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For a long time, the conventional wisdom has been that outbound marketing – sales, in particular – is the lead generation method of choice for those in the B2B space in need of prospects and opportunities.

Even as Internet marketing has developed over the past two decades, many in the B2B sector have stuck with the traditional sales methods, pitching prospects over the phone or in person at trade shows.

While these outbound marketing methods are undoubtedly effective in their own ways, they’re far from the only way to bring in qualified leads. In fact, they’re not even the most effective way to generate qualified, high-value B2B sales leads.

The best choice, even for those in the B2B space, is inbound marketing. In this blog post, we’ll show you how a combination of blogging, search engine marketing and social media savvy can help your B2B company attract hundreds of sales leads.

Creating content to match the search habits of B2B customers

Whether you’re a manufacturer or a service provider, your customers are searching for information about how you can help them. A massive range of B2B search terms are typed into Google every single day, and your business can profit from them.

Most B2B searches are informational. They’re questions asked by business owners and potential clients that you can answer. The best way to answer these questions, and in turn generate B2B sales leads, is by creating high quality content.

Let’s use two B2B examples to illustrate the value of informational content for B2B marketing: an accountancy firm and a cleaning company. Both of these companies, which primarily target other businesses, can answer questions using content.

For example, some of the most common searches made by prospective accounting clients are about tax information. Keywords like “California tax rates” or “Payroll taxes Delaware” are all huge inbound sales opportunities for your business.

Despite them not being the “buying keywords” that most SEOs focus on, they both have the potential to generate leads for your business. By answering these simple questions and providing information, you generate qualified B2B traffic.

Our second example, that of a cleaning company, can also benefit from targeting its content to common search questions. Searches for “How to clean office carpet” can bring in qualified customers seeking information on the service you offer.

Both SEO and SEM can be used for B2B inbound marketing

B2B inbound marketing ideas

Image Credit: vetkit | Shutterstock.com

The search queries used in the above examples are relatively broad, and many may come from outside the area that your business targets. This is often the case if your B2B business is local; obviously, a customer in another state is worth little to you.

Because of this, you needn’t make the above keywords the focus of an SEO campaign that’s built for long-term rankings. Instead, you can target only informational search queries from within your target area using search engine marketing (SEM).

By offering actionable, useful information that answers the questions of searchers and including a call to action on each page of your website, you can generate a huge number of B2B leads every single month using just highly focused content.

Inbound marketing can complement outbound sales

Many B2B businesses focus exclusively on one form of marketing, whether it’s direct mail, phone-based sales or Search Engine Optimization. While this is a great way to increase ROI within the most profitable marketing channel for your business, it can also be quite limiting.

Not all of your prospective customers will be accessible over the phone; many will have little to no interest in sales calls and simply won’t respond to a pitch for their business. These same prospects, however, may respond to inbound marketing.

Don’t think of inbound marketing as a replacement for outbound sales or a suitable alternative for it, but as a complementary marketing method that your business can use to generate even more sales leads.

By combining traditional outbound sales methods and today’s most effective online, inbound marketing techniques, your sales team will constantly be busy closing new deals and bringing in lucrative new business.