In the past, marketing people from B2B companies looked for all sorts of strategies to attract new customers, which is the basic definition of inbound marketing. 2013 is a new year, and a year to focus on the three keys to success; namely content development, SEO, and social media.
Wait. You say you did that in 2012? Did you really? Let’s create a hypothetical scenario for a hypothetical company: XYZ Solutions
XYZ Solutions is a company that sells a product/service/solution for other businesses. They market their business primarily by talking about the product/service/solution you sell. XYZ Solutions targets their prospects, (whom they have determined through much discussion around a conference room table), and extoll the competitive advantages of their product/service/solution over their competitors. XYZ (for short) creates messaging to their key segments (which they have created in their savvy marketing and PR departments talking all about the features and uses of the product/service/soution), and them disseminate this information through various online tactics like webinars, PPC campaigns, events. They jump on social media outlets and shout all about their product/service/solution, about their milestones, about their new hires, press releases, etc. They determine (sitting at the same said conference room table) that the keywords they use internally MUST be the words their customers are searching for to find them, or else everyone knows their brand name anyway. And XYZ Solutions happens to get some leads.
You see where I am going with this, don’t you?
We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that a strategy that is all about ourselves is how we can be successful. In an age of predominant online marketing, we know that “me me me” simply gets ignored.
We cannot put our customers and prospects into “buckets” and assume we know what they want to hear. They are people, just like us, who don’t want to be pitched or sold on something. They are:
- looking for information
- looking for solutions to their problems
- looking for a company who can solve the problem for them
- looking for that company who they can trust
It is our job, then, as B2B marketers, to fulfill all those needs: information, solutions and trust. But first: they have to be able to find us. Once they find us, we can provide these three things by:
- creating informative content that answers their questions, and instills a feeling of trust by not being sales and imparting unique, compelling information in a non-biased and engaging way
- creating a search strategy that hits your prospects in each phrase of the buying cycle, and placing your content in all the places they search for the information.
- creating thought-provoking, fulfilling content that makes people share it
- creating nurturing paths that provide continuous, quality content to the right people at the right time
2013 is the year to attract new customers by using social, search and content in the right way. Nick Stamoulis, in a great article entitled The SEO Hierarchy of Needs sums up this new approach to search, social and content in this way:
Content -> Keyword Research -> On-site Optimization -> Link Building
What this basically means is, all your SEO should be based in a foundation on content. Your keyword research should support your content and target real keyphrases that your customers are searching for. And this research needs to be based in fact, using tools such as Google Analytics, The AdWords Keyword Tool, Spyfu, etc. If your customers don’t use it, you may rank well in the search engines for it, but you won’t get any more leads. The optimization happens not the keywords determined in your research. You must then concentrate on building offsite links by getting your content out there, using your social media outlets.
I think the Brafton Infographic, Why Content For SEO shows us this whole chain of thinking best with this snippet:
How are you focusing your B2B Online Marketing Strategy in 2013?