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Keeping up with content: New online tools for B2B lead generation

Online content marketing is here to stay. The majority of B2B marketers use numerous online channels to post text, videos and images that encourage inbound marketing exploration. Just because online content is a fixture, however, doesn't mean it should be static.

While most B2B companies use online content marketing to generate leads, they are not always certain how to use new tools effectively. MarketingProfs recently reported B2B marketing teams still rely on older strategies like in-person meetings and emails as their primary campaign focuses (1).

Online content strategies need time and attention. Technology is constantly changing, and the paths people take to browse the Internet can't be taken for granted. Here are a few digital content channels that may need reevaluation:

Website landing page
Many companies realize how important their website landing page is for new leads, but not every business redevelops their web design for modern audiences. A website is often one of the final steps on a customer's self-sufficient inbound marketing path. It should prompt them to make contact, not turn them away.

Business 2 Community shared B2B sales industry findings that concluded about two thirds of first-time visitors to a landing page leave the site without clicking on any other pages (2). The first content an audience sees has to be useful and informative. It's also important for the web design to be simple to use and aesthetically pleasing. A B2B company may want to contact a digital marketing agency to learn which designs work for audiences using modern tools.

A landing page must have a responsive web design no matter what device the potential customer utilizes. Many B2B professionals use mobile devices to browse marketing content. A landing page must work with a touch screen much smaller than traditional laptop displays.

A business blog is a great way to share thoughts, news and opinions with an online audience. A well-written blog creates the impression that the B2B company is a thought leader in its industry. Blogs are also a good strategy to improve search engine optimization.

As multiple companies create more content, it's difficult for blog posts to stand out in the cacophony of online written materials. Modern blog posts can go beyond text. The content should also contain images, videos or other engaging devices. A company shouldn't rely on keywords more than one year old. Search engines improve every year. A B2B marketing team should track audience interaction with software tools to keep up with new search trends.

Blogs can work in conjunction with social media. You can use social channels to promote new materials. Many sites like LinkedIn allow companies to post blog content on the site itself. New media also helps companies generate content ideas. A good strategy is to collect posted stories from social contacts and create a written industry news round up at the end of each week

Social Media
Social media can be one of the toughest tactics for companies to crack. New media channels provide companies with cost-efficient and fun platforms for content, but many B2B marketers find it difficult to monitor and define social media inbound marketing success. It gets trickier as these sites change.

The most popular social media sites are always coming out with new tools for users. Social Media Examiner said enhancements like Twitter chats and LinkedIn groups are extremely effective for B2B lead generation (3). Programmatically bought Facebook online advertising banners, however, are only worth the investment if a company has the right metrics for which audience it's trying to target. Every time a channel develops a feature, a B2B marketing team has to decide if the business should adopt it to stay competitive or if it would be a needless allocation of resources.

Start ups or companies with less social media experience may want to partner with a B2B marketing agency to explore new tools. A partner focused on new media marketing performance can help evaluate potential features without wasting time and money on dead ends. Even if a strategy is not as effective as desired, a professional consultant can turn every attempt into useful data for future performance.

Webinars are another way to put a company in the right light. Video is a very engaging medium and it allows customers to see the people they could potentially work with. Webinars also allow company leaders to show their insight and expertise in the field.

A company should look for technology that makes webinars more interactive than traditional video content. Business 2 Community reported audience members who were able to ask questions to the presenter online were much more likely to find the material helpful. Sites like Google+ and Skype are able to host webinar question and answer sessions. Companies should look into hosting online events where people can speak directly to presenters using text or personal cameras.

1. B2B Lead Generation Trends for 2014: What's Hot and What's Not
2. 5 Unexpected Ways to Generate Sales Leads Online
3. 4 Ways to Use Social Media to Generate Leads

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.