This is the most complete list of B2B lead generation strategies on the web. Period!
It covers everything from the basics to advanced strategies.
In fact, you’ll find effective strategies (and tactics) which you can implement right away even if you’re just starting out.
In this page, I’ll show you exactly how a major accounting software provider leveraged these B2B marketing strategies to generate 26.4 million traffic in 2018, increased signups by 554% and grew revenue without spending a lot of money on advertising.
You’ll also discover a proven step that a tech startup company used and still uses to generate more than 20,000 qualified traffic to their B2B website and how they turn 68% of them to leads.
Lead generation for B2B companies can be tricky because times are changing so fast.
According to The State of B2B Lead Generation in 2018, word of mouth/referrals and website are the two major sources of leadsyou for most businesses.
Now, if you take this idea and run with it, you would run into muddy waters because it takes time before a website can generate leads on its own.
“But getting referrals is as a result of delivering immense value to your clients/customers, becoming an authority in your industry, listening to your target audience and answering their questions.”
If your customer service sucks, then word of mouth may never work for you.
Let’s put it this way: It’ll work against you because 1 angry customer will spread their negative experience to 26 potential customers, and you know what that means for your brand.
The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot to make customers happy so that they can, in turn, send referrals to your website.
More importantly, if you follow this guide closely, you’ll discover effective tips that can send leads to your website (even if it’s 2 months or 2 years, or 10 years old).
Let’s dive right in…
What is lead generation?
It is the act of connecting, attracting, and nurturing website visitors or your target audience who will buy your products or services. Lead generation is subtle but persuasive.
It’s not pushy in any way. In fact, it can save your business from being annoying and unprofessional.
Your business may have the best product or service in the world, but if you’re desperate for leads and customers, it’ll rub off in your messages (i.e., articles, videos, visuals).
That’s why lead generation stems from inbound marketing. It’s a ‘pull’ approach whereby you first deliver value to prospective customers before winning them over. It’s like using a magnet to attract nails.
Contrast this to TV or Radio advertising that’s ‘pushy’ and more focused on selling a product/service.
Is lead generation important for businesses?
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re operating in, without developing a lead pipeline, you’ll be out of business sooner than you expected.
More so, a lot has happened in the business environment since Google, Facebook, Quora, WordPress, and other platforms that now ‘influences’ marketing in some way.
Essentially, you need to pay more attention to acquiring more leads today than ever before because of these factors:
i). New buying process: In the past decade, it was easier for potential clients to pick up a phone and call a business. Whenever they have questions to ask, they have to ask the salespeople or even meet the customer service attendants one on one.
Today, all that is changed now. Buyers can make their own research online. Google can pull up any type of information that will help the buyer.
It no longer makes sense to wait for the customer to call your office phone (it may never happen), you have to position your brand wherever they’re looking for information. We’ll show you how to do it.
ii). Information is readily available: A quick search in Google for any topic including boring terms would bring up thousands if not millions of results.
These results could be articles, videos, slide presentations, and other media content.
Hence, attention span is low. Because there’s always a better information a customer can get while they’re on your website. They just can’t wait.
Gone are the days when information is scarce online. As I write this, more than 2 million blog posts have been published today already. That’s more 14 million pieces of content.
When was the last time you called your favorite brand to ask them questions? I guess you couldn’t even remember. You have Google search, Quora, and YouTube. You can get every information at your fingertips.
Hence, lead generation is the only ‘step’ that your business must take to bridge the gap between customers and information.
If your website is at the top of Google for the keywords they’re searching/typing in, you’ll likely win them over. Because they’ll click and come to your website.
What about Lead Nurturing?
Most businesses make the mistake of leaving their leads in the cold. After spending so much money on lead acquisition, they don’t follow up or follow up the wrong way.
Lead generation is a process of communicating and developing relationships with customers as they engage with your brand.
Nurturing leads boils down to educating, informing, engaging, and converting leads to customers.
Nurtured leads (warm leads) will be more excited to buy from your business. In fact, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than cold leads.
