Two Quick facts about B2B Marketing
Despite the mind-numbing amount of research that Jeremy Smith has done, in order to give you this article, he did come across some helpful data. Sure, there was a bunch of glittering generality junk and business jargon gibberish, but there were also some cold, hard facts. Here they are:
No one knows where B2B leads come from.
Hubspot made the chart below to tell us where leads come from. We see all the stuff we’d expect — PPC, social media, advertising, etc. — but there’s also a mysterious spike called “other.” Look at the blue bar on the far right. Hint: It’s the highest bar on the whole graph.
What the heck is “other”?!
Do you know what that means? It means that we have no freaking clue where B2B leads come from.
Basically, even smart people don’t really know where their leads are coming from all the time. A lot of getting “leads” has to do with a lifestyle of consistent marketing efforts, a constant cultivation of industry relationships, and the organic mashup of all kinds of interactions, activities, behaviours, and efforts.
Voila! There’s a lead! But where did it come from? It’s hard to say.
Takeaway: Rather than focus on a single silver lead bullet, understand that B2B lead generation is a composite of unquantifiable activities and behaviours that just work.
The digital revolution has scrambled the B2B playing field.
This has introduced a flood of new techniques, the decline of old techniques, and a reorganization of all techniques. The goal remains the same — conversions. Where we get those leads for conversions is a totally different game.
Based on the research that Jeremy Smith has conducted, the tests he has performed, the experience he possesses, and the strategy he has developed, he has found four truly successful ways to generate leads, regardless of your industry. Keep reading, and I’ll give you the low down on what you need to know to profit from each of them.
1 Use social media strategically.
Yeah, that was pretty vague, but don’t worry. Jeremy isgoing to hone in on this for a minute, and explain some ideas.
There are two warnings that he needs to issue regarding social media.
Warning 1: First, don’t expect mere social media presence to be a source of leads. Your social media presence is important, but not inherently effective. Hel suggested some techniques for using it as a lead generation method. Be warned, however, that it’s not just enough to tweet daily and have an account on LinkedIn.
Warning 2: Second, don’t dismiss social media as a source of leads. Some individuals have wrongly stated that social media is the holy grail of leads. Don’t go that far. But don’t neglect it, either. Social media is the world’s water cooler. Everyone is there. Everyone is talking. There are leads for the taking. So, as you read this section, be open to the idea of lead generation via social media.
Twitter is not effective.
How Social Media Can Work to Generate Leads
Social media is a perfectly fine source of leads. The problem is, the full power of social media is not harnessed in the B2B industry. Here are some strategic ways to reverse this trend and recapture the leads on social media:
- Direct social media visitors to your website
- Allow newsletter signups on your Facebook page.
- Use the call to action.
If you apply these three points, you’ll see your leads increase. However, it’s not enough to turn on a veritable flood of leads — just a trickle. There’s another way — the best B2B marketing platform on the Internet.
LinkedIn consistently ranks the highest among social media platforms for its B2B lead generation value.
Like the other social media channels, LinkedIn doesn’t generate leads all by itself. Here’s what you need to do to make it work.
- Be present and active
- Make sure that your company has a robust LinkedIn account
- Join groups.
- Join conversations
- Look for help on LinkedIn
- Pay for lead collection.
Takeaway: In spite of the upswing and potential of social media, it hasn’t proven particularly successful for actual high-converting leads. In order to see ROI from these sources, you’ve got to have a process for converting the leads. In order to get the most leads, and get the best leads, you should 1) Use CTAs and links to your website, and 2) Put most of your efforts into Linkedin lead gen.
2 Launch a consistent content marketing plan.
The Growth of Content Marketing for B2B
Content marketing has grown for B2Bs. According to a study sponsored by ContentMarketing and MarketingProfs, 91% of B2B respondents are using content marketing.
Generating Leads through Content Marketing
Some of the best ways to generate valuable leads through content marketing.
- Host a webinar
- Publish research reports
All of these content marketing techniques work together. For example, you can publish some of the results of a research report on your blog. You can publish a video extract from your webinar. You can announce your webinar on your blog. All of these methods should be used in tandem with one another.
Takeaway: More B2Bs are using content marketing than ever before. It is one of the most effective forms of marketing.
3 Give away tools.
You should be giving away free stuff. As lead generation goes, it’s a tested and proven method of gaining leads. The concept is simple:
- Create an ebook that your target market wants.
- Give it to them for free.
- They give you their email address.
And then, Voila, you have a lead.
The technique is very popular among B2B marketers, but that doesn’t mean it has lost its appeal. One marketing strategist who uses this method shared his conversion rate for a free ebook. Here’s what he posted on his website. The key metric here is his conversion rate — 10.8%
Note the following:
- Free stuff is basically content marketing.
- Your free tool should be digital.
- eBooks are the most popular.
- There are other options, too just make sure it is relevant to your audience.
Takeaway: Regardless of your industry, people are willing to get free stuff in exchange for their email address. Use this free technique to harvest huge amounts of email addresses, and let the leads come on in.
4 Make it automatic.
It’s important to remember that marketing automation isn’t only a lead generation strategy. It’s a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes lead generation.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation uses software to deliver the most relevant content to the most receptive target audience and better enable them to convert. The software used helps to streamline and reduce the time-intensive labour of marketing tasks.
Marketing automation can gather intelligence to track user behavior on social media or the website and then gain leads. These leads are then nurtured through targeted messages and/or responses. The leads are guided through the marketing funnel using email marketing tactics recommended by the software.
Common questions regarding marketing automation
- How much does it cost? It can be expensive. The price creates enough sticker shock to steer most small companies in another direction.
- How easy is it? It can be complicated. Because it has the word “automation,” some marketers incorrectly assume that it’s going to be easy. Just buy the software, turn it on, and let it go, right? Wrong. Marketing automation requires complex set-up processes before it can be truly successful.
Takeaway: Jeremy Smith is recommending marketing automation as a lead generating technique because he believes it can be effective for some B2B companies. Make sure that you have all the pre-requisites before you start with these marketing campaigns.
However you choose to go about your B2B lead generation, it’s always going to be hard work. Keep your strategist head on as you proceed in the effort. If you’re disgusted with boring trade shows, awkward meet-and-greets, and the disappointing results of most B2B lead gen efforts, it’s time to start some new tactics. The four tactics that Jeremy Smith has discussed above are some of the most effective you’ll encounter, regardless of your industry.
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