Inbound vs Outbound Marketing for B2B

One of the most important questions for marketing managers in recent years has been whether inbound or outbound B2B marketing is more effective. In this article, we will examine the key points of each approach and what to consider when developing your B2B marketing strategy.    

What is outbound B2B marketing?

Outbound B2B marketing is a proactive approach in which you take your brand to your target customers rather than waiting for them to come to you. The marketer identifies relevant potential clients and initiates conversations through outreach efforts, which can be sent in bulk or personalised. It is also known as interruption marketing can be defined as the marketer choosing the interaction. Common practices used in outbound B2B marketing include: 

  • Direct mail
  • Telemarketing
  • Brand awareness campaigns 
  • Bulk email marketing
  • Banner advertising 

What is inbound B2B marketing?

Inbound B2B marketing is passive and allows the buyer to take action of their own accord instead of responding to direct proposals from the marketer. Here the consumers are exposed to content that allows them to make their own informed decisions. This method can help build trust and strengthen relationships. It is also known as permission-based marketing, as buyers give their permission by viewing content and then beginning a relationship. The techniques used in outbound B2B marketing commonly include:

  • Content creation 
  • Blogging
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Lead generation 
  • Lead nurturing

Inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

The tide has recently turned in favour of inbound marketing, with a general belief that outbound marketing is less effective than it used to be. This is because buyers are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by invasive forms of marketing and advertising. Internet-enabled clients prefer to have more control over their purchases, usually carrying out their own research before making a commitment. A recent survey shows that more than 50% of B2B buyers use social media to learn more about products, services and vendors because modern business clients prefer to be fully informed. 

Inbound marketing holds the advantage of listening to clients and responding directly to their needs. As marketing guru,Seth Godin puts it: “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Readers of your online content have already shown that they are interested and ready for nurturing. In this respect, inbound marketing gives your B2B clients agency and helps build long-lasting relationships that can form part of a sales funnel. A survey from Databox revealed that 67% of B2B marketers create top-of-the-funnel content most of the time as this is the most critical stage.  

But while outreach efforts to a broad range of contacts could be ineffective in the majority of cases, where the target is more carefully defined they are more likely to pay off. Outbound marketing still holds particular relevance for high-end products that require a personal touch. 

Outbound marketing is often aided by marketing automation tools that make it easier to instantly connect with higher numbers of potential clients. It’s worth noting, though, that improvements in AI are making it increasingly possible for outbound marketing to be more specific and personalised. A recent report shows that more B2B organisations are making personalisation a priority in 2021.   

Budgeting is an additional consideration. Outbound marketing efforts are generally much more costly than their inbound equivalents. For large corporations, this is less of a concern, but it is another reason why small businesses and entrepreneurs warm to inbound marketing. 

In B2B marketing, there is a place for both inbound and outbound marketing. The question is which approach is best suited to each individual case, database of clients, or stage in the sales process. While the “pull” of inbound marketing is increasingly popular in an age that is empowered by information, there are still certain occasions when there is a call for that extra “push”.

How to Use B2B Email Marketing Tools More Effectively

Email is reportedly one of the most popular organic distribution channels and is used by 87% of B2B marketers. And in the face of so much competition, it’s vital you don’t miss the mark. B2B email marketing tools can simplify the process, helping you reach and engage your audience more effectively.

Why is B2B email marketing still important today?

In the wake of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have a strong digital strategy. Companies around the world have moved online, and reports show that business leaders plan to spend 25% more on digital in 2021. You can’t afford to be left behind.

For years, email has been a vital component of any successful digital marketing strategy. It helps businesses connect with customers and analyse campaigns effectively. The world of digital marketing might move quickly, but Forbes recently published an article stating that email marketing still promises to deliver the highest ROI of all marketing channels.

What can email marketing do for your business?

B2B email marketing and newsletters offer businesses the chance to connect with customers in a creative and measurable way. You can provide value through free content or downloads, almost instantly let customers know about an event or offer, and create a sales funnel that guides them through to purchase.

Thanks to the latest tools, email marketing can be personalised, too. For instance, businesses can divide their customers into groups (called segmenting) and personalise what they see based on factors such as region, interests or demographics.

Using analytics, businesses can then analyse their success. In fact, 90% of B2B marketers use email engagement to measure content performance – showing how just important it is.

