A lead is usually described as a potential client in the digital marketing space. However, if you take a holistic approach when developing B2B lead generation strategies; a lead could be so much more than just a potential conversion. When nurtured correctly, leads turn into major brand advocates, and land you plenty of new clients in the form of referrals.
Several agencies primarily rely on referrals as their main B2B lead generation channel, since they’re already primed and willing to buy, so it takes up less time and resources to convert them. However, it’s risky to rely on simply one B2B lead generation channel – what if your referrals dry up? Instead, diversify and explore multiple lead generation sources, regardless of your service offering, whether you are offering website maintenance services or full-scale development solutions. We’re going to focus on 5 main lead generation sources in this article, as shown below.
The Importance of B2B Lead Generation
Traditional marketing was simple; you reached out to audiences and pitched your product or service. If they liked it, they would respond. However, the rapid growth of digital marketing has led to a paradigm shift, with businesses looking at multiple ways to influence customer decisions.
As buyer behavior has changed, companies have had to adapt accordingly. The development of a customer-centric methodology has been critical, with businesses opting for fewer aggressive sales solutions, and instead focusing on improving user experiences to attract customers. B2B lead generation strategies play an important role in this.
Developing comprehensive B2B lead generation strategies that focus on multiple avenues prevents businesses from relying too much on one single avenue. In the words of the great Warren Buffett: “never put all your eggs in one basket.”
Here’s a statistic that highlights the importance of different B2B lead generation channels:
As you can see, exploring multiple B2B lead generation strategies could help you take your agency to the next level. If you have been struggling for clients as of late, consider exploring multiple lead generation channels to get more clients.
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The Top 5 B2B Lead Generation Strategies
Now, let’s break down each of the top 5 lead generation sources one by one and see how effective they can be when utilized the right way.
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing has been around since the early days of the internet, and despite what many say, it’s still one of the best ways to maximize your revenue. If you aren’t working on building an email list and actively nurturing your prospects, you are leaving money on the table. A lot of it.
Done right, email marketing is one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies . If you do business in the developed world, expect your customers to communicate via mail. By 2023, more than 4.3 billion users will start using email. That’s more than half the world’s population. By sheer size alone, it’s really not a channel you can afford to ignore.
Cold emailing has been widely touted as one of the best strategies for attracting new leads and promoting your services. Follow the right email marketing tips and strategies, and it won’t take long for you to build a robust email list. Then, with time, you can track metrics and performance, and eventually pitch your product to them.
Research indicates that 48% of marketing respondents believe that email marketing is the best strategy for generating online leads. It’s still the king.
Source: Neil Patel
Email marketing is all about reaching the right people with the right message. Though it’s not widely encouraged, you could even buy an email list and start pitching to them. But when designing an email marketing strategy, there are some important things to keep in mind.
a. Create Concise Emails
When designing an email campaign, focus on the reader’s perspective. They simply will not scroll all the way down to read large chunks of text. Keep your email clear and concise. Create an overarching theme or find a topic that you want to focus on, and then stick to the point.
b. Create Interesting Subject Lines
It’s the first thing that recipients will look at. If the subject line is boring, they simply won’t open the mails. Pique your reader’s attention by giving a taste of what’s in the email. For instance, if you are sending an email about the best web design tools, you can create a subject line like this:
“Find Out The Best Web Design Tools that Agencies are Using.”
c. Add a Call-to-Action (CTA)
What’s the point of sending an email if you don’t include a CTA that clearly underlines what you want your readers to do? If you have a limited-time discount on WordPress store development, add a clear CTA at the end that says something like, “Get Your Discount Now!” or “50% Off If You Buy Today!”
Email Marketing – A Case Study
Nathan Hughes, Marketing Director at Diggity Marketing, was facing a conundrum. Their email open rate was around 4-5% and dwindling. They were sending out monthly newsletters with links to a few niche-related blog posts. Naturally, that wasn’t enough.
The Solution – Survey Forms on LinkedIn
The email campaign that Nathan and his team were running did not include a call-to-action. It only linked back to their website. So, they started a lead generation campaign and personalized each email for their clients. How’d they get that information? Through a survey form that they posted on LinkedIn! Each week, they would send emails to 20 people at the same time using the personalized information.
The Results – 27% Increase in Leads Generated!
The personalized email campaign, with a dedicated call-to-action and specific product links, resulted in a windfall of leads. Their email open rates shot up to around 27% as a result.
2. Content Marketing
The content on your website is integral to your lead generation efforts. Most people don’t realize this, but content marketing is easily one of the best B2B lead generation channels. Content is also one of the most important elements of high-converting landing pages.
