Here are the new acquisition channels you need to use to find new B2B leads.
In a world dominated by technology and a constant flow of information, B2B lead generation has gone digital and this trend is here to stay. In the past direct marketing was considered the most effective way to generate new business leads, but now its use is very restricted account to only 15%. The rest of the spectrum is dominated by digital channels for generating B2B leads, with each one requiring a unique set of tactics to produce the best possible ROI. Which are the top ones? Here is a comprehensive list plus advice and ideas on how to make the most out of them.
Email Marketing – How to Use It
This is the clear winner among the B2B lead generation channels. The most recent surveys and research studies show that it is used by 88.6% of businesses, while for 73% it is the most effective of all channels. For 61% of companies, it provides the highest return on investment.
What makes email marketing so popular? The key factor is the low cost per lead. It is reduced to the possible minimum with the software tools designed to give you a high level of automation. Scalability is also a major advantage. You can increase the volume of emails which you send at a high rate in a short time with minimal impact on costs, if any. Another factor which is important for the success of email marketing is the ability to track performance.
What are the best email marketing tactics for generating B2B leads? This channel is used for outbound marketing that is for reaching to prospective customers directly. When you do this, you must have a specific offer in place. It could be a special deal or a valuable piece of content, depending on your precise goals.
Here are some valuable B2B marketing tricks to help you generate more leads via email:
- Personalization is key – The more you know about the prospect, the better offer you can make. There are various tools for data generation that you can use, from Google AdWords to CRM software.
- Provide a solution – Use the data you have gained to identify problems experienced by the prospective customer and offer a solution. Your email should make it clear to the recipient that you have a good understanding of their business and exactly what it needs to do better.
- Determine carefully the sending frequency and times – The best way to do this is to study the behavior of your target audience. The majority of studies have shown that the optimal frequency for most email marketing campaigns is between one and two emails per week. The best sending times are regarded to be late morning and early evening.
Organic Search – SEO Tactics
Different studies show that the number of companies using organic search as a channel for B2B lead generation is between 70% and 78%. For 46%, it brings the highest ROI. While the channel may not seem to be as popular as email marketing, it is a staple one for all online marketing activities because the search engines are the primary source of traffic to any website, no matter whether it is targeting businesses or consumers. While in recent years paid search has gone up in popularity, companies and agencies must optimize their sites for Google and its counterparts to generate traffic and in broader terms generate credibility in the online world.
The two staples to effective search engine optimization are content optimization and link building. Identifying the right keywords for attractive prospective customers and using them in an effective way in the content and meta tags and descriptions is the primary step. When it comes to getting inbound links, the main tactics include collaborating with influencers in your industry and offering content on sites, which are popular with your prospects, including social media ones.
While there is not much room for creativity and applying innovative B2B marketing ideas in the field of SEO, there are some key factors for success:
- Quality over quantity – In recent years, the search engines, naturally led by Google, are focused extensively on delivering the most useful content to internet users. If the content on your web pages is original and brings high value to prospective customers, you will kill two birds with one stone – more traffic and a higher conversion rate.
- Mobile is key – The number of mobile searches has surpassed those made on desktop computers, meaning you must have your business website optimized for mobile. Responsive design is the way to go.
- Keeping up with the trends – This is essential as organic search is the most dynamic channel for B2B lead generation.
You will need productive website conversion tactics in addition to effective SEO. Start with the basics such as a simple, short and well-designed sign-up form. It is always best to offer something in exchange when asking for the visitor’s name and contact details.
Paid Search – The Right Approach
More than 50% of companies and agencies running B2B marketing campaigns use paid search or search engine marketing (SEM), as it is formally known, to generate leads, with one survey showing that is 54%, while another – 59.6%. The idea behind SEM is simple. When a person uses your targeted keywords to search the web, your ad appears on the first search engine results page (SERP). It looks exactly like the organic search results with a small sign noting that it is an advertisement.
How does SEM compare to SEO? It is very cost-effective because you will pay only when someone clicks on the ad. It’s major advantage over SEO, however, is that it produces results much more quickly. The competition for appearing on the first SERP and near its top for practically any targeted keyword is fierce today and it is a fact that search engine optimization is an ongoing process. That is why SEM is typically used by new companies looking to have a head start with B2B lead generation, by those entering a new niche and by the ones running a marketing campaign for a new product. Additionally, paid search can be highly targeted giving you the opportunity to generate top-quality leads.
