How can you use a blog to reach your audience? To grow your business? Is blogging still a viable option for B2B lead generation?
Today we're going to see how a single, well-planned blog post can put you in front of your ideal customer when they're ready to make a buying decision.
Tidestone Solutions is a B2B (business to business) company from Portland, Maine, that offers mid-sized companies business process and accounting software solutions. Their area of expertise is within Microsoft Dynamics GP,
Kelley Sintz is the Business Development Director and was looking to grow their business within the craft brew industry. She was either unwilling or unable to provide me samples for this story. But I digress.
Identifying your customer.
Tidestone currently counts Allagash Brewing Company as a customer and has found a great fit between Dynamics GP and another recipe manufacturing software. It’s proved to be a very effective solution for this brewery, which they wanted to promote to other breweries.
Kelley says, “when writing the blog, I was trying to capture the importance of having an integrated software solution that will handle the back end accounting that is so often forgotten in this industry. I have found that a lot of major breweries are still running QuickBooks, and using MS Excel spreadsheets to run their production of craft beer.
“Ultimately, I wanted to get Dynamics GP and Craft Beer into one document that would not only peak interest in finding an accounting solution for a brewer, but capture the passion we have for this industry. Who are we kidding… I’m a huge craft beer fan, so what better to write about something that I’m passionate about!”
Optimizing for search.
It's always important to write your blog post in such a way that your ideal customer can find it when they're doing a search. Using tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends can give you insight into which questions your ideal customers are asking when they go to the search engines.
Once you uncover the keywords you should use, make sure to work them into your blog title for maximum effect. In this case, Kelley was interested in breweries who may be interested in Dynamics GP or ready to make a change from their current partner.
Kelley continues, “the blog was called ‘Microsoft Dynamics GP and Craft Beer… What do THEY have in common?’ Generally, it was about educating how Microsoft Dynamics GP along with recipe manufacturing software can grow production for breweries and help them understand the importance of getting away from manual processes to focus on what they do best… brew craft beer.”
Timing your posts.
“The timing of the blog was perfect.
“In May there were two major craft beer events that Tidestone was sponsoring (Craft Brew Races, Portland, and Brewbound Session Boston 2014). Getting this blog out to social media before these events, grew attention to our small consulting company and within hours of it being blasted, we had over 70 views on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
“In fact, we gained lots of new followers on our Twitter account and then the same for Facebook. Microsoft also took the blog and blasted it out to the Microsoft community, which made it searchable on their sites.
“Within a few weeks, we had Victory Brewing Company, a very large craft brewery contact us, looking for information regarding our company and how we could become their partner of record, as they are already running GP, but are expanding to integrate a recipe manufacturing software. They were ultimately looking for someone that ‘understood' their industry and we happen to be a great fit for them!”
“Victory Brewing did a Google search for ‘craft beer and GP’, which took them directly to our blog and our website in order for them to contact us.”
Starting from scratch.
Although Tidestone has had a blog for a while, they had been using it to promote webinars and other events…they didn't have a robust readership or get a lot of comments up until this point.
Although Tidestone's results “may not be typical,” in terms of how quickly they generated business, it's not a requirement that you have dozens or hundreds of previous blog posts to generate leads from a single post.
“Bringing and naming verticals in our blogs has already shown so many positive results. We continue to gain new Twitter followers every day and more views on LinkedIn than ever before.”
Should you be blogging?
I asked Kelley what would she say to other companies who are considering blogging.
“DO IT! It’s not as scary as it seems!
“The best part about blogging (for me) is that I can write about things that I’m passionate about. I’m very passionate about what I do professionally, and what my company is doing. Combining that into a piece of work that people will read and hopefully find interesting, is something very powerful.
“The idea that you can actually ‘help' a business by writing about topics they may find useful… allows businesses to collaborate on a new level. It’s the road technology is on, and it’s fabulous to the business community.”
Shortly after this interview, Kelley informed me that they landed Victory Brewing. Good job!
Now it's your turn.
Have you got a blogging success story? Have you ever posted a how-to, or list post, or resource-rich post that helped you land a new client? If so, let us know what the post was and how it helped in the comments below.