What most B2B marketers are wrong about SEO and LinkedIn

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In an age where all B2B marketing is digital but very little actually works, it’s hard to know who to trust advice. Maybe the first clue is when they recognize, up front, how ineffective most marketing really is.

Alex boyd, founder and CEO of IncomeZen, don’t hesitate to share what most B2B marketers are wrong about SEO and LinkedIn. But he’s hesitant to give advice without first understanding the context and nuances of a particular situation, which is usually a sign that someone has earned their place.

I recently caught up with Boyd to hear his thoughts on SEO strategy, the demand generation philosophy, LinkedIn spam, and why, in the end, a simple phone call can go a long way.

This interview has been edited slightly for clarity and length.

Kevin Kruse: What have you observed in marketing and demand generation over the past few years?

Alex Boyd: Anything “en masse” has lost its effectiveness as well as anything easy to measure with a low barrier to entry. These types of activities are less valuable because everyone is pushing easy-to-press buttons, like sending a lot of emails and running a lot of very general announcements. When thinking about what marketers need to do to justify their tactics, it usually comes down to posting big numbers on a dashboard to show the CEO who doesn’t always get it. And so, the easier something is to measure and display on this dashboard, the more marketers will do it, even if the channel is crowded and prospects aren’t converting.

Kruse: What is the common misconception people have about demand generation?

Boyd: A lot of people think that all leads are created equal, but this is not the case. How you got that lead in the first place is so important. On paper, a lead is an object in a CRM with an email address. But how would a salesperson define a “prospect”? He is someone who is more interested in your product than before. The person who says, “I saw your CEO in this great Forbes article and I have a few friends who use your business. I’m ready to sign, ”is a lead. But, for many marketers, the same goes for the person who entered their email address just to download a checklist and still dodges your calls when you follow up. These two tracks are not equal. Demand generation is not about the quantity of leads. It focuses on how the lead got to your business and whether or not the environment they arrived in warmed them to what you are selling.

Kruse: In general, what works in B2B marketing, assuming “working” means generating a lead that comes to you the right way and with some interest in buying?

Boyd: You already know it depends, but I’m going to share what I see: first, founders-driven brand marketing, i.e. sharing the perspective of what the leadership team believes is. ‘in a personal and organic way. LinkedIn is a good example, but it could also sound like the CEO giving a fireside chat or speaking at an event. People want to know what people think behind the product because it tells them more than a list of features. The feature list is static, but what the founders and management team think is dynamic – it tells you about the future and where the business is heading. CEOs shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that running their social media accounts is “below them”: many leading CxO of tech unicorns are very active on social media.

Second, organic search still has a lot of potential. Most SEO is still pretty poorly done, even by experts. The biggest thing that Software-as-a-Service companies in particular get wrong about SEO is that they think they need to optimize for people who are looking for exactly what they’re doing. These are table stakes. What SaaS companies that experience massive growth through organic search do is compete for the attention of their buyer. It’s not a game of what your product does, it’s a game of attention. And if you introduce yourself to people and put your name, brand, and ideas in front of them while they search for related content and come across your product that way, you’re going to show them a new way of doing things. things. And that’s the heart of SaaS marketing: showing someone a new way of doing things.

Kruse: Do you have a real-life example of how this type of eye-catching SEO works?

Boyd: One of the best ways to do SEO early on is to talk about the basics. Most businesses blog for announcements and news, but no one is researching your business. So why not rank for the keywords they’re already looking for? A company called lightning. is a prime example. It’s a marketplace for IT and networking solutions, much like a kayak.com for IT. They don’t assume that people are looking for a “computer product market” because they are not. They rank for the things people are looking for to learn about how to buy IT. It’s a subtle shift in mindset: when you’re a small startup, your new idea isn’t at the center of your prospects’ universe.

Kruse: How should you approach SEO if you are trying to sell something new?

Boyd: When you sell a brand new product, the way you do SEO has to change. No one is looking for your unique new product category – yet. If you are selling something new, you need to categorize things that are related to what you do but are not your product. If you’re building an AI to help recruiters sort through resumes, you don’t want to rank for ‘the AI ​​resume analyzer’, you want to write about the top 10 ways to screen applicants or how to write a statement. Amazing EEO. Once your business gets bigger that game changes and then you want to focus on the people who are already looking for exactly what you are doing.

Kruse: You’ve created a new product for LinkedIn. Tell me about it.

Boyd: The way people engage on LinkedIn has long been broken. Many people see relationship building as a transaction: “I liked your posts, please make an appointment.” There is a sense of entitlement. This must change.

The right way to engage on LinkedIn is to write great content, engage with others, network, and build community. Our product shows you which of your target accounts are talking to your competitors, customers and strong relationships. And it tells you exactly which important conversations to participate in. The interest of our product – Aware – is to give people the possibility of sending a LOW volume of hyper-targeted messages with a conversion rate of more than 60%: unheard of.

Kruse: What advice would you like to give to marketers?

Boyd: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Tech marketers spend so much time focusing on hacking the growth funnel, but sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and call a prospect instead of waiting for a response. I think we need to spend more time building relationships with people, which sometimes means just calling them.

Kevin Kruse is the Founder + CEO of LEADx, a platform that adapts and maintains leadership habits across an organization. Kevin is also a New York Times bestselling author of Great leaders don’t have rules, 15 secrets successful people know about time management, and Employee engagement 2.0.


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