When you research this question online, it’s easy to find an enormous amount of information. The recommendations can be a bit conflicting, depending upon the source of the data. And they may not be helpful when trying to determine which to apply to your unique situation.
The prevailing winners for producing ROI, according to industry leaders and market studies, include these five B2B lead generation tactics:
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Event Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Paid Advertising
Knowing what others find most successful is helpful, but it’s only the first step. Determining which B2B lead generation tactics will bring YOU the best results calls for a bit more consideration and planning.
It is important to realize that success depends on much more than the lead generation tactic you choose. It’s the strategic PLAN you create, execute and analyze that will bring about positive results.
I understand that this may not be the answer you are looking for. It would be wonderful to find that list of tactics that are easy to employ, bring quick ROI, and result in quality leads. But it’s time to face reality… that list does not exist!
So, if you are serious about marketing tactics that will produce results, here’s the work you need to do.
How to choose the best B2B lead generation tactics for your business
STEP 1: Define goals, set budget, confirm resources & capacity
- What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Are you looking for quick lead activity or consistent, long-term lead generation? Clearly define the outcome you are looking to achieve and in what timeframe.
- How much are you able or willing to invest? Determine a budget. You cannot calculate return on investment if you don’t know how much you are spending.
- Can you execute in house or do you need outside support? Do you have personnel with the skills and expertise to strategize, execute and report?
- Who needs to be involved in this effort and how much time will they need to dedicate to ensure success?
STEP 2: Develop buyer personas
To generate leads using any marketing tactic, you need a deep understanding of your buyers. Do you know the answers to these questions?
- What do your buyers care about?
- What drives them to act?
- Where do they go for information?
- Who do they trust?
- What does their buying journey look like?
- What do they need and want to know at each phase of their buying process?
Without these insights about your ideal buyers, you cannot develop the messaging and content needed to make any B2B lead generation ideas work.
Learn more about how to develop buyer personas for your company.
B2B lead generation tactics compared
With clarity of purpose and an understanding of your buyer’s mindset, you can now make more informed decisions about which B2B lead generation tactics to put in place.
“79% of B2B marketers credit email as the most effective distribution channel for demand gen efforts.” (Content Marketing Institute, 2018)
- In most cases, email marketing is the fastest, most flexible and cost effective of the B2B lead generation tactics.
- Target your audiences with personalized messages that resonate, offer help and build trust.
- Test, measure and collect data and analytics that can inform improvements and sales efforts.
DON’T DO EMAIL MARKETING WITHOUT…
- Segmented contact lists based on buyer persona insights
- Valuable, relevant messaging and content based on your readers’ needs and wants
“More than half (51%) of B2B buyers rely on content now to research their buying decisions.” (DemandGen)
- Content marketing is one of the longer-term B2B lead generation tactics. When done well, it can yield consistent, high quality lead generation.
- This approach focuses on regularly creating and distributing valuable information to attract high-intent traffic organically.
- Content can be used in many ways: website content, email marketing, webinars, presentations, offline events, sales support, and more.
- Analytics provide insights that drive continuous improvement, strategy, sales efforts and return on investment.
DON’T DO CONTENT MARKETING WITHOUT…
- Buyer persona insights to guide the strategy and development of top, middle and bottom of the funnel content
- Strategy for content distribution and lead capture (SEO, social media, calls-to-action, forms, offers)
- An experienced content marketing copywriter
“75% of marketers believe that in the upcoming years, live events will become increasingly important to their organization’s success.” (Bizzabo, 2017)
- Event marketing allows for in-person engagement and the opportunity to make many connections at one time.
- Offline events, such as trade shows and conferences, are typically more expensive.
- Webinars, podcasts, and other online options can be more affordable.
- Both options offer great opportunities to be visible to an audience that is very engaged in your offering.
DON’T DO EVENT MARKETING WITHOUT….
- Understanding the event audience and what they expect to learn or hear
- A well-developed plan that includes goals, budget, promotion & follow up (before, during and after the event)
- Messaging and content that supports and/or continues to provide value after the event
- Alignment with sales and how they will handle the leads
Search Engine Optimization
“70 – 80% of search engine users are only focusing on the organic results.” (MarTech, 2018)
- Like content marketing, SEO is one of the longer term B2B lead generation tactics (in fact, the two go hand-in-hand).
- A well-developed search engine optimization strategy can deliver consistent, qualified traffic to your website.
- The investment is higher up front with ongoing maintenance costs for continued success, it is not a one-and-done service.
- SEO is more affordable in comparison to paid advertising.
- People tend to trust organic results more than paid results.
- Analytics provide in-depth customer data that can inform a host of marketing and sales efforts.
- SEO is very measurable in terms of return on investment.
DON’T DO SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION WITHOUT…
- Hiring a proven, SEO expert (there are a lot of car salesmen in this industry)
- A clear understanding of who you want to reach, your target audience and ideal buyers
- An understanding of what search engine optimization entails
- Patience for the process
- Did I say patience?
“The effectiveness for the top five paid advertising methods used by B2B marketers are SEM (55%), promotional posts (48%), social ads (45%), print or other offline promotion (31%), and traditional online banner ads (29%).” (Aumcore, 2018 )
- Purchasing online advertising allows you to reach the people you want, where and when you want.
- It is one of the fastest B2B lead generation tactics, delivering the quickest results.
- Advertising tends to be the most expensive tactic.
- Options include: Google PPC, social media ads (LinkedIn Facebook, Twitter, etc), display or banner ads, retargeting, and more.
DON’T DO PAID ADVERTISING WITHOUT…
- Doing the research to understand what it will take to compete for the right keywords
- Understanding the options listed above and the pros and cons of each
- Developing fabulous content, calls-to-action and landing pages. People are averse to ads so if you really want to capture their attention, you need to be spot on with what you are offering them… ahem Buyer Personas!
- A solid plan in place to follow up and nurture each and every lead
Have you noticed a pattern here?
It bears repeating that whichever B2B lead generation tactics you choose, the most important components to ensure success are the buyer insights you uncover and the content you develop to engage, impress and help them through their purchase process.
Oh, and one last DON’T DO WITHOUT that applies to all…
- A way to measure efforts… and get guidance for continuous improvement… by reviewing results on a regular basis
This is the actual secret sauce that leads to successful marketing efforts and brings about a positive return on your investment.