RubyApps Insights: 5 Steps to Kick-Start your B2B Marketing Program

RubyApps Insights speaks with Steve Aguiar, partner and marketing lead at BlueWing, a boutique digital agency that specializes in inbound marketing, website conversion optimization, social media lead generation, content strategy, and more. Our conversation is framed around five easy-to-activate steps to getting a B2B digital marketing program kick-started.

Subscribe to RubyApps Insights today, and listen on your preferred channel:
iTunes podcast link Google Play podcast link Spotify podcast link

Episode transcription

Alexander Kotler: Digital marketing can be a complicated, intensive, confusing, frightening. Hey, you name it and ever, especially for marketers in the BTB space. In this edition of RubyApps and sites, we speak with an expert from Blue Wing, who gives us five easy steps to kickstart a BTB marketing club.

Alexander Kotler: Our guest on today's episode is Steve Aguiar, founder and full stack marketer at Blue Wing, a boutique digital agency that specializes in inbound marketing, website conversion optimization, social media lead generation, content strategy, and more, Steve.

Steve Aguiar: That's right.

Alexander Kotler: Welcome.

Steve Aguiar: That's the thing.

Alexander Kotler: It's a lot.

Steve Aguiar: Oh yeah. (laughing)

Alexander Kotler: Well today in our brief time together, we're going to discuss how to kickstart your BTB marketing program using modern marketing technology. We're going to give five steps to get going and these are going to serve as the framework for our conversation. I'm going to just jump into it and we're going to go numerically from one to five.

Steve Aguiar: Sure.

Alexander Kotler: And then we'll be done and you'll be out the door and-

Steve Aguiar: All right, your day.

Alexander Kotler: ..we'll continue. First, you have to determine your strategy.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah, so digital marketing can be is a lot. I mean it's a very general term and I think the main way that I break it down in my head is this difference between inbound marketing, um, which companies like HubSpot have really evangelize and become the thought leaders around an outbound marketing. And the real differences in the way I think about it is inbound marketing is if someone searching for your, for your solution. Um, so just think Google think, you know, ranking organically through blogging, running an adverts campaign against a really important search term that's relevant to your product.

And then on the other side of the coin you have outbound marketing, and that's more stinks social or display advertising where you're proactively getting in front of people who could be your potential customers. And when you're, when you think about it in a really high level, that's sort of why Google and Facebook have this duopoly on, on digital advertising right now. They compliment each other really well for that reason.

One is more about search and one is about more proactively going out and getting in front of your target customer. In terms of the BTB, you know, industry or industries, I guess you could say, account based marketing has really evolved or emerged as the, the gold standard for in particular outbound marketing. And it's just this idea, and it's, it's pretty simple when you think about it, but this idea that you're running ads against a specific list of target accounts that you want to work with.

So there's this sort of classical tension between marketing and sales at a lot of companies where marketing says we're bringing in leads but sales can close them and sales says you guys are bringing in leads but they're not the right fit for us. And with ABM it's a really integrated approach, you both the marketing and sales teams can come together, put together a list of specific companies they want to work with, marketing runs, advertising on Facebook Linkedin, et cetera. Against that list of target accounts and it leads are generated, are passed to sales and sales already knows that they're pre qualified and relevant.

Alexander Kotler: When we think about both of them, inbound and outbound, is there a particular posture of these audiences that we need to consider when determining our approach?

Steve Aguiar: I would say, you know, the first thing that I would look at is, you know, I would look, use a tool like semrush, for example, there's a lot of different search tools. There's Google keyword planner as semrush, AA traps. Look at the keyword volume around what your product or solution is and see if there's already people searching for it. Because a lot of times in the BTB space, especially if you're in more niche service provider, you know, there may not be people actively searching for what you offer.

So in that case, inbound doesn't really lend itself well to like what to marketing yourself online. You might be able to do some sort of blogging and stuff to get in front of your target prospects for around specific questions they have. But in general, you're going to want to go on a more outbound ABM style approach where you're proactively getting in front of people and educating them on your solution over time so that they can eventually become a customer.

Alexander Kotler: Okay. So that's great. So we've determined our strategy, perhaps our audience needs to or our audiences actively searching for your offering and perhaps in other cases they're not, which is going to drive that strategy.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah.

Alexander Kotler: I mentioned audience brings us to number two.

