16 Killer Lead Generation Strategies
Successful lead generation strategies are built on skill and judgement. It’s also not just about building up your lead generation pipeline. It’s about the process from lead to customer. Keeping a regular flow on this cycle and knowing where your contacts are in the scheme of things.
Creating a lead generation pipeline not only helps you keep things running smoothly, but it also helps you keep tabs on your prospects and target them accordingly. Striking at the right time with the right message will boost your sales in the long run – and that’s exactly what you’re hoping for with lead generation in the first place.
Below are 14 lead generation strategies to fill your pipeline, as well as 5 common mistakes which could be breaking it, and how your brand may be standing in the way of converting customers.
1. Start a company blog
Whatever industry you’re in, a blog will always help you get more traffic. Not only does it bring in attention via SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), but by creating posts that cover all different aspects of your business you can net the interest of more leads.
The first step is to identify who is on your website. Sales will find this more useful for when they cold call by having the name of someone they can talk to directly. For marketing, though, you can use IP lookup to show you if your marketing campaigns are drawing in the right target audience. You can then build your business personas on the website traffic you can see coming to your website. If you link your campaigns to your IP lookup then you can even generate lists of companies from your PPC adverts or social posts for sales to follow up!
A content campaign
We all know the cliché by now, content is king. Content can feed any one of these lead generation campaigns but it can also stand alone as an inbound marketing campaign technique. Blog posts, whitepapers, guides…they can all attract the audience who is looking for the answers your content is providing. However you decide to promote your content, or whether you let it happen organically, it can be one of the most effective ways in 2016 to attract the right type of leads.
2. Use form fills
This is the basic lead generation technique that almost everyone has integrated into their website. Form fills get you information quickly and early so that you can offer more specific marketing to your lead later on in their journey. Your pipeline starts here, as an easy stepping stone to get things moving. You know your warmest leads straight off the bat.
Once you have their email, avoid using the standard ‘Sign up here!’ call-to-action that many visitors will dodge, thinking you’re spam. Instead, offer them something first or ask for their opinion on something. Offers like this will spark their interest more than just a sales pitch email.
Without obtaining that crucial email address, you have no hope of moving forward in their buying process unless they get in contact with you.
3. Use Landing Pages
Landing pages are a great way to instantly capture leads, and then warm them up to be sales ready! If they want information, these landing pages are where you should send them.
Landing pages are separate from your website, and should not be confused with your website’s home page. Typically landing pages are product pages that inform your lead about what they need to know. Simply send them a personalised URL with the link and you’ll then be able to track if they’ve looked at that information and any other pages they go to after that.
4. Track your website visitors
Your business – and pipeline – doesn’t just stop when the hot leads run out. You still need to be vigilant, trying to grab up new clients. Cold contacts are still contacts, and there is a multitude of ways to warm them up and get them moving on in their journey.
Website tracking brings you contacts that are still just perusing your website and are probably not seriously considering your product yet. Nevertheless, this keeps your pipeline brimming with business. You never know, if your sales and marketing teams are skilled enough you might convert every single one.
5. Use clear call-to-actions (CTA’s)
In all of your digital marketing efforts, you should have clear CTA’s – namely in your email marketing campaigns and on your website. CTA’s get your contacts to your site, looking at your content and checking out your product. If that’s what you ultimately want, and we’re pretty sure it is, then you want to make sure they see and are active with it.
6. Lead with the Laws of Attraction
An important part of the process is attracting your leads in the first place…and then attracting them back! From a potential lead visiting your website to a sale being made, there is a whole journey between that process. Your goal is fill in the gaps with the help of lead magnets!
Lead magnets include offers of free trials, discounts, free content (whitepapers, webinars etc.) to hook their interest. Through your consistent offers and informative content, their interest will be retained. These lead magnets should be exchanged in return for their contact details.
7. Present your own webinars
On top of the offer of blog content, why not give your leads more visual content to digest? Webinars give prospects a way to learn from you and your company, whilst also interacting with you and other leads. By setting up a chat window, allowing your leads to communicate, you can set up a form of digital networking event all on the sideline of marketing your company – giving a good all-round vibe to the knowledge that you are sharing.
Trend or news-jacking is often used on Twitter as a way for companies to show that they have a fun side. Whilst you want to avoid sounding like a parent trying to be “hip” (or a faux pas like using a hashtag you don’t know anything about), it can be a good way to engage leads and build a good rapport.
