30+ B2B Lead Generation Strategies to Try in 2020
Many marketers today don’t realize how different B2B lead generation is from B2C. Both involve targeting individual people (consumers vs decision-makers within a business) and employ many of the same strategies to do this. But even if the same tactics work for both, B2B requires a different approach to succeed at lead generation.
With that in mind, here’s a comprehensive list of 30+ different ways to generate leads with tips and advice for targeting B2B audiences:
- Create ultimate guides of niche content (aka a Content Hub)
Six hundred word blog posts aren’t going to help you become a thought leader in your niche. In-depth guides will. Long form content (2000+ words) tends to rank well in search engine results, mostly because it answers the question of the searcher….in full. They’re also an opportunity for marketers to give comprehensive answers to their target audience’s questions. Once you have a large body of valuable content on your site, B2B audiences will start thinking of your brand first when looking for solutions to their business needs. Categorization of this content into Hubs is also a smart tactic coming into 2021.
- Create high quality lead magnets
Lead magnets are an incredibly valuable way to capture contact information and learn more about your audience. But there’s so much marketing content out there today, you have to create something really valuable to stand out. So think beyond a simple ultimate guide or report. Create something really valuable or really novel, like a free webinar, calculator tool, or online quiz.
Dropbox is a great example of a B2B business that regularly creates quizzes and other interactive content to attract clicks and learn about their leads:
- Invest more in personalization
According to Accenture, 58% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when a retailer recommends options based on their past purchases or preferences. You can do the same tactics on the B2B front.
Personalizing your B2B marketing content to the interests and needs of specific audience members is a valuable way to generate and convert leads that may be actively pursued by a number of your competitors.
In the B2B space, you can use behavioral cues or personalization technology (like Terminus) to highlight the most relevant benefits of your products/services during the ABM (account based marketing) process. The possibilities are endless. Especially when you utilize your CRM data.
- Offer something for free
Any B2B lead generation strategy can be improved by offering something free to your audience. Freebies and giveaways aren’t just for B2C. Key decision makers often want to test out a product/service before recommending it to business leaders. You can facilitate that.
The kind of free offer you should create really depends on your business type. It could be a product demo, free consultation, free trial, freemium software demo, etc.
- Invest in link building strategies
Getting other websites to link back to yours creates new opportunities to attract traffic. Link building is also one of the most important rank factors for content in Google search.
Link building can happen organically, but it’s better if you have a dedicated strategy for it. Promoting your content on social media and asking influencers to share is a start. Guest posting on high traffic publications can help you build your brand authority and links at the same time (be careful not to exploit this tactic).
Lastly and most important, creating unique, quotable, share-worthy content encourages others to share and link to it. Publishing unique data insights and case studies can easily help you get links back to your content as well.
Bonus idea: When you create a large piece of custom content, you can create custom images presenting your data with your logo inside. People may share those images later getting your brand out there a little further.
Bonus #2: If you mention someone or a company inside a post, Tweet @ them or contact them to let them know you did. There’s a good chance they, at the least, will share it. At best, they will give you a reciprocal link on their site as well.
- Repurpose old content to scale your strategy
Content marketing requires businesses to have a steady stream of fresh content to be effective. To get the most value out of your marketing content, it’s worthwhile to regularly repurpose it. This can be something as simple as updating an old blog post with new data and republishing it.
Or finding your most popular content that may bring in a ton of web traffic, and updating that to a latest version. The easiest way is to use Google Analytics by going to Behavior —> Site Content —-> Landing Page and then searching by “blog” or a specific keyword you want to segment by.
You can also convert content into something else, such as turning a series of blog posts into an eBook or a webinar presentation into a slide deck. This will help you reach a wider audience with the content you already have.
- Create an app
Creating your own business app has a lot of benefits as a lead generation strategy. Having a presence on Google Play and the App Store helps you reach a wider audience in a less-crowded marketing environment. Once people download your app, you can use it to collect relevant information about leads and deliver marketing messages to move them down the sales funnel. A quality app can serve as a valuable lead magnet and tool to convert leads into sales.
