85% of B2B Marketers consider B2B lead generation to be their primary challenge. 😱
Why is that? Everyone in the B2B world is spending so much time and effort on lead generation efforts. It seems impossible that the vast majority would come up short.
Let’s start with a deceptively simple question: What is a lead?
Is someone who downloads an e-book a lead? What about someone who views a webinar or reads a case study?
The answer may surprise you.
No one needs leads for the sake of driving more leads. Forcing prospects at the top of the funnel into your sales process is a waste of their time and yours. But how do you tell the difference between a hot lead and one that’s only lukewarm?
Table of Contents
The Buyer’s Journey Has Never Been So Complicated
What Is The Buyer’s Journey?
Let’s take a closer look at each stage of the buyer’s journey, so your business can create content that supports the sales teams while they engage with prospects:
- Awareness. Does the general public know that your service or product exists? Get your name out there! Find out where your buyers are going to get smarter on this particular topic, whether it’s LinkedIn, YouTube, books, sites like G2 or Quora, and devise a plan for how you can leverage those platforms to capture their attention.
- Interest. Now that someone is aware of who you are, what content will keep them interested in learning more? In this stage, it’s important to understand the differing interests of your buyers. A CEO won’t have the same goals as a CTO or Project Manager, for example.
- Instigation. Engage each buyer in a relatable way. What will resonate with them the most? Humorous emails? Emotional success stories? Cater your campaigns to the buyer’s needs and interests to leave an emotional impact.
- Consideration. Your buyer is interested in your product or service, and they’re ready to put you on their shortlist. What differentiates you from competitors, and why should they continue considering your brand?
- Purchase. Great! Your team landed the sale. A strong onboarding process and continuing customer service along with seamless implementation will reaffirm to your new customer that they made the right choice.
- Satisfaction. Transform into advocates with ongoing service offerings, case studies, and industry influencer opportunities. The more you continue to provide value to your customers, even after purchase, the more they’ll want to stick with your brand into the future.
Your Buyers Have a Job to Do
Buyers need to complete a set of tasks to get their job of making a purchase done. These buyers are ultimately trying to solve a problem for their organization.
It’s our job as B2B Marketers to understand how to best help prospective customers advance through their complex purchase decisions. Gartner research identified six B2B buying “jobs” that customers must complete to their satisfaction in order to successfully finalize a purchase.
- Problem identification: “We need to do something.”
- Solution exploration: “What’s out there to solve our problem?”
- Requirements building: “What exactly do we need the purchase to do?”
- Supplier selection: “Does this do what we want it to do?”
- Validation: “We think we know the right answer, but we need to be sure.”
- Consensus creation: “We need to get everyone on board.”
B2B Marketers and companies need to focus on providing customers with information that is specifically designed to help them complete their buying jobs. Customers reward suppliers that make buying easier.
"Why Your Lead Generation Efforts Fail:
Proven Ways to Win More Customers in 2022"
Buyer enablement content includes prescriptive advice and practical support that enables customers to complete critical buying jobs.
How to Optimize Your Website for B2B Lead Generation
Why Your Prospects Leave (And Never Come Back)
What do paid media efforts, branded search, SEO (non-branded search), social media posts, and everything in between have in common? They all work to drive people to your website.
An optimized website is your hardest-working employee. It should entice visitors to want to learn more about your product or service. Even the most effective lead generation campaigns can bring underwhelming results if your website is plagued with poor user experience, slow speed, and mediocre messaging.
95% of Your Site Visitors Won’t Return 😱
What happens when you visit a website that won’t load? Or when you can’t find the product or service you’re looking for (even though you know the business offers it)? Or when the website, even if it’s highly-ranked on organic search, simply looks outdated and unattractive?
It’s much harder to convince visitors to stay than it is to drive them away so oftentimes they end up leaving at the first sign of trouble.
This can be happening for several reasons:
- Your message isn’t clear enough
- Visitors don’t easily understand what your business does
- Your website takes too long to load
- Your website isn’t attractive
- Your website isn’t optimized for mobile
- Your website has poor usability
Let’s break down how to keep visitors moving smoothly through your funnel so that they don’t drop out of the process before ever learning how great your brand is!
