Lead generation is a technique used to stimulate the interest of potential buyers to your brand with the aim of introducing them into your sales funnel. Lead generation has become an integral part of the B2B selling process in the current digital age.
The buying process has changed, and with it, the role of sales teams. The digital age has provided the buyer with greater autonomy. The sales team are no longer in the driving seats, and the power now rests with the buyer.
The modern B2B buyer is benefiting from the wealth of information that is available and using it to make informed purchasing decisions. A single web search can produce hundreds of pages and thousands of results.
Greater time is dedicated to researching products and comparing among competitors to find the perfect fit for their business. 78% of B2B buyers now spend more time researching products. So, how can you make you make your company stand out?
Investing time and effort into the development of effective inbound and outbound marketing strategies can help implement your business’ digital footprint.
Inbound marketing is the process of making your business and brand known to buyers. Helping the buyers find you. The more obvious way to garner attention from potential buyers is to provide information that is of interest to them. Generating attention to your brand through your online presence can intrigue buyers and garner their interest in your product.
Content is one of the most effective methods of drawing the attention of prospective buyers to your brand, and 91% of B2B companies are utilizing it as part of their marketing strategy. Creating content that feeds into the interests of your target audience can increase your visibility online.
Content can vary depending on the B2B business and their target audience. The most popular types of content used by B2B companies are social media posts, case studies, videos, e-books/white papers, infographics, and illustrations. Producing informative and high-quality content can lead to potential buyers signing up to subscription emails or newsletters.
Optimizing your content effectively plays a vital role in increasing visibility. Google reports that 71% of B2B buyers begin their research through an organic search. Implementing keywords that are relevant to your industry is important for searching engine optimization (SEO), and can increase your visibility and potential in appearing high in the Google search results.
There’s no denying the profound impact that social media has had on our personal lives. Its influence also spills into the digital selling world with its continuing impact on the modern buying journey hard to ignore. Social media can be an important digital tool for B2B companies as it allows them to employ a customer-centric approach.
Buyers use social networks throughout their research process to garner information about companies. More than half of B2B buyers use social media to inform buying decisions. With B2B buyers extending their buying journey in order to dedicate more time to the research process, social media platforms are a tool that can be used to influence their journey.
B2B businesses can use social media platforms to promote their brand and engage with prospective customers. Social networks enable businesses to communicate with a prospective buyer in a quick and timely manner. Swift responses to queries can help a business push ahead of the competition.
LinkedIn is often considered the most effective social media platform for lead generation. LinkedIn provides the platform to build a professional, social identity, and the opportunity to engage and connect with like-minded professionals. It is the professional social network. For 84% of B2B buyers, LinkedIn is the most preferred network to share business-related content.
LinkedIn is considered the most effective social media platform to share content and is also the most used social media platform by B2B content marketers (94%). The next preferred social media platform is reportedly Twitter (87%), followed by Facebook (84%), Google+ (62%), and SlideShare (37%).
Website & blogs
In a B2B digital relationship, the most important lead generator is your website. Unless your website looks professional, is easy to navigate, runs quickly, and is accessible across different devices, the effort employed into the previous inbound marketing strategies that I have mentioned will be worthless.
Call-to-actions are essential to turn web browsers into potential leads. Calls-to-action can encourage potential customers to provide their email address. Popular methods include offering subscriptions to blog posts, access to greater access to content through member log-in, and the option to sign-up for weekly or monthly newsletters. These email addresses can, through nurturing and communication, be generated into leads and customers.
Blogs are a great place to produce written content. Blog posts can be easily shared across social networking platforms. Calls-to-action can also go a long way to generate trust between yourself and the reader and build a relationship. Encourage readers to ask questions or share your content if they find it interesting.
Ensuring the share buttons are easily accessible on the blog post increase the chances that your blog post will be shared. A blog can be a great way to attract the attention of potential buyers in your industry. Write about topics relevant to their field and your blog could act as a gateway to the rest of your web page.
Outbound marketing works best when implemented alongside an inbound strategy. You’ve garnered potential buyers’ information and now it is time to target these opportunities.
Email marketing is perhaps the most vital component of any company’s overall marketing campaign. Despite the introduction and growing popularity of new technology, email is remaining strong. B2B companies generate email listings using various methods on their web pages. Call-to-actions on your business webpage or social media platforms are a great way to generate a list of potential leads.
You have created compelling content, and it is important that it reaches buyers at the beginning of their journey. Content syndication is a vital element in B2B content as an outbound lead generator. Simply put, it is the process of sharing the original content across different platforms. It is the promotion of your content on other websites. In the B2B context, these platforms are often other businesses.
Content syndication increases the exposure of your content and drives otherwise disengaged traffic back towards the original source; your company website. It pushes your content beyond your typical audience. Co-marketing and social syndication are two popular inbound strategies employed by B2B content marketing strategists.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is a prime example of successful co-marketing as a content syndication tool. The CMI has recently published the findings of their annual content marketing survey. This is institute’s eight-year partnering with MarketingProfs to produce such content which was also sponsored by Brightcove. MarketProfs are a successful business offering modern marketing tools, training, and information, while Brightcove provides an online video platform. Co-marketing the research report provided all three companies with an increase in exposure to different audiences than their individually produced content may have done.
Social syndication, much like co-marking, is the coming together of different brands to promote one other’s content using their respective social media channels. Once again, this increases exposure to wider audiences.
Direct mail is an effective tool for targeted communications. High-level executives are less likely to be directly involved in the research process of the B2B journey and are therefore less likely to come across your company while browsing the web. Direct mail allows for greater creativity in producing a message or presentation about what your content or product could do for them. It can be a great way to pique the curiosity of a potentially great lead.
Organizing events, be it big or small or virtually through a webinar, can be a great outbound lead generator. Events offer you a greater opportunity to showcase your brand on a personal level with attendees. Offering access to these events after the fact via videos or podcasts through your web page and social media platforms can also contribute to your inbound marketing strategy.
Showcasing the talent on offer within your business through educational speeches and Q&As can increase the perception of your business as one of expertise in the field. Taking the time to allow interaction between your business and potential buyers is a key component of events. Conversing in real time without a keyboard as an aid can push the relationship further.