When you’re thinking about which B2B inbound marketing strategies you want your company to adopt, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence are transforming the buying process. With all of the tools available to you, figuring out the best strategy can be … challenging, to say the least.

Everywhere you look there’s a rabbit-hole of information, with each strategy being touted as the best new thing since sliced bread and making it easy to overlook the right strategy for you.
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When you get sucked into a 100-page in-depth report on the state of SEO, you might learn quite a bit about SEO, but you won’t learn which B2B inbound marketing tactics you’re overlooking. What about all those unhyped tactics that need your attention?

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of common B2B inbound marketing strategies, tactics, and techniques to help you as you figure out which ones are the most appropriate for you (and if you’re not sure, contact us and we’ll show you what’s working for similar companies):

1. Blogging — The Alpha and Omega of B2B Inbound Marketing Strategies

Blogging isn’t just for trendy fashionistas and foodies. Virtually all of the most successful B2B companies and startups have a robust blogging strategy.

According to a well-known blog stat from Hubspot, B2B marketers who use blogs receive 67 percent more leads than those who don’t.

The key is consistency. And quality content. And search engine optimization. And writing ability. And education value. Okay, maybe there are a bunch of keys. The point is, you need to get started with your B2B blogging strategy, either with an internal team, content agency, or a combination of both.

Aside from lead generation benefits, a blog is a great way to keep your customers informed and help your sales team improve win rates. If you’re consistently producing quality content, the more likely it is that your brand will become a trusted source your prospects will remember when they have a problem you can solve.

The most common reason I see companies hold off on a blog strategy is that they are under pressure to generate short-term results so they put it on the backburner. This is a mistake. While I understand the pressure to get leads now, ignoring your blogging strategy is a shortsighted way to make sure that 12 months from now … you’re still struggling to generate consistent leads.

Blogging isn’t an overnight strategy. Depending on consistency, volume, and quality, you’ll start to see positive indicators of success in a few months, even though it may take 6-12 months before you’ve started seeing enough traffic growth to make any sort of a dent on pipeline and revenue. If you’re producing 1 or fewer posts per month, or you’re ignoring SEO, then it’ll take even longer.

Search engines reward consistency with visibility.

Humans reward great content with trust.

Prospects reward trust by becoming customers.

A great B2B blog accomplishes all of that.

2. Email Marketing — The Most Nurturing B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy

What does your email marketing strategy look like right now?

If you don’t have one … try again. According to Hubspot, over 93 percent of B2B inbound marketers are using email marketing as one of their go-to strategies.

In the B2B buying world, timing is a crucial component of your sales cycle. It would be great if all of your prospects needed your product the same day that they found out about you. If I need marketing automation software, but the contract for my current tool isn’t up until 8 months from now, I’m just not qualified to talk with your sales team yet, much less make a purchase.

That’s where email comes in. If you have an email list, then you’ll be able to nurture prospects with educational and informational content until they’re ready to convert. Then, when the timing is right, they remember you.

The alternative is relying on your prospect’s memory to think of you when they are in a buying mood 6 months from now. Not exactly the most fool-proof strategy.

Email marketing is also where you’ll get added value from your blog content. Try starting a monthly newsletter where you share your latest blog posts with your email list.

B2B inbound marketing is a long-term process that is as much about building trust with your audience as it is about “converting” them. Trust building takes time. Without an email list, you’ll need to rely on prospects randomly remembering you or running across your company when they just happen to be ready to buy. Stack the odds in your favor with email marketing.

Quick email tips: With the number of emails flooding people’s inboxes, it’s more vital than ever to build and send out effective — valuable — emails. Write compelling subject lines. Speak like your buyer. Make sure your content is high quality and valuable. Share your expertise with your industry. Don’t just promote your brand in your emails.

Bottom line: Give value.

3. Gated Content — You Shall Not Pass … Or Shall You?

Building longer form content that you can “gate” behind a form on your site is one of the most proven ways to generate leads. Prospects visit your site, see a valuable piece of content, then give you their email address in exchange for access. Now you have a new lead who you can have sales reps follow-up with, or to nurture via email marketing.

This content can include how-to guides, whitepapers, checklists, or eBooks. Typically, you’ll want to produce content that goes into more detail on topics than blog articles. When you have this content, then you can promote it near the end of the blog post as a call to action (CTA).

A mistake I see in quite a few B2B inbound marketing strategies is when prospects can only enter your sales funnel through a “contact us” or “demo request” form. Typically, the people who fill in these forms on your site are in a later stage of their buying process. They may already have contacted your competitors and are looking to buy soon.

But what about all of those prospects who might make fantastic leads at some point? Timing is a key component of a B2B buyer’s journey. You need to make sure that you build a marketing funnel that lets you establish a relationship with prospects long before they are ready to buy.

For many B2B buyers, no matter how much they like your product or service, they just may not be in a position to evaluate vendors right now. B2B decision-makers don’t have time for demos and discovery calls for a product they can’t properly evaluate until 6 months from now. If they run across your company, and the only call to action is to sign up for a demo, they’ll move on.

If you provide great content that people will feel good about giving their business email address to access, then you nurture these prospects via high value email marketing, you’ll be top of mind once they are actually in a position to potentially buy your product.

This is how you build a marketing strategy that relies less on, “I hope they are actively evaluating products like ours at the exact same time that they visit our site” and more on, “no matter when they are ready to buy, we’ll be on the shortlist of companies they contact.”

And if you’re going to use the next strategy (paid ads), you better have a great piece of gated content to capture leads at all stages of the buyer’s journey, so that you aren’t just throwing ad budget out the window.