Virtual Workshop by Ellison Ellery Marketing and Growth Agency
"Uncovering Your True Brand Story"
We’ll host a customized one-on-one brand messaging workshop so your business can get clarity on what it does, how it does it, and what pain points it’s solving for. The workshop is one portion of your deliverable. We also take what we heard in the workshop and then apply that to write your mission statement, vision statement, and a few one-liners for your business. You’ll have everything you need to have a clear vision of how your product and service benefits your buyers.
Virtual workshop 3-4 hours (Additional hours included in price for creating a Summary Memo.)
How to Remove Friction From Your Website
Let’s say you’re on a website and start filling out a form. There’s a CLEAR button right next to the SUBMIT button, and you hit the clear button by accident when your intention is to opt in.
That’s a huge friction point. You may be so agitated from that single wrong click that you don’t bother to fill out the form again, leave the website, and disappear back into the rabbit hole of the internet. If the clear button had been 100 pixels to the left, you would have become a lead.
Other common friction points include:
- It’s too difficult to speak to a human support/sales representative
- Poor organization that makes the website difficult to navigate
- Lack of transparency in features, pricing, or other key information
- Calls to action are unclear or require too much of the prospect
It’s imperative to deliver information across multiple channels (text, video, etc.) and to provide prospects with multiple entry points. Offering ebooks, downloadables, case studies, whitepapers, demos, free trials, and other goodies can help you attract buyers in various stages of the journey.
But here’s another thing to consider: Your design aesthetic can be a friction point.
- Users form an opinion about your site almost immediately
- First impressions are 94% design-related
- Websites are often too complex, busy, and lacking in navigation aids
- 75% of consumers judge a company’s credibility based on its website design
Interrogate your design by walking through it as a prospective buyer. Start a search on Google. Find your website, examine your title tags, compare how your website is positioned against the other listings. Does your company stand out?
Of course, you may not be in a position to provide an unbiased answer. Using trusted friends, colleagues, or a focus group can be useful for generating objective feedback. There are also online tools available, such as HotJar or Mouseflow, which create a “heatmap” of your website, showing you which elements of your site real visitors are drawn to, where they get stuck, and when they bounce (or leave your website).
Heatmaps are an awesome tool for identifying which design elements may be causing friction and which ones are doing their job well.
What if one small tweak could increase your profits by $300 million?
When one company removed a small piece of their checkout process—a piece that they had assumed was helping their customers—that’s exactly what happened. Because they decided to test their website design through a user study, they discovered that many of their customers were becoming so frustrated by the “Register an Account” button at checkout that they were leaving the sale behind entirely.
They identified friction in the user experience that they didn’t even know existed. And by changing something as small as a button, they removed a huge pain point for their customers and generated way more sales.
Never expect that a visitor to your website will leap chasms and douse flames to buy your product or service—even a small degree of friction can turn a potential lead into a disappearing act.
Clarity of Message: Leading With Your Value Proposition
Clearly communicating the value you provide for your website visitor is a must.
Every part of your website’s messaging should clearly explain what your prospect stands to gain as a customer. Show it through a value statement in the form of:
- Bullet points (see?)
- A strong, bolded sentence or header
- Unambiguous icons with brief captions
Always remember that people tend to scan rather than read word-for-word, so make your value proposition explicit. Your content should be scannable, not incorporated into long blocks of text where the prospect may miss it.
According to the LIFT model, your website needs to optimize for six conversion factors to improve experiences for your website visitors:
- Value Proposition
How To Improve Your Messaging
It’s no secret that messaging matters. Strong copywriting that clearly communicates what you offer can make a huge difference in your lead generation strategy. You don’t want hard-earned website traffic to bounce because they aren’t sure how your product or service can help them.
Keep testing what copy and CTAs resonate best with your audience. Using A/B testing, using focus groups, and continually asking for feedback will help you determine what works for your ideal customer.
Remember—most customers won’t tell you why they leave.
But strong messaging is critical because it will keep them around by tapping into their wants, needs, and emotions.
B2B Content Marketing & SEO Strategy
68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and more than half of all website traffic comes from organic searches. Much of the rest stems from things such as content marketing, event marketing, and other strategic choices your company makes. That’s why your sales, marketing, and SEO efforts should be closely aligned.
By merging your content marketing strategy and SEO efforts, you can drive higher-quality traffic to your website through organic search engine results and social media referrals.
- 75% of users don’t click past the first page!
- The first three organic search results get 60% of all traffic from a web search
- Leads coming from a search have a 14.6% close rate, compared to just 1.7% from channels like print or direct mail advertising
Did you know that 80% of the sales cycle happens in digital or remote settings?
