According to HubSpot, 63% of marketers see lead generation as their most pressing challenge. We think 2018 is the year we take this number and squash it.
Before you scramble to get your clobbering boots on, there’s a little preliminary work you’ll need to do first:
Analyse your efforts
First, take a good and hard look at what you’ve been doing over the past year. Delve into your data, talk to your teams and evaluate your strategies carefully. You should know your visitor, lead, MQL and sales opportunities to a T. If you find that your organic traffic is growing, ramp up your SEO strategy, but if there are other strategies that aren’t giving you any ROI, abandon them.
Know your audience
There’s no such thing as a perfect buyer persona - you’ll need to constantly update and refine as you gather more information. But we’re not all perfect, and with many things to do on a daily-basis, you can easily find that you’ve lost sight of who your audience is. The start of the year is a good time to go back to your personas and ensure that you’re targeting the right people.
There’s no point dipping in and out of various strategies, as you’ll never gain enough momentum to see results. Instead, choose specific ones that will work well for your business, concentrate your efforts and execute them with full force.
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what you need to do do generate more leads in 2018:
1. Get to the first page of Google
It’s undeniable that organic traffic brings in your most valuable customers. But, if you’re on the 14th page of Google (what kind of maniac even clicks on the second page of Google?), you can bet that prospects will probably never land on your website...even if content writer chloe spent 7 hours on your e-book and she thinks it’s the best damn thing they’ll ever read.
Okay, we know - getting to the first page of Google is really quite difficult, and it’s only getting harder and harder as more of the world goes online and there’s more content to compete with. So, how do you do it?
For one, you need a stellar keyword strategy. Take the time to assess which keywords you’re currently ranking well for and which ones may need a little more of a push. Whatever you do, make sure you have keywords promoting each of your campaigns.
There are helpful tools out there, such as the HubSpot keywords tool, that continuously track your keywords to tell you how your rank has increased or decreased over time, allowing you to pinpoint the strategies that have been working best.
The tool also suggests possible keywords for you and even goes into as much detail as to tell you how difficult improving your rank for certain ones will be. You can then write blog posts around a particular keyword and watch your pages climb higher in Google’s search results.
And, as always, make sure to follow best practices when it comes to meta-descriptions, urls and link-building.
2. Cast your net cleverly
Every single person that visits your website needs to be treated like gold dust. This means you have to create a digital experience that is compelling, engaging, and ultimately offers so much potential benefit to them that they’ll want to part with their contact details.
When a prospect clicks on your landing page, this may be your one opportunity to convert them into a lead. A mistake that many B2B marketers make is in their lead capture forms - they’re either too long or ask completely the wrong questions.
For example, imagine if you’re a junior marketer looking for a blog about general marketing and the form hits you with a question about your paid search strategy or conducting A/B testing - it’s likely that you’ll abandon the page at this point.
As such, a careful balance needs to be struck with forms; you don’t want to assume too much, but equally you want to create enough personalisation that the person filling it in thinks “yes, this really is going to be useful for me”.
Tips for perfect lead capture forms:
Solution focused - remember that the prospect is on your website because they have a problem and you need to convey that you want to genuinely solve it for them. The sooner you do this, the more likely they are to become a lead.
Use logical conditioning - for example, you could ask “what is your experience level” and only have a follow-up question about specific marketing strategies if they answer with “senior or more”.
Be smart - don’t ask for their phone number if all you’re offering them is an infographic. The details that you ask for has to be proportional to the value of what you’re providing.
When it comes to landing pages, keep them simple, concise and clear. Remember that your copy is trying to achieve two things: entice your prospects but also filter through the people that aren’t quite the right fit for your business.
Don’t gate all of your content either - only the most valuable which offers them something in exchange for their details, and definitely don’t ever gate your company information.
3. Publish more often
Content marketing should undeniably and unequivocally be one of your lead generation strategies in the new year. Companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month generate 4.5 times as many leads as those who publish only 0-4 monthly posts, according to research by HubSpot.
Buyers will continue to search for solutions to their problem and high value content is the thing that will not only get them to your website, but also keep them there. Publishing quality content gives you the opportunity to show off your knowledge and establish your organisation as trusted thought leaders in your industry - highly beneficial in the B2B arena.
One of the most impactful posts you can create are compounding posts. These bring in more and more traffic day by day:
Compounding posts are powerful because they generate more attraction over time, as opposed to other posts that generally peak when they’re first published, and then begin to decay.
