Last updated: May 2021
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If you are in the B2B space, you know the importance of having consistent leads come in.
At the end of the day, leads are the bread and butter of the business. We need customers and we need leads to survive.
Many B2B marketers spend a lot of time testing new channels and hoping things work. The truth is that lead generation requires a lot of testing, and you need to be creative when it comes to testing different campaigns.
Always double down on what works and move onto the next test quickly.
When it comes to lead generation, you want to also ensure that you maximize the cost for the best results.
Let’s say you send 1,000 visits to your landing page at a cost of $5 per visit. If your form converts at 1% you’ll get 10 leads at a cost per lead of $500. If, on the other hand, your form converted at 5%, you’d receive 50 leads for a much lower price point.
That’s one-third of the cost per leads without spending an extra dime.
Now it boils down to: what campaigns to run? In this article, we’ll cover different ideas that you can start testing right away!
There are a lot of options out there for B2B lead generation. Hubspot’s study of the best B2B lead sources, we’d conclude that SEO is the best lead generation channel, however that is just one channel.
Take a look at the graph below provided by Hubspot’s study of the different channels.
Here are some key takeaways from the study:
Another report provided by Chief Marketer’s data on the same question, we’d conclude that email marketing is the most effective channel for B2B lead generation. Regardless of which source you use, we can somewhat conclude that content is king and content is a huge B2B driver for lead generation.
Take a look at their graph below:
Since email marketing appeared on most studies and reports, we’ll start with going over this one.
One of the biggest trends in email marketing at the moment, that has generated great results for many B2B businesses, is automated drip emails. This includes welcome emails, drip campaigns, free drip courses, weekly newsletter content updates, and personalized follow up emails.
The truth is that email marketing can be very complicated, but at the same time it could be easy to start off with.
You can literally start off with a simple opt-in for a weekly newsletter and welcome email, but it can get as advanced as automating everything with a more complex email marketing software like Autopilot.
To make it easy, marketing automation tools are effectively hybrid email marketing tools that connect with your CRM to enable you to automatically send highly targeted emails to leads that are personalized specifically to them. The goal of this is to eventually nurture the lead well enough that you can convert them into a paying customer of yours.
Is SEO dead for B2B? Nope, not even close!
It’s a long term strategy where you don’t see results right away, but investing time and effort in it will bring you results in the long run.
SEO goes hand in hand with content marketing which we will go over later in this article, but it’s always one of the first things that I get in place for every business that I start.
We have many guides on how you can maximize the SEO results that you can check out in our resource section.
Whether you’re trying to reach customers, businesses, or just trying to get strangers to read your articles, the same basic principles apply:
However, because of how marketing works in the B2B world, you can expect a few particularities in B2B SEO that you wouldn’t necessarily count on in other spaces.
The biggest difference between B2B SEO and B2C SEO is that with B2B SEO is aimed with a goal to convince companies to buy, whereas B2C is mainly to inform.
That means that a B2B company will need to have pages optimized for:
B2B buyers that are looking to buy right now aren’t likely to convert on their first visit, B2B SEO tends to be more about establishing the brand in the searcher’s memory than getting them to make a purchase.
That means B2B SEO isn’t just about making sure your website shows up when people search for your product category. It’s about giving the potential lead a reason to notice your company and either opt-in your email list or come back later for the sale.
Moving on to the bread and butter of lead generation that goes hand to hand with SEO and Email Marketing.
This is content marketing and it’s super important when it comes to building your brand.
Effective B2B content marketing isn’t a matter of writing a simple 500-word blog post a few times a week or generating simple food guides. If that’s all content marketing is to you, you’re better off investing that time into some other marketing channel.
Unlike most marketing content, building an audience isn’t about selling your product or services. It’s about giving people something that they value.
B2B content marketing goes beyond just a blog post. This includes white papers, case studies, downloadable e-books, and many more.
If you are just starting off with content marketing, you can start with simple blog posts. Blog posts are an essential aspect of any content strategy. They drive awareness of your brand, give search engines more opportunities to display your site and they establish your business as competent and knowledgable. This connects back to SEO that we discussed above.
The key here is to have content upgrades in place such as in-depth white papers, drip courses, testimonials and more. Content upgrades can lead readers to any type of gated or premium content.
Another way to move people down your B2B content marketing funnel is by offering a free tool or widget. Interactive tools allow you to personalize the experience for your audience and differentiate your brand from the competition.
Your goal should be to capture the lead’s contact information and nurture them with endless high-quality content to convert them.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that B2B content marketing only gives a good ROI when your strategy focuses on:
Try to do more than just write guides or inform. If you look around, you’ll find that great content marketing goes beyond the company and the products it sells. It focuses on creating highly engaging that involves a lot of brand building and storytelling. Readers usually relate to stories and experiences, so having a good story strategy is a great approach.
This is one of the most underused channels in B2B lead generation. B2B webinars allow companies an opportunity to target and educate a specific audience on the benefits and advantages of their services and offerings.
