Attracting and keeping the attention of other businesses can be much more challenging than generating and nurturing B2C leads, but the rewards are also far greater.
Not only in terms of actual conversion value, but also in terms of the reputation, authority and contacts gained with each successful collaboration. Like everything else, it gets easier the more you do it, and B2B lead generation does so at an exponential rate.
The one tool you are likely going to use and already have in place is your website. However, it may not be already set up to help you in your efforts, unbeknownst to you.
In order to decide what changes your site might need, you first have to understand its place and purpose in your marketing funnel.
What Should the Site do?
There are plenty of ways to get people to visit your website, and you rarely have to choose just a couple. If you already have an overall inbound marketing strategy in place, your first step should be to check if the site is optimized for each of the channels it is getting traffic from.
For instance, if you found that, after months of a general digital marketing campaign, including everything from link building and social network activities to email campaigns, the most relevant visitors are coming from one specific channel, you might want to reassess whether your site is perfectly prepared to keep the attention of that specific group, adequately state your cause, and lead them through the funnel.
If this means prioritizing the need of this segment of potential leads over those of others, you might at least want to run an A/B test and decide then.
However, if you are just now putting it all together, you need to pay attention to some of the main purposes your site can have in this process.
- It attracts people. A properly optimized website acts as a hub for the rest of your digital channels, focusing your social, search and email marketing efforts and opening a myriad of other opportunities for promotion.
- It helps leads get to know what they need to know about you. What do you do? Are your other customers happy with how you do that? Prospects get to certify your authority and reliability, and that kind of trust is invaluable in B2B lead generation.
- It helps you to get to know them. Observing the behaviour of your site’s visitors gives you an amazing amount of insight into what they want from you, and what would be the best way to provide them with a solution
- It helps you upsell. Your site is not there just to provide a contact point for someone who has already decided to become a customer, it is there to welcome people coming for any number of reasons and turn them into customers.
With these purposes in mind, here are some of the ways to use or modify your site to improve your B2B lead generation.
Having a direct insight into how your visitors act when on your site gives you a way to eliminate bottlenecks, track the effectiveness of your campaigns and perform A/B tests to refine your future promotional efforts.
Setting up Google Analytics to track conversion goals that you actually care about, getting detailed heat-maps from Hotjar or a similar provider, and at least providing a chatbot for contact if you can’t offer round-the-clock customer support ensures not only that you won’t ever lose a customer for the same reason twice, it also helps you make the experience better even for those who would convert anyway, influencing retention rate down the line.
With just a bit of research in Google Analytics and Search Console, you can easily find out where your traffic is coming from, which pages make which groups of visitors leave the site or which are converting better than others, etc.
Once you’ve made sure you’ll be able to learn from every visitor, you’ll be fully equipped to start attracting and engaging them.
Content and Site Fixes
It doesn’t matter which of the major channels you intend to use to get people to your site – email, social or search marketing, your content writing needs to be up to the task.
You can write a post specifically to be shareable, which will mostly build brand awareness and get people to click on that link. Naturally, getting them there is not even half the battle. Your content needs to offer a solution to a real problem or question, needs to show that you know what you are doing, and needs to get visitors to convert.
Detailed case studies with actionable suggestions and a breakdown of achieved results are one of the best ways to attract B2B customers, and are not difficult to put together or promote on social networks, once you’ve had some practice. Naturally, you should make them as scannable as possible, with heavy emphasis on the benefits the client has experienced.
Using tools like Buzzfeed of Followerwonk can help you identify influencers in your industry which might send the right kind of traffic your way. Explore their interests, see what kinds of posts they share and what they find useful, and try to keep these insights in mind when planning your next article. Alternatively, you can also take a look at some of your major competitors, and try to identify the tactics they seem to have been successful with.
