This is the second article of the series on B2B growth hacking. I suggest you give the first article that covers 11 hacks a read. Here is the link:
Want to receive B2B growth hacks regularly in your inbox? Subscribe to The Skalegrow Newsletter and stand out by learning B2B growth tactics that most B2B marketers don’t know. Here is the link:
B2B growth hacks only the top 1% marketers know
Here is the complete list of B2B growth hacks we will be covering in detail in this article:
- Person-based display advertising at scale.
- Personalizing your event marketing efforts
- Humanizing LinkedIn outreach
- Outbound marketing to generate more pipeline
- Micro-influencer marketing
- LinkedIn newsletters
- Preparing well for your GTM efforts
1. Person-based display advertising at scale.
I have a question for you. What are the options you have if you want to target specific people and not accounts?
Here are a few I could think of:
- Email marketing
- LinkedIn outreach (InMail/messaging)
- Cold calling
- Google ads customer match campaigns
- Facebook custom audience campaigns
But each of these comes with its disadvantages. Some are not scalable. Some have a low hit rate (% of people reached or engaged). What if there is a platform that can offer relatively better results compared to these techniques, that too at scale?
Introducing Influ2, a person-based advertising platform that helps you show ads to specific people from your target account list with only their name and email (sometimes even email ID is not required).
Just like how you would use LinkedIn account targeting, you can use Influ2 to nurture your target accounts – the key difference being you can show ads to specific people in the account’s buying committee. You will see exactly who engaged with the ad, which can act as intent signals for your sales team to act upon.
Here is a video that explains how the platform works:
With data privacy rules like the GDPR, CCPA, and CPA, you will get a hit rate of about 50 to 60% in the US region, while the value will be on the lower side for the EU (this will also heavily depend on your industry).
P.S. Every business is different. A tool might not work the same way for everyone. I suggest you do a thorough evaluation to see if it fits your business before jumping into onboarding it.
2. Personalizing your event marketing efforts for B2B growth hacking
One of the main reasons B2B companies don’t get any ROI from in-person events is that they go unprepared.
They set up a booth and arrive on the day of the event, just to talk to people who pass by. Most of the time, these interactions don’t end up being meaningful conversations.
Another thing companies do is to passively attend sessions at the event and ‘network’ with people, which again doesn’t help build relationships that stick.
Next time, before you go to an event, try this.
Most event organizers publish the list of exhibitors and sponsors of the event on their website. If they don’t, and if you are an exhibitor, they will share the list 99% of the time when you ask for it.
Grab that list and filter out companies that do not fall into your ICP. From the refined list of accounts, get the contact details (email, LinkedIn, and phone number) of key decision makers and influencers.
The next step is to send them 1-on-1 highly personalized emails or LinkedIn messages. When I say personalized, I am referring to really spending time to know the person (by looking them up online and on LinkedIn) and using the information you consolidate as anchors in the message you send.
The key here is not to write a 500-word email pitching your services. Rather, let the prospects know that you will be attending the event and would love to meet them if they are also attending.
I know what you are thinking. Not everyone from the list will attend the event. To address this, you can choose only those likely to be part of the event (based on their designation) or send a mass campaign to check if the recipients are attending (in case the number of people on the list is too many).
Do this for every prospect and event you participate in and see the magic unwind.
Now, here is a bonus tip.
Ask the organizers to set up meetings with your ideal customers from event attendees and exhibitors. That’s going to cost you money. But getting one such relevant meeting is far better than sending 1000 cold emails.
3. Humanizing LinkedIn outreach
LinkedIn is a gold mine for B2B marketers and salespeople. But everyone is bombarded with too many connection requests, especially key decision makers. So, how can you message a 2nd degree connection on the platform?
The next best option is to subscribe to LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator so that you can send InMails. And of course, both cost you money.
Source: Meme Arsenal
There is a tiny little hack that you can use to send messages to a selected set of 2nd-degree connections. It is by leveraging other forms of connections than personal connections. And following are the ways in which you can do it:
- LinkedIn groups: you can send messages to people who are part of the same LinkedIn group you are in, even though you are not connected with them.
