Is Your Company Turning Thought Leadership into New Business?
7 Basic Tactics for Using Thought Leadership to Grow Your Top Line
You’re either going to slap your head, breathe a sigh of relief, or cross your fingers in a few moments. Here’s what I’d like you to do:
Go to the website of your toughest competitors in the market – the ones that you really don’t like, that you’ve been battling for years, who always seem to be a burr under your saddle – you know exactlywho I mean.
We’re going to take a look at whether they have acontent marketing program in place and whether they’re leveraging thought leadership for leads and new business.
First, take a look and see if they have a blog. What’s that? They’re blogging and you’re not? Oh. Oh.
Next, take a look and see if they using thought leadership to generate leads. Here’s how you know: They’ll be promoting an offer for an e-book, a seminar, a white paper that takes you to a landing page where a form is required in order to get the material.
Hmmmm… You’re seeing offers all over their website? And not just one, but a whole bunch? Some of them have landing ages and some don’t? And, you’re not doing this?
If you’re not blogging AND generating leads via offers on your website and your toughest competitors are, then slap your head. They’re doing inbound marketing using a content strategy for generating leads. You’re now behind the curve on how professional services and other B2B firms are marketing their products and services, and you’ve put yourself in a position of having to catch up.
They’re spending their marketing budget smarter, with a goal of lead generation, top line growth and more ROI, while you’re using your website as an online brochure. They figured out a way to get their reluctant rainmakers involved in business development by having them contribute thought leadership for lead generation. They’ve bought into “permission based marketing”, because they’ve seen the trends and data on how prospects are ignoring outbound marketing messages.
Let’s take a more positive approach and say that you’re the firm that’s blogging and doing onsite lead generation, and your competitors are not. You can breathe a sigh of relief because it’s likely that it will be some time before your competition wises up and gets inbounding. Take advantage of this window of opportunity while you can. It’s going to open for a while because CPA, consulting and law firms are generally slow to react to marketing innovations, and it’s the more entrepreneurial firms that will seize the opportunity.
Then, you can cross your fingers that your completion won’t wise up for some time, so you can build an inbound marketing machine that will be tough to duplicate.
A very strong message that came out of the latest MarketingSherpa B2B Summit is that content marketing – the process of turning thought leadership into offers for lead generation purposes - is becoming the focal point around which all other marketing channels orbit. According to research from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report, content marketing was one of the top four channels for lead generation budgets for this year
In fact, Marketing Sherpa recently did a post called Marketing Basics: 7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics. Here, in summary form, are the 7 basic tactics:
- Tactic #1. Understand that content comes in more than one format
- Tactic #2. Find content topics
- Tactic #3. Map content to B2B buying stages
- Tactic #4. Remember that content marketing is part of an inbound strategy
- Tactic #5. Use social media to distribute content
- Tactic #6. Think like a publisher -- create a content calendar
- Tactic #7. Think beyond "free" with content marketing
Read their blog post for more details, or for more insight, download our whitepaper, The Partner’s Guide to Content Marketing.
Once you get past traditional 1:1 marketing; accounting, consulting and other types of professional services firms are faced with having to deal with unprecedented change in marketing approaches and technologies. Inbound marketing and content marketing lies at the heart of this change.
It’s my hope that the next time I see you, your either sighing or crossing your fingers!