B2B website lead generation strategies that work in 2018
Vice President, Asia, Be Found Online Singapore
For B2B companies, website lead generation remains one of the most difficult and ever-changing challenges.
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2018 report, generating traffic and leads is the top marketing challenge for 61% of survey respondents – well over half – and ranks as the top marketing challenge for businesses across every region: North America, Australia and New Zealand, South East Asia, Latin America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Getting a grasp on B2B website lead generation strategies is crucial for businesses if they are to succeed, but with the digital landscape rapidly changing and new digital channels being added to the marketing mix – what strategies should B2B companies turn to in order to generate qualified leads?
In this blog, we’ll discuss seven of the top website lead generation strategies B2B companies can use in 2018 – and beyond.
- Search engine optimisation
SEO is pretty much the cornerstone of any website lead generation strategy. A well-defined SEO strategy, one which includes long-tail keywords relevant to your industry with low competition and high search volumes, will help you to create a website that generates organic traffic and ranks well over time.
It’s also important to note that unlike other marketing methods which require some form of financial investment, SEO is free and can drive targeted traffic to your website.
But you also need to keep at it. SEO is constantly changing and influential search engines like Google revise their algorithms on a regular basis. Even the most experienced SEO professional has difficulty keeping up but the returns justify the investment.
If you create high-quality content that is optimised for specific keywords relevant to the products or services that you provide, you can rest assured that when people search for those keyword terms and find your product or service pages, they are interested in what you have to sell.
- Content marketing
Blog content creation is the second most important priority for B2B companies in 2018 – just behind growing SEO/organic presence.
Statistics from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reveal that content marketing generates over three times as many leads as Outbound Marketing and costs 62% less; generates three times as many leads as paid search marketing per dollar spent; and small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that don’t!
And content marketing isn’t just confined to just the written word. Video marketing (a form of content marketing) is also rapidly on the rise and being utilised by a number of B2B companies to build interest and generate leads. HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2018 report revealed that the top content distribution channels B2B companies expect to add over the next 12 months are YouTube, professional networks such as LinkedIn and Xing, and Facebook video – showing that content marketing is well and truly going interactive.
It’s a cost-effective measure. The financial investment required to start with content marketing is relatively insignificant but the returns are tremendous. For any business looking to generate high-quality leads it must be part of the marketing mix as it’s essential for any B2B website lead generation strategy.
- Marketing automation
To be successful at digital marketing, you need to be able to scale and automate your efforts. The digital marketing sphere continues to grow and new marketing channels are added to the mix on a monthly basis. It’s highly impractical for any marketing agency to manage every marketing activity manually as some simply take too much time.
Lead engagement, for example, is one of the major time consumers for marketers and salespeople. Fortunately, this process can be intelligently automated by the marketing automation systems that exist today. The advantage of using some form of marketing automation for lead management is that it will never forget to keep in touch with contacts or to move them to the right salesperson when they meet lead qualification criteria.
In addition, more sophisticated marketing automation platforms include workflows to help with the lead nurturing process. A challenge that many marketing agencies have is not just generating leads – but also nurturing those leads to a point where they are ready to buy. Using marketing automation you can develop workflows that send leads content or timely interactions to provide value based on how they interact with your website and content.
Using marketing automation it becomes possible for a small marketing team of two or three to operate in the same fashion as a large business, as well as generate qualified leads in the process.
- Calls-to-action and gated content
Even if you drive interested parties to your website, without calls-to-action (CTAs) or landing pages, you are essentially relying on website visitors clicking the ‘contact us’ button to convert. In this day and age, the chances of a prospect pressing the ‘contact us’ button on their first visit to your website are slim to non-existent.
Most of the people arriving on your website will be looking to find out more about your business, the products and services it offers and why it’s the best solution to their problem. To research your business, they will read content – blogs, eBooks, case studies, research papers, white papers, product sheets, pricing documents and much more – to inform themselves and make an educated decision.
