Generating leads in Business-to-business (B2B) is much similar to the famous advertising quote- “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
There are plenty of lead generation ideas out there for B2B. However, most studies have not found any single effective idea.
Note: Read our Effective Digital Marketing Tactics and Strategies Guide.
Again, what might work for one B2B may not work for the other. This inconsistency is probably why no single effective lead generation method works for B2Bs.
This blog post will therefore provide you with 8 lead generation ideas for your B2B. Using a single approach is not advisable- try to complement one method with a mix of others.
1. Optimizing your website
One of the most common methods of building an email list is through prospects filling out a form on the company’s website. Even if you do not employ this method, the company’s website will mainly determine whether prospects are interested in using your product or not.
So optimizing your website is one of the most important strategies for generating leads. If your website is not optimized, that is, there are broken sites or not mobile-friendly, you might lose a lot of qualified leads.
Here are some ideas on optimizing your website:
1.1 Discover long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are search phrases that contain 3 or more words. Although searched infrequently, these keywords are less competitive and tend to result in higher conversions.
So optimizing your website with long-tail keywords can help you build qualified leads and ultimately conversions. It will also help you rank higher in organic search than your competitors.
To find such long-tail keywords, use Google Analytics. Find the long-tail keywords that are driving traffic to your website. Then optimize your website with those keywords.
1.2 Target competitor’s keywords and backlinks
You can also aim for competitors’ keywords to optimize your website. Use keywords search tools like Ahrefs to find keywords your competitors are using to rank high in search engines.
Tools like Ahrefs or Majestic SEO can also be used to find backlinks that link to your competitors’ websites. By finding the websites providing the backlinks, you can contact those sites to provide backlinks to your company’s website.
Google ranks websites higher that have a high number of quality of backlinks.
1.3 Fix broken pages
Google’s search algorithm penalizes web pages with 404 errors, broken links, and slow site speed. In addition, these technical glitches can cause visitors to leave your website quickly.
Use Google Analytics or Screaming Frog SEO to find web pages containing technical glitches. Then fix those broken pages.
1.4 Record website visitors’ activities
What if you know which page or section of your website is grabbing the attention of your visitors? Fortunately, you can record your website visitors’ activities using Hotjar.
Hotjar’s Tracking Code allows you to record the behavior of each of your site visitors. You can then see the clicks, actions, or other steps they take when they visit your site.
Use the information collected from the recordings to position sign-up forms. This positioning can be a substitute for the irritating sign-up form that appears whenever a visitor enters your company’s website.
2. Content marketing
Content marketing generates 3 times more leads than traditional marketing. As such, content marketing should be in your idea for generating leads.
B2B customers often search for educational materials before choosing to make any purchase. You can meet this need by providing relevant information. And you can add a Call-to-Action button which will help you collect email addresses.
Content marketing can thus help you generate qualified leads. In order to stand out, here are ways you can improve your content marketing for lead generation:
2.1 Upgrading content
You have already dedicated a lot of your time, efforts, and resources to develop and promote content. Why not upgrade the same content in order to generate leads?
If you have blog posts that can be grouped together, do it. Then present it as one large in-depth guide: either as a blog post or a downloadable report. Such comprehensive content is often desired by business professionals.
You can also create sequels to your content. These sequels can help you provide more time relevant content without needing to change the original content.
Another way you can upgrade your content is by presenting it in another form. If you have a blog post, you can make it to a short video. Or if you have hosted a webinar, use the slides to make an infographic or a report.
2.2 Tapping unconventional content
Blogging is the most common of all content types. However, do not just confine your content marketing with blogs only.
Using a wide variety of content can help you attract visitors who might be interested in content other than blogs. You can create reports, white papers, or host webinars and videos.
In the next section, “Create lead magnets,” you’ll get to know about all the variety of content (both conventional and unconventional) you can use to generate leads.
2.3 Guest blog
Writing blogs for another website can help you generate traffic to your website. If any non-competing website has a target audience similar to yours, you can volunteer to write a 1000-1500 word piece guest blog.
The important thing to consider while writing a guest blog is that the audience of the host blog is interested in your product or service. If they don’t, it’s futile to write guest blogs on such sites despite their high traffic.
Another thing to consider is that blogs should not be a tool for self-promotion. Advertisements are already there for such promotions.
