Surrounding Buyers In-Market: How to Generate Intent-Driven Leads

With the rise of account-based marketing comes a whole new plethora of technology vendors.

Companies like 6sense use artificial intelligence to provide B2B sales and marketing teams with visibility into which leads/accounts are actively in-market (Ex. conducting research online) for products and services like yours.

For companies with large marketing budgets, this is certainly an amazing option for building a pipeline of qualified prospects. But, what about companies who don’t have a budget for technology like this or are simply not this mature?

We’ve all heard this stat before:

“74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half their research online before speaking with a salesperson.” – Forrester

So why don’t marketing teams spend more time developing a highly targeted content strategy that surrounds those researchers who are actively in-market to buy?

It always surprises me at how many B2B marketing teams overlook these foundational (OG) marketing programs by trying to launch overly complex and non-scalable campaigns.

In my opinion, combining paid and organic search with highly relevant content is still one of the first lead generation strategies that B2B marketing teams should execute.

Here are a few simple and low-cost suggestions on how to get in front of more prospects that are actively in-market to buy.

Foundational Content

Creating a complete guide for the category of your product or service offering is one of the best ways to establish credibility in your space. Once created, this also provides you with a ton of smaller pieces of content that you can break down into more of the long-tail search terms.

During my time at Careerify (employee referral software), we knew that we wanted to own the category of content around “employee referrals” as we wanted to get in front of any prospect searching for this topic.

We created “The Complete Guide to Employee Referrals” and created a landing page that was highly optimized for the “employee referrals” search phrase.

I always recommend starting with Google search ads and creating a highly optimized landing page to capture leads for a piece of content like this. This is the type of campaign that can always be running and you can ramp up or down depending on your budget.

You can also test doing things a bit differently by using a live chat tool/bot like Drift on your landing page instead of the traditional lead gen form.

Long-Tail Phrases

Now that you’ve got your complete guide, you can start to write content for all of those organic long-tail search phrases that relate to your product or service category.

Let’s continue with the “employee referral” example. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and think about all of the things that you search for when researching a major purchase.

Some examples might include:

  • Employee referral software
  • Employee referral benchmarks
  • Employee referral statistics <year>
  • Employee referral case studies
  • Employee referral examples
  • Employee referral bonus

Check out the bottom of Google search results to help you come up with more ideas:

google related search terms

These are all long-tail phrases that your potential prospects who are in-market are searching for. Blog posts are by far the best way to capture these search terms organically.

You can also include a call to action at the bottom of each blog post to download the complete guide you created earlier.

You’re not going to start seeing results right away, however, I’ve written blog posts that took 45 minutes to write and are still generating a solid amount of traffic 2 years later.

B2B Communities

Quora is one of the most effective communities that B2B marketers can get involved in to surround prospects that are in-market.

What do you do when you’re looking for help? You ask credible people who have been in your shoes before. Many B2B buyers look to communities like Quora to find answers to their questions before, during and after purchases.

That’s why creating and responding to relevant threads on Quora is so impactful. There are many other communities to get involved in, however, I’ve found Quora responses to be highly search engine optimized.

Anyone on your team can get involved in Quora so do your best to encourage the right people to get started. It’s great for their own personal brand and for your company.

Jason Lemkin does an amazing job at getting involved on Quora. If you search for anything related to SaaS sales, there’s a good chance that one of his responses or threads will show up.


b2b review sites

Review Sites

With the explosion of B2B review sites like Capterra, G2 Crowd and TrustRadius there is no shortage of review sites to get listed on.

In my experience, review sites like these are actually more useful for understanding which solutions I should be comparing in my purchase process vs. relying solely on the written reviews.

It’s useful to have 5-star reviews on your product and/or service, but take a look around…nearly everyone in your category has the same above average score. If you aren’t getting solid reviews here you’ve got some bigger problems to deal with.

The most useful aspect of these review sites is that your product shows up when someone is evaluating other products/services in your category.

Think about it. If a prospect is evaluating one of your competitors who is considered the category leader and your product shows up on the review site as a similar solution…you might actually have a fighting chance.

I’ve actually changed my purchase decision during the late stages of my buying journey after finding a newer product listed as a similar solution on a review site. This newer product had less brand awareness but after doing some research I learned that it better fit my specific needs.

Now It’s Your Turn

These are just a few ways to surround buyers who are actively in-market for your product or service. The idea I’m trying to get across here is that these “old school” lead generation tactics are still incredibly relevant today.

The leads you get from these marketing programs are going to be far more engaged and cost effective (for the most part) than the interruptive marketing channels like social advertising.

Now get out there and start surrounding your buyers who are actively in-market so that any time a prospect searches for anything related to your product or service category, you’re always visible.

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