December 31, 2018

12 Cost-Effective B2B Lead Generation Ideas

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You’ve been using the same B2B lead generation ideas for years. Now that 2019 is almost here, it’s time to switch up how you draw in prospects, take them through the buyer’s journey and convince them to make a purchase.

B2B lead generation can be highly profitable and well worth your time and investment. According to HubSpot, inbound leads cost 61 percent less than outbound leads. Rather than spending money on expensive PPC, SEM and website advertisements, B2B companies can use inbound methods for finding and securing new customers in a more cost-effective way.

If you’re not sure which B2B lead generation tactics to try, here are 12 ideas to consider.

1. Email marketing automation

Right now, more than 51 percent of businesses use email marketing automation, and 58 percent of B2B companies will adopt it soon. Email marketing automation is just what it sounds like — targeted emails are automatically triggered and sent to a lead or customer when they take a specific action. For example, if a lead downloads an e-book, they’re automatically placed into the buyer’s funnel and sent additional information about products and services a B2B company provides.

Today, 80 percent of brands automatically send welcome emails to new list subscribers, so it’s critical that you utilize this tactic to stay competitive and save time for your marketing and sales teams. Hiring an email marketing agency is also a great cost-effective solution, as they will design and schedule emails to be posted for you, some even do A/B testing and use other strategies to increase open rates and click-through rates.

2. Blogs that answer your audience’s questions

Blogs should be an important part of your B2B lead generation tactics. One-third of B2B companies have blogs, and U.S. internet users spend 33 percent more time on blogs than they do on their emails. Instead of creating blogs on random topics, write blogs that answer your audience’s burning questions. What topics do your leads and customers constantly bring up with your salespeople? What questions do they ask via email and social media? Is there an answer that’s too in-depth and involved to fit onto a FAQ page? Create blog posts around those topics and you’ll draw in more leads.

3. Optimize your website for mobile

Mobile has officially taken over. According to BCG, 80 percent of B2B buyers use mobile while at work and more than 60 percent said that mobile played a crucial role in a recent purchase. Plus, more than 90 percent of B2B buyers who had a superior mobile experience say that they are likely to make a repeat purchase from that same vendor.

How do you optimize for mobile for your B2B lead generation? Start with your website. Make sure it’s mobile responsive, which means it automatically adjusts to mobile settings, your text is large enough to read and your buttons are big enough, your menu is simple to navigate and you’re not using big pictures or Flash. Another tip? If you’re going to insert videos, take them from your YouTube channel code. YouTube’s embed code is inherently responsive.

4. Write guest blog posts

When done right, guest blogging is one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies. That’s because guest blogging is a good SEO tactic, as long as you’re getting on credible websites that have authority, high search rankings, a healthy amount of website visitors and an audience that is relevant to the product or service you’re selling. SEO professionals often use guest-blogging for increasing domain authority, which will help a website to be shown for targeted keywords.  

To find a blog to pitch your guest post to, go to Google and type in a keyword related to your company, i.e. “B2B software.” Then type in phrases like “+ write for us” or “+ guest blog” or “+ guest contributor.” Do some research on the website. Check out its domain authority, social media accounts, what influencers write for it, how many comments they generate, etc. Make sure you follow their guidelines — for instance, some may want a fully written submission, while others simply ask for a one-line pitch — and send a well-written, in-depth blog post with novel information and ideas, or a compelling pitch that hasn’t been covered on the site.

When your post goes up, promote it on your social media pages to foster a great relationship with the organization and hopefully write more in the future.

5. Add live chat/chatbots to your website

A lead visits your website and has a question he needs answered immediately. He is a busy B2B buyer and doesn’t have time to search through your FAQ page, download an e-book or wait for an email response. Before he leaves your site, the question pops up: “Do you need help with anything?” If it’s during regular business hours, someone is there to help. If he’s working late at the office and no one is there, a chatbot can answer questions for him.

Live chat and chatbots will continue to grow in 2019 and beyond. After all, more than 50 percent of consumers would prefer to message with someone online and in real-time instead of calling a customer support phone number. In addition, 42 percent of consumers prefer live chat over email, social media and forums. To ensure you’re not losing out on any customers, install a chatbot into your live chat software when you’re not around. Gartner predicts that by 2021, more than half of enterprises will spend more each year on chatbot creation and bots than on traditional mobile app development. Why? It saves time and money, and lets salespeople focus on higher-level work and overall strategy.

6. Become active on LinkedIn

If you’re going to spend time on any social media platform, use LinkedIn. It’s the leading social media site for B2B lead generation, beating out Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. In addition, B2B marketers use LinkedIn more than any other social media site for distributing content.

