Questioning Inbound Marketing methods for B2B.

In the context of Inbound Marketing,  there is Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing. Inbound is drawing people in to your site to see your great content where they learn about you, give their contact info in exchange for valuable data, and calls to them are not cold. Contrast this with Outbound Marketing, which is broadcast, print and basically one to many type advertising and cold calling.

You’ll find no shortage of adherents to Inbound, certainly. HubSpot and others have based their business around this approach, and the Inbound conference is a well attended and talked about gathering centered around the idea. In the B2B arena the sales cycle can be a longer one, with more education needed. Supplying valuable content can help draw in new customers.

What if there is a 3rd road you can go at the fork? Beyond just effectively presenting your bona fides in the form of great headlines and teasers drawing people to your site, what if you market by relationships?

No one will question the value of word-of-mouth. It’s everyone’s favorite source of new business. Business comes to you because someone told someone about you, and clients show up at your door with brief cases of cash and shovel ready work. The 3rd road, Helping, whatever we choose to call it, is focused on building word-of-mouth referrals.

This is the philosophy I wrote about in my recent ebook, Helping is the Sales Pitch.

The goals of Inbound and Outbound Marketing are to establish your company’s expertise so that calls are welcome. They depend on clients coming to your site and supplying contact info. In the Helping model the goal is to be a human representing a brand, not a brand alone, and to build relationships with other people by listening, conversing, supplying them with content, connections, conversations and help. You make it clear what the company you represent does, and when appropriate, you suggest you do work for your contacts, but it’s never about cold calls or warming up leads to put them in a funnel. It’s about having ongoing relationships with people who may need help at some point in the form of work from you, or who may connect you with people who will need help.

Let’s explore if this is a valuable methodology. Please join us on a Twitter chat tonight (September 18) from 8pm EST/7pm CST/6pm MST/5pm PST (& AZ) with the hashtag #B2BChat

Q1: Have you had business come to you by word-of-mouth referrals? 

Q2: Have you gained business through Inbound Marketing methods that you think should be stuck with?

Q3: The goal isn’t to draw potential customers to a site to build your reputation to get their contact info. Could you do work without a site?

Q4: If you can’t only target segments and move them through a funnel, can you segment or target potential leads? While anyone could potentially connect you to a lead or network at some point, you can’t build relationships with everyone,  can you?

Q5: Is it still valuable to establish expertise through created or curated content if you’re focusing on building relationships?

Q6: Is this scaleable? Would you need less time and money to advertise and produce content? Would you need more time to build relationships?

Q7: If you’re building relationships, is it valuable for B2Bs to know clients on a personal level? 


developer, writer, speaker

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