From the Top of the Funnel (ToFU) when they just discovered your business through search, social media, or word out mouth, to the Middle of the Funnel (MoFU) where leads are still considering your offer all the way down the Bottom of the Funnel (BoFU) where they eventually feel convinced to buy your product — you have to be there for them.
When you nurture your leads by listening and providing more helpful information that will help them to make informed decisions, based on valuable data and experience they perceive your business has, the majority of them will not drop out of the consideration stage (Middle of the Funnel).
You’ll get more paying customers in the end.
Most importantly, remember that lead nurturing is all about the relationships you establish with your leads, it’s not about the number of leads you have in your funnel.
Keep this ‘fact’ in mind when your teams are scoring a lead.
The prospect is a human being with needs and not just a fancy text on a screen.
Focus on building connection and communication with your leads that keep you relevant when they’re ready to buy the product/service.
We’ll discuss B2B lead nurturing in our next guide. Make sure you subscribe to our email list to be notified when it’s live.
How CMOs Prioritize Lead Generation
Before we dive into the strategies, what are the senior level marketing executives and CMOs priorities when it comes to lead generation?
Well, at the top of the list, CMOs are want to increase the quality of leads that their marketing campaigns are generating. With quality leads, it’s easier to optimize the sales funnel and measure ROI.
In the BMR Lead Generation Benchmark Report by MarketingSherpa, 52% of senior marketing executives who participated in the survey want to achieve their set ROI and increase it.
Is all rosy or are there challenges? A study by IDG revealed that 61% of marketers have problems generating high-quality leads.
The study also shows that lack of resources in staffing, budgeting, time, inadequate data to drive campaigns are the greatest challenging to lead generation that most businesses face.
Developing Your B2B Lead Generation Strategy
Does your business need one?
Your B2B lead generation strategy is a plan of action to achieve your online marketing goals. This is important because a strategy gives you direction. It helps you to avoid mistakes.
Since there are no assumptions in marketing, don’t ‘assume’ that your content will drive traffic and leads to your business.
Some business managers are uncertain about certain outcomes of their marketing campaigns. You know why? Assumptions!
No, it doesn’t work that way. You have to plan ahead the type of content to produce, the frequency and distribution channels to use, and how much you’re willing to invest for each lead.
Illustrate your strategy clearly. Share it with your marketing, sales, and customer service team. It’ll help them in communicating with qualified leads.
Leads are created equal. Some have a higher interest in your offer and this shows in their action. This chart provides a better way to rate qualified leads in the right order.
Use Persuasive Content to Drive Your Strategy
Content is the lifeblood of your B2B lead generation machine. Without, it’d be almost impossible to generate leads. Whether you’re using Paid Search, SEO, or Email marketing, you need the right content.
When it comes to generating leads, the ‘right’ content is always better than ‘creative’ or \cutting-edge’ content.
Because your target audience doesn’t care how creative you’re unless your content is helpful, timely, easy to consume, and actionable (i.e., easy to implement).
How so? Approximately 96% of B2B customers want to consume valuable content from industry thought leaders before making decisions.
When your business begins to create compelling content for the target audience, you’ll gain their trust and, in turn, they’ll see you as the go-to educational leader in your industry.
Don’t invest all your on Google Ads and Facebook Ads, start creating compelling content. Companies that produce rich content on their blogs are generating 67% more leads per month than companies that don’t.
To generate better business’ leads with your content marketing efforts, let’s consider these 4 concepts that are essential:
1). Lead Capture
Several studies have shown that almost half of your website visitors will never come back to your site again once they leave. How sad?
That’s why you need the set up a proper lead capture system. Once you do that, you can easily capture a visitor’s first name and email address (required).
Here’s a good example of a lead capture page:
In your capture page or landing page, steer away from generic call-to-action buttons like “Sign Up” or “Subscribe” because they could mean “We are going to spam” you to the visitor.
When you give away a free eBook or software, CTA buttons like “Download Now” or “Get The Ebook” will work best.
Above all, give value before asking for people’s email addresses and make sure that every ad copy, banners, and pop-ups deliver some sort of value to the user.
2). Lead Magnets
What are you offering website visitor and your prospect in exchange for their email address?
