As a B2B business, providing value, building relationships, communicating consistently, and standing out among the competition is essential. To do all of these effectively, you must produce consistent quality content for both your prospects and existing clients.
Inbound marketing is based around content, and content builds trust. During times of uncertainty, consumers and business decision makers alike are turning to the experts in every industry for advice. By aligning your marketing strategy with your customer's pain points, you can organically attract traffic that you can convert, close, and delight over time. A great inbound marketing strategy actually builds over time, so the best time to start is often now, no matter how tough times are.
Inbound Marketing is Continuous and Compounding
From calls to emails — during a transition, your customers are overwhelmed and frustrated. The last thing you want to do is push poorly targeted marketing to them that is designed to do nothing but push a sale.
Luckily, inbound marketing works to achieve the exact opposite. Rather than demand attention, an inbound marketing strategy earns your audience’s attention by building over time and offering relevant information that will help solve their problems. HubSpot explains it best by stating, “By creating ownable assets to generate awareness, traffic, and thought leadership, you benefit from the content you’ve created and promoted even when you’re not in the midst of a significant campaign or push.”
Many decision-makers are heavily influenced by current economic conditions, business conditions, and those involved in the process before making a commitment. When times are tough, they’re looking for additional resources and answers, and you need to be there when they need them and where they are looking.
“In tough times, businesses turn to experts. They want guidance on how they should respond and what their next step should be. They can find that guidance in thought leadership content online,” explains Dean Moothart, Direct of Client solutions at LeadG2. “By publishing content that’s relevant, helpful, and informative to your target audience, you have a unique opportunity to position you and your business as a thought leader, subject matter expert, and trusted advisor.”
Tough times can often cause buying journeys and sales processes to stall. Both prospects and salespeople can become paralyzed when they’re not quite sure what to do or what the next best step in the process should be. The content created for inbound marketing can help fill the gaps and maintain momentum.
The future of lead generation is found in quality content creation and inbound marketing. When you offer content so relevant that your target audience can’t help but come back for more.
Inbound Marketing Builds Upon Itself
A successful inbound strategy builds over time, driving traffic to your content through SEO, blog, social media, email, and more. Time is the keyword. Shaye Smith, Marketing Manager for LeadG2, explains:
“Over time, these efforts compound and multiply, and search engines start to recognize your content as credible and a good answer to your prospect’s searches. This can’t happen overnight. Of course, immediate actions can be taken to drive traffic to your content and get instant gratification with your analytics and KPI’s, like paid advertising. Still, it’s over time that good content really escalates in authority with the search engines and begins to be picked up and recommended on the top pages of people’s searches.”
Think of a great piece of content that has all of the inbound elements strategically built around it for lead generation like a snowball rolling down a hill.
- Each social post that drives traffic to it and every email that includes a link back to the content builds up traffic to the content and its authority as answers to people’s searches.
- Each of these takes the snowball further down the hill, accumulating more snow – which could be compared to more authority on the topic from the search engines.
- As search engines begin to recommend your content in people’s search results, and it seems that the visitors are engaging with the content and getting what they need, the further the search engines take the snowball down the hill, making it bigger (giving it more authority on the topic).
When the economy and business ramps back up, and you’ve made it through tough times, your content will already be showing up and growing its authority to attract prospects who might not even know yet that they need you.
Remember the Stages of Inbound Marketing
Keep in mind that the example above is just a small part of the inbound marketing methodology and really only touches on the Attract stage. The full methodology includes four stages:
Good strategies include efforts that attract visitors, convert leads, close deals, and delight customers. Great strategies involve great content that helps with all stages of the inbound methodology.
So while it’s easy to focus on content that attracts people to your site, it’s just as important that you have content to help with all stages to continue to nurture the leads you’ve converted so that when a prospect is ready to make a decision (which could be after the tough times), you are top of mind, and have been throughout their buyer’s journey because of the content and inbound marketing assets you had set up to be working for you – through tough times or not.
Now is the Time to Implement an Inbound Marketing
If you want to cultivate a passionate fan base, you must create the right content. Strong inbound marketing gives you the ability to take someone who doesn't know your business or brand and effectively convert them from a stranger to a customer and ultimately, raving fan.
“When there’s uncertainty in the economy, everyone has more questions, and more questions will lead to them doing more research. Inbound is perfect for that,” states LeadG2 Managing Partner, Matt Sunshine. “More people are at home reading reviews, looking at options, exploring new ideas—this is the perfect time to implement an inbound marketing strategy.”
There will always be market fluctuations, changes in business activity, and loss of customers or clients. Too easily marketing budgets are cut and sales teams are left to sell without strategic marketing support.
Being proactive, staying in front of your current clients and prospects, and making the decision to get ahead of an economic downturn could be the difference between success or failure during a recession and post-recession.
Dean Moothart sums this information up well by stating, "Inbound marketing never stops working for you; it’s on duty 24/7/365. So even when your sales team is out of action or not quite sure how to prospect in troubled times, your inbound marketing content is working hard to ensure you're being found by prospects and generating new leads."