SEO is more cost-effective than paid advertising alone. As your site becomes more prominent in search results, it will gain visibility and attract more potential leads. SEO is not meant to replace paid advertising, but it’s an added strategy to ensure your business brings in the right prospects and takes them down the sales funnel.
Here are a few good reasons to invest in your company’s SEO:
- Long-term gain. While upping your content strategy game will require a significant upfront investment, it can bring long-term interest in your product or service. Much like the concept of compound interest, it eventually makes your business money while you sleep.
- Better conversion rates. Traffic from your enhanced content strategy offers better conversion rates than other channels. Although paid search can produce results quickly, it lacks authenticity and eventually plateaus.
- ROI from organic trust-building. As a part of your content strategy, you will need to augment it with a content distribution strategy, which may include paid media to help you distribute the content to more people.
How To Run An SEO Audit
SEO is something you’re probably always working on as a business, even if your efforts are somewhat passive, but when was the last time you thoroughly checked your website’s SEO?
Broken links, 404 errors, slow page loading speed, and other performance issues all penalize your site’s ranking and make it harder for your website to generate leads. Even if you do usher visitors to your site, a poor user experience will stick with them longer than the ad that took them there.
Optimize For Mobile
Optimizing your website for mobile is no longer a bonus, it’s a must. Roughly 60% of buyers said that mobile plays a role in their B2B purchases. Plus 80% of them use their mobile at work when they’re shopping around.
An optimized mobile experience is also necessary for the buyers that find your website from their phone. A confusing mobile layout will drive buyers right into your competitor’s arms.
It doesn’t take too long to check your website’s mobile compatibility, and doing so can drastically improve your lead generation by increasing your site’s reach. You might even consider creating a brand app to further customize user experience on mobile (and leverage powerful communication tools like advertising, sales, events, etc. through notifications on a prospect’s phone).
Should You List Your Pricing?
The short answer: yes. Transparency in pricing is a good thing if you can manage it.
Most companies who don’t publish their pricing are afraid of spooking prospects who may be turned off by an expensive product or service, but ask yourself: If a prospect isn’t committed to paying for your degree of quality, then are they a qualified lead?
We create custom marketing strategies, so no two customers have the same. We understand how challenging it can be to provide prospective customers with information that is both clear and easily digestible—after all, no one wants to sort through a spreadsheet to identify which pricing scheme applies to them.
If you can’t publish pricing, consider publishing a chart comparing your product or service to your competitors (and be honest about it). By helping your prospects reach a decision, you are building value and winning more qualified leads.
Improve Your Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Improving your calls-to-action (CTAs) is one of the most impactful changes you can make! A weak call to action won’t motivate a prospect to click, whereas a clear and engaging one will not only generate more leads, but those leads will often be more qualified.
The first step is to identify your most-visited website pages. Using heatmaps or other data, identify what visitors are looking for. What SEO keywords are on the page? Once visitors arrive, what do they do—click a link, navigate to a landing page? Where they go next clues you in on what they came to get in the first place.
Once you have a sense of what people want from the page, it’s important to add strong calls to actions which guide a prospective lead to the next piece of content. This could be a blog post, a downloadable piece of content (lead magnet), or to schedule a demo or consultation.
There’s no limit to the number of CTAs you can place on a single page, but they should be organic, not spammy or overtly salesy. The key is to always provide value to your visitors.
Most landing pages don’t do a good enough job connecting with a prospect to solve their pain point, and consequently they don’t offer sufficient value to convert visitors into buyers.
Use opt-in CTAs that encourage visitors to sign up for your email list in exchange for something valuable—maybe it’s a tip sheet like the one we created to help companies improve their lead generation and sales process, or a free ebook.
Create Offer-Specific Landing Pages
When someone lands on your website, you only have so much time to convert them from a visitor to a lead. Instead of directing a broad group to a general page, increase conversion by creating landing pages that target a tailored persona and are dedicated to specific offerings.
Your ad can offer anything from information on a specific topic to a free trial or lead magnet. As long as the landing page delivers on the promise, you’re giving the visitor something very specific and relevant to them, increasing your chances of converting them into a lead.
Of all the visitors that come to your website, 96% of them aren’t ready to buy (just yet).
Get quick lead generation wins on your landing pages by following these easy steps:
- Back up your copy with social proof.
