If you’re like most of the B2B companies we talk to, you likely don’t have the luxury of a large (or even any) advertising budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete with organizations who do have money to throw around. You can still reach your target audience, drive just as much traffic to your website and connect with potential buyers without spending a penny on ads.In this blog, we’ll explore three common advertising scenarios and share the secret for success in that space without “paying to play.”
Exposure in industry publications
For many B2B organizations, exposure in the right industry publications (either online or in print) can be an incredibly effective marketing strategy. If that’s what your target audience spends time perusing, getting your name there can give you instant credibility and introduce new leads to your brand.
The traditional way of getting this type of exposure is to pay for it, either by purchasing ads or sponsored content. However, this can be cost-prohibitive for startups.
There is another way: it takes more work and isn’t a guarantee, but it’s worth the time to explore as a strategy. Many industry publications will gladly accept thought leadership type content submissions from industry experts. It’s a win-win: they get free, quality content and you get your name and expertise in front of your audience.
What to do
- Identify the top industry or trade publications that your target audience reads or subscribes to. Search on their websites to try to find contact information for an editor.
- Reach out to that editor, introduce yourself as someone very knowledgable in the industry, and explain that you think you could provide quality content that would be compelling to their readers.
- If they are on board, write content that is educational in nature and not at all promotional, or they won’t publish it.
- However, don’t do this “for free.” Make sure you can include a short author bio where you can mention your company and what it does, with a link back to your website. At the very least, you should be able to include a link somewhere in the article back to your website or it’s probably not worth your time.
Search traffic to your website
Everyone knows the power of search, particularly using Google. One of the most common types of ads to buy are Google Ads, which show up as sponsored search results at the top of any search result page. In the image below, you can see the first three results to this search are all ads—those websites paid to show up before any other search results.
While buying Google ads can be a smart strategy, it can also be very expensive and out-of-reach for smaller companies. Unfortunately, you can’t get those top spots without paying for them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rank on page one of search results.
The best way to rank higher in search results without paying for Google ads is to have a kick-ass content strategy. That means consistently publishing quality educational content that matches what your audience is searching for.
What to do
- Post new blogs to your website regularly, at least once a week, for the best results. These blogs should focus on informative, value-based content, not promotional topics related to your business or product/service. Do keyword research to see what your audience is searching for and create blogs to answer those search queries.
- Create pillar page content around the most searched topics related to your business that you have the most expertise on.
- Don’t worry about “stuffing keywords” into your blog or pillar content—that’s a very outdated strategy to rank higher in search results. Today, Google prioritizes content that is regularly updated, thorough and appears to best answer a searcher’s query, so your focus should just be on finding the right topics and creating strong, helpful content.
For B2B companies, LinkedIn is an amazing tool with so much sales and marketing potential. LinkedIn offers several advertising options that can be quite effective, ones that we use here at Accelity and with many of our clients.
But, you can also be wildly successful on LinkedIn without buying a single ad, through any number of strategies. (If you follow Accelity or our CEO, Jackie, on LinkedIn, you’ve probably seen many of these strategies firsthand.)
What to do
- Publish content on your LinkedIn page. LinkedIn has the option to publish content within the tool, which gives you more visibility and drives more visitors to your LinkedIn page. Add a step to your blog process to re-post each new blog as an article on LinkedIn (with a link back to your website) to get double benefits.
- Join relevant discussion groups and share your expertise. LinkedIn has hundreds of different groups where people discuss specific topics or industries. Find a couple that are relevant to your business or industry and start interacting. Answer people’s questions, share your content, join conversations, pose your own questions. This will give you exposure as someone who knows their stuff and prospects will gravitate toward you. (Just don’t try to pitch your services in a group!)
- Jump on the video bandwagon to build your personal brand. Regardless of the industry, people like to work with other people, especially ones they feel they can trust. Consider creating a video strategy on LinkedIn to showcase your expertise and get your brand out there. When Accelity’s CEO started doing this, LinkedIn became one of our top sources for marketing leads. We now get prospects calling us saying they feel like they know and trust Jackie (and our team) just from watching our videos on LinkedIn.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you gain brand exposure and attract prospects, even on a shoestring budget. I’d love to hear other suggestions you have for effective, low-cost marketing strategies! Share in the comments below.