Steve Aguiar: Yup.

Alexander Kotler: Let's define the audience.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah. So you know, every comp, every company should have two things before they start with any digital marketing campaign. Number one is an ideal client profile. What does the company that you want to work with look like? What's their revenue? Where are they based? What do they offer? What's their industry, how big are they, how many employees? So that you really want to have an ideal client profile established.

And then second to that, you want to have a target persona. And the target persona is the person at that company that you are generally selling to or marketing to. That could be the CEO, it could be the CMO, it could be, you know, the CIO. It really depends on what your, what your product is. But that's, you know, the target persona is the person at that company. So then that becomes more job title, seniority, things like that.

You know, did they job function, maybe what magazines they read, things like that, that you can use the back end to targeting. So you really want to make sure you have those two things and then after that, you know, you want to, you don't want this just to be like, you know, your target ideal client profile and your target persona kind of these, yes, they should be sort of ideas and documented. But really the net where you can bring that to the next level is with the lists and the data that you can use or, or you know curate or gather or use tools to get where you actually create a list of target accounts and a list of leads that you want to target.

Alexander Kotler: Okay. So creating the profile and the relevant personas that's going to come from some external sources, but also a bit of intuition and experience that comes from the work you've already done in your sector. But generating lists and being able to pinpoint with precision the recipients of your outbound or the targets of your inbound efforts. How can you do that if you have zero lists?

Steve Aguiar: There's a lot of great tools out there. You know, Linkedin sales navigator is probably the, an entry level one that's I think about 80 bucks a month, but really, really powerful from there. You can go, you can spend, you know thousands of dollars a month on things like datanize, read books, things like that, that you can use to say you wanted to know, say you sold, you know, say inbound marketing services for people that use HubSpot. You can go to a datanize and say you specialize in the health care industry, right?

Like you go to datanize, you put it in health care industry and then you can use that to export all the websites that use, I already had the HubSpot tracking code and now I'll give you a list of, you know, say a thousand companies that in healthcare that already use HubSpot that you can then, you know, the, you know, are on that platform and that you work within to go out and use it as a sales group blueprint.

Going back to the account based marketing thing, this list really becomes a blueprint for that marketing and sales plan. You know, that's, you know, with the account based marketing you can literally create account based audiences on Linkedin and Facebook, et cetera, targeting those companies. So getting the data's really important because again, that's the blueprint for your mark, your outbound marketing and account based marketing. And it's also a little blueprint on the sales side for the companies that they, that they want to work with and lead the type of leads that they want to see come through.

Alexander Kotler: Just to go off on a quick tangent.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah.

Alexander Kotler: For a moment, when you were talking about some of these tools and it does sound like you can just throw money at it and, (laughing) and something will come back.

Speaker 3: How in terms of the tools, can someone be a more prudent about allocating budget to get some of those answers?

Steve Aguiar: It's definitely, in this case, like a lot of things in life, like sort of a trade off between time and money. So yes. I would say, you know, you go on Linkedin and you can definitely set up a filter and sort of manually export or go one by one with those contacts and get them into an excel spreadsheet or into your CRM. You know, there's a lot of people use virtual assistants for this type of work, ones that are outsourced, outside of the United States that will pull together this data for you.

So there's definitely sort of, you know, budget friendly ways, the pulse ego, this data, and that might take a little bit more time, but we'll be more affordable in the long run. And then yeah, you can always buy the Ferrari and just get, you know, reams of data very, very quickly if you want to go that route as well.

Alexander Kotler: Vroom, vroom. So once you've determined your strategy and you've defined your audience, the third thing is around the content strategy, which we'll call defining the offer.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah. So the content strategy,  you know, I think of, you know, putting together a content strategy is sort of a matrix. So you want to have your target personas and the left side and left hand side, and then you want to have the different stages of the buying journey at the top. And when you do that, you create a little bit of a matrix where we can figure out what content should you be producing next and what content you should you be producing to help move buyers down the funnel.

So, you know, the closet, let's just say, let's call it a classic three stage buying funnel of awareness, consideration and decision stage content. So your fruit for your target persona, you want to make sure you have a piece of awareness, stage content, something very broad related to industry that will get them to click or just come to your website.

