Having access to key information at our fingertips has changed the way many of us perform our day-to-day tasks. Over the last few years, it has also contributed to the rise of the “self-serve” B2B tech buyer, who prefers to conduct research for potential solutions online, without the help of a sales representative. Forbes suggests that to successfully reach the new tech buyer, marketers must “influence buyers where they do research and provide them with the content and resources they seek.” Although inbound marketing is not a new approach in B2B lead generation, it can be especially helpful in reaching the evolved, self-serve tech buyer as they navigate their solitary journey.
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a strategy that helps marketers attract buyers to their brand by developing valuable content and experiences that engage their target audience. It is considered a “pull” approach as the content works to actively pull potential buyers to a business’ website. In other words, according to G2, “It empowers the buyer to make the first move.” Some examples include blogs, social media, video, infographics, and email newsletters. Outbound marketing is a traditional approach to marketing that “pushes” messaging out to potential buyers. Some examples include direct mail, events, telemarketing, and cold calling.
How does inbound marketing meet the needs of tech buyers?
Inbound marketing is successful at connecting with tech buyers because:
Messaging is personalized to meet the specific needs of tech buyers.
- Content is highly relevant, presenting solutions that address tech buyer pain points, challenges, and goals.
- Information is designed to inform and educate the buyer at each stage of their journey, guiding them through the lengthy tech buying process.
- Timing, frequency, and location of content delivery can also be customized to increase engagement.
It allows tech buyers to find the information they want, at their own pace.
- Tech buyers can research and evaluate solutions on their own terms.
- Peer recommendations are important to tech buyers; having easy access to content gives buyers the opportunity to share it with peers and get feedback.
- Access to a variety of content types can satisfy the information needs of multiple decision makers who may be involved in a tech purchase.
It fosters long-term relationships.
- Consistently delivering relevant, high-quality content builds trust and credibility which is important to tech buyers.
- By engaging with tech buyers at the start of their buying journey, it increases the chances of having long-term influence.
- Having multiple touchpoints keeps your brand top of mind and ahead of the competition.
Success Factors for Inbound Marketing
- Understand your Tech Buyer Audience
You can’t personalize your content without having a solid understanding of your tech buyer. What kind of information are they looking for? When do they need it? Where are they looking for it? Develop your buyer personas from your research, including demographics, psychographics, and intent data. Create your inbound marketing campaigns focusing on your primary personas.
- Implement Automation
Automation tools such as CRM systems and marketing automation platforms help to streamline inbound marketing campaigns so you can engage with tech buyers more efficiently, reducing costs and freeing up time and resources. Using automation also gives you the ability to target your marketing efforts more effectively, attracting potential buyers who are more likely to make a purchase.
- Focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Creating high-quality content is key, but you also must ensure that your tech buyers can easily find it. SEO is a key component of inbound marketing as it helps brands attract buyers who are actively searching for solutions related to their product offerings. Businesses can increase their chances of being on the first page of search results by optimizing their website for relevant keywords and phrases.
- Make it Easy for Potential Buyers to Convert
HubSpot describes a conversion path as, “the process by which an anonymous website visitor becomes a known lead.” Having a clear understanding of your tech buyer and their specific needs will help you create an effective conversion path which typically includes a call-to-action, landing page with a form, content offer, and thank you page with offer. Potential buyers need to quickly recognize the value they will receive from your offer so it’s important to be succinct.
- Get the Sales Team Involved
Include the sales team in the development of your inbound marketing campaigns. Sales reps have a depth of experience with your tech buyers and can provide you with, “valuable information and insights that are essential to communicating key inbound messages and creating the right strategies” (LinkedIn). Ensuring that both the marketing and sales teams are involved in the process will also help everyone to be aligned with the strategies.
- Monitor and Analyze Results
Analyze your inbound marketing efforts using the data supplied by your marketing automation platforms. What efforts were successful and what requires tweaking? Some key metrics to monitor to better understand your inbound marketing results include organic website and landing page traffic, social media reach and engagement, click-through-rate on content downloads, lead form submissions, and keyword rankings.
Contact us to get started on your next inbound marketing campaign!