Tools for B2B email marketing

Although there are many factors to consider, with the right tools, email marketing doesn’t have to be overly complicated. With everything in one place, it’s easier and quicker than ever to create, deliver and analyse engaging campaigns.

These tools aren’t just for amateurs. Approximately 85% of marketers use mail marketing software, making it one of the top two tools, alongside analytics software.

Which tool you need depends on your goals. However, the best tool will save you time and effort at each stage of your campaign. A dedicated email marketing specialist can advise on this. Below are some examples of popular choices.

Mail Chimp

Popular for:

  • Creating designs
  • Managing audiences
  • Insights

HubSpot

Popular for:

  • Having everything in one place
  • Including email marketing
  • CRM
  • Website CMS
  • Insights

Send Grid

Popular for:

  • Focus on deliverability
  • Making sure emails get where they need to go

Getting the most out of the tools

To get the most out of your B2B email marketing tool, you need to have a solid campaign created by someone with a good understanding of how those tools can benefit it – ideally, a dedicated specialist with prior knowledge of MarTec solutions. They can save you time and help you build the most effective strategies.

Outsourcing is a scalable and flexible way of achieving this without stretching in-house resources. It can decrease production time and give you access to new expertise.

Lucdigi – Simplifying email marketing

We’re here to simplify digital marketing for B2B, SaaS and IT solution providers.  Our processes help increase visibility, generate more leads, convert leads to sales and reduce customer churn.

To find out how we can help transform your B2B email marketing efforts, simply send us a quick message.

Reusing Content Across Different Channels: 3 Things You Need to Know

Content marketing is all about the right content at the right time in front of the right people. And it’s not just about your website. It’s also about distributing that content across multiple channels to drive traffic and engagement from outside your own social media accounts. This blog post will discuss the importance of reusing content and distributing it through multiple channels to see the best results.

What Does Repurposing Content Mean?

Repurposing content means taking your existing content and adapting it to make it suitable for other channels. For example, if you have an article on your blog that has been well received and shown good results in terms of engagement, you might want to repurpose it for social media networks. 

Repurposing can also help make sure all your bases are covered. For example, if you’re posting on Twitter you will have to consider the character limit and for a Facebook ad, you need to be aware of the strict policies in place. To reach both audiences will require different adaptations of the same content. Likewise, your LinkedIn audience will differ from your other social media followers and you may need to tweak it to engage them.

Understand Each Channel’s Character

What type of content should be posted on each network? This depends mainly on the character of each platform as well as your brand’s message and voice. For example, you wouldn’t share a serious article about personal finance on Pinterest or an infographic with visualized statistics on Twitter because they don’t match the audience interest on those platforms.

The popular social media analysis tool – BuzzSumo – has lots of data from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest etc. to help you analyze what people are sharing online.

For example, it shows that Pinterest users are primarily interested in visuals rather than text, while users on other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are more likely to engage with posts that contain statistics.

Instead of blogging on your website and posting the same content across all networks, repurpose it by extracting extracts that resonate with each channels’ audience. For example, if there is an article entitled “Top 10 Fun Things to Do in Your City,” you can share these fun things using visualized statistics or a list format instead of quoting a long paragraph that might not appeal to, say, your Instagram followers.

Finding the Best Content Posting Platforms

Understanding what you want from your website is important because it impacts how much time and effort you spend on repurposing content. For example, if the goal of your website is to generate leads for a product, then posting articles on LinkedIn or Twitter might be more beneficial than on Facebook. 

Repurposing content also requires research into which channels are best suited to your goals. One way of doing this is by using an online tool like BuzzSumo. This allows you to search by keyword or topic to see all relevant articles, along with their social shares and who wrote them to find topics popular among influencers within those networks.

Different platforms are better suited to different types of businesses and different target audiences. For example, the younger demographic prefer Snapchat and Instagram, while older people are more likely to use Facebook. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is popular among professionals and people hiring and trying to find jobs. These things should be taken into consideration when deciding where to post your repurposed content.

Is Content Repurposing Beneficial?

Absolutely! Writing 100% unique content each time you want to post for every platform takes time and can become expensive if you hire a writer to do the job. By repurposing content, you can adapt blog posts, social media posts and much more to suit the specific needs and requirements of each platform. This allows you to reuse the same content with minor tweaks to see better results, saving you time and money.

