Chumming for Leads: How to Up Your Lead Generation Strategy

It’s the 30th Anniversary of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week! We’re using it as a chance to have some fun and talk about the wilder side of B2B marketing.

Developing a new lead generation strategy can be like staring out at open water. Anything could be lurking out there waiting to be hooked… or waiting to swallow you up.

Lead generation presents particular challenges for B2B brands. Attracting new customers — as well as retaining the ones you have — requires the right blend of content and smart user experiences.

Does lead gen leave you feeling lost at sea? Here are some tips and tricks you can incorporate into your B2B lead generation strategy.

Create the right blend of content.

Buyers come to you when they have a problem. This includes when they visit your website, follow you on Twitter, or subscribe to your emails. Your product or service helps them solve a problem, and so should the content you share.

In fact, 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities and blogs to help them make purchasing decisions (Marketing Think).

How can your B2B brand create content that provides value for potential customers and brings in leads?

Quality content is critical for generating new leads. Without it, potential new customers won’t feel compelled to engage with your brand – or hand over their email address. Establish yourself as a thought leader with a webinar program or blog. Create real value for your customers with eBooks and white papers that help them solve common problems they face.

This may seem intimidating at first, but creating quality content — and lasting value — for your customers is worth the investment. A tip for smaller marketing teams: Focus on creating one big piece of content a quarter, then break it into bite-sized pieces to use across different channels. One eBook can easily fuel content for multiple blogs, social posts, emails, and more.

Personalized web experiences let you target specific segments of your audience based on demographics and behavior. Marketing automation platforms greatly expand your ability to deliver the right content to the right user. In fact, 57% of high-performing B2B organizations reported extensive use of web personalization (2016 State of Marketing, Salesforce). Our ABM partner, DemandBase, goes a step further and combines AI-based content recommendations with targeted display advertising to deliver personalized content to B2B buyers.

Social media can be an intimidating channel for B2B brands, and for that reason, its potential for lead generation is often overlooked (see how Field Nation incorporates social media into lead nurturing). However, 54% of B2B marketers say they have had success generating leads through social media platforms.

Keep these key things in mind when developing content for social channels:

  • Choose channels wisely. Your brand doesn’t need to be on every social channel. Instead, determine which ones make sense for your brand, industry, and audience.
  • Social is about connecting with people. Many B2B brands have found success here by seizing the opportunity to tell stories about their customers, employees, and partners.
  • Listening is as important as posting. The more you can grow or engage a community, the better social will work for your lead gen efforts.

Learn more about using social media to up your lead gen efforts.

Email marketing has been around for a long time, but it is definitely not old news. Email marketing still generates the most ROI of any channel and remains a vital part of the B2B marketer’s toolbox.

This is because email offers marketers prime opportunities for personalized messaging and powerful automated engagement. According to the fourth annual “State of Marketing” report, 65% of B2B buyers are likely to switch brands if a vendor does not personalize communications to their company.

Package it inside a smarter user experience.

You have content — but how do you use it to drive leads? According to the “B2B Marketer’s Lead Generation Field Guide,” customers are 5.2 times more likely to purchase from companies that offer a “great customer experience.” While every moment of a customer’s digital experience is important, landing pages and forms are particularly critical for lead generation.  

Landing pages can help promote content — gated and ungated — by highlighting information around a particular topic or resource. Landing page content encourages users to fill out a form and convert into a new lead. Importantly, landing pages provide opportunities to attract new leads through SEO, as well.   

However you use landing pages, they should always align with your brand and match expectations for what users will get from your content. Big promises might entice a form submission, but unmet expectations might prevent that lead from converting into a new customer.

Forms should be short and concise. Forms that ask for too much information up front can quickly scare away new leads. Instead, progressive profiling enables you to gather the data you need by collecting new information each time a prospect interacts with your form.

Invest in the right channels.

While high-quality content and seamless user experiences can drive leads on their own, outbound tactics — including advertising, search engine marketing (SEM), and many more — will help bring even more potential buyers into your pipeline.

Not all B2B brands have the resources to invest in every channel, and usually they don’t need to. Most B2B brands will find that certain channels work better than others for driving new leads.

Accurately tracking and measuring which channels drive quality leads is essential to developing a lead generation strategy that works. It’s important to remember the difference between high-volume traffic and high-quality leads. A Facebook advertisement, for example, might boost traffic to a landing page, but if none of those visitors convert into leads, you may need to rethink your approach. B2B Marketing Analytics help marketers track users across full journeys, managing multi-touch attribution reporting, so you can understand which campaigns are performing best and where to invest your marketing budget.

Enlisting your sales team can provide additional guidance in combination with tracking analytics. Your sales team is a valuable — and often untapped — resource for customer insights, including how they buy, the problems they face, and the solutions they want to know more about. There are many added benefits of aligning your B2B brand’s marketing and sales teams. Learn more about what it takes to achieve seamless sales alignment.

 

Real B2B brands like Digital Realty and Veda have seen great success vamping their lead generation efforts using some of the tactics above. Find out how you can do the same for your brand with the B2B Marketer’s Lead Generation Field Guide.