Find relevant hashtags that you know and are trending, and add your own two cents. Make a joke, or share your opinion – just get yourself heard.
9. Network at events for lead generation
Not all of your marketing needs to be online, and making the right face-to-face connections can really get your business growing. Set up some events for your leads and customers to come along, and send out email marketing alongside to get as much attention as possible.
10. Score your leads
Lead scoring technology marks the turning point in your pipeline. This is where you find out who to send over to sales and who to start nurturing. Regular updates tell you how hot your contacts are based on what they’ve looked at on your website, and the level of engagement they have in your campaigns.
Lead scoring is seen by many as the most important step in the buyer journey to a sale ready client. It involves ranking your leads depending on their engagement in the website. This results in the identification of hot and cold leads.
Hot leads are the ones worth following up – well done, your lead attracting, lead seizing and landing page conversions methods worked! For the cold leads that don’t seem to be buying into it (at least 50% of your web traffic on average), we’ve got a few other tricks up our sleeve to convince them.
11. Contact hot leads
Your sales team should be ready to target those companies that are really eager to get your product. If they’ve made it through your pipeline and come out steaming, you can bet that they’re ready for a proper proposal. It’s all on your sales team to hit them with the perfect pitch.
Although, sometimes moving leads between departments could be a difficulty in itself. So, we started thinking about what methods we use to make our transition between departments as smooth as possible for every customer.
There’s an age-old feud between Sales and Marketing, which often stops communication in its tracks. If you want to create an effective transition between the two teams, this misunderstanding will need to be broken down. Everyone is aiming for the same goal anyway. Align your focus and discuss everything related to the leads funnel, regardless of whether Marketing or Sales governs each section.
With discussion comes understanding. Everyone in your Sales and Marketing teams should at the very least be aware of the role each team have to play. Ideally, each team will share their differences in understanding of customers and the buying processes. Through shared knowledge, everyone will be running on the same track. Your leads will no longer be given contrasting information with every person they speak to.
The shared understanding is in place, look at turning this into action for the handover. Identify alignment points where each team comes together with a shared interest for the customer.
This may be with the systems both teams use, a similarity in processes, or even your definition of the end goal. Utilising pre-existing similarities will form the base blocks from which to build.
This is the most important moment. When a lead is finally qualified from Marketing as an MQL, ready for Sales to take up the reins. Your lead is ready to engage, don’t lose their trust and interest now.
Agree on what criteria is required to make this pass over as smooth and frictionless for the customer as possible. Ensure that the relevant lead information, previous action and communications are turned over to your Sales team. Give them the head start on converting a lead to a prospect, and onto a customer.
The transition phase is often a time when customers are let down and lose faith in a company. Put in place methods to avoid falling into this trap. From day 1, right through to day 586 and further, it shouldn’t be obvious to a customer how many departments they’ve been through. You want them to feel like the entire process has gone without a hiccup.
12. Warm up cold leads
Cold leads, on the other hand, need to be funnelled back to an earlier point in the lead generation pipeline and sent back through. Focusing on using different toasty techniques & topics, you can convert any contact from frosty to piping hot. If you’re not sure where to go from there, you could try our 3 successful marketing campaigns and how to implement them.
If you want to ensure that you can warm up and nurture your leads to be sales ready, you need to know which tools can help you. Cut the time and effort out of having to constantly get in contact with your leads with these key features.
Find the right leads
Firstly, you need to identify which leads you should be nurturing and WHO you should be nurturing that relationship with. Using visitor identification, you can see which companies have gone onto your website, and which employee is the key decision maker you need to start building a relationship with.
Track your leads with a personalised URL
Once you know who you want to talk to, you need to know what they are interested in so you can nurture them with the right information. Using a PURL builder, you can create a link to use in your 1 to 1 emails. Simply choose the page you wish to send your lead too. Once they click on the link, they will then be “cookied” so that you can track what they look at on your website. Giving you a better idea of what they’re interested in.
Automated lead nurturing
After you know who you want to nurture and what information they want, you can put them in an automated lead nurture campaign. All you have to do is decide what you want these emails to say to your contact. It can then all be automated for you, leaving you to concentrate on the leads who are ready to buy and come back to these leads once they, too, are sales-ready.
