B2B lead generation is one of the early steps in a typical marketing funnel or sales process. It involves collecting potential customer’s information—such as name, email, company name and job title—that will be useful to subsequently make a sale. These people are then typically nurtured by marketing automation and passed to sales when they are qualified. The aim is to create a consistent pipeline of high-intent prospects who you can turn into customers.
Lead generation for B2B businesses isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. What works for one business may not work for another. That’s why it’s critical to understand who your ideal clients are, and to go where they go.
Here’s a list of lead generation strategies that we’ve seen successful B2B businesses using. If you need new leads for your sales team, try a few of these ideas.
Optimize Your Website for B2B Lead Generation
Slow site speed, lack of visitor tracking, security errors, and other issues can hinder your B2B marketing strategies. A website needs to be optimized before it can produce more quality leads.
1. Record Website Visits and Make Adjustments
The only way to really tell if your website is dialed-in from a conversion perspective is to test it. Visitor tracking software such as Zoho PageSense will track and follow the mouse movements and clicks of each of your visitors. This will help you determine why that particular page isn’t converting very well. You might be surprised at what you find when you start recording user sessions on your website. The changes you make based on the insight from tracking can help increase conversions and increase the number of leads you generate from the site. The longer you use A/B testing tools, the more you’ll understand your target market and perfect your website’s performance.
2. Fix Broken Pages
When was the last time you examined your website for errors, or tried to use it as a first-time visitor on multiple devices? If you’re like most businesses, websites only get fixed when they’re broken. The problem with this “as-needed” approach is that you’re relying on your audience to find these errors for you. And errors cause your website visitors to leave prematurely or not convert. 404 pages, broken links, and slow site speed can silently wreak havoc on a site. There’s lots of tools that can review your site’s performance and provide tips on optimizing it. Some things you’ll need to do yourself. Try to stumble upon errors just like a visitor would. Click around.
3. Get More Conversions from Mobile
Make sure your website works on mobile. Don’t lose qualified leads for fixable reasons like a form not loading on a smartphone. Google penalizes websites that aren’t optimized for mobile phones; websites that do not render well on a small cell phone screen can cause a poor user experience. Luckily, Google offers a free tool to help you figure out if your website has issues with mobile usability. The Mobile-Friendly Test will scan your site and let you know which parts are not mobile-friendly.
4. Find New Keyword Opportunities in Google Analytics
Discover keywords by using Google Analytics to look at the long-tail traffic coming into your website. A long-tail keyword is one that is 3 or more words long and is very specific. It usually gets low search volume, but converts well because of the intent behind the search (eg: “Buy Nike shoes now”). By optimizing for long-tail keywords, you can take advantage of organic search and optimize and rank for keywords that your competitors aren’t.
Content Marketing Strategies to Generate B2B Leads
B2B content is aimed at providing value to the end user. By providing value, you instill trust in your visitors and engage your prospects in a natural way that doesn’t have a heavy sales pitch.
5. Create Lead Magnets
One of the most popular ways to generate B2B leads is to create lead magnets. A lead magnet is a piece of valuable content (a PDF, image, or video) that can be viewed and downloaded in exchange for an email address or other contact info. Lead magnets provide value beyond what’s available on your site. They are portable, so the more valuable they are, the more they’ll be downloaded and passed around.
6. Add Lead Forms
Add lead generation forms to high-performing pages on your website to create new touchpoints for your visitors to connect with you through. Whatever forms you use, make sure they link to your CRM or mailing lists, and are tracked with a tool like Google Analytics or Zoho MarketingHub. You can use the information you collect through these forms to provide even more value with targeted campaigns.
7. Personalize Your Content
Offer content that’s personalized for the end user. Don’t make your landing pages or blog posts too general, or force them to cover so many topics that they’re not written for anyone in particular. For example, you’d want to show the CFO of a company a different landing page than you would the marketing manager. Each prospect is different. By speaking to them directly, you’re creating a better opportunity for sales outreach. This applies to content off your website as well.
8. Engage Site Visitors with Live Chat
Do you know exactly what your website visitors are looking for? What if they have a question or objection to the sale? You can increase leads by giving people a way to engage with you in real time. A chat program such as Zoho SalesIQ allows people to get answers to questions as they arise and can incorporate an intelligent bot to pre-qualify potential leads before they’re sent to a CRM.
Email Marketing Strategies
Provided that you’re in full compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, email marketing campaigns are a viable method for generating new leads and nurturing existing ones. Check your local laws to ensure your email campaigns comply with all regulations, and take measures to stay in compliance and out of spam filters.
9. Targeted Email Campaigns
For email marketing success, you need to know who you’re targeting and the best way to engage them. Creating paths for your leads to follow based on their actions and interests can help you deliver the right content at the right stage of their buying journey. This starts with segmenting your leads list, and making sure new leads go into the proper groups.