In conclusion, content repurposing is undoubtedly beneficial and is an efficient way to grow your online presence and audience. The technique is used by thousands of companies, both big and small and can help you increase your reach and engagement.

Why Working With a Digital Marketing Agency is Great for Your Business

Digital marketing can no longer be viewed as an additional extra. It is an intrinsic part of any successful modern business. This is particularly the case for technology companies who need to be at the cutting edge of the latest trends and developments in order to thrive in a competitive field. 

Digital marketing agencies help businesses by creating comprehensive online strategies and optimizing their digital presence in a number of ways. A few fast-moving areas you might need expert guidance on include:

  • Email Automation: Honing your e-mail marketing strategy and delivering on it requires expertise in the area of automation. 
  • Social Media Management: Social platforms are frequently refining feed algorithms and adding new advertising features. Digital marketing agencies can help you increase brand awareness and social traffic by ensuring your messages grab the attention in a crowded sphere.
  • Content Marketing: Best practices change as users familiarise themselves with new devices. Understanding new formats and how they can be used to best engage other businesses, thought leaders and customers is a challenge that digital marketing agencies can help you master. 
  • Search Engine Optimization: Search engines frequently change their algorithms, making optimization a challenge for those lacking the requisite expertise. 

All companies can benefit from using a digital marketing agency

It’s important to remember that digital marketing agencies aren’t just required by companies that need to completely outsource their digital marketing. They can be a great asset for organisations that are looking to augment their in-house team. No matter what the reason is, the digital landscape is in such a constant state of flux that you’ll need to partner with an agency that will keep you ahead of the curve.  

During this blog post, we’ll talk you through how and why working with a digital marketing agency that provides quality services based on experience and expertise, such as Lucdigi, is the right decision for your business. 

5 key reasons why hiring a digital marketing agency can boost your business

1. Cost-effective 

The cost of hiring an in-house marketing team is substantial. You need experienced people who can manage, interrogate, report, write, research, and analyse your marketing strategy. A qualified digital marketing agency has all of these specialisms and more for a fraction of the cost of sourcing a reputable in-house team.

What’s more, Lucdigi and other agencies regularly use tools and programmes that most business professionals are unfamiliar with. Agencies know how to harness these tools and platforms to take their work to the next level and improve outcomes for your business. These tools, like analytics platforms, can often be expensive so by using an agency you save on having to purchase them yourself. 

2. Improve agility 

By using an agency you can outsource work to experts, allowing you to focus on what you do best. Freeing up your time to focus on your core business will help you run your business more efficiently, safe in the knowledge your marketing is in the hands of experts.

Secondly, an agency has the relevant professionals to navigate the latest trends, rule-changes, advertising formats, and algorithm shifts. Trying to hire the relevant people is a lengthy process that can take upwards of three months, and there’s always the risk that as the digital environment shifts, their skills become redundant. That’s why using an agency that has a great staff with knowledge of the changing landscape of digital marketing will give your business the agility it needs. 

3. Expert opinion, insight & analysis 

Digital marketing agencies can examine your current strategy, find and analyse the flaws within it, and come up with ways to improve it. This is particularly the case when working with clients in the technology sector. Maybe your ads are on the right platforms but not reaching the relevant audiences. Or maybe your search engine optimization is getting lots of leads, but they are failing to convert. It can be difficult for an untrained eye to diagnose the problems. But experts will have experience of rooting out the issues and suggesting options for remedying them. Moreover, agencies will set measurable goals using key performance indicators so your marketing strategy can be clearly measured and improved. In so doing, the agency gives your business transparency and clarity when it comes to its performance.

4. Bringing fresh ideas to the table 

An outside agency will not have the same perceptions and ties to your business that you do. Because they see your company from a different perspective, they might spot a problem you’ve missed. If you’re a technology firm, you might benefit from working with an agency that has experience working with similar companies, but also different sectors, such as financial services. Agencies can use their experience with these different businesses to improve your website or campaign’s performance. 

Secondly, a digital marketing agency will stay abreast of market trends no matter what business or sector you fall into. This means they will come armed with plenty of ideas that are informed by audience behaviors from across a range of sectors. 