- Make your call-to-action (CTA) copy more relevant and have them higher on the page, lower on the page, and also consider your sidebar.
- Make sure your CTAs are visible on desktop and mobile.
- Upgrade your headline to catch the attention of buyers.
- Your CTAs need to be eye-catching and make sense for where the visitor is in their buyer’s journey.
Optimize your landing pages and your thank you pages as sales touchpoints with relevant CTAs, social proof, and copy that addresses the needs of your target audience. They’re a perfect opportunity to address the specific pain points of your ideal customer and explain how you can help solve them.
Improve Your Credibility with Social Proof
You can make claims about your product all day long, but where do we go when we want the skinny on what something—a product, an experience, a service—is really like?
We want to hear from someone who’s been there.
So what can you do to showcase positive customer experiences? Use social proof, of course! The more social proof you can collect on your website, the easier it is for potential customers to trust you. And the more they trust you, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Examples of social proof are case studies, testimonials, and user-generated content. Highlighting rave reviews online will help convince nonbelievers by demonstrating how others have benefited from what you have to offer.
- 97% of consumers say that online reviews impact their buying decisions. (Podium)
- Testimonials can increase sales page conversions by 34%. (VWO)
- 57% of consumers prefer buying from a business that has at least a 4-star rating. (HubSpot)
- 40% of people say that they have purchased a product because it was used by an influencer. (AdWeek)
- It requires an average of 40 reviews before a potential buyer can trust a business’s review and star rating to be accurate and authentic. (BrightLocal)
- 85% of consumers are of the view that online reviews older than 3 months are irrelevant. (BrightLocal)
Run A/B Tests and Do Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
As we learned through the infamous tale of the “Register an Account” button, small changes to user experience can drive a big impact. Running A/B tests on your website is one of the best ways to measure your conversion rate optimization.
The process is simple: show two or more versions of your webpage to different website visitors, then gauge how those distinct groups interact with your site.
Is one version seeing more clicks on the call to action? Does it have a lower bounce rate? Identify your goals and see how the competing iterations stack up, then start applying what you learn about which headers, images, and design elements work best to similar tests on other pages.
Even something as simple as the color of a button can have a dramatic effect on conversion results. When Performable switched the color of their call to action button from green to red, they saw a 21% increase in conversion rate!
Here are a few tips for running an effective A/B test:
- Isolate Variables & Remove Blind Spots: Don’t test multiple variables at once and use heatmap software to take advantage of visual data.
- Fail Faster & Cheaper: Create smaller tests with smaller variables to get faster feedback.
- Use Prediction Metrics: Stop using “Sale” or “No Sale” as your key metric for a test’s success—focus on predictive metrics such as whether a visitor submitted their information, clicked a call to action, or remained on the page.
Dynamic Website Content
The goal of your website is to show your ideal customer that you have the answer to their problem, but it typically takes more than cold, hard facts to convince them. You want the user experience to be relatable and intuitive for your customer.
Personalize your customers’ experience with dynamic pages and content. By tracking your prospects individually through a centralized CRM, you can offer on-page content tailored to a specific lead, their place in the buyer’s journey, and their persona.
A journey that feels relevant is much more likely to convert than a generalized experience. (Look at e-commerce platforms like Amazon. How often do you see intriguing product suggestions based on your past behavior or current interests? Their website is ruled by dynamic content!)
It will help if you identify key information such as:
- What are the pain points and anxieties afflicting your ideal customer?
- How does your ideal customer make purchasing decisions?
- Is your ideal customer part of a buying committee?
- Who does your ideal customer turn to for research?
You can then synthesize this information into your broader lead generation and conversion plan, using the data you’ve collected about real individuals to inform the problems and processes that your future prospects are likely to experience.
Don’t make assumptions about your audience! Doing real research makes an enormous difference when it comes to creating a foolproof marketing plan.
Excite People to Want to Learn More About Your Business
Prioritize cultivating a long-term relationship with your prospective buyers. It’s important your business understands that building relationships happens over time and that future sales are just as worthy of your attention as sales that happen tomorrow.
Create an inbound content marketing strategy driven by an understanding of your buyers’ pain points and what motivates them to buy. You want to focus on providing value to your buyers first and making them more sales ready before engaging them to buy your product or service.
Only 1-3% of buyers are ready to buy right now, so it’s imperative that you create a strategy to engage the other 97% until they’re ready.