At its core, content marketing is simply writing quality content and distributing it through multiple avenues. The more eyes you are able to get on your blog posts and articles, the higher your chances of increasing conversion rate, conversions, and sign-ups.
The Content Marketing Institute states that 91% of B2B marketers use content as a prime method for generating leads.
Source: Content Marketing Institute (CMI)
The image above clearly indicates the growing consensus between B2B marketers that content optimization and marketing is essential for generating leads.
At the end of the day, if people don’t find your content interesting, they simply won’t bother coming back. They also won’t care about the services or products that you try to pitch to them. But there are a few ways to optimize your content so that it works effectively as a B2B lead generation channel.
a. Match Search Intent
Today, almost every website is optimized to garner more organic traffic from popular search engines, especially Google. However, search intent is an important piece of the puzzle that too many content writers forget about. When analyzing a search query, examine the intent behind it.
For instance, some people want quick answers to questions they ask online. This is known as information intent. A person searching for product reviews on the other hand, will have commercial intent. They are primed to buy; they just need a nudge in the right direction. Matching search intent to queries is critical before you start writing. It’s one of the simplest B2B lead generation ideas.
b. Provide Value
If you are writing on broad topics that are way at the top of the funnel and barely touch on important points, people won’t be interested in reading what you have to say. Your bounce rates will skyrocket, and it’s a clear indication that your content just isn’t doing very well.
Make sure you offer value to your readers through your content. Be direct with your answers and provide clarity. Answer their questions quickly, and then create a connection with your service. After all, that’s the main intent. And remember content doesn’t just have to be text-based. You could create a video or repurpose it if that seems like a better way to connect with your audience.
Content Marketing – A Case Study
Jeff Moriarty, Marketing Manager at custom jewelry store Moriarty’s Gem Art, wanted to increase sales and generate more leads at the same time. Leading a family-owned business in a competitive industry, he knew that their campaign had to be unique.
He wanted to provide a better understanding of their product offering to both their B2B and their B2C clients. At the time, Moriarty’s had 45,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel.
The Solution – An Educational Video!
After a lot of thought, Moriarty’s created an educational video. They spent a week preparing for the video, working carefully on the script and figuring out the objectives. The video was articulate, to the point, and above all, respected the viewers’ time.
The Results – $15,000 in Sales and 6m Views!
The video went viral on Reddit, garnering more than 1 million views in a couple of days. It has more than 6 million views to date. They sold every single product that they talked about in the video, resulting in more than $15,000 in sales. Their Reddit following jumped to 5,000 from 0, and their YouTube subscribers increased by 10,000.
Despite being more than three years old, the video is still generating sales, links, and leads for their small store! It’s a classic example of content marketing done right.
3. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
There’s a general impression that PPC B2B lead generation only works for ecommerce stores, but that’s not true. PPC B2B lead generation can prove to be an excellent sales funnel for digital agencies. A well-executed PPC campaign could result in hundreds of potential leads. Quite a few brands are spending their money on PPC, and there’s absolutely no reason why your agency should not use this.
PPC advertising, however, requires a decent budget. But, if you can afford to pay the money, the results will speak for themselves, provided you have an effective PPC specialist at the helm.
As you can see above, almost 96% of the world’s biggest brands use PPC advertising on Google to generate more leads. Here are a few tips to help you turn PPC into one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies.
a. Write Good Copy
You will only have a limited amount of space for optimizing your ad, so it needs to be really enticing and attractive. Write good copy for people to click through on your ad.
b. Do Extensive Keyword Research
Find out what people are searching for, and then bid on those keywords. If you aren’t bidding on the right keywords, your PPC campaign will simply tank.
PPC For Lead Generation – A Case Study
Matt Lally, the founder of TheGiftYak, took over a client’s account. Previously, that account had been run by an “expert consultant,” but it was stagnant, with no growth to speak of.
The Solution – Consolidating Campaigns and A/B Testing
Matt realized that the problem lay primarily with conversion volume. He wanted to send a stronger signal by increasing conversion volume, so he started by consolidating campaigns. He claims that creating larger campaigns with several keyword match types was his main strategy, turning it into one of the best B2B lead generation ideas.
He also focused on extensive A/B testing with both the ad copy and the landing page to ensure that benchmarks were being hit.
The Results – Account Scales by 4x in 8 Months!