13. Create strong workflows that convert leads
A workflow is essentially a giant email campaign that reacts to a prospect’s behaviour. When they seem to be showing an interest in your product/services, the ‘workflow’ automatically takes action by pulling them into email streams based on that topic.
No matter how vigilant you are, you can’t keep tabs on all your contacts all the time. It would be impossible. What workflows do is allow you to set up a list of rules for content, email or website interactions that means they will see the emails you want them to, when they need them most.
There are a variety of different workflows you can use for any number of different scenarios. All designed to boost your engagement, click-through, and retention rates. Below we’ll discuss three main types: welcome workflows, win-back workflows, and one-year customer workflows.
Why will this convert leads?
Using a workflow combats the whole “wrong place, wrong time, wrong offer” issue, which might’ve turned previous prospects into unsubscribers. A strong workflow knows when to send stronger content, when to add a client to a particular campaign and, generally, can help you understand where your leads are in their buyer journey.
In terms of taking action yourself – getting the sales team on the phone, for example – that can be configured in the workflow too. The workflow app works to your rules so that even sales can be notified as to when a lead has interacted enough to be deemed sales ready within the workflow. Clever, huh? The point is that it helps organise your email marketing and sales pipeline efficiently.
So, how do you build a strong workflow?
You can check out our whitepaper on workflows for a more in-depth explanation, but the basics are as follows. We start with a trigger, which is when a contact is discovered and joins the flow. This is often by a form fill or any way that their contact information is received. They are then sent an initial email. Based on their interactions, they will then be sent another email in the next few days, consisting of something which the workflow’s data deems as relevant.
Your contact’s engagement will determine which emails follow up from that, with the content staying “light” along the no engagement line. And so on and so forth until they are either converted into a sale or qualified out.
A strong workflow is more complex than the basic email marketing template, as it has multiple scenarios and solutions. This is to help improve customer interest and, overall, conversion rates. In short, a strong workflow helps you balance technology with personality so that you can broadcast tailored messages to a wider audience without losing sleep, money or time over it. Allowing you to focus on your marketing results.
The welcome workflow
The focus of these initial emails is to make a good first impression and initiate your contacts to your company style. Your triggers for them to be added to the workflow will, therefore, be things like them signing up for your newsletter or your lead gen software recognising a brand new contact on your website. It could even be someone coming through to your website from other channels such as social media, etc.
Alongside sending a welcome message, you should invite prospects to peruse content on your website, like whitepapers and blogs. This marketing workflow is great because it helps to make a good first impression. By setting up triggers based on the recognition of brand new contacts, you can start off your B2B relationship in the best way possible – by providing them with valuable content. Making for a lasting, rewarding connection.
This is for those contacts that showed an interest in your product but never followed through in the end. Triggers might include contacts having a high overall lead score but a low ‘current’ or date score. This means that whilst they have shown enthusiasm at some point they are less keen now.
This is similar to a remarketing campaign. All it takes is a few content marketing emails here and there, alongside some soft marketing (letting them know how you’ve improved as a company or what you’ve achieved since their interest spiked, for example) and you can re-engage contacts in no time.
One-year customer workflows
As soon as a prospect becomes a customer, add them to this workflow. This helps to show clients that their loyalty is appreciated and give incentives for them to continue business with you. Within this marketing workflow, you might have a campaign which offers a loyalty discount around the 6-month renewal period. With offers like this, clients are more likely to feel as though their custom is better rewarded by you than by seeking business elsewhere.
The beauty of workflows is you can make them as complex or as simple as you want – whatever suits you. Adding in more segments and sections can help boost engagement, but sometimes all you need is a simple layout for smaller groups of emails. Make them work your way.
For more workflows that you can use, check out our whitepaper on marketing automation workflows you should be using. Better yet, if you’re interested in a complete marketing automation platform then feel free to check out this handy guide that we wrote on B2B marketing!
14. A targeted social media campaign
In the B2C world, we’d suggest a creative campaign to catch consumers attention and spark viral-ness would be the way to go to attracting leads to your business. For B2B social media, we recommend creating targeted campaigns. For example, sponsored updates on LinkedIn that target a particular audience you are looking to attract or engage with. From what we’ve seen, it tends to work better than “trying to go viral”.
