Once you've created your SMART marketing goals and defined what your business wants to achieve, our business lead generation ideas will help you achieve those goals!
For most businesses, your end goal will probably involve improving your marketing output to increase the number of leads you get. Those leads then turn to customers. To do that you need to use lead generation tactics to improve the number of leads you get.
Therefore, coming up with a set of B2B lead generation ideas is essential. However, identifying and applying these ideas can be a challenge, because there are so many techniques to take into consideration.
Here are a few challenges b2b businesses face when trying to generate new leads:
- Struggling to find the right tactic to generate leads
- Not having the right person to do it
- Measuring lead success
- Funding lead generation
- Creating the right content to send to leads
- Implementing a plan even when it's agreed
B2B Lead Generation Ideas That Work
Here are some great marketing lead generation ideas that can help you achieve your SMART goals:
1. Make inbound your online strategy
As we keep reinforcing in all our blogs, inbound is the method for generating better leads. Stop wasting your time and practise the philosophy!
Firstly, learn about the inbound method. You can do that by going over to our premium resource, which covers everything.
Secondly, create buyer personas. Again, you can do that by reading our premium resource and downloading our buyer persona template.
Thirdly, execute a marketing strategy using content marketing, social media and other lead generation methods we've noted here. And finally, watch those leads come in!
2. Prospecting on LinkedIn
Have you ever thought about LinkedIn as a lead generation tool? We don't mean sending prospects arrogant emails about how amazing your product is; we mean thoughtfully connecting with them and offering them valuable information.
LinkedIn prospecting is one of the easiest B2B marketing lead generation ideas to practise because it's free (to a certain extent), easy to use and the network holds thousands of potential customers that are a simple message away. You have a unique opportunity to target specific users in different sectors or organisations.
Here are a few tips for LinkedIn prospecting:
- Develop relevant connections and create relationships with them
- Enter LinkedIn groups and engage in industry conversation
- Get to know your target company through its employees - If the company has a sales manager, they would probably deal with CRM management
- Reach the decision maker with relevant content and helpful information
More information about how you can use LinkedIn for your business.
3. Create infographics
When it comes to B2B marketing lead generation ideas, infographics are the royalty among marketers. With an infographic you can present complex data in a simple form, giving readers access to information and stats that are useful to them.
To come up with a great idea for your infographic, you have two obstacles to overcome. First, you need to propose a creative idea for your infographic. Secondly, you need to find a skilful designer to construct your ideas.
Infographics are flexible so you can reuse and repurpose them as you see fit. For example, if you have a large infographic, crop bits and use it in your social media strategy. You can release the full graphic at the end of the week to keep readers interested.
You can also pitch your infographic to sites for guest blogs, where you can offer link exchanges and increase your profile on the web.
4. Launch/update your company blog
Blogging is an art. However, this doesn’t mean that you should treat it as an impossible marketing method. While it's one the most effective lead generation ideas for B2B, it takes time and you need to be patient.
You need to invest a great deal of time for blogging to show its pulling power. When it comes to writing blogs it isn't that businesses aren't interested in doing it, it's managing the time of employees and ensuring there are necessary resources to build the blog.
Blogs are taking on the form of small 'media centres', with video, premium resources, images and podcasts bulking up written content. You don't have to include all of the above, but you need to start somewhere. Get some content out there and worry about refining it at a later date.
5. Exchange premium content for user data
This is one of the simplest and most effective lead generation ideas for B2B and will form part of your b2b content marketing strategy. As soon as your users fill in a form on your site, you allow them to access or download premium content you want to exchange.
One way to apply this approach is by taking advantage of tools such as Unbounce, which helps you create pages to offer your premium content.
Furthermore, you can integrate this tool into email delivery software like MailChimp. This way you can simplify the process, creating an auto-responder email option that follows users who’ve signed for your premium content.
6. Search engine optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is undoubtedly one of the most popular and vital lead generation ideas for B2B. SEO means optimising your content for search engines like Google. Google has certain criteria and guidelines (which only Google know, but we make educated guesses) you need to optimise your site. If you meet this criterion, your content has a better chance of appearing on the top page of Google.
