Why inbound leads are much better than networking to find B2B clients – interview with digital marketing agency Bop Design

You have good reason to be confused about digital marketing; it’s a world that keeps adding acronyms, tools, and technologies at a frenetic pace. We interview some of the top boutique digital marketing agencies to highlight their specialties and share their insights to help you grow! Today, we interview Jeremy Durant from Bop Design (cool name!).

NXT: How do you differentiate yourself from other digital marketing agencies?

We strictly work with B2B clients, which has allowed us to establish a brand identity.  And within B2B, we specialize in lead generation. We’re not just about building a pretty website. But much more about giving sales teams the tools and content to uncover selling opportunities from their website and utilize content to nurture leads all the way to committed relationships.

Btw, if an agency says they’re both B2C AND B2B, you should be cautious because it’s super difficult to switch mindsets back and forth all the time.

NXT: Can you explain a bit more about this mindset and the difference it makes?

Typical B2C websites are transactional, whereas B2B websites are used to serve thought leadership content in order to engage, educate and nurture ideal client leads.

A well-designed website does and will create selling opportunities for a B2B sales team. But the website plays more of a complementary role to the sales process instead of actually closing a sale on the site.

NXT: How do you go about getting clients?

We rely almost exclusively on inbound leads, with most website visitors coming in via organic and paid search. We also use tools on our website such as LiveChat, and Lead Forensics to identify companies that may not convert initially.

The website visit prompts our outbound activity – we follow up with visitors who don’t convert on the site. The Bop Design website truly serves as our 24/7 sales tool.

NXT: Who are your ideal clients?

We typically work with companies in the software, industrial, fintech and professional services (consulting firms, etc.) space.

NXT: How are you growing your company?

We’ve grown organically, and it’s been almost ten years with steady growth, nothing explosive. It’s about being disciplined with a focus on long-term marketing objectives – we blog once a week… we have the discipline to consistently create keyword-rich website content that is relevant to our B2B audience.

We have a saying, “marketing is all about doing the right things over and over again, and measuring to ensure they’re still the right things.” Many companies lack the patience or the resources to make the necessary investment (time, money, resources, etc.) to build a viable lead generation website.

NXT: So how can you tell what’s ‘the right thing to do’?

It’s all about attribution! Every month, we lay out a spreadsheet of leads, determine where they came from and then grade them from A to F. The purpose of grading is to identify whether that channel generated a revenue opportunity or was a total waste of money. The attribution exercise informs our marketing tactics going forward.

For example, 5-6 years ago, we used to do outbound tactics like networking, and we determined that all of our D and F clients were coming from – you guessed it – networking!

Safe to say, we stopped doing that very quickly. Clients that rank D to F typically are a poor personality fit, wrong deal size or there are misaligned project expectations.

NXT: But isn’t networking the ideal way to get leads?

It really depends on who you are, but for us it hasn’t worked out that well. The prospects only select you because it’s convenient due to proximity. They know that you’re part of this networking group and they need marketing help, and that is their only selection criteria.

On the other hand, inbound leads are more methodical and thoughtful. They typically visit the website 5-6 times before making contact. They usually like our approach, B2B focus, and are reliant on leads coming from their website.

NXT: What tips do you have to drive website traffic?

You should develop an editorial calendar around your keyword strategy with interesting and relevant blog topics catered to your target market.

The thing is that you have to continuously keep the engine running – it’s a commitment. For example, you can blog 4 times a month, that’s 48 pages of keyword rich content a year that Google will crawl and index for! This disciplined content creation strategy will help drive more organic search traffic to your website.

Also, try to put together a guest blogging strategy by identifying high ‘domain authority’ websites relevant to your industry, and start approaching them with guest blog topics relevant to their readership. This will build your domain authority, expose your brand and content to a new audience, and help with third party validation.

If you turn off Adwords, your traffic goes down immediately. Your long-term strategy should be to continuously create relevant, keyword rich content on your site! The more keyword rich content, the more likely you’ll be found by your ideal clients. The more relevant the content, the longer they will stay on the site. The longer they stay on the site, the more likely they are to convert!

