Prologue

The landscape of B2B marketing has transcended beyond the conventional realm of inbound marketing. With the outgrowth of sub-branches of digitization, the marketers have stepped into an era studded with cutting-edge technologies. While doing the basics is still critical & most important for businesses to maintain perennially healthy sales pipelines; the problem arises when conventional marketing tactics fail to deliver the desired output.

Modern B2B marketers need to have omnichannel marketing strategies- to attract, engage & convert buyers and also require staying focused on demand generation technics & on building growing lead pools. While integrating the inbound marketing endeavors across the various departments in a company is important, it is also important for businesses to have growth hackers to enhance their lead generation efforts. Growth hacks assure that the businesses reach a wider audience & with a that also strategically plan to optimize the revenue from the omnichannel marketing endeavors. 

Origin of Inbound Marketing: 

HubSpot’s co-founder, Brain Halligan, coined the term “Inbound Marketing” in the year 2005. Inbound marketing has been a boon to the unrelenting & non-idiosyncratic framework of modern B2B businesses.

According to HubSpot, Inbound Marketing can be defined as follows:

“Inbound marketing is about creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business. … By creating content designed to address the pain points and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.” 

Inbound Marketing, ever since its inception, has projected itself as an amazingly helpful substitute for traditional marketing endeavors such as Tv & print-media ads, cold calling & spammy emails. Inbound marketing is virtually everywhere, in the current era of marketing where the Internet of Things (IoT) have emerged as inexplicably important armories to aid the core endeavors of marketing. Modern websites of businesses, social media channels, blogs, email marketing & content marketing strategies all of these are intertwined & with & guarded by the Inbound Marketing practices. 

Origin of Growth Hacking:

The term “Growth Hacking” was coined in the year 2010 by Sean Ellis, the former Marketer for Dropbox, Eventbrite, & LogMeIn, who used it in one of his blog posts. 

Growth hacking is all about coalescing “out-of-box-thinking” & technology with traditional marketing endeavors to achieve exponential growth in a short time, often in terms of revenue of an organization.  Growth hackers rapidly use & test-run an array of product iterations – constantly test persuasive copy, email marketing, SEO & viral strategies along with other tools & technics, to help the organizations achieve their universal core goals such as sales revenue optimization, conversion rate optimization (CRO) & optimized users’ experiences. Growth hackers have data & technical skills along with the knowledge about technologies such as search engine optimization (SEO), website analytics, content marketing & A/B testing. Product development is also vastly influenced by the growth hacker mindset.

According to Sean Ellis, who coined the term “Growth Hacking” for the first time, a growth hacker is defined as under: 

“A person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth” (Source: Quicksprout).

Because of being discovered & propagated as a viral idea by HubSpot, Inbound Marketing has a fixed meaning; growth hacking hasn’t been monopolized & a hardcore definition of the concept hasn’t existed ever. The concept is more up to interpretation. Most of the B2B marketers today are in a state of oblivion about the application of growth hacks to their marketing tactics. The term, though, is highly credible & has been associated with big names within the technological realm, such as Mark Zuckerberg & Steve Jobs. 

Growth Hacking & Inbound marketing may appear to be similar but are vastly different. Inbound marketers emphasize on using know-how technologies to make a company attractive to new businesses & to attract, engage & convert the prospects. Growth hacking, on the other hand, seems to deal with instances wherein conventional Inbound Marketing strategies may prove mediocre- for better or for worse; which gives the growth hackers opportunities to test-run & implement out-of-box technological solutions to the businesses, often in terms of the catapulted exponential growth of sales revenue.

How an Amalgamation of Inbound Marketing & Growth Hacking Serves B2B Marketing

While Inbound Marketing is a familiar concept for a larger audience base, growth hacking is still expanding its realm & is here to stay; though, hasn’t yet profoundly full-fledged implications on everyday marketing endeavors.

Both the technics have been outstanding & have exponentially exacerbating diverse business problems. The marketers are either using them already or are gearing up to use them, after thoroughly understanding the concepts first.

A B2B marketing succession designed on the core principles of Inbound Marketing & Growth Hacking may prove beneficial for the businesses in the following ways: 

1. Content Repurposing & Split Testing:

A piece of content that is aligned with users’ interests but isn’t doing quite well, can always be breathed new life into by repurposing it, by morphing it slightly or by changing the outlook of the content altogether, while keeping the basic ideas same.

