Introduction to B2B Lead Generation
Almost every C-Level executive in a B2B company found themselves, at one stage or another, wondering if the money they're spending on digital marketing is worth the investment. Otherwise put, is their investment generating quality leads that actually turn into customers eventually and they are seeing positive ROI on their investment.
B2B lead generation is a great challenge for most companies and marketers. The main reason is that B2B buyers go through a typical buyer's journey that is much more sophisticated than a B2C buyer's journey. This post will walk you through B2B lead generation tactics that are scalable.
The volume challenge
Most B2B Marketers rush to set up campaigns on Google AdWords, using keywords that are directed to their exact solutions or services. Such precise keywords will usually prove to be very expensive (prices per click are usually double digited and up) due to extremely low search volumes (thousands of monthly searches at the most globaly) and high competition (classic case red ocean vs. blue ocean).
Search volumes are a given reality that the advertiser has no direct control over - once maximized, scaling becomes an issue.
When hitting the search volume glass ceiling, marketers turn to display advertising and launch direct response campaigns on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook etc. The intent is to apply sales messaging that will catch the attention of relevant prospect's and help turn them into leads.
Such campaigns rarely prove effective since the chance that the person clicking on the ads actually needs the advertiser's solution, at the exactly time that they see the ads are very slim.
The result: money is being spent , low quality/un-nurtured leads are generated and handed over to sales. Sales waste their time on irrelevant leads that do not become customers. This situation causes the classic sales and marketing face-off, blames are being thrown around and the business goals never end up being met.
By that stage, most B2B Marketers start pulling hair off their scalps trying to figure out how to scale lead generation campaigns beyond the basic search terms solution, CEO's are considering to abandon marketing and there is a total chaos in the company.
The solution: Zooming out
There is a way to broaden display campaigns to include people who are actively looking for a solution, or are on the verge of doing that (bear with me).
The secret lies in an in-depth buyer persona research aimed at unveiling your ideal customers' unique interest, habits, daily challenges and needs. Figure out their typical buyer's journey. What are the symptoms current prospects express to the problems that your business can help them solve?
Let's take as an example a company selling CRM solutions. An average CMO would set up narrow campaigns targeting "CRM solutions". A pro CMO would figure out what symptoms their buyer persona would express, and could lead them to consider a CRM solution. Those could be sales managers looking for "company sales pipeline management tips" or "how to segment leads and opportunities using Microsoft Excel" etc. By zooming out and understanding what prospects go through before deciding on a certain solution, new ways of generating quality leads become relevant. Think of the hidden potential you can fulfill by broadening your messages to entail all stages of the buyer's journey (instead of focusing on the decision stage alone).
Application in search engines
Tap into your customer’s mind. Understand their buyer's journey and create blog content for those stages of their journey that occur before they would search for your brand or exact solution.
Add CTAs to these blog posts, leading the readers to a premium content offer (such as an eBook) that’s contextual to the post they are currently reading.
Organic traffic from search engines tends to have high conversion rates. Allocate SEO attention to getting ranked under longer tail, awareness and consideration stage keywords. This will prove easier than getting ranked on narrow terms since the competition on these terms will be much lower.
Don't count on taking the blogging approach using PPC - driving traffic to a blog post will prove expensive. The conversion rate to leads will usually be low. With an average blog post CTR on CTA of 5% , and an average 50% conversion rate of a content offer landing page, you would need to generate 40 clicks in order to convert a visitor to a lead. That could sum up to 80-100USD per lead (depends on the keywords) - not super appealing.
Using PPC, the best option is to drive traffic directly to a content offer landing page via keywords that are related to the specific content offer. You should expect to see a conversion rate of 15-20% (depending on how well you know your way around the PPC field).
At an average of 2-4USD per click you can generate leads at 10-25USD per lead. Remember – those leads are not ready to buy. Make sure to nurture them properly and push them down the buyers journey before trying to sell them.
Application via display advertising:
After you mapped out who your buyer persona is try to target those exact people on LinkedIn and Facebook (LI will usually be more precise, but more expensive). Try to promote the same top of the funnel content offers you are trying to promote via your blog posts or PPC activities. Make sure to use vivid creatives and sharp copy to entice users to click. The CTR on Facebook and LinkedIn (especially on B2B) is a major factor for click costs and derived from that - the CPL.
Additional option for display advertising is utilizing native advertising such as Outbrain or Taboola. Driving low cost traffic(0.25$-1$ per click) to your most converting blog posts could be very effective, especially when trying to scale further.
Using display advertising is a great way to push the user down the buyer's journey. For companies with thousands of contacts at different stages, display could assist in pushing them further by using remarketing and promoting middle and bottom of the funnel content offers. If you can segment your contacts and understand exactly what phase each contact is at, this method will be very cost efficient for you.
B2B lead generation requires a different more subtle and customer centric approach. If you truly understand your buyer personas and understand their challenges and needs, you can provide them the value they are seeking for, build trust and authority in their eyes, and eventually be asked by them what you are selling, instead of trying to force them to buy from you at a stage when they aren't ready or interested.
If you found this useful, and you're curious to learn more and find out how to step up your b2b lead geneation, we invite you to download our 30 greatest lead generation tips, tricks and ideas. Get your FREE copy now >>