Customers are the king of any business. Finding quality prospects is one of a marketer’s biggest challenges—how do you find leads that will convert into sales? In fact, 61% of B2B marketers cite generating high-quality leads as their No. 1 challenge. (I bet that even you consumer marketers out there experience this challenge, so stick with me, as I’m sure you’ll find value here, too).
Part of the problem is that everywhere you look, someone is telling you about new-and-better ways to generate leads. But, I stress, don’t fall for every trendy new idea or lead gen hack out there. We’ve analyzed the data and have found that there are two strategies that consistently work well for generating leads: content marketing and in-person connections.
Tactic 1: Content Marketing
Content marketing has become a proven tool for consumer brands, but many marketers still hesitate, unsure if it will be effective for their business. But for the many B2B marketers that have taken the plunge, they’ve found that it’s an ideal vehicle for building relationships with B2B customers, especially with products and services with long sales cycles.
According to Forbes:
- 71% of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate leads.
- 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies.
- 60% of B2B decision-makers say content provided by companies helps them make smarter buying decisions.
Content marketing also generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing and costs 62% less. The data shows that content marketing works even for B2B brands. But, where do you start? Content that generates qualified business leads typically lives in three places: your website’s landing pages, your company blog, and your brand’s social media channels. Let’s see how
- Website Landing Pages
Don’t assume that everyone who visits your site is starting on your home page. 68% of B2B businesses use strategic landing pages to garner new sales leads. A landing page might be your first opportunity to make a good impression and draw your visitor in.
- Company Blog
Blogs are a proven resource for providing information, creating dialogue, and attaching a personality to your company. They work, too. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t, and 81% of businesses have reported their blogs as “useful” or “critical” to B2B lead generation.
- Social Media
Having a presence on social media can be another critical tool to establish your credibility and create a dialogue. In fact, 78% of small businesses now get at least a quarter of their new customers via social media, and two of the best channels for business are LinkedIn and Twitter.
Tactic 2: In-Person Connections
Clearly, content marketing is a proven way to put a face on your company by sharing information about who you are and what you do. Another way to put a “face” on your company is to get out there and meet people in-person. In study after study, marketers continue to report that some of the best leads come from in-person interactions:
- The most effective B2B lead generation tactics are inside sales, executive events, telemarketing, tradeshows, and conferences.
- The highest-quality leads come from tradeshows and events.
- Referrals are often cited as the most effective B2B lead generation tactics worldwide.
Your customers are already at tradeshows—and ready to make improvements or at least explore new solutions—so take advantage of the proximity. The graph below reveals that tradeshows have the highest quality of leads per any one channel: So, in your effort to make the most of tradeshows, be sure to take the following actions:
- Networking during the tradeshow: Focus on quality of interaction, rather than quantity.
- Speaking as part of the program: Contact show organizers early to get on the speaking panel.
- Demonstrations at the booth: Train show personnel to engage, not just display.
- Networking Events
Networking events are great places to make connections, but here’s the key: you want to fish where the fish are. If you’re a graphic designer, don’t just go to meetings with other graphic designers. Industry groups are important for best practices, but if you specialize in graphic design for real estate agents, attend real estate networking events.
- Local Small Business Association Meetings
Small Business Association meetings are fertile ground for generating leads because you’re able to meet professionals in all lines of business in one place. Local professionals are usually eager to support fellow small business owners, so it’s a great place to make connections and offer complementary services. Check into sponsoring a meeting—the expense is nominal for many local groups, you’ll have the opportunity to introduce yourself and your company, and you can follow up with a mailing or article on the organization’s website.
We marketers know that qualified leads are the fuel that keeps our company’s engine running. Going after leads both online and in-person will create a 1-2 punch lead gen strategy to keep that funnel full.