Cut B2B Marketing Budget

In the context of marketing departments being asked to constantly generate greater pipeline with smaller budgets, I want to push this challenge to its limit and imagine how a B2B web & digital marketing strategy would look like with 350 euros as a budget per month. But can a cheap B2B web & digital marketing strategy be efficient?

Let’s imagine I want to run a new B2B business. I want to do this long term for a living, in doing this I need to evaluate the market first and see if demand and business perspectives are significant enough.

I want to start by sharing a proposed detailed budget of this strategy:

  • Active Presenter Licence: 177 €
  • Microsoft Office 365: 62 €
  • InfusionSoft Licence: 2124 €
  • Wistia Video Pro Licence: 1070 €
  • Libsyn Podcast Service: 53 €
  • Google Drive 1 To: 107 €
  • WordPress hosting + theme purchase (year 1) + domain name: 70 €
  • Mouseflow “Starter” Licence: 288 €
  • Sniply “Basic” Licence: 324 €

We are reaching a total of 356 euros per month. Concretely though, what would be the plan?

Obviously I would focus on inbound marketing and make it the cornerstone of my strategy, for three main reasons:

  • On average, outbound leads cost 61% more that outbound lead, and considering our budget constraints this is an important aspect,
  • Besides the cost aspect, according to a study conducted by Marketing Sherpa, analyzing its +4.100 account data, inbound leads (including online & offline SEO) conversion is the highest possible: 3,82% vs. 2,98% for push marketing leads and 1,95% for social media leads,
  • A more subjective reason: I am a true inbound marketing believer. The idea of a marketer desperately trying to get prospective attention with push marketing actions (emails, paying advertisement) repulses me greatly, as to me, it basically consists of using the prospective emotions of the moment to trigger the activation of a call-to-action, in order catch contact details. I much prefer the idea of a prospective customer having the opportunity to anonymously look for the information they would want to know via the web, in whatever fashion they want and when they want and ultimately decide independently which organisation’s website met their needs best. I would only use emails to distribute valuable information to existing and real opt-in contacts. In an ideal world I guess.

“I much prefer the idea of a prospective customer having the opportunity to anonymously look for the information they would want to know via the web, in whatever fashion they want and when they want and ultimately decide independently which organisation’s website met their needs best” [Aurélien Gohier]

On-demand webinar recording-based lead generation strategy

The constraint budget defers from allowing much spending on fancy video production. Considering I also cannot produce home-made patched up videos myself or I would ultimately scare any potential audience, I would definitely need to focus on an on-demand webinar recordings lead generation strategy. This would offer huge potential for content marketing. Active Presenter will allow me to record as many on-demand webinars as I need to position myself as an expert on the appropriate topic and the combo of Wistia + InfusionSoft will allow me to capture leads directly from my videos.

On YouTube I would host 1.5 minute video previews of all the on-demand webinars recorded and upload these on Wistia as full versions, and with the turnstile feature of Wistia I would be able to capture leads from there.

The full versions of these videos will also be embedded on my WordPress-based website. I would make sure as to not over use the turnstile feature, but use it smartly. For the more promotional on-demand webinars you should add the turnstile at the end. When you are truly delivering high-value content, you can use the turnstile at the beginning. It becomes a two way street: you deliver great free content, but the prospect needs to give you a little something: his/her details. If the level of details that the turnstile offers to catch is too limited, have in mind that you can embed customized forms inside your Wistia video. It takes some time and effort to configure, but I can assure you that it works well.

Make sure to segment your on-demand webinars offer in a way that you can sort the prospective audience by level of priority, maturity and overall by persona typology. Prospective audience segmentation (even if you don’t use lead scoring yet) is key. Yesterday I received an email from Digitick selling me French traditional music concert tickets, when I have been only  buying hip hop concert tickets since 2008 on this platform. As you can imagine that doesn’t look good. You don’t want to be one of these spamming companies.

Blog-styled content marketing strategy

Of course on your WordPress-based website you should have the basic static pages in place:

  • About you and the company,
  • Your offer and pricing (if it makes sense),
  • Eventually a news section (awards, press clippings, events you are attending),
  • etc.

