If you want leads to convert into sales faster, be sure to check out the webinar replay below. Sergio Balegno, Director of Research, MarketingSherpa/MECLABS Primary Research Group, explains how the strategic integration of SEO and social marketing is helping B2B marketers remarkably accelerate lead capture and conversion.
Through feedback from thousands of in-the-trenches B2B marketers, including hundreds of CMOs, Sergio reveals:
- Why social media is critical to improving your search rankings, engaging prospects and making them eager to buy.
- What inbound marketing is and isn’t, and why social media and SEO integration is key to a successful inbound-marketing strategy.
- What to do – and what not to do – when developing a social marketing strategy.
- How to measure the value of your social media investment in a way that impresses skeptics in the C-suite.
- A step-by-step explanation of how one B2B company’s inbound marketing strategy drove 70 percent more leads and doubled revenue per account in merely one year.
View the replay below, and if you want more details about how marketers are successfully leveraging and measuring social marketing, be sure to check out MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Social Marketing Benchmark Report.
Here’s a summary with timestamps to help you pinpoint key takeaways:
4:41 – Companies with integrated search media and SEO achieve 60 percent better conversion rates. Sergio explains that when prospects find information that’s relevant to them during a search they feel more engaged with the organization presenting it, which drives conversion.
5:52 – Social media and SEO integration is a B2B-marketing essential. Prospects aren’t only searching the web for information; they’re searching for videos, blogs and real-time discussion. Search engine algorithms are tied to this younger, more relevant content.
7:33 – Sergio defines inbound marketing for the 11 percent of organizations who don’t know what it is. Inbound marketing is a strategy where prospects find you; they come knocking on your door, as opposed to you looking for them. This is executed through earned media like Google searches and content sharing, as opposed to paid advertising on social sites like LinkedIn.
8:45 – Case study of how Delivra, an email-marketing services provide, developed an inbound strategy that pulled in 70 percent more leads and doubled revenue in one year. Sergio outlines the five steps that helped Delivra overcome the problem of a limited outbound marketing budget combined with “list fatigue” that happens when lists are used over and over again.
10:27 – Step 1: Align messages across brand channels from conversation to conversion. Sergio explains how Delivra’s entire customer-facing organization – from customer service to sales representatives – embraced the brand messaging integrated into their social media channels, and how social media made the process easier.
11:40 – Step 2: Design a social-marketing architecture. Create a hub, typically a website or blog. Surround it with “spokes” (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) that engage communities and direct traffic to the hub.
12:12 – Step 3: Add content designed for SEO conversion. Sergio points out that too many people write content for social media without considering SEO and vice versa. Social media requires engagement and that requires content the audience can find and cares about. Sergio explains how Delivra developed content that engages.
14:02 – Step 4: Leverage auto-response marketing. Leads from inbound marketing are much easier to convert than outbound, so auto-responders must be adjusted accordingly, notes Sergio. Inbound leads don’t require an extensive nurturing process.
15:30 – Step 5: Analyze and optimize. Sergio notes that Delivra did more than merely analyze data; they analyzed the data that was most relevant to company leadership who controlled the budget.
16:20 – Delivra’s results included increasing quarterly revenue by 25 to 40 percent, doubling annual revenue per account, increasing leads by 70 percent, and increasing web traffic. Their blog now generates three to four times the amount of traffic that their well-established website had been generating.
17:00 – Don’t do random acts of social marketing. Sergio outlines the most successful social-marketing architecture and provides real-world examples.
20:56 – Understand the priorities and perceptions of leadership so you can get the funding you need. CMOs are expecting to see a return on investment from social media activities and that requires approaching social media strategically. Those who do so, says Sergio, are 80 percent more likely to achieve a return on investment from their efforts. If you think social media is free, you’re going to get what you pay for.
26:02 – Social Media ROI = (Value gained from the investment – cost of the investment)/cost of the investment. Sergio admits that calculating the value of social media for building reputation is challenging and complex. It helps if organizations put a value on leads. Results can be directly measured through a CRM system that can track a sale back to when it was captured as a lead. He points out that what’s rarely being measured is cost reductions in customer support and customer acquisition. Only 13 percent are using reduced costs as a value to calculate ROI.
38:00 – Question and answer begins.
38:02 – What does conversion mean? It’s different for every organization. Conversion can be anything from a click on an email link that sends them to a landing page to a cash sale for organizations with ecommerce capabilities. It’s up to marketers to define what conversion is for their organizations.
39:28 – Does social media help people connect with each other rather than providing an entry point to business resources? Social media does both – it gives marketers a place to build community and brings people to your organization.
41:24 – Which vertical markets do social media and ecommerce have the most effect? Technology-compatible industries, like high-tech equipment manufacturers with high-value leads that require a great deal of lead nurturing and relationship building. In terms of ecommerce, businesses are building ecommerce solutions into their facebook pages.
46:42 – How do you convince a following community to buy from you? Sergio points out that there are those who are looking for content to educate themselves and those who are qualified prospects looking for services. Both are valuable. Those who don’t turn into leads are valuable in building your brand. The key is providing content that’s valuable even if they never buy from you.
50:20 – How can a high-end sales vendor develop a social media strategy where the audience is a highly targeted niche market? Sergio admits that not all businesses will benefit from inbound marketing, just as not all businesses benefit from television or radio advertising. The key is to go to where your audience is and being proactive.
53:30 – What framework would assist with the ROI tracking? Track cost and value. Costs are easy. Value is difficult. You can use something basic and universal like Google Analytics to track activity from social media to landing page, or something more complex like Radian6. Only measure the metrics that matter most to your organization.