Digital marketing is a pivotal part of any lead generation strategy. In this post, we discuss how lead generation in digital marketing works – including six steps to get the most bang for your buck.
Before we dive into the steps, let’s cover our bases with some definitions. If your understanding of B2B lead generation and digital marketing is up to snuff – great. Feel free to skip ahead to where we discuss some of the most popular digital marketing channels, or jump right to the steps.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of identifying the right potential customers, attracting them with the right mix of marketing strategies, and ultimately filling up your sales funnel with those people.
The lead generation process is essential to your company’s success, ensuring your sales team is armed with a full list of prospects they can convert into customers.
In short, leads are the lifeblood of any company.
As such, there is a lot that goes into a comprehensive lead generation strategy, but a key pillar of that strategy is digital marketing.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Finding a clear-cut, academic definition of digital marketing can be a challenge. In its simplest form, digital marketing is marketing that happens on the Internet. Many agencies out there define it as such, lumping basically any activity that happens on a computer – like SEO, social media and email – under one umbrella. While this is technically accurate, our definition of digital marketing is a bit more precise. It’s all about attracting and converting leads through digital channels.
In this blog specifically, we talk about digital marketing in the context of paid channels.
To that end, here are some common channels B2B companies use to generate leads through digital marketing.
Common Paid Digital Marketing Channels
In the world of B2B, lead generation in digital marketing starts with LinkedIn.
The reason being – LinkedIn offers the world’s best B2B dataset.
LinkedIn is ubiquitous in the professional world. It’s become a digital resume. As such, people are incentivized to keep their LinkedIn profile up-to-date with their current employment information and achievements.
You can find thousands and thousands of people with relevant job titles in the industries that your company serves. These are the people that will ultimately make the decision to start working with your company, so put your product or solution directly into their feeds with killer LinkedIn ads.
#2. Search Networks – Google & Bing … But Mostly Google
If you’ve ever heard the terms “search engine marketing” (SEM) or even pay-per-click, they’re usually talking about advertising on popular search engines. When we talk about popular search engines, we’re really talking about Google and, in niche cases, Bing.
The great thing about paid search campaigns is that they allow you to get in front of people actively searching for your solution or a term directly related to what you do.
#3. Media Buying & Programmatic Networks
Programmatic networks and media buying packages can get complex pretty fast, so here’s what you need to know.
Programmatic advertising is an automated way of buying advertising space sold through an ad exchange. Publishers offer ad space, and advertisers enter automatic bids to buy this ad space in real-time. This is done through an algorithm to get the most accurate ad placement in the fastest time at the best price.
#4. Content Syndication
One last way to get in front of prospects is by getting your content listed on another third-party site or publication that’s frequently visited by your target audience.
If you have great content like blogs, white papers and case studies, you should drive people to it. But that doesn’t mean you have to pull people to your website. Sometimes, you can and should meet your buyers where they already are.
Building organic traffic through search engine optimization (SEO), while a viable long-term source for leads, takes a while. In the meantime, find relevant places to share that great content and have it link back to your site.
How to Generate Leads with Digital Marketing
Here are six broad steps to follow that will help you generate leads through targeted digital marketing efforts.
Step 1 – Determine Who You Are
Yes, we know. This one is broad. But don’t tune us out.
The first step to any successful digital marketing effort is to make sure your company’s overall messaging and strategy is solid. If you don’t have these foundational pieces in place, then you should go through a positioning and messaging exercise to iron out those details. Then come back to digital marketing.
Don’t put the cart before the horse. Make sure the foundations of your brand and messaging are solid before you go any further. This means understanding:
- Your place in the market in context with your competitors.
- Your specific attributes and differentiators.
- Your buyers’ pain points and questions.
- The messages you want to use to answer those questions, address those pains, and communicate your brand story.
Step 2 – Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is a bit part of understanding who you are. Even though we mentioned knowing your buyers in the step above, this still deserves its own separate step.
To get to know your buyers, ask questions like:
- Who are they?
- What are their job titles?
- What are they searching for?
- What are their pain points?
- How does your solution solve their specific problems?
- What platforms do they use?
- What publications do they read?
Nobody likes being advertised to but think of a time when you ran into a good ad. It probably came to you at the right time, with the right offer to solve a problem that you had.
That’s exactly what you’re trying to recreate here. It might take a lot of touchpoints, but when it works, you’ll get some highly qualified leads in your funnel.
Step 3 – Determine Your Budget & Where to Spend It
You’ve got your messaging. You know who you’re targeting. Now you need to decide your budget and where you’ll spend it.
At a minimum, you should be prepared to spend $1,000 a month on digital ads for the most value.
But you’ll only get that value if you’re spending money where your audience is (this is why step 2 is so important). If your audience is on LinkedIn, then so should your ads. You should also leave some room in your budget for search campaigns that target relevant keywords.
Step 4 – Create Your Offer & Ad Copy
Advertising is intrusive by nature. Unless you’re a nerdy marketer, you don’t go out of your way to search for advertising.
If you want to use digital marketing to generate leads, you have less than a second to hook someone with your ad.
Your hook should never be something like “learn more.”
Ask yourself (and company stakeholders) this: what’s the most you’re willing to give?
There’s a reason that a lot of software companies let people use the software for free. Once someone starts using it, they’ll want those extra features they have to pay for.
Think about your offer in this way, and then craft copy around your offer that draws attention and makes it so your audience can’t refuse.
Step 5 – Get Creative
Once the ad copy is done, if you’re using display channels or video ads, then the next step is to design the assets and the visuals you’ll need.
Make sure when designing these ads that you stay true to your brand guidelines while still creating something that is eye-catching.
Give your designers some creative freedom here, and the results will speak for themselves.
Step 6 – Optimize and Perfect
Lead generation in digital marketing is not “set it and forget it.”
It takes regular vigilance and testing to get right. The good news here is popular digital marketing channels like Google and LinkedIn have comprehensive analytics dashboards that will give you great insights as to how your ads are performing.
Use these insights to adjust as needed. If one ad is outperforming the other, divert more budget to the better-performing one. Then test new ads alongside your best-performing ones to see if they can be dethroned.
The more you tweak and tune, the better your lead gen efforts will be.
Conclusion – Digital marketing can bring in tons of leads…
When done right.
Digital marketing is an important facet of any integrated B2B lead generation strategy. It allows you to be hyper-targeted on the people you want to get in front of. But be warned, it takes a lot of time and effort. So, make sure you follow these steps and lay the right groundwork before you dive into your digital marketing efforts.