For example, blogs can be re-published with updated statistics, the omission of outdated slags & the addition of new tending terminologies. Such a tactic ensures that a blog regains its vitality & its resourcefulness is restored for the buying prospects. Content in blogs can also be repurposed & republished as infographics, slide-shares, stand-alone social media posts & vice versa. 

Along with the infusion of core inbound technics into content strategies, the marketers need to ensure that the imperativeness of the pieces of content is also intact.

Split-testing the alternative forms of content comes under the realm of growth hacking & is very important. The B2B marketers these days utilize the data gathered from the intent-based signaling of the prospects, which includes scrutiny of their demographic, psychographic, firmographic, “fit-data”, technographic insights, along with their past buying behavior, research methodologies & browsing habits. The prospects are also segmented into several clusters based on their vital data & are targeted across omnichannel. Growth hackers make sure that they split-test & derive insights about the specific pieces of content being used by the prospective buyers during each stage of their buying cycles, to optimize the multichannel content strategies.

Writing informational ebooks, whitepapers & measuring the efforts of multichannel content strategies are other essentials for growth hackers.

2. Focus on Influencer Marketing:

Connecting with influencers within a specific niche or those with a relevant follower base is always a good idea. People love hearing from people before developing a perpetual brand resonance. Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is beneficial for both the retention of existing customers as well as for the acquisition of new customers.

Influencer marketing can be practiced on both micro & macro levels & includes the following practices:

  • Inviting influencers for guest blogging or while broadcasting podcasts
  • Hosting joint webinars where both the marketers & influencers can talk about the value proposition of specific products or services, at the disposal
  • Asking influencers to talk independently about the value proposition of specific products  in important B2B events or their ebooks & social media posts
  • Influencers can also write high-valued pieces of descriptive content such as those for designing white-papers or for broadcasting webinars

3. Optimizing the “Thank You” Page:

“Thank You” pages provide excellent opportunities to take users’ engagement to the next level. Additional Call-To-Action (CTAs) buttons can be added to the pages such as a survey, link to signing up for a relevant webinar, an event invitation, or link to a promotional page.

“Thank You” page can also be used to display new content offerings. 

4. Using Live Chat to resolve the issues of Customers in Real-Time:

According to a report published by Apruve.com, 42% of the customers prefer live chat, as they despise waiting on hold & seek real-time resolutions for their problems & 92% of them feel completely satisfied with the live chat functionality. 

The organizations can take the help of chatbots besides employing humans as core to their customer service teams. Having a great customer service team helps in the retention of old clients as well as the acquisition of new ones, while at the same time also helps in instituting brand equity.

Delivering exemplary aftersales services ensures that marketers get additional revenues by selling supplementary products to the existing customers, as well as acquire the new ones by positive Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM).

5. Proper Categorization of Newsletters:

Publishing newsletters is a well-known Inbound Marketing technic which ensures that customers don’t forget about a company. Also, the open rates for newsletters sent to the inboxes of customers can help in measuring the engagement-levels of existing customers with a business. 

To optimize users’ experiences (UX), broaden their reach & to provide relevant pieces of information to prospects and existing customers alike, to maximize the sales conversions, the newsletters should be categorically segmented, as follows:

  1. By technology – company type, server type, core niche of operation, etc.
  2. By Users – existing & new users, passive users, engaged users, users from social referral channels, etc.
  3. By location – Newsletters can be scheduled to be sent to users in different geographies at different times, preferably when they are most actively engaged with the pieces of content online

6. Split-testing the Email Funnel: 

Split-testing the email funnel is imperative to improve the personalization of the prospects. Several formats of emails can be split-tested viz. the subject-line & the body of each email that is being sent to the leads. With the modernization of digitized concepts & the advent of automated email marketing, the marketers also need to frequently test-run the automated email versions to make sure that they feasibly & aptly address the issues of inquisitively probing prospects.

Ideally, email marketing technics need to be split tested every single week & there needs to be open-ended testing.

Split-testing also involves quantification of reach of the emails-in terms of open rate, conversions being generated & traffic being directed on the primary domain of the businesses.

7. Creating SEO-friendly Content: 

Content should be relevant to resonate with the modern queries being propelled by the different segments of prospects online.  Researching for the most relevant keywords & designing a content strategy around them is an excellent on-page SEO strategy. 