5. Monitoring and measurable results 

Because of their different areas of expertise and specialisation in digital marketing, a digital marketing agency will provide you with analytics and reports that give you a tangible measure of the results you are getting through their services. They can also guide you through the complexities of measurement by assigning accurate, tangible values to any campaign to prove the effectiveness of the approach.

High-quality digital agencies will put in the effort to ensure their clients are satisfied. At Lucdigi, we treat our clients’ success as a reflection of our company. Across the board, digital agencies do not stop working after they complete a campaign. Instead, they continually test, learn, iterate and improve their work to ensure they’re delivering to the best of their abilities. 

Some useful trends in digital marketing for B2B companies in 2021

1. Chatbots and conversational marketing

Given the lack of social contact we’ve all had over the last 18 months, chatbots and other conversational marketing tools will be essential for anyone operating in the B2B space. People are looking for human interaction that provides instant responses to issues they’re facing. Companies can’t afford to wait for weeks to get responses to their requests. They need answers quickly at any time – which only chatbots can provide. These tools can be the kickstart to a sale whilst also providing accessible support to your customers so don’t overlook them. 

2. Data-driven content

B2B content strategy is evolving fast, and we’re seeing data-driven content growing in importance. Content creators have a great deal of data at their disposal, which means they can see in real time whether their content is engaging potential leads. By being able to measure what content is driving reach, B2B content creators are constantly honing their output according to reliable information. This ensures they are always zeroing in on their target audience and providing useful, accessible, and attention-grabbing material.

3. Paying attention to back-end SEO 

Search Engine Optimisation is so much more than using keywords on a web page and having a website with well-functioning navigation. In 2021, good optimisation requires businesses to pay detailed attention to the technical, back-end elements of their site. The technical, back-end components of your website allow bots to better understand and index your website. In turn, these bots help search engines understand the intentions of your website, and its businesses priorities and purpose. So, having good back-end optimization is key to getting your website in front of your target audience. 

Useful questions to ask an agency you’re looking to work with

As with any big business decision, it’s important to make sure you’ve done your research and to get assurances from your chosen digital marketing agency that they will deliver on your business aims. 

Here are a few useful questions to ask an agency you might be approaching:

  1. What KPIs do they measure? 
  2. Do they have experience?
  3. How do they handle reporting?
  4. What ROI can you expect? 
  5. Do they have a client portfolio and success stories? 
  6. Do they outsource? 
  7. What is their specialism? 

Summing up

With digital teams increasingly expected to deal with anything from automation to performance marketing, it makes sense to work with a digital marketing agency that has both an aptitude for learning and that is prepared to tackle the breadth of what digital can throw at it. Lucdigi staff are experienced experts who can help you navigate the challenges associated with a shifting digital environment and give you a fresh perspective on your business aims, and how to meet them by drawing up a bespoke marketing plan within your budget. 

Lucdigi will work tirelessly to ensure your products, services and ideas find relevant audiences amongst consumers and businesses alike. Contact Lucdigi today so we can discuss ways to help your company level up its digital presence and improve your bottom line.

What To Ask When Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

The digital marketing landscape changes on a daily basis. Not a quarter goes by where there isn’t a new platform or marketing channel that pops up, and unless you have the time and in-house marketing resources to keep up, your business can easily get left behind.

You may have already considered hiring a Junior Marketing Exec or two, but decided against it after realising there are too many marketing strategies, channels, and resources for one or two people to manage effectively.

Between content production, social media management, email marketing, SEO, media buying, and PR, you’d need to hire and train a whole team. But that would put a huge strain on your budget. Plus there is the additional time and cost involved in hiring, training, and managing them all.

Hiring a digital marketing agency is a much smarter move. With a digital marketing agency, you’re partnering with a team of industry experts, who have one goal – to grow your business and keep you as a customer.

BUT…

There are a huge number of digital marketing agencies out there, and unfortunately, the barrier to entry isn’t very high. Almost anyone can watch a few Youtube videos and call themselves a marketing expert.

So how do you know you’re getting the ‘real deal’ and the best results and return on your investment? 

Here are the 7 questions you must ask before hiring a digital marketing agency. 

1. Are They Experts at Marketing in Your Industry?

If you’re a tech or IT business, you need to partner with an agency that specialises in tech marketing. There’s a HUGE difference in the way an e-commerce store markets itself compared with a B2B tech business.

