Have you ever visited a company website or social media channel and something caught your eye in an unexpected but delightful way? Whether it was a cool video or fancy infographic, the content captured your imagination in a way that other brands don’t. Maybe it quickly solved an issue for your business or perhaps sparked ideas around how to improve it in general.
This is the power of well-executed inbound marketing. It grabs someone’s attention in a unique way and forces them to stop right in their tracks. Inbound marketing is especially useful for B2B brands whose customers are busy business stakeholders. Their tight schedules don’t leave a lot of room for rummaging through mountains of marketing material, so you need to captivate them quickly.
To get a business’s attention as a B2B brand, you need to think outside the box. To help, we’ve compiled a list of key lessons from four inbound marketing examples you can implement for your own business.
Cisco: Tell a Story to Share Your Message
A lot of B2B brands operate in jargon-filled, niche sectors. This environment encourages inbound marketing initiatives that are a little too far on the technical side. Reports, eBooks, and whitepapers all start to blend together and feel like they were written by the same academic.
Just because your business is in a niche sector doesn’t mean your marketing message needs to be shrouded in industry speak. Business stakeholders are still human at the end of the day, so find a way to connect with them on a more personal level.
A key way to make your message more relatable? Storytelling.
Each of the graphic novels is relatively short (no more than 10 pages) and includes narratives around relevant topics to their audience. It’s not just accessible for the IT experts in their field, but also professionals in other sectors.
This inbound marketing example proves you don’t have to overcomplicate things as a B2B brand. Always look for ways to simplify larger marketing messages for a wider audience. You don’t necessarily have to omit challenging topics, but you should present them in digestible formats.
Always look for ways to simplify larger marketing messages for a wider audience. You don't necessarily have to omit challenging topics, but you should present them in digestible formats. Click To Tweet
Think about the information you’re sharing with your audience and ask yourself: how can we get more people to stop, understand, and take interest in our message? Maybe that comes in the form of a graphic novel like Cisco, but it can also mean other types of content—short videos, infographics, GIFs, you name it.
Later: Represent Your Brand Essence on Owned Channels
If you go to the website of a design firm, you expect that website to reflect design expertise—but you might find a sloppy layout instead. Many businesses will brand themselves as experts in a particular field, but their owned channels tell a completely different story.
B2B businesses are no exception. Use the organic channels you have control over to show your audience your expertise and what your brand is all about.
Instagram marketing software company Later has executed this to perfection on social media. Later is an Instagram marketing platform, so it’s probably a safe bet to think a lot of their audience will use the brand’s Instagram page to judge their expertise.
Luckily, Later doesn’t disappoint.
Later’s bright, colorful Instagram page is perfectly in line with their overall fun branding. The page also includes posts about different social issues, so it gives Instagram users an idea of what Later stands for.
As a B2B brand, look at all your owned channels as an inbound marketing opportunity. Fill every social media page and website asset with content that is reflective of how you want an audience to perceive you. If you sell a CRM software, you can fill your social media pages with stories of companies that have improved their customer service with your product. Use a combination of words and visuals to relay your brand narrative.
MYOB: Offer an Interactive Tool
When you think of helpful B2B content, your mind probably jumps to blog posts and eBooks. These resources are invaluable, but they’re not the only way to offer customers valuable information. Consider offering an interactive tool that helps your audience in some way.
Consider what online accounting software company MYOB has done with this inbound marketing example. The company offers an end of financial year calendar for businesses to easily keep track of important tax deadlines.
Since MYOB is an accounting software, a tax calculator is a relevant, interactive tool for their audience. They offer a clear and simple solution to something many small to mid-sized businesses often struggle to keep track of—tax deadlines. This internal resource on their site gives businesses the ability to quickly click through and see exactly when important dates are coming up.
MYOB’s calendar also links to a number of other resources on their site that can be useful to businesses. Not only are they helping their audience identify key tax dates, but they also set themselves up as a solution for further help. Whatever interactive tool you create, connect it to other parts of your site, so you have opportunities to convey the value of your product or service.
Salesforce: Use Video to Your Advantage
Video is one of the most powerful inbound marketing mediums you can use as a business—and more brands are investing in long-form video content to help drive those efforts. According to Wistia’s 2021 State of Video Report, “the number of videos in the 30–60 minute category in 2020 grew 140% year-over-year and 446% since 2016.”
That’s a lot of companies jumping on long-form video, and it’s a great inbound marketing tool—especially for B2B brands. Video is one of the best ways to entertain and engage your audience while also breaking down valuable information that is important to them. If you post compelling long-form videos directly on your website, they can be an effective way to get more people to visit and explore other resources from your business.
One B2B brand that has excelled with its use of inbound marketing video is customer relationship management (CRM) software company Salesforce. They have taken a unique storytelling approach to inbound marketing with The Story of Sales documentary and shared it directly through their website to get more traffic.
The series takes an in-depth look into what it really means to work in sales. It pulls in interviews with different authors, trainers, and professors to paint a full picture for Salesforce’s primary audience—salespeople. The Story of Sales positions Salesforce as a brand that is deeply ingrained in the sales community and understands the sales world on a deep level.
Creating a video series for your business is a great way to stand out as an industry leader while also entertaining your audience. Pick a topic that your brand is immersed in and find a creative angle to put together a video series. It doesn’t have to be as high in production value as The Story of Sales, but it should include the input of thought leaders at your company to showcase your brand’s expertise.
When you’ve put your video series together, promote it on social media channels to build excitement, so people come to your website to watch your video. Once people are on your website, take the opportunity to offer links to other content and resources, so you keep users in your marketing funnel.
Create Your Own Inbound Marketing Examples
As a brand, sometimes it’s hard to find inventive ways to engage your audience, and you end up executing inbound marketing efforts that are the same as your competitors.
If these inbound marketing examples teach you anything, it’s that your brand should be fueled by creativity. Think about your B2B landscape and find opportunities for your brand’s marketing efforts to differentiate itself from competitors.