That’s where lead nurturing comes in.
Email Marketing Strategy For B2B Lead Generation
Once a potential buyer subscribes to your email list, you have much more control over what they see from you. Plus, it’s easier to measure your progress because you can see how your leads respond to your campaigns and sales processes and even market to them based on those interactions.
But you can’t just blast out emails and expect the dollars to start rolling in. 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns.
Personalization is exhausting, but it works! Modern life is full of noise. Our attention has become a hot commodity, so why should we spend it on generic blast emails from faceless corporations? Best email marketing practices make the extra effort to personalize content guarantees a much bigger ROI and is better for building trust in your brand.
And yes, B2B businesses should be using emojis in their subject lines! You’re not selling to a business—you’re selling to a person. According to Campaign Monitor, businesses using emojis in their emails can see up to a 56% increase in their unique open rates.
Build Your Email List Organically
We’ve said it many times throughout this article, but we’ll say it again. You want high-quality leads because they are more likely to convert into paying customers. While seeing a ton of leads pour in might feel positive, in reality 500 low quality leads won’t increase your revenue and help grow your business, but they will waste your time and steal your focus.
That’s why you should always build your email list organically. If you purchase an email list, you’ll most likely receive a bundle of low-quality contacts. In other words, they’re not ready to buy from you now—and may never be. Save your money and build your own list organically through a proven inbound content strategy.
Try Sending Cold Emails
The cold emailing strategy has gotten a bit of a bad rep. With the risk of your email being considered spam (by the email algorithm or the person receiving it), it’s no surprise that some people think it’s a bad idea.
However, cold emailing can be a really effective part of your email marketing plan when done right, and it’s something you should work into your lead generation strategy. Targeted B2B cold emails have an open rate of about 14%-23%, depending on your industry.
A cold email that works is highly personalized, meaning that the process can be a bit time consuming. But if a good portion of your cold emails generate leads, it’s worth the time investment.
Use suspense in your subject lines for an improvement in open rates.
Try to avoid headlines like this as their open rates are trending down.
Score Leads (With Points) & Nurture Them
It can be hard to tell at first, but your buyers are sending you signals. The actions they’re taking on your website are direct indicators of where they are in the buyer’s journey.
If your visitor downloaded a whitepaper or ebook, for example, does that mean they are ready for a sales call? Probably not. But they are willing to learn more about your business, which means they may become sales-ready over time.
Determine what steps to take next that will help move buyers down your funnel by looking at their actions on your website. Use this information to “score” your leads, or keep track of how much interest they’ve shown in your product via site visits, clicks on calls to action, email opens, and other types of engagement.
Lead scoring can help you get organized, but what’s most important is the plan you develop for those crucial next steps. Most people on your website are not ready to buy now, but even if they aren’t ready to cross the finish line, they may be willing to tag along until the next mile marker.
Popular lead nurturing techniques include:
- Creating and sending content through a personalized email campaign
- Using text messages/SMS to keep the prospect abreast of new offerings
- Retargeting the prospect with ads to keep your brand at top of mind
What can you send them that adds value? Build a relationship with your prospects to convert them from someone who only wanted your whitepaper to a sales-ready lead who knows how your project and/or service will improve their lives.
Create Personalized Automations
In order to create a great lead nurturing experience, you need to leverage modern marketing technology to create an automated outreach communications sequence.
What emails will the prospect receive? How often? What happens when they interact with the email? While it may be tempting to lump every prospect into one funnel, marketing automation makes it simple to engage in meaningful dialogues consistently.
If prospective customers will feel they are getting a custom buyer’s experience, your business will be able to better build value, tell its unique story, and convert leads into customers
Automations can help you:
- Streamline your sales process by automating time-consuming, repetitive tasks
- Allow more time for your sales team to have more meaningful conversations
- Personalize the sales process at scale without eating up man-hours
- Set up behavioral triggers to identify hot leads and sift out cold ones
Save Time With Chatbots
Remember when we said that your website should function like a hardworking employee? We meant it, and chatbots are a great example of how to make that happen.
Automated lead bots collect data from website visitors so that you and your team don’t have to! Obviously lead bots save your team time and manpower on the customer service end, but they also help you focus your efforts on high-quality leads.
Think about your ideal customer (their company size, industry, pain points) and use this to inform your lead bot strategy. Once the user interacts with your lead bot, you’ll be able to decide if someone on your team should pursue the lead, and who that person should be.
