63% of B2B businesses say generating leads is the hardest part of marketing their products and services. 61% feel they lack the time, money or staff to do it effectively. But here’s the great news. When you have a more streamlined plan for B2B lead generation, lead generation becomes less of a challenge.
You can get a better ROI because you’re spending your time and money wisely.
These pro tips will show you how to do just that.
Promote on the Right Channels
Where you promote your brand is as important as how you promote it. If you’re not where the customers are, you can’t reach them. If you’re in a place where they’re not making buying decisions, this can be equally detrimental.
Most business decision makers aren’t making buying decisions while on Snapchat. They’re most likely not looking for business resources on Pinterest, unless it’s time to remodel the office.
So where is the best place to connect with business buyers according to data?
You may think it’s LinkedIn, and you’d be right! But Facebook comes in a close second. Let’s look at how businesses effectively use these channels for B2B lead generation.
B2B Lead Generation on LinkedIn
92% of B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn. 80% of B2B marketing leads come through LinkedIn at a cost of 28% lower than AdWords.
LinkedIn is so powerful for 4 very important reasons.
- Your buyers are here — It’s where business decision makers collaborate, get informed and refer each other to new brands.
- You can focus on quality — LinkedIn’s community is hyper-focused on quality. You don’t see people spamming your feed like on Twitter. You’re not expected to post 10 times a day. Your target doesn’t want that clutter.
- Quality people = Quality leads — People want to have an intelligent conversation about what works for business and what doesn’t.
- Exceptional analytics — LinkedIn provides you with some great insights into how you’re performing so you can optimize.
Now, let’s look at how to use LinkedIn to generate leads. Follow these steps.
Set Up Your Profile and Company Page
Start by compleing your profile and company page. Make it thorough and professional.
Acquire Social Proof
Social proof is something that demonstrates that other people think you’re good at what you do. It ups your trust quotient tremendously.
One of the best ways to add social proof on LinkedIn is to ask client connections to endorse your skills. The other is to request that clients add personal recommendations.
Recommendations are basically reviews on your profile. These mean a lot.
SEO Your Company Page
Your company page is like instant SEO (search engine optimization) for your business. You have to work to increase your own website’s authority. LinkedIn is already trusted by Google and your target customer.
Do some keyword research for the page. Make in thorough and impressive so people stay on the page and click.
You can even use your company page to funnel leads back to your website. Capture the lead there by offering something in exchange for an email.
Get Active in Groups
Join groups for your industry. Join some niche groups if available. But also look for broader groups so you can reach people who may be a few steps away from what you do.
Look for groups where your target audience is active. If you join a group and find out it’s not active or your audience isn’t there, move on.
Post links to your own content. Share the content of others in groups, if allowed in that group. Also, share them among your connections.
Join in conversations where you can demonstrate your professionalism and know-how. But avoid seeming overly promotional in either setting.
Start a LinkedIn Blog
Use your blog to showcase your expertise. Add stunning images. Embed videos. You may want to drive traffic back to your website. That’s not a bad idea. But keeping some of it on LinkedIn allows you to build trust in a place where the target customer feels very at ease.
Once you’ve got these basics in place, start building connections. Use LinkedIn’s extensive search tools to find your target audience. Craft an invite that can be quickly personalized to increase chances that they accept.
When Networking, Ask for Follow up Through LinkedIn
When you meet new people who could be a client down the road, ask them to connect on LinkedIn. From there you can strengthen your connection with that person. They’ll continue to see you in their feed.
You’ll be top of mind when their business needs what you offer.
Know Who’s Looking
LinkedIn has a great feature that tells you who has looked at your page recently. Review this regularly. Check out their profiles.
If they appear to be a target customer, invite them to connect with you. Be friendly. But don’t let it get creepy. It can feel a little awkward that you knew that they were looking at your profile.
LinkedIn has some amazing tools to help you target the right audience with your ads. Don’t overlook the importance of this option.
We’ll discuss how to effectively use social media ads for B2B lead generation more in depth later. Now, let’s move onto Facebook.
B2B Lead Generation on Facebook
Facebook isn’t just for B2C. It can be very effective for B2B lead generation. But you have to know how to use it effectively.
According to the Social Media Examiner, only 36% of B2B businesses think they’re using Facebook effectively to generate leads. That highlights a great opportunity for those who know the secret to Facebook success.
Here’s how it’s done.
Join Facebook Groups
You’ll spend a very long time waiting for followers if the extent of your Facebook activity is posting great content. You need to funnel people back to your business profile.
Joining groups is a great way to do that.
People in Facebook Groups beat out LinkedIn Groups in terms of engagement. You’ll find more people on Facebook who want to engage you and others in industry conversations.
Use this opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. But avoid self-promotion. People will follow you when they establish that you’re an expert in your area.
Comment/Share to Build Trust
Share your own content and the content of other thought leaders to build trust with your brand.
Funnel Leads to Engage More Effectively
Whether your leads start on LinkedIn or Facebook, have lead forms ready on the pages you share so that you can turn a luke-warm lead into a warm lead that can be nurtured through email marketing.
