When I talk to small business owners it seems their number one concern is sales.
When I read articles for small business owners and see the comments it seems that sales is a hot topic.
And it looks like even official surveys find that sales is the top concern for small business owners.
There are other concerns, big concerns, but for most businesses to continue to grow and survive the name of the game is getting sales or in other words, getting new clients.
If you’re a new company it’s obvious that sales is a top goal. But even if you’re an established business you’re probably looking for new sales. It can go in cycles and if you’re on a down cycle you’re probably feeling the pressure.
But even if you’re having a good run the pressure can be there to get new clients.
Let’s look at 7 marketing ideas for B2Bs that should kickstart sales.
1. Website Audit
The first step I usually recommend is doing a website audit.
This doesn’t mean you need to do a complete website redesign.
An audit is looking at your website as a salesperson.
So the first step is going through your sales process. If you’re new, do it the best you can.
Go through all the steps you would if you were selling to a person. This goes from the first time they find you to the time you close the deal.
Now you have to structure your website and the content so that your website acts as you, the salesperson, guiding the potential client through the process.
Look at the most common process that clients go through or that you want them to go through. There will be exceptions, but focus on the main path you want clients to take. This will let the main calls to action be prominent because you won’t be giving visitors too many options (distractions).
If you’re getting some traffic to your site now this change could help instantly and even if you’re new or not getting traffic right now it will set you up for long-term conversion as you build traffic in other ways.
2. Supporting Content Publishing Strategy
Next up comes the content strategy that will support your website (virtual salesperson).
You can launch a great site and give it all the power to convert visitors, but you need visitors.
You can use paid ads to bring in traffic. That can be a great method.
But you can also use organic methods and those usually require adding content to your website.
The method we use at Ghost Blog Writers is to:
1. Identify our target client
2. Identify the topics that person cares about most as it relates to their job (and sometimes their personal life)
3. Identify the top questions that person asks in relation to those topics
4. Answer the questions with blog posts, guides, videos, etc.
5. Commit to a consistent and long-term content schedule
Then with your main website pages there will be keywords that will bring people from the middle of your sales funnel to your main website pages.
If you’re a design company the term might be “WordPress website designers” or something like that.
You won’t necessarily write posts with that keyword in the title. You will mention it in posts when it makes sense. But what you’re really wanting to do is to build the authority of your site with the content so that the main pages rank for the important terms.
3. Guest Posting
I’ve done periodic guest posting in the past. Some posts I wrote years ago still bring in occasional traffic and new inquiries.
When I guest post I look for sites that my target client is likely reading. Or I look for sites I know they read. I’ll ask clients sometimes what sites they read. Then I’ll see if those sites offer guest posting opportunities.
Then I look at the popular articles on the site and formulate new ideas. I always try to create something that will be popular on the site. That usually requires you to go beyond what’s been successful before.
That is obviously a strategy that a website owner will appreciate.
And when I publish the post I don’t really link back to my site or anything other than a basic link in the author bio area.
And I always try to respond to the comments.
Here’s one example of a post I did on KISSmetrics: 101 Ways To Source Content Ideas
Just as content on your own site, guest posts are assets that live (usually) forever online and over time they bring you more and more traffic and inquiries.
4. Guest Podcasting
Another strategy I’ve used is to be a guest on podcasts.
The trick with this strategy is that you have to provide an interesting story or a set of interesting and valuable information for listeners.
Find podcasts that your target client listens to. Again, I’ve asked my clients what podcasts they listen to. Then I check those podcasts out and see if I could potentially be a guest.
I look at the popular episodes and try to figure out what has worked well in the past. Then I formulate my story or tips and work on my pitch for the podcast host.
Here is one on Side Hustle Nation that still brings in traffic and new clients.
5. Social Listening
This is actually how I got the second ever client for Ghost Blog Writers.
Usually when we think of social media we think of broadcasting and publishing content.
But you can use social media to listen to what your target clients are saying.
The real gold is when you find that your target client is asking for help that your service can provide.
In 2010, I did this and saw that a business owner asked on Twitter: Does anyone know anyone that would be interested in blogging for a business website?
I responded and asked the person to converse via email.
And I got the new client.
6. Strategic Partnerships
Many businesses were built by partnering with other businesses. Many businesses have kind of piggybacked on the success of established businesses.
PayPal might have been successful, but things seemed to ramp up when they partnered to become the payment service for eBay.
Businesses partner all the time to offer services to target clients. Together, businesses can often provide something better than the two businesses could provide individually.
It might not happen right away, but make it part of your weekly routine to seek out potential partnership opportunities. Look at your competition and see if they have partnerships. See if you can setup similar partnerships.
7. Partner Directories/Pages/Etc.
Many businesses have a page on their called called something like Partners. Here is one on that Pixafy calls Agency Partners.
Moz call is The Recommended List.
In the B2B world businesses get asked all the time:
Do you know someone that provides [fill in the blank]?
Businesses can only do so much, but their clients often need more services. Those clients trust the business and figure that birds of a feather flock together. So the clients ask the business they trust for recommendations.
If you’re looking to grow your sales you can do an outreach effort to get included on relevant partner and recommendation listings.
Look for businesses that complement yours. A web design company might list a social media service provider and a blogging provider and the other way around.
You might often get on the list with the first connection, but in other cases you’ll have to foster the relationship.
Not getting sales can obviously be very frustrating. But you don’t need to let it stagnate your dreams. The ideas for B2B marketing should help increase your sales. Some might happen right away, but most are great long-term strategies that will help build a business that will last as long as you’re willing to put in the work.
I might need to work on a few of these myself now…