Tech marketing is particularly nuanced and should only be handled by those with industry experience. 

You need to know that your chosen agency understands your customers, your products, and what it takes to get your market excited about what you do. Generalists just won’t get you the return you want from your marketing spend.

2. Are They Experts in Various Martech Solutions?

There are so many different martech solutions out there and you want to be sure you’re dealing with an agency that is proficient with many of them. Try and get a sense of the kind of tech stack they’re working with. You need to know they’re well versed in everything from Hubspot and Canva,  to Klaviyo and SocialPilot.

An agency only using a handful of martech solutions is unlikely to bring you the kind of results you’re looking to grow your business.

3. What KPIs Are They Tracking?

You should look at a digital marketing agency as an investment rather than a service provider. As with all investments, you need to be sure you’re getting a positive ROI. So it’s vital you know:

·         What KPIs the agency routinely tracks for you

·         How they’re going to report those KPIs to you.

The numbers they pay most attention to will depend on the goals you set for your agency. So, the first question they should be asking you is, “What are your goals?”

Are you looking for more social media followers? Do you want to rank higher in search engine results? Are you trying to get better conversions from your sales pages?

Before you even contact a digital marketing agency, make sure you understand what you’re trying to achieve. Then ensure the agency you decide to hire has the ability to track the numbers and is able to work towards your clearly defined goals.

4. Do You Get a Designated Account Manager?

This question is often overlooked but can tell you a great deal about the digital marketing agency you’re talking to. You should be offered at least one main point of contact or ‘marketing hero’. That person should be available any time you have questions, want to see results, or want to talk about anything else related to your account.

The other question you should ask is, how many people will be working on your account and whether it is possible to meet them. With apps such as Zoom and Google Meet, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get an introduction to everyone involved with your account.

If a digital marketing agency isn’t willing to let you get a feel for everyone working on your project, then it’s probably worth doing some more digging. It could be you’re talking to a “one-man band,” or that something else is going on. In either event, secrecy or an unwillingness to introduce the whole team should ring alarm bells. With any business relationship, transparency is vital and if it’s not there from the get-go, it should be a big red flag for you.

5. Who Else is The Agency Working With? 

The important thing to look out for here is what other types of companies they’re currently working with. Are they in a similar industry to yours? What kind of projects are they doing for them? 

You’re not necessarily looking for them to have a list of 20-30 clients, but you do want to see that they are working with at least a few other companies in your industry or something closely related to it. This will demonstrate that they have the kind of experience you need and that their services are in some kind of demand. An agency only working with one or two other clients is either very small or is not doing a good enough job to attract more clients.

The second VERY important part of this question should be, “Can you show me any case studies or testimonials of clients you’ve had success with?”

A successful digital marketing agency should have at least a handful of case studies they can show you. These should demonstrate, with clear metrics, the kind of success they achieved for the client and what strategies they used to get there. It’s always worth Googling the companies mentioned so you can take a look at them first hand.

6. How Quickly You Can Expect to See Results?

OK, so this one is a bit of a loaded question. But the way the agency answers it will tell you a lot about them. If your goals are SEO-related, any agency that tells you they’ll get immediate results is worth walking away from.

When it comes to SEO or anything organic-related growth, the promise of immediate results is another big red flag. There’s no way of guaranteeing instant SEO results because of the way search engines work and how often they crawl websites.

The only time a digital marketing agency can guarantee any kind of instant results is if they’re doing something related to paid advertising or conversion optimization. With paid marketing efforts, you’re paying for traffic which means you can generate some kind of result right out of the gate.

7. What Expectations Do They Have Of You?

This is the last, but probably most important question to ask them. What are they going to need from you on a weekly or monthly basis? Clue: They should need at least some engagement with you on a weekly basis.

They should want your feedback on content, customer feedback, and results. Your agency should want feedback on how accurately they’re capturing your brand voice. They should want to ensure customers are responding positively to any content produced, and they should want to make sure you’re happy with the direction everything is moving.

Without clear communication, there’s no way they can optimise their strategy and keep moving your numbers in the right direction.

It may seem daunting, but finding the answers to these questions will make hiring the best digital marketing agency for your business much easier.

If you’re looking for a Tech Digital Marketing Agency who can answer all 7 of those questions, and help you take your business to the next level, click here and one of our experts will be in touch to start the conversation.