Matt took over in September 2020, when the uptick began. He managed to scale his client’s account by more than 4x in a mere 8 months! Through A/B testing and consolidation, he was able to scale his client’s account, while keeping the cost of consumer acquisition the same. It was one of the simplest B2B lead generation tactics that worked out spectacularly.
4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing is too big to ignore in the modern age. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have billions of active users in a day. Almost all major brands have strong presence on these platforms, and it could potentially become a fantastic B2B lead generation channel if you know how to do it right.
Source: HOW MANY PEOPLE USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN 2023?
The stats above clearly show the rising potential in targeting social media users, and with new platforms like TikTok becoming more and more popular, it’s easy to understand that effective social media marketing could result in a bunch of leads that are primed for conversion.
But how do you do it right? Here are a couple of tips that will help.
a. Run Ads to Generate Leads
Almost all major social media networks allow you to run paid ads on their platforms. Gartner estimates that almost 21% of all CMOs spend their marketing budget on ads, and almost 66% going towards paid social media digital channels. Running ads could help you capture important information and generate lots of leads if you do it right.
b. Engage With Your Audience
What’s the point of having a social media presence if you don’t regularly communicate with your audience? Don’t just continue posting; answer to comments and messages, and give interesting insights into your company. The more you engage with your audience, the better. It’s one of the most commonly used B2B lead generation best practices.
Social Media Marketing – A Case Study
Vionix Studio is a platform dedicated to teaching the basics of game development and graphic designing to newcomers. Their traffic was severely limited, with just 1K visitors a month on their page. Despite applying several traffic generation methods, the number didn’t improve.
The Solution – Using Hashtags
They began putting up posts using a variety of relevant hashtags on their social media accounts, and boosting relevant posts. Almost instantly, they identified an increase. By recognizing gaps in specific marketing strategies from their competitors and following a consistent approach, they managed to turn things around.
The Result – 200x Increase in Traffic
The social media marketing strategy was a resounding success, leading to a 200x increase in traffic on their website. On top of that, they managed to generate a bunch of hot leads. They used simple B2B lead generation best practices to improve their rankings.
5. Using Intent-Based Pop-ups
Almost every website uses intent-based pop-up forms. When you log on to any major blog, you will immediately be greeted with a small form that promises an incentive in return for your email. That’s an intent-based pop-up form.
Exit-intent pop-ups track the user’s cursor on the website, and as soon as the algorithm notices the cursor going towards the “close” button, a pop-up shows up, promising something interesting.
When creating intent-based pop-ups, there are a few important things that you need to keep in mind.
a. Don’t Ask for a Lot of Information
A common mistake that many people make is that they tend to ask for too much information, such as email addresses, names, or even phone numbers. Users are turned off by that, so avoid asking for too much. At best, you should ask for their email address.
b. Offer a Viable Lead Magnet
If you aren’t offering something of value, why would anyone bother staying to read the pop-up form? Offer a viable lead magnet to your users and highlight what it covers in 2-3 bullet points. Try to keep the text as short as possible.
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c. Use Pictures
Even if you are offering a small guide or an eBook, present it like an actual book as a picture on screen. This makes it seem more enticing, and you will be able to get more leads. Pictorial representations help create a better understanding of what you are offering.
Pop-up Forms to Generate Leads – A Case Study
Twibi, a SaaS marketing agency founded by Brenton Thomas (pictured above), uses pop-up forms to help its clients generate leads. For a particular client, they used Google Search Ads to generate a $250 cost-per-lead. But, the aim was to capture those leads as effectively and efficiently as possible.
The Solution – Optimizing Pop-up Forms to Fire After 30 Seconds
Brenton and his team used exit-intent pop-up forms. They set triggers on not just exit-intent, but also to automatically fire after 30 seconds. The aim was to ensure that visitors had enough time to go through the platform before the pop-up was triggered.
The Results – Cost-Per-Lead Falls to $50!
They saw a sharp decrease in their cost-per-lead, which fell to $50. It was a major success for Twibi and for the client, and really highlighted the potential that pop-up forms offer for generating quality leads.
The Bottom Line
These are some of the most popular B2B lead generation channels that your agency needs to explore. As you get more clients, you can focus more on client management to increase retention rates and even get more high-ticket clients for your agency. Don’t simply rely on referrals; start looking at these alternatives, and alter your approach to increase your profits! You can also take the guide from the Cloudways webinar on Actionable List Building Strategies for Digital Agencies.
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I work as a digital content producer at Cloudways. Besides that, I love to read, and i love to play the guitar. Fan of all things Arsenal and the Patriots. Occasional gamer. I like to fly drones too. Jack of all trades.