Marketing is a “get what you give” kind of industry, but big spending isn’t always smart spending.
What’s the click-through-rate for your latest promotional blog? Which specific KPIs do you monitor to find out if your social media strategy is working? Can you answer these questions? If not, it’s time to take a closer look at the way you strategize B2B lead generation.
Check out these 10 effective strategies to boost your demand generation and to start seeing predictable growth:
1) Free Resources Generate Demand Right Out of the Gate
Let’s talk about value. Potential B2B customers are extremely selective, and a buyer’s market is making this increasingly the case. Offering something of value to potential customers right at the outset of your business relationship is a great way to stand out from the crowd (and create demand).
Naturally, you don’t want to offer more “freebies” than is economically feasible, but these strategies can be sustainable as long as they’re effective enough to attract customers.
Offering your customers the opportunity to “sample” your services for free can lead to conversions of 25% or more. Naturally, this means that most effective strategies for generating interest through free resources involve lower-cost services or products (you don’t want to waste 75% of your high-value resources).
But even if you have a high-cost service, you can still take advantage of these benefits through strategies like 30-day free trials or first-time customer discounts.
2) Use Facebook to Multiply Your Market
Effective social media marketing is as elusive as it can be rewarding. Before you throw your hands in the air and give up on strategies like Facebook marketing, take a look at the following statistics provided by Webbiquity:
- 93% of small business owners and marketers use Facebook
- 88% of B2B businesses use Facebook for marketing
- 75% of B2B SMB marketers use Facebook ads
Today’s social media marketing resources are more sophisticated than ever, such as Facebook lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences are one of the many Facebook strategies that drive traffic and enable you to advertise to targeted markets you’re currently missing out on, such as a similar audience to your existing customer base, but in a different country. This is a great method of putting yourself in front of potential customers.
3) Harness Viral Marketing to Generate Demand
Viral content is something of a marketing “jackpot,” and it’s not always accidental. In fact, 80% of online companies invest in viral marketing specifically. Successful companies take advantage of the way people love sharing things online (and enjoying the vicarious degree of credit-taking that occurs when someone shares a funny picture or a helpful article).
One of the most successful companies to use this demand generation strategy is Dollar Shave Club. You’ve probably already seen this famous commercial before. It went viral practically the moment it was released and, at the time of this writing, has been watched nearly 24 million times.
In the B2B world, Slack has been effective with their videos for similar reasons. With CTR of up to 15%, getting millions of views overnight can bring in some serious conversions.
4) Don’t Forget About Targeting Your Market In Person
Even in today’s digital world, not all your leads will come from online marketing – especially in the B2B industry. Obviously, sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can generate engagement, but stopping there likely will result in missed opportunities.
Your market isn’t just online, and experts know this well; 70% of marketing professionals believe that in-person events can yield the biggest payoffs for B2B groups.
Let’s take a look at just a few stats on B2B trade shows:
- 78% of trade show attendees travel 400+ miles for a show (providing you with a wide national audience)
- 46% of attendees are company executives or upper management – and 81% have buying authority
- 39% of B2B marketing budgets are allocated for exhibitions
5) Recreate Your Wins by Monitoring Performance
Let’s say you have a really successful project. If you don’t identify KPIs and monitoring strategies before launch, how will you know where you went right? Here are a few KPIs you should monitor:
- Traffic lead-ratios (for your website, social media presences, etc.)
- Continuous form conversion rates
- Specific engagement (email opens/CTRs, Facebook “likes”)
Effective monitoring takes the guesswork out of both your wins and your losses, showing you where you went wrong, and what you did right.
6) Partner with Other Companies
Whatever industry you’re in, there are companies that share your customers. As long as they’re not competitors, you can create a big win by partnering with them on creating content that generates demand.
Some of the most popular ways of doing this include:
- Reports and studies
When two or more companies come together and sponsor one of these types of initiatives, their customer base gets helpful information. Doing so also increases awareness of the products/services each company offers.
Similar to the lookalike Facebook audience method mentioned earlier, you also get right in front of companies that are clearly in your market by sharing the spotlight with a business they already buy from.
7) Go Beyond KPI Monitoring – Begin Scoring Your Leads
Every time you capture a lead, you should immediately start thinking about it as a variable of value. But you will never know the value of each lead without a lead scoring system. Unfortunately, many B2B companies don’t score their leads; marketing firm APSIS explains only 44% of companies perform lead scoring.
Is lead scoring really effective in boosting conversions? According to APSIS’ research, absolutely. 77% of businesses switching to automated marketing and lead scoring noted increased conversion rates, and the purchases of nurtured leads are 47% larger than their counterparts.
The most valuable insights will come from the most valuable information; if you qualify your leads based on their lifecycle stages in your sales pipeline, you’ll identify where leads are the most valuable, where conversions are the most critical, and where investments will yield the highest returns.
8) Double-Down on Email Marketing
Are you making the most of your email campaigns? According to a report by the B2B Technology Marketing Community, email marketing is the fourth-most-effective promotional strategy, behind (in order)
- Trade shows
- Company websites
Email is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, and the efficacy of meaningful email campaigns is only 6% below that of in-person events.
The key here is meaningful campaigns, which means you need to carefully consider things like effective subject lines, useful content, and motivating CTAs. How will you know it’s effective? Again – it comes down to monitoring KPIs like OR (open/send ratios), CTR, and CTOR (click to open rate).
9) Segmentation Enhances Your Market Profiling
Gartner Research defines the purpose of segmentation as “[dividing] large groups of people into smaller groups that improve relevance, and as a result, the effectiveness of marketing.” When you look at your B2B target markets, you should see groupings of very specific profiles. Here are two reasons why:
- Targeted profiles improve content development and marketing
- When you can point to specific identifiers and outline your segments, you can market better. A few examples of ways to slice segments include geography (east coast vs. west coast clients), market segment (high-end or cost-effective products), or loyalty (new clients vs. old, committed ones).
- Business alignment with buyer profiles leads to conversions
- While your segments should affect your business model from the very beginning, remember that the market is fluid. You may need to change your strategies based on a segment that’s moving very differently than it was four years go. This information can change the way you market and even develop services to maximize revenue and returns.
10) Adopt the Right Tools to Help
To effectively apply the strategies outlined above, you have to also make sure the right tools are in place to help. Adopting the right tools will save you valuable manpower through automation, and provide important insights without needing to run countless data analyses by yourself.
Some key features to consider when choosing tools that will best work for you are:
- Customer Funnel Visualization – Take the guesswork out of the customer journey at all locations in your pipeline and sales funnels. Leverage visual reports to help you see your customer pathways through multiple lenses.
- KPI Monitoring and Analytics – You don’t have to go over-budget on to gain an in-depth look at what’s happening on your website and with your campaigns. In fact, a lot of businesses get by with Google Analytics as a starting point before investing in additional analytical tools.
- Lead Analysis – Is every lead worth the same amount of energy and resources? Of course not. Look at which tools best help you assess the value of leads and perform sophisticated lead scoring help you get specific about where you place your valuable energy and resources.
Demand generation is as much an art as it is a business. Applying a diverse variety of strategies will help you define and mobilize your target markets, which will lead to creating energy and value around your brands and services. From trade shows to email campaigns, to back-end analytics and everything in-between, utilizing all your marketing resources intelligently will help you reach your businesses performance goals.
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