To get the most out of LinkedIn, make sure your profile is completely filled out. Write an engaging summary of what your company does, keywords that make your page easily searchable, reviews and testimonials from past customers and impressive news and information about your company.

Next, write B2B lead generation blog posts specifically for LinkedIn. Don’t just copy and paste from your company blog. Write about issues that come up in your industry, but make sure that they haven’t been covered before. If they have, go more in-depth on them or take a fresh approach to the topic. Insert relevant visuals like pictures, graphs and infographics into your posts, and use videos if necessary.

If you can get an influencer to write a post, that’s even better. Tag him or her in the post as soon as it goes live so the influencer can share it with his or her large audience. Also, create a group related to your industry and lead it. Start conversations, update it with great content on a regular basis and tell people in your field about it.

7. Write a white paper

Are you passionate about a certain topic that requires more than a 1,000-word blog post? Do you want to create a piece of content that will help with B2B lead generation as well as establish your authority in your niche? Do you want to capture important information about leads like their email, phone number, where they work, company size and how much they spend on B2B products and services per year? Then write a white paper.

An ImpactBND study revealed that 80 percent of users would give their email in exchange for a white paper or an e-book. In addition, according to Demand Gen, white papers are the primary type of content used by B2B buyers to make decisions. If you want to target your audience and deliver on the goods, write a white paper that covers an industry topic extensively.

Bring in original or secondhand research, expert sources and infographics. Use a formal tone, since these are more proper than e-books and blog posts, create a compelling title, match the design of it to that of your brand and organize it with a table of contents and subheadings. When it’s ready to be published, create a PDF version, make that PDF mobile responsive and gate it behind a form that leads need to fill out with the critical information that is important to you.

8. Produce a webinar

Webinars are another effective B2B lead generation strategy. These days, when people are pressed for time, they might prefer to tune into a webinar rather than read many pages of dense text. Some best practices for webinars include keeping them between 30 and 40 minutes long, hosting them in the morning, since people are most likely to watch ones that start at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., hosting Q&As at the end of them to answer viewers’ questions and recording your webinars to send out to those who couldn’t attend. Further, you could repurpose your webinar into blog posts and emails. Make sure you collect people’s email addresses and company information when they sign up for your webinar, and keep in touch with them after it’s over.

9. Host (and attend) live events

Not all B2B lead generation has to be done online. You can take it offline and increase your reach as well as personalize your interactions through live events. Usually, B2B CMOs will put 24 percent of their budgets toward live events. These include conferences, happy hours, lunch and learns and roundtables. Set up a booth at a conference in your industry and have your most personable sales people get in valuable face time with leads and clients. If you’re hosting an event, make sure you’re teaching an interesting topic and bringing in influencers from your industry to speak and/or chat with you at a roundtable. Use sign-up forms to collect people’s information and send follow-up surveys to attendees to see what they enjoyed and what you could improve upon the next time around.

10. Create a SlideShare presentation

SlideShare is where B2B marketing agencies and marketers go to create online presentations. You can create one out of an entirely new idea or use a repurposed blog post, white paper or e-book. SlideShare is the largest professional content sharing community online, with 3 billion slide views and 60 million visitors per month. To be successful on SlideShare, present a simple topic that can be explained in 14 slides or less. Tell an engaging story and draw your viewers in at the first slide with a surprising statistic or an interesting anecdote. Follow it up with great supporting visuals, on-brand colors, fonts and design and information that ties into your title. By the last slide, your viewers should feel like you properly explained the topic. Be sure to include your website and contact information so they can get in touch to learn more about what you have to offer.

11. Get reviews

Garnering online reviews is easy and pays off because people will trust you if you have valuable testimonials on your website. After a successful interaction with a client, send them a link so they can fill out a quick form for a review, and also direct them to any websites where they can leave reviews for you. Call them up and ask if you can get a quote from them. See if you can display their company logo on your website, where people can easily view them (and be impressed). Include reviews in your email sales sequences, e-books, white papers and catalogs. When an important client sings your praises, it’s much more meaningful than when you say it yourself.

12. Ask for referrals

According to a recent Bop Design survey, the top lead generation source is word of mouth/referrals. In addition, one study found that 83 percent of satisfied customers are willing to recommend you. When talking with your satisfied clients, ask them if they could refer you to people they think would be interested in your products and services. Send them literature that they can easily forward to their interested peers and colleagues, and consider sweetening the deal with a referral fee in the form of a discount on your product or service.

Are you excited to start using these 12 B2B lead generation tactics? Now is the time to freshen up your B2B strategies so you can hit the ground running.

Request your FREE 30-minute marketing assessment today!

Kylie Ora Lobell

Kylie Ora Lobell is a magazine editor and marketing coordinator for madison/miles media. She has written for a number of marketing blogs, including Convince and Convert, CMO and Marketo.