B2B Content Marketing for SMB Business
Kim Albee on B2B content marketing.
Kim Albee is founder and President of Genoo, a marketing automation software company serving B2B SMB companies mostly in the U.S. Genoo provides tools to build micro-sites, do lead nurturing, lead tracking and it integrates with Salesforce.com. I met Kim on LinkedIn when I was looking for case studies for my book. This podcast interview is an update to that case study.
Kim launched her Genoo product in June 2008 in beta. It became available to the public in Sept 2009. As an entrepreneur launching a new marketing automation software product with no marketing budget Kim got very creative. She started playing with social media tools, most notably LinkedIn. She joined some relevant groups in 2008. But, at that time LinkedIn didn’t offer the “discussion” feature, so there was no ability to create conversations in groups.
Kim wondered how she could find and engage people interested in B2B marketing. She didn’t find any B2B groups on LinkedIn, so she created a B2B Online Marketing group and invited others to join it. But, without a discussion feature, the group didn’t have much value. Then, Kim set up a free forum for conversations on B2B marketing. But, no one joined. By now, Kim was getting frustrated by her limited ability to engage with other B2B marketers online. Then, it happened! LinkedIn started offering discussions in groups and everything changed.
Kim created a LinkedIn group called B2B Online Marketing and she also created a dedicated website which shares and re-purposes content from the group. BTW, do a Google search for “b2b online marketing” and you’ll find this website in the first 5 search results. Kim started discussions in this group on relevant topics such as lead generation, SEO, how to create great content, how to create and use micro-sites and other topics of interest to B2B marketers. Initially, Kim emailed the members of the group each time a new discussion was started using the email feature in Genoo. The group has grown to over 3,200 members and it’s still growing, fostering great conversations among B2B marketers.
Kim blazed a new trail with this approach. She was willing to experiment with something new. She was very persistent and resourceful. Her leadership is apparent as she created a new group and has been willing to maintain it with active interaction with the group members.
Some B2B Online Marketers Still Skeptical
Kim hears the same objection I often hear from B2B marketers. Many are simply skeptical that marketing online is effective for narrowly defined B2B niches. The truth is that most people search online when they need to find a product or service. B2B marketers must ask themselves, how do their websites perform in searches pertaining to their niche? Many B2B websites are just a “blow-horn” for their products and services with no meaningful calls to action, or limited opportunity to engage (if any). The reality is most B2B prospects want to get to know a business before they call them or fill out a form. They want to check you out first. And, the way to allow them to check you out is through great content!
Niche Marketers Take Notice
I’ve written before in my blog and in my book how marketers in any market segment should draw a circle with two concentric circles around it to define their target market. The smallest circle is the bulls-eye target market. The two outer circles contain demographics who reach and influence the bullseye. Marketers should target each of these groups through great content.
No matter what business you’re in you have a USP (unique selling proposition). There is a story there. Share your story. Your target market may not currently be on Twitter or Facebook every day, but when you share your content there you will get better search results. SEO is all about the long-tail now. If you don’t start now, you won’t be there when your audience arrives.
Kim met someone online who challenged her to write one email every day for 30 days on a relevant marketing topic. He offered to subscribe to her email list, in return for Kim subscribing to his. Kim agreed and sent her first email to her list of about 5000 people, many of whom she did not email frequently. She had low expectations but was willing to experiment. Remember, Kim is not afraid to take some risk. She started her first email with a cheesy email heading: “Hello Fellow Marketers.” She explained her plan to send one email each day for 30 days on a marketing topic. To her surprise, she got 218 people to sign up to get an email from Kim everyday for 30 days on relevant B2B marketing topics. After her final email, she did a survey which received a 38% open rate. Kim took some risk with this 30 day email challenge. And, the results were impressive.
Content Marketing & Relationship Building
I couldn’t have scripted this interview any better. In my book, Marketing 2.0 I boil everything down to having a terrific content marketing strategy and building relationships online. Kim’s daily email was great content, not to mention her B2B Online Marketing group on LinkedIn. Kim built relationships with her 218 subscribers through a personal response to replies she received which built relationships with her subscribers. After the 30 day experiment Kim got several new customers without ever once making a pitch for Genoo. Her great content was her marketing. How measurable is that?! Very!
Kim is a terrific example of Marketing 2.0 in action. She is willing to take risks. She succeeds a lot more than she fails. But, if we don’t have some failures along the way we’re probably not trying hard enough. Kim is proof positive of this.
To engage with Kim (and why wouldn’t you want to), here are several ways:
Marketing Automation Resources
If Kim Albee’s content marketing strategy story inspires you, please add your thoughts below.