B2B lead generation isn’t as easy as it first appears. It’s different enough from B2C lead generation that it can feel like you’re starting all over. We want to share five ways that we at Adficient generate B2B leads, but before we do let’s have a look at why they’re good.
All lead generation is about having the right offer at the right time to give to the right person. You have to keep asking yourself “Who am I selling to?”. If you aren’t placing your offer in front of the right people at a time and when they’re willing to buy, all your ad spend will be fruitless. This also assumes that you’re tailoring your offers appropriately.
This is crucial. Many people lose money trying these strategies either by not understanding them well enough or by not understanding how much each customer lead is costing them. If you’re paying $10 per conversion and only getting $5 per sale, you’ll be out of business fast.
Now, not all of these methods require a lot of money, but the cheaper the method the more time and effort you’ll need to put into it to get quality results. Also, a competitor who is getting more profit per customer can afford to spend more money on ads getting more customers. Thus, you have to take into consideration whether or not your competitors can outspend you and tailor your strategy accordingly.
With these ideas in mind, let’s take a look at the five methods:
Search Engine Pay-Per-Click Ads
Google is the obvious king here, but the same principles apply to any search engine PPC campaign. This is the number one way that B2B companies get online leads these days. Unfortunately, it’s also a really easy way to lose your shirt if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Running a PPC campaign is a lot like flying a plane. If you know what you’re doing you’ve got the fastest route around. If you don’t, you’ll crash. Your ad, your offer, and everything else in your funnel has to work together. You can take the time to learn how to do it on your own or you can pay another company to run it for you. Either way, you will still need to pay enough money to Google to run the ads at a good position.
SEO and Organic Search
SEO can work, but it is not easy. Most SEO strategies are like a mirage in a desert. Companies chase that top position but find they’re stuck and can’t move up to the next level. To get to the top position requires nothing less than a fully-developed SEO strategy. It’s not just backlinks or content marketing or guest posting or technical tweaks. It’s all of the above and more.
Content marketing is the current darling of SEO and we love it, but it’s not just plopping words down in a blog. Every piece of content needs to have a purpose and make people take notice. Try taking your content and asking someone to read it. Watch their reactions. You can even do this on your Facebook wall. If you get any reaction less than “wow, that was awesome”, it’s not going to work. Consider neutral reactions to be bad.
SEO strategies are free but doing everything necessary to run a good strategy will take a lot of time. This is why many companies choose to outsource their SEO. Be prepared to put in a lot of work on your own or hire a dedicated resource, if you choose to do it yourself.
Facebook advertising is promoted in some quarters as the next big and cheap way to get rich. Let me tell you right now that Facebook ads will not make you rich. However, it can bring you leads. If search engine PPC is like flying a plane, Facebook PPC is like flying the newest test plane.
Facebook is also a much more difficult place to get attention. When people search for something on a search engine they are on a quest. They want to solve a problem. This is a great time to put an ad in front of someone and why Google wins hand over fist. But Facebook has a lot of different distractions. It’s more like trying to advertise in a bar while your target is talking to all their friends. Your offer better be extremely good or no one will pay attention and you’ll lose money.
Also, forget trying to use Facebook organically to get attention anymore. It’s nice to have a page but it won’t be a lead generator without paying them these days for their advertising options. This is another area where it may be better to hire a professional rather than learning how to do it on your own unless you have the time to do your homework.
Going to your leads
Unlike B2C, a lot of B2B transactions happen in face-to-face environments. Let’s say that you’re selling inventory and order management software for modern merchants. If you can go to an event where a lot of people in the audience are hanging out together, like a trade show or a conference, you can get some excellent leads.
Yes, you have to be good at networking and putting yourself out there. Yes, these events can be quite expensive. However, if they’re at a hotel you may be able to get away with hanging at the bar and waiting for the crowd. If they’re local, all the better. You may be able to get a bunch of really good leads for the cost of driving to the hotel.
Business people at conventions are much more relaxed and open to new things, especially after a drink or two. Turn on the charm and go sell!
Running a blog
There are multiple if not hundreds of ways of optimizing your website to convert visitors into leads and plenty of new techniques appearing daily. It’s a different story when it comes to bringing the potential buyer to your house. You already advertise with PPC ads, do SEO and Social Media, you probably go to tradeshows and conferences, now it’s time to spread the word with your own voice.
What do you need to do? Of course the easiest and most convenient option is talk about it in a blog, such as your own company blog or industry sites.
It shouldn’t be advertising services your company provides, but a place where you share news, insights and advice to potential customers who may find you searching for answers or when someone shares your blog post over social media.
It’s the online place when you are face-to-face with potential customers and where your content needs to both plant the seeds of future leads with the information on your blog. Always remember to collect and convert with one line call-to-actions where you explain how the information combined with your product (or service capabilities) yields the best results.
About the author
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 14 years of experience in searchmarketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google.
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