The art of B2B lead generation


So I did a presentation at Figaro Digital’s B2B marketing event at the beginning of November entitled, “The art of B2B lead generation”. It’s an area of digital marketing that I, personally, think has a lot fluff surrounding it — have a search online and you’ll find plenty of stats and graphs scattered across the web on how to do it. There’s a lot of noise. As such, I wanted to expand on my presentation a little, to really get into the meat of what B2B marketers need to to be thinking about.

Goals, goals, goals

What are your goals? Organic ranking improvements? Doing some mobile advertising? Creating an amazing email campaign? Actually these aren’t goals — they’re tactics. A goal is a broader business aim such as delivering more new customers, sales, leads, or even brand awareness.

So, for example, if you want to try to attract new customers then you may well be thinking about lead generation tactics, and how that plays into a wider part of your digital marketing strategy. Within this, of course, you should also pay mind to content. How you sell your products and services on your site, as well as having calls to actions in the right places to encourage people to enter their details are really worth taking the time to invest in.

And herein lies another key element to ensure that people do perform the action you want them to. That is, understanding who your audience is, and figuring out how to engage and communicate with them.

Who are your audiences?

I can’t stress enough the importance of understanding who you need to be talking to in digital; especially when it comes to B2B marketing. Very loosely, we’re speaking to decision makers: we’re a business, talking and selling to other businesses. Compared to B2C marketing, where you could be speaking to a multitude of different demographics, with a B2B sell, you’re addressing niche, focused audiences. So you need to be bang on the money with your knowledge and expertise, otherwise you won’t be given the time of day.

“But how do you figure that out?” I hear you bellowing from the rooftops. Well, you need to research…a lot. Audience research forms an integral component of Curated’s content strategies, and informs our process called Gap Analysis. We research themes within a given space, and work out, through keyword research and analysis, the search intent within that. After all, before you know what to write an article on, you need to know what people are asking about that topic first. You can have more of a read on that here.

Similar to working out what your goal is, your audience research will influence an overall B2B marketing campaign. It’ll help where you’ll focus your digital PR efforts, for example, as well the tone of voice you use for all content produced as you’ll discover what language the audience responds to. As such, it’s incredibly important.

B2B targeting options

So this is a really interesting area to think about: where are the decision makers? This is another positive from undertaking thorough audience research. Through the B2B work we’ve done, we found that targeting by job title on platforms such as LinkedIn, you can specifically reach decision makers; those who actually have a need for your content and are engaging with it. Similarly, LinkedIn also allows you to target via groups too. So, if you’ve created content that, for example, talks about corporate project management, you can promote it within conversations where project managers are talking about project management to other project managers. And right there you’ve pushed content to a super-engaged audience — easy as that really.

Now, the downside to LinkedIn is that it’s expensive. So, are there any alternatives? Well, yes actually: Facebook. Surprised? Again, through our work on various B2B focused campaigns for our clients, we’ve discovered that these same decision makers are on Facebook, and they are consuming a lot of content too — whether it’s watching videos, reading articles, or clicking on ads.

These decision makers are gobbling it all up, so it really is worth looking into further. Oh, and another thing, Facebook is a lot cheaper than LinkedIn.

Maximising conversion potential

Lead generation can be a tricky beast if you haven’t got the right tools and team beside you. One of our core brand values at Curated is multi-channel integration. Instead of digital channels such as content, social, PR, and PPC working in silo, we unify them and come up with a strategy where channels complement each other and work towards achieving a common goal.

So, you’ve got onsite content being produced, you’ve got digital PR placing offsite content and building you as an authority, you’ve got the social team promoting the content over multiple platforms, and you’ve got PPC pushing related products and services. By sharing this data and content across multiple channels and campaigns, you’ve got much more of a chance of your products and services being seen — and purchased. It’s as simple as that. And with the excellent audience research you will undoubtedly have done after reading this, it’ll all be super relevant as well.

Can you see the picture forming here? Everything should seamlessly link together in all aspects of digital marketing — now you just need to know how to see what’s working to help you optimise. Which brings us neatly on to…

Tracking

If you don’t do anything else, track your digital marketing campaigns. You will learn so much about who’s engaging with you, and also whether or not you can reuse the data that you collect. It doesn’t matter whether it’s how many email sign ups you get, how many people like your article, or how many PDF downloads you get, track everything. By learning where you can redeploy your content, such as pushing out a successful blog post over native advertising, you’ll be able to continually build profiles of audiences who you know are likely to engage with what you’re doing.

What’s more, tracking allows you to tinker with your strategies. If something clearly isn’t working, and you can see it’s not working — such as no one has watched the video that took you 5 painstaking hours to make — then you can change it up. By tracking the tangible actions your audience makes, no matter how small, it will help inform your digital marketing strategies going forward.

If you like what you read and want some help or advice with lead generation, then feel free to get in touch for a chat!

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