As a B2B marketer, I know there's no time for the waiting game when it comes to growth. Your competitors are constantly planning and implementing new growth strategies. You have to stay on top of the trends too.
I have firsthand experience deploying B2B lead generation at a number of venture-backed startups in San Francisco. Most recently, I grew a B2B SaaS startup from $20,000 to $300,000 in monthly recurring revenue in 12 months – entirely off of inbound marketing lead generation.
I was able to achieve this success by utilizing the four lead generation strategies listed below.
1. Create and share content.
The cornerstone of any online growth strategy is content. You're going to need some form of content if you want B2B customers, so it makes sense to double down on this part from the offset. However, generating copy just for the sake of publishing something won't cut it.
Leverage your various pieces of content (including videos, podcasts and graphics) by marketing them beyond your own website through guest posts and social media content creation. LinkedIn is especially useful for B2B growth, so make sure you are posting valuable content there.
In general, tailor your content strategy to your brand and business goals. To give you an idea of where to start, here are the three main areas to focus on:
- High-quality blog posts. By creating exceptional, SEO-friendly, value-driven content, you'll bring in more visitors to your site.
- Content marketing for lead generation. Create and share content that isn't necessarily self-promotional, but stimulates an interest in your products and services.
- Compelling sales copy. Develop targeted paid ad campaigns, remarketing banners and landing pages that encourage users to take action.
Entice users to your site with great content and promise to solve one of their problems. Whether you're leveraging SEO, paid ads or affiliates, your B2B customers have pain points you can solve. Offer visitors the solution to their problems in the form of a how-to guide, a checklist or a template in exchange for their names and email addresses. Also, consider utilizing webinar software to host an educational workshop.
From there, enter them into an email series that can deliver the free content. The email series serves to contribute to the number of touchpoints, add other calls to action and drive sales.
For best results, make sure your lead capture forms are prominent and easy to fill out, use exit-intent pop-ups like Hello Bar, and always ask your audience to take a specific action on your blog posts and pages.
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2. Build trust and resonate with your customer.
B2B growth marketing has shifted toward a more personalized approach over the last few years. Get into your customer's frame of mind to better serve them. They want to feel like you really understand their problems – and that you offer a sound solution.
Build trust with social proof.
B2B customers are skeptical of what they find online. Unfortunately, the internet has become a place where untrustworthy folk take advantage of unsuspecting business people. Potential clients are more likely to convert when they have proof you can deliver the goods.
Social proof is an effective way to grow a business in any industry. Demonstrate social proof by ...
- Showing social likes and shares metrics
- Having a testimonial page
- Using testimonials from influencers in your industry
- Writing up case studies showing positive results
- Sharing media coverage and exposure
- Adding live chat to your site
You might have to create an incentive (such as a discount on your services or a gift card to a popular store) to get the first few testimonials from your customers, but it's going to be worth it in the long-term. Always think about what you can do to demonstrate that you have a valid business.
Segment your audience.
Where is your customer in the buying process? Serving up sales pages and ads when a customer is just looking for some information can increase your bounce rate and there's a chance you might lose them forever.
Whether you have a large email list or you're planning on doing some outreach, one template or sales page isn't going to work for every customer on your journey to B2B growth.
Start by segmenting your audience into cold and warm leads. Then you can funnel them into the appropriate channels depending on if they need to know how and why you can help them or how they can do business with you.
Most email marketing software allows you to segment your audience by preference, interests and roles. This way, you can personalize every email you send to hit on specific pain points and areas of interest.
Small touches like using a person's first name, mentioning something you've researched about the business and offering some value in your outreach will go a long way too.
Optimize, test and calibrate.
Use landing page software to optimize your landing pages for one specific audience or call to action. This may translate into using more sales terms instead of long blocks of informative copy. Remember, this is for B2B growth. You don't need to explain the fine details of a business process that your reader probably already understands. Keep it short and sweet.
Make the page's purpose clear and test its conversion rates. For one, do you know how many clicks it takes for your potential customer to go from the landing page to a "Thank you for signing up" page? The few actions a person must take to complete your goal, the more likely they are to convert later.
Use tools such as Google Optimize or Instapage to run tests and improve the performance of your campaigns.
3. Get back to basics with your marketing mix.
Just because a method is old doesn't make it any less effective. Classic B2B growth tactics still work when you use them right. Target specific potential client groups and use direct mail in unison with display ads and emails.
After they see your personalized display ads and emails, send your B2B targets pieces of direct mail that include marketing materials such as gift cards, notepads, pens or cool gadgets.
This method of account-based marketing can help you acquire the clients of your dreams and fuel your B2B growth.
Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are great for B2C outreach, but not B2B. Your presence on LinkedIn is what is essential for generating B2B leads.
Create a detailed business profile and make it very clear what services you offer and how you're helping other businesses. Participate in groups and involve yourself in discussions. People love to see a thought leader discussing topics related to their work. But, don't be self-promotional or try to sell in groups. Instead, bring value to the group by being helpful and establishing your expertise.
Make connections and scope out other businesses and professionals. Reach out to businesses you want to work with, and by using the content marketing methods discussed above, you can determine how warm they are as a lead.
Pro tip: Use programs like ContactOut to extract the decision-maker's email address.
Form strategic partnerships.
Forming B2B strategic partnerships and aligning your marketing tactics with other businesses that have similar goals to yours is a powerful way to foster B2B growth, but it can be difficult to navigate. Ideally, you want to work with other businesses that are not direct competitors and have good reputations.
Work with your sales teams to identify your optimal targets, then leverage digital marketing tactics to build awareness. Finish your marketing campaign with a piece of promotional content that makes your prospective customers feel good. Going old-school with one piece of direct mail sent to the right person can result in an exceptional connection.
4. Host high-touch events.
Branding is critical to the success of any business, especially in the B2B world. Your brand is what makes that all-important first impression on a new customer, and it determines how people perceive your business over time.
If you want to establish a lasting memory and brand recognition, utilize high-touch events to meet your targets where they're at. Bring out the big guns and set up a puppy-petting pen at your next conference. Invite your clients to a Lakers game. Set up a bounce house or giant ball pit at an industry event.
It may take up more of your marketing budget, but the lifetime value of the client can far outweigh the initial cost.
High-touch events are particularly important when growing the B2B element of your business, as other organizations understand branding on a deeper level than consumers. B2B buyers want to work with other businesses that have strong branding and creative marketing mindsets.
Effective high-touch events can do wonders for your brand, helping you do the following:
- Build trust and credibility
- Help you stand out from the crowd
- Attract the right customers
- Encourage return customers and earn referrals
All the B2B growth tactics covered in this post connect. The best way to approach each of these tactics is to build a strategy that centers on a unified process rather than working on each point as a stand-alone tactic. These are proven methods that help marketing leaders achieve explosive growth, and they can help your B2B goals too.
With clear branding and a carefully planned content marketing strategy, you start establishing your business as an authority, building trust and forming relationships with other businesses in your industry.
From there, it comes down to how well you can demonstrate that you understand the needs of your customers. Set some KPIs to measure what's working and what isn't. Then double down your efforts on what's bringing in the most business.