B2B marketing becomes more challenging than it was before. Cold calls and emails don’t work, mass mailings too. And it is hard to understand, what is an effective way of generating leads in B2B. But this article will help you. Use
Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (at absolutely no extra cost for you). These funds help me feed my dog and keep this blog up and running. Learn more about it here.
Email marketing has stood the test of time in the B2B world. It’s still one of the top strategies for B2B lead generation because it creates a more intimate connection between brand and customer. Professionals are forced to check their work email every day, so they’re more likely to see, open, and consider your emails than the B2C customer might.
In a world of posts, likes, and shares, email doesn’t look sexy, but it is as relevant today as it was years ago. In fact, email is often the bridge between marketing automation and CRM, two cloud solutions most widely used by marketers today. The email opt-in is still the starting point of lead generation and email marketing is the core of lead nurturing.
How does email marketing hold up today? Actually, it was the best B2B digital marketing channel in 2014, according to a Chief Marketer study. Two years later, in 2016, DemandWave released its State of B2B Digital Marketing Report, which showed email marketing is right at the top of digital channels driving leads and revenues for U.S. B2B marketers.
The advent of automated lead scoring, predictive analytics and AI algorithms only reinforce email marketing with laser-focused, personalized touches and real-time delivery. In short, email marketing is still one of your best tools to engage intent signals, distribute content and deliver pitches.
What is the conversion rate of email marketing?
You’re looking at two variables when it comes to email marketing:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate (CTR)
A GetResponse study puts the overall email open rate average at 82.20% and CTR at 21.69%. The report further divided the figures by location, with North America at 21.01% (open rate) and 3.50% (CTR). By industry, internet marketing has 18.05% open rate and 3.16% CTR.
Meanwhile, Marketing Insider Group puts email marketing conversion into another perspective: you earn $44 for every dollar spent on email marketing. The general consensus is, yes, email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates, corroborating the DemandWave findings above.
Which factors influence email marketing conversion?
It takes creativity to brainstorm your content or offer, but with that aside, email marketing is more like a science. You can measure it, analyze it, and improve it. Here are the key factors that affect your email marketing conversion rates:
- Value offer: You must have a lead magnet to attract email sign-ups, whether it’s value content, freebies, deals, or anything that is interesting to your audience.
- Landing page: Optimize it by having a clear offer of your lead magnet, compelling CTA, permission and appealing visuals.
- Email subject line: Short, crisp, and compelling with clear benefit to the recipient.
- Segmentation: Split your list into sublists for more targeted messages, which will allow you to increase you open and click-through rates.
- Analytics: Run analytics to do regular clean-up of your lists and update it as necessary based on past recipient actions.
But email marketing has changed. Although traditional e-newsletters still work in some cases, most businesses are getting tired of the same old mass emails. Instead, personalization has become the sovereign power. In fact, 60% of B2B brands report that a personalized approach to communication is
Personalized emails are like talking to an old friend. Your clients want to see that you know and address their needs on an intimate level. Targeted emails create a deeper relationship between your businesses.
The more customized your emails to your audience, the more likely they’ll convert. You send a personalized email, which instantly engages your audience, and then you add links to relevant landing pages. You won’t send all of your clients to the same landing pages, so email segmenting can ensure relevant traffic is coming to your landing page. This improves your engagement and conversion rate.
Technology is improving so you’ll be able to automate your marketing while still targeting and segmenting personalized emails. You’re able to connect your CRM (customer relationship management) systems with your email marketing to utilize data for high-level personalization.
Host a free party with a password-only back room.
You want to make sure you’re gating the right content on your website and landing pages.
To build a customer list for your email marketing campaign, you need to first collect their emails. Lead magnets or “gated content” is the most effective way to capture a customer’s email address. This is when you offer downloadable content in exchange for their email.
But too many marketers make the mistake of gating all of their content, assuming readers will willingly hand over their email addresses. But this typically doesn’t work, especially in a B2B market. People won’t give you their email if the content isn’t high-value and you haven’t already proven your worth to them.
