Now we're getting into the meat of your B2B app business. If you have just joined us, make sure you start at the first post of this series here.
You've done your research, you know your market and you have a product. Now it's time to get some clients!
Lead acquisition is the name of the game in any marketing business and is even more important in B2B – you will have less clients than you would if you were publishing your app straight to the app store AND the stakes are higher (because there's more money per client).
By having a killer system to bring in clients on repeat, you're going to dramatically increase your chances of success.
In this post, I'm going to walk you through the system that I personally use and think is best. This is from my own experience (with lawyers) and also from talking to some top dogs in the B2B marketing world (social media, websites, SEO services, etc).
The topics we will cover are:
- Reviewing buyer persona + marketplace
- Craft your value proposition
- Inbound – Website
- Inbound – Landing Pages
- Inbound – Email marketing
- Inbound – Social Media
- Outbound – Networking
- Outbound – LinkedIn
- Outbound – Cold
By the time you're done with this post, you'll have a clear picture of what it takes to get leads AND a strategy to do it!
Reviewing Buyer Personas and Marketplace
This is a given, but I want to make sure you review the work you did in the previous parts of this B2B series.
The reason this is so important is because it will dictate all your marketing and messaging. If you're targeting bars, for example, you might use one type of imagery. If you're targeting dentists, you might have a different approach.
Go through your research and answer the following question:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how “professional” is my marketplace?
1 being your college friend who can drink 25 beers, and 10 being a defense lawyer for the U.S. Supreme Court.
The more professional your client, the more professional your marketing must be and the the more you should charge.
For purposes of this post, I'm going to talk about dentists, which I would say is a solid 5-6 on this scale. Professional, but personable.
Review your persona and decide on where you land. You can always change, but decide on something.
Craft Value Proposition
Now that you've determined how “professional” your leads will be, you need to identify the value proposition.
This also comes from the research you've done, specifically in that you will be catering to their biggest problem.
Remember when I talked about the different types of solutions and models you can choose from? This is why. You're going to build an app in a way that provides obvious value for your lead.
For a dentist, the value would most likely be:
- Getting new clients
- Getting more repeat clients
- Marketing to existing clients
Which are all technical ways of saying they want to make more money.
95% of B2B is black and white – it's about making money. You're not here to help create a “vision” or something new and exciting. Always keep that in mind.
With my dentist, I'd look through their problems and say “How can I present an app that will solve these problems?”
This might be:
- Email + info forms that people can input via Facebook login (new clients)
- Better communication methods via content and push notifications (marketing to existing clients)
- Offering flash sales based on location and birthday via push notifications (repeat clients)
I would NOT talk about things like how we “could” add a delivery service functionality or gamification unless I could clearly show how it would solve the dentist's problems.
Once you've gone through this, you have your value proposition. Your solutions will dictate your marketing message.
“Communicate With Your Existing Dental Clients More Effectively Than Email, Phone and Direct Mail Combined”
- Take your target demographic and list their 3 biggest problems
- List how an app could solve those 3 problems
- List what functions would be used to solve those 3 problems
- Create 3 “headlines” like the one above about each solution
Now you're onto something.
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
Before I dive into the rest of this, I want to make sure you understand the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
INbound means people come to you. They're searching on Google, they see your Facebook post, they discover you on Yelp. You're attracting leads.
OUTbound means you go find people. This is picking up the phone, sending out direct mail letters, and going to events. You're going out and finding leads.
Inbound – Website
The core of all inbound marketing is your website. Back in the day (like…backkk in the day) it was your storefront, the brick and mortar shop that people would see when they are walking down the street.
Your website is massively important in getting leads…and getting QUALITY leads. I can't tell you how many people just want more leads without asking themselves what kind of people they are attracting.
Getting setup with a website isn't that hard. Here are some easy options:
- SquareSpace. This is a great, cost-effective solution to get going. The issue you'll run into down the road is that it's hard to customize, but it could be a great place to start.
- Create a WordPress website and use a template (sound familiar?). Here's a great overview of how this works.
I'll leave it there because honestly those are the two best options.
Once you get your platform setup, you'll want to determine your BRAND. This often comes down to your theme, copy (the writing) and images.
I would highly recommend borrowing someone's nice camera and taking some pictures yourself before using stock photos, especially in B2B. Stock photos of dentists smiling is just…lame. It may work, but it certainly won't help you beat the competition. My two cents.
As you fill out your website, you'll want to keep in mind the following pieces:
- Speak directly to your potential leads. Address problems and pain points over and over.
- Have a good About page and story. Why are you doing this? If it's just because you like the business opportunity, you need to come up with a story that's more compelling.
- Include contact information and contact forms. Encourage people to contact you for a free consultation.
- Search Engine Optimization. Without getting into the full details, make sure you do a bit of research on SEO so that you build your website the right way.
Most important, always keep the prospect in mind. A dentist or someone who works for a dentist will be reading this. Speak to them.
Inbound – Landing Pages
In addition to your website, it's going to make sense to have landing pages. Many times this can be a separate page on your website, but you also may want to check out a separate software.
Good options are:
These will help you create beautiful landing pages quickly.
You'll want landing pages when you get serious about collecting email addresses and solving a very specific problem. This is similar to what we do here on Bluecloud with our 21 Step Checklist .
With dentists, I would create a landing page that said “9 Ways Mobile Apps Are Driving Repeat Customers for Dentists In Record Time” and offer them a 3 page PDF in exchange for their email address.
They become educated on apps, I have permission to talk to them about my services.
Landing pages act as a way to turn “general” traffic into very specific leads.
Inbound – Email Marketing
Now you'll have a website and some lead pages setup for engage your audience and collect emails. You need to put those emails somewhere.
