54% of marketers say driving website traffic is their top priority, according to Hubspot. But website traffic doesn’t mean anything unless you know how to bring those audiences into your sales funnel.
Lead generation is an inevitable part of this process. It allows you to capture your audience’s contact information and reach them with more personalized messages to finally lead them to a purchase decision.
So, what are the most effective ways to acquire B2B leads? In this post, we’ll guide you through 10 ideas that will help you generate qualified leads online.
While B2C marketers can drive leads through contests, discounts, and giveaways, B2B lead generation requires a more complex approach.
The B2B sales cycle is usually longer than B2C. Most consumer goods are bought impulsively, without too much thought, which is a rare case for B2B purchases. This means that unlike B2C, the B2B sales funnel always includes education. That’s why you see so many downloadable whitepapers, webinars, ebooks, and other resources being offered by B2B brands.
Often, your target audience varies from junior specialists to key decision-makers, which means that you need to split your strategies to fit the needs of every professional that might be interested in your services.
Last but not least, channels. On the one hand, both B2C and B2B are targeting the same people (successful CEOs also shop for groceries and wash clothes). On the other hand, it takes the right environment for a specific offer to catch the attention of a particular person at a given moment. Instagram Stories Ads can convince your prospect to buy a bag of coffee beans but will fail to encourage the same person to sign up for a free trial of your team management tool.
All of that being said, let’s jump right into the list of the most effective approaches to lead generation for B2B.
We’ve structured this list in a way where you can either follow it as a step-by-step instruction or pick only a few strategies to begin with.
Driving a lead is one thing but driving a qualified lead is quite another. You can pick an engaging idea, generate hundreds of leads, but never turn them into paying customers. Why?
Most commonly, this happens because the expertise of your target audience doesn’t match the expertise of people downloading your lead magnet. If you publish an introductory guide to the subject, and your customers are typically senior professionals, you may lose their interest even before you have a chance to share anything about your product or solution.
Before you start working on a lead magnet, you need to revisit your buyer personas and make sure your ideas match their interests and expertise.
Content marketing is widely applied by B2B marketers, and for good reasons:
• Having a company blog helps you boost your search rankings for both informational and transactional keywords.
• Remember we mentioned the B2B sales funnel should include an educational component? Content marketing is what makes it possible.
• B2B marketers with blogs generate 67% more leads than B2B marketers without blogs.
Let’s dwell a bit on the last point. How does your blog content help you generate leads?
Many brands trade valuable content for their prospects’ contact information. They repurpose their most viewed blog posts into gated content, such as long-form ebooks, templates, or checklists.
Run an analysis through GA insights. It’ll take a few minutes for you to identify your top-performing content. These are the topics that your target audience wants to learn more about. And they can perform particularly well as lead magnets.
Tons of webinars on the basics of cloud computing, remote team management, SEO best practices, and other topics take place every day. Absolutely for free... Are they just sharing free information? Not at all! Attendees are usually required to leave their email address or other contact information to sign up for an online event.
Hosting webinars brings in multiple benefits for B2B companies:
• First of all, you get high quality leads. Even if they don’t actually make it to the webinar, by signing up these people show their willingness to spend from 30 minutes to an hour watching your webinar – don’t doubt that they’re highly engaged.
• It opens up more partnership opportunities. You can either invite influencers to join your discussions or co-host your webinars with brands that share a similar audience. This way, you not only generate leads but also get access to a wider audience pool.
It’s not incredible generosity that makes SaaS brands offer free trials or even forever free plans. This is just how they capture your email address to lead you to a future conversion.
Regardless of your product or service offering, you can develop and give away a solution that will help your prospects do a better job. For instance, to attract advertisers that might be interested in our reporting tool, we at Joinative share free scripts that are just a part of the product functionality. This technique allows us to achieve three goals at once:
• We generate leads;
• We establish ourselves as experts;
• We build interest in the product itself.
This easy-to-follow step will help you save a significant amount of time.
When a person wants to get access to your ebook, he or she will most likely use a fake email address so that you can’t ‘annoy’ them with your follow-up emails later. To get around this, make sure to mention that the asset will be sent to the specified email address.
Who said holiday ads are only effective for B2C? Decision-makers also love special offers.
LinkedIn reveals that ad engagement for B2B brands on the platform in December is higher by 18%, compared to the average engagement rate outside of the holiday season. Furthermore, the lead generation form submission rate increases by 22% during the festive season.
Whether you want to announce an e-learning program, give away a whitepaper, release a new product, or share a coupon, Q4 is the right time to do it. Many brands invest in yearly subscriptions for SaaS products in the final quarter as there are lots of generous offers available in the market around this time.
Jump into holiday marketing with an exclusive deal and expose your product or service to companies that hadn’t been open to new opportunities throughout the year.
Email marketing is still the core of lead generation. Offering a regular newsletter filled with actionable tips, case studies, and updates is another strategy widely used by B2B marketers to acquire and nurture leads. But is it that simple?
Whatever website you visit, it’s very likely that you’ll find a sign-up form on it. Does it mean you sign up for every newsletter you come across? No. With most companies using a generic and boring ‘Sign up for our newsletter’ headline, it’s no surprise that you don’t even notice these signup forms.
To build an email list, you need to create a form that stands out. Instead of using a boring overused pitch, think of the very specific benefit that your newsletter offers. Your audience doesn’t need your newsletter, they want content that addresses their problems.
Affiliate programs may become your lowest risk and highest performance marketing channel when set up right.
You only pay your referral partners when they drive you sales. And, along with attracting new paying customers, affiliate marketers boost your brand awareness and generate leads, without any extra effort needed from your side.
Ready to be useful to your audiences and establish yourself as a niche expert? By creating a community on Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other platforms, you can both retain your current customers and attract more people potentially interested in your offer.
Consider the Buffer community. Buffer is a social media management software that enables brands to have full control over their online presence. The company created a branded community, which is open for anyone interested in marketing. Here you can ask questions, participate in discussions, and join online events hosted by Buffer.
By nurturing the community, the Buffer team drives a lot of traffic to the company website and puts the Buffer products in front of the most relevant people.
No lead magnet is effective unless your audience finds it. Generating a substantial amount of leads organically will take months if you don’t have thousands of monthly website visitors. And this is where advertising comes in.
It could be that you’ve already considered Facebook or LinkedIn advertising for lead generation. That’s why we won’t mention these options in this section. Instead, we’re introducing native advertising.
Native advertising is the advertising technique where ads are displayed across publishers’ websites (news outlets, online magazines, blogs, etc.) and fit the editorial content almost seamlessly.
Due to their non-intrusive nature, native ads have proved effective for growing brand awareness and acquiring qualified leads (often more qualified than the ones coming from Facebook).
With an average mobile CPC of $0.3, native advertising is also known as a more affordable alternative to Facebook and LinkedIn ads.
To run campaigns that target B2B customers specifically, you can pick a platform that partners with publishers in finance and business, like Dianomi. This way, you ensure your ads are seen only by people that are focusing on work-related content at a given moment and therefore are more open to your offering than social media users.
Looking for a more sophisticated solution for B2B and/or B2C lead generation? With Lead Finder, you can skip the exhausting part of lead research and receive lists of fresh leads at your preferred frequency.
The AI solution will process your request, gather data, and identify the most relevant companies or people based on their online behavior. All you need to do is to provide the Signum team with your ideal customer profile and get ready to nurture your leads.