When we talk to our B2B customers and ask them what their biggest issues in marketing are they always come back with the same thing. Leads. Leads are the lifeblood of any B2B business. Without leads it does not matter how good your product or service is there will be no one to sell it to. Leads are everything for B2B businesses.
So the question that needs to be asked is. How do I get more leads? Why are they so elusive?
Today you will get some useful and easy to implement tips on how you can do it for your business as well. All of this is based on our experience serving Fortune 500 customers in more than 30 different countries around the world.
First Things First.
So I just want to get this out of the way now. B2B leads are hard. Finding, tracking, monitoring, closing it’s all very hard. The B2B marketers we meet are some of the most stressed out people in the business, I don’t blame them, they have a very hard job.
Why is it so hard? Well mainly because no one knows where these leads come from. Don’t take our word for it, take it from some people who know what is what regarding marketing, Hubspot.
Take a look at the graph below, it seems very clear where a lot of leads come from. But if you notice the blue bar on the far right in the cryptically named “other” category. Have you noticed it is the highest spike for B2B. Even the best of the best don’t really know where this stuff comes from. So don’t be so hard on yourself when you don’t.
So rather than look for one magic solution that will give you all the leads you ever need, understand that B2B lead generation is a holistic mix of different marketing channels as well as your general business development skills.
1. Social Media
This is a great way to let people know about your brand, especially if you are a new business. But there are so many different types of social media sites out there, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc, how do you choose which ones to be on or do you go on all of them? Our advice to you would be to pick two and work hard at those two otherwise the task can become quite overwhelming. Which two do you pick? Well that is really up to your customer and where you think they will be spending most of their time.
For us we chose LinkedIn and Facebook because our research showed that our customers were more engaged on these two platforms. Choosing just two allows you to develop content that is really suited for the medium instead of just sharing the same content across all platform.
Remember social media is a brand building tool, the point is to get a person to come and look at your website where they will hopefully convert. LinkedIn groups are some of our favorites, because we can target those groups where people will be genuinely interested in the product. LinkedIn is consistently rated among the most used social media for business professionals. So you increase your chances greatly if you know you are talking to the right people. According to Kissmetrics 80% of all B2B social media leads are generated by LinkedIn.
Quick warning, you aren’t going to get leads simply by posting everyday or just by having an account. It doesn’t work like that. There needs to be thought behind what you do and a strategy. Social media is where the world comes to hang out, so yes there are leads there but you have to work for them to be noticed. Don’t be afraid to promote your company, provide offers, invite feedback or link to landing pages.
2. Content, Content, Content
This one is a little tricky, everyone wants their stuff to go “viral” without really having an understanding of what this means. Is it a good thing if 2,000,000 people watch your video but none of them are in your target market, or is it better if 50,000 people watch your video and they are all in your target market?
You have to think about your audience first before you start thinking about content. The kind of content that works is changing too, in the early days of the internet everything was text based, recently it was very image and photo heavy with infographics making a big surge, nowadays the key thing is to have video. As countries develop more bandwidth video will be a key part of any businesses content strategy.
Content marketing is becoming one of the most important avenues for marketing professionals everywhere. Content marketing is not always about directly selling your product (that is more your sales channel) but instead it is more about providing helpful information to your audience so that they view you as a trustworthy and respectable company from which they can purchase products or services from. But what are the different types of content that you can do to help boost sales.
Host a webinar. You know your customers better than anyone. So pick a topic that interests them. Remember you aren’t selling your product here you are informing your audience about something that they are genuinely interested in. A webinar is quite a low cost way for getting your message out to a large number of people.
White papers or research reports. People love reports that provide them valuable information about their business or industry. Give away a report for free and watch as people connect with you and give you their email address.
Videos. As the world moves to higher and higher broadband levels video will be increasingly important. YouTube is currently the world’s second largest search engine. Take from that what you may, but to me it says that videos are only going to be more important.
Blog. This is the simplest, easiest and most effective way to get your message out there. A blog more than anything else will appear in search results and improve your company’s ranking and stature.
Now we all know about these two they are the cornerstone of all good digital strategies and must be considered when thinking about bringing in more business. Although they often get lumped together they have very different approaches.
SEM is instant, you put money into a Google Adwords account and you will start generating hits for your website. I have often heard many people in startupland describe SEM as a drug, while you have the money and are willing to pay for it SEM meets your needs, and almost gets addictive. But there are also diminishing returns from your investment and you have to put more money in to get the same results.
SEO however takes much longer to implement usually 6-8 months before you see any sort of progress, which is a long time for any business. Quality SEO will last and continue to make an impact on your business long after you have finished creating the content. Pay very close attention to what works and what does not work, it will help you refine what you need to do in the future.
According to a study conducted by the Content marketing Institute, SEO is viewed as the most effective marketing for B2B companies. More than half of the respondents view search engin marketing as an effective way to market their company.
4. Speed of Response
Ok, so this isn’t strictly an online tool you can use but it is some solid advice on what to do with the leads that are coming in to your page and how to make the most of them. It always amazes us how few companies understand the importance of responding to a customer in a quick and timely manner. Looking at the chart below shows how much even waiting 5-10 minutes can have on contacting your leads.
Make sure that if your customer wants to speak to you, it is as easy and fast as possible. Customers today know there are plenty of options for your service, so being able to speak to your customer quickly puts you at a distinct advantage.
Hiding your “contact us” form deep inside your page or taking 4 days to respond to a lead request are sure fire ways to lose those precious visitors to your page. Each visitor is precious and each lead even more, so don’t wait for hours to call them back. Show them what fantastic service you provide and impress them with your speed of response.
If you are looking to see how easy this can increase your conversion rate try the Lucep mobile app. You can connect with your leads direct in under 60 seconds, your business will get to experience a proven track record of increasing conversion rates by 60%. (Sorry but had to get a plug in there)
5. Facebook Advertising
I know that I have already mentioned paid advertising, but there is something fundamentally different about Facebook advertising.
Google advertising is very product focused, you are trying to guess what people looking for your product search for and then by advertising over those keywords. Facebook on the other hand is very customer focused, who is your customer? What do they like? What are their demographics?
Facebook advertising lets you target people based on their preferences or on who they are not on what their problems are. It allows you to have a deeper look into your customer and really understand who they are. Based on this information you can then go and target other groups of people using social media and blogs once you know the type of person you want to target.
One of our favorite things to do with Facebook adverts is to target people that use either complimentary products to ours or use direct competitors. So you know that they are exactly the people you are looking for what other platform allows you to target leads like this.