“The process of helping potential customers find your company — often before they are even looking to make a purchase — and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.”
Now that you’re caught up, I’d like to highlight some common mistakes I’ve seen companies make in developing their B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy. Think of it as a nice little guide of “what not to do”.
Don’t Cast Too Wide of a Net
Often times, especially when launching a new product or service, marketers will use their content to reach the widest audience possible.
After all, a wide audience means more potential customers, right? Not really.
Going after a wide audience can suck up valuable resources that focus on a small, more targeted group that have a much higher probability of becoming customers.
While you should think big, don’t think so big that you neglect the real target.
Focus on the Problem, NOT Your Solution
One of my biggest pet peeves is the hard sell. You know those guys at the mall kiosks that shout at you to buy their super awesome product? I hate those guys. I’ll decide when I’m ready to buy.
That decision making process (unless we’re talking an impulse buy which frankly doesn’t exist in B2B), begins with Google. And I don’t know (or care) about your company.
I have a problem I need to solve. If you want to get my attention, help me solve my problem. Don’t wave your arms in the air singing “We are the Champions”.
This blog is a great example. We’re a services company that helps B2B technology companies with their marketing. I’m not telling you how great we are (though we are), I’m letting you make that decision by helping you solve a problem.
Don’t Assume Everyone Knows What You Do
I’ve come across more than a couple companies that have failed to launch because they haven’t figured out how to express their value proposition.
Don’t assume people get what you do.
Are they reading your blogs or following you on Twitter? Great! But that’s just the start.
Get their information, gauge the level of interest, and nurture them with increasingly detailed information that aligns with their current stage in the buying process.
Don’t Settle for the Low Man on the Totem Pole
No offense to the worker bees, of course. We all know the company wouldn’t be running without you. But the reality in B2B is that the senior execs are the decision makers.
They decide which strategies to follow and where budget is allocated. Make sure your content is reaching the end-target. The guy who signs the checks…or at least the guy that tells the CFO to sign the checks. Don’t rely solely on Inbound here. Assume the senior execs aren’t reaching your blog.
How else can you reach them? Emailing the secretaries? Influencing the influencers. Be creative!
Don’t Just Make Noise. Stand Out!
In many industries, marketing especially, there is a ton of noise. Don’t add to it…find a way to stand out. Offer something quirky, create unique content, do something different. Whatever it takes.
I recently flew from Tel Aviv to San Francisco. I sat next to a sales guy from a software security company and we got to talking about how his company stands out in an admittedly boring and overcrowded industry. The answer he gave me was one of the best I’ve heard in a long time.
At a recent industry conference, they set up a station and asked people to hack their software. Those who succeeded (if there were any) got to brag to conference attendees that they broke the unbreakable – a true mark of pride for any hacker. I only wish I remembered the name of the company!
Inbound marketing solves a real need. It helps people answer questions when they have them and not when companies think they should be asking the questions. Done right, it can and will be a game changer.\