Hey, honey! We have a visitor.”

While not something you want to hear from your wife at home, you’d love it to come from the CMO when he sees the company’s website (maybe they wouldn’t call you honey). Getting visitors to the site is a great start for B2B marketing strategy, but even visitors aren’t a true “win” for the company.

It’s all about the leads, baby.

Leads are what one wants, as opposed to simple visitors. While visitors just wander to your site from one direction or another, leads came to the site and showed some interest and positive response to what they found once they arrived. Companies want to maximize the leads-to-visitors ratio, and this can be done through effective B2B lead generation.

B2B lead generation needs no introduction to you, but the mechanics to use it effectively, is what lead you to this article (i’m so sorry for that pun).

Moreover, the B2B sector has named lead generation their most difficult task and their utmost priority, making this article a necessity for you.

So without wasting any time let’s see the rules to maximizing your B2B lead generation strategy:

1) Know Your Audience

Never forget to think from the recipient’s perspective: What’s in it for them? It’s not what you’re looking to sell, it’s what they’re looking to buy or to learn about.”- Jim Siegel –Chaplaincy Network.

This point is beaten into the ground these days, but it is absolutely vital. Having the best products made for the wrong audience is like staying in a bad relationship; you’re just wasting your time. Knowing your customers before starting brings clarity and direction, both of which positions you for better lead generation.

How to do it:

Get your marketing and sales team together to figure out your ideal audience. Based on your predetermined goals and value propositions make a profile of “sample ideal customer”, or a Buyer Persona, as it’s called in Inbound Marketing.

Consider the buyer’s perspective next by putting yourself in their shoes and asking yourself if they would truly buy your product, if your product would help them. Be honest with yourself.

The buyer persona attributes should be made by checking the affordability, interest, proposition intake and other such criteria.

How does it help:

Helps you remove the clutter in your target process by narrowing your focus to only the targets who actually need your product. This improves your lead quality, saving you time, money, and resources.

2) Content Marketing: Do It Right

Bring the masses to you by providing “Holy Smokes!” content … content so good, they say, “Holy Smokes!” and want to share it with friends.”- Jason Falls, CafePress

Content marketing. Maybe you know what it is, using content to convert your visitors, but have you used it to it’s fullest potential?

How to use it:

  1. Blogging – Blogs are 5 minute respites from the readers problems. Blogs should be a problem solver and not a 1200-word advertisement. Figure out what troubles your customers and always have content which educates, inspires or entertains them.
  2. Varied Content – To fulfill the tricky and unique wants of users, publish your content in various forms such as eBooks, white papers, podcasts, research reports and even visually with infographics. But don’t compromise the quality over diversification.
  3. Gated Content – It is a smart way to put your high-level content behind a CTA or form to get information regarding your customers. Make sure this content is worth their information; make it good!
  4. Guest bloggers – Invite an expert guest blogger to enrich your content and increase leads. Guest bloggers bring in different perspectives on topics and with those perspectives come their readers as well.
  5. Promotions– Proper amplification needs correct platforms for the different audience types, as well as analytics to measure your success with the platform.

How does it help:

Consistent content marketing increases credibility and visibility with visitors. With gated content customers get rich content and you get a new leads information to use in your campaigns. Bringing a guest brings a fresh audience to your website, outside-perspective content, and also enhances SEO.

3) Don’t Forget Social Media

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”-Eric Qualman, social media expert

49% of B2B marketers cite social media marketing the most difficult lead generation tactic to execute. Alright then, let’s try some tactics to make it a little easier.

How to use it:

1. LinkedIn – The best choice to generate leads for B2B as it incubates only professional interest. Start by joining groups of similar interest. Be active and provide people robust and relevant solution for their problems. For a more direct approach, LinkedIn ads are a viable option, as is a lead collection tool.

2. Facebook – Use it for objective-based, widespread, advertising. Capable of targeting large groups of specific demographics of people, Facebook ads give you the largest potential audience without the business specificity of LinkedIn.

3. Twitter – Use it to keep customers updated and engaged with company news and announcements. Tools such as follower monk and lead cards can boost your lead generation, as can Twitter ads.

4. SlideShare – Over 70% of Slide Share traffic comes from targeted searches by solution seeking professionals. SlideShare acts as a great place to bring interested audience.

For promotions, every social platform is good only when you know how to use them. Before attempting any social media paid promotions, study the tools available and the target audience on each platform for an anticipated ROI on the channel.

How does it help:

LinkedIn groups help form new relationships by offering solutions and solving their problems. Twitter and Facebook help lead generation by amplifying and spreading awareness to the masses, often with some segmentation rules for the ads. A link to your website on SlideShare makes a room for new leads. Every tool can be used to analyze and segment leads.

4) CTA and Forms

You must include calls-to-action on blog posts to give visitors the opportunity to raise their hand and express interest in your company and its ideas” -Jeffrey L. Cohen, Social Media B2B

Once they’ve consumed your content, people need direction on what to do next on your site. It’s your responsibility to help them take the right action. As mentioned above CTAs and Forms can elicit responses from visitors while also enabling the possibility of converting them to leads.

