Finding new clients is an exciting part of owning a business. It also helps give marketers, salespeople, founders, and shareholders an overall feeling of success. However, achieving that success can be an arduous journey involving generating B2B leads, nurturing them, and then converting them into loyal customers. So, what are some expert-approved strategies for generating consistent leads that make the process more approachable?
This post will first explain what B2B leads look like and help you understand conversions. Next, we’ll break down nine expert strategies for generating B2B leads. And by the end, you’ll have nine new options to start generating leads, many of which also work together harmoniously when combined. Now, let’s define some of the vocabulary associated with B2B leads.
Understanding B2B Leads
Before diving into why generating leads is so valuable for a B2B company, we must first understand what a lead is. A B2B lead is a prospective customer interested in buying your product or service for their business. Marketing-qualified leads usually result from your online content, a webinar you hosted, a new connection you made on LinkedIn, and other types of awareness outreach.
Although they require a solution to a problem, these leads haven’t decided yet whether you can provide that solution. You want to nurture the prospective customer’s interest, but conversion isn’t yet in sight. So how do you generate and nurture marketing-qualified leads and help them convert? First, let’s talk about what “conversion” is and why we’re always trying to persuade leads to do it.
What Counts as a "Conversion"?
Before we talk about generating leads and getting them to convert, let’s go into precisely what that means. A conversion is when a user performs a desired action. Whether it’s someone who saw your ad and clicked on it or someone who landed on your website and joined your email list, both are conversions. To determine what type of conversion you’re going after, first identify your goals along the customer journey at every touchpoint.
For instance, with an awareness post on social media, perhaps you want to increase your connections. The number of connections made divided by impressions will be your conversion rate.
Another example is tracking your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Using Google Analytics, you can observe the number of impressions a post has on the search engine results page (SERPs), as well as the number of clicks. Watching those numbers will give you insights into what types of posts do well and which may need further optimization for better conversion.
Other types of conversions include shares, referrals, and of course, a purchase. You will spread out each of these conversion metrics along your customer journey and readjust your expectations according to results.
1. Increase Website Traffic With SEO
Attracting leads starts with visibility. If you’re not showing up in online searches when your leads are in the awareness and consideration stages, you’ll corner yourself into the more competitive stages that come later. So, how can you attract leads early on? The answer is by creating a strategy to increase your web traffic via SEO.
First, let’s touch on the awareness and consideration stages of the sales funnel. During the awareness stage, your ideal buyer is trying to name and understand their problem. For example, if you sell time management software, they might be researching how to optimize their spending on outsourced workers, contractors, or freelancers.
Time management software might not even be on their radar yet, but you know you can help meet their needs. Engage with them early and be the one to put the idea in their mind. You want to inform them during this stage without making a sales pitch.
This educational period creates an atmosphere of trust as your lead notices that your business is very knowledgeable and trustworthy. As a result, your business becomes the ideal provider. To create SEO-friendly content for awareness, use your content to help your leads gain a clearer picture of how they can narrow their struggle down to a few solutions.
Next, your potential buyer will be looking for options to overcome their problem. Appearing in their search results during this stage means they’ll “consider” you as one of their solution options. Consideration content can include third-party listicles on other websites, such as “Top 10 Amazon Seller Tools,” or PR headlines showcasing your business as your industry’s number one choice.
2. Use Google Ads
Even the best SEO efforts can take time to show results, so while you work on organic content, reach your target audience with ads that show up during their Google searches. Google ads can work with landing pages on your website to generate marketing-qualified leads. How does it work?
Start by Planning
First, you’ll need to create a Google Ads account and plan a budget. Start by researching keywords that your buyer persona searches for during the awareness and consideration stages. The more specific, the more likely you’ll reach high-search, low-competition keywords — which we refer to as “longtail keywords.”
A longtail keyword can act as an extension of a high competition keyword like “professional cleaning service” to look more like “professional cleaning service for large offices.” Your initial list of keywords will be a way to test what works and what doesn’t, so start broad and adjust as you begin seeing results.
Create Your Ad and Landing Page
Now that you’ve planned out some keywords, it’s time to create your ideal customer’s landing page. A landing page is a page on your website made to entice visitors to take a specific action. Users won’t find landing pages on the website menu; instead, they will land on one directly after clicking on your ad.
Create a landing page by putting yourself in your ideal buyer’s shoes. If you rent expensive equipment to dentists, for instance, create a landing page that tells them why your equipment will move their business forward, make them stand out, attract higher-paying customers, etc. On the landing page, make sure to include a solid and visible call to action (CTA). Standard calls to action include “sign up for early access,” “download our case study,” and “book a consultation,” among many others.
