He doesn't have a huge budget and would like to do as much of the work as he can himself. Finally, until now, all of his customers have either come on board through personal contacts or through his own telephone based work, he hasn't used any digital methods at all at this point.
Before we go forward and discuss the ways in which Graham could build out his marketing strategy, let's begin with a quick definition of business-to-business marketing in case you are very new to this:
What is business-to-business marketing?
Business-to-business marketing - which is also often shortened to B2B - is the process of a business specifically targeting other businesses with it's products and/or services. This kind of marketing doesn't target the general public, or consumer - that is known as business-to-customer marketing (B2C).
What's Graham's B2B Marketing Plan Then?
After conducting his market research and identifying his ideal target market, Graham has decided that he wants to target his market through a mix of:
- Online marketing,
- Lead nurturing
- Telephone based follow-up.
He wants to keep this simple so that it takes up the least amount of time, allowing him to focus on providing the core services of his business. Of course, he'd like it to be as automated as possible too - he likes the idea of a business-to-business lead generation machine working in the background for him, 24/7.
So let's take a closer look at how he can put together this plan.
The Online Marketing Element - Google Adwords
Because Graham's website is brand new, he knows it's going to take a while for it to rank well in the search engines. Therefore, while that is developing, he is going to run a Google Adwords campaign in order to gain the search engine exposure he needs.
For this, he would take the following measures to make sure he was only targeting relevant business users looking for his services:
- He would set the Adwords campaign to run only in the city he can provide services in
- He would add negative keywords to his campaign to make sure no ads were shown to wrong users. For example, he would add in the negative keyword 'Jobs' so that his ad wouldn't be shown to anyone looking for an accounting job
- He would schedule the ads to show mostly during the day - this is when his research has suggested his target market are most actively looking for services like his. This would conserve budget
- He would set his maximum cost per click and monthly budgets, which in this case are $2.00 and $250.00 dollars respectively
- He will set up separate ad groups for each service he provides, and he will run 3 Ads in each ad group. That way, the ads will compete with each other and the best performing ones will end up being shown more often
- He will use his Adwords campaign to promote a free e-book he has written about important tax law revisions that are important to his target market. This e-book will be freely available in exchange for an email address, name and contact phone number
This would give him a basic, easy to manage search presence designed to generate the most amount of leads for the least amount of spend.
Lead Nurturing Element - Email Based
When Graham's web visitors submit their contact details in order to download the free e-book, he is going to make sure that the details are fed into his lead nurturing system. In this lead nurturing system, he has set up an email series that is designed to gradually warm the new leads up into becoming new customers.
Important information for him to note in his lead nurturing reports are:
- Who is opening the emails the most?
- How many times have they opened the emails?
- Are they clicking through to his website?
- What links are they clicking on?
- Have they forwarded the emails to other colleagues?
- (most of the main email marketing providers will give you this information)
When he has this information, he can begin to score his leads in order to ascertain who are the most likely leads to become paying customers. When he has done this, he will then move onto the next part of his strategy - the phone calls.
The Telephone Based Element - The Follow Up
He has decided to save telephone based work for leads who are at least warm now. Therefore, after he has identified that people may be interested by reviewing his email campaign data, he will make a quick call to properly introduce himself and to find out exactly what his prospects requirements are and how he can help.
Business to business telemarketing is probably a lot more successful these days than it's business to customer counterpart, although for it to succeed you have to be very careful of how you proceed. For tips on how to do this effectively, please see my telesales tips section.
Remember, we're not advising blanket cold calling as part of this strategy - Graham is only using the phone to call people who have already actively engaged with his business through his website and his email marketing process.
What Are The Benefits Of This Business-to-Business Marketing Strategy?
Well, first off, it's very simple to maintain and launch. If done correctly, this type of campaign should deliver an increasing amount of leads each month so that you should hopefully be in a position where you don't have to go to market all that often to gain new customers. Other benefits are:
- It's fairly low cost - you only spend what you decide to on Adwords and the email marketing part is very cost effective too. Plans start with some providers at as low as $10 per month
- It's largely automated - this means you have more time to focus on your core business
- It's effective - studies by the Yankee Group and Eloqua have shown that businesses with lead nurturing processes in place have 80% larger sales pipelines than those who do not
Hopefully that has given you an idea as to how you can start designing your own B2B marketing lead generation process - thanks for reading!
Also, you might find this post useful, which is around ideas on how to find customers quickly.
By Alan MacDougall