Again, your content campaign can automatically feed into this or you could promote anything from events to free trials. If you write it in a way that appeals to them and promote it in a place they are looking for content similar to yours, you’ll start seeing results from your social media lead generation approach. We know. We’ve done it.
15. The clever PPC campaign
Previously an untraceable channel, you could never tell which PPC campaigns generated the right leads. Good news now, though, is that you can. Using UTM values, track which PPC campaigns bring in the right quality of leads. Again, your content campaign can feed into this or even your event campaigns. It can all be automated and reported directly back into your platform.
16. Event campaigning
Also an oldie but a goodie. This can be updated by being promoted across social media too and is an excellent way to qualify leads successfully for sales. Remember, every B2B interaction is a human to human interaction. It’s why event marketing is so successful.
However, the amount of effort that has to go into event marketing means it can be common to avoid this as a lead generation strategy. However, with automated event emails to take all the hassle out of it – this type of campaign can become a viable option again.
B2B lead generation mistakes
No marketing campaign is 100% flawless, and the only weapon against imperfection is preparation – in this case, identifying mistakes that you should see coming your way. When it comes to b2b lead generation, here are five easy mistakes that you should aim to avoid.
These mistakes often sound like good ideas in the beginning until you realise that the damage is done. It is hard to fight an urge when your instincts tell you you’re doing the right thing, but as a marketer, you must stay objective and focus on what is ultimately good for the campaign.
Here are five hard-to-avoid traps that marketers usually fall into when it comes to their b2b lead generation strategy:
1. Wasting efforts on unrelated marketing activities
Every so often we bump into random opportunities for marketing. There are rare chances when they do deserve a look, but most of the time, using valuable resources on activities that are not an integral part of your marketing plan is a bad idea. If it improves other aspects of your strategy or assists in achieving your long-term goals, you might as well dedicate your energy on more important things.
2. Putting more emphasis on the message than the audience
You may have spent ages creating the best message you could come up with wonderful content. However, if you haven’t allocated time to who your audience is then how will you know that the message is relevant and specific to them?
3. Listening to the market minority
Filter the feedback you receive, if you hear the opinion of the minority and run with it you will exclude the majority which won’t help your engagement. You need to know which information is applicable and which is relevant.
4. Giving too many options
When presented with too many calls to action the message becomes clouded and means that people can’t find the most important target. People also tend to disengage when they are presented with too many options.
5. Loving to coast
Buyer behaviour is constantly changing, technology is rapidly evolving, and opportunities are always arising. If you are not evolving with the market then you will be left behind and will miss out on vital opportunities.
So now you know the traps to avoid, you can focus on the best practices.
Following on from this, why not check out some of our other material that we wrote on our own b2b lead generation tool GatorLeads?
Is Your Branding Standing In The Way of Lead Generation?
Lastly, whilst 54% of people do not trust brands, 80% of the average company’s revenue comes from 20% of its customers. This is because loyal customers – those that do trust your brand – are attached to your values. Building a strong brand means that you can get these dedicated clients and build up your revenue.
Remember, a brand isn’t just your logo. It’s how you present yourself, what you offer, your ethos and your values. You need to be sure that your conduct, as well as your image, is consistent across all channels and platforms.
How your brand can improve your lead generation
Don’t think branding is that important to your lead generation? Well, here are two major ways it can affect your business.
- If branding includes the way that you present yourself in different channels, your leads may come from social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Prospects who notice a relevant conversation you’re a part of and seem knowledgeable on, they may be curious and investigate. They may already have been convinced you’re a company they want to be involved with by the time they find you offering a product they need.
- Strong branding can boost your SEO in terms of your popularity or noticeability. If your logo or slogan frequently appears when prospects search for your industry, they will be more likely to see you and check what you’re offering – improving your reach!
So, how can you improve your company branding?
Firstly, create a strong image. And we do literally mean the visuals now. Recreate your website with a professional, high-quality look. Keep your logo current – look at Google and Microsoft for inspiration, or any other well-recognised brands.
Secondly, you’ll want to work on your customer service on platforms such as Twitter. The number one reason that people don’t trust brands is that they don’t follow through on promises and letting down their clients. Avoid being seen as one of those companies.
The most important things you can do for your company branding are to get seen and get heard. Sometimes the most unlikely conversations can do wonders for your branding. So start reaching out to as many prospects as possible and listening to what they have to say about your company.