Use guest blogging as a way to provide information to your target audience. You can establish yourself as a thought leader or an industry expert in this way.
3. Create lead magnets
Lead magnets are content pieces that can be accessed in exchange for contact information. B2B marketers often employ this method to generate leads.
The content that you wish to offer through a lead magnet must be valuable and of premium quality. The more valuable the content is, the more it will be opened, viewed, or downloaded in exchange for giving the lead’s email address.
Lead magnets come in different formats. You might want to choose two or three of the lead magnets to generate the leads you want.
3.1 Create a microsite
Microsites are a small, independent version of your company’s website that focuses on a very specific topic. Due to their super specificity, you can target long-tail keywords for a niche audience through a microsite.
Let’s say your business is a digital marketing consultancy for startups. You can create a microsite targeting them where you provide content focusing on marketing on a budget.
When creating a microsite, ensure that the topic you are going to cover is searched heavily online. Then deliver the right kinds of content with the right call to action.
3.2 Answer questions on Quora
Quora is a question and answer site. It has become one of the most popular social media networks with more than 300 million monthly active users.
You can generate leads on Quora by answering questions related to your industry. This can help you establish your business as an industry expert.
And when you establish yourself as an industry leader, people will interact with more of your content. With the right call-to-action in place, you can thus generate leads.
However, do not use Quora to promote your goods and services. When it comes to content marketing, people are searching for information and not for buying.
3.3 Host a webinar
A webinar is a low-cost lead generation technique- you do not need any high-quality cameras and sound systems. It also allows you to generate a high number of qualified leads.
When hosting a webinar, pick a topic that will create a lot of interest among your target audience. Invite industry experts on that field of the topic to discuss the topic in the webinar.
By making the webinar an invite-only event, you can ask for the email address of an interested audience. Even if you do not do that, a call to action at the end of the webinar can help you generate leads.
3.4 Upload Videos
Video is the most preferable content type. It is more engaging and thus gives you more chances of getting leads.
Video sharing sites such as Youtube and Vimeo are some of the most popular websites out there. In fact, Youtube is the second largest search engine.
Therefore, you are going to miss out on a large number of leads if you fail to utilize videos for generating leads.
You can upload videos on Youtube and Vimeo or have a separate video section on your website.
Like any other lead magnet content, videos should be a medium for sharing valuable information with your target audience. Do not aim for sales here as well.
3.5 Create an ebook
Create an ebook on a topic your target market wants. Offer them a chance to download the ebook in exchange for their email address.
Using ebook as a lead generation tool is popular among B2B marketers. Conversion through ebooks can be high up to 10%.
3.6 Launch a podcast
Podcasts are evergreen- you can generate leads long after you publish them. As they remain online until you remove them, you can have a constant stream of leads through them.
You can upload podcasts on your own website. Uploading on your own site can help your podcasts land on top of search engine results.
Alternatively, you can launch podcasts on sites like Google Podcasts, iTunes, and SoundCloud. Sharing them on social media sites like LinkedIn is also an effective way to increase your podcast attendance.
4. Email marketing
Email marketing has stood the test of time and is still one of the most effective lead generation tools for B2B marketers.
For email marketing to work, ensure you are targeting the right audience with the right content.
4.1 Send cold emails
Sending cold emails to prospects can be quite risky. On one hand, you know there is a higher chance of people who open the mail to click the call to action button. On the other hand, for each such chance, there are 100 chances of people putting these cold emails in their spam folder.
Moreover, cold emails can be seen as annoying to a lot of people. So when using cold emails, you need to be careful about whom you send and what you send.
4.2 Send old blog posts to new prospects
If any of your old blog posts have been responded very favorably, why not send them to your new prospects? Sending such old blog posts in a bulk mail or as a newsletter can help prospects gather interest in your company.
Sending old blog posts can save both your time and efforts. And given their past success, there is a chance that new prospects will love these blogs as well.
5. Paid advertising strategies
Paid advertising strategies can be complementary to your website optimization strategies. The latter strategy leads to organic traffic but is time-consuming. On the other hand, paid advertising strategies take less time but require a budget.
There are plenty of paid advertising platforms out there. From popular platforms like Google AdWords to B2B directories and social media advertising, there is plenty of media for paid advertising.