How to use it:

1. Clear and visible CTA(s) and forms

Place your CTA in an open space for maximum visibility, for instance you could place it along the sides of an article or at the bottom. Remember, don’t obstruct the content with the CTA and Form though. Use contrasting colors with demanding actions inscribed such as “Fill Out This Form” or “Sign Up Here”. Don’t ask much in the forms, only ask for easy information such as name, email, title, telephone, and company. Use your CTA(s) everywhere from websites to social media for the best chance of capturing not only leads, but the audiences attention. To build gravity, mention the number of people enrolled in.

2. “Make an offer, they can’t refuse”

But why will anyone give their precious information? Let’s classify to understand:

  1. Visitors – Provide them gated content for free (like eBooks, white papers etc.).
  2. Current Leads – Make referral offers in which they get extra information or content for free, or a reward for referring your company to others.
  3. Exiting Leads- Just when a customer is about to exit or is unengaged, follow rule no. 2 by providing premium content of their interest for free. This helps to reestablish a point on contact with the lead.

How does it help:

Clear CTAs make use of space and wording to entice a visitor to fill out the form and become a true lead. Giving your various customers offers of their interest makes their decision to fill out the form easy, as well as gives you knowledge on their needs and what they might be looking for.

5) Robust SEO

The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of google search result”-

SEO gets you found and gets traffic to your site. You want that, right? Obviously. Now many agencies will claim to be able to get you on the front page of Google and other search engines, but the truth is there is no “magic bullet” that anyone can do to instantly vault you up the rankings: if there was we’d all be doing it. That said, there’s a few tricks that can help.

How to use it:

SEO or search engine optimization provides an organic reach to your content by using certain keywords and phrases. Use google AdWords to find which keyword works best for you and writing content and website copy with that keyword can help boost your rank.

As said earlier effective content marketing makes the job easier, as it gives you more opportunities to introduce those strong keywords and gives peopel more chances to find your pages.

SEO is a complex matter and outside education from various sources on the topic is a great place to start. In the interim, you can check this post by Moz on SEO

How does it Help:

People are out there searching for a solution that you might have already solved so why waste it? Using SEO people organically reach your site. In the case of blogs, more blog posts with keyword focus means more searchable chances for your site. A focus on increasing SEO means more potential traffic for your website and, inadvertently because of it, more opportunities to generate leads. Do some research and you’ll find creative and effective ways to improve your SEO.

6) Effective Email Marketing

Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches at scale”-David Newman

Though not necessarily a revolutionary concept these days, email marketing has a lot of potential especially in B2B lead generation. Email is still one of the most highly used marketing methods due to the direct nature of emails, and when used correctly it can yield serious results.

How to use it:

  1. Properly time your emails and be relentless. Set up scripted workflows and delivery times for emails.
  2. Have a segmented, targeted, and personalized email campaign catering to the diverse audience of your products or services. Focus on their needs and wants and make the emails seem personal in nature to them, not like mass email monsters.
  3. Craft intriguing email subject lines. The subject line is the most important piece of an email and dictates the open rate.
  4. Use Innovations like Lead Nurturing and Drip Campaign Marketing (see Point 7).

How does it help:

What emails lacks is a personal touch and the 1st point helps one break it. By writing engaging copy that seems like it was sent to only them, it helps elevate a response rate as opposed to a cookie cutter looking mass email. Timing is also very important as well. There is a fine line between engaging and annoying, and proper timing helps us achieve the former. This engagement ensures that leads have consistent contact with your company and don’t forget about you.

7) Marketing and Sales: A Love Story

Aligning sales and marketing can make your business 67% better at closing deals”- Marketo

There’s a reason teamwork is preached as a successful tenant of good businesses: it matters. Being divided as a sales and marketing team leads to less lead generation as marketing team blames sales for not able to close deals with their perfect leads whereas the sales department blame them for not providing quality leads. Getting the two teams on the same page is vital to efficiency.

How to use it:

Align your sales and marketing team to gain leads in good number and great quality. Following are the ways how they can do it:

1. CRM or Customer relation management – CRM software helps both the teams align with each other by studying customer interactions in past, helping them share goals, making their processes the same, and enhances lead conversion rates. CRMs help to make the teams efficient.

2. Account based marketing – It helps you identify and evaluate the top of funnel visitors well to get a better quality of leads by knowing the 3 W’s of a customer -Who, What, When. The approach is kept personal and interactive to get best of the information.

3. Marketing Automation – It basically automates your marketing by helping you streamline your tasks in a more efficient manner with it’s planned out approach. Automation and workflows allow you to set up automated responses to situations so that if action A is taken, then response A is performed. Depending on the action the appropriate response follows. Automation is the bedrock of Lead Nurturing and Drip Campaigns.

Get in the habit of analysis; analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Analysis helps one understand what went wrong in numbers. Having old records in our hand help us to utilize the new ones by pointing out mistakes exactly and rectifying them accordingly. Following shows the metrics you can use for better analysis

The analysis also creates the room for iteration and Optimization. For example after CTA a very well optimized landing page is a must. Proof? Using correct targeting and testing methods like A/B testing can increase conversion rates up to 300 percent. So Test, Test and Test to improve results.

Inbound Marketing Tips