What are the best digital channels for B2B lead generation?
The marketing investment of a company is usually determined by its goals for financial growth. B2B marketing channels and strategies often differ in effectiveness according to individual industries. With the number of marketing options continually expanding, it’s easy to understand why B2B marketers can find themselves overwhelmed. In this article, we’ll unpack the best digital channels for B2B lead generation and show how they can help your marketing strategies. Let’s begin.
What is B2B lead generation?
B2B lead generation is a process whereby potential customers are identified and encouraged to purchase your service or product. Marketing teams employ a range of lead-generation strategies to encourage interest from your target audience and, ultimately, guide them into your sales funnel. Since the future success of any organisation depends on interest being generated in the right places, B2B lead generation is vital.
Traditionally, lead generation came from paid advertising (think leafleting, billboards and radio advertisements). Nowadays, the majority of businesses use an eclectic mix of different strategies and channels for lead generation.
What factors are to be considered when choosing lead generation channels?
No two industries are the same and as such, different lead generation channels will suit some businesses more than others. There are a number of factors at play, these include (but are not limited to) product or service demand and the business’s buying cycle and how it can be influenced.
There is a subtle difference between demand generation and lead generation, and they each have distinctive tactics and goals. Before embarking upon a lead generation campaign, businesses need to understand if there is an existing demand for their service or product. If there isn’t, you’ll need to create brand awareness and subsequently a demand, first. If brand awareness is low, your lead generation campaigns will result in fewer conversions.
The buying cycle
Understanding your brand’s buying cycle is a key element in being able to influence conversions and make lead generation more effective. The typical buying cycle has three stages: awareness (either of your service or product, or of a need), consideration (when customers start considering their options) and purchase.
It’s important to realise that business owners can influence the buying cycle. This comes down to recognising where each website visitor is in the cycle and knowing how to move them to the next stage.
What are the best channels for B2B lead generation?
MQLs (marketing qualified leads) and SQLs (sales qualified leads) are great when they arrive but they’re not always forthcoming. As such, B2B lead generation strategies can help organisations to find people more easily. Here are the best channels and their pros and cons.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital B2B lead generation tool. By improving your website’s ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages), you can attract a higher amount of organic traffic.
Implementing great SEO means using both off-page and on-page techniques. Your off-page SEO will include elements like mentions and backlinks. Your on-page SEO will incorporate content optimisation, meta tags and keyword research to name a few.
The downside of SEO is that it’s pretty time-consuming. However, it is extremely cost-effective when you’re playing the long game.
Pay-Per-Click is an effective and popular digital B2B lead generation tool. By implementing the right strategies, PPC can reach a business’s target audience and move them forward through the buying cycle. PPC can be pretty costly but it does allow a business to be visible more quickly than other B2B lead generation strategies.
PPC means you can reach your target audience quickly but you will need to understand your potential customers’ value in the long term to decide whether (and how much) you’re prepared to pay for leads.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, social media lead generation is already a part of your strategy. With over 4.8 billion social media users in the world and around 2.45 billion of them on Facebook alone, it’s very easy to see how quickly social media can generate conversation around business (the good and the bad). A lot of social media users are active daily, which means they’re providing a huge amount of data to social media platforms. This data can be used for targeting an audience and creating leads.
While it’s great for generating awareness and targeting a wide audience, the downside to social media for lead generation is that it’s often difficult to convert traffic. This is because the audience you’re reaching might not have any intent to buy your product or service.
People have been using emails for a long time and it’s still a hugely popular technique for B2B lead generation. Email leads are those individuals who have already shown an interest in your services or products since you’ve successfully collected their email addresses.
When you’re using emails for B2B lead generation, you’ve got a greater chance of success. This is because you’re already targeting an audience that has been engaged enough to hand over their email address. Emails are the primary way in which companies can contact potential customers to increase brand awareness, nurture relationships, and ultimately generate new sales. Email is also a valuable tool for customer retention.
Since you’re relying upon some sort of prior engagement with emails, it means it’s difficult to reach a new audience.
Final thoughts on digital channels for B2B lead generation
As B2B marketing is constantly evolving, so too are the ways in which we can generate leads. In order to keep up with (and beat) competitors, marketers need to review their channel strategies regularly to adapt and move forwards.
Implementing a multi-channel and client-centric approach to B2B lead generation means that businesses can benefit from all of the many advantages the different digital channels have and, ultimately, grow their business.
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