Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Dec 01, 2023
Eight Easy Ways to Grow a B2B Business
The idea is simple: grow your B2B, industrial, or manufacturing business with inbound marketing tactics and some basic sales ideas.
These are all basic, but in our experience, many companies we talk to are not doing these or, at best, only a few.
So if you are trying to grow your business, and who isn't, you should consider these easy-to-implement ideas before spending a lot of money on ads or other outbound marketing efforts.
1. Set up chat on your website
This is an easy win for you regarding offering the types of engagement your site visitors want. They want to chat.
We recently ran a test with a large client, and they went from 100 contact us conversions a month to 60 contact us conversions and 400 chat conversations the next month. That is huge! That is fast!
Chat is what your visitors want and how they want to communicate.
Why? Right now response is the world we live in. Instant connection wins. Reduce the friction and layers between your people and those needing your help. Make it easy to reach you.
Chat is a winner for B2B and manufacturing companies.
If you want to start using chat but are concerned about the time and effort, let me know, and I will show you how to start chatting risk-free.
2. Manage your contacts
Regularly clean, review, and update your database. Ensure you capture all of your contacts from any source in one central database. Databases degrade significantly every year, up to 15% in some industries.
Ensure you remove old contacts, update customer contact records, and review who is active in the database. You do not want to keep sending messages to prospects that do not engage with your emails.
If you are not sure how well you are building and managing your contact list, then I suggest this be priority #1 if you want to grow your business.
Nothing is more important to your business than your contact list. Treat it as such.
Are you using a CRM to organize your contact information and manage your sales efforts? If not, call me at 407.406.3959 and I will recommend some free tools to get started. Nothing is more important to growing your business than managing your contact information.
3. Fix your website already
Keywords are hugely important when it comes to inbound marketing. Keywords are the main reason your website ranks on search engines, which is one important way people find you. People need to find you before they can become leads. But like everything in inbound marketing, it's all about attracting the right kinds of people so that they can become good, qualified leads.
Before you can start optimizing for keywords, you need to get cracking on your keyword research and focus on long-tail rather than high-level keywords. High-level keywords are tempting to focus on because they are often intuitive. If you manufacture laser marking systems, "laser" will likely be one of the first keywords you think of.
There are a couple of problems with high-level keywords, however. First, high-level keywords tend to have a lot of competition. If you thought of "laser," so did all your competitors. This means ranking higher for these types of keywords will be much harder.
Second, high-level keywords don't offer a lot of differentiation in searches. "Laser" is a broad term covering a huge range of specific types, purposes, industries, sizes, etc. This leads us to the third problem; high-level keywords are lousy converters. Someone searching for "lasers" is probably not ready to purchase.
On the other hand, someone searching for an "air-cooled 20-watt fiber laser" is much more likely to be ready to make a purchase.
Once you start your keyword research, you should group your keywords into clusters around a particular topic. So for the above example, the core topic might be "laser marking systems." The associated topics would be:
- laser marking equipment
- system for laser marking aluminum
- stainless steel laser marking system
- laser marking machine
- medical laser marking systems
Each of your main topic clusters should have 5-20 associated keywords. This strategy signals the search engines that your site is an authority on the central topic. Use one page on your site to create detailed, helpful content around that central topic and link other pages and blog posts that detail the associated topics to it. The core page is your pillar page for that topic.
If you do your keyword research and create great content that your target persona finds helpful, you are on your way to fixing your website.
4. Update all of your owned media
Owned media includes your website, sales literature, social media channels, email, trade show, sales team, lobby, and anything else you control. Many companies make the mistake of jumping into paid media before they maximize their owned media.
One way to think about owned media is to consider where to promote an e-book, to give just one example. Think of all the places you can share this e-book where people you want to influence would find it - the target audience could be prospects, customers, partners, vendors, connectors, or anyone else you think might be interested in this particular piece of content.
Make sure your messaging and content are about them and not about you. Pretty easy to say, but so few companies do this. Buyers don't care about you. They care about the job they have to do and how to get it done. Talk about them.
Maximize your owned channels first, and take full advantage of what you already have before you move on to paid and earned media.
5. Create new content targeting ideal prospects
Long-tail keywords can help you create new content that is highly focused and relevant to your ideal prospects. Long-tail keywords let you know the specific areas of your business that interest your prospects, so think of them as writing guides.
If one of your long-tail keywords is "air-cooled 20-watt fiber laser," brainstorm all the things you can think of having to do with air-cooled 20-watt fiber lasers.
