People typically know what they want by the time you hear from them. Modern consumers educate themselves about a product/service prior to beginning the purchasing process. That means that the way we do business has shifted from a pushy sales approach to mentoring with thought leadership. Even still, a comprehensive B2B lead generation program needs outbound elements to spark real growth. Sometimes our consumers don’t know that they need our help.
When we set out to develop a comprehensive B2B lead generation strategy we must always take the following factors into consideration:
- Now: Any B2B lead generation program that needs to generate leads right now.
- Long-term: Any type of strategy that requires a plan in place to execute.
- Intent: People who show they need your service, either through clicking or searching.
- Repetition: The psychology of selling by reaching a buyer at multiple touch points, across a variety of channels.
These tenets form the foundation of modern lead generation and the cycle of continual efforts.
In addition to the ways in which we gauge lead generation programs, there is also a process to loosely follow. It begins with your messaging and demonstrating to an audience that you’re well-versed in your industry.
This first step entails producing as many types of content as possible to appeal to as many people as you can. This should also be done in multiple channels. There are a variety of types of content you can utilize to get your message across. It just depends on what users want to consume. Engaging content can include (but is never limited to):
- Email campaigns
- Landing pages
- Case studies
- Interactive content
Whatever medium you feel people respond to best, should be your number one. Don’t limit yourself. Test the waters and use these types of content together for superior messaging opportunities.
It should be duly noted that, as a whole, video performs better than any other type of content combined. In fact, 51% of marketing professionals named video as the type of media with the best return on investment. Additionally, marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t use it. It seems, no matter the channel or audience, video tends to speak to the attention span of internet users all around. It’s the perfect format for modern digital marketing.
Content should always be displayed on a responsive site in order to reach the largest amount of people. There are huge slices of society that perform most of their daily tasks on a mobile device. Without displaying your content on a responsive website, your messaging would miss all these people.
Once you have your content aligned, you should start thinking about where your audience resides and the best vehicles to carry your message across. 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel for revenue generation.
Email outreach is one of the most powerful tactics you can implement if you don’t have a large presence currently. The key is to be very specific in the people you are reaching out to. The message you are sending should be very relevant to them, individually. Once you’ve dialed in your audience and messaging, you can automate the entire process. When done properly, you can expect new conversations with your prospects every day!
Other people prefer social media to reach out. There is no rule that says you can’t test everything until you find what works best. LinkedIn is a great avenue for networking because it provides you with a lot of important demographics, like:
- Job title
One key tip is to never buy lists for cold reach out. Many times, this data is corrupt, and you could spend more time sorting it out, than making any contacts at all.
Organic Social Media
You don’t have to be the master of engagement, but think of how it looks to have no social footprint at all? You would be way behind the times, and frankly, people might not even know you exist. It’s like not having a sign on the storefront of your business.
All content you create should always be pushed through your social channels. If you are too busy to so this, a robot would be happy to assist. Social media management software like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Later all help busy brands stay on top of their social media game.
These programs allow you the schedule your posts out for a week/month (even year). It will then automate the rest. It’s a “set it and forget it” type of system that some marketers will tell you they can’t live without!
If you only choose one social channel, make it Facebook. It’s the number one social media platform in the world. LinkedIn is always a superb spot for business. In fact, the site has over 61 million users that are senior level influencers and 40 million in decision-making positions.
The final step in your lead generation program for 2019 is paid advertising. Once you have streamlined your process, put a little money behind it. This is no time to get crazy with a budget (unless you are positive a method will work). Rather, this is about small assessments to see where your audience lives and what they want to see.
Use Google Ads to reach people searching for your products or services directly. Only focus on keywords that someone would search when they are seriously considering a purchase. Make sure you utilize Google’s custom audiences to get in front of people that are already showing interest in your competitors or similar products or services.
Use Facebook Ads to target very specific audiences that fit the demographics, interests and motivations of your best clients. This can be tricky to define so always start out by running small tests, and use video in your ads, if possible. (I know what you may be thinking, but, yes, your clients ARE on Facebook.)
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It may be that you have people segmented into niche groups where your product/service appeals to different needs. This is where you can run a few smaller campaigns to test the waters. When spending budget on ads, you should be focusing on the people who show the highest intent.
This is where programs like Google ads work perfectly. It can gauge intent through the search engine. In fact, Google owns 71% of the search market share, so it is a powerful tool. Google ads target people searching for specific stuff.
Facebook ads target audiences and people that may find your product or service relevant. The results give good insight into the individuals that are interested in your brand. It’s also the ideal spot for retargeting. No matter where someone catches a glimpse of your business, because of the popularity, you can rest assured you will see them again on Facebook.
Once you have successfully developed great content and optimized your lead generation program, you should move on to automating repetitive tasks. Note, we said AFTER you have the other pieces in place!
Lots of people we speak to have set out to automate their marketing and sales efforts from the start, and after they ran into problems, they never actually got around to doing any marketing or sales. This analysis by paralysis scenario can be prevented if you approach automation with the mindset that you are trying to improve human interactions vs. replace them completely.
For instance, you should use automated meeting schedule software tools like ScheduleOnce or Calendly because they are more convenient for everyone, and you typically will send someone the link after they have had some type of interaction with you.
Automating email follow-ups and drip campaigns are great for nurturing leads, but you probably won’t know what information you need to include until you’ve had several sales calls and really understand the concerns of your market. You may even completely change your drip sequence after you review the effectiveness of each email.
Overall, we recommend you use definitely use automation tools, but only add new elements when they make sense and you are sure they will provide value to your organization.
The ultimate goal of lead generation isn’t to sell. It’s to build customer relationships through experience, awareness, and trust. People do not need to be “sold.” They want to be educated. The more you treat your audience like the smart consumers they are, the quicker they will trust your brand to fill their needs.
Realize that there is a process to lead generation in 2019. Remember that testing is an important step in lead generation and when something works, stick with it. People exist in a buyer’s funnel and need to be nurtured every step of the way. The more you concentrate on being authentic and providing value-based strategies, the easier it will be to sell.