Generating leads is a crucial marketing activity. More leads in the pipeline, more chances to make a sale.
But lead generation isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Proof that’s the case are the 63% of marketers who tag lead and traffic generation as their top challenge, according to HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report. The good news, however, is the same study found that 61% of marketers believe their marketing strategy is sound and effective.
This means there are lead generation strategies that work, practices B2B marketers can learn from.
B2B lead generation is a combination of different strategies
Lead generation entails a diverse pool of tactics for it to become effective. And based on research by top marketing organizations (here, here, and here), the following are some of the best lead generation strategies for B2B organizations.
You’d think that spam, bought email lists, and other nefarious tactics such as phishing would somehow make email marketing go extinct. But email marketing, to this day, remains effective because the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Below are compelling email marketing statistics compiled by Campaign Monitor:
- There are 3x more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined
- 90% of emails get delivered to the recipient’s inbox, while only 2% of Facebook posts are seen by page fans in their news feed
- An email campaign has an average CTR of 3% compared to tweets with just around 0.5%
- The ROI for email marketing is 3,800% or $38 for every dollar spent
- 72% of people prefer receiving promos via email, whereas only 17% favor social media
Lead generation through email marketing generally starts with three things:
- Email marketing goals: Obviously, our goal is lead generation. But email is a preferred customer interaction channel (68% of customers want to be emailed, says a study by consumer experience platform Bluecore), and therefore any marketing goal can be accomplished with it: branding and awareness, sales generation, and even customer retention.
- Automation software: There are many to choose from. Some examples are AWeber, Constant Contact, MailChimp, and GetResponse.
- The email list: This is where you’ll need some work done. Building a list requires time and a good dose of creativity.
For inspiration, let’s look at what Help Scout shares to grow your email subscriber list. Some of these tactics they’ve implemented themselves to grow their own list:
- Identify the best location for your opt-in form: top of the sidebar, bottom of the article, below the footer, feature box, or popup box,
- Create a dedicated resource page
- Create hub pages that address important industry topics and link to several of your best content on the subject + an opt-in box for updates
- Create gated content
- Offer free downloads
- Guest post on related blogs and funnel visitors to a custom landing page
Social media marketing
According to research by IDC, 75% of B2B buyers and C-level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions.
Other statistics pointing to the usefulness of social media for lead generation include:
- 80% of B2B leads generated from social media come from LinkedIn. [Source]
- 52% of companies with a Facebook page saw an increase in the number of customers, while those with a Twitter account saw a 44% increase. [Source]
- Facebook is arguably one of the fastest-growing ad networks, with the number of advertisers more than doubling since 2015. [Source]
- 74% of consumers rely on social media for help with their buying decisions. [Source]
Hootsuite presents several ways to use social media for lead generation:
- Share links to gated content
- Run contests
- Use social media advertising
- Use Facebook’s custom tabs
- Host a webinar, Hangout, or live video
- Engage in social selling, which, according to HubSpot, “is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects”
GetResponse offers some more tips:
- Choose the right social media platform
- Build a strong network (i.e., connect with industry leaders, follow new connections and prospects on Twitter or Facebook)
- Include CTAs in your profiles
- Bring lead magnets (or “ethical bribes”) into your social media posts
- Share your content
- Use paid ads
- Monitor and measure your social media performance
Search engine optimization (SEO)
According to search engine stats compiled by Smart Insights, over 6 billion searches are made each day around the world, with Google taking the lion’s share at 77%. That’s a lot of searches, which means the search engines continue to play a huge role in customers’ search for information online.
In fact, a whopping 93% of B2B buying decisions start with an internet search.
But that’s not all the SEO statistics we have for lead generation. Here are some more compiled by IMPACT:
- 57% of B2B marketers believe SEO has the greatest impact on lead generation
- Organic search leads have an average 14.6% close rate, whereas outbound marketing leads only close at an average 1.7%
- The first listing on Google’s organic search results generate 33% of clicks
- High spenders are likely to use organic search for more information on a product or service
Search marketing is not a standalone marketing tactic. To generate B2B leads via SEO, employ a strategy that combines good content, an active social media presence, good website design, and conversion rate optimization.
Content is the reason the internet came to be, and today, B2B marketers use content to engage customers and prospects at all stages of the buying cycle.
Some statistics about content marketing for lead generation:
- 80% of B2B marketers plan to use content marketing for lead generation and 66% for lead nurturing. [Source]
- Content marketing’s top three goals are lead generation (59%), market education (43%), and brand awareness (40%). [Source]
- Long-form posts generate 9x more leads than short forms. [Source]
- Yearly site traffic growth is 7.8x higher for marketers with a defined content marketing strategy than their counterparts who don’t have one. [Source]
Neil Patel shares five ideas on how to generate leads via content marketing:
- Ebooks. Write an ebook to educate potential leads, show what you know, and collect your readers’ email addresses
- Webinars. A webinar’s success hinges on whether you’re offering anything of real value. As such, ask questions on the signup page so you have a better understanding of what participants expect from the activity
- Real-life events. Actual face-to-face events bridge the gap between online and offline, and lets you interact with potential leads in a way that’s not possible via email or on social media
- Guides and white papers. Create guides and white papers that address the issues and pain points potential customers experience at various stages of the buying journey
- Case studies. Write customer case studies to showcase how your product/service solves customer problems
B2B credit platform Apruve adds several more:
- Expert blogging. Well-researched content that offers a deep dive into the industry’s most pressing questions solidifies your role as an expert
- Email courses. Offer free but valuable email courses to site visitors who opt into your email list
- Templates or spreadsheets. Save businesses time and energy by providing templates, spreadsheets, illustrated guides and other tools that help simplify their processes
- Help or explainer videos. Create entertaining videos to answer consumer questions, or guide users on how your product/service works
Start generating leads today
A lead generation strategy that works for one company may not work in exactly the same way for another, and therefore may require a good deal of testing, experimenting, and tweaking. If you’re still strategizing for lead generation, remember that a combination of the strategies that work for other B2B marketing organizations should be a good place to start.
Which B2B lead generation strategies have so far brought you the most success?