Paid Advertising Strategy (Outbound Marketing)
Advertising in Paid Media
Ads are everywhere we look—they’re an inescapable fact of modern life. That’s good and bad. It means you have more opportunities to get in front of your ideal audience, but that they’re less likely to pay attention.
No matter how big your ad budget is, concentrate on who your target audience is and what they want to see on each platform. Plastering the same ad across the walls of the internet won’t get you nearly as many leads as ads that are designed with specific personas in mind.
Paid media includes:
- Facebook ads
- Linkedin ads
- Search engine ads (Google, Bing, etc.)
- Ads on websites your target audience engages with regularly
And remember—where you send a fresh lead is absolutely critical. Be sure to create different landing pages that are targeted to different stages of the buying cycle for your paid media campaigns. You want to test multiple variations of your landing pages so you can continue to optimize for conversions and how to reduce your cost-per-lead and overall spend, while optimizing for more leads and sales.
Ultimately, you want to focus on building value with prospective buyers without forcing a conversion. If your content is good, then content consumption can be a win for your business. Aim to include a more passive CTA (such as the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter) mixed in with more sales-oriented CTAs.
Remarketing to B2B Leads
Have you ever visited a car manufacturer website or bank website and then noticed all of the ads are from those companies? You were just remessaged!
Remarketing is a tactic that involves positioning yourself in front of potential prospects who are already familiar with your brand. Making use of tracking pixels and other retargeting technologies will allow you to, for example, show ads specifically to prospects who have already visited your website or otherwise engaged with your content.
Remember, those prospects came to your website for a reason. If you set up remarketing campaigns correctly, then you can improve your chances of getting that person back to your website. Remarketing converts up to 50 percent of web traffic (versus the two percent converted with search campaigns).
They say life doesn’t offer many second chances, but this is one of them. Make the most of it by taking the opportunity to tell your brand story, speak to prospects’ pain points, differentiate yourself, and offer something of value!
Using Social Media For Lead Generation
You might have heard at one point that social media isn’t an effective way to increase B2B sales. But if you want the cold hard truth, here it is: If you’ve tried using social media to generate B2B leads and haven’t had any success at all, you have to come up with a better strategy.
You can’t just post random content at random times and call it a day. Your posts need to be consistent and they should always provide value for your target customer.
It sounds like a lot of work, but the hours put into social media really can pay off if you do it right. B2B marketers are investing in social media: B2B product brands spend 14.7% of their marketing budget on social media
With B2B buyers spending approximately 27% of their research time online, failure to focus on your social content can turn people away from your brand or not even realize you exist.
If no one is engaging with the content that you share, you’re essentially shouting into the abyss. Engagement is the goal, so try leaning on your employees to help tell your brand story.
Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. It’s the same reason that people love word of mouth referrals from people they know: people trust personal connections. Create a culture in your organization that encourages your staff to share your content on their personal profiles and make it easy for your employees to get involved.
Ultimately, it takes more than just getting your employees to “like” your posts, although that’s a great start. Look to tools like EveryoneSocial and AgoraPulse to help you add gamification and prizes to encourage your staff to socially share your posts.
Employee advocacy strengthens your brand by giving it more credibility and increased visibility. While potential customers might recognize your brand, hearing from employees(aka real people) primes them to become a lead in a way that the broader brand voice can’t always do.
LinkedIn For B2B
Did you know 80% of B2B leads generated from social media come from LinkedIn?
It’s the #1 B2B social media platform for content distribution — making LinkedIn Ads for B2B one of the best options for helping your business drive more leads and sales.
Learning how to reach your target audience and make the most of LinkedIn Ads for B2B has real potential to be the ace up your sleeve when it comes to social media marketing. If you’re able to position yourself (or your company) as a thought leader in your respective field and get your content in front of the right eyes, the payoff will be astronomical—and you’ll have another marketing tool in your repertoire.
Pinterest For B2B
Pinterest hasn’t traditionally been the focus of B2B campaigns. Instead, the platform has thrived on B2C. However, many B2B brands have found success with targeted Pinterest ads—depending on your industry, it may be a viable option for you, too.
Instagram For B2B
Instagram is quickly becoming a popular channel for B2B marketers. The brands who do Instagram well have seen huge engagement on this platform compared with others.
B2B companies experience their largest engagement ratios on Instagram—meaning that of the major social sites, Instagram fosters the highest number of interactions.
