Attracting quality leads is one of the principal challenges for any business today - not least for Microsoft Partners. But with the wealth of digital tools available today, it’s possible to get smarter about the way you market your solution without having to break the bank.
Here are a few examples of how Microsoft Partners can use some powerful growth marketing techniques to attract more engaged leads to your solution and shorten your sales cycle.
1. Inbound MarketingBroadly speaking, inbound marketing is the glue that ties all the rest of these growth marketing techniques together. The fundamental difference between inbound and traditional (outbound) marketing is that it aims to draw customers and leads to your products and services by providing them with content, social media marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) that speaks to their individual challenges and aspirations, rather than pumping out campaign upon campaign of poorly-targeted, broadcast-style marketing messaging. The inbound methodology starts off with creating your target personas - fictionalised representations of the real customers you’ll be talking to - to ensure that your marketing content is relevant to their specific needs.
Inbound marketing is effective at engaging today’s customers and their expectations for on-the-minute information at their fingertips. And best of all, with enough content online and promotion through the right channels, your inbound strategy works around the clock to generate leads.
2. Content MarketingContent marketing revolves around regularly creating, publishing, and sharing content that engages prospects with information that is relevant to them and provides tangible value. Content marketing aims to draw leads through your sales funnel by providing topical yet relevant content at the top of the funnel, which links to more, free content further along the sales cycle. This facilitates your customer’s buying process and gives them the material they need to move as quickly as possible from prospects to paying customers.
Content marketing typically uses ‘bite-sized’ content pieces like blogs, explainer videos or infographics to capture leads at the top of the funnel, as well as more in-depth content like eBooks, guides, white papers, and product guides to maintain momentum at the end of the sales cycle.
Here are some great examples of content marketing done right:
- RXP’s blog about best practices for building chatbots and the accompanying eBook about digital platform trends, specifically around chatbots.
- A Microsoft eBook on using Office 365 to connect and collaborate anywhere
- A Microsoft eBook on the digital transformation of Australian businesses, and a blog that links to it
- Microsoft’s eBook and blog content portal
- Inbound Marketing Guide for Microsoft Partner Executive
3. Lead engagement through automated nurturing journeys
When your prospects engage with your blogs or videos and go on to download an eBook, white paper, or product guide, you can request that they fill out a form with some basic details in exchange for the free products you’re providing them. With this information, you can send them on automated lead nurturing email journeys that take their answers into account.
For example, you might want to ask them the industry they work in, the size of their business and their job title in the download form, which will then allow you to assign each lead to a persona profile. Then, depending on which persona they’re assigned to, each lead is put on a customised lead nurturing journey that serves them relevant content and addresses the pain-points and challenges identified in their persona profile.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM)
If you’ve implemented the previous three marketing techniques you’re well on your way to attracting more valuable leads and sending them through your sales funnel quicker, but your content won’t travel very far without a promotion strategy to give it a boost. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) involves seeding your blog content and page meta descriptions with keywords that are not only relevant to your target customers but that they’re also likely to use when searching for solutions. Keyword-optimised content will help you attract organic leads, and you can add a paid social media campaign over and above that to get yourself a top spot on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is another effective method for attracting organic traffic to your content - by sharing links to your blog posts and using relevant hashtags, you’ll start drawing in prospects who are interested in the topics you’re talking about. It’s also a good idea to engage with customers who comment on and share your content on social media, as that will go a long way towards developing real and valuable relationships.
You can also consider sponsoring social media posts to gain some more traction - depending on the social network you’re posting on, you can be extremely specific with your targeting. On LinkedIn, for example, you can maximise results by promoting your posts to only C-level executives who have experience working in your target industry and are more likely to resonate with your industry solution or service offering.
If you’re interested in exploring some of the options for turbocharging the marketing engine for your Microsoft Partner Solution, download our free guide, 5 Steps to Take Your Solution Marketing to Another Level and Grow Your Business.