Three B2B Companies that Win at Inbound Marketing (and how you can copy them)
The most successful B2B companies rely on strong, long-term relationships with clients to grow their business, brand recognition, and reputation. But how do you start these strong relationships? Your clients aren’t your mother. They won’t just support your business blindly, and you can’t expect brand loyalty right off the bat. To gain true devotion and public support from brand-loyal customers, you need to put in the work to nurture a client relationship from the first impression to post-purchase.
To build these relationships, B2B companies rely on an inbound marketing strategy to share the value of their company to all potential leads.
While building a comprehensive inbound marketing funnel takes time, there are tons of success stories from B2B companies that prove it can be worth the time and energy.
Let’s look at three B2B companies that are leveraging an inbound marketing strategy to successfully reach, delight, and grow relationships with their customers and clients.
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First things first: What is inbound marketing?
HubSpot defines inbound marketing as:
A business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them.
Inbound marketing has become somewhat of a buzzword in the B2B marketing community, and for good reason. When you’re trying to sell large-ticket items, subscriptions, and partnerships, your potential clients need to know you’re the real deal. Inbound marketing can act as a sneak peek into the value you bring to paying customers. It can establish domain authority and cement your company as an industry thought leader. Quality inbound content offers can build trust, so next time leads need information, they go straight to you.
As with almost every worthwhile effort under the sun, you get out of it what you put into it. A potential lead can tell when your inbound content is half-assed – and if they aren’t impressed; the buck may stop there. A comprehensive inbound strategy takes thought, time, energy, and continuous testing. It’s a never-ending process that needs constant testing to keep up with the needs of your audiences at every stage from initial engagement to repeat customers.
B2B Companies with great inbound marketing strategies
Credit: HubSpot Blog
HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. The software includes social management, CRM strategies, inbound marketing tools, lead nurturing organization, and much more.
Because HubSpot is in the business of helping companies with their inbound strategies, it’s no surprise they lead the charge on their inbound strategy.
How they get it right:
Consistently created content
HubSpot has an incredibly active blog that pumps out several quality blog posts daily. Each blog is tailored to offer maximum value to their target audience, and draw in those who are researching anything that has to do with digital marketing. Once a potential lead clicks into their blog post, their post page formatting makes it easy to explore other blogs of similar topics.
Gated content tailored to each blog post topic
Each blog post on HubSpot has an ulterior motive: to get the reader to offer contact info in exchange for gated information. For example, a HubSpot blog on link building may have gated content of email outreach templates. HubSpot does a great job of offering satisfactory value in the free, public content while still upselling the gated information.
Continued education and certifications
HubSpot wants to create a community of HubSpot experts because the more confident a customer is with the platform, the more likely they will like it and continue with subscriptions. That’s where the HubSpot Academy certifications come in. This educational content crosses over many content mediums, from single videos to several-hour-long courses.
This furthered education has both paid and free options and is a big driver for digital marketers to get involved with the company. These courses and educational materials offer value to everyone learning about marketing but have an emphasis on how HubSpot software is an integral part of the marketing process. HubSpot courses are so highly regarded, completed certifications are often promoted on resumes.
By putting a large company focus into the educational content, HubSpot built a community of educated digital marketers and became the cornerstone hub for marketing information, all while upselling subscriptions for their software.
Credit: Classy Pinterest
Classy is an online fundraising platform that provides tools that help build an engaging online fundraising experience. Classy caters exclusively to nonprofit organizations, so their content is tailored to organizations attempting to gain more exposure, increase giving, inspire community support, and grow awareness for important causes.
How they get it right:
Classy promotes regular webinars to their audience to discuss nonprofit evergreen content, interview nonprofit thought leaders, analyze trends in the nonprofit industry, and announce product updates.
Some companies have a bad rap for using webinars as an excuse to sell their services or products without actually tackling valuable content. These long commercials disguised as webinars can hurt your company more than help. You can lose the trust of those who took the time to tune in.
Classy doesn’t fall into that category. Their team covers the promoted webinar topics well and offers real value for both paying customers and potential leads. When the topic of the webinar is surrounding their product offerings, they aren’t sales-y, and instead focus on explaining new features, how to leverage them, and answering questions from the audience.
Promoting long-form data and statistics pulled from their client base
Accurate industry trends and analyses is a compelling form of content for organizations that want to understand what works. Classy will publish and circulate data-driven white papers that the nonprofit industry has grown to rely on for industry trends and predictions.
Classy leverages client data, customer surveys, and wide-spread reporting to create mass trend reports for the Classy community. This internally gathered and interpreted data adds value to relevant gated content, establishes industry expertise, and gains backlinks to their site from others sharing their data.
Credit: Neil Patel Digital YouTube
Neil Patel Digital
Neil Patel Digital is a digital marketing agency for small to medium businesses. The agency was developed by marketing guru Neil Patel, who also had a hand in the development of marketing tools like UberSuggest, KissMetrics, and Crazy Egg. Neil Patel Digital posts, videos, and web pages are at the top of the SERPs for almost every digital marketing term you can type.
How they get it right:
All content is humanized and conversational
Neil Patel is the face of the company, and he doesn’t take that job lightly. B2B Emails are written as if he typed them out himself. Blog posts are from his perspective and include his personal experiences, perspective, and thought processes. He stars in all of the company videos and vlogs. In all forms, the content is casual, conversational. The content does include sales pitches and CTAs to subscribe or promote gated content, but these are short and sweet so they quickly offer immediate value to the reader or viewer.
Long-form content with case studies
Neil Patel does a great job of creating easy-to-read long-form content that includes case studies of Neil Patel’s professional successes and failures. All content has data to back up the predictions or suggestions and Neil’s personal spin on the matter.
This inbound strategy works because this valuable data paired with his conversational tone makes it feel like the reader has a personal relationship with Neil Patel. When someone reads enough content and watches enough videos to recognize his personality, it’s next to impossible to not grow a connection to him and his company.
Tools and tips offered for free use
Neil Patel Digital leverages its many resources to offer exclusive tools, tricks, and tips in their email communications. Reaching out to their lists only when they have directly beneficial content is how Neil Patel Digital avoids annoying or boring their email list.
For example, I received an email from Neil Patel today entitled “How to Track and Grow Your Google Rankings in 12 Minutes”. This email communicates a quick, simple, but crucial tip that most likely caught the attention of many leads on their email list.
Different versions of content to entice a maximum amount of people
Not everyone likes to watch videos, and not everyone likes to read long blog posts. Neil Patel Digital accounts for this by making video and long-form blog posts that complement and build off of each other.
This also creates a natural customer funnel – a video may promote a blog post, which promotes a gated content piece that puts you on an email list. This customer pathway is exactly what you want to create to build a relationship and open communication with your audience.
If you want to engage potential customers and start building a relationship with your website visitors, a comprehensive inbound strategy will help you get there. You’ve now seen how others get it done – if you’re ready to create an inbound strategy, reach out to our team!
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