Once your ads are live, start tracking their performance. It will take a few days to see differences in traffic, but if, after a week, you’re not seeing anything at all, it’s time to readjust the keywords you’re targeting. Remove any underperforming keywords and add more longtail variations to those that are working well. Google Ads also offers the ability to turn on Smart Bidding to optimize your spending and performance according to keywords that work.
3. Use Remarketing
As you start attracting traffic with your content and ads, you’ll notice visits increasing, an exciting moment in your marketing efforts. But seeing those numbers fail to convert into leads can feel like a defeat. So, what can you do next? After you’ve attracted visitors, use remarketing to convert some of those abandonments into leads.
To create compelling remarketing ads, talk to your current customers and ask what features of your product made them choose you. Highlight these features to capture those runaway visitors and watch as your conversion rates start to improve.
4. Use LinkedIn To Spark New Connections
Searching for leads on social media can be beneficial, provided you know where to look. In B2C efforts, Facebook and Instagram ads may be highly effective. However, in the B2B arena, you’ll have more luck attracting leads with LinkedIn ads and organic content.
B2B lead generation on LinkedIn is achievable using your private profile — as well as those of your sales representatives — to cast a wide net and engage with thousands of possible leads. Start conversations on LinkedIn about topics that matter to your potential customers. Before actively participating, ensure that every LinkedIn profile connected to your company has well-organized information to give a likely lead what they need to know about you in one minute or less.
With a thoughtful LinkedIn groups strategy, you can start attracting a steady stream of leads for your business. Each LinkedIn profile can join up to 50 LinkedIn groups. Once your profiles are ready to be seen, weigh in on others’ questions, opinions, and contributions to the online conversation.
Getting Involved in LinkedIn Groups
While it may be tempting to join groups en masse and start sharing your content with all of them, your approach matters more than you think. Think of these groups as a networking event where people are looking more for insightful conversations and solutions and less for a business card to take home. Be both calculated and authentic as you join groups and conversations. Provide answers to add value and not just links to other discussions. The more people start to see your name, the more they’ll be curious about how else you can help them achieve their business goals.
Choosing the Right Groups
To curate which LinkedIn groups you want to join, first research where your current and potential clients spend time. Join those groups and others similar to them and keep an ear to the ground. Other group members can offer just as much value as you can, so remember to listen and encourage as much as you debate and provide opinions and facts.
5. Share Your Expertise With Guest Posts
Setting yourself up as an industry expert also means being found in reputable sources. What does this mean? While you wait for your SEO to make you visible to your target audience throughout the buyer’s journey, write for sources that already have high domain authority.
Find a trending matter in your industry and write guest posts that readers of large outlets will find interesting. Publications like Forbes and Business Insider will often take guest posts from executives if the topic is likely to garner attention and create conversations.
How will this generate B2B leads for your business? Bylines in outlets with large numbers of unique monthly users can create hundreds of visits for your website connections on LinkedIn and improve your domain authority to push your blog posts further up the SERP all in one.
First, by informing and sharing opinions on important industry topics, you’ll get comments, emails, and shares, which all add to the discussion. Observe responses, and you can even take those comments to social media, using Twitter and LinkedIn to share your answers to questions and to join in respectful, issue-focused debates. Add links to your blog and website within these discussions to improve traffic and further expand the conversation. These are all opportunities to create connections and turn them into leads.
Second, by adding backlinks to your website within your guest post, you’ll be increasing your domain authority. Domain authority is measured on a 0-100 scale, and you definitely won’t go up from a 20 to a 70 overnight, but every high-value link helps you climb higher.
Google ranks websites according to their reputation, and if a highly reputable website links to your website, it’s because it’s reputable as well. Keep high domain-authority outlets in your industry on your radar and submit guest posts to them regularly as part of your lead generation strategy.
6. Share Market Research
Industry data and statistics move the needle when executives decide whether to invest in a new tool, partnership, or any other resource to grow their company. So, how can you get ahead of those decisions and prove your authority? Do market research, run surveys, and get results that you can organize into an easy-to-digest format.
Proving that you’re ahead of the curve on market trends and that you can inform buyers to make the best decision for them will set you apart. Publish results from your research on your website and get the word out with ads. When potential leads come looking, offer it in exchange for their contact information. If the data you’ve gathered is truly valuable, they won’t bat an eye, and you’ll have a whole new influx of leads.
Suppose you don’t have the resources to create and run industry research. In that case, use one of the many companies offering this service with different sample sizes, price points, and ways of organizing results for you. From there, use your PR representative to spread the word. With good planning, you could use your case study as a way of getting featured in reputable industry sources.
