Building one's clientele is a different beast than it was 30 years ago. Marketing takes more than business cards, flyers, and newspaper ads. Not even a sweeping social media campaign is sufficient in itself. Today, it's not so much the amount of exposure that gets you leads; it's how engaging that exposure is.
The Internet puts the entirety of your industry on display for potential collaborators and customers. It's not enough for people to find you when they have a dozen other options. The challenge is setting yourself apart from the crowd. This is where lead generation best practices come in.
B2B lead generation is its own art form, spanning multiple media and skill sets. Today, a great marketing campaign does more than get people in the door. Creating leads is more an act of leadership, of guiding people through an engagement process before they're even in line to give you money. It's holistic; it's personalized; it's built on relationships.
We've compiled our top three B2B lead generation best practices. Focus on these techniques and you'll see a boost in the quantity and quality of your leads.
1. Value and Solutions
The process of lead generation should be inherently valuable. Don't just promise your lead that you can solve a problem; prove it by offering a solution at no cost.
One of the simplest and most powerful ways to do this is by creating a continuous stream of content for your website. Whether you blog, vlog, or make podcasts; remember, make every piece of content valuable for consumers. If your content is simply taking up space on your website, leads will have no reason to engage with it, and they may not care to learn anything more about your services. Don't bother reserving all your knowledge for paid customers. With every piece of content you put out, ask yourself who it's for and what problem it solves.
In reality, good content may not convince many customers to buy from you. It's more likely they'll give you the next best thing: their contact information. Your prospects know the danger of spam. To convince them you're worth their email address, you'll have to prove that you're worth paying attention to.
2. Hone in on Likely Buyers
Blasting your entire list of contacts is a waste of your time and a waste of good contacts. Most people are not going to find anything described as a "blast" to be engaging. Instead, create specialized content for leads you know are more likely to convert.
First, you have to determine who your high-quality leads are. This depends on how frequently they engage with you and your content. One way to measure this is with lead scoring software, which quantifies clicks, downloads, views, subscriptions, and the like. The program then adds or deducts points to a "lead score" according to the activity's value. The result is a hierarchical list of potential clients according to how much time and attention they give you. Predictive Analytics Today has a list of lead scoring programs worth considering.
Having this information makes it easier to individualize your content strategy. Consider shrinking your email list to exclude leads with lower lead scores. Then, alter your content to fit certain demographics. Personalized outreach is a powerful way to get attention and keep it over the long haul.
3. Network Like a Pro
"Networking" has become such a prominent buzzword that it's lost some of its meaning. Too many businesses approach networking as a mere way to push out more business cards.
So, let's take a moment to revisit what networking really is: the act of building relationships and collaborating with others. Networking is not advertising; it's not about telling people who you are. Real networking is a give-and-take endeavor. It happens when two individuals or businesses provide value for one another.
Many businesses think they're networking on social media, when in reality they're simply posting content and leaving the masses to consume it on their own. Social media is a waste if you're not using it to be social. Interact with people who follow you. Respond to comments. Tweet with people in your industry. Start conversations; don't just expect them to start themselves.
Social media is just one of many ways to give and take. Consider working with other companies on projects. Invite a representative for an interview on your podcast. Host a webinar together. Invite businesses to sponsor or co-brand some of your content. These collaborative techniques are great ways to prove your expertise. The reward is a handful of businesses that are certain to provide you with value in the future. Even if they don't pay for your services, they're much more likely to recommend you to others.
Your content lies at the heart of your lead generation, and the way you use it matters. Make sure every step of your lead-nurturing process is intrinsically valuable. Pay special attention to leads that pay special attention to you. In addition, squeeze all the networking power out of your content that you can. The result is a marketing strategy that connects people, captures attention, and makes your leads feel at home before they even open their wallets.
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