Digital technology has opened up a whole new world of B2B lead generation channels for organisations.
However, not all tools are as effective and efficient at delivering the quality leads you want.
In the perfect world, every B2B marketing campaign you run is successful, and every B2B lead generation campaign produces a plethora of high-quality prospects into your sales funnel.
However, that’s not the world we live in, is it?
There is a tonne of information (good and bad) out there about how to get more B2B leads. Today’s buyers are much more sophisticated and clued-in than ever before as you will see from the research below from Forrester and SiriusDecisions. And B2B marketers are slowly starting to take the approach that has been used by B2C marketers for some time now. Therefore, the one thing you must always ask yourself is “what is the purpose of lead generation?”
Lead generation is all about bringing the right people into your sales funnel. And the chances are that each of those prospects will all be at different stages of the buying process when they arrive. Here are four digital marketing strategies that can deliver better results from your B2B lead generation activities.
1. Focus on Traffic from Social Media
Unless you have a large team of people to manage your social media marketing, it is a mistake even to attempt to be on every possible platform with social media. First, a concentrated effort to leverage the B2B lead generation capabilities of a few tools is much more efficient. Beyond that, as Neil Patel states, driving traffic to your website should be a core objective of using social media.
Most B2B marketers will agree that you have to implement a customer-centric approach when it comes to your marketing efforts. A blanket approach is not the path to take. People are on different social media channels because those channels deliver a different experience for the user. So if you can avoid it, don’t push the same message out across all of your channels. You need to tailor your messages based on who people are and what their interests are.
Using Twitter for brand awareness is a useful way to deliver your message, and there is a range of automation tools out there to help you ensure you have regular content. But mostly you need to use it to engage with your audience and generate traffic. You also need to ensure that the content you are pushing is good enough so that people will want to come back to your site on a regular basis.
LinkedIn offers some efficient lead generation features. With an audience of 414 million and counting as of February 2016, 100 million of whom use the platform on a monthly basis; it has to be the number one platform for B2B sales and marketing teams.
LinkedIn has an excellent search function where you can search for prospects based on job roles and a range of other factors, which is great if you are a sales person looking for new opportunities. But I prefer networking through groups, which is a fantastic facility for driving engagement from prospective clients. Posting regular content that will be of value to readers is also an excellent service to avail of but don’t overdo it.
Facebook also has some nifty opportunities through event registration, sign-up forms and very granular audience targeting.
YouTube offers the ability to show off your products and services, or position your company as a thought leader in its field (see the Forrester video below), and is the second most used search engine by people, so you need to ensure your videos are tagged correctly.
A personal favourite of mine is Google+, and one of the key reasons I like it apart from the community vibe that resides within it is its close affiliation with Google from an SEO perspective. You have lots of choices out there, and the key is to focus your time on activities that drive leads to your business.
2. Continue to Use Email
Despite periodic efforts to tear it down as an “old technology” for lead generation, email remains highly active. In case you missed it, I wrote about this last week in our post “Why Telemarketing Trumps Email for Lead Generation“. This point is particularly the case when using marketing automation features typical in customer relationship management software. Using data gathering and analytics, marketing teams can more precisely develop campaigns that target the right prospects with the right messages.
Sales teams can also set up automated campaigns that deliver messages at predetermined intervals. A call-to-action unique to the needs of the target recipient can contribute to clicks on your site and help with acquiring new leads that you can nurture over time. If used correctly, email marketing can be a very powerful medium for staying in touch with your prospects until they are ready to engage with you more directly. A word of advice – segment your users into their relevant categories and only send relevant content to each segment.
3. Solve Problems with Content
Content marketing has become a top element of digital B2B lead generation. It includes precisely crafted messages in such forms as articles, white papers, ebooks, and videos that are helpful or valuable to the reader. The most successful content marketers consider the problems and motives of the prospective customers they’re targeting. Content outlines a problem or concern from a prospect’s point of view and presents resolutions. Optimising articles for search engines can increase the eyeballs that see content. To generate leads, though, you need a strong story that appeals to the interests of the intended reader.
Content syndication is a significant extension of a content marketing strategy. It is the delivery of your content through other websites or publishers. You can manage syndication yourself, but another option is to work with a company that specialises in this method of distributing your message through the right channels that hit your target audience. An important part of content strategy is knowing the types of content and delivery channels that work best in your B2B industry.
According to a research paper by SiriusDecisions “Demand Creation: Planning Assumptions 2015”, inbound marketing tactics that include strategies such as content syndication are responsible for driving more than 70 percent of enquiry volume for many organisations.
4. Engage People Directly
As important as the tools you select, you must engage your audience directly. Success on Twitter and other social media, for instance, is usually sparked by inviting reactions to your content and replying to prospects that do show an interest.
This engagement process leads to conversations, and potentially a meeting. I’ve often used this method for engaging with people on a one-to-one basis and been extremely successful with it.
This online engagement has become what we all now know as “Social Selling”. Ultimately, it’s about building relationships. (If you run a search for that term in our search box you’ll see I’ve written about more than a couple of times.) The challenge sales people have is using it in a manner that will add value to the buyer – from the start of the buying process. But it is a skill that all sales people need to learn – and learn quickly. If you are not using social selling on a regular basis, you are behind your best competitors.