10. Send Old Blog Posts to New Prospects
Blog posts are the Swiss Army knives of the internet. Just because you’ve posted an article already doesn’t mean you can’t use it again. Repurposing old content is a legitimate way of saving both time and money, while making the most of the content you’ve worked hard to produce. You should keep in mind that content should NOT be repurposed on a website. If you post the same exact content to your website twice, Google will recognize the duplicate content and could penalize your website.
Paid Advertising Strategies
SEO is popular because organic traffic—once it starts flowing—is free. The problem with organic SEO, is that it takes a long time, is unpredictable, and can be expensive.
Paid marketing is sometimes the best way to generate new leads—but be careful. Strategies such as Google AdWords can consume an entire month’s worth of marketing budget in a matter of hours. Make sure you have a plan (and a budget) and execute accordingly, measuring results along the way.
11. LinkedIn Ads
Running LinkedIn ads allows you to connect to a huge number of businesses. The downside to paying for ad placements on a site like LinkedIn is that competition for certain keywords and audiences is tough. You’re going to want to make sure your paid campaigns are optimized, dialed in, and your budgets (and expectations) are properly set. While your cost-per-acquisition may be a bit higher with LinkedIn Ads, you can’t downplay the value that advertising on the network brings.
12. Google AdWords
Google AdWords is the original pay-per-click (PPC) network. In order to keep ROI at an acceptable level, you’re going to need to spend some time optimizing your ads, images, landing pages, keywords, and bids. It’s an entire skill set to learn. If it’s too much to invest time and money to properly learning how to run an AdWords campaign focused on ROI, you can always hire an AdWords expert to set it up and run it for you.
Social Media Lead Generation Strategies
Social media marketing is more than making a few Facebook posts a week. To make your social media efforts worthwhile, you’ll need to create engaging content and leverage each platform’s unique capabilities to target your ideal demographic.
13. Social Media Chatbots
Chatbots are able to reach out and engage with live visitors on your social media sites. They help you reach a wider audience by automatically starting conversations and parsing the best ones to pass off to you as a warm lead. The best way to use chatbots to drive leads is to pre-program them with persuasive, short, and effective copywriting that will help guide prospects and leads to the next step in their journey.
14. Connect with Prospects on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the best marketing tools for B2B companies out there. As with other social media sites, you’re going to need a comprehensive game plan before you start seeing new leads. LinkedIn is all about participating in communities, connecting with new people, and getting your name out there as an expert in your industry.
15. Generate Positive Online Reviews
Positive online reviews instill trust in prospective customers or clients who may be researching your business. Public reviews also give you a chance to successfully resolve a complaint from a customer in a professional manner. Potential customers want to know that other businesses have purchased your products or services and had a good experience. Start asking for reviews and testimonials from your best clients.
Offline Lead Generation Strategies
Lead generation for B2B businesses has been going on long before the internet came into existence, and these offline tactics continue to be valuable. There’s something irreplaceable about meeting prospects face to face, and making your presence known in the real world.
16. Attend a Trade Show
Trade shows are valuable because large groups of potential clients are all in one place and are ready to learn about new services and products that could help their business. The initial upfront cost of participating in one as more than an attendee can be high for most small businesses. When it comes to trade shows, you can’t skimp out on the display materials or collateral. If you’re going to do a trade show, do it right. Have ample printed materials and backdrops created to showcase your brand in the best possible light.
17. Direct Mail
Since many companies are focusing the majority of their marketing budgets online or through digital channels, competition for the mailbox has never been lower. Direct mail still generates a lot of leads for B2B businesses, and becomes even more productive when combined with a seamless online experience. When you take advantage of the Post Office’s Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) service, you select a geographical area on a map, and the Post Office will deliver your mailer to every single business in that zone. Measure results by using a unique phone number and/or URL on the printed piece, or by creating an offer that people will need to redeem.
18. Pay for Lead Generation
There’s plenty of ways to purchase lists of leads, harvested from particular niches. These lists can be expensive, so you’ll want to make sure what you’re buying contains quality information, harvested legally. You can also hire a team who will generate leads for you by installing proven marketing systems and running them on your behalf. No matter who you hire, make sure they’re trusted in their industry, and can provide guidance on staying compliant with anti-spam and consumer protection laws.
19. Hire Sales Reps or Train Current Reps
Some sales reps are willing to work on commission only, and others require an annual salary as well as commission. Depending on your compensation structure, an internal sales representative can be tasked with handling both inbound sales leads as well as making cold calls during downtime. If your current reps aren’t hitting targets, or have plateaued, it’s probably time to invest in professional sales training.
20. Sponsor a Charity Event
Sponsoring events in your area can help ingratiate your business with the local community. If the event (and your sponsorship level) is large enough, your business will probably receive a mention in the local newspaper, printed marketing collateral, and the event’s website or social pages. You can also produce a blog post about it and promote the event to your clients and customers.
21. Join a Chamber of Commerce
Almost every single city in the U.S. has a Chamber of Commerce (CoC). Depending on how active your CoC is, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in several networking events throughout the year and make new connections along the way. An added bonus of joining your local Chamber of Commerce is the amount of support that you’ll get as a B2B business owner.