Then you want to have consideration stage content, something that's a little bit more geared towards your specific services. That's again still relevant to them, but maybe more geared towards what your company can offer. And then lastly, you want to have decisions, stage content, and that's content that the person is familiar with you, they know all about you. But they're, they're in buying mode and they're trying to decide whether they should go with you or a competitor.

So something like a pricing sheet or a case study or something like that, you know, some sort of closing presentation, would it be a piece of decision stage content? So for each target persona, you want to make sure that the entire buying journey is covered.

Alexander Kotler: So in terms of creating a slight caveat, given the millions of people that are listening to this episode and the fact that they may be in different businesses, they may be in professional services, they may be, who knows, the fact of the matter is a buying journey can be dependent on that specific sector, on that specific company.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah.

Alexander Kotler: And there can be different stages that go beyond awareness, consideration, decision. And there can even be sub stages within each of those macro stages.

Steve Aguiar: Definitely. There could be, you know, definitely you can kind of get us Comcast, you want with it. But yeah, I think, you know, for any company that for example like you mentioned professional services, if you're say a management consulting firm that maybe deals with many different industries, you're going to want to probably take, take your content strategies to the next level and have a persona for each industry, right?

And make sure you have a piece of awareness, stage content for a healthcare or technology or you know, some other industry. Make sure you have decision stage content for each of those different target personas. So yeah, I would definitely, you know, you can, you can get it, you can get pretty complicated with it. But I would definitely start, you know, persona wise if your company dabbles in different industries, start with different personas for each one.

And again, just make sure you have at least some, some high level general, generally positioned content that's going to bring people in and then move down the funnel with, with content that's going to be more, be more about selling them, you know, against your competitor.

Alexander Kotler: Word to the wise. Keep it simple. If you are just starting this process out, there's no reason to create more macro stages or even sub stages building this is a process and so starting as simple as possible until you start to gain some traction is probably just one little footnote.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah, I would start simple. Start with those three stages. Start with your intuition on what you think would make sense for those three different stages. What's going to be interesting is that as you start having conversations with leads, they'll start telling you what you should be producing next. One of my favorite questions to ask a potential client is in terms of determining content strategy is what are the questions that your, your prospects are asking you in sales meetings? Because those are the specific questions that you can then use to, to back into a blog post and ebook, a Webinar, and then add that to the buying journey for everybody else as well.

Alexander Kotler: We get all the time like, why are you so good looking?  (laughing)

Alexander Kotler: Yeah, sorry that's not really relevant. (laughing)

Alexander Kotler: Yeah, that makes, that makes good sense. In terms of driving content, which is a segue to the next question that I have before we move on to number four, which is if you're serving up this content, either you have the content already or you need to create it net new, and therefore you're going to have to apply resources and consideration to how you're going to create and serve content from existing sources or from scratch.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah.

Alexander Kotler: Didn't think you were going to get yes, no questions on RubyApps Insights.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah. (laughing) Yeah, yeah.

Alexander Kotler: Perfect. You know, can make an easy like that. (laughing) So let's move on to number four. So you have, you haven't offered, you have your, your stages, you've created your matrix, you know what you're going to actually serve up. But number four is about getting some attention to it.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah.

Alexander Kotler: Driving traffic to the offer.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah. So this kind of, this kind of ties in with the positioning thing that we talk about, talked about and the first step in defining your strategy, you know, search, you know traffic and a lot of ways can be thought about a search and social. Right. I think for most websites that's the bulk of any, any traffic coming to you. So again, on the search side, you look at a platform like ad words. Is there enough volume for you to run an ad words campaign against the keyword that's very relevant to your business or service offering?

Are there questions that your target persona is typing into Google that you can maybe write a blog post about and become, you know, organically rank on the top page of Google results for that and drive traffic that way. So those are the two, you know organic and paid search and then you have social. So looking again at a platform like Facebook or Linkedin, you know, who can I target my, can I target my target industry and the job titles within them with the content that I'm producing and proactively get in front of those?

What are the targeting parameters that are possible on Linkedin based on who I'm trying to sell to? So there's a lot you can do there as well. I think, you know, I'm, I'm very gungho on paid, at the moment just because I think organic reach is very hard to build it from scratch at this sort of moment in time in terms of the evolution of digital marketing. And I also think it's great because you see a results more quickly. So, you know, with a paid campaign you can get the content in front of people much more quickly, really kind of what the flip of a switch, and see if it resonates with them versus trying over the course of years at this point to build up an organic audience, which can be really painstaking, really time consuming. And not sometimes I know he's effective.