- Give your audience a good reason to sign up
How often do people think “I like this business. I’m going to join their mailing list.”
It’s not good enough to just have a CTA asking people to sign up for your newsletter. You need to have a compelling message that illustrates the value of joining your mailing list.
Here’s a great example of a compelling CTA that appears right at the top of Neil Patel’s website:
- Automate your email campaigns
If you want to convert the most leads with email marketing, automation is a key B2B lead generation strategy to invest in. Anyone with an email list should use at least the basic email automation best practices.
Make sure your marketing emails are timely and relevant, using all the best automation features. For example, you can segment your audience based on specific form fills and on-site behavior to deliver a more relevant message.
You can also trigger emails to help nurture and convert leads (send out welcome emails, cart abandonment emails, onboarding emails, etc). We like Keap, Hubspot & Marketo but they may be too pricey for your average small business.
One of the less expensive options out there is ActiveCampaign and they have made a ton of changes over the past couple of years that are worth checking out.
- Run reengagement campaigns
An email list of 500 engaged subscribers is way more valuable than a list of 10,000 subscribers who rarely open your emails. So not only should you focus on growing your email list, you should also launch campaigns to keep up engagement.
If subscribers have been on your mailing list for a while and fail to interact with your engagement efforts, then consider removing them from your list entirely. That way you can focus all your email marketing efforts on leads you can actually nurture.
- Create a referral program
Current customers are an often underutilized resource for B2B lead generation. Creating a referral program is a great way to use email marketing to get more leads with the help of your customers.
Lots of major B2B businesses have referral programs. All you need to do is offer a worthwhile incentive to encourage users to get their friends and coworkers to sign up. PayPal, for example, once had a referral program where users could earn $5 for each person they successfully got to sign up (up to $100). Dropbox also gives away extra storage space for referrals.
- Send cold emails
Cold pitching is an often overlooked email marketing strategy for lead generation. Instead of convincing people to sign up for your mailing list, cold emailing involves reaching out directly to people who might be interested in your products/services.
Developing an effective cold pitching strategy can get your business a lot of new leads and sales. The key is to identify the kind of B2B customers that would benefit most from your business offerings, then target them with an optimized email message and an offer they can’t refuse.
A really unique tool that we like using is GetEmails.com. After you have installed their snippet on your website, you’ll be able to match about 15% of your anonymous website visitors, get their emails and some additional info. You can send those people cold emails thanking them for visiting your website.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Improve on-site user experience (UX)
Most marketers think of on-site user experience as separate to CRO, but it really isn’t. It doesn’t matter how optimized your landing page content is — you won’t get conversions if UX is poor.
The first UX factor to consider is site speed. Use Google Page Speed Insights to identify issues and opportunities to optimize.
The next thing to consider is how your content elements appear on different size devices. If you receive a lot of traffic from mobile, you should optimize your content and CTA for this, even if your site is already responsive.
- Use heatmaps to pinpoint UX issues
Analytics metrics like number of site visitors, bounce rate and conversions can tell you a lot about your audience. But they don’t give a full picture of on site behavior. Heatmaps are a visual tool that can help you track how users interact with clickable elements besides links. These offer valuable insights you can use to A/B test different landing page designs/elements to maximize conversions overall.
One of our favorite tools is called CrazyEgg.
- Create a sense of scarcity/urgency
Lots of people who visit your website and are interested in what you have to offer will still navigate away without converting. You need to give them a strong reason to take action now and sign up. The best way to do this is by creating a sense of scarcity or urgency.
Here’s an example of a B2B webinar landing page that creates a sense of urgency with a countdown timer:
Offering anything for a limited time or in a limited amount can encourage your audience to act now and convert.
- Optimize your contact forms
Making even minor changes to improve your contact forms can help your conversion rate immensely. Numerous case studies in marketing show that something as simple as changing the button color or CTA text can increase conversions 100-fold.
A/B test different elements of your contact forms to figure out what resonates most with your audience. Change your form copy, button text, color, position, etc. Try to minimize the number of form fills people need to fill out to sign up. If you really need to ask for extra information (e.g. business industry, revenue, location, etc.), test it out against a form that just asks for an email address and first name. Then you can see what impact these changes have on conversions.
