In B2B business, leads are generally a company’s livelihood. Unlike B2C purchases, most B2B products and services require thought, research and deliberation prior to a buying decision. As a result, generating quality leads is a key function of B2B marketing teams across industries. Though there are a number of strategies businesses can employ to garner leads, 91 percent of B2B marketers are utilizing content marketing, making it among the top implemented approaches.
There are many methods B2B marketers credit with increased lead generation, and some undoubtedly result in more success than others. Though what works for one business may not work as well for another, there are a few approaches that have been effective across the board. Check out the four B2B lead generation content marketing strategies with a proven track record listed below.
As webinars are often considered high-value, people happily provide their contact information and details in exchange for hands-on training, real-life application and expert knowledge — all from the comfort of their desk.
When hosting webinars to drive B2B leads, ask lead-qualifying questions to better gauge the intent of registrants on the event sign-up page. Consider asking about interest in your product or service or questions to assess where registrants are in the sales cycle.
When thinking about hosting a webinar, be sure to consider the following:
- Topic: Pick a topic that is specific to your target audience, and present it in an inviting way. Think of a catchy title, create assets that truly speak to the subject matter and stay on topic throughout the presentation. Also, consider scheduling time for a Q&A session after the webinar presentation so attendees can ask the expert questions. These questions may provide insight into the information your target audience is seeking.
- Speaker: Though webinars are perceived as high-value, it is also very easy for attendees to hop off or multitask during the session if the speaker is less than stellar. As a result, it’s extremely important for the webinar presenter to be compelling and charismatic. Though this can be more difficult via a webinar compared to an in-person presentation, talented presenters can captivate an audience despite the lack of face-to-face interaction.
- Survey: At the end of the webinar (or during, depending on what program you are using to host the webinar), think about surveying attendees. Find out what they did and didn’t like about the topic, presenter, content, etc. Use this data to prepare for your next webinar or future content marketing projects.
- Recording: Record the webinar, either through the webinar program or with other video-recording software. Not only can you use the video to assess what you could do differently in the future, you can also provide the recording to attendees in a follow-up email. Additionally, you can distribute the recorded video as a content offer for webinar registrants who didn’t attend. It can also be posted on your site to be viewed by additional visitors.
Industry events are a goldmine for content marketing. Not only can you provide content at events through speaker presentations and live updates, you can use content for pre-event promotion and capture content at events to be used later. Consider these content ideas:
- Speaker interviews: Interview speakers before the event through video, text or on a podcast. Use this content to promote the event and ask the speaker to share their interview as well, to gain additional exposure.
- Offer helpful event tips: Using your various platforms (social media, website, blog) publish helpful advice relating to the event. You can also list nearby restaurants, sponsored party locations, interesting things to do in the area, and so on.
- Hashtag: As soon as it is available, use the event hashtag when promoting across networks. You will be surprised at the number of people following that hashtag well before and after the event.
- Speaker presentations: Try to become a speaker at various events by offering educational presentations for the attendees. Include as much information as you can in your speaker pitch; most events get flooded with pitches, so you will need to find a way to make yours stand out.
- Live updates: Live blog/tweet from the event (using the event hashtag!) and encourage others from your organization to do so as well. Share other peoples’ updates about the event on your platforms.
- Event review: Use your notes from the event to put together an event review. There are a number of ways to do this — through a blog post, article, video or podcast. Share your thoughts on the session, venue, and everything in between.
- Photo album: Use photos you took at the event and put together a photo album on Facebook, Flickr or other photo-sharing site. Share the album with event attendees, speakers and host.
- Curate content: Depending on the size of the event, many people may be writing event reviews or posting photos and videos. Curate all event-related content and share in a blog post or on Storify. Everyone included will want to share the piece as well.
Some of your pre-event and during-event efforts will open doors to new people (leads). But, get more leads out of the event by providing event-specific content after the fact, too.
Free Guides & Whitepapers
Free guides and whitepapers have been used in content marketing for quite some time and continue to be very effective. Like webinars, recipients often consider guides and whitepapers high-value, making it easy to justify providing contact details.
When creating whitepapers, be sure your content speaks to a specific audience persona and consider what information that persona wants and needs to do complete their job. For example, if you provide online marketing services, you may market to the following personas:
- Marketing professional: One of the personas you market to may be a marketing professional who is interested in learning different marketing tactics and how to execute them successfully.
- Manager/Director: A different member of your audience may be a manager/director-level person who is more interested in overall marketing strategy.
- CEO/President: Another may be a company CEO or President who is evaluating whether or not to bring in an external marketing agency.
All of these people are leads (some more valuable than others), though they have different intentions and consume different content. As a result, each persona needs to be marketed to and nurtured in a unique way.
LinkedIn groups are premade discussion forums available for use without the added hassle of forum development, privacy, hosting and more. A group takes hardly any time to set up – requiring just a few group details and a photo/logo.
Also, while setting up the group, you can indicate whether you’d like the group to be open (anyone can join) or request to join (members must be approved), which may vary depending on the group topic or theme.
When creating a group with hopes of generating leads, be sure to brand the group accordingly. To be successful in lead generation, start and participate in relevant discussions and build relationships with members. Share blog posts, whitepapers, videos and other content that may be useful to group members. Encourage members to share experiences and challenges to build the group’s value.
Though every person who joins is essentially a lead, find out more about members through discussions to better qualify leads and understand the person’s pain points and needs. With this information, you will be more prepared to follow up with each lead and potentially gain more traction.
There are numerous tactics that can be leveraged to generate B2B leads with content marketing. In fact, 28 percent of B2B marketers reported using between five and nine content marketing tactics to drive leads, while 64 percent reported using more than nine. As you can see from these statistics, a successful B2B content marketing strategy includes a variety of methods and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, webinars, in-person events, whitepapers and LinkedIn groups have been proven effective across almost all industries.
What content marketing tactics have you found to be most effective in B2B lead generation? Let me know in the comments section below.
Images provided by Vertical Measures.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.