Lead generation is incredibly important for your company’s growth. Here we’ll summarize the most effective strategies for B2B companies. For a more comprehensive explanation, check out our complete B2B marketing guide.
PPC Search Ads:
The advantage to running ads on Google or Bing is that when your ad is served, you know the person clicking on your ad is interested in what you’re selling. How? Because they entered a keyword related to your product or service.
Paid Social and Display Ads:
The advantage that Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks have over Google is the level of demographic targeting available based on the profiles their members fill out.
Both social and display ads can be purchased on a CPM (cost-per-thousand) basis, but like paid search ads they’re typically bought on a cost-per-click or even cost-per-lead basis.
Both Google and Bing operate an “audience network” through which they display banner ads on third-party websites. There are also a number of smaller “programmatic display” players which serve your ads to targeted audiences based on an auction model.
Regardless of how you buy paid ads, these ads typically link to your website and drive traffic to a specific landing page. This landing page should be designed to convert your lead into a qualified prospect by asking them to enter their email address (at a minimum) and a bit of information about themselves so that you know the best place to start your sales conversation.
Outbound email marketing is also known as cold emailing. The point of a cold email is to specifically address a pain point your lead might be having, in an effort to get them into a sales conversation.
Inbound email marketing refers to emails sent to leads who have actively subscribed (“opted in”) to receive content from you. These emails should be more tailored to the audience that is most interested in your product and should advertise specific benefits based on the content they’ve previously engaged with.
Both email techniques are effective ways to communicate with leads and prospects at an extremely low cost.
The goal of Search Engine Optimization is to increase your company’s visibility for keyword searches performed by your ideal customers.
At the risk of radically oversimplifying a complex marketing discipline, the idea is by sending Google the appropriate signals to rank your content, both on your website and via other owned media channels, you stand a better chance at drawing in leads interested in what you’re selling.
A particular SEO technique that’s often overlooked is the necessity of attracting backlinks to the content that you want Google to rank. Linkbuilding is one of the most important, if not the most important, techniques that contributes to SEO success.
Placing content on other sites or blogs and referencing your own site in your author’s byline is a tried-and-true method of earning backlinks. But building the relationships to earn those content placements takes time and often involves months or years of work.
A faster SEO “hack” is to scour for broken links pointing to other websites (possibly even your competitors’ websites) that no longer work. Reaching out to the author of the article that includes the broken link, preferably with a viable piece of replacement content they can link to on your own website, can increase your backlink profile at the margins.
Content marketing is based on maintaining a steady stream of media to draw consumers in. This content can take the form of blogs, podcasts, webinars, ebooks, white papers, and videos.
Although content marketing is an extremely successful inbound marketing technique it is a strategy that requires planning and, like SEO, can be very time consuming.
Social media community engagement:
The value of social media cannot be denied despite its increasingly pay-to-play arena. Maintaining a steady presence of bite-size, visually interesting content, can help grow your social media community and raise awareness among potential leads.
An important aside: Optimize for mobile traffic
Over half of organic traffic comes from mobile devices. As cell phones become more sophisticated it is important to recognize their growing role in connecting consumers to information.
More often than not, websites are formatted to be viewed from a larger screen such as a computer. When these images are condensed into a screen no larger than 6 inches in height your formatting can quickly fall apart.
Many B2B companies design their sites with large graphics, subscription pop-ups, contact forms, and live chats. While these assets can all be effective at generating leads when viewed on a desktop monitor, on a cell phone, they take up a lot of visual space, and can slow the performance of the page dramatically on mobile data connections.
Streamline your design and make sure your website is easy to navigate regardless of the device your leads are using to view it.
But why does any of this matter?
In the past, lead generation was pretty simple: techniques consisted of print, TV, radio and spam email lists. In the digital age these techniques are less effective. Buyers are doing more research on their own than ever before, and media fragmentation means it’s not only more difficult to attract their attention but also to tease out their specific path through a (non)standard buyer’s journey.
Consumers can easily avoid content they don’t find relevant so the traditional outbound marketing techniques are ineffective on their own.
For that reason, inbound marketing techniques are increasingly preferred by many of the most successful B2B companies as a means of increasing their lead volume.