Signup for an email service provider. Some great intro options are:
These companies can help manage your emails and give you the ability to send emails in a cohesive way. The best practice is to setup an auto-responder series. This refers to a series of emails that will start sending based on a trigger (like an opt in).
For dentists, I'd want to send out 4-5 emails over the next few weeks that introduce my brand, show the dentist that I can provide something awesome for them, show how I can solve a specific problem for them, then get them to take action (purchase my service).
This is called a “nurturing series.” Follow my structure above if you need an idea on how to communicate to your prospect.
PRO TIP: Opt in to your competitors and see how they use email marketing. You can learn a lot. I used to do this all the time with lawyers because I knew they were shopping around. When I saw what all my competitors were doing, I knew how I could differentiate myself. I started closing WAY more deals.
Inbound – Social Media
For a variety reasons, social media has become synonomous with websites in terms of building a web presence. If you're not on social media, especially in the service business, you are in trouble.
It acts as a distribution channel, a support channel and a communication channel. You can really see the personality of the brand via their social media more than ever before.
In B2B, social media is even more important because the client relationship is #1. They want and need to trust you. It's a lot easier to trust someone when you know they're present than if you simply interact with a stagnant website.
The most important channels for B2B social media are:
- Facebook – setup a business page for your company
- LinkedIN – join groups and setup a business page that is specific to your audience
- Twitter – Not as important, but definitely a good one to be on. A good way to get started is to just be an “aggregator” of news where you retweet one article per day specific to your audience.
Setup these accounts and add graphics that are in line with your website.
Inbound – Overview
Inbound lead marketing is all about having a great brand that offers a great service. You're building trust to convert customers. The flow is:
- Potential client has a need (either wants more clients or wants an app)
- They actively search for a solution OR they have it on their mind during the day
- They find you and start a relationship with you
- You build trust
- You offer a ton of value
- They become your customer
The upside of inbound marketing is that you can do most of this from your office or behind a computer screen. The downside is that you need to CONSTANTLY be monitoring, updating and adding value.
Now, the other side of the coin is outbound marketing 🙂
Outbound – Networking
Ok – so you've got the inbound stuff locked down. You have your website, your social media, your landing pages. You're collecting emails. You built it, now they will come.
Well, sort of.
Inbound marketing can be very powerful, but a lot of people forget that you can 10x your efforts by DRIVING traffic to it. On top of that, inbound marketing will always lack the human factor. No matter how epic your materials are, people want to do business with people. Period.
The best strategy to get leads in B2B is to blend inbound with outbound.
The foundation of all outbound marketing is people. The best way to accelerate this is to go out and MEET people (yes, terrifying. I get it).
Networking is the most powerful and time tested strategy for driving new leads to your business.
The process is simple:
- Go to an event or environment with a lot of potential leads or people connected to potential leads
- Help as many people as you can
- Offer to continue to help them by implementing the tools required
- Ask for referrals
This works. Here's a blog post I wrote all about networking.
By networking, you are gaining creditability with high quality leads and generating massive, high converting prospects. It requires more hustle and face time, but your efforts will pay off handsomely.
Outbound – LinkedIn
I know face to face networking terrifies a lot of people. That's ok. Just remember – if so many people aren't going to do something that's uncomfortable, it leaves a big opportunity for you.
Taking one step back from face to face networking to online networking, specifically through LinkedIn.
You will find prospects on LinkedIn, create a relationship and close the deal. This is a blend of inbound and outbound (depending on your strategy) and can be done by an intern or assistant once you get the system oiled.
The first steps are:
- Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your credentials as it relates to your core market
- Join all professional groups that your target customers hang out in
- Post a massive amount of valuable content + offer personal replies to people in the group
- Start reaching out to people in the group and send them a free overview of how you can help (be specific!)
Do this over and over and you will start to see a LOT of progress. LinkedIn is a goldmine when it comes to lead generation.
Now that you're networking and finding leads on LinkedIn, you want to take a stab at the cold intro 🙂
Outbound – Cold Introductions
I will preface this by saying cold calling and cold emailing people is a last resort. It's not that effective and pales in comparison to networking.
But, the experience from doing this is priceless…and will directly lead to a massive growth in your B2B business.
The idea being you need to get SO good at selling and providing value quickly, you'll learn faster than if you didn't have to do this exercise.
Here's how to do a cold call for your B2B app business:
- Google your target lead and the location you're in. For example, I would Google “dentists san francisco”
- Go through the first 10 pages of results and click through the website. You want to know if they have an app yet and what they phone # is.
- Make a spreadsheet that tallies this information
- For everyone who does NOT have an app, dial the number. Chances are you will get someone who is not the decision maker. Ask for the decision maker.
- Introduce yourself and sell your service.
Repeat this over and over until you start getting some positive reactions. It may only be 5% of the calls, but that's something.
If you can start to convert cold prospects into leads, you're REALLY onto something because then you can just get a list of prospects and start dialing all day. This is powerful.
Lead Generation – Overview
Now you are a lead generation expert in B2B!
This was a very quick overview so I would urge you to explore more resources around the web if there is any particular part you're interested in.
- Reviewing buyer persona + marketplace
- Craft your value proposition
- Building a website to attract and convert traffic to leads
- How to build landing pages
- How to use email marketing to automate your sales and relationship marketing
- Using social media to create a strong brand
- Why networking is so powerful and how you can do it too
- Using LinkedIn to get high quality leads
- Cold calling for leads and for experience
If you follow this roadmap, you could easily solve your lead problem. Then it gets really fun 🙂
Next up we will talk about Closing the leads and getting the deal done. We'll do a full step by step walkthrough of this.
Here's a link to Part 6 – Always Be Closing