At its core, B2B marketing is about lead generation. Though it can take many forms, the ultimate goal is to generate leads and funnel them to a purchase decision through marketing.
The best and easiest way to get a lead through the funnel is to stay at the top of their mind, regardless of whether they’re in the midst of the purchasing process or not. And the best way to stay top of mind is to position yourself or your company as an industry thought leader.
According to Forbes, a thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.
When you’re seen as the authority on a topic, you’ll be the one customers go to when beginning the purchasing process. Here’s how to become a B2B thought leader and position yourself as an industry expert in four steps.
1) Answer your customers’ questions before they ask them.
Sounds easy enough, right? Figure out the problems or potential questions your customers can have about any topic in your entire industry and write a blog to answer them.
The best way to do this is to create a content strategy plan. In it, you’ll want to include keyword, survey, and search engine research to determine what your customers are asking, create content to answer said questions, and optimize, deploy, and promote it so people see it.
2) Try interactive content.
Writing a blog and posting it on your site is no longer enough to grab your audience’s attention. You can still start with a blog, but try to repurpose it into a video, infographic, or even a podcast. This allows your audience to consume your content in different formats and on the go.
Think of different ways to deploy your content to your audience and analyze your results to see what works best. You can also create larger pieces of content like eBooks and white papers and share them as gated content where users must input their information before accessing. That way you can add them to your email list and keep in touch, continuing to answer their questions long after they’ve downloaded your content.
3) Guest post and host.
This requires finding industry influencers. Influencers aren’t just Instagram models anymore – every industry has them! Is there a publication or organization in your industry people respect? Something they read or consult often? A podcast people listen to and enjoy?
Try to write a guest article, white paper, or post for that publication or organization or appear as a guest podcaster on a particular topic. This will open you up to an entirely new audience while continuing to reinforce your industry and thought leadership.
4) Speak at workshops and trade shows.
Don’t just deploy your content virtually – let people put a face to your name. This helps develop your personal brand, whether you’re representing yourself or your entire company. Seeking and accepting opportunities to present workshops and speak at trade shows is a great way to get your name out to people in your industry.
It will take some work, but if you have a solid foundation of content people want to read and you find new and creative ways to share it virtually and in person, you can grow your (or your company’s) reputation as a B2B industry thought leader overtime and ultimately increase your lead generation and your business.
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