It has to be a ‘valuable’ material. In fact, it could be worth $100 or more, but you choose to give it away at no cost. That’s invaluable and your audience will appreciate it.
This B2B company gives away a Checklist for Productive Meeting as their lead magnet.
As the name impress, a lead magnet is a form of “magnet” (literally) that magnets lead.
Examples of high-converting lead magnets:
Training video series
Swipe file, templates
T-Shirt, Smartphones, etc.
3. Lead Conversion Strategy
As a business, an important step that you can take today is to direct visitors to your landing page. Never send them to a blog post or homepage with no funnel or process in place.
Your landing page can be any page, provided it’s optimized for conversions. A landing page should be a standalone page — existing separately from your company’s website.
You can use Instapage, Leadpages, or Unbounce to create a high-converting page that will convert visitors into leads.
These templates are mobile-responsive, fast, and easy to build using the drag-and-drop feature.
Use this landing page for a single marketing campaign if you want to capture more leads. For example, design a separate landing page for your Facebook ads.
In the same token, when you publish a guest post on another blog, link to a special page that welcomes visitors from the guest site.
Yes, you can have as many landing pages as possible. Companies that have 10 to 15 landing pages increase leads by 55%. When a company increased its landing pages to 40 or more, they generate 12X more leads than those with 5 or fewer landers.
4). Lead Scoring
“Lead scoring may not tell you exactly whether or not a load will turn into a customer — but it’ll make your sales team more efficient using qualification and prioritization.”
Lead scoring should be taken seriously because it’ll simply your marketing automation later on.
Lead scoring is the process of prioritizing the leads you acquired based on their levels of engagement with your campaigns.
If you’re using a good marketing automation software, it’d help you to qualify the interactions that leads have with your campaigns (e.g., blog posts, videos, landing pages, ads) and assign points.
Assume you’re a scoring tool (hehe), let’s score Tom (our new lead).
In a lead scoring system, a visitor who takes any of these steps (and/or more) is assigned a score:
Visitor fills out a form on your landing page – Add 5 points
Starts a free trial – Add 10 points
Unsubscribe from your list – Deduct 5 points
Watches an explainer video on your sales page – Add 6 points
Lead scoring is so powerful and you’re going to start using (if you’re not doing so already) it a lot more this year. According to Aberdeen Research, “80% of top-performing companies are more likely to use lead scoring technology.”
B2B Lead Generation Strategies That Work
Which lead generation strategies truly work?
I’ll not only share strategies that online marketers share, but I’ll show you how companies are applying them and how much results they’re getting.
In fact, Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group based in Missouri created white papers, created a lot of high-quality blog posts, hosted live webinars, and within the first 12 months of implementing these strategies, website traffic grew by 198%, 362% more leads generated on their site, and $300,000 in revenue.
Don’t feel overwhelmed already with all of these strategies. Also look out for my ‘pro tips’ that would ensure proper implementation. Time is precious, so don’t waste it.
Let’s start off with the most powerful lead acquisition strategies for B2B companies:
1. Content Marketing through Blogging
I did talk about ‘pull marketing’ and how powerful it can be in helping you to deliver value first before asking for site visitors commitment.
What drives this form of marketing in today’s consumer-driven environment is content marketing.
“Content marketing is the act of creating helpful content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, white papers, slide presentations, quizzes, infographics, worksheets, etc) that educates, informs, and inspires your prospects to take an action.”
That action could be to download your eBook, sign up for a webinar, buy a ticket to a live event, register for a free trial, and so on.
These days, top business executives are taking content marketing seriously. FreshBooks, a company that offers accounting and bookkeeping solutions to small businesses have more than 20 content writer for their blog.
They’re not only investing in content, but also in great design. This is the accounting software provider that generated 26.4 million visitors in 2018.
Take a look at their blog:
Although there are several ways to do content marketing, blogging is powerful. Most top brands don’t have blogs on their websites which is a big mistake.
Make sure you install WordPress CMS on your website.
In this case, if your company’s website is www.mycompany.com, then your blog could either be www.mycompany.com/blog or www.blog.mycompany.com. Whichever way you choose, it’ll work for you.