51% of email marketers say segmentation through email marketing is the best way to nurture a lead.
Email allows you to automate and streamline the lead-nurturing process in a way that you just can’t do on social media.
On top of the direct lead generation that you can do through Facebook Groups, this is a great place to listen to your target.
Learn more about their problems, goals and trending topics. Use these insights to improve the content creation that helps you capture leads.
Advertise on Facebook
Once again, social media advertising is one of the most effective methods for B2B lead generation. Next, as promised, we’ll dive into how to optimize your B2B lead generation ROI on social media advertising and other PPC.
Maximize Your Paid Advertising Budget
You may think you’re saving money using thrifty guerrilla marketing techniques to stretch your marketing budget.
But in today’s competitive digital marketing arena, some paid advertising is a must. Without it, you can spend months or years trying to get results.
The cost more than justifies the return when you optimize your advertising strategies.
Optimizing Social Media Advertising
Ads aren’t just for a quick sale. Most B2B businesses don’t work like that.
Decisions are often made by more than one person. And impulse buys are a rarity. Use ads to generate leads that you can nurture into conversions.
Funnel B2B Leads Through Ads
There’s nothing wrong with posting ads that outwardly promote a B2B service or product.
But ads are often more effective in B2B when used to generate a lead first. Use ads to funnel social media users to a lead generation form instead.
Offer the potential customer something that will be uniquely appealing to them.
Offer something they can’t get anywhere else for free like a branded:
- Case study
Or offer them free services like:
- 20% off first order
- Free trial
- Free add-on service
Obtain an email and some information about the prospect that you can use to nurture that lead through email segmentation and automation.
Time Your Ads
Timing is important with ads. It’s not only time of the day but can include the day of the week, time of the month or time of the year.
Consider your target customer to develop a timing strategy.
Are you at a loss? Turn to data.
Start with your sales data. Peak sales times and days indicate that that’s the best time to show ads. That’s when your target business buyers are most likely taking time to make a purchase.
Next, look at your website traffic. What time of day or day of the week do you get the most traffic? Again, this is a preferred time for your potential buyer.
If you’re running ads for a specific service or product, look at when that service/product’s page and related blogs get the most traffic.
Finally, look at when you get the most new leads. These are probably email sign-ups. Once again, this a preferred time for your customers.
Don’t Waste Clicks
Getting your ad in front of millions of people is bad business if you’re advertising too broadly.
You might earn more clicks. But your conversion rate will be terrible. And you’re paying for all of these clicks from people who will never be your customers.
Pull out your trusted buyer personas. Be selective when choosing who you want to see your ad.
Facebook and LinkedIn have collected some amazing data that allows you to target very precisely. Take advantage of it.
Utilize the free analytics tools provided by Facebook and LinkedIn. Note what’s working and what isn’t. Optimize.
Optimizing Search-Based PPC
Search-based PPC is very different from running social media ads. Unlike social media that has done a lot of the research for you, you’re on your own on platforms like AdWords.
If AdWords campaigns go unoptimized, costs per click continue to climb until it’s no longer worth the acquisition costs.
But when you take these steps during the B2B lead generation process, costs go down as quality leads go up.
Let’s look at how to optimize PPC.
Fix Your Website First
Google doesn’t stop tracking your campaign after a person clicks. They look at what people do on your website. Do they just leave? Do they click anything?
Don’t attempt B2B lead generation until you’ve optimized the user experience on your website.
Some people try to run AdWords campaigns by just selecting every possible keyword suggested and hoping for the best.
Once again, Google looks at how searchers respond to your ad. If they see that people don’t click on your ad when it appears for a certain keyword, they will punish your campaign.
They do this by lowering your quality score. Your quality score, among other things, determines how much you pay for a click.
If it’s low, you could end up paying as much as 400 times what others are paying.
Be selective. Choose words that are relevant. If you see words getting impressions with no clicks, you may need to rethink that keyword.
If you have a very low conversion rate, this can also suggest you’re appearing in irrelevant searches.
Take advantage of negative keywords. These keep you from coming up in most irrelevant searches when someone uses a negative word with your keyword.
Depending on the type of ad or your brand you may not want words like:
Someone looking for “bookkeeping software” is not the same as someone looking for “free bookkeeping software”. Unless you’re offering a free version with in-app purchase, it makes sense to make “free” a negative keyword.
Funnel B2B Leads
Similar to social media ads, create a lead generation form on your website to collect information in exchange for something the target considers valuable.
Get Smart with Remarketing
We can spend a lot of time and money trying to reach people who will never become leads or customers. Isn’t it smarter to focus on the people most likely to convert and convert quickly?
That’s what remarketing does.
It increases your CTR (click through rate) by 400% according to an Adobe study.
Marketing guru Neil Patel also points out that:
- 11% use remarketing to “steal” competitor customers.
- 43% use it for brand awareness.
- 56% use it to gain new customers.
- It can increase revenues by 54%.
Remarketing takes many forms. Let’s look at some of the most effective.