One of our favorite lead form tools is leadform.ly . You can see some of their forms on our site like the sample one below.
- Position CTAs strategically
Where you put your CTA can have a huge impact on conversion rate also. Studies have shown that landing pages with CTAs below the fold can generate up to 220% more leads. But you should really conduct your own experiments and see how your unique audience reacts.
Also think about promoting your lead magnets beyond their landing pages. You can position sign-up CTAs throughout your site as pop ups, banners, within your blog posts, etc.
- Engage prospects with customer chat
Lots of B2B businesses now have customer chat boxes right on their website. This is a great way to engage new site visitors and learn more about them as potential leads. You can set up customer chat using AI chatbots or your real customer service representatives. It’s also possible to use your messenger bot on Facebook Messenger, broadening your reach to audiences on a new platform. AI chatbots can help your audience learn more about your products/services, field customer service inquiries, and more.
- Encourage online reviews
Encouraging your happy customers to leave good reviews on platforms around the web have a lot of benefits for CRO. For one, it’s possible to embed Yelp, Google and other reviews on your landing pages, lending some social proof to your business.
Encouraging positive Google reviews in particular is good for SEO as well. When someone searches for your business or businesses like yours near them, Google ratings appear right alongside search results. The same goes for major review sites like G2Crowd:
You can’t get prospects to convert into leads on your website if they’re not clicking through from search results in the first place. So do what you can to keep your review ratings high to encourage clicks.
- Target long tail keywords
Most businesses that invest in paid search advertising target audiences that are ready to convert with bottom-of-the-funnel keywords. These are often expensive keywords to target with high competition. But that leaves a huge opportunity to target often neglected top-of-the-funnel keywords. You can generate lots of B2B leads using targeted ads to reach people who are just starting to learn about your niche products/services, before they’re ready to convert.
Use a long tail keyword research tool like Keyword Planner, AnswerthePublic.com or Keywordtool.io to find long tail keyword ideas to target. Here are some long tail keywords that come up when you type “marketing automation” into Answer the Public:
- Optimize for intent
Lots of B2B marketers today target a broad list of keywords but fail to create sufficiently unique ad copy and landing pages to convert the most leads. Each keyword you target can tell you a lot about user intent. Say you’re a SaaS business targeting long-tail keywords like “what is marketing automation.” Someone using this search query isn’t looking to purchase marketing automation software today — they just want to learn more about it. Your ad copy and landing page should reflect this need. Using the same landing pages for all your target keywords greatly diminishes the relevance of your ads, and the likelihood leads will convert.
- Build and maintain negative keyword lists
Creating negative keyword lists is essential if you’re planning on generating leads through paid search ads. If you’re not careful, your ads can appear for all sorts of irrelevant keywords. Building negative keyword lists helps you avoid this issue. Keep close track for what queries your ads appear for and regularly add to your negative keyword lists as needed.
In the B2B space, lots of people looking for jobs in your industry could end up clicking on your ads. So be sure to add common career-related terms to your negative keyword lists (e.g. hiring, internship, salary, recruiting, career, etc).
- Target competitor keywords
Targeting competitor keywords is a great way to generate leads from users who are searching to learn more about other businesses in your industry. When someone searches for a brand name, it’s common practice for other advertisers to target it with ad copy like “[brand name] alternative” or similar. Targeting competitor keywords is also a great way to expand your keyword lists and broaden your reach.
There are lots of tools out there that can help you discover competitor keywords to target, but Keyword Planner is a free and easy option. Log into Google Ads, then under Tools & Settings, click Keyword Planner.
Select “Discover new keywords.”
On the next page select “Start with a website.” Then type in the domain address of a competitor website. Click Get Results.
Next you’ll see a list of keywords associated with your competitor site, including their average monthly searches and competition:
- Create remarketing campaigns
Remarketing campaigns can help you generate and convert more B2B leads. Say someone clicked on your PPC ad but never converted on your website. You could target this person with relevant remarketing ads on other platforms around the web, including websites (with the Google Display Network) and Facebook. This gives you an extra chance to capture contact information from interested audience members, turning them into leads you can nurture.