You don’t even need to call it ‘blog’ if you don’t like that term. You can call it “insights” or “ideas.”
Here’s a good example. Our blog is located right here: www.insights.oneims.com
When a business drives its content marketing strategy with blogging, they can generate more leads and revenue.
For example, Crowe Howath created 48 useful infographics, Q&A blog posts, and tutorial video series targeted C-level prospects or large companies in the financial market. As a result, the company generated $250,000 in revenue -—thanks to content marketing.
Don’t ever think that content marketing and blogging is for small businesses and startups. No, it’s actually for big companies like Xerox, Uber, Amazon, and even GM.
Aside from blogging, Xerox created a microsite offering relevant and insightful content to business owners.
About 70% of the targeted companies interacted with the site, and 20,000 new contacts were added to Xerox contact list. 1,000+ contacts scheduled appointments which generated more than $1.3 billion dollars in revenue.
For B2B marketing environment (which is slightly different from that of B2C), content marketing driven by blogging offers these benefits:
i). Generate website traffic: Quality content gets indexed and ranked in Google. If your industry isn’t creating a lot of useful content or engaging in online marketing, then you’re ready to dominate Google — because there’s little or no competition at all.
Your business’ website can generate organic traffic if your marketing team start to target specific keywords in your pages (including landing pages).
ii). Convert clicks to leads: When a potential customer lands on your website, it’s no longer you who does the persuasion but your content. This is why copywriters are in demand because they create copy that nudges the customer to take action.
With the right content on your page, make sure you have a clear and relevant call-to-action that directs prospect to your email list (via a popup). The CTA ideally should send visitors to your landing page to opt-in and get your lead magnet.
iii). Win loyal customers: Once your customers trust your brand, they can become loyal and buy from you over and over again. Use great content and customer service to delight existing customers.
Create the right types of content
Once you start engaging with your audience, you can tell which content format they prefer to consume.
Bear in mind that if they can enjoy it, then it can convince them to buy your product. Whether it’s for creating awareness all getting prospects to make the right decisions, these content types drive leads and sales.
Overall, find professional content creators (if you don’t have the time) who can research and create high-quality content in these formats:
Authoritative blog posts
White papers, eBooks
Pro Tips: To effectively reach your prospects wherever they are on the web, repurpose your blog posts into other forms and distribute them on social media.
For example, if your new blog post had generated some decent reads in a week, you can take the data and create an infographic or turn the subheads into slides to capture your audience on SlideShare.net
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is arguably the most powerful long-term technique for generating qualified leads for 59% of B2B companies, according to an Industry Survey Report by Search Engine Land.
So why are the leads from organic search ‘qualified?’
Isn’t it obvious? When you type a search term into Google search bar, I’m sure you know exactly what you’re looking for? You want Google to serve you relevant and informative content, right?
In the same way, people who use search engines to look for businesses online are the best form of leads you can ever get.
No, SEO isn’t dead! It alive now more than ever!
In fact, if you structure your site well plus invest in content marketing, search engine (organic) could be a top traffic source for your website — generating ready-to-buy leads for your business.
If your main keywords rank at the top of Google, especially if these keywords have commercial intent, then you’ll make a lot of money.
Here are some examples of ‘commercial-intent keywords in the Web Hosting niche.
It’s a lot harder now to rank competitive keywords on Google top 10 results — but with our refined strategy, we continue to see results. Another proof:
Adobe Campaign (formerly Neolane), a Marketing Technology provider implemented SEO strategies and within one year, it grew its organic traffic by 169%, recorded a 21% growth in lead acquisition opportunities, and gained more than 42,000 inbound links.
When it comes to SEO, there’s no shortcut. Go all in and don’t expect overnight results.
Don’t expect that hiring a digital marketing agency to handle your B2B website SEO will push your site to number #1 in the search results.
It doesn’t work that way. A good SEO agency understands site structure, conversion rate optimization, design, content marketing, social media marketing, on-page optimization, and so on.
The rules are not set on a stone, as there are so many ways to increase search visibility.
It’s possible to rank high in Google for your primary keywords even without a great website design or relevant links, but it’d be harder. After all, links are one of the most important search ranking factors.
