining some of these options with regionally targeted pay-per-click on Google, Bing, or LinkedIn, you are reaching audiences who need you, and audiences who don’t need you yet, until your marketing convinces them. Isn’t that what advertising is all about?