Some of the key B2B marketing tricks and trips in the field of paid search include:
- Focus on the offer – While the ads appear on the search engine results pages, they still have to have a unique value proposition and attractive text instead of being purely informative.
- Use tests – These will tell you exactly what works best for your target audience when it comes to paid ads. The presentation is often as important as the nature of the offer itself.
- Measure your performance – Tools like Google AdWords give you all the data which you need to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your SEM campaigns and to make improvements where necessary.
Social Media – Top Channels and Techniques
This is one of the latest channels for B2B lead generation, but it is the third most popular in surveys, with the number of companies and agencies using it reaching 82%. It brings the highest ROI for 41% of companies.
While the social media form one major channel, it is worth looking at the ones responsible for generating the highest number of B2B leads. The list includes:
- LinkedIn – 62%
- Facebook – 37%
- Twitter – 34%
While each one of these social networks has its specific characteristics, the tactics for using them are focused on the same thing – creating a community around your company and brand. On the social networks, communication with prospective customers is on a more personal level and the primary factor for success is to be proactive.
While ads are useful for sparking interest in your company and offers, activities such as providing valuable content and communicating directly either as part of a group or on one-on-one basis are far more important. The social networks are the best online platforms to build relationships with prospective and existing customers. You should not underestimate their value for generating customer data either. They can give you valuable insights into the businesses that you are targeting and the decision makers respectively.
Check out some valuable B2B marketing ideas that you can use when developing your social media strategy:
- Create an inspiring profile and keep it up-to-date – Think of it as the face of your brand on the social networks. It has to be informative and friendly at the same time. Your company should appear approachable above all.
- Connect with the right people – Do your research and identify the circles and groups where your potential customers are likely to be. Do the same with the influencers that they are following. This is an effective way to connect.
- Be proactive – The social networks are excellent platforms for promoting deals and content that you have and for linking building too. However, as highlighted earlier, it goes beyond posting and tweeting. The more you engage with your customers, through answering their questions and sharing their posts, for example, the higher the returns will be.
Display Advertising – New Opportunities
There are two main techniques used in display advertising campaigns for B2B lead generation. The first one is to display ads on websites which are popular with your target audience. The second one is retargeting. It involves displaying your ad on various sites which the user visits after he or she has been to yours. This technique is highly effective for attracting prospective customers who have shown interest in your company and products, but haven’t taken any action on your website.
Use the following B2B marketing tricks and tips to generate more leads in a more efficient way with display ads:
- Precision targeting – Use tools which enable you to target prospects using behavioral data and possibly demographics, if applicable.
- Use hooking techniques – The most common ones involve offering special deals and providing content for free. When you retarget a prospect, base the ad on what he or she has viewed on your website.
- Creating brand awareness – You can create more informative ads when you launch your brand or a new product.
Content Marketing – The Major Conversion Currency
Some 82% of companies use content marketing for lead generation. This is a tactic which has proven to be highly effective in B2B marketing because, after all, information is as valuable as gold in the digital age. When you provide high-quality content to your prospective customers, the chance of conversion increases immensely. The same technique can be successfully used for building brand loyalty also. All of the channels discussed above can be used more effectively when you provide content which is useful to your prospects.
What types of content work best for B2B lead generation? A recent survey has revealed the list:
- Case studies
- Blog posts
The first three types are unique for B2B marketing and this is one of the reasons why they work so well. Decision makers are always happy to learn new things and possibly new skills.
Check out some B2B marketing ideas to help you get high-quality leads with the content which you produce:
- Whitepapers, webinars and case studies can be offered exclusively to prospects who show interest in your company.
- Keep a blog as part of your website and supply fresh content several times a week. Make sure that the posts are optimized for the search engines for best results.
- Use videos and infographics as teaser content on your blog and on the social networks.
Putting It All Together
Now that you have a clear idea of the best digital B2B lead generation channels and tactics, it’s time to decide which ones to use and how. To make this important decision, consider the specifics of your brand and study your target audience in detail. Build a complete lead generation strategy with clear goals and milestones.