However, you should be aware that the modern SEO is a complex and demanding activity, which requires the involvement of proven professionals in this field. Optimising your website by following search engine requirements can be a great way to get new leads, but only if you do it properly.
Here are a few factors that affect your SEO ranking:
- Website speed - The quicker your site, the better Google indexes it, meaning more traffic!
- Website design - If your site is easy to navigate, more people will visit it.
- Keyword research - Knowing what your customers search for means you're more likely to appear in their search queries.
- Content Quality - Content quality is the magnet for leads, if people believe in what you're saying, they're more likely to follow you.
The chances are you'll be able to control some of those factors, but other will be out of your reach. You may have a top-class writer, but they don't know how to research keywords. SEO is a full-blend of marketing and design, and you should consider all factors when building your profile.
7. Marketing automation
If you're encouraging users to enter their email address for premium content, you should be doing something with that email. Marketing automation takes away the manual process of sifting through your contacts. You determine what pieces of content your prospects get based on what they sign up to.
For example, if your customers enter their information and download a guide about SEO, what happens next? What other pieces of content do you have? Would you send them something about social media? Or how to write SEO focused blogs?
Whatever you send them, the end goal is to pass them onto the sales team. If one contact is highly engaged and downloads all your premium content, you can pass them on as a warm lead. If one of your contacts doesn't seem to be interacting, you need to figure out how to warm them up again.
8. Customer relationship management
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) allows you to collect, process, track, store, and analyse your company's most relevant customer data. Your CRM helps you manage this data so leads and customers don't slip away. While the CRM doesn't generate leads as such, it'd be impractical and irresponsible to keep them on paper.
When it comes to leads themselves, the CRM can help you identify your potential customers through processing of the mass amount of relevant data. After you’re done sorting through the most relevant pieces of information, you’re ready to benefit from the right kind of leads. You know that all leads obtained in this way are the ones with the top level relevance for your particular marketing goals.
9. Prioritise inbound over outbound
We aren't saying outbound marketing is bad; the above paragraph wouldn't exist if we thought that! It's important to understand that cold marketing like mailing lists and cold-calling can reach an impressive number of people, but conversion rates are low compared to inbound leads.
Leads you generate with the help of inbound techniques can be up to 60% cheaper.
This financial advantage, combined with the fact that inbound marketing allows you to reach customers in a more targeted way, should be enough for you to give priority to these types of business lead generation ideas.
10. Don't forget outbound
Not so long ago, outbound created all the noise in marketing and advertising. That isn't the case anymore. Digital has taken over; companies had to adapt to survive. But that doesn't mean you can't market with outbound material.
And by that, we mean high-quality collateral, not leaflets stuffed through random doors. Create content that prospects will use, and something that will stick in their mind.
That's the trouble with leaflets; we're programmed to put them straight in the bin! Could you include a thoughtful gift with your quote? Be imaginative!
11. How do you review?
Before any customer purchases, they look at your reputation. This process is even more common in B2B buying, as most investments aren't low-end.
If you're searching for a product or service that is going to become part of the way you do things, you'll research who you're buying from.
That's why it's important to provide the best service possible, because if your company has bad reviews, then prospects are less likely to work with you.
Keep your customers happy, and if you're confident you do, encourage them to leave feedback. Nobody's perfect; you may get some unfavourable reviews. But keep the majority with you and you'll be fine.
Businesses buy differently now. If you want to understand how you need to study inbound and how it's changing buyer behaviour.
12. Should you pay for online ads?
Paid advertising is a great way to generate more leads, just don't become overly reliant on it. You should be posting great content and leveraging that content with the methods listed above.
You can use services like Google Adwords to create quality ads that appear at the top of Google search results. You can also use social advertising, where sites like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn place your ad on specific pages.
While paid might sound easy, if your targeting is wrong you can end up wasting a lot of money.
Learn how paid advertising can power up your social media plan.
What Tactics Will You Try?
If you like these B2B lead generation ideas, why not give them a go? Successful business people are always searching for and applying new approaches to achieve the most efficient lead generation process. You should use our list as a starting point for your journey of exploration in the world of inbound marketing.
Editor's note: This post has been revamped and updated for 2018. At Red-Fern, we love keeping our content fresh, it ensures our articles are up-to-date, relevant and accurate!