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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Nov 29, 2016 9 min read

Why Black Friday Offers Insight Into Inbound Marketing For B2B Businesses

The Data Points To A Dramatic Shift In Buyer Behavior – Take Advantage Of It!

inbound-marketing-and-black-friday.jpgYou’ve been thinking about this for a while. You know the trade shows you attend don’t produce the business they used to. You know the calls your sales team makes are less and less effective each month.

You’re not even sure why you do email marketing because the results are so low. Your website hasn’t changed much over the past few years. Still, you need to know what to do differently, and that’s been challenging.

The answer is right in front of you. Did you buy anything online over the past few days? You’re not alone. People spent a record $3.34 billion online on Black Friday, with $1.2 billion spent by shoppers using mobile devices. The article linked above reports that “shoppers hit the buy button at unprecedented rates.”

If this doesn’t wake you up to the new buyer behavior, nothing will. This is your behavior and the behavior of your prospects. People are responding differently and your marketing better catch up quickly.

Here’s how your B2B company can take advantage of this shift in buyer behavior.

People Do Business With People

Stop thinking about doing business with companies and thinking about your prospects as businesses. People make purchase decisions, so your marketing and sales processes need to be people-centric. They need to be filled with the interactions that make people feel safe.

These “experiences” need to be strategically designed to help them get to know, like and trust you, your employees and your company. No one is buying anything until they know, like and trust you. All that money was spent on Black Friday only after consumers felt comfortable they were getting what they wanted at a fair price and were making a safe decision.

This is how you need to think about your sales and marketing going into 2017.

People Search On Their Phones

The data is in: People are doing a lot of research on their phones and then they’re buying on their phones. Is your website responsive? Does it deliver a remarkable experience on a laptop and on a smartphone?

This requires extra investment, extra strategy and extra time when it comes to website design and development. It’s not enough to flip a switch and call it responsive. The menus, the page flow, the offers and the follow-up all must be thought out for mobile.

A lot of people start searching on a mobile device and then move to a larger device, like a laptop, if they have a positive mobile experience. This dual experience makes designing and strategizing your website even more important.

People Want Information To Help Them

Inbound marketing makes people feel safeGetting people to know, like and trust your company isn’t as hard as you think. Today, all the tools are there for you to deliver this type of experience to your prospects. What you used to need salespeople for now can be delivered with well-planned-out marketing automation and CRM tools.

First, you need to know what information your prospects are looking for. This is also easy to figure out. People have questions, so you need to know what questions prospects are asking at all stages of the sales funnel. Once you know these questions, you can start answering them.

The better you answer them, the more leads you’ll get and the more sales opportunities you’ll have for your sales team. You’ll need your website to answer some of those questions, but you’ll also need content to answer those questions and you’ll need a constant flow of that content to keep your prospects engaged and coming back for more. The better you are at the process of producing fresh, engaging and educational content, the more leads you’ll produce.

Make It Easy And Remove Friction

We do tend to get in our own way. We make everything too technical. We talk about ourselves too much. We lean on features and benefits. Stop it. Instead, speak plainly. On your website, be direct. What do you do, how do you help people and what makes you special? You have 10 seconds to get your story out. Do it in a simple, emotional and compelling way. The creation of simple, emotional and compelling messaging is key to an inbound marketing effort. Don’t skip over this and don’t downplay it. Without it, you’ll be disappointed in the results.

Next, you’re going to want to remove friction from almost every aspect of the prospect’s experience. Are your pages too long? Do your forms have too many fields? Are your offers too complicated and do you have too many on a page? These common mistakes present friction and “reason to pause” for prospects spending time on your site. It's important to simplify their experience as much as possible.

Track And Test Almost Everything

Marketing has changed so much that the actual drivers behind what we do have also changed. In the old days, opinions were everything. The CEO wants it this way. The VP of marketing did it this way at her previous company, so we do it that way here. The CFO is sure that Tuesday is the best day to do this. These are just opinions, assumptions and guesses.

Today, marketing and sales is all about science and data. We make decisions based on actual performance data. We should do this because the data shows us this will work better. We should change that button copy because when we tested it the new copy generated twice as many leads. We should go back to the old home page message because the new home page message produced 30% fewer leads.

I don’t care what you like and what your husband, friend or brother says. I only care about what your prospects are doing, what they’re clicking on and what is getting them to convert from visitors into leads.

Let’s be honest here. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses move from old-school, interruptive and outbound advertising to buyer-centric, results-driven inbound marketing. We know all the potholes, land minds and detours during the transition. It’s not an easy transition. Some recommended tactics are going to make you uncomfortable.

If inbound marketing were easy, everyone would be doing it. But it’s not; it's hard work. I heard an amazing story about lobsters. As lobsters grow, they get uncomfortable in their shell, so they hide, shed their shell and grow a new one. If they never became uncomfortable, they would never shed their old shell and they would never grow. Feeling uncomfortable is a sign you’re on the right track. Don’t use it as a signal to stop; use it as a signal to go faster.

Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Starts With ME!

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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