Is Your B2B Lead Generation Stuck In A Silo? — Don’t Get Sucked In!

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There's a better way to market online for B2B marketersUrban dwellers like me consider farming a relatively safe occupation. There’s no having to navigate through rush hour traffic like office-goers, no handling of dangerous chemicals like scientists and pharmaceutical employees, no struggling with heat, cold, rain and snow like the construction worker—the farmer rides a tractor around the field. It is back-breaking work; much more than what we city dwellers are used to, but it is quite safe, correct?

That’s what I thought until I came across this news article about an Illinois farmer who fell into a corn silo and was buried alive. Firefighters had to cut into the bin releasing about twelve truckloads of corn and recovering the deceased man. Apparently, there was a lot of hardened corn in the silo and the farmer and his family / co-workers had been working away to dislodge it. At some point, a chunk of the hardened corn must have moved to create a sudden and huge vacuum. The poor farmer got sucked in, engulfed and asphyxiated.

What an unusual tragedy, I thought. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worksite inspection database, however, shows that an average 6 people have died each year since 1984 from being buried in grain, many of them teenagers. Common sense says that these accidents could have been avoided with the right training, proper safety precautions and vigilance by co-workers.

Why did I bring up this (morbid) story? Because it moved me. It really made me think about the hazards of what I believed was a safer occupation over others. The other reason I wanted to share this story with you is to use this analogy and comment on B2B lead generation with digital marketing and search engine optimization.

Stop the Endless Chase! Here’s A Better Way to Market Online

As marketers, we seem to be on an unending chase. We chase our target audience to convert them into leads, we chase leads to convert them into customers, we chase customers to keep them, we chase past customers to bring them back, we chase referrals from customers, we chase channel partners to deliver results, we chase our sales people to drive revenue, we chase our social media followers to share our content, we chase every new twist and turn in search algorithms…it goes on and on and on. Where will it end? How can we ever keep pace? How can we prevent a big hole, a vacuum from appearing? What can we do to ensure we are not sucked right in and buried forever out of sight from our audience?

7 Steps to Revitalize Your B2B Marketing and Lead Generation        

  1. Recognize that SEO is a landscape of shifting sands; think past the search engines. Yet again, Google released an important update, Panda 4.0. Marketers, including big ones like RetailMeNot and eBay are scrambling to save their sites and blogs from being sucked deep down into the SERPs. Except those savvy marketers who always knew and stayed cognizant of the fact that the audience comes first. Building a digital marketing strategy that focuses on every little change that Google implements will not take you far in the target audience’s view. If you create content that is credible, relevant, interesting and shareable, you’ve created value. Remember, don’t let content kill your sales!           
  2. Promote your audience’s content alongside your own. You don’t, and you can’t possibly have all the answers. Your customers know that too so there’s no point pretending otherwise. Instead, realize that often your customers may know more than you or have information on a topic that complements what you have put out there. By linking and sharing to their content, you can achieve a few easy wins—massage their ego (subtly), possibly gain access over time into their online circles and give your larger audience much more food for thought.
  3. Identify the influential powers besides Google. Google is a great enabler to bring thought leaders into the limelight and get them the attention they deserve. It is a mistake, however, to pour all your energy and resources into influencing Google. Instead, identify the thought leaders that are worthy influencers within your target market and industry. Get them to contribute content to your social and website properties, share their content with your audience and ask them if they are willing to take contributions from your organization.
  4. Don’t just pick up “the word on the street”, act on it. Marketers love research. Or rather, we love the idea of doing extensive research. Now with everyone advising organizations on how to listen to what is being said about their company and their brand on social channels, many are doing it. Not the same can be said about how many are doing something positive after listening intently. That’s the big opportunity bus many B2B companies are missing. Why not chase that, if we must chase? See these three case studies about successful B2B content marketing.
  5. Ask for feedback but make it worth their time. One way to persuade customers to provide feedback is by giving them something valuable in return. But more than that, you must communicate clearly what you plan to do with their feedback. That plan of action needs to speak directly to what your customers want and expect from your company. If it doesn’t benefit them, why would they waste their time giving feedback?
  6. Continuously grow your tribe of storytellers. No matter how brilliant your marketing team and content agencies are, they will eventually, or at least occasionally, get tapped out. Does that mean you will starve your audiences frequently, or regurgitate stale content, or push out meaningless, irrelevant content because you must stay active? You can’t afford any of these scenarios. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of storytellers out there—cloaked as employees, design engineers, product specialists, sales reps, vendors, research analysts, market advisors, business associates, industry experts, customers, even friends and family of employees. It’s a myth that your target audience is only interested in stories directly related to your industry or the product/service they are researching online. A powerful story sparks off many different trains of thought in people’s minds when it is told in a compelling manner. Who would have thought that a news story about a corn farmer would inspire me to write this piece? But it did.
  7. Use all that Big Data: If you use it the right way, Big Data can actually be quite a big deal for B2B marketing and lead generation. Know what you want from your data; plan your collection and collation activities accordingly. Make sure that data is shared across the organization in a timely and efficient manner. Use lead generation program tools that facilitate faster and better real-time communication as well as content management, such as the latest channel app from MyLeads2Go.

Does your B2B lead generation need a shot in the arm? Review this 4-part B2B Primer:

Back-to-School B2B Primer – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4          

Image credit: Shutterstock

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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