7. Provide Reviews and Case Studies
Of course, showing potential buyers that you’re well-versed is impressive, but will it generate B2B leads? Pair it with a strategy of showing off your current high-value clients. Gather good reviews and case studies that you can feature on your website for potential leads to examine. Attractive and interactive content will be critical, so highlight statistics and keep small text to a minimum.
The interactive content company Rock Content does a great job of featuring case studies on their website, listing them by the client, and then breaking each down into exciting stories with attractive headlines. Take their FedEx case study, for example, which attracts the reader with headlines like “How FedEx increased 82% revenue,” “education made easy,” and “top-ranking results.” Finally, they provide three other case studies at the bottom of the page in case their readers want to learn more.
Create content spotlighting your accomplishments and celebrating your clients’ wins — not just your own. Capture leads with reviews and case studies by always keeping a CTA button nearby where they can schedule a call or leave their information. This initiative plants a desire in the reader to go after big goals with you by their side.
8. Attend Trade Shows
Online spaces are great for fostering and creating relationships, but showing up in person at industry events is often the personal touch that will set you apart. Not only do local trade shows offer the opportunity to capture new leads, but they also give you valuable insights by allowing you to talk to potential buyers face to face.
The best way to approach trade shows is to make a calendar of all upcoming events at the beginning of the year and plan how you’ll attend them. Next, design your print content, flyers, banners, and other materials, or hire a company to create, print, and deliver these materials for you. If your business is global, consider localizing your content and preparing sales executives who speak the language to attend.
Finally, show up ready to talk about how the trade show’s attendees will benefit by signing up for a trial, a consultation, or giving you their information before leaving. Play with your options, maybe offering them an exclusive consultation on the spot, giving them a personalized quote, or anything else that makes paying for that trade show entry worth it for them.
9. Host Webinars
Maybe public speaking isn’t your forte, and you want to prepare more before putting yourself — and your company’s reputation — on the line. Consider hosting a webinar and briefly showing a group of people how to address a pain point using your product or service. For example, if you offer recruiting services, teach others about the dos and don’ts of remote recruiting.
Consider offering tools and practices only available through your service as possible add-ons for leads to consider, and don’t forget to bring statistics and numbers that make the solution paint a clear picture. How will this solution change the way the audience does business? How can it help them scale? By the end of the event, you’ll have generated highly-interested leads, and you can call them to action, asking them to leave contact information for resources, questions, and additional help.
10. Use Marketing Automation for Lead Nurturing
Successfully nurturing leads on a large scale is the only way to grow steadily while also monitoring your marketing return on investment (ROI). To optimize your marketing budget, automate the process of nurturing your leads from mild interest to brand loyalty and referrals with as few resources as possible. So, how can you automate the process?
One of the most cost-effective ways of marketing automation for lead nurturing is email. Think about it: There’s one thing that your potential clients do at the beginning, middle, and end of every single day — check their email. Create a series of emails to help people who once landed on your website remember why they considered you in the first place.
Patagonia created a drip campaign according to weather. They’d send different content to users based on the weather in their location. As the weather gets colder or warmer, they provide clothing options to stock people’s wardrobes.
In this same fashion — no pun intended — companies that do boiler maintenance, for instance, could start sending out reminders to leads once temperatures drop. One way to generate these leads is by publishing year-round ads about not waiting until it’s too late to do boiler maintenance and on your landing page offering a reminder when the time is right. Then, add them to your drip campaign list and your regular lead-nurturing drip, being sure to talk about the benefits of partnering with your business.
Start Generating B2B Leads Today
With all of the above options for starting to generate B2B leads, you have a whole toolbox of resources to work with.
First of all, you’ve learned about leads and conversions to make lead generation more approachable with goals. You’ve also learned about SEO blogging for organic traffic, Google Ads for paid visits, remarketing to capture lost leads, and connecting with people on LinkedIn. Finally, you now understand the power you hold to publish market research, share case studies, attend trade shows, host webinars, and create marketing automation.
While it’s great to have a full array of options, there’s no need to put every single strategy listed into action. Try brainstorming and setting a timeline for one tactic — like your Google Ads efforts — that is the most likely to show quick results. You can also start looking for which client stories you can turn into case studies.
The above tools can often work together to create a steady stream of leads that generate revenue year-round. If you want additional support generating B2B leads, you can always contact a lead-generation expert like Redstitch. Redstich uses data and artificial intelligence to create strategic content, execute digital advertising, and optimize conversion rates.