Now that we’ve looked at the data mining approach to build a highly focused prospect database, we can move on to discussing the obvious: How best to engage with your audience in ways that won’t burn your carefully constructed database. 

We set ourselves the goal of more inbound sophistication, right? So if we move cold calling by a Sales Development Representative (SDR) aside for now, what do we need to get things done?

Great Content is an Art
Unless you’re a natural, great content is an art form that probably requires a content writer. The goal is to come up with informative, interesting pieces of information that are unique and appeal to your audience. There is no denying that the “10 ways to improve your love life”-type titles work, but please try to be original. Give the audience something unique and valuable, without having to jump through burning hoops (i.e., through landing pages with forms). Think industry infographic, best practices, tips, tricks and thought leadership. Avoid hinting at your brand or product.

The latest trends show that around 94 percent of B2B buyers research online for purchase decisions. Consequently your prospects’ minds are pretty much made up before you’ve ever had a chance to get them on the phone. This also explains why cold calling is perceived as ‘crowbarring’ a potential client’s buying cycle when your timing is off. Marketing 2.0 is expected to be relevant and timely.

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Must-have commercial content such as customer case studies, video testimonials, whitepapers and product movies should be readily available through your website, partner portal or YouTube channel. I personally hardly ever campaign with this type of content, because nothing is more tedious than tooting your own trumpet. So try and get others to do the horn blowing for you. Get good reviews in the (online) press and shares & likes on social media. Instead of costly PR firms, you could try the likes of Inbound Junction to get your name out there. Content syndication, whereby your content is disseminated on other platforms, is also an option. Paid inclusions; links to your content from external, relevant online content, is another. Always monitor the quality of the referring content!

Effective Content Campaigning
If you have invested in (outbound) marketing automation software such as MailChimp or Marketo, but your database has not exactly “opted in” (as would be the case after our first exercise), you need to be super cautious! Build an outbound campaign with inbound touch (valuable content that is not salesy), and drip feed this to your new database in a few articles over the period of a month or two. Behavioral marketing is key, engagement with the audience your goal. One thing should lead to another in a logic flow from one piece of content to the next, based on audience interaction. Opt-outs are instantly handed over to your best SDR’s.

After the intro campaign you can move to inviting the most responsive campaign members to your (commercial) webinars, deminars, events and so forth. You can now feature your “get a free demo” or other Calls To Action more prominently. Still, this is not called nurturing for nothing. Increase engagement gradually and don’t scare people off with a massive pitch. Be sure to A/B test things like “one-click-registration” versus forms that incorporate questions to gauge your prospects’ needs or buying stage. Measure conversion and internalize what works for you.

Up Next: Scoring mechanisms and How Facebook beats LinkedIn on conversion