People Who Bought This, Also…
You’ve likely seen this on Amazon. It’s incredibly effective. Use re-targeting to track pages that a person has visited. Show them similar items or the item they were looking at in:
- Social media ads
- Websites that allow remarketing (done through AdWords)
Because they recognize the item or your brand, they’re so much more likely to see the ad and click it.
Oops! Looks Like You Forgot Your Cart.
It’s so easy for people to get distracted online. This is even more common with B2B. They’re often researching products and services while at work.
- A friendly email reminder
- A shipping or other discount (if they abandoned after seeing final price)
Abandoned cart emails have a 40% open rate. This is prime time to redirect a buyer who got distracted.
You Stopped Watching. Don’t Miss the Best Part
You can even use remarketing to redirect someone who started watching a video on your website.
B2B buyers who finish a branded video are 77% more likely to buy.
Send them a friendly reminder through email or a remarketing ad.
Create a Congruent Brand
Business Insider lists the most recognizable brands. As we list them, how many give you an instant mental picture?
- McKinsey Consulting
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
Did you get 7 out of 10? In most of these brands, the brand is strong because it’s consistent. You know it when you see it.
How’s your brand doing?
On average a B2B buyer needs to see your brand 7-13 times before they become a bonafide lead. During this time they’re evaluating you even though you don’t know it.
They’re making note of where you’re advertising and who’s talking about you. They use the collection of touches to form an opinion of your brand.
If your brand is not identifiable across platforms, you miss out on these touch points. It takes longer to earn that B2B buyer’s trust.
Your brand includes:
- Images/logos/visual styles
- Color schemes
- Font style & size
- Brand voice
- Brand language
- How you relate
- Differentiators/Strengths you promote
- What you sell & choose not to sell
- How you interact on social media
- Your brand message
Before you publish a single blog, post an ad or post on Facebook, evaluate what your brand looks like.
Your website, all communications, emails and any other way to present yourself to existing or potential customers should reflect a style congruency.
Your goal should be that people never have to question that they’re interacting with your brand.
Diversify the Smart Way
It’s never a good idea to overextend yourself. If you’re trying to manage too many social media platforms, you won’t be able to give any one of them the TLC they need to thrive.
The same goes with content.
But, on the other hand, it’s important to realize that certain types of content have strengths and weaknesses. Different content helps your B2B lead generation at different spots in the buyer’s journey with your brand.
It’s important to realize that your toolbox doesn’t just need a Philip’s head screwdriver. You also need a flat head. And depending on the job (your goals), a hammer, screws, nail, drill and circular saw will help you even more effectively get a job done.
Some of us are masters of using duct tape in every situation. But it’s not always the right tool for the job.
Your content toolbox also needs the right tools in it and an understanding of how each helps you in your B2B lead generation efforts.
Let’s look at some common content forms and how they’re used in B2B lead generation.
Social Media Headlines
Some forget that that social media headlines, images, videos, quizzes, commenting and anything else you share on social media is a form of content. Its strength is in its ability to get in front of so many people.
It engages and keeps people coming back to your profile. It leads people back to your website where you can capture a lead or take it to the next level.
Social media advertising also works well when used this way.
Rarely is a blog alone able to do the job of B2B lead generation.
Blogs are typically very broad topics. These broad topics help bring in traffic. But for a piece of content to really connect, it needs to speak very directly to your target. Blogs don’t achieve this personalization. They’re the same for everyone.
Blogs also get a lot of anonymous traffic. If you don’t have a way to capture this traffic’s contact information you don’t have a way to nurture the lead in a more personalized way.
Blogs work with other content like whitepapers and eBooks to generate a solid lead.
eBooks, whitepapers and reports aren’t often effective for brand awareness or generating traffic by themselves. The content is gated behind a download button. You have to give people a reason to want to download it in exchange for content information.
You would typically use social media content, blogs, and videos to generate the desire to download this content to learn more and become a lead.
Even though webinars aren’t open content like a blog, they’re very effective for generating traffic and brand awareness. Why? Because if you get people excited through effective social media promotion, it’s easy to get business leaders to sign up for webinars. They offer so much value!
The average business decision maker attends at least one webinar a week. Play your cards right, and the webinar they attend is yours.
Webinar registrations work well to capture the lead’s contact information so that you can nurture that lead. They give potential customers the opportunity to ask you specific questions that further the buyer’s journey.
Videos are another essential in your content toolbox. Videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 82%. Using video marketing can increase leads by 66% and brand awareness by 54%.
73% of people buy something after watching a video.
Effective B2B Lead Generation
These pro tips will help you take your B2B lead generation to the next level. Choose the right platforms to engage decision makers. Recognize that you’ll engage them differently than you would B2C. Get smart about paid advertising. Don’t overspend to achieve a greater ROI.
Use remarketing. It works.
And diversify your content portfolio to win.
Are you struggling to capture B2B leads? Are the moving pieces we’ve discussed just not falling into place? We can help you improve your B2B lead generation strategies and implementation to grow your business. Contact us today.