- Take advantage of YouTube: RLSA
Remarketing lists for search ads or RLSA are totally under utilized. While most B2B marketing campaigns and sales cycles could be months, this is a good layer for your arsenal. First you need to sync in your Google Ads with your Google Analytics account and then start creating segments of who you are going to retarget. Some common ones are: 1: People who almost convert or 2: people visiting specific pages that show intent.
- Use viral marketing tactics to get shares
If you want your social content to stand out and get attention, you need to keep up with trends in social conversations and make efforts to participate. While most viral marketing content comes from the B2C space, B2B businesses also have a huge opportunity here. The best approach is to follow social conversations and riff off of famous memes and pop culture references.
A great example of a B2B business that does this right is cloud-based invoice and payment platform Taulia. They create viral videos that spoof off of other popular B2C video campaigns, such as DSTV’s “Get rid of cable” commercials and Dos Equis’ “the most interesting man in the world” campaign.
Their video efforts drove them $125M in pipeline:
- Promote your lead gen content on Facebook and Twitter
Social media marketing is a great way to broaden your reach and attract traffic back to your website. When doing this, it’s important to capture the contact information of new site visitors. The best way to do this is by promoting your lead generation content on social media. Consider taking advantage of paid promotion options, such as boosting your posts or using lead generation ads on Facebook and Twitter.
- Join online communities (or create your own)
Facebook and LinkedIn Groups offer lots of opportunities to cut through the noise on social media and reach your audience. With a simple search, you can discover numerous relevant groups that include key decision makers and even leaders you want to target with your B2B business. If you want to discover new leads and engage them even more, you can also create your own groups relevant to your target audience.
- Publish infographics
Visual content tends to perform well on social media. Infographics are a great option to engage B2B audiences with visual content. Infographics can also help your business build a presence on visual-focused social platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. Create infographics that visualize unique data insights from your own research studies. This can increase shares, links and attract more visitors back to your original content. You can get people on Fiverr or Upwork to create custom made graphics for your B2B company fast and not too expensive.
- Create LinkedIn Ads for B2B
LinkedIn is probably the most valuable social media platform for B2B marketers. You can use LinkedIn Ads to target businesses and key employees with sponsored content, sponsored messaging, text ads and dynamic ads. Here’s what sponsored messages look like in LinkedIn inboxes:
Audience targeting features allow you to target certain positions within a business, as well as bid against other advertisers in an auction.
- Invest in video marketing
Videos are an essential marketing medium on social media today. Videos have always gotten more shares and likes than other types of content on Facebook. Now other platforms are making video marketing more important (think Instagram Stories, Snapchat and TikTok). Producing Facebook Live videos is another great way to capture and engage audiences using video.
- Work with micro-influencers to recommend your business
Consumers regularly turn to social media to get advice and product recommendations from others. If you want your audience to take your brand’s message into serious consideration, it’s best if they hear it from their peers. This is easy enough to do if you work with micro-influencers to recommend your business. There are numerous platforms out there that can help you connect with and hire regular people to promote your marketing message on social media.
Why not let Google understand your page content, structure and site elements easier? Schema Data markup is the best way to do so. Before, you’d have to know how to code or fully understand the specific ways to install this markup on your pages. Thankfully, InLinks created an easy to use, automated way to roll this process out to all of your site pages. Why do this?
- Increases your chances of making into the Knowledge Graph
- Increased CTR and brand awareness
- Possible improvements of your rankings
The list of B2B lead generation strategies is always growing. There’s so many valuable ways to identify leads and nurture them using content marketing, social media, paid advertisements, and other tactics. If you want to build an effective and efficient lead generation strategy for your business, it’s best to try out different channels, mediums and strategies. Monitor results to see which tactics resonate the most with your target audience. Then you can work to optimize these strategies to maximize their value for B2B lead generation.
Dustin DeTorres is the CEO of DeTorres Group, a B2B Lead Generation & digital marketing agency that’s been helping B2B companies across the world since 2008. To learn more about Dustin DeTorres, click here.