So, you need to give them some “teaser” free content that’s a total blockbuster before you can expect them to want your gated content bad enough to give you their email address.
Where’s the good stuff?
So what should you do? Host a free party. Invite everyone and anyone. This “party” is like offering free blogs or infographics or social media posts. You’re simply drawing the guests in.
But then make the real party with all of the celebrities and clowns and fancy desserts in the backroom. The guests need to give the password to get to the back. This is like asking them to provide their email address or pay a small fee to retrieve the high-value lead magnet you’re offering. These are often more in-depth downloadable pieces like reports, guides, case studies, white pages, or templates.
We call this the “speakeasy approach.” Invite them in, make them want more, and then capture their information in order for them to gain special access.
This creates a sense of exclusivity that appeals to the B2B audience. Your clients want to perceive you as a high-end brand offering significant value. But you’ll only be credible as a valuable brand if you first tease them with free content that proves your worth and you gate the appropriate content.
Make the gate attractive.
Your partygoers won’t want to go to the back room if the gate is rusty and squeaky. But if it’s gold with tile mosaics on it, you will intrigue them in.
So not only does the lead magnet content itself need to be high value, but you also need to draw them in with the design of the lead magnet. This means your landing page is well designed, your copy is architected to convert, and your opt-in form is easy to use. Learn everything—yes, everything—you need to know about creating a high-powered landing page with Leadpages Guide To Landing Pages.
Psst… Check out this 2-minute case study to see how B2B company Four51 doubled their monthly leads with an attractive “gate.”
And I personally recommend using Leadpages for lead genration through lead magnets, popups and landing pages.
Only a small percentage of B2B companies see millions (or even thousands) of dollars worth of leads on social media. Your ROI isn’t going to be that high—unless you focus on a few key platforms where your audience is already hanging out.
Blogging Lead Generation Strategies
Blogging is at the core of content marketing, which is a strategy that focuses on creating content that is interesting or valuable to your defined audience with the goal of attracting and sustaining online engagement for leads down the road.
A lot has been said about the benefits of business blogging. Let’s reiterate the major advantages that apply to the B2B market:
- Drive traffic to your website. With the right SEO planning and editorial calendar, your blog gives you search presence, linking you to keywords being searched for by your prospects. Every blog post you write is one additional indexed page to get your content on Google.
- Convert traffic to leads. A well-placed CTA in a compelling blog post can direct prospects to your landing page for leads.
- Repeat business. A blog can delight existing customers with fresh content for repeat business or referrals.
How efficient is blogging for B2B?
As part of content marketing, blogging has its advantages. Here are three essential ones you should know:
- Content marketing generates 3x more leads vs. traditional marketing (DemandMetric).
- Businesses using content marketing experience 6x higher conversion rates vs. non-adopters (Aberdeen).
- Custom content influences 61% of consumers (Dragon Search Marketing).
Blogging also establishes niche authority and places prospects within your sphere of influence. We don’t need to go far — just search “inbound marketing” or its derivatives and you’ll come across HubSpot consistently.
How effective is blogging in the long run? At HubSpot, about 90% of the leads their marketing team generates each month come from blog posts that were published in many months or sometimes years ago.
Which content types drive lead generation?
The content types listed below are most effective when they align with your marketing goals. In short, the hard work is still on you — you have to develop topics that are lead magnets to your audience.
- Authoritative posts: Topics you’re an expert in.
- Solid opinion pieces: Insights backed by data.
- Original research: Commissioned for industry consumption.
- How-tos: Tips, tutorials that address prospects’ problems.
- Trending content: Piggybacks on popular topics relevant to your business.
- Infographics: Information turned into digestible visual bits for easy consumption.
- Videos: Did you know 72% of prospects prefer to watch a video than read to learn about a product? (State of Video Marketing Survey, Wyzowl 2017).
Social Media Marketing Strategies
Social media is now a critical component of B2B marketing. It often doesn’t cost much for paid ads compared to traditional advertising costs, but offers broad mileage. However, unlike B2C where social media is among the most effective digital marketing channels, it’s more complicated in the B2B market.
LinkedIn loves B2B leads.