All in all, SEO is powerful and a great way to generate qualified B2B leads if you stick to it for at least 3 to 12 months.
After this time frame, amazing things begin to happen to your B2B website.
You’ll start ranking higher in Google for important keywords without building many inbound links or publishing new posts on your blog every day.
While search engine optimization is powerful, it takes time to yield tangible results.
Because Google has to perform user testing to be able to determine which content should rank at the top for its keyword since there are hundreds of thousands of websites that are targeting the same search term.
While you’re waiting for your B2B website to age (at least 1-year-old) and your target audience discovering you naturally on the web, you can use social media marketing to generate leads.
3). Social Media Marketing
Most businesses fail at social media marketing. I’ll tell you why. Keep reading…
Worse, when you try to market your products or reach businesses (your ideal clients) on Facebook, for instance, you’re either tagged for being too spammy, irresponsible, unprofessional, you name it.
That’s why CMOs and top-level executives rate social media channels as the least effective lead generation strategies. According to eMarketer, 70% of B2B marketers got disappointed with their social media ROI.
The problem isn’t with social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other giants — the main issue boils down to ‘how businesses use social media’
A poor social media strategy will ONLY produce a poor result.
It’s called ‘social media’ for a reason.
The “social” comes FIRST before the “media.”
You have to ‘socialize’ first before recommending your product. Remember that people are not primarily on Facebook to buy a product but to connect with others. If you abide by what social media stands for, you’ll get results.
Don’t just send out promotional posts to your fans and connections, use social media to socialize, create awareness, provide answers to pressing questions in your industry, and drive interested users to your landing page to begin the nurturing process.
That’s how your business can generate leads and millions of dollars without appearing pushy or unprofessional.
Talking about professionalism, you can promote your products and brand better on LinkedIn than any other social site. Because LinkedIn is primarily for B2B companies.
That’s why 94% of them use it to distribute content.
Essentially, every B2B company should make content marketing an integral part of their social media efforts. In other words, create and share helpful content on your Facebook Group, Twitter, and on LinkedIn Pulse.
Make sure your business prioritizes social selling since 75% of B2B buyers now use social media to research vendors, according to LinkedIn Research.
Get started by involving your team in the engagement process. Instruct your reps. to monitor messages in your profile and page and answer questions.
Retweet other businesses, comment, share, and like posts from industry leaders.
These are all ways to take advantage of social selling and start generating leads.
While engaging with your audience on social media, make your campaign entertaining.
Tell captivating stories, or share a study. Endeavor to optimize your page to align with your brand.
For example, Salesforce’s Facebook page is well optimized. It has the name of their company in the Vanity URL, there’s a catchy “Sign Up” CTA, and their “About” page is rich and complete.
To generate even more traffic, gate your content. Here’s how:
Share a rich excerpt of your valuable content on your favorite social media channel. Then add a clickable link where people can go to download/read the rest of the content filling out the form.
SuperOffice does it better. The Company has a gated content that asks for user’s name, company, and email in exchange for 10 valuable templates.
Essentially, if organic social media promotion doesn’t generate the right leads for you, you should invest in a paid search such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, etc.
25% of B2B marketers see an increase in conversions when they started running ads on social media.
A winning strategy is to use paid social to amplify your content on Facebook and other social sites.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing has stood the test of time.
It’s existing for the past 23 years and B2B marketers know it’s potentials for driving leads. Just like anything you’d ever imagine, this marketing technique is evolving.
Most of the popular platforms that businesses used in the past have introduced more features to the mix.
New email marketing software like ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign are fairly new in the environment but they have taken marketing automation to a new level.
To generate even more B2B leads, all a business needs to do is to connect CRM to their email tool. This will provide a hybrid system that allows the business to automatically send highly-targeted messages to leads based on their interests.
Since every business can engage in email marketing, it also means the stakes are higher now. Your target audience is also your competitor’s email list.
That’s why Personalization is the future. If you’re able to personalize your lead’s experience, they’ll buy more from you. 74% of marketers believe in the Power of Personalization. Personalized emails improve conversions by 10% and CTR by 14%.