On that basis, your website needs to be equipped with varied but informative content assets (such as those outlined above) and you must include CTAs across your website to drive website visitors to these assets – as it’s highly unlikely that a website visitor will go directly to your resources page.
However, you also need to qualify just how interested your website visitors are. Simply giving away your content assets will not help you to ascertain the value of a website visitor. Instead, you should lock your high-quality content assets (eBooks, case studies, white papers, research papers, product sheets, pricing documents, reviews and others) behind a form hosted on a landing page. Website visitors click on your CTAs advertising specific content offers, arrive on a landing page for the offer in question and, to receive it, need to fill in the form on the landing page, giving you their information in the process.
Using this approach, you can obtain information on your website visitors and determine just how interested they are. You then nurture the leads you generate by using other CTAs and driving those leads to other relevant content to move them further into the buyer’s journey and nurture them until they show the signs of being ready to buy.
- Social media marketing
Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and even Instagram are being used by a number of B2B companies to generate qualified leads.
Social channels remain an incredibly easy (and cost-effective) way for businesses to grow their influence and brand awareness, as well as establish a community of people interested in what they do. Professional channels – particularly LinkedIn – provide a great platform for businesses to promote their content (especially gated content) to a wider audience. Most social media channels are free so all it requires is a little time and effort.
Furthermore, unlike other methods of marketing, social media allows for two-way conversation, conversation that is far more natural and personal. Ensure you optimise your social media profiles for website lead generation (include a link to your website, a relevant content offer and other ways to get in touch) and be active on the platform! In terms of content distribution, you should always be trying to provide value to your following – this means less about you and more about the things your audience are interested in and need help with.
Over time, as you grow your following and drive people back to your website using content promoted on social media channels, you will generate qualified leads – people interested in what you do.
- Lead flows
As a HubSpot user, we have access to what is called ‘Lead flows’. Lead flows allow us to create and customise what are essentially pop-up or slide-in lead capture forms. Unlike pop-ups that distract you the moment you connect to a website, however, lead flows can be configured to show up after a certain condition has been met or after a specified duration of time, ensuring that the user experience is not interrupted.
In essence, we use lead flows to move website visitors further into the buyer’s journey without interrupting their experience. If a website visitor is reading a page on B2B website lead generation strategies, for example, we could set up a lead flow to advertise an eBook called ‘Developing a lead-generating website in 2018’ after the visitor reaches the middle of the page.
Using such an approach, we can engage with leads that would have otherwise left our website without converting. It’s easy to implement and can increase the number of leads you generate considerably.
Modern customers – your prospects – want answers and they wanted them yesterday. The quicker a business can supply an answer to a question, the greater the sentiment a customer has for that business.
The Internet has made it incredibly easy for customers to find the information they want, when they want it – and that puts a massive onus on businesses, i.e. you, to deliver the answers they want at the right time.
Of course, for some businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), responding to customer queries in real-time can be difficult without a dedicated customer service team. Large business enterprises have no problem; someone on the customer service desk is there 24/7 to answer any and all potential questions.
However, failing to respond to a customer enquiry in a timely fashion could result in a lost sales opportunity, so SMBs need to have tools in place to streamline the communication process and make it easy for website visitors to self-educate.
So, one thing that many B2B websites are implementing to help in regard to this is a chatbot. It’s all about convenience and providing a service as and when the customer needs it. Through chatbots and real-time chat, B2B companies are able to connect with customers at their point of need and provide them with the information they need to make informed purchase decisions.
As a result of such solutions, SMBs are able to scale their operations and engage with more and more prospects on a routine basis – something that was previously unmanageable. Chatbots allow businesses to retain website visitors and nurture leads through the delivery of information in a timely manner, allowing salespeople to focus on what they do best: selling and get in touch with leads when they show the symptoms of being ready to talk.
Marketing is always changing and for you to be successful at it you need to be employing the latest website lead generation strategies. If you want help generating more qualified leads for your business, please get in touch to find out how we can help you.