- You can do the same with LinkedIn events: If you host a LinkedIn live or audio event, you will be able to send messages to the attendees irrespective of whether you are connected to them or not. You can also do the same if you simply register as an attendee for an event on LinkedIn (you can directly message other attendees without being connected with them).
At least some of you knew this. You are not impressed, are you? 🙂
But here is a bonus tip.
On LinkedIn, you need to focus on building long-term relationships. Instead of pitching your products or services right away, add some value to the individual first.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Create a carousel post consolidating thoughts from those whom you reach out to (who are your ideal customers of course). That’s free advertising for your prospects.
- Invite them to speak on a webinar, podcast, audio event, or conference (it gives them free exposure).
- Feature them in an article you have written on your own or the company website.
You can add more to the above. But you get the point here.
This way, you slowly build a meaningful and long-lasting relationship with the prospect, and they are more likely to give business when asked than reaching out like a random stranger texting from a different part of the planet.
Time consuming, but worth it!
Source: Saying Images
So, when are you going to leverage LinkedIn groups and events to grab your next big deal?
Read further to learn more about How To Create Content For LinkedIn Organic Marketing [With 10+ Examples And 5 Templates]
4. B2B growth hacking in outbound marketing
We all send those mass email campaigns by using lists downloaded from a ZoomInfo or Hunter.io, only to see nobody responding.
We have tried everything including personalizing the email by dynamically changing the recipient’s name, company name, and even what the company does.
We then have our SDRs chasing everyone who clicked or opened the email desperately, again to see nothing but silence.
This is because, we all have been doing it wrong till now.
And here is what you should do instead. It involves 3 steps:
- Sending a highly personalized first email. The idea is to send a 1-on-1 email that is truly personalized. Collect all the possible info about the recipients and use that information to personalize your emails to make them look like they are written only for them. Do that from your own mailbox rather than from an email automation tool. It appears as a more genuine email than a spammy one. It improves deliverability as well.
- Once this is done, you can add the recipients who didn’t respond to the first email to an automated cadence, just like you would do in a normal drip campaign.
- The next step is to combine email with LinkedIn messaging and cold calls. Sending an email first gives you something to refer to as a previous communication. It improves your chances of getting your connection request accepted on LinkedIn. It also helps to get through the boardline of a company while doing cold calling.
This method is far better than sending fully automated cold emails to someone who doesn’t know you at all. It requires you to select a narrow set of accounts rather than going after thousands of companies since sending 1-on-1 emails will be impractical for a large number of people.
5. Micro-influencer marketing
We all have seen travel vloggers endorsing hotels and restaurants on their YouTube channels. There are fitness coaches who promote protein shakes on their Instagram handles.
Why not replicate the same in B2B?
I am referring to leveraging micro-influencers on YouTube and LinkedIn who create content related to your niche.
But, wouldn’t it cost money?
Though not as common as in B2C, there are influencers in the B2B space who charge a bomb for promoting your products or services.
The key here is to go after micro-influencers who create valuable content, but still are not as popular as those tier 1 influencers. In almost any niche, you will find such creators who are looking for people to collaborate with, that too for free.
Here are some ways in which you can tap into their audience:
- Be a guest on their audio/video podcast or talk series.
- Contribute a guest article to their newsletter or blog. You can also co-author articles with them.
- If you have a podcast or YouTube channel of your own, host the micro-influencers. You can also consider conducting a live LinkedIn audio or video event (it can be a one-time thing and wouldn’t require as much effort as a podcast).
Here, you are not just contributing to the micro-influencers’ content. You are hosting them on your channels too. The advantage of doing it this way is that when you create a piece of content with their participation, they also promote it, and you get access to a new audience free of cost.
For instance, have a look at the below video which is an excerpt from an episode of the Youth Talks podcast where I share my thoughts with the host Devika Das on how to create content for different stages of the marketing funnel.
This is a classic example of collaborating with a micro-influencer.
Now, the question is – how do you find such micro-influencers in your niche?
The first and obvious method is to use the search option in the respective platforms -mostly LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. It’s fairly easy to do this on LinkedIn since it allows you to search for people with a ton of filters.
However, a more effective method is to use tools like SparkToro or Upfluence to find websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, and individuals who are influencers in a particular domain. You can also try finding influencers in relevant communities on Discord or Slack.
