Guest post by Brandon Brown.
In survey after survey, year after year, lead generation is a top priority for B2B brands. No matter how big or small, B2B businesses can’t survive without new leads. Generating high-quality leads is essential to get more sales and more revenue. And every business wants more revenue to grow and expand.
No leads means no clients and therefore, no sales. However, the process of lead generation is not that easy. In fact, according to the 2017 State of Inbound report, lead generation is the biggest challenge for 63% of marketers.
Image Source: The 2017 State of Inbound Report
Businesses are continuously seeking out new ways to generate more leads in a world of increasingly educated, tech-savvy, and digitally advanced consumers.
Before we jump into exploring the nuances of the lead generation game, let’s take a look at some of the proven methods of acquiring leads tried and tested by B2B marketers.
According to the Email Marketing & Marketing Automation Excellence 2017 report, about 54% of marketers consider email an effective channel. And 23% say that lead generation is the topmost benefit of email marketing. It’s the preferred direct marketing tactic for low cost and high ROI.
SEO has the potential to drive torrents of traffic and new leads. The competition to improve organic rankings and appear on the first page of Google is tough. Still, 61% of marketers want to increase the effectiveness of their SEO to get more visits and conversions this year.
Content is a vital component of every digital marketing strategy. Developing and documenting an effective content marketing strategy improves your chances of getting quality leads and potential sales. According to CMI, 91% of B2B marketers are already using content marketing to generate leads.
Social Media Marketing
The rapid spread of new smartphones and tablets is driving exponential growth in the number of social media users. This has opened up new possibilities for brands looking to harness the power of social media advertising.
B2B brands are looking to tap the increased social media penetration for generating more leads.
Image Source: eMarketer
Beyond those commonly used methods of generating leads, here are a few new tactics that can enhance your lead gen efforts this year.
LinkedIn is the primary social network for professionals, about 546 million, round the world. It offers multiple opportunities for B2B marketers to reach their target audiences and generate leads.
Here’s how you can do it:
Start by Setting Up a Company Page
LinkedIn’s free company pages are your core presence for connecting with professionals and developing and sharing content for brand awareness. Check out the image below to see what an effective company page looks like.
Display Your Presence
Stay in front of potential customers by posting regular updates and engaging with your audience.
Build a Robust Content Marketing Strategy for Your Company
Relevant, high-quality content can help leads start flowing in. Develop and implement a strategy to create valuable educational content that your target audience will find useful.
Join Niche Groups
Enlarge your network by searching for and joining groups that are relevant to your business. There are numerous groups on LinkedIn within most industry segments; look for those that are active and have a large networking capacity.
Participate in Discussions and Forums
Besides posting and sharing content, contribute to discussions and spend time answering queries from your audiences. A proactive, helpful approach can attract the attention of prospective customers.
Use LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn ads are a great way to promote your business and target the right audience. There are three ways you can advertise on LinkedIn: Sponsored Content, Sponsored Inmail, and Text Ads.
You can use paid ads that appear in the LinkedIn news feed or send personalized messages to relevant professionals with the help of the Sponsored Inmail feature.
You can even create your own ads with the text ads feature and pay for only those ads that work (pay per click).
Images via LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
You can also use the LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms in your Sponsored Content. These forms help you get increased lead volume and quality.
Bynder, for instance, multiplied their leads by 400% through the Lead Gen Forms embedded in Sponsored Content with a 20% conversion rate.
According to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions report, Lead Gen Form campaigns have the potential to produce two to three times more conversions than typical Sponsored Content campaigns.
Image via LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
Connect with Twitter
Once you connect your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, you can choose to post your LinkedIn updates automatically on Twitter, thus increasing your post reach and possibilities of generating more leads.
Influencer Marketing on Social Media
Influencers on social media have massive fan followings that can potentially turn into leads. Connecting and partnering with influencers can promote a B2B brand to a larger audience and help acquire new customers.
While choosing your influencers, do not just look at the number of their followers but also see their engagement rates. Often micro-influencers who have a certain number of followers have a better-engaged and more trusting audience than traditional influencers (TV stars, celebrities from various industries, social media personalities, etc).
Optimize Your Landing Pages
Effective landing pages enhance your brand image and compel visitors to take action. Use conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques to optimize them to convert more of your visitors into valuable leads. Make sure that they’re clear and clutter-free. Use proper fonts and colors for better readability, insert clear calls to action (CTAs), and add available client testimonials.
Use forms, social share buttons, and free trials to capture leads. Link your outbound campaigns to your landing pages to drive more traffic.
Apply a Diverse Content Marketing Strategy
Even if you already have a content marketing strategy in place, make sure you’re using the latest tactics to amplify its effectiveness.
Including the following elements in your content can help achieve your lead generation goals:
- Create viral content.
- Conduct webinars on topics related to your industry.
- Publish whitepapers and reports on subjects that would interest your customers.
- Write blog posts related to your industry.
- Include instructional videos and images to promote your brand and attract visitors to your site.
- Live chat with visitors on your site. Prompting a visitor for a conversation gives you the chance to discover their interests and requirements, so you can customize your offer to convert that lead.
Do not forget to add a relevant call-to-action (CTA) in all of your emails, landing pages, and other content posts. Compelling CTAs entice visitors to fill your form and share contact information in exchange for your offers.
Let’s take a look at some common CTAs used by B2B brands to generate leads.
Image via keepitusable
Optimize Your Content for SEO
To make your SEO work, focus on optimizing your site for relevant keywords. Improve the content quality of your site, and keep it updated with accurate and current information. High-quality content that solves problems for readers is more likely to be shared, linked to, and ranked highly by search engines.
Advertise your products on other sites within the Google network. Carefully choose your keywords for the products you are advertising to map with related search queries by potential customers.
Measure Your Efforts
Use Google Analytics to track the number of visitors to your website. For lead souce tracking, you can set up a lead generation tracking code on the site. You can even use a plugin to simplify the whole process.
You should also create custom URLs for all your campaigns with UTM parameters. This will help you track the source of traffic more effectively.
Over to You
The competition for acquiring new leads is fierce as B2B brands struggle to differentiate their offerings, educate the market, and get attention from buyers. Continually experiment with new tactics to stand out from the crowd.
Do’t depend on just a few tactics; collect leads from as many sources as your resources permit. Consolidate all of your data and filter it to contact those leads who look promising. Get your sales and marketing teams to collaborate to generate more valuable leads this year.
Do you have any tips or insights to share? Please add them in the comments below.
Brandon Brown is the CEO of Grin, an influencer marketing software solution for brands. Grin’s software helps customers identify, recruit & activate the world’s most engaging influencers. Prior to Grin, he was led marketing for the #1 energy drink market in the world, Los Angeles & Orange County, at Red Bull North America. Connect with Grin on Facebook or Twitter.