Whether you’re in tech, healthcare, entertainment, finance, business, marketing, education, science, or even manufacturing sector, marketing automation + email marketing can work for you.
By upgrading to a better marketing automation solution, Thomson Reuters saw a 172% growth in revenue. Presidential Pools increased leads generation by 400%, boosted lead close rate 2-3X, and their upsell campaign yield $100,000 in revenue.
Being able to schedule behavioral-triggered emails has enabled B2B companies to get ahead faster in communicating clear and relevant messages to their customers.
It’s no longer a question of “how do I know what my customers want?” but about creating the right content and offer to meet their needs.
With email marketing though, you’re mostly concerned about two variables:
Click-through rate (CTR)
These two variables determine the conversion rate. There’s a popular statistics which states that a business earns $44 ROI for every $1 spent on email marketing.
That may be truth, but it all depends on the industry or what your specific offers are. Being able to calculate email rate and CTR can help you make better decisions.
Research by GetResponse shows that overall email open rate sits at 82.20% and CTR at 21.69%. But this varies according to the demographics.
Comparatively, email marketing generates more ROI than SEO or content marketing.
But to make it work, keep these thoughts in mind:
i). Giveaway valuable lead magnet: Don’t just give away a piece of worthless information that your audience can easily find with a quick Google search.
Invest your time and money to create a valuable lead magnet that will help you to grow your email list fast.
ii). Landing page: Make it simple but high-converting. Add a compelling CTA, irresistible visuals, and persuasive copy. Your lead magnet will likely live on your landing page.
iii). Proper segmentation: Your email subscribers have different interests. Some are still in the awareness stage getting to know your brand. While others are ready to buy now because they trust you.
To get better results, split your list such that qualified leads who are ready to buy now will be on a separate segment while new leads will be nurtured over time.
iv). Effective tracking: Always track your email performance. Clean up your list regularly, find out what your average open rate and click-through rate is. This would help you to craft more ‘captivating’ emails next time.
You can use humor, storytelling, data, etc., to drive engagement with your email contact list. Remember these are human beings — so it’s likely they will connect to a good story or laugh (at least smile) to your jokes.
Another effective tactic for nailing email marketing is to ensure a steady flow in your emails. Here’s how it works:
What journey will your prospect take before buying from your website? You can craft a mini version of that journey in your emails.
Hotel Tonight has mastered the act of message flow. Thanks to Devan Ciccarelli for sharing this concept. This could increase your email click-through rate.
Since your email subscribers read from left to right (all humans do), this company capitalizes on that by placing the images exactly where their recipient’s eye would naturally see them.
Pro Tips: All forms of B2B lead acquisition strategies are dependent on email marketing.
If you run Facebook ads, the end goal is to drive the clicks to a landing page ⇒ to your email list.
If it’s through search traffic or guest posts, you also want to capture email address first.
5. PPC Lead Generation Strategies
Google Ads (formerly Google Ads), Display Networks, and Paid Social are the most popular forms of digital advertising that B2B marketers are using.
In terms of conversion rate, Paid search (when properly executed) generates the most conversions.
Apart from Google Ads (Search and Display Networks), you can also take advantage of these paid channels to drive leads:
Trade media display ads
B2B marketing directories
Social media advertising (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram)
The average Google ads conversion is 2.70% (for search), the Display Network is 0.89%. This is different depending on your industry and campaign.
At the end of the day, effective PPC marketing covers Google Ads, Social media advertising, and others listed above.
Looking at the CTR for Google Ads, you can see it’s rather discouraging, to say the least.
To avoid wasting money on paid clicks, you should invest a portion of your marketing budget on SEO — use it to complement your PPC ads.
ExtraSpace Storage, a US Provider of Self-Storage Units increased CTR by 113% leading to targeted leads, and Intel, among other offline marketing, achieved global popularity by advertising on Google Ads.
Now It’s Your Turn
I have shared the most effective B2B lead generation strategies, simplified the process so that you can implement one of them today.
So tell me, which strategy from today’s post are you excited about?
Do you have any questions? Whether it’s relevant to what I wrote in this post or a general lead gen. question — I’d love to hear it. Drop your comment right below.