Adam T. Sutton

B2B Inbound Marketing: Top tactics for social media, SEO, PPC and optimization

Inbound marketing is growing in B2B companies. Investments in webinars, SEO, social marketing and page optimization are all on the rise, as noted in this chart from MarketingSherpa’s new 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.

B2B inbound tactics chart

As inbound grows, more marketers are finding the right mix of tactics and channels for their companies. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but certain tactics are commonly reported as effective.

Below, we pulled stats from four charts in the benchmark report to highlight the most-effective tactics for B2B inbound marketing. Check out how the best tactics are interrelated.

Search engine optimization

  • Most effective tactic: On-page content optimization

An effective SEO program is vital to an inbound strategy. Most B2B marketers research keywords and create great content about topics surrounding them. One of the most popular content platforms is the blog. Although blogging is not easy, many B2B companies have stuck with it (because it works).

Social media marketing

  • Most effective tactic: Blogging

Blogging is the most effective B2B social marketing tactic. This ties directly to the popularity of blogs as a platform for publishing search-optimized content, as well as their ability to engage audiences.

Website optimization and design

  • Most effective tactic: Using unique landing pages for campaigns
  • Second-most effective tactic: Optimizing design and content for conversions

Inbound marketing can pull more visitors to your website — but visitors have to take action when they arrive. They have to download a report, subscribe to your newsletter, request to be contacted, etc. Otherwise the traffic is wasted.

This is why using unique landing pages for each campaign and optimizing them are the most effective tactics for B2B websites. The tactics reach into all facets inbound marketing and ensure your traffic is put to use.

You can find out a lot more about effective landing page optimization and design tactics at the upcoming MarketingSherpa 2011 Optimization Summit in June.

Pay-per-click advertising

  • Most effective tactic: Creating highly-targeted ad groups
  • Second most-effective tactic: A/B testing landing page content

Landing page testing is nearly tied for first as the most effective PPC tactic for B2B companies. This, again, illustrates that websites have to be designed to convert traffic that is generated by inbound marketing. Otherwise the traffic is wasted.

Related resources

MarketingSherpa 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report

MarketingSherpa 2011 Optimization Summit

Inbound Marketing: How to pull-in customers without pushing ads

Landing Page Optimization: Value-focused revamp leads to 188% lead gen boost, increase in personal interaction

MarketingSherpa: Subscribe to our Inbound Marketing newsletter

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B2B Marketing, Inbound Marketing



  1. March 8th, 2011 at 11:15 | #1

    These are the ABCs of online marketing these days. Did you leave off Webinars because companies are not finding them effective in the B2B space, only in B2C?

  2. March 8th, 2011 at 13:33 | #2

    As a Community Manager who works exclusively within the B2B space, I both agree with and relate to these statistics. Our blog has been a key source of traffic to our website and has done wonders for boosting our online presence. Creating unique, intriguing and engaging content that is keyword rich has optimized our search engine ranking. Community building through social media engagement, as an extension of our blogging efforts, has also proven extremely valuable. In my research and advisory role for the startup community, I have found that these tactics are also extremely valuable for them, despite low domain trust of new websites. If you’re interested in reading more, I wrote a post on it just yesterday: http://bit.ly/e7mrUs

  3. Adam Sutton
    March 9th, 2011 at 10:13 | #3

    Hi Roman — Webinars are definitely effective for some B2B companies. They just aren’t the *most* effective tactic in these categories. As you can see in the chart, 60% of B2B marketers are increasing investment in webinars.

  4. March 9th, 2011 at 15:47 | #4

    I love your blog and would love to guest post an educational article I have written pertaining to social media and the conflict in Egypt. If you are interested please email me for more information.

    Thomas Morrison
    twmorrison75@gmail.com
    http://twitter.com/twmorrison75

  5. March 10th, 2011 at 09:34 | #5

    Thanks for the positive comments Thomas.

    We don’t have guest writers, per se, like other blogs do. We’ve found those “guest writers” tend to just be shopping the same story around everywhere.

    But what we do occasionally ask a question to our audience and then publish the most helpful tips on our blog. Here’s a past example of such a post. Join our LinkedIn Group and be on the lookout for the next question.

  6. March 11th, 2011 at 15:20 | #6

    Thanks Roman for a great post on inbound marketing and the value it brings! As the numbers of inbound leads continue to rise for companies though it is important that follow up processes are in place to qualify these leads promptly, pass to sales those that are sales ready, nurture those that are qualified but not sales ready and disgard those that aren’t a fit. I know for us that is a big focus so we can invest our marketing efforts and our sales professional’s time on those areas that will have the highest return.

  7. March 14th, 2011 at 11:00 | #7

    I’m glad to see this increase, particularly in the field of SEO. Its a good reflection of the increase in awareness of in-bound marketing.

  8. March 15th, 2011 at 13:39 | #8

    Christa,

    Great mention on Lead Management. Marketing’s role has always primarily been Lead/Demand Generation, but Lead Management (capture, qualify, prioritize, route) is a rapidly growing function more often falling to Marketing to implement.

    Adam, since it’s such a new field I would love to learn more about best practices around Lead Qualification (weight, rank, score including defining Segmentation Profiles), Prioritization (funnel position – who is sales ready), and Routing (optimum channel selection). It is almost impossible to find research.

  9. March 22nd, 2011 at 09:51 | #9

    I found this to be extremely helpful. It is a good gauge on where we are as a company and how much further we need to go!

  10. November 29th, 2011 at 04:30 | #10

    Now a day’s Social Media is almost everything in terms of personal and professional aspects. May be you can call it a system or process through which we can get our marketing surveys right on place.

  11. April 2nd, 2013 at 23:50 | #11

    That chart is still relevant today. B2B inbound marketing is growing now, but businesses are realizing that it needs to be in context of their overall strategy: http://nali.org/what-is-b2b-inbound-marketing/

  12. June 1st, 2013 at 18:23 | #12

    A good explanation about focussing on the right tactics… thanks Adam :-)

  1. March 11th, 2011 at 08:59 | #1
  2. May 18th, 2011 at 11:52 | #2