Despite what many business owners would like to believe, there’s no secret formula for generating B2B leads on demand. You can be sure that if someone’s trying to sell you a full-proof blueprint for attracting endless leads for your business, they’re probably not being completely honest.
But that doesn’t mean that B2B lead generation has to be a constant struggle, either.
There are proven techniques that can help you attract more leads than you can handle – in fact, many businesses have lead-gen systems that are working on complete autopilot every single day.
But they don’t use a cookie-cutter approach to make the system work – each business is unique, has their own target audience, and their own goals, so they need to develop a sound strategy that’s right just for them.
B2B marketing is not an exact science – it requires constant tweaking and adjusting, but that just means that those that are willing to put in the work always come out on top. So, your best bet is to create a B2B marketing plan that establishes clear goals that your business needs to achieve and sets out steps to accomplish them.
But what specific B2B lead-gen techniques should you include in your plan?
Well, although there are countless ways to attract new leads, some approaches have been proven to be the most effective and the most resilient to changing consumer habits.
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing is by no means a new approach when it comes to growing your business online – it’s been implemented by companies across different industries for decades now.
But even though it may be an old approach, the reason it’s still so popular is that it works just as well as ever, if executed properly.
Even though user habits change all the time, everyone still uses email and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This is especially true in the B2B world, where email remains the most reliable and efficient way to communicate between businesses and coworkers.
But to achieve consistent success using email marketing, you need to be very specific about how you approach it.
B2B customers are much more sophisticated and aren’t easily swayed by emotion-based messages, so you will need to take the time to develop emails that are clear, to the point, and provide a ton of value.
But before you send out your first email, you will need to figure out a way of building an email subscriber list – without a list of prospective customers, it won’t even matter how well-crafted and engaging your emails are because they won’t reach the audience that they were meant for.
In order for your email marketing strategy to work, you’ll need to map out a funnel for attracting targeted leads, presenting the right kind of offer for them to join your list, and setting clear expectations about what they should expect as subscribers to ensure that your emails don’t end up being an intrusion to their inbox.
Because email marketing can be tricky and needs to be executed with care and precision to be effective, many B2B companies are hesitant to use it. In fact, 59% of B2B businesses didn’t send a single email in a 90-day test period that was observed.
But when done right, email marketing can not only become your most powerful lead generation strategy but also allow you to nurture those leads and guide them towards making a buying decision.
2. Automation for Email Marketing
As we discussed in the previous section, email marketing can be an incredibly powerful strategy for attracting B2B leads, but many businesses are hesitant about implementing it because of the time and effort it would require to set up and execute.
And that’s a valid point – there’s a lot of manual work involved in an email marketing campaign, both at the beginning when everything needs to be set up, and at the later stages when the list becomes bigger and it needs to be segmented.
However, there are tools that can make the entire process easier to manage.
With email marketing automation, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to create and manage email marketing campaigns. Once set up, automation tools can take over a lot of the otherwise manual tasks and allow you to focus on improving your messages.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is another tried and tested B2B lead generation method that’s been around for a long time. It works especially well for B2B audiences because business-minded people are always looking for quality content to enhance their knowledge and find better ways to solve various problems their company is facing.
So, if you can provide content that’s relevant, engaging and contains top-quality information, it can allow you to reach a wide audience that will be eager to listen to what you have to say.
What’s more, since B2B buyers are much more informed and resistant to hyped-up claims, you need to provide strong arguments and proof in your messages, or you won’t earn their trust. And with content, you can allow yourself to present your argument and showcase examples, case studies, success stories, and any other relevant information that backs up everything you have to say.
By answering the most pressing questions in your field, you’re also positioning yourself as an authority and gaining an advantage over the competition; defining the problems of your audience better than everyone else creates the appearance that you must know the answers to those issues as well.
There are hundreds of examples of B2B companies who have built their entire business on providing top-tier content in their market and allowing customers to come to them for answers and solutions.
4. Popular Types of Content for B2B Lead Generation
We briefly talked about how to include proof elements in your content, but what exact types of content should you use to achieve the best results?
Well, here are three forms of content that work particularly well for B2B audiences as a tool for lead generation.
Case studies are one of the most valuable pieces of content that you can produce, and for good reason. They showcase a real case, telling a story of how you were able to achieve a specific result by taking specific steps.
B2B customers absolutely love this kind of information because it’s actionable and doesn’t have any empty claims – everything is backed up by a real situation, so if they can relate to the circumstances of your case study, they will believe that you can achieve the same result for their company as well.
Case studies can also help you grow your email list – you can offer one of your better case studies as a free giveaway in exchange for a subscriber’s email address and permission to send them emails in the future.
Infographics, while not as valuable as case studies, are still a great option, especially if you don’t yet have a case study. They provide useful insights and are presented in a format that’s easy to digest quickly, so if you can create an infographic that offers real value, it can give a big boost to your lead-gen efforts.
Finally, you can always go with a more traditional approach and publish content on your blog. This method works well because it provides continuity, as you can post regularly and keep readers coming back for more.
The important thing to remember with blogging is that you shouldn’t publish articles without measuring results. Always strive to improve your metrics – try refreshing old content that’s under-performing by injecting new information or expanding on the subject.
5. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing may be more popular in the B2C world, but it can actually be just as powerful for B2B when it’s used correctly.
Effective use of social media can allow B2B businesses to quickly break through barriers and reach the decision makers at the companies that they want to work with. In fact, 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers use social media for purchasing, and 75% of B2B buyers consult social media when making buying decisions.
That’s why, social media marketing should serve both as a direct lead generation method and as a complementary strategy to your other approaches.
But how exactly can you use social media for lead-gen?
Well, social media is all about interactions between people, so your primary goal should be to insert your business into the conversations that your audience is already having on various social media platforms.
If you can build a loyal social media following that wants to engage with your brand and trusts what you have to say, it will be much easier to spread your message. And if you can display social media reviews, they will serve as powerful social proof that can help convert many on-the-fence leads into customers.
Using social media can be very useful using free engagement options and posting relevant content, but you should also use paid lead generation tools because social media has enormous potential for reaching hyper-targeted leads that are the perfect fit for your business.
And don’t just limit yourself to Facebook Ads – you can also use the paid services of other platforms, namely LinkedIn Ads, because that’s where B2B users are very likely to be present.
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.