When done properly and consistently, a B2B inbound marketing program will provide your company with a consistent lead generation machine. After 3 years of inbound marketing, Rapidan Inbound is producing 3,000 website visits and 50 leads per month.
But it took us 3 years to develop what is now a sustainable source of new leads every month. We've had peaks and valleys along the way. My advice to all business owners and managers considering adopting inbound marketing is to view it as a long-term commitment to a new way of doing business.
So what do you do while you're working towards building a sustainable lead generation machine? One strategy is to use search engine and social media advertising to accelerate inbound marketing results. For most B2B companies, we recommend starting with LinkedIn advertising to help establish your inbound marketing program.
Another approach that we recommend (and still use) is sharing your inbound marketing content with outbound techniques. In this post, we will explore how to go outbound with your B2B inbound marketing.
Using outbound techniques is not a license to spam!
We all are incredibly busy and stressed dealing with our jobs and the demands of day-today existence. Our inboxes reflect this - most of us spend time every day sorting through the spam in our inboxes to find the emails that are useful and/or necessary to us. The first rule of going outbound with your inbound marketing content is to respect the people that we're emailing.
I don't know why, but many salespeople use what they think are clever tricks in their email prospecting. The one that I've found most annoying recently is when someone sends you an email about their business, which is followed shortly by an email that says, "I haven't got a response from you."
Think about that one. So I'm super busy dealing with clients and colleagues and making sure that I hit all my deadlines and customer expectations. How do you think I feel when a salesperson chides me for not responding to an email that I didn't ask for? I don't waste my time responding, but it's highly unlikely that I will ever do business with that person.
Remember, when you're sending outbound prospecting emails, you haven't been invited to that person's inbox. Proceed accordingly, treat the person with respect and understand that they may not have time or may not be interested in your email.
Best practices for sending an outbound prospecting email
The first rule to remember is to provide something of value to your target recipient. We recommend giving the recipient ungated access to a piece of content that most people in a similar situation to your target would find valuable. By ungated, we mean access to content without having to complete a form on a landing page. The ungated offer should be offered exclusively to the people you are emailing; others will need to complete the landing page as part of the normal lead generation process. It's very important that the content offer not be about your company - it should be something that helps the recipient solve or understand a problem that they are facing.
Secondly, the subject line of your email has to succinctly convey the value of what you're offering. The reality is that people will decide to open or delete your email based on the value demonstrated in your subject line. Get to the point and convey value - smart, busy people don't get tricked by gimmicky subject lines.
Lastly, your email needs to be short - we recommend a maximum of 200 words. People don't have time to read long, boring emails about your company and they don't care that you do business with IBM, Apple and Intel (particularly if they are SMB businesses.) Another reason to keep your emails short is that many/most of your emails will be viewed on mobile devices. 200 words will generally keep you on the device screen without the user needing to scroll down.
These 3 rules are intended to show respect to your recipient. You're briefly conveying value and it is up to the recipient to decide whether to accept your offer or not. Many of the salespeople using tricks in their email prospecting have no idea of how many potential customers they're turning off with their spammy tactics.
Manage your outbound process with CRM technology
We use HubSpot's CRM and HubSpot Sidekick for Business to manage our sales process. The process we share below using HubSpot is transferable to other CRMs like Salesforce and Pipeliner CRM. Here is an 4-step process for going outbound with your inbound marketing content.
- Upload the content you are promoting to the CRM.
- Create an email template that you will use to promote your content. Remember, templates are starting points and should be modified when appropriate for each email recipient.
- Send emails with your ungated content using the principles discussed above to people that meet your ideal customer profile.
- Review email performance to determine appropriate follow-up and to iterate your process for better performance. HubSpot provides statistics for the performance of your template (opens and click rates.) It also provides information on whether the recipient opened your email and accessed your content offer. You can experiment with the wording in your emails to find what works best.
As you develop domain authority and a library of good marketing content for your ideal customers, you will get more and more inbound leads. In the meantime, you can go outbound with your inbound marketing content to build a complementary outbound lead generation channel.