5.1 Paid Ads on Google and social media
Placing pay-per-click (PPC) ads on the internet can help you generate a lot of leads if placed rightly. PPC ads on Google and social media sites such as Facebook can help you target ads to specific audiences.
When using PPCs, make sure that the landing page matches the expectation of your audience. The landing page may contain highly valuable content or a lead magnet.
And do not forget to place a call to action that will ask your audience for their email address.
While employing PPCs, make sure you have a sufficient advertising budget. This is because some sites like Google and LinkedIn charge a lot per click.
5.2 Media buys
This is a lead generation strategy deployed by the most established businesses. In media buys, the company buys ad space on a website.
Buying ad space on popular websites or news sites can ensure you have a lot of visibility online. However, it is expensive as well. So make sure you have the budget for buying ad spaces.
There are ad-buying companies as well whom you can approach. These companies buy a lot of ad spaces and sell them to other companies.
5.3 Affiliate marketing
In affiliate marketing, you promote your website as ads or banners on websites of others. If your target market visits these other sites often, using affiliate marketing can be a good strategy.
Here’s how it works- you provide each third party website (known as affiliates) with a custom made link. If a visitor to the affiliate site clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you provide a commission to the affiliate.
You can use affiliate marketing sites such as Commission Junction for affiliate marketing. Or you can host an affiliate marketing program on your own website.
5.4 Social media influencers
Social media influencers have a high follower base on social media. By tapping into their high follower base, you can get access to a lot of prospects in a short period of time.
6. Social media lead generation strategies
Almost everyone who is online has a social media presence. Such a huge presence should be enough to convince you to adopt social media for your lead generation.
Despite such a huge presence, the conversion rate for B2B marketers in social media is usually quite low. In fact, social media networks are often in the bottom of the rank of effective lead generation tools.
That being said, you should not ignore social media. The huge population out there means you can still get qualified leads.
What you need is a well-crafted strategy when using social media to generate leads.
6.1 Start a Facebook Group
Facebook Groups tend to generate more engagement than Pages. This makes sense as Groups are communities of like-minded people who share their thoughts and ideas on the platform.
Start a Facebook Group focusing on a topic your target audience is interested about. It might be difficult now-a-days to find such topics as Groups have become saturated. But with the right research, you can find untapped topics.
6.2 Become a thought leader on Twitter
Since 2016, Twitter has started positioning itself more as a news platform than a social media network. In spite of such changes, the thought of celebrities sharing their thoughts and photos are what comes to mind when you think about this platform.
Whatever people think about the platform, Twitter has become a hub for sharing news content since the new positioning. And here’s where your B2B can step in to generate leads.
Share newsworthy content. It can be one of your content or someone else’s. You can also share the latest news and insights and then provide your thoughts.
6.4 Connect with prospects on LinkedIn
As a site for professionals, LinkedIn always comes in the marketing strategy for any B2Bs. In fact, it is the most widely used social media network for B2B marketers.
Thus, LinkedIn is the most effective of all social media networks when it comes to generating leads for B2B marketers. And starting the lead generation process is easier as well.
Connect with prospects on this network. Use filters in search to find the ideal prospects.
You can also join LinkedIn Groups to connect with prospects. Groups also provide you with the opportunity to share content and become a thought leader.
Read the Complete guide about LinkedIn Marketing.
6.5 Build a following on Instagram and Pinterest
Even if these platforms seem more for B2Cs, Instagram and Pinterest are still effective for B2B lead generation as well.
Posting photos of your company’s products, culture, or client reviews can help you engage with your audience. This posting works best where the industry is interested in such photos.
6.6 Optimizing outbound connection in social media
Different social media platforms target different audiences. For example: LinkedIn targets professionals whereas Instagram targets millennials and Generation Zs.
Therefore, running a single campaign on all your social media accounts will not be much effective. If you can modify the campaigns for each of your accounts, you can see better results that can lead to qualified leads.
So optimize your outbound connection in your various social media channels in order to get leads.
6.7 Generate positive online reviews
Prospective clients often carry out a huge research on businesses before they select one. During their research, these prospects often search for client testimonials and reviews.
In fact, for any marketing, reviews are more effective in brand perception than other marketing promotion tools.
So try to gather positive online reviews from your past clients. Provide incentives for providing honest feedback.