So yeah, I think, you know, I'm very gung Ho on paid both for search and social. I also really like organic SEO~ when it comes to, you know, for people that think really long term and are willing to put in the time and effort to maintain, maintain a blog and they're, they're okay with having the payoff be six months or a year from now. But again, you know, the traffic kind of comes back to that first idea of search or social and then figuring out what are also thinking about your constant strategy. Looping that in again thinking about, is this something that someone was going to click on in their feet, if they see it? Is it something that they're actively searching for? And then, you know, putting together your traffic strategy from that.

Alexander Kotler: we've identified what the strategy is that we want to take in our approach. We've figured out the audience, both in terms of profile, persona and the lists we've defined what the offer is around our content strategy. We figured out how we're going to send the people in the direction of that content. And so this brings us to number five. The last one for the purpose of our conversation to package this up neatly in a bow is to convert that interest into leads.

Steve Aguiar: Yes. And this really happened, happens with, you know, digital marketers call it different things, but generally they're called lead magnets or content offers. So this is, say a landing page on your website, where someone will put in their email to register for a Webinar, download an Ebook, maybe even a direct contact form to set up a demo or a meeting. So really that's, that's really where the transition happens between marketing and sales. You really need to have someone's contact information for you to be, for you to be able to make a sale, especially in BTB.

Because BTB companies, especially ones that say offer professional services needs to have sales meetings to close a deal. It's not something where someone can just go to your website and buy a certain package like a eCommerce site or something like that. So having this, this moment in time where someone kind of crosses the trip wire and provides their information to you and you know, having sink into your CRM so that your sales team can follow up is really, really important, when it comes to BTB marketing.

So yeah, there's, there's a lot, you know, in terms of converting those leads to customers. There's a lot that goes on. They're both in the marketing and sales side. On the marketing side, you might have some automated emails set up so that you're continually peppering these new leads with different value propositions, are different pieces of content to build trust. You, maybe you're retargeting them on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. with video or other things that again, we'll keep you in front of them. And then you also have the sales side. So you know, at this point you can have with their email or their phone number can have your, you know, a business development team individually reach out to these contacts to get a meeting on the books.

Alexander Kotler: Because essentially it comes down to a numbers game, a quantity of touches in order to break through as well as the quality of the content, and [crosstalk 00:18:42] the outreach.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah. I think the latest metric from think with Google is a 21 to 24 touches ah before someone makes the purchasing decision. So you really have to think about that in terms of your entire marketing and sales strategy. You know, you have someone maybe coming in through a Facebook ad and then they get an email from you. All right? That's, they became a lead maybe very quickly. I might have only been three or four touches. So now you want to set up retargeting and set up email automation. You want to have direct outreach from your sales reps.You want to have all of these other systems in place so that now this person is, really in your funnel and you're, you're going to be all over the place getting these touches on different platforms.

Alexander Kotler: Hmm. So in terms of touches, do some last touches. We're going to recap our five steps. Here you go. Determine your strategy, one. Define the audience, two. Define the offer, three. Drive traffic to the offer, four. Convert interest into leads, five.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah, that's a great, I think a great high level way to think about it. I know a five point checklist might be simplifying it for people, but I think, you know, there's a lot of things that go into all this, but I think this is a really good framework for people that are trying to think about how they can improve their, their BTB marketing strategy to, you know, drum up more leads and close more business.

Alexander Kotler: Well before we close this episode, let's figure out how people, if they're interested, Steve can contact you and learn more about Blue Wing.

Steve Aguiar: Sure. You can come tomorrow website I'm also on Linkedin, Steven Aguiar, A. G. U. I. A. R. And Yeah, happy to have a conversation if you want to reach out or even have any questions, I'm happy to answer any follow-ups you might have after listening to this.

Alexander Kotler: Lot of happiness. Happy to have had you.

Steve Aguiar: Yeah.

Alexander Kotler: For a conversation today on RubyApps Insights. Steve, thanks so much.

Steve Aguiar: Thank you Alex.

Voiceover: RubyApps Insights is recorded at Studio 55 and is hosted Alexander Kotler for more insights and detail on RubyApps enterprise software developed by RubensteinTech visit, Until next time, have an awesome every day.