Read more about this tactic here: Lean B2B Influencer Marketing: An Untapped Gem
6. LinkedIn newsletters for B2B growth hacking
Before you get all excited about the hack, I wanted to mention this upfront. This hack works only if:
- You already have a decent number of followers on LinkedIn (I would say at least 5000).
- Your LinkedIn handle has creator mode enabled.
Despite the fact that it is so easy to set it up (if you have creator permission), I am surprised as to why many B2B companies are not using it.
So, what’s the big deal about LinkedIn newsletters?
Here’s the thing.
When you create a newsletter on LinkedIn, an automated notification goes out to all your followers requesting them to subscribe to it. So, if you have 10000 followers, and roughly 5% of them accept your invitation, you get 500 subscribers in one go.
No other platform will allow you to create such a large subscriber base on day 1 unless you have a huge following on another channel where you can promote the new initiative.
Let’s take the example of my LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing newsletter. When I started it, I had around 10000 followers on LinkedIn. Roughly 10% of them accepted the automated invitation to subscribe to the newsletter, which gave me 950+ subscribers on day 1.
Amazing, isn’t it?
One thing to note here is that, the increase in subscriber base post the first edition will depend on how well you promote it afterward (and of course, how valuable the content is).
But here is the more interesting part.
You don’t have to create fresh content for your newsletter at all!
You can simply repost the articles published on your website. This way, you get to distribute your content to a new audience without spending more time on content creation.
But when you do it, add a sentence at the top of the newsletter article stating that the content is republished with the original author’s permission. Since LinkedIn articles are indexed on search engines, this helps to ensure that there are no copyright or indexing issues.
The statement can go something like this:
“The content of this post was originally published on [website name and link]. It has been repurposed and republished here with the author’s permission.”
Now, if your company page doesn’t have a decent follower base, I suggest you focus on building it first and then starting the newsletter. However, if you prefer, you could still consider starting one, considering that it doesn’t require too much additional effort and budget.
7. Preparing well for your GTM efforts
One of the mistakes B2B marketing leaders and founders make is that they think about marketing their product or service only after the launch. Since most marketing efforts take time to work, you end up waiting months to scale the revenue and pipeline for the new solution.
What you need to do instead is to build an audience and visibility in the space related to the new solution much before the launch – preferably 3 to 6 months in advance.
There are multiple ways to do this. The most important of these is SEO. The way you make SEO work is by creating educational content around the category of your upcoming solution using relevant keywords.
I talked about this tactic in detail in one of my newsletter articles on LinkedIn. Here is the link:
Some of the other methods you can use to do this include:
- Building a personal brand for your founders (say using LinkedIn). This works very well for startups that are going to market for the first time. For example, before launching Skalegrow, I had already built a personal brand in B2B marketing using LinkedIn.
- Starting a podcast or YouTube channel. This sounds very obvious. You might also say that it requires a ton of effort. But here’s the catch. Podcasting is not just about the content. It’s more about the relationships you build with the guests appearing on your show (if you are following an interview/Q&A format). So when the time of the launch comes, you will have easy access to a few people in your ICP (assuming the guests fall into your ICP).
- Appearing on other relevant podcasts as guests.
- Collaborating with partners well in advance (to learn how to integrate partnerships into your GTM strategy, check out this article).
Think about more ways in which you could apply this tactic on your own. I am sure you will be able to come up with many. But I hope you find the idea useful.
Final words about B2B growth hacking strategies
Growth hacks are only as good as how you use them. So make sure you get the execution right. Also, keep in mind the conditions that are mentioned with some of the growth hacks. Not every tactic will work for every business. Choose only those that fit your business context.
Skalegrow – B2B marketing agency
With marketing getting tougher and tougher, every wrong foot you make might hamper your growth. What you need is the right guidance and a helping hand. This is where Skalegrow can make a sea of difference.
Skalegrow helps IT, tech, SaaS, and embedded systems companies leverage new-age marketing tactics to grow their business. Check out the below intro video to learn more about what Skalegrow brings to the table:
Our services include content marketing, SEO, graphic design, video marketing, LinkedIn marketing, email marketing, performance marketing, and website management. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our services page for more details.
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.