By now, you have heard of ChatGPT and other similar tools. I dropped the above keyword into ChatGPT and asked it to list SEO keywords. Here is the list:
- Air-cooled fiber laser
- 20-watt laser
- Fiber laser technology
- Laser cutting equipment
- Laser marking machine
- Industrial laser system
- Laser engraving machine
- High-power laser
- Precision laser cutting
- Fiber optic laser
- Non-contact laser processing
- Energy-efficient laser
- Compact laser design
- Laser system integration
- Laser safety measures
- Laser beam quality
- Fiber laser source
- Laser maintenance
- Laser industry applications
- Laser manufacturer
You could create compare and contrast articles, buying guide white papers, or best practice blog posts.
How do we go from keywords to an article, you ask?
Modify any of the above with terms like:
- cost of
- the best place for
- top company for
- in <insert name of your city or state>
- What is
- Who needs
Again, back to ChatGPT. When I ask it for "a blog post outline titled Cost of fiber laser technology" I get the following:
Explanation of fiber laser technology
Importance of understanding the costs associated with fiber laser technology
II. The cost of purchasing a fiber laser
Explanation of the factors that affect the cost of purchasing a fiber laser
Overview of the different types of fiber lasers available and their price ranges
Discussion of how fiber laser prices compare to other types of laser technology
III. Operating costs of a fiber laser
Explanation of the ongoing costs associated with operating a fiber laser
Discussion of the factors that affect the operating costs, such as electricity and maintenance
Comparison of the operating costs of fiber lasers to other types of laser technology
IV. Cost savings associated with fiber laser technology
Explanation of how fiber laser technology can lead to cost savings in certain applications
Discussion of the factors that can impact the potential cost savings
Overview of real-world examples of cost savings achieved through the use of fiber lasers
Recap of the key takeaways from the article
Final thoughts on the cost of fiber laser technology and its place in the laser industry
The above process took seconds. I could ask ChatGPT to write this article, too, but from my experience, it will be fairly basic and not great for anyone who knows anything about fiber lasers.
You are the expert; take what you know, use tools like ChatGPT to help, and create original content. There are no excuses anymore. Answer each point in the above outline as if someone is asking you these questions and record the answers. Transcribe the recording, clean it up, and you have an article.
Whatever content you create will help you rank for a long-tail keyword your prospects seek.
The key to growing your business is finding the best way to be in front of the people who need your product or service. Long-tail keywords are a great way to do that because they let you know what your prospects are searching for and allow you to create content that will allow you to rank for it. Long-tail keywords put your website in front of prospects.
6. Get Everyone Prospecting
Are your sales and service people using LinkedIn to connect with peers? Is everyone thinking about connections in your industry, your suppliers, partners, and trade associations to find ways to connect to your ideal prospects?
Use your great new content to educate and help them so they will consider you when they are ready to solve a problem.
Are you being helpful with your marketing and content, or are you pitching features and products? Stop doing that, please. Buyers only want help, period. They need to get their jobs done, and you better be helping them.
In fact, they want you to find them as long as your helping them. Prospecting does not fail because no one is listening. Prospecting fails because the prospector is selfish and just pitching a product and is not being helpful.
7. Call your customers
Understand how to add more value and call them. Just staying connected and letting them know you care is valuable in this day and age. Be present and available regularly, not just when you want to close another order.
Pretty simple, but I am constantly surprised by how few companies do this simple thing.
Keep in touch with your customers, ask relevant questions, and listen so you can help them. Think about helping them more and not just selling them more. Help first, and the sales will follow.
Ask them if they know about all of your services. Tell them about your newest offerings.
Think about what they say when you drive-thru at a fast food place, "do you want fries with that?" And ask every single time you are on the phone with a customer. Make this a habit.
8. Ask customers for referrals, testimonials, and case studies
Have a plan, know how to ask why you deserve a referral (remind them of the value you bring to them), and make it easy for them to refer you. Write an email for them to send to a target prospect easily. Or write a great case study that they can forward.
You need to educate your customers about your ideal prospect and then ask them to refer you. If you deliver value for them, they will be happy to introduce themselves. Not only because they want to help you (the reciprocation principle) but because it makes them look smart (see how smart I was to buy from these guys, they solved our problems).
Bonus: Follow up on your open quotes list
About a week after being promoted to my first VP of Sales job, my boss walked into my office and asked how the week was going. I said, "Great; we have done seven quotes this week."
He answered, "Son, we don't sell quotes here."
Like trade show leads that are never followed up, a quote that dies on the vine wastes everyone's resources. Do fewer quotes by targeting your ideal personas, qualifying more deeply, and using the quote to confirm what has already been agreed on, and you will not need to follow up as often.
When you follow up, ensure your quote follow-up is value-added and includes helpful information. Do not just call and ask when you are getting the PO or send an email wondering what's up with the quote. Be a pro and keep helping them with their issues; they will remember you when it is time to purchase.
None of these cost much $; all they take are effort, focus, and attention.
For more ideas on growing your business, check out these posts:
- Connecting to Customers: Grow Your Business by Becoming an Inbound Organization
- How to Use Content to Grow Your Business
- Is Your Business Ready For the Storm?