7. Offline lead generation strategies
Offline lead generation strategies for B2Bs have existed long before the advent of the internet. Even now, these strategies are important for any B2Bs.
Complement your offline lead generation with that of online and you can see better results.
7.1 Attend a trade show or buy a booth
Trade shows are meeting places for a lot of industries and clients. It is thus a great opportunity to generate leads.
The costs for buying a booth in a trade show can be cost prohibitive for a lot of small businesses. However, if the trade show is attended by a lot of people, you should definitely participate.
But do not use the high cost for buying the booth as a justification for poor performance in the fair. Develop flyers, leaflets, and other printed materials. Train up your sales team and promote the event online.
7.2 Direct mail
With much marketing activities gone online, the competition for direct mail has reduced. Therefore, you can use direct mail to effectively generate leads.
However, direct mail can be seen as intrusive. So make sure you collected information of prospects beforehand and they know that you might send them promotional materials.
Employ the use of post service or any courier to send direct mail to your prospects.
7.3 Create printed marketing material
Create flyers, leaflets, posters, whitepapers, and reports. Distribute these materials in trade shows, conferences, and other business events.
Make sure the contact details of your company in these materials are up-to-date. Also make sure you use a good designer when creating these marketing materials.
7.4 Hire a lead generation company
You can outsource your lead generation efforts to an external marketing agency. Many marketing agencies offer services for generating leads both online and offline.
I work with small and medium sized businesses to generate leads. This I do by creating strategies for generating leads online and through printed materials.
When choosing the right lead generation company, pick the one appropriate for your budget. And do a background check beforehand- some of these companies generate leads through sending a lot of spam mails.
7.5 Get referrals from existing and past clients
Your clients are more likely to know fellow businesses more than you. So tap into their connections to generate leads.
Ask your clients to refer your company when any other business wants a service that you provide. And your clients can do a much better job in persuading these businesses by providing positive reviews!
7.6 Speaking at industry events
Industry events, like trade shows, gather a huge crowd of potential clients. If you are invited to such events, you should definitely say, “Yes.”
Speaking at such industry events give you the chance to become a thought leader in your field. You can also use the event to briefly promote your company and its works.
7.8 Reach out to the community
Your community might host some network groups. Join these groups. Attend their events.
By reaching out to the community, you can find prospects. Moreover, members of the community might even recommend your business to their clients.
So joining such community organizations will not be futile.
7.9 TV and radio advertisements
Despite the popularity of online marketing, TV and radio advertisements are still an option for many B2B marketers.
Many of your clients might be in a senior age bracket. For them, TV and radio advertisements are still appropriate for marketing.
There can be a high upfront cost when advertising on TV and radio- buying ad space, hiring an ad agency, and shooting the ad. So decide on your budget well beforehand.
8. Get referrals from existing and past clients
Your clients are more likely to know fellow businesses more than you. In fact, studies show that 84 percent of B2B decision makers start the purchasing process due to a referral. So tap into your client’s connections to generate leads.
Ask your clients to refer your company when any other business wants a service that you provide. And your clients can do a much better job in persuading these businesses by providing positive reviews!
Develop relationships with clients first
To develop referrals, you first need to establish relationships with your clients. You can do this by keeping in touch with them.
After they buy your product, check in to make sure they can use the product. Solicit opinions from them- this will make your clients feel special.
By developing relationships with your clients, you are making them satisfied. And a satisfied customer will love to refer the business to others.
Develop the referral program
After having a large number of clients with good relationships, establish your referral program. It can be a code during the checkout process or a referral link that can be traced back to the referrer. Whatever it is, make it easier for both parties to use the program.
In order to entice your clients in the referral program, you can reward referrers with discounts or free upgrades or free access to webinars or training. You can also decide to give referred customers rewards as well (like discounts). Make sure the benefits you give your clients do not cause a dent in your expenses.
Update the program
Once you develop your referral program, do not just sit back and relax. Make improvements along the way. Perform split tests to see whether you can bring upgrades. And continue developing relationships with clients as you go on.
You can automate the lead generation process for new referred clients. Once they join, give them a form with a few questions so that you can derive insights. Use automation tools to send the new clients right to your sales time.
In the end, the best lead generation strategy will depend on what works best for your business. So experiment with all of the above mentioned strategies before you pick the one (or two) that’s right for you.