Some of the people engaged by your content might proceed to your service pages, or read another one of your posts, but some can be persuaded to leave their emails behind, and you should pursue them with all the vigour you have. Email marketing is constantly being praised as one of the most effective lead generation methods, and you should take every chance to expand and segment your list of contacts. While newsletter signups and different lead magnets do a fine job, a somewhat newer approach is proving immensely effective – content upgrades.
Not too different from offering lead magnets like e-books or whitepapers, this method relies on calls to -action embedded in the content, offering some kind of an elaboration of that content. Whether it is a bonus tip, a helpful list, or anything else that adds to the original post, which has already engaged the reader.
If you make sure to segment your lists according to the contact’s position in the funnel, their previous interaction with your brand, or their conversion point, you can use a third-party customer messaging platform like Intercom to create automated email campaigns, which ensure greatly increased customer retention, and are immensely useful in remarketing.
An amazing source of leads, search engines can be difficult to get on your side, but once you have them there, traffic will just keep pouring in. That’s why you need to not only ensure that you are attracting the right kind of people, but also that once they get there, they don’t feel deceived or let down.
This starts with a detailed site audit that will ensure that your meta elements properly indicate the purpose of your pages; that you don’t have any 404s or other errors; that your pages load as quickly as possible; that crawlers and users can navigate your site without any obstructions; and generally, that your site deserves the rankings you are after.
When it comes to attracting the right kind of audience, it all comes down to understanding their intent, and focusing your keyword targeting on those that are likely to send visitors that might actually have a chance to convert. Naturally, any kind of traffic or engagement could be beneficial, but optimizing your content for keywords which are likely to attract qualified traffic will make most of your other efforts far more effective. See our SEO keyword research guide for more information.
Now that you get the gist of it, let’s delve a bit deeper and see what other options you have:
Optimize Your Blog for Leads
Yes, content still reigns big time, but it’s not enough to stuff your blog with a number of generic posts and expect them to drive traffic and capture high-quality leads.
Although companies which publish more than 16 blog posts a month manage to score 3 times more leads than those posting less than 4, it’s the quality that will make this strategy work.
The first step is getting to know your target audience and their main pain points. This insight will allow you to come up with valuable and relatable articles packed with actionable tips that they can use to solve their problems.
The trick is to incentivize visitors to your blog by offering something they will find interesting in exchange for their contact information. This technique is called a lead magnet, and it’s crucial for capitalizing on your content. In order for a link magnet to be effective, it has to be specific, meaning that it has to address a particular problem which affects a particular segment of your audience and provide a simple, easy-to-implement solution.
Another important factor which constitutes a successful lead magnet is efficiency. Namely, your visitors should be able to experience the benefits of your offer shortly after they subscribe.
This means that lengthy free courses stretching over a few-week period, say in digital marketing, writing, or design, won’t do much for increasing your conversion rates. Instead of that, creating a simple lead magnet such as a how-to guide, cheat sheet, or resource list will land you a lot of high-quality traffic.
People need to know that they can consume the content quickly, find the answers they’re looking for easily and that they can actually implement your advice, and solve their problem instantly, which an extended two-month social media course obviously can’t promise. Free trials, discounts, and free shipping are among the most popular lead magnets, so make sure to include these perks and promote them heavily.
Besides going that extra mile to craft superb content, pay attention to the technical details of your blog posts and web copy:
- Don’t forget to use CTAs leading to dedicated landing pages in your text;
- Provide downloadable goodies, such as different templates, whenever you can;
- Always respond to any questions or feedback (even if it’s negative) in the comment section and interact with your readers.
If you are running a startup, check out our post on content marketing for startups as well.
Frequent Q&A Websites
Being helpful and sharing your expertise on Q&A websites is an excellent tactic for generating leads and establishing a stellar online reputation. If you’re not checking out Quora or discussions on Reddit a couple of times a week at least, you’re missing out on many great opportunities to capture the attention of people who might be interested in your products or services and send them to your website.