Tools like Buzzsumo & Moz can be used to research the most relevant keywords before architecting multichannel content strategies. Researching about the keywords driving engagement on Facebook, shares on LinkedIn & trending Tweets within a niche, can help the marketers in optimizing their content strategies – by weaving their plot around creating relevant pieces of content resonating with the topics of interests of prospects & simultaneously measuring the endeavors of omnichannel content strategies (by quantifying them).  

8. Expediting the prospects’ journeys through Sales Funnel:

The traditional B2B marketing sales funnel gradually has evolved more like a loop, rather than a funnel, where prospects’ research processes are recurrent & aren’t just confined to the awareness & engagement stages.

The marketers should not only stick to the core inbound practices to optimize the users’ experiences but also should constantly keep an eye about the pieces of content being consumed by the prospects during each stage of their buying cycles. Curating a content strategy to attract the key decision-makers in the business process & to specifically address the pain-points of the prospects, is beneficial in expediting the buyers’ journeys through the sales funnels.

In an era where the definition of personalization is nearly equal to that of individualization, the marketers need to pay special attention to segment their prospects into specific clusters, before hyper-targeting them through segment-specific pieces of content. Streamlining the gap between the pieces of content being generated by the marketing & the sales team is also essential for CRO.

Besides, having appointment setting services in place ensures that marketers keep the human elements of sales’ closures intact. Thus, the sales conversion rates are optimized further, deploying human psychology, where people prefer to buy from people, rather than from the brands.

9. Provide a “freemium”:

In order, to entice the prospects to make a buying decision, the companies can assure that they provide the basic functionalities about software-based services free of cost. The same philosophy also applies to other products, where users can be given the privilege to get their hands on the products with paying for it, for a short while.

The trial version need not be studded with n-number of features but can just have the bare minimum features intact, at disposal to the prospects for a limited period, before the users might decide to upgrade to the paid versions, having all the features.

10. Making User Interfaces (UI) Simpler & Optimizing the Landing Pages (LPO):

The products designed by the marketers should have simpler user interfaces (UX) so that they can be used even by non-technical customers without any hassles. Test-running user interfaces (UI) for optimization is always a good idea. At the same time, landing pages are crucial in optimizing website conversions & even in setting the pace for a prospective sale (after a user gets converted online). Test running different versions of landing pages is important for B2B sales optimization.

In a nutshell, split-testing both the UI & landing page designs are important for marketers to optimize the users’ experience & delight them, which, in turn, would serve as the cornerstone for driving sales.  

Wrapping It Up

A blend of inbound marketing & growth hacks can set the pace for creating & optimizing the B2B success stories & we have some good citations from literature reviews to substantiate the idea. Everyone remembers the example of “growth hacking” blended with inbound marketing cores in the case of Hotmail. Hotmail included “PS I LOVE YOU” with a link for the end-users to get the free online email services. Another example of growth hacking was when Dropbox facilitated extra storage for the users who referred the platform to their friends. 

The interdisciplinary field of B2B marketing is vast and is evolving with the constant expedition alongside its dynamic subsets of digitization, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & many more. In such a scenario, where doing the basics right might get one started, it’s also very likely that one might feel stagnant & stuck after a while when all the conventional practices become too common & vibrant within a niche.

Mark Rollings, research vice president at Gartner was perfectly able to perpetuate the idea to do away with the existing dilemmas in the marketing realm, as he quoted the following:

“Rather than have a machine replicating the steps that a human performs to reach a particular judgment, the entire decision process can be refactored to use the relative strengths and weaknesses of both machine and human to maximize value generation and redistribute decision making to increase agility.”

 The projected statistics for the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in paid marketing endeavors further substantiates that blending growth hacking & Inbound marketing can create a renaissance in the field of B2B marketing.   

According to an article published by aumcore.com apart from augmentation, revenue generated from big data & business market worldwide is expected to double from $122 billion in 2015 to $260 billion in 2022. 

Technology is growing exponentially & in a globalized knowledge-based economy blending the human elements of empathy in marketing (Inbound Marketing) & technological out-of-box hacks (Growth Hacking), will define the future of B2B marketing. With obligatory inbound basics, growth hacking methods will assure exponential revenue growths for the marketers, which they desire.

We, at Valasys Media, help our B2B customers with tailored B2B services to suffice their necessities, as well as to help them develop perennially healthy sales pipeline, so that they can achieve their universal core targets such as an optimized Return on Investment (ROI), Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) & optimized sales revenue.  

Our services include lead-generation, account-based marketing, lead nurturing, appointment setting services, and content syndication & event promotion services
For further details on our services & to avail them, get in touch with our team of experts.

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