B2B lead generation is sort of a marketing taboo. Everybody has likely heard about it and at least experimented with some techniques found on the internet. It’s also likely that it hasn’t gone as planned.
People read your ad, arrive on the website, take a look around, and leave without saying a word. So, instead of trying to analyze what went wrong, you tend to move on to the next technique, hoping for better results.
Sometimes it’s not about what you do, but how you do it. In the inbound methodology, B2B lead generation is about saying the right thing, at the right time, for the right audience. If one of these three elements is missing, no technique will work.
So how do you make sure you choose the right message for each channel and push it at the optimal time to get some valuable leads? Here are five tips for using inbound marketing for B2B lead generation.
1. Set up the Proper B2B Lead Capture System
A lead capture page is a landing page ideated and optimized to gather information about possible leads. People click on your link, land on this page, and connect with you in exchange for a promise. It can be a content offer, access to premium services, demos, or any other element that convinces people to share information with you.
As a general rule, B2B lead generation can be done with forms or calls to action (CTAs). Either way, you need to focus on two essential elements:
- The form or CTA should be appealing enough to capture the attention of your audience.
- The lead capture system should target a specific public who’s more likely to convert.
Let’s see some best practices that can help you correctly set up a lead capture system.
CTAs and forms should be visible on the page without being too pushy. Meaning the primary focus should remain on the content, but without minimizing the lead capture form.
Ideally, the page visitor shouldn’t scroll down to find the CTA or form. However, many lead-capture pages have them at the bottom and still get good results. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe and guessing won’t do the trick. A/B tests can show you what your audience likes most.
A lead capture page should include relevant images. Think custom graphics, explanatory screenshots, or eye-catching photos that are related to what you’re offering in return for personal information. It’s not the right place to cut corners, so stay away from free stock photos.
2. Match Content Offers to The Right Stage of The Customer’s Journey
Let’s say you’ve just met someone and they want to give you something out of the blue. If it’s something with little value, like a pen, a candy, or a 20% discount to the grocery store, you’ll take it. But what happens when they give you something of too much value? You take a step back and start wondering what’s going on.
It’s the same with content offers. As part of your B2B lead generation strategy, you may feel tempted to offer too much to get what you need. For someone who has just landed on your website, receiving a super valuable white paper on the spot might be a red flag. They might back off. Moreover, even if they filled in the form and downloaded the document, there’s still a high chance they wouldn’t read it or understand the subject.
In the buyer’s journey, you hold the clients’ hands as they get to know you through your content. From the awareness stage to making a buying decision, they take one step at a time encouraged by content that speaks their language.
If you start with case studies before even explaining what you do, no one will understand a word. Every content offer on your landing pages should be adequate for the stage in which your prospect is found — first, an ebook or infographic, later “heavier” pieces that require a certain familiarity with your brand.
3. Drive Traffic to Pages Through Proper Promotion
Captain obvious here: the most compelling copy and CTAs won’t bring you a single lead if no one gets to your landing page. As with any other type of content, the key to obtaining a good return on your effort is promotion, promotion, promotion.
66% of B2B content marketers use paid methods to distribute content and expand their reach. It’s the safest, most straightforward way to ensure a consistent flow of visitors for your landing pages.
However, it doesn’t mean you can’t do organic promotion. If you’re on a budget and not ready to put your money into PPC and LinkedIn campaigns, you can still spread the word about your content.
Leveraging your website is a good starting point. For example, you can use sidebars on your blog or link internally from relevant blog posts. Another practical, free method is emails and newsletters. Alternatively, you can use forums, online communities, and open platforms to make your content known.
Social media channels make one of the best sources of traffic. They’re powerful inbound tools that can help you promote content, create a community around your brand, and generate valuable leads. Plus, they still work pretty well even when you don’t invest in ads. It just takes a little longer than with paid promotion.
4. Don’t Ask for too Much too Soon on Forms
People are reluctant when it comes to giving private information to strangers — especially when it’s gathered for commercial purposes. Also, they don’t like wasting their time answering too many questions at once.
Some other reasons that keep people from filling out forms are the fear of getting spammed or insecurity about how you handle personal information. Most motivations are strong enough to keep people out of your email list.
With every new line you add to your form, you increase the possibility the visitor presses close instead of moving forward with the registration.
As a general rule, only ask users for details that relate to your product or brand. If a website visitor feels that some data isn’t necessary, they’ll quit or give you false information. Either way, it’s not good for your B2B lead generation strategy.
5. Don’t Forget to Nurture Leads
Lead nurturing is just a fancy way to say building relationships. It’s the final step in B2B lead generation, and it’s crucial to your bottom line. It’s the stage where people who gave you an email address turn into actual leads.
Having an email address or a phone number doesn’t guarantee monetization. It’s when you open a conversation and see some engagement that you’re more likely to have a good return on your lead capturing efforts.
Lead nurturing is delivering the right content, at the right time, to the right person. It’s putting your message in a context that shows the human side of your brand. Of course, you’ll use automation to send a welcoming email or a thank you card, but that doesn’t mean the message should be impersonal.
If you manage to personalize these messages, you win more than a client. You build a relationship with a person because you build trust. That’s why you should track the path of your potential leads — how each contact has interacted with your brand. This knowledge allows you to understand how your leads act in specific situations and increases your chance to obtain a positive response to your approach.
B2B lead generation belongs to the first stage of your business relationships. It’s the moment of the first impression, and overall, it tells a lot about how you treat clients and choose to do business.
Inbound marketing techniques help you make B2B lead generation feel more natural for the folks who fill up the forms. You have something to say or offer, people who need your knowledge provide something in return, and here, you have the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The secret is to have a clear offer in place and not push it in front of people who aren’t ready for what you provide. While this is still a numbers game, you should focus on the quality of your leads rather than gathering as many email addresses as possible.