Quora has significantly changed and evolved since its early days, and it now boasts 300 million users from all over the world, among whom are many marketers using it as a cost-effective lead generation vehicle. This means that you have to do your best to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
Start by optimizing your profile – compose a compelling description, mention your greatest accomplishments, a few personal details to seem more approachable, and pick a presentable profile image.
Then start following relevant topics from your industry and analyze the answers which get a lot of upvotes to see what makes them so popular and try to use the same technique when answering questions. It’s a good idea to mention why you consider yourself an expert in the field when you’re writing your answers, as that will show people that they can trust your advice.
Be careful not to make your answers revolve around your product or service, as readers will see through you and you’ll come off as too salesy. Focus on being genuinely helpful, and that means not insisting on trying to promote your business. Let your content do all the talking.
There’s no better way to get people to consume your content than creating videos. This format is easily digestible and compelling, which is the reason why 59% of execs admit that if both text and a video are available on a particular topic, they’re more likely to opt for the latter. How-to videos are extremely popular, as they offer simple solutions that can be easily implemented, and this is especially important for the B2B industry, because the complexity of products and services can be a huge obstacle for lead generation and nurturing.
Send out Newsletters on a Regular Basis
The importance of a regular newsletter packed with valuable tidbits of information, the latest news from the industry and different incentives is tremendous for your lead generation strategy. Offer highly valuable, gated content for those who subscribe to your newsletter and add a touch of exclusivity. Nobody wants their inbox filled with useless, spammy emails, so when creating your newsletter, put yourself in your target customers’ shoes and ask yourself “what’s in it for me?”. If you’re not sure what makes a great newsletter, it’s always a good idea to check out your competitors and see what they do.
Don’t Avoid Cold Email Campaigns
Despite what you may have heard many times, email marketing is far from being dead. Yes, the GDPR makes this strategy a bit tricky, but you’re good to go if you:
- collect only personal data which is relevant to your business purposes;
- explain your legitimate interest, that is, why you’re reaching out;
- include an unsubscribe link or an opt-out form;
- clean your database regularly.
Cold emailing has limitations, so don’t expect too much when you contact a top CEO. You can surely find an interested audience with a segmented list, an intriguing subject line, highly personalized email copy, and social proof examples.
The Same Goes for Follow-up Campaigns
So, you’ve tried that cold email strategy from the previous paragraph, and the results were nothing to write about? Your prospects gave you the cold shoulder? Salespeople experience that unpleasant the-best-laid-schemes-of-mice-and-men scenario more than anybody else, and if you want your fresh leads, you need to be persistent. Stats say that a shocking 92% of salespeople quit after only 4 follow-ups, and yet 80% of prospects give in after the fourth follow-up attempt. This means you need to have a strategically planned follow-up strategy.
Obtain Online Reviews
Consumers are more inclined to trust recommendations by their family and friends than what brands tell them. The next best thing is a peer recommendation, as 70% of millennials say they consider social proof when purchasing. The math is clear – you need to get as many good online reviews as possible to attract new leads. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging your existing happy customers to put in a good word for you and share their positive experiences with your brand, especially if some incentives are a part of the bargain.
Take Advantage of Facebook Ads
Facebook offers a lot of options for promoting your company and lead generation, but Facebook Lead Ads provides you with a simple way to target your leads, capture their attention, and collect their personal information without directing them away from the platform itself – what’s even better, you can integrate it with your CRM and instantly download contacts and start nurturing them. A similar tactic is also available for Instagram, so when someone clicks on your ad on either of the two social media platforms, they will be encouraged to fill out a simple, instant form and provide their personal data. If we bear in mind that Facebook is the most popular social network with 2.27 billion monthly active users, it’s clear that you can use it to reach out to your target audience and score some high-quality leads.
Don’t get upset when you see that a visitor to your website has bounced off without subscribing to your newsletter or converting in any other way. The worst thing you can do is watch them go. Instead of that, use the remarketing strategy which will significantly increase your chances of bringing prodigal leads back to your website.
