Your B2B business can throw thousands of dollars into online advertising, but without an inbound lead generation strategy, it’s safe to say that you’ll find it much harder to achieve a favorable ROI.
Buyers today want their attention earned—not bought—and that means providing them with valuable content instead of product-centric marketing copy. Online lead generation is what keeps your company alive, thriving, and growing.
So, how can you build an effective inbound marketing strategy for lead generation?
Here are the 6 most effective ways to optimize your B2B lead generation strategy:
1. Review Your Buyer Personas
If your current B2B lead generation strategy isn’t working as well as you’d planned, you may need to take a step back and design a new one.
The first place to start with a new lead generation marketing strategy is with defining your buyer personas, since these will be the basis for your website content and the content pieces you create.
Team up with the sales team to come up with accurate buyer personas that help you understand your prospects’ needs and pain points. Clearly define each buyer persona’s:
- Professional, educational and personal background
- What you can offer the personas to overcome their challenges and achieve their goals
- Common objections to working with a company like yours
By defining these categories for each of your buyer personas, you will be able to develop a much more precise strategy that will be designed to target them, specifically.
It will also enable you to develop a content marketing plan to produce relevant content that will address your buyer personas’ questions, pain points, and goals.
You should also develop negative personas to help you avoid targeting the types of customers you do not want to attract.
If you need guidance with developing your buyer personas, there are some free online tools that can help such as:
2. Rethink Your Blog
Your company blog is a crucial part of your website and your overall web presence. Often times, prospects will search for an answer to a question online and reach a post on your blog before they’ve ever even visited your website or heard of your company.This is why blogging is a great way to generate more B2B leads. You should post regularly about topics that inform, educate and/or entertain your target audience.
If you’re already doing this and you’re not seeing good results, go a step further by offering sequential content that answers a specific question or pain point that your buyer personas have.
Sequential content is a set of content pieces that are produced in chronological order. In regards to marketing, there are a few different types of sequential content:
- “How-to” articles that help readers achieve a goal by following a number of steps
- A group of articles on one subject that guides the reader from the start to an end point
- A case study series. This is an engaging story that is told in a number of blog posts explaining how a customer got from point A to point B when working towards a specific goal.
You want to offer more value, position yourself as a thought leader, and keep your prospects coming back to you. Your blog is the first and foremost place where you can do this.
Another way to optimize your blog for lead generation is by creating targeted content campaigns. To do this, first you must choose one of your buyer personas with a specific pain point unique to them. Then, you should create a series of top, middle, and bottom of the funnel blog posts and include a CTA to download a gated content offer, such as an ebook, white paper, industry report, checklist, webinar, etc., that are related to the problems or pain points discussed in your blog posts.
The CTA your readers click on within each blog post should take them to a dedicated landing page where they can read more about the content offer and fill out a form to access it.
3. Focus On Customer-Centric Content To Capture Leads
This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised at how many marketers are still producing business-centric content.
If you happen to be one of those marketers, stop immediately and rethink your entire content strategy, because this could be the main reason you are not generating more quality B2B leads.
Remember, you are more likely to attract quality leads if you produce content that is focused on the customers’ needs and not on what your business offers.
The key to content marketing is to offer your prospects content that can educate them and help them solve their problems or pain points. This is where your buyer personas from point #1 above come into play again.
Using your personas to guide you, you can create content based on their goals and challenges, so then the chances of your target audience reaching your content are much higher.
Elements of customer-centric content include:
- Always describe how the customer can benefit—not what you’re offering.
- Use the 2nd person — “you” instead of “we”
- Answer customer questions within the content
- Empathize and earn your customer’s trust
- Personalize your content to your specific buyer personas
4. Improve Your Communication With Existing Contacts
Does your online lead generation include sending out informative, interesting newsletters on a regular basis? Great! But keep in mind that newsletters will only go so far in helping you turn your contacts into customers.
A better way to help your contact list generate leads for your company is through email marketing campaigns that keep the conversation with your leads alive and offer quality content they’ll find of interest.
Not only does email marketing convert leads into customers, it converts existing customers into repeat customers via upsell and cross-sell opportunities. The key is to be targeted in your approach.
You’ll first need to segment your customers into lists based on similar characteristics and where they are in the buyer journey. Only then will you be able to send personalized messages that will resonate with your buyers and increase their likelihood of taking the desired action.
Just as your leads ended up on your mailing list by filling out a short form to access gated content, you should also created gated content for your email marketing campaigns.
This is where you can collect even more detailed information from the slightly longer form they will fill out in order to access it. The detailed information will help you to continue to produce content that is relevant for your leads, and it will also serve to qualify them and help you determine when you can pass them on to your sales team.
This process is how leads continue to the next stage in the buyer journey, whether it be the Consideration or Decision stage.
5. Improve Communication With Your Sales Team
The work of sales and marketing is so intertwined that if the communication between the two teams isn’t good, it’ll seriously injure your B2B lead generation efforts.
You should use the sales team as a point of insight; after all, it’s the sales people who are speaking to prospects and maintaining relationships with existing customers.
The sales team can provide useful information on the quality of the leads they’re getting, the goals and challenges of prospects, and the feedback from existing clients, so that you can in turn adjust your lead scoring system and other elements of your strategy as needed.
With lead scoring, you assign a value to each contact based on various criteria, such as engagement and interactions with your brand, which will help you prioritize leads and be more effective with your marketing efforts.
The most common way to develop a lead scoring system is to use data from past leads and clients. Examine your leads who became clients, and determine what elements they have in common. Then, you can determine which factors indicate a likelihood of a lead converting into a paying client.
A lead scoring system should take the following data into account:
- Demographic information
- Company information
- Online behavior
- Email engagement
- Social engagement
- Spam detection
Using a marketing automation platform like HubSpot is a great way to easily implement a lead scoring system.
6. Conducting a Content Audit
When you first publish content on your website, you make sure it’s fresh, relevant, and enticing to your target audience. Years later, however, some of your existing content may be stale, outdated and irrelevant to your current target audience—let alone your organization’s lead generation strategy.
This is why it is imperative to conduct a well thought-out content audit on an annual basis.
Content audits require you to closely observe all the existing content on your website and attain insights regarding its strengths and weaknesses in order to inform and help you prioritize your future marketing activities.
When conducting a content audit you want to identify your top visited pages and analyze their key performance metrics. Then you’ll be able to get a clear picture of how your current content is performing in order to help you improve each page and increase traffic and leads from your existing content.
If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of conducting a thorough content audit, contact KeyScouts for help.
Capturing leads in the B2B world isn’t easy, but it’s certainly doable by avoiding common B2B lead generation mistakes and making efforts to constantly improve your strategy.
These 6 tips will help you re-examine your approach and optimize your strategy for the best results.
Do you want more advice on how to improve your B2B lead generation strategy? Download our free ebook “The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks & Ideas”, today!