If you’re struggling with B2B lead generation, you’re not alone.
Most marketers can sympathize; 61% consider generating leads to be their biggest challenge. This goes for old-school companies that swear by cold calling—which still plays a surprisingly important role within prospecting—and modern digitally-focused brands alike.
So, what can marketers do to generate some additional fodder for a pipeline that’s constantly hungry for leads?
Rather than tear up your existing lead generation strategy and start from scratch, instead consider the following tweaks to enhance your campaigns.
1. A/B test key campaigns
A/B testing has several benefits for lead generation. First, it identifies which elements of your lead generation campaigns work. Second, it uncovers the combination of elements that yield the best results. Third, it delivers immediate actionable insight, provided you do it right and do it consistently. If you don’t conduct A/B testing with your lead generation campaigns, it’s still possible to find success, but you’re less likely to replicate it.
Most things can be A/B tested. Subject lines, images, length, and tone of copy, landing page and email layouts, to name a few. A systematic approach is key. Choose one element and develop a hypothesis—an already successful control is ideal to test if its benefits can be emulated. Time your test to coincide with periods of high traffic to achieve statistical significance more quickly.
Once you’ve achieved significance, keep A/B testing to incrementally improve your campaigns. When this kind of testing is a consistent part of your lead generation efforts, you naturally adapt to changes in buyer preferences, industry trends, shifts in buyer thinking and many other factors that directly affect the success of your lead generation efforts.
2. Bank on social proof
Social proof is the idea that we mirror the actions of others when we perceive their behavior to be the correct way to act. It was first studied by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 work, Influence. In a marketing context, this means that reviews and testimonials from your happy customers have a convincing impact on prospective buyers. 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy after reading a positive review.
Of course, reviews must be trustworthy. Video testimonials rank highest in terms of trust as your potential customers can directly relate to the person speaking. Reviews with the name and picture of the reviewer attached to the text come second. Anonymous reviews are better than nothing but attributing a testimonial to a real person is always more compelling.
So where does this fit into your lead generation efforts? Feature video testimonials prominently on landing pages and within emails. Integrate them into social media post copy, feature them within key pages of your website and add them to your call scripts. All this helps to reinforce your prospects’ trust in your brand.
3. Establish your expertise in online forums
When you think of social media, the usual suspects likely come to mind—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Less considered are platforms like Medium, Reddit, or Quora, that are online forums rather than social media sites. If you aren’t including these in your lead generation strategy, you’re missing out. These forums give you the opportunity to establish yourself as a voice of authority in your industry.
They offer users—and your potential customers—a platform to ask questions. Anyone can then provide answers which can be down/up voted depending on how helpful people find them. Showcase your expertise by identifying your niche and assigning a representative to constantly answer questions. Provided you don’t deviate into overt sales talk, this will establish credibility and authority.
When it comes to lead generation, the advantage of these platforms—Quora, in particular—is that they pave the way for value-focused connections and interactions with an engaged, high-intent audience. This makes forums a rich source of leads to be nurtured into converting clients given you position yourself as a trustworthy source of knowledge.
4. Push for case studies
B2B buyers tend to be analytical, risk-averse, and spend a lot of time researching before making a decision. This is understandable as they often need approval from other decision-makers before making a purchase. Because of this, they aren’t as easily swayed by sales talk. Case studies take the power of social proof and multiply it many times over by expanding a short review into a meatier discussion.
Effective case studies make the client the hero. Avoid showering your brand in praise, or you risk your case study reading more like a full-blown ad. Instead, highlight the problems your client faced, show how using your product helped, and demonstrate metrics that prove their success.
Constructing your case study in this way helps your reader relate to the challenges your client faced. They’ll begin to consider how your product fits into their processes, and whether they will be able to achieve the same results. A well-researched and well-written case study is a powerful persuasion tool. Much like additional forms of social proof, case studies can slot easily into your preferred lead generation campaign types.
5. Refocus on sound research
Most B2B buyers review an average of 13 pieces of content before coming to a decision on which provider to purchase from. The bulk of this will be reviews and case studies, in-depth reports and research pieces, and other content to inform their decision. If you want to be the business they choose, you need to produce content with all the information they need.
This means, beyond blogs that touch on key topics of interest to your prospects, you should invest in the production of whitepapers, research papers, industry-relevant reports, and eBooks. Much like with case studies, the focus shouldn’t be on you and your offerings—if at all. It’s all about becoming a thought leader, sharing your expertise within your niche to convince prospects you’re worth investing in.
Research the topics your prospects are talking about and produce content that provides carefully researched answers. This will deliver great value to your potential leads and boost your SEO—keeping you at the top of search results where it matters. And again, the content you produce can be used as a lead magnet.
6. Develop visual material
If you haven’t been integrating videos as part of your lead generation efforts, here are two good reasons why you should. First, YouTube is second only to Google in terms of popularity as a search engine. Second, you likely have a lot of content that you can repurpose into videos—anything goes.
The appeal of videos, particularly short ones, is that they present information in an easily digestible way. Be sure to cater to all types of viewers. Those who will attentively watch and listen, those who may be distracted and listen only, and those who want to watch the video on mute. Include appropriate visuals, voice-overs, and subtitles to facilitate all types of playback.
Another appeal of videos is their versatility. They can be uploaded to your YouTube channel, natively embedded in webpages, nested within social media posts—the sky’s the limit! Because of this, they can feature prominently within landing pages, within your email newsletters or outreaches, or be gated as the central focus of a lead generation campaign.
7. Restructure for mobile
91% of B2B buyers conduct research on their mobile device according to Demand Gen Report. That same report also found B2B marketers enjoy shorter purchasing times and greater customer loyalty when they optimize for mobile. When building the components of your lead gen campaigns, it pays to ensure they’re mobile-friendly. From your email content and lead capture landing pages to your videos and more, all of these can—and should—be made accessible via mobile.
Don’t make mobile optimizations a carbon copy of your desktop content. Certain adjustments need to be made for maximum usability. For example, consider fewer form fields; your prospects and their tired thumbs will be grateful for minimal data input. Reduce load time by ensuring the elements you have aren’t too large. Finally, make sure that your website itself is also mobile optimized should your prospects turn to it for further research or even a purchase.
It’s all about staying ahead of the competition
The lead generation enhancements you decide to use depend entirely on your preferences, strategy, bandwidth, and budget. Get ahead by researching which are most relevant to your target audience and apply them to net more leads. Alternatively, if you’re looking to race ahead of your competitors, we can help you identify qualified leads who are looking to buy products or services like yours right now. Interested? Talk to us today.