Best Tactics to Generate B2B Leads Online
It is common knowledge among businesses that it is difficult to make a sale if your prospect has no prior knowledge or interest in what you’re offering. The process of igniting that initial spark of interest is formally known as lead acquisition.
All B2B companies rely on some form of lead acquisition to generate a steady stream of prospective clients. And in today’s Internet-driven economy, lead acquisition is usually conducted online. There are several well-established advantages of doing so:
- The outreach potential of online lead acquisition dwarfs that of traditional lead generation methods such as print advertising or event marketing.
- An internet-based lead generation pipeline is easy to set up thanks to assistive technologies such as CRM systems and marketing automation software.
- Online lead acquisition methods are cheaper to implement than their offline counterparts, and they offer a substantial ROI.
There are four main channels B2B companies can use to generate leads online: email, social media, content, and search engines, each of which allows you to implement a number of different lead generation tactics. In the rest of this post, we will cover the most effective approaches associated with each channel.
1. Email Marketing
Email remains one of the most reliable, cost-effective B2B lead generation channels. The average ROI for email marketing is around 28.5%, putting it ahead of most digital marketing methods. To put it in concrete terms, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect to make $44 per $1 spent on average. There are two tactics you should keep in mind when attempting email-based lead generation, email personalization, and email automation.
Automate Your Email Campaigns
Email marketing thrives on technological innovation and is the latest trend that has caught on within its automation. Traditional email lead generation strategies require you to repeatedly send emails to prospects in your mailing list. In contrast, you only have to set up an automated email campaign once, and emails will automatically be sent out to specific individuals when they meet certain criteria. Setting up an automated email campaign consists of three steps. First, you should supply your automation system with lead data by integrating it with your CRM system of choice. Second, you need to create content that is relevant to your prospects. Finally, you have to define which lead activities count as email triggers.
Create Personalized Email Content
In order for your lead generation tactics to work, your emails need to be custom-built to address the specific needs of your prospects. Personalized email content is the key here. By leveraging the data you have on your prospects such as their name, their position within a company, or their technical background, you can create content with higher open rates and click-through rates. Basic email personalization tactics include using the prospect’s name in the subject line and email header, whereas more advanced tactics involve changing the entire email body and creating custom follow-up landing pages.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the production of high-quality content for the purpose of attracting potential leads. According to a survey by DemandMetric, content marketing generates as much as 3x more leads than traditional marketing methods. A study by the Aberdeen Group has also shown that B2B companies using content marketing have 6x higher conversion rates vs those that don’t. There are as many content marketing tactics as there are content formats. The two most popular ones currently are blogging and video marketing.
Blogging is the foundation content marketing is built upon. B2B blogging involves the creation of content that appeals to the needs and desires of companies within your industry. A business that provides valuable content on their blog will over time become recognized as an authority on a particular topic, enticing prospective leads to begin their journey through the conversion funnel. There is no grand formula for writing good content, but if you take the time do research, maintain a consistent writing tone, and offer actionable advice, you will increase the odds of making something your leads will appreciate.
According to a CISCO study, the majority of internet traffic today can be attributed to video streaming. This makes video marketing an excellent tactic for generating leads. Instead of thinking of video streaming websites as entertainment channels, think of them as search engines. People visit YouTube to find answers to their questions, and if you can provide helpful videos on the topic (with links to your website’s landing page), you will establish a lead generation pipeline. You can also host video content directly on your website, distributing it evenly across different stages in the conversion funnel.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media is a critical component of B2B lead acquisition. By actively participating in conversations surrounding your business niche, you will be in a position to acquire leads by showing off your industry expertise. 92% of B2B marketers use social media as their primary lead acquisition method, and you can do the same by applying a number of established tactics, including LinkedIn marketing and Facebook marketing.
LinkedIn is a platform that primarily caters to industry professionals, which makes it the go-to social network for B2B marketers. There are more than 500M registered LinkedIn users, and if you take the time to establish a reputation on the platform, you can reap substantial rewards in the long term. Using a mixture of blog posts, status updates, and video content is a proven tactic for raising brand awareness and acquiring leads on LinkedIn. You can also use your personal page to publish long-form content in order to establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry.
There is an ongoing trend of online business queries being shifted towards mobile. In response to the rising prominence of this trend, Facebook has launched its Lead Ads feature, which is aimed specifically at generating mobile B2B leads. Facebook Lead Ads allows B2B prospects to sign up for your offer in just a few taps, without having to leave the social network. The feature provides a large degree of customization to suit your ideal lead persona. Bear in mind that Facebook Lead Ads aren’t designed to completely replace your landing pages as a lead source. You will still need to create landing pages to capture leads from organic search and pay-per-click advertising.
4. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is a long-term lead acquisition strategy that can provide a reliable stream of high-value B2B leads. SEO is typically used in tandem with content marketing to acquire organic traffic from search engines. The cornerstone of every SEO strategy is a properly optimized website, i.e. one that is free of bugs, fast to load, and optimized for mobile viewing. SEO also has a range of more specific tactics you can implement depending on the nature of your website. The two most commonly used ones are link-building and content optimization.
Links are your most valuable SEO asset. They are the main contributing factor to your domain authority, the digital representation of how trusty your website is as an information source. Search engines such as Google will rank your website higher based on the number and quality of links pointing to pages on your website. Link-building is the process of acquiring these links through a variety of means. Guest posting is one of the most widely used link-building tactics. It involves offering content which contains a link to your website to other, non-competitor websites, blogs, and link directories.
SEO works well in tandem with content marketing. The quality of your content is ultimately what search engines will use to determine your ranking, so you need to ensure it is properly optimized. To develop content that your leads will find valuable, focus on writing content around particular keywords that your leads are likely to use as search queries. It is recommended to limit each piece of content you create to a single keyword target. An additional tip would be to target low-volume, long-tail keywords, as these are easier to rank for than generic ones, where there is a lot of competition.
Lead Generation as the Key to Growth
This concludes our list of some of the most effective lead acquisition tactics you have at your disposal as a B2B company. Use them independently or in tandem to enhance your own B2B lead generation strategy. Developing a reliable stream of B2B leads is a long-term process, but one that is essential for increasing your revenue, brand awareness, and productivity.