LinkedIn is typically the most effective platform in the B2B world. Studies show that LinkedIn brings about 80% of B2B social leads, and 46% of social media traffic to a B2B site comes from LinkedIn. That’s because B2B clients look at an average of 10 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. These professionals are often looking to LinkedIn for professional, news-worthy content, which is where your business can step in to make an impression.
LinkedIn can help you target and attract new leads by providing info about your business, leading them to your blog, or directing them to your landing pages.
What are some ways you can grab leads on LinkedIn?
- Fill out your company profile comprehensively. This is where people will learn more about your brand.
- Post content. You can link to your company blog or post directly on the platform. Create a mixture of content, from infographics and visuals to blogs and news reports.
- Join relevant LinkedIn Groups. A lot of marketers and businesspeople used LinkedIn Groups to share content, connect, and network.
- Connect one-on-one through InMail. Be friendly, and point out specific parts of a prospect’s page or business that interests you. Don’t start by selling. Build the relationship first.
- Use this free landing page download to seamlessly connect with your clients.
Facebook feeds B2B leads.
Facebook is also popular for some B2B industries. Facebook Lead Ads are designed specifically for lead generation, so they’re easy to use and measure. We especially love Facebook Lead Ads because they bring high amounts of traffic to your site’s landing pages, so you can quickly and effectively capture leads.
Like LinkedIn, Facebook works best if you’re consistently posting high-quality content and interacting with your Facebook followers. This helps build trust and loyalty between brand and client. If you have a large fan base on Facebook, your targeted paid ads are more likely to see success and a higher return.
Check out these Facebook landing page ad essentials for more tips on Facebook lead generation. Create an incentive for referrals. Offer a discount or a high-quality downloadable to encourage customers to spend the time and energy making the referral. If you offer them more value, you’ll build an even deeper relationship with your current customers.
Use personalized email marketing to reach out to your current customers for referrals. Learn how to use a referral email marketing campaign here.
If a lead says “no” to you, politely thank them for their time—and ask for a referral. Even if they’re not interested, they might have a partner that could be. Don’t be afraid to ask.
The digital sphere is a great way to ask for referrals because you can incentivize with content and you can follow up with digital methods, like email and social media. Some businesses also find it less intimidating to ask for referrals (or to refer others) via digital marketing methods. But don’t fall behind the digital mask. Put yourself out there and your business will be rewarded tenfold! It’s time to grow the party.
PPC Lead Generation Strategies
Pay-per-click (PPC) lead generation campaigns focus on a wide range of paid advertising platforms — the most popular being Google AdWords and Display Network. However, you’ll find a wide range of PPC lead generation options outside of Google, including:
- B2B review directories or comparison sites
- Trade media display ads
- Social media advertising
- Affiliate marketing
What is the conversion rate in PPC lead generation?
The general consensus for Adwords conversion rate is 2.70%, and Display conversion is averaged at 0.89%. But the rates vary depending on your industry. It’s important to know your industry benchmarks. A good starting point is to ask the PPC vendor of their average conversion ratio across the board. This lets you evaluate your campaign results better.
Should PPC replace organic marketing? No — they complement each other. For instance, many high-value keyword searches have only PPC ads above the fold like this:
In other words, even if you have good organic ranking, it may be buried under PPC ads. Google researchers ran statistical models on their SERPs to find out if paid search eats up organic traffic. The result showed 89% of traffic generated by paid ads isn’t replaced by organic.
The more leads you generate, the more clients on your list, and the more sales you can make. Your volume of leads has a direct, proportional impact on your revenue. So lead generation is essential to success.
However, B2B marketing is unique in that you’re advertising to businesses through their people as opposed to direct to consumer. This can make the process feel a little more complicated and overwhelming.
But not if you think of B2B lead generation as a party! If you want to host a successful party, you should:
- Email the invites with a personalized, friendly message.
- Make the party open to enter, but include an exclusive speakeasy room to pique interest.
- Not attempt to see everyone, but instead, focus on a few key guests or social platforms.
- Invite your friends’ friends to get the party going.