4. Social Media — Not Just for Puppy Photos

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit … How are you using social media with your inbound strategy?

RevenueZen has generated over 30 percent of our new revenue over the last 2 years from LinkedIn activity using a combination of social selling strategies and thoughtful content.

Depending on your brand and target market, Facebook and Twitter might need to play more prominent roles. Or maybe even Quora.

Social media allows your prospects a more personal connection with your company. While your blog is valuable when it’s educational, social media is valuable when it’s relatable and shareable. People are bombarded with ads 24/7 so make your social media presence a place where they can engage with your brand without feeling pressured to buy from you now.

Like blogging and email marketing, focus on giving value. Give people a reason to follow and engage with you on social media.

Share your personal thoughts on challenges you’ve faced in your industry, or unique insights you’ve gained through your experience. Our favorite LinkedIn strategy involves sharing personally relevant, professional content with your network, building trust and relationships by being a valuable connection.

5. Paid Ads — There’s a Reason Google Is Worth $900B

B2B inbound marketers can round out their demand generation and branding effort with the help of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which allows a business to get their content and brand in front of new audiences with the use of search engines and other advertising platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

There are a few ways you can approach paid. You could target buyers looking for your specific solution or the specific solution of a competitor’s. This method targets prospects who are far enough down the sales funnel that they may have a higher likelihood of converting.

Another approach is to create a valuable piece of gated content (see above), set up a landing page, then use ads to direct people to the landing page. When people opt-in to see your content you can use your email marketing strategy to nurture them until they are ready to buy (or talk to a sales rep).

If you have a complex B2B buying process involving executive level decision-makers, creating educational content that you promote via ads can be a strong strategy to generate leads for your sales team to follow-up with, in addition to email marketing.

If your product has a more transactional sales cycle, you may be able to lean more towards ads that promote your specific solution. Once you have the budget and the content, you’ll want to invest in multiple paid channels, promoting a wide variety of content on your site.

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — The Inbound Marketing Strategy for People Who Like Acronyms

Producing high quality content is important, but without having a proper search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, you may just be spinning your wheels. You need to make sure that your site and content is searchable by search engines as well.

Even the most entertaining, educational, insightful, revolutionary product will get ignored if your content isn’t optimized properly.

Good SEO begins with keyword research that focuses on words and phrases your targeted audience is likely to be searching for. If you sell product management software, it may make sense to do research around keywords that people might search for when they are in the buying cycle. Once you’ve done your research, you might find that it is valuable to create content with an aim of ranking for “best product management software.” This can dictate the entire direction of your content strategy — it’s important to be diligent with your research. Follow the data.

You also need to make sure to follow SEO best practices with your content. This includes making sure your site and page meta, title tags, alt text, and page descriptions are all in order. Check for redirect issues and duplicate content. Optimize your site for mobile devices and page loading speed.

Moz is our tool of choice for keyword research. They’re a great resource on SEO (we aren’t affiliated with them … just big fans).

The topic of SEO goes deep. But no matter what your goals, it all starts with discovering what your target market is searching for, then building a content strategy that gives you as much visibility as possible with your potential buyers.

7. Videos, Podcasts, and Infographics … Oh My!

Aside from the broader inbound strategies above, there are a host of other B2B inbound marketing techniques that you should consider for your company.

It’s estimated that video traffic will account for an estimated 82 percent of customer internet traffic as of 2022. Meaning there’s no better time than right now to make video a part of your B2B inbound marketing strategy. Podcasts are in the same boat, giving people the ability to listen to content using time that otherwise would have been less productive (the daily commute, doing laundry, etc.).

With video, you don’t need to get too fancy. You can release off-the-cuff videos of you sharing your thoughts on your industry (this works great on LinkedIn). Or, you could produce short, high-value educational videos. Other ideas include customer testimonials, product demo videos, case studies, and video blogs. The goal is to educate the audience on the importance of these products or services.

Moz.com does a fantastic job of using video as part of their larger blog and content strategy with their Whiteboard Friday series on SEO strategy.

Even more, these types of media are fantastic opportunities to repurpose content into multiple formats. When you record a video or podcast, transcribing and then publishing the content allows search engines to index your content easier, giving you an extra boost from your content efforts.

Or, you could turn some of your content into an entertaining, informative infographic. If you have unique data or a visually compelling take on a process, infographics are highly shareable pieces of content that can spread awareness of your brand. Sometimes, people just want a quick shot of insight that looks pretty.

If the information you are providing is incredibly valuable, there’s a good chance it will be shared among other people, even competitors, who will use it as a source of information.

Takeaways

The list of top B2B inbound marketing strategies isn’t infinite. Even though the details of exactly how you might execute on a plan might differ, and there are always nuances, everything fits into the bigger picture techniques listed in this article.

Figuring out how those strategies fit with your overall company objectives is the real key. Are you trying to build an inbound B2B lead generation engine? Are you focused on branding? Are you supporting a complex sales cycle? Is this part of a broader account-based marketing strategy?

Except in rare circumstances, your company should have some roadmap for adopting each of the strategies listed above. For B2B SaaS startups, tech companies, and agencies, inbound isn’t just a luxury, it’s one of the most important aspects of your go-to-market plan.

Treat it as crucial as you treat investing in having a sales strategy (and if you don’t have a sales team, then inbound marketing is even more important). Don’t wait to start building in your inbound strategy. Start now, even if it’s just documenting exactly when you plan on launching each component of the plan.