When we speak to our B2B customers and ask them about their pain points, the same answer comes up over and over again, it’s the need for more leads. One of the reasons businesses use Lucep is because we help take your website visitors and convert more of them to prospects. We have said it before in an earlier post, but particularly for B2B businesses leads are the life blood of any company. Without leads you do not get sales, without sales you do not generate revenue, without revenue you are in trouble.
This was backed up by a research study conducted by Placester which shows the biggest challenges faced by B2B marketers today is the need to generate more leads for their business. Unlike many B2C businesses who may have a steady stream of visitors, knowing that they will convert a certain percentage and lose the rest. B2B works very differently, people do not come transact and leave your website if you are a B2B company. Imagine if you were a digital marketing agency, no one is going to come to your site and add “6 months SEO work, 3 months SEM work and 5 landing pages.” It does not work like that with B2B, you need to meet the person, review their work and more importantly build a relationship.
B2B leads are more valuable for a few reasons.
Generally B2B businesses get less traffic to their site, and therefore less leads so leads are rare
B2B leads tend to have a higher sale value, so each lead is literally more valuable than average B2C leads
B2B sales can be complex, they are generally not cookie cutter solutions and each transaction may be different
B2B sales are about relationships, and are more longer term than B2C deals.
Now here comes the scary part
Hubspot (some of the world’s biggest experts in managing leads) released this report talking about lead sources. If you go all the way along to far right you will see the biggest channel for B2B leads is this mysterious “other” category.
Doesn’t that seem scary, that even the people to claim to be experts do not where the majority of B2B leads come from. It’s all very mysterious. It seems no one does. These leads seem to appear out of nowhere. Now we all know that isn’t really the case, but what it is telling us is important.
There is no one single channel that B2B companies should focus on to get leads. Businesses need to cast their net far and wide when it comes to searching for prospects. Much of this is hard to trace because the buying process is not linear. Someone may have heard about you in a news article, then done a bit of research on your blog and then when they finally bumped into a sales person at a networking event they decided to close the deal. It would be hard to trace this back to that original news article. The idea is that all your activities and behaviors down the various channels help to contribute to your lead generation effort.
So marketers have to be more and more clever about different ways of getting their message across and some areas which seemed really obvious only a few years ago (TV, Radio and Print) are now being called into question and the growth of other areas (Digital, Social, Mobile) are having a much bigger impact.
So we wanted to put together a list of ideas for marketers out there that they can try as a way to generate more leads for their business, wherever they may come from. Some of these you will already know and be doing no doubt, but we hope to give you inspiration to try some other ideas and see what happens to them.
1. Use social media strategically
Social media is not the Holy Grail for leads that people feel it may be, particularly for B2B businesses. We have all heard the reasoning which is that B2B employees are humans to and they use social media just like everyone else. This is very correct, they do use it just like anyone else. You have to ask yourself when was the last time you used social media to find your next tax account or IP lawyer, or did you just watch cat videos?
A study conducted by Placester shows that social media is one of the least effective ways to generate leads for your B2B business.
But like most things in life, not all are created equal. So there are some social medias that are better for you than others. LinkedIn for example is miles ahead of most other channels in terms of generating leads for businesses. This makes sense LinkedIn is a professional network, people on it are generally looking for other professional people. If you show that you can add value to their business they are likely to engage with you offline.
Some quick tips that anyone can use to immediately boost the chances of getting B2B leads
Be Active. No point in having an account and not doing anything with it. Start posting, commenting, reach out to old colleagues, Make sure you can be seen, that is an important first step.
Join Groups. One of the best ways to engage with other people of similar interest is to join groups. This is a great melting pot of people from around the world who want to come and exchange ideas about a specific topic. There are literally thousands of LinkedIn groups that cover every industry. Dive right in.
Help Others. There is no better way of showing people your ability than by helping others in the group. Answer questions that people pose, write thoughtful responses to articles and show how you are adding value to the conversation. This will go a long way in establishing your reputation.
One vital thing you must remember is that this is a long term game. You cannot do it for 3-4 weeks and ditch it because you are not getting the results you want. You have to put in the time over a long period to ensure the results.
2. Free Stuff
Who doesn’t like free stuff? In the world of the web free stuff is highly sought after. Giving away great content is an effective way of getting people onto your mailing list and into your lead funnel. You are providing something of value to them like a whitepaper, checklist or audit and they are happy to exchange their email address for this valuable information.
There are so many different ways to reach out to people, you can use webinars, publish reports, do videos or even something as basic as a blog. These are all ways to help generate traffic to your website while providing people with something they can take away with.
Now if you want a tip to supersize this whole exercise, you can use Google AdWords to drive traffic to your useful content. Most people will use AdWords to drive traffic to their landing pages or websites in the hope of converting visitors to customers. But if you focus your AdWords on the content you are giving away, it will be far less competitive and much better received by the customer. Doing so will see a significant boost in your click-through rate as well as your conversion rate.
This trick works because you are getting to your clients where they need help such as “SEO Audit” or “Marketing checklist.” Companies generally will not advertise over these terms because they do not want to spend money to send visitors to pages that will not convert them. But this whole tactic is about generating interest in your company and letting your visitors know that you provide value to them.
3. Use your email signature
This was something that was pioneered in the early days of the internet most famously by Hotmail who used to attach this to the bottom of every email.
This simple hack allowed them to advertise to everyone who their users were emailing that they could get free email as well. At the time this was a revelation and helped them to spread the word about Hotmail. There is a rumor that Sabeer Bhatia (the founder of Hotmail) sent an email with that message to one of his friends in India, within 3 weeks Hotmail had 300,000 users there. Pretty impressive huh?
Even though this has been around for a long time it is something that a lot of people often forget, all of your email signatures should have a link taking people to all kinds of things from news articles about your company to testimonial videos, make it easy for people to find.
One trend which we have started noticing is that people are taking that great content that we talked about in the previous point and started linking to it directly in their email. So their signatures will say “Want a free 7 step marking guide – click here.” This is a great way of letting everyone you email know about your great content and will drive traffic to those pages.
We know that B2B leads are hard to get but hopefully some of these tactics will help you generate more leads for your business.
If you would like to read more about leads and how to get and manage them, this posts might be useful for you.