So often B2B businesses have some form of marketing automation software (MAS) in place to collect and nurture leads, but do not have a strategy in place to properly optimize and to keep their MAS program clean.

Statistics show that the MAS market is expected to grow upwards of 2 billion dollars by 2020.

What can a B2B business do to get ahead of the competition and capture quality leads through their MAS program?

Understand your target audience

Since you are B2B, what kinds of businesses are searching for your services? What services do they provide that your business can enhance?

Before you can start creating your strategy to make your MAS smarter, you need to start at the very beginning and think about your target audience.

If you place yourself in their situation, think about the types of services they need in order to run their business properly. Make a list of the types of questions you think they will be asking, and map those questions to where your website provides the answer.

For example, if you provide managed security services to the educational industry, some questions a business in this industry may ask include:

  • Where can I find safe managed security services?
  • How much do managed security services cost in the educational industry?
  • What are the managed security options for a university?

These questions are the types of queries your target audience will be typing into search, and you want your website to rank with the answer.

Understanding what your target audience’s goals are can help your business to better provide the services and website content they need to answer a question.

Find the user intent

What are the problems your target audience has that are keeping their business from growing? Typically, other businesses will be searching for a very specific product or service to benefit themselves.

Going back to the earlier example, your target audience from the educational industry will be searching for specific managed security services.

Capturing the intent of your audience is important:

  • Why do they need your managed services?
  • How will your security services benefit them?

Make it a point to expect how your audience will be searching.

By understanding the types of phrases your target audience will be asking, you can produce the content on your website to answer their questions and needs, and capture their intent.

Traditional keywords are becoming a thing of the past, and users are now searching for products and services with a specific goal in mind, to help them achieve something.

Users are now searching with long-tail keywords, which are more descriptive and detailed than traditional keywords that include only one to two words. Long-tail keywords typically have three or more words included, and their semantics are becoming increasingly important because they describe user intent.

There are three types of searches that users conduct:

  1. Navigational – Searching to get to a certain website
  2. Informational – Searching to find more information
  3. Transactional – Searching to make a purchase

Does your website apply to all three of these search types? If it does, your website needs to contain content to support all three of these different intentions.

By learning which type of searches your audience is making, you can better serve them the information and content they need.

Lastly, make your website content specific

If you create a piece of content titled “Security Services”, then that could potentially appeal to an extremely large audience, with no real direction on their purpose or need.

Even though some of that audience may be converting, they really are not quality leads because most may not actually need your services.

Then your MAS will be clogged with leads that are not quality, and you will waste energy and resources attempting to convert them further to a sale.

If, however, you title the piece of content, “7 Ways Managed Security Services Can Benefit the Educational Industry”, then your content can appeal to the specific audience that your business is selling to, and can provide a real solution to the problem that those businesses have.

By targeting long-tail keywords with your content, you are more likely to capture quality leads, because there is less competition for these types of keywords than traditional keywords.

Therefore, the audience that is searching with these long-tail keywords have a high intent behind them to get their question or need answered.

You must be sure to not stuff too many keywords into your content, or you could be penalized by search engines. The keywords must be worked in naturally, and have a conversational flow that helps to serve a need.

From the start of your strategy, you will only be targeting the audience that really requires and can benefit from your services.

By placing descriptive and detailed content on your website, you are more likely to capture quality leads into your MAS. You will save your business time and resources by bringing quality leads into your MAS from the start of your efforts.

Which quality leads bring the most potential for lifetime customers?

Now that you have quality leads coming through your MAS, how can you determine which of those quality leads you should further nurture to a sale? By mapping out their path on your website, and monitoring how much and which content they are interacting with.

The right leads to nurture will be those who continue to read and interact with your content, who watch your videos, and who download white papers.

These are the types of leads you want to place into a funnel and scoring program, and encourage the start of a business relationship.

Taking advantage of user intent data will bring quality leads to your website from the start, and will inherently make your MAS program smarter, saving your business valuable resources.

Conclusion

  1. Understand your audience. What questions do they have to make their business function better?
  2. Find the user intent. Why do they need your services, and what type of searches will they be making to find what they need?
  3. Create specific content. Write content that matches the intent of your audience, and answer the questions they have.

Following these three steps will bring quality leads through your MAS, and will bring your business closer to establishing long-lasting customer relationships.

Need help with your marketing automation strategy? Contact us about scheduling an MAS strategy session today.

Alex Prestipino

About Alex Prestipino

Alex monitors and plans strategies and campaigns surrounding SEO, SEM, social media and analytics for our clients as a Digital Marketing Strategist at Liquid. When she’s not working or studying for her Master’s degree, Alex enjoys playing golf and the piano, and spending time with friends and family.

Published Apr 20, 2016