Even though you’re a B2B company, you’re not selling to corporations, you’re selling to people. Instagram presents the perfect opportunity for you to connect with potential customers on an emotional level. Storytelling has always been a powerful marketing tactic, but how do you leverage the power of story (in this case, an Instagram story) for your business?
- Show that there are real people behind the business. What is your company culture like? What is the story of the founders?
- Create a picture of what life is like for someone who uses your product or service by showing images and photos that reflect what you offer
- Repurpose user-generated content onto your social media as social proof that you have happy customers
Don’t be afraid to get creative. Gone are the days of starched suits and monochrome ties—injecting personality into your brand will create more interest, more engagement, and ultimately more revenue.
TikTok & Reels for B2B
Most B2B brands have been hesitant to even try TikTok because of the platform’s reputation for being a haunt of preteens and Gen-Z, but by March of 2021, the age group 10-29 accounted for only 47% of the users.
It’s also important to consider the algorithm for TikTok and Instagram Reels—posts aren’t only shown to your followers. It works much like search engines, with keywords, hashtags, and user behavior dictating which content comes to the forefront.
So, if you’re a B2C company posting educational or relatable content that ties back to what you offer, you are essentially creating a breadcrumb trail which a user can follow back to your profile, website, and funnel.
Other B2B Lead Gen Strategies
If done right, thought leadership helps you build authenticity, transparency and a brand personality. And, if you want to start moving the needle when it comes to B2B lead generation married with thought leadership, it’s important to try to post on LinkedIn 2-3 times a day!
It helps if you empower your team to share their expertise. Having multiple voices in your thought leadership strategy will expedite your results, but know that your results will compound over time, so don’t give up when you don’t see results quickly.
You don’t need to spend hours on platforms like LinkedIn, but you will have to set aside time for your core thought leadership team. It’s natural for us to be drawn to work that feels urgent, which is why marketing strategies like thought leadership so often fall by the wayside—and make no mistake, if you don’t make thought leadership a priority, you won’t get results.
Each day you repeat your routine, however, you can increase brand awareness, create partnership opportunities, and build trust with your audience.
Here are some tips for creating a robust thought leadership strategy:
- Be considerate of your readers’ attention and create content that is valuable
- Avoid being self-promotional or salesy; instead, focus on sharing your expertise
- Stick to versatile messaging that is widely applicable to others in your industry
- Stay up-to-date on topics relevant to your audience and comment on them
- Never try to present someone else’s insight as your own
When content comes directly from your CEO, it can help drive prospective customers as well as to foster transparency and credibility.
But it can also help with hiring the top talent. Prospective hires can better understand what your company stands for, your purpose, values, mission and how you serve your customers. And of course better hires are as wonderful for your end customers as they are for your organization.
The Benefits of Blogging
If your business isn’t blogging, then it should be. Check out this blog post to find out why your business should be blogging more (See what we did there?)
Most B2B companies focus on bottom-of-funnel messaging and content when the majority of their target prospective customers are unaware of their brand. Not only do blogs function as a great way to build authority, improve SEO, and promote content repurposing, but a well-groomed blog post will also generate leads.
How many times have you typed a question into Google and ended up reading the answer on a company’s blog without realizing it? Probably more times than you think. If that company offers a solution to your pain point, it’s a natural place to start shopping.
A business with a remarkable story can win over its audience and raise the perceived value of its brand. Storytelling conveys purpose, and businesses with purpose are the ones that ultimately stand out and capture a consumer’s heart (and their wallet).
The strongest stories tap into people’s emotions and help them believe in what a business stands for. Read more about how to do business storytelling with video examples.
At the end of the day, a prospect who connects with your brand may not dive straight to the bottom of the funnel, but it can transform them into an advocate (remember how powerful personal recommendations are as a conversion tool?), build a relationship, and plant the seed of future engagement.
On top of the importance of creating a content strategy, it’s equally important to execute a content repurposing strategy. Once you’ve invested the resources in creating a piece of content, you don’t have to file it away forever. Instead, repurpose it into a video, or break it out into several pieces of smaller content that can be consumed fully in social media feeds like LinkedIn or Instagram.
No one platform or format will ever reach the entirety of your audience, which is why it’s important to diversify your messaging and repurpose your content.