This means placing an unnoticeable pixel on your website for the purpose of tracking visitors who have left without converting and targeting them with your ads and banners across the web. You can work with a PPC Agency to set up a remarketing campaign.
Target Your Prospects with LinkedIn Advertising
Everybody who’s anybody in the B2B industry is on LinkedIn, so if you want to use the full potential of this network for professionals, start taking advantage of its advanced targeting options. Sales Navigator and Lead Gen Forms allow you to filter prospects according to different parameters and target them with the right ads and pre-filled forms for collecting information. It’s true that quality content is extremely important for lead generation on LinkedIn, but these two features will additionally supercharge your efforts and bring you lots of fresh leads.
Connect with Visitors Through Live Chat on Your Website
96% of visitors to your website aren’t yet ready to buy, which is why you need to engage them, collect their information, and start nurturing them. As we have said, the sales process in the B2B industry is longer and it’s essential to remove any friction and obstacles along the way. Being there for people who come to your website in search of something they need and educating them can do wonders for your lead generation process, and ultimately for your bottom line. Website live chat is a perfect solution, as your visitors can ask your customer support rep anything they want to know and get an answer instantly, which can speed up their decision-making process.
Provide Great User Experience with Messenger Bots
Live chat is great, but it’s not always possible to hire that many customer support reps and be available 24/7. That’s why messenger bots powered by AI and fed with answers to some of the most common questions and issues your visitors might be facing can save you a lot of money and still provide an excellent and constant customer support. Even though this technology still hasn’t reached its peak, these bots can still help you achieve a high level of personalization and connect with your prospects on a deeper level.
Have Meaningful Conversations
As much as blog posts, tweets, emails, and newsletters are effective for getting in touch with your target audience, nothing can substitute a good old call, video call, or chatting in person. Always take your conversations to the next level, meaning that if you’re emailing with your prospect, suggest a call, if you’re having a regular call, suggest a video call, and whenever it’s possible, offer to meet them. Different conferences, trade shows, and digital marketing events provide you with a great opportunity to get in touch with your potential leads offline and start warming them up.
Automate Your Marketing
If you’re not using marketing automation tools, you’re wasting a lot of opportunities, time, and money. Small business owners can prospect, send emails, follow-ups, schedule calls, and do everything manually while they have a few clients, but if you want to grow and scale your business, you need to do things efficiently and effectively. You can automate almost any part of your business process, including email marketing, social media posts, and prospecting. Marketing automation can help you boost your lead generation efforts, keep track of your metrics, and identify sales-ready leads seamlessly.
Update Your Email Signature
Many people completely neglect this necessary element of any successful email, which is a shame, since it can be used as an excellent lead generation tool. Optimize it by adding social media buttons, your image, and a CTA for your demo, free trial, or any current promotion that you want to push. That way, you’ll offer your prospects several ways to reach you right from the email, and you’ll manage to subtly promote your agenda and avoid being too aggressive.
Webinars have become extremely popular and effective when it comes to lead generation. Pick a topic from your field of expertise and align it with a particular common pain point that your audience (or even better, a segment of your audience) is experiencing. The second step is creating a dedicated landing page which will clearly state the problem you will address and help solve. It’s a good idea to offer a replay or on-demand access to your webinar for people who can’t attend it in real time. Webinars will also help you establish and cement your reputation as an authority in your field, which will land you a steady stream of high-quality leads in the long term.
Superb and relevant content won’t help you much if your website is buried deep in SERPs as your potential leads won’t be able to find it. SEO is a marketing strategy which goes hand in hand with content. It will allow you to optimize all the content on your website or blog and climb that steep and challenging Google ranking ladder. You stand a 92% better chance of attracting quality traffic to your website if you’re on the first page of SERPs, because that’s exactly the percent of all traffic the results on that page garner from an average search.