B2B webinars are effective, multi-purpose marketing tools that can deliver valued thought leadership content, generate quality leads and further engage prospects already in the sales cycle.
It’s a great way to boost more leads for the top of the funnel or use it as a way to nurture them down the funnel.
The goal of a webinar is to show all the benefits of your service, then push for the sale at the end of the webinar.
Webinars are especially appealing to new leads in the top of the funnel. The difficult part is just getting people to opt in for your webinar, but once they’re in, things can be a gold mine.
And even if they don’t ultimately attend your webinar, the information they provide when registering demonstrates the interest that enables you to nurture more relevant content and content in the long run.
With webinars you can expect the audience to ask specific questions about your company and products during the Q&A session, this is also a great time for a short live demo about your capability, which can be so much more powerful than a datasheet or simple ad.
Getting your ideal audience to opt-in could be difficult, but this could be done through paid ads and custom landing pages.
When it comes to B2B lead generation, we cannot miss out on paid ads. Paid acquisition works and it’ll always work in the long run. The only problem with paid ads is that you’re always pouring money into the ads to keep things going.
This is why you need to invest in paid ads while putting an effort in content marketing, SEO, social media, webinars etc.
Paid ads is a system that offers B2B companies the ability to capture leads fast and efficiently.
I mean think about it, people are already searching for your service and it’s appearing on top of Google without having to do SEO.
The beauty of it is, they’re looking for you instead of you standing around a trade-show booth for ten hours at a time asking people what their biggest business challenges are and hoping their needs match up with what you offer.
That’s what makes such a powerful form of inbound marketing. You can use it to convert users, capture leads into your webinar, give them a free ebook, the sky is the limit when it comes to paid ads.
But unlike all the other channels, paid ads can be very dangerous if you step into it without a strategy in place. You can go broke instantly.
I’ll share with you some of the best tips for generating leads using paid ads in B2B.
The first step in building your strategy is to segment your campaigns and understand your buyer persona. Segmenting your campaigns allows you to focus your efforts, resulting in better quality leads and increased conversion rates. This can be as simple as the following:
Keywords are the life blood of every paid search campaign, no matter the nature of the business. Identify the most focused and relevant keywords for your segmented campaigns.
Landing pages are an often-overlooked component of a successful B2B advertising campaign, but they are necessary for campaign conversion optimization.
The copy and offering within the landing page is super important and it must match what the buyer is searching for.
The type of landing page that converts the best for B2B with paid ads are webinars, free demos, free e-book/white papers and a few others.
At this point, your business has already paid for the click, so create your landing page with a specific objective in mind, and make that objective the sole focus of the page.
If this is too much grunt work, consider using an outsourced agency to help with this.
LinkedIn is the top social media platform for B2B marketers, so it’s a viable channel to pursue when it comes to paid ads.
Next up would be Google Adwords. Paid ad lead generation campaigns focus on a wide range of paid advertising platforms the most popular being Google AdWords and Bing. Most B2B marketers see most success on Linkedin ads and Google Adwords.
The general rule of thumb for Adwords conversion rate is 2.70%, and Display conversion is averaged at 0.89%. But the rates vary depending on your industry. It’s important to know your industry benchmarks. A good starting point is to ask the PPC vendor of their average conversion ratio across the board. This lets you evaluate your campaign results better.
Ok, you might think that because you’re in the B2B space that you don’t need to be in social media. Social media is more than just Facebook and Twitter. Linkedin is considered social media as well.
Quantity over quality seems to be the trend when it comes to B2B social media lead generation. This makes it an ideal channel for top-of-the-funnel awareness. We’ve been seeing more and more Twitter lead generation ads on Twitter where you can opt-in to download a free e-book or white paper.
Drive more awareness for the top of the funnel through social media to start. More customer data can be gathered later in the campaign as leads are qualified with more product-specific offers. In the beginning, the email address-only approach guarantees a wider initial lead base.
A good example of a social media use case is Digital Marketer. Digital Marketer doesn’t sell on social media directly, however, it gives something valuable away for free.
Instead of selling anything, Digital Marketer simply hooks leads through their free guides and in-depth blog posts, which makes users feel they should return the favor during a later engagement.
These are just some of the channels that you can start using right now to run lead generation campaigns for your B2B business. The most important takeaway is to always know your buyer personas.
In B2B, your audience could be different people in different departments. Often, you don’t have an audience, but micro-audiences with varying interests and pain points. Nurture well and always follow up.
The rule of thumb is to get only the most basic customer data at the initial stage while building brand awareness, as you work the lead down the pipeline, ask for a little more data and start segmenting.
Regularly posting content improves your SEO, authority, brand awareness, industry stickiness, and, generally, your web presence. Don’t forget to add a good paid strategy to drive more leads to the top of the funnel.
Apply these time-tested techniques and share your results with us!