The missing topic on b2b digital lead generation: advertising

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Remember advertising? Remember media plans? If you believe all those social media experts and SAAS platforms, you’d think advertising has gone away. Don’t believe it. Marketing has always been about crafting a relevant message and distributing that content via the channels where your target audience spends time learning about his/her industry. The channels have changed over the years; but the basic marketing principles remain.

Let’s look at the mind-set of potential buyers of a b2b complex solution (with 6-18 month buying cycle, provided they enter the funnel in the first place).

I use search engines because:

  • I’ve uncovered a business need, and want to research solutions

SEO marries the user queries with my solutions

Paid search attracts immediate inquiries with promotional messages

I use social media because:

  • I want to ask my connections about their experiences with potential solutions
  • I want to learn more about what other firms are offering to solve my needs.

This is the essence of inbound marketing; designing a mechanism that encourages warm leads that have identified business problems to engage with your solutions and submit their email addresses to gain further insight via content or free trials.

What if Your Prospect Is Unaware of the Need; or is Not Ready to Search for a Solution?

Remember advertising? Your marketing strategy still needs a component to target potential buyers not in your lead funnel. The message strategy has to be different than paid search. The mission is to convince a prospect they have a need, and that your firm can provide a unique solution to that need. Once you create the demand for your solution, then the opportunity exists for the prospect to enter your funnel. This is where strategic advertising comes in, and as a former Media Director, I am well-versed in advertising/media strategy as well as inbound lead generation tactics. So let’s do a quick review of advertising tactics for lead generation:

In the computer category, SRDS lists 92 domestic publications targeting all levels of IT and technology readers. Let’s look at Information Week as an example. Besides the usual color and b/w print ads, you can market your solutions on their technology portal:

http://createyournextcustomer.techweb.com/media-kit/

There’s a wealth of opportunities:

  • Community sponsorships
  • Digital issue advertising
  • Event sponsorships
  • Content syndication
  • eNewsletter sponsorships
  • Digital banner ads
  • iPad sponsorships
  • Tech Center sponsorships

In fact, SRDS lists 340 digital websites in the information technology category where laser-focused digital advertising can occur. The key to lead generation is the message.

Because audiences are likely to be outside the funnel, your advertising message needs to promote informational content or webinars, explaining to audiences how a solution such as yours can contribute to their bottom-line cost efficiency and productiveness. Advertising’s job is to persuade. Your message needs to link prospects to a landing page, like paid search, so that prospects can easily sign up, register, or download. Once the lead is captured, the prospect enters the funnel, because your content helped identify a lead, or offered a solution to the need they may have identified.

Testing of course needs to occur. You need to test publication, digital property, marketing tactic, and message. You need to tag all digital messages so that analytics can measure the visitors. Once tagged, you can measure the cost-per-conversion, and make strategic tweaks along the way to optimize your media and message strategy.

Please keep in mind that your cost-per-conversion goals should not compare to paid search, since paid search audiences are a little further into the funnel. But you should still track ROI by estimating your pipeline conversion rates and evaluating lead performance via analytics.

Here’s a creative lead generating ad from Intel. Typically your ad should link to a landing page, but Intel embeds the form right into their ad. Lead captured; may the nurturing begin.




In summary, although social media, paid search, and SEO are mission-critical for lead generation success, don’t forget the power of persuasion. And distributing that message via targeted channels that your audiences still use, whether it be print, online portals, or direct mail. Convince target audiences they need to update their current systems or process. That’s the history of b2b marketing, isn’t it?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Paul Mosenson
Owner of NuSpark Marketing Helps B2B and B2C companies market themselves through integrated tactics, (traditional advertising, internet advertising, SEO, social media), conversions, and sales through lead nurturing/marketing automation.

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