This is the 28th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.
Despite the incredible digital channels marketers have today, large trade shows are still a powerful force in the marketing world. These typically involve vendors setting up massive booths in a convention center with thousands of attendees (ideally target persona customers) wandering through the maze of vendors, learning about new products and sometimes purchasing on the spot.
A large trade show will likely be the #1 most expensive marketing investments of the year.Therefore, it’s critical that we manage it exceptionally well, account for all of the little details, and ensure we are positioned to get a high return on our investment.
When I managed Netpulse’s trade show presence at IHRSA (10,000 attendees), it was the company’s first real trade show experience and we had to define everything from scratch. In the end the show was very successful for us, and we learned a ton of best practices. This post is a breakdown of those best practices, in chronological order from preparation months prior to the day of the show.
This is the 27th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.
Inbound marketing is all about attracting targets to our website, providing them with valuable content and capturing their contact information when they download the content, thus making them to leads. Once we have leads, our goal is to further educate them about our product until they request a demo to talk to our sales team, becoming a marketing qualified lead (MQL).
So what happens between when we get a lead and when they become an MQL? The key is to nurture them in a systematic, automatic and effort-free way.To do this, we need to build lead nurture workflows. This is simply a drip campaign of emails: a series of emails that are scheduled to send in a series, one after another, until the lead takes a desired action, like requesting a demo.
Setting up lead nurture workflows is straight forward. Let’s break it down:
This is the 25th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.
The Content Calendar is often the most-used document on the marketing team. It is the master schedule of all our content production and distribution. We use the Content Calendar to manage design, writing, and marketing automation campaigns distributing content, such as ebooks and webinars. As the team grows, it’s critical that we maintain an organized, up-to-date Content Calendar. Here is a breakdown of best practices to consider:
This is the 24th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.
Brand can be a nebulous concept to wrap our heads around. It’s an asset and wildly important to the success of most businesses. At the same time, it’s difficult to manage or pinpoint tactically what it is. To keep things simple, brand is a combination of the story and emotion that targets experience when hearing about or interacting with us. There are tons of resources about the advanced strategies of building a brand, so let’s focus here, as we always do, on tactical steps a startup can take to begin. First, let’s break brand into two parts:
The visuals are what targets see when they interact with us: our logo, graphics, content, website, advertisements, etc. The voice is what targets read and hear when they interact with us: sales demos, support calls, website copy, ebooks, etc. We need to make sure that both the visuals and voice are in tight alignment if we are creating an organized, cohesive brand. Let’s dig into the specifics:
This is the 23rd post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.
Inbound marketing requires a variety of different content types to appeal to various personas in our audience. Some people enjoy reading long ebooks, while others would prefer watching a webinar. One of the more popular content mediums is infographics: well designed graphics that visually display data to tell a story.
Infographics have the potential to be virally shared because of their visual appeal and ease of consumption: targets can glance over them quickly to get the idea without applying effort to reading a book or watching a webinar. However, infographics can be difficult to create, especially as a startup. Here is a breakdown of best practices to get us started:
This is the 20th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.
There are 2 ingredients needed for a killer inbound marketing strategy fueled by content: writing and design. While in the early stages, some startups outsource design, as we scale it becomes far more effective to have designers be an integral part of a B2B marketing team. Design is exceptionally important because marketers use it to:
Connect with a target persona
One of the first things we need to do in B2B marketing is define our personas — a detailed description of our target customer, outlining their demographics, behavior and preferences. The persona helps guide us on how to best interact with our target customer to motivate them to take desired actions, such as exploring our product. Design is a critical tool we can use to visually appeal to our persona. According to designer Kimi Yamamoto, “design shapes both the conscious and subconscious experience.” In other words, it has a tremendous impact on how a person feels.
This is the 17th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.
There is a common misconception that lots of PR is critical for B2B startups to grow. While PR is certainly a valuable marketing channel, and in some cases can be a huge driver of new leads, it’s important to break it down and apply our marketing dollars effectively.
The #1 mistake I’ve seen in PR is getting press in publications not read by your targets.
For example, suppose you sell software for restaurants and your initial targets are fast casual establishments (i.e. Chipotle). Your target persona is the CIO of Chipotle and it’s competitors.
In this scenario, while it may get you excited, being written about in TechCrunch isn’t going to move the needle exceptionally far. That is “vanity PR” and it does very little in regards to demand generation among potential target customers.