NXT: How do you go about forming a keyword strategy? What works?

Typically, you want to interview some of your best clients, and determine how they classify you. You may have your own ideas, but trust their word instead. If you’re already running an AdWords campaign, look at the search queries that converted into clients.

Run tools like Google Keyword Planner, and look at how many times each word is searched for each month – your goal is to find keywords that have a high enough volume of searches and relatively low to medium competition (these are quicker wins) and start targeting those.

NXT: Do you have an example of where you helped a client form a keyword strategy?

We do it all the time! We had a client that sold horizontal directional drilling equipment (a mouthful, I know). At first, we were going with broader terms like “HDD tooling” and “HDD drills”. But after talking to their key clients, we realized we needed to go with more specific, longer-tail, buying terms like “blades”, “claws”, and “rigs”.

When targeted keywords are too broad or high level, the resulting website traffic is not at a buying stage.

More specific keywords have fewer searches, but these searches are more likely turn into an ideal sales opportunity. Adding more specific keywords to our AdWords strategy helped our client increase their conversion rate by 46%.

NXT: Why are companies not doing this more often?

I think companies just need to be reminded that they should go back to buying terms. This means a little more specific search queries, longer tailed, 3 to 4 words. This indicates that the searchers are in the buying stage, which is what you want because they’re easier to convert.

NXT: How long should companies be blogging before they see an increase in web traffic?

If you’re blogging twice a month (this obviously also depends on competition, website, etc.), you should see a minimum monthly increase of 5% in organic visits, starting about 3 months in.

NXT: How do you keep your content UN-boring? B2B isn’t exactly the sexiest compared to B2C! How do you actually engage audience?

B2B messaging is boring to people that aren’t your target market.

We’re not doing mass marketing! If you’re marketing coffee or soda, etc. maybe 50% of the US marketplace is your target market, so of course there’s much more room to be exciting.

Meanwhile, if your product is very niche, there may be only 1,000 decision makers in the US that this content is going to be pertinent to. Your content may not be boring, it’s just an indication that the content is relevant to only a small percentage of people – 99% of people that are not in your target will find it boring, but the 1% will love it!

NXT: How do you find the 1%?

Going back to the keyword strategy, you need to identify keywords that may utilize industry jargon and very specific words that only your ideal clients would be searching for.

With some of these terms, there may only be 30 searches per month, but all 30 of those search queries are ideal website visitors.

NXT: What are some trends that are popular among B2B companies?

Account-based marketing is a promising trend in B2B marketing. There are new effective targeting applications like Adaptive intelligence and El Toro that can digitally target specific accounts.

If a client has a wish list of 50 target businesses, there are ways to target these decision makers using a physical address or email address. Also, if there is a conference with target businesses attending – you can target the IP address of the conference venue and hotel.  People on this IP address are served relevant display ads during the dates of the conference.

Account based marketing can be a mix of direct mail, display ads, cold calling, and email to reach target accounts.

NXT: What do you think other agencies are not doing as well as you are?

Most ad agencies don’t practice what they preach – their blog is stale and hasn’t been updated in a long time. If you tell clients to utilize good content to attract ideal clients, why aren’t you doing it for yourself?

Or they try to be everything to everyone – “We do B2B and B2C!” A lot of them are scared to clearly define their market niche, fearing that they might alienate a potential customer.


A huge thank you to Jeremy Durant at Bop Design, prior to joining Bop Design, Jeremy spent 10+ years developing tailored solutions for Fortune 500 companies in the wireless, biotech, electronics and food and beverage industries. His range of experience is so diverse that Merriam-Webster is considering adding the phrase “Jeremy of all trades” to its dictionary. Learn more about Bop Design here.

Bop Design

Tessa BoardStudios.com

Tess is a Business Development Associate at Board Studios Inc, an animation production agency that helps B2B companies simplify and communicate more effectively. She's passionate about B2B business models & marketing, and spends a lot of time working on partnership development, content marketing, and scouring for the best business books for BookVideoClub.com. Her blood type is an authentic caffè macchiato.

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