Some prospects prefer a short video, but others would rather read a blog post. Some want bullet points, some want a graphic, and others want a text-heavy, in-depth breakdown. If you’ve already got the heavy lifting of creating the content done, appeal to everyone!
Social media is great for promoting your business, but it also presents a huge opportunity to inform your lead generation strategy in another way: social listening.
What is social listening? Think of it like a survey, one which takes a cross-section of potential prospects, leads, current customers, and more. Essentially, social listening is paying attention to both analytics and everything that is being said about your brand across social media platforms. Nearly two-thirds of marketers in 2021 found that social listening helped them increase the value of their brand.
As marketers, we wish we could see inside the brains of our customers, but social listening might be the next best thingIt’s an unfiltered look into the public face of your brand, analyzing traditional data,thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and misconceptions about your brand.
With a solid social listening strategy in place, you can determine:
- If and where your customer service needs to be improved
- What features your product is missing according to users
- Insights into the persona of your customers to inform your target market
- What content resonates most with real people and why
Improving on these areas will improve your lead generation efforts. There’s a basic understanding in business that you shouldn’t ignore your customers/clients, and social media is no different
Speak on Podcasts
Podcasts have changed the way we learn and consume knowledge by increasing the accessibility of information and putting the voices of experts directly into consumers’ heads.
Consider starting a podcast, or become a guest speaker on podcasts. There are a number of websites that help connect podcasters with guest speakers, such as Guest Speakers, that you can deploy in your thought leadership strategy.
If you choose the right podcast, you’re putting your voice directly into your target audience’s ear—sometimes literally!—while also creating partnership opportunities. (You can also advertise in podcasts or seek out influencer sponsorships.)
Speak at Conferences
Of course, the traditional can be just as effective as the innovative. While many large-scale physical gatherings have been curtailed for the past two years, opportunities for speaking directly to your audience are reemerging—and you can’t afford to ignore them.
Speaking at a large in-person gathering confers a number of advantages, not the least of which is reputability. Oftentimes, establishing yourself or your brand as worthy of someone else’s attention is one of the first hurdles on the docket, but by clearing the bar for a substantive speaking opportunity, you take on the coveted mantle of expert.
Public speaking also puts you within spitting distance of your audience (although I wouldn’t recommend you try). It promotes customer engagement by giving them the opportunity to directly ask questions about your product or service. You in turn get to break down their reservations and assuage their pain points.
Here are some statistics on what B2B marketers think about the value of in-person events:
- 52% of business leaders agree that event marketing offers more ROI than other marketing channels (Harvard Business Review Analytic Services)
- 85% of B2B marketers believe engagement at events is an important way to accelerate the buying journey (Marketing Charts)
- 79% of U.S. marketers win sales using event marketing and 44% of marketers report a 3:1 return on investment (Statista)
That’s not to say event marketing is all peaches and roses. Successfully translating a speaking opportunity into revenue takes planning, finesse, and follow-up.
Still, 97% of B2B marketers agree that attending in-person events plays a major role in business outcomes (Bizzabo), so it’s important to consider rolling event marketing into your overall brand strategy.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Strategy
ABM is a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.
The goal is to strategically target those high-value accounts as if they were individual markets. By pursuing specific deals, you gain certain advantages: you can personalize the buyer’s journey, tailor all communications, create targeted content and campaigns, and maximize your chances of winning the deals that matter.
Ask For Referrals
Did you know that referrals have a 70% higher close rate and the duration of the sales cycle is more than halved? There’s a simple explanation: people trust recommendations from friends and colleagues.
But how do you transform customers into promoters? Well, sometimes the easiest way is to ask.
Even if a customer loves your brand and promotes it, not everyone they speak to will take action on their advice. However, if you incentivize referrals with a reward, you suddenly have a double whammy on your hands:
- The existing customer will refer you to more potential prospects, thereby increasing brand awareness and lead generation
- The referees will feel more obligated to buy in so that their friend or colleague will reap the reward on offer, not to mention what they themselves will receive
If you haven’t, send an email to your most loyal customers. Ask them for referrals and reward them if those referrals come through. You have nothing to lose, but so much to gain!
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There’s no shortage of venues in which you can promote your business, but every marketing ecosystem has its own rules of engagement. It’s crucial for you to do the hard work of identifying who your customers are, where they spend their time, and how best to connect with them.
What we’ve shown here is a collection of tactics, but implementing tactics without a broader strategy is a recipe for failure.