But the most important is your ability to blog properly according to which personas you want to target. Keep in mind that you need to write with three main objectives:

  1. Engage with new prospects
  2. Nurture existing prospects
  3. Reactivate inactive customers

Make sure you diversify the format of your content:

  • Classic blog posts (written text with nice images and embed videos),
  • Audio podcast (I am personally using Libsyn as a podcast hosting platform) including guests, customers, influencers,
  • Use Slideshare (now part of LinkedIn, which is perfect for you as a B2B vendor) and record yourself presenting with Active Presenter and share it as an on-demand webinar when it makes sense.

Your ability to blog on a regular basis is going to make the difference. Prepare a publication calendar, and try to develop new content contextually when possible: a blog post on CRM the week before Dreamforce, a blog about competition spirit during the Olympic Games… just be creative!

The more specific you create content for your articles, the easier it will be for you to improve you Google ranking from your targeted keywords. Don’t try to talk about everything in the same article, you will have plenty of time to write about all the topics you have in mind.

Every two months, develop three to five different newsletters targeting your different personas. The content you build for push marketing needs to be 120% segmented, specific and to be adapted to the behavior that your existing and prospective audience practice on your website. As explained in my book review of “Driving Demand” from Carlos Hidalgo: “Yes, stupid mass emailing is dead, but well-segmented email marketing supported by smart BI is still king when it comes to driving B2B demand, even though maintaining good B2B email deliverability rates became a nightmare due to more and more efficient network filters and corporate firewalls.”

Important aspect: your website optimization. Use Mouseflow to track the behavior of your prospective audience and learn from it to keep optimizing your website.

Mouseflow tracking B2B

Capture B2B leads, but capture them smartly

Of course you have a limited budget, but also limited time resources. Your objective is to start iterating with prospectively interested people at only a mature stage. Use lead scoring but above all progressive profiling to do so. For example:

  • First visit: first name, last name, email
  • Second visit: job title, company
  • Third visit: phone number, country

Segmenting your contact forms is very important. This is where you can start evaluating the maturity of leads, and prioritize them. One of your contact form dropdown list field should give the choice between (for example):

  • “I want to register to the newsletter”
  • “I need a quotation”
  • “I want to talk to a sales person”
  • “I want to find out more about the product features”

Of course the score you will give to those leads should be scalable, based on the way they have filled out your form, and also from their behavior on your website, that you will be able to track after they filled one of your forms.

One nice trick to capture leads even when you are doing content curation: Sniply. It allows you to create call-to-actions redirecting to your blog even when you are posting articles from other websites. See the example below: I posted an external article, and below the page you can find a nice call-to-action redirecting to my BtoB Marketing Sales blog.

Use basic B2B social selling techniques

I am one of those people who believes that being good at social selling and influencing the B2B sales process with the use of social media is just a requirement being logical somehow:

  • As a B2B vendor, LinkedIn should be your top priority,
  • Do not contact/add people on Linked who you didn’t meet at least virtually,
  • Join the right groups, comment, iterate, like, share, post your articles, act like a influencer in your domain,
  • Create an industry-specific LinkedIn group, and grow a community that you will progressively grow, with the help of a mix of highly-targeted content curation vs. posting your articles. I consider Jeff Waters (a former colleague) as one of the best in this domain, with his group New Trends in CAE Simulation. I invite you to get inspiration from him, his approach is really what we should all follow,
  • Focus on Twitter for curation. Only do content curation on LinkedIn when the content you want to share is highly valuable,
  • Create a Facebook page, it is always good for SEO, and you can benefit from the power of Facebook live during your events for example,

Don’t drop Google+, but don’t spend time on this platform, just copy and paste your posts from LinkedIn or Facebook.

It’s very important to be able to track the conversion rate of your social media actions: create landing pages dedicated to each social media campaign, with customized urls to be able to track which campaign generated the higher number of lead conversion and what marketing pipeline.

I enjoyed playing this game and simulating this business/marketing case, I hope you had fun reading the article as well!

Written by Aurélien Gohier