Learn how to launch a B2B product in eight steps. Whether you're almost at launch day or still in R&D mode, you need to read this post.
Generating B2B leads online can seem daunting if you aren’t familiar with the basics. Luckily, you can become an online B2B lead generation pro by following these seven easy tips.
Online B2B lead generation is the process of acquiring prospective clients through the web. Unlike traditional lead generation, which involves everything from flyers to billboards, online lead generation specifically leverages the power of the World Wide Web to get users knocking on your virtual door.
With the internet constantly evolving, acquiring online leads can seem like a pipe dream. But if you follow these seven tips, you can turn your dream into reality.
7 Tips for Online B2B Lead Generation
- Learn the basics
- Research your industry
- Optimize your website for users
- Develop a marketing strategy
- Execute your plan
- Review your results
- Partner with a B2B lead generation agency
1. Learn the Basics
The best way to start your online B2B lead generation journey is by learning the fundamental terms you will inevitably encounter.
- Inbound marketing: tactics that pulls potential buyers to your website (like blogging and social media).
- Outbound marketing: tactics that pushes your offering to potential buyers (like LinkedIn messages and calling).
- Efforts that are focused on a specific potential buyer with highly personalized messaging.
- MQLs: marketing qualified leads that have engaged with your marketing efforts (like downloading content).
- SQLs: sales qualified leads that meet your buyer persona requirements and have expressed enough interest in your offering (typically MQLs that have been vetted and handed off to the sales team).
Once you know the basics, you can begin looking at ways to build the foundation.
2. Research Your Industry
Researching your industry is essential for a few reasons. First, you need to see what your users want and how your products or services can help them. This is done by looking at client demographics, buyer behavior, intent behavior and buyer persons.
Second, it allows you to see what your competitors are doing. What are their strategies? What verbiage do they use?
And finally, research helps you find out which keywords you should target for advertising campaigns. When users search for keywords related to your business, do you show up in the search results? If not, it’s time to get to work.
Starting first with your website.
3. Optimize Your Website for Users
Your website is your digital storefront. It provides information about your business to potential clients and acts as the backbone of your B2B lead generation endeavor.
Anyone interested in your products or services will likely check out your website before making a final decision. That’s why your website should be clear, convincing and, of course, user-friendly. Here are some website best practices:
- Use clear messaging
- Make your calls-to-action obvious
- Ensure your website loads quickly
- Utilize responsive design
- Focus on accessibility
Once your website is optimized for users, you have the foundation you need to start developing and executing a full blown marketing strategy.
4. Develop a Marketing Strategy
While there are common tactics that most B2B marketing strategies leverage, like content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), you also want to ensure the mix you choose is relevant to your potential buyers – and tightly integrated into one cohesive engine.
For example, a manufacturer’s marketing strategy will look a lot different than a life sciences IT company’s strategy. A manufacturer might have to focus on product differentiation through their SEO, email, advertising and social media work. Meanwhile, a life sciences IT company likely focuses on building authority as a brand by sharing expert content through target publications.
5. Execute Your Plan
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to carry it out.
Depending on your strategy, this means:
- Writing blogs
- Writing and designing premium assets (like eBooks) for campaigns
- Creating ads for campaigns
- Setting up a marketing automation platform and writing emails
- Setting up or auditing existing social media accounts
Regardless of your plan, since you’re focusing on online B2B lead generation, be sure to properly set up your tracking (like Google Analytics) to ensure you can trace back each lead to its respective campaign. Once everything is ready, you can release it to the wild and watch as the leads flow in.
6. Review Your Results
But the work doesn’t stop there.
Online lead generation is a continuous process, and there is always room for improvement and optimization.
In order to know what you can do better, you need to take a look at your results and see how your current strategy is performing. Are LinkedIn ads working better than Google Search ads? Is one of your downloadable assets getting more leads than the rest? What does website traffic look like? How many organic conversations do you get through your website?
Once you’ve assessed the situation, you can continue your marketing strategy and iterate as needed.
7. Partner With a B2B Lead Generation Agency
Online B2B lead generation is easier said than done and requires a lot of moving parts. So, you may want to consider partnering with an agency. You want your brand to stand out for the right reasons, and having quality content and a sound advertising strategy play huge roles.
Hiring an in-house team of writers, graphic designers, and overall marketers can be expensive, especially if your business is just starting out. And keeping track of your advertising campaigns and budget is a full-time job that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A B2B lead generation agency can handle everything for you. Plus, they will stay up-to-date on all of the latest marketing trends so you don’t have to.
Is Offline Lead Generation Still Viable?
Yes! Traditional lead generation continues to be an important part of your overall strategy. While online lead generation has its perks, sometimes offline lead generation strategies are better. For example, people get tons of emails all day, every day. That makes it harder for your marketing email to stand out and get opened. Meanwhile, a well-designed mailer can grab the attention of your audience from the instant they open their mailbox.
Keep in mind that offline and online lead generation strategies can work together for one common goal. For example, trade shows allow you to meet your audience in person, but you can still leverage online lead-generation tactics and follow up. Consider a Google display ad that targets every person in the conference hall. When attendees use their phones during the conference, they will see your ad to visit your booth or click on the ad to fill out a lead generation form. It’s really the best of both worlds.
Whether you’ve dabbled in online B2B lead generation before or are looking to give it your first try, you’ll have a much easier time when you educate yourself on the fundamentals. From there, you can improve your website, conduct research, create a marketing strategy, carry out your plan, and look at the results. You can even partner with an agency to give you a hand.