Over its lifetime, a single compounding posts generates as much traffic as six decaying posts and they account for 38% of overall traffic. (HubSpot, 2016)
It’s not always clear whether a post is going to start generating more traffic over time and it often depends on the industry and audience you’re writing to. However, there are a set of characteristics that a lot of compounding posts share:
Cover a broad topic, rather than a narrow focus.
Not based on topical or upcoming events.
Easy to scan and not overly complex.
Titled with common search phrases, that often start with “how”, “what”, or “why”.
Provide a definitive answer to something or help the reader accomplish something specific.
Overall, content marketing must not be overlooked. If you find that you need to carry out some restructuring within your business to give your staff the resources and time to spend on creating quality and high quality content, you shouldn’t think twice about doing it.
Download our free guide to discover, and learn about, the proven lead generation methodology of the digital era >
4. Use paid search for remarketing
One of the best ways to generate leads and move people further down the buying funnel is through paid search. Almost 65% of people who are looking to buy online click on an ad on Google, according to Wordstream.
If someone visits your website for the first time, it’s very rare that they’ll become a viable lead immediately. In fact, they’ll return 7 or 8 times before they are ready to even request any further information or fill in a form on your website, as stated by Salesforce.
This is why remarketing for B2B customers is so important, as it puts your brand in front of them again and again. For example, if a prospect reads one of your blog posts and a few hours later sees an ad on Facebook that reminds them of your product or service, they’re much more likely to convert.
5. Raise your social media game
Traditionally thought of as a B2C channel, many B2B organisations overlook social media for lead generation because of connotations that it’s not corporate enough, or that prospects won’t be on there. The truth is, your customers (even if they’re buying software for vacuum cleaners) are human, and they want to be engaged and entertained just as much as any other B2C consumer.
Social sharing enhances reputation and increases brand authenticity because it’s such a personal way of communicating with your audience. If you get it right, you could see a significant improvement in lead generation. According to the Social Media Examiner, 66% of marketers who spent as little as six hours per week see lead generation benefits with social media.
Social media will work in tandem with your entire B2B lead generation strategy. It will allow you to enhance your understanding of your buyer personas, as you’ll be able to gauge the kind of things they’re most interested by their online activities; in turn allowing you to create content that speaks to them directly.
One of the best social platforms for B2B lead generation is LinkedIn. There are thousands of industry specific groups on there that will be filled with the exact people that you want to sell to. You can begin using it within an hour; set up your company page, join relevant groups and start sharing.
6. Automate your emails
Email will be quarter of a century old in 2018. It might not be new or sexy, but it is highly effective and there’s a reason it’s such a big part of B2B marketing today. In fact, 64% of marketers say that email is their most effective lead generation channel, as stated by B2B magazine.
If you’re looking for a sure way to rank up your email marketing effort and increase B2B leads in 2018, look to marketing automation. B2B marketers have ranked marketing automation as the number one way to generate better and more quality leads, according to Pepper Global.
With marketing automation software, you can use your CRM to send targeted emails at the right people, at exactly the right time. Not only will this reduce admin and wasted staff resources, but it’ll put your content in front of your prospects at key moments.
You can, for example, set up rules whereby if a prospect carries out a set of actions on your site such as filling in a form or clicking on your contact us page, they’ll be sent a personalized email with additional and useful information.
7. Step outside your office
Everything is so digital that we forget one of the most effective ways to engage with a prospect is actually in person. Whether you go all out and set up your own stand or you just pop in to network for an hour, offline events can the perfect place to meet potential prospects and learn about the new technology, ideas and publications happening in your industry. (Also, freebies.)
A good way to jump on potential networking opportunities, both online or online is through monitoring. Google has a nifty tool, Google Alerts, that notifies you each time there’s a mention of something you care about. You can set up an Alert for just about anything; your company, competitors or specific events.
8. Talk to your salespeople
Finally, don’t forget to communicate with the sales team. After all, these are the people who are going to be following up and talking to qualified leads - you want to make sure that your efforts are not being wasted and that your strategies are actually attracting the right kind of prospects.
In general, it’s good practice to make sure that your marketing leaders and your sales leaders have the same goals in terms of revenue. This will give everyone clarity on what to work towards, and which areas to concentrate the most on.
All eight of these recommendations are important elements in aligning your marketing to the way business people now buy. In essence: Get found by buyers when they are looking rather than interrupt them when they are not. This aproach if often referred to as inbound marketing. To find out how to make use of this technique to get found by more relevant potential buyers and to convert them into sales-ready prospects, download our free sales leaders guide to inbound marketing.