Team up with Influencers
Although the Kardashians have little to do with the B2B industry, theirs is a striking example of how much influence a single person can exercise on their social media followers. The infamous Snapchat incident in which a single tweet by Kylie, the youngest of the K. clan, saying how she doesn’t use the app anymore, practically destroyed the company’s stocks, wiping out $1.3 billion of its market value is rather telling. When it comes to the B2B industry, it’s best to approach a micro-influencer from your niche and offer them a blog post or co-hosting a webinar. As their audiences are usually extremely engaged and loyal, you can expect to expand your reach and get yourself a lot of fresh leads eager to use your product or service.
Build More Landing Pages
And do it properly! Don’t even think about sending the traffic from your promotions to your home page, as that way you won’t be able to convert it. You need a dedicated landing page for every promotion that you run. The thing is that you need to tell your potential leads what exactly you want them to do, and that’s the main role of a well-built landing page. Stats say that companies with more than 40 landing pages generate 12 times more leads than those with 5 or less. Here are some tips to help you create an effective lander:
- Focus on a single offer, as otherwise, you’ll confuse your prospects;
- Come up with a compelling tagline;
- Don’t forget an engaging CTA and place it above the fold;
- Leverage white space and don’t clutter your landing page with a lot of text;
- Create a short form which will not discourage your prospects from converting.
Ask for Referrals
Referrals are an indispensable vehicle for lead gen in the B2B industry (and in any other, for that matter). Create a referral form and ask your existing customers to introduce you to potential clients. If you’ve nurtured them carefully from the start of your business relationship, it’s very likely that you’ve managed to build trust, and they’ll be more than happy to recommend your company to their friends and business partners or to give you a referral. Again, offering an incentive might additionally encourage people to spread the word – Payoneer, for example, has the Refer a Friend program, and for every customer they get as a result of your referral, you’ll earn $25.
Spy on Your Competition
Yes, it’s sneaky, but everybody does it. If you keep track of your competitors on social media, and in different online communities, you’ll be able to spot and identify their unsatisfied customers and win them over. Maybe it seems like a far-fetched idea, but when you notice that somebody criticizes a brand from your niche, simply reach out directly to them and offer a free trial for your product or service.
Speak at Industry Events
Industry events and trade shows are great for positioning yourself as an expert as well as for promoting your company. Having a booth will help you meet a lot of new people and capture quality leads looking for a solution to their problem. Make sure that you collect contact information carefully, and reach out to your potential leads within the next couple of days, while they still remember you and your company.
Optimize Your Website
Perform an SEO audit of your website and see how user-friendly it is. If it’s hard to navigate, your visitors will feel as if they were in a maze while they’re looking for the information they need. And guess what? They won’t stick around for a long time, neither will they return again. So, ensure that your website is built and structured in a logical manner and easily navigated. Don’t forget to check whether your search feature works, because that can be your plan B if a visitor can’t find what they’re looking for right away.
A/B test Your Pricing Page
Many businesses neglect their pricing page, and that’s practically leaving money on the table. An enigmatic pricing page which instructs visitors to “request further information” is a strong opportunity repellent. People are busy and they need the most important information for making their purchasing decision immediately. Also, for many people, the price is the most important factor, and if you leave the pricing page empty, they will assume that your products or services are too expensive. To identify what pricing format works best, try out a couple of versions and track your results.
Offer Free Tools
Last but not least, this lead generation tactic is one of the most effective ones. By offering a free tool to your prospects, you can easily collect their contact information and offer them something of value. By giving out freebies, you’ll be able to tap into the power of the reciprocity principle – when you offer people something for free, they feel almost obliged to return the favour. Even though this method might require a certain extra investment, it will ultimately pay off.
As you can see, when it comes to lead generation in the B2B industry, the sky’s the limit, and these tips can help you stock up on tons of new leads and fill your funnel with numerous sales opportunities.
I am the founder and manager of BeFound SEO and the main consultant. I started offering SEO services back in 2007 when I had to explain SEO, as most people had no idea what it was and how much it could help their business online. I still love seeing the results from SEO.
When I’m not creating great strategy, I am usually out hiking up a mountain.
Connect with me on the links below.