Full disclosure: when I set out to write about ways to generate B2B leads, I did it in part for my readers and in part for my agency. I started with B2B lead generation tactics that we have used either at Idunn or for clients of ours. Then I continued with researched tactics that I plan to implement for Idunn.
That being said, I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to point out reasons why you need to ace your B2B lead generation. It is the backbone of any B2B company, after all. Sure, lead nurturing and client loyalization are also very important.
But one thing at a time, OK?
I decided I needed to find new ways to generate B2B leads for my agency and for the clients to whom we offer marketing strategy and consulting services because the truth is, no matter how good you are at this, you can never have too many leads.
Plus, I wanted to shake and stir things a bit. We all know that even the best of tactics can only work for so long.
And there are so many ways to generate B2B leads.
Image via HubSpot
These are just a few of the best lead sources identified by a HubSpot study. Of course, different tactics work for different companies, but it never hurts to have a comprehensive overview.
Grab your coffee or tea mug (or wine glass, why not?) and join me.
20 Effective Tactics to Generate B2B Leads
Don’t be overwhelmed by the large number of tactics announced. You don’t need to apply them all. In fact, you shouldn’t.
If you’ve been in business for some time, then you already know that some of them work, while others not so much. If your business is brand new, I suggest you start with a few of them (five at the most) and test them. Then mix and match with a few others after a while.
I may sound like a broken record, but it’s for good reason: blogging really works. If done right, of course. In other words, if you work with blog writers who know how to turn words into cold, hard cash.
The vast majority of leads we get at Idunn come through blogging. It’s the usual client meets agency tale: someone reads a blog post, they like what they see and they fill in the form at the end of each post.
That simple, yes.
I knew blogging worked even before I had an agency. As a freelancer, I got great feedback from my clients who managed to generate B2B leads though the articles I wrote for them. As an employee, I always made blogging a priority and I saw it work firsthand.
Better yet, here’s some proof from HubSpot.
It looks like blogging 16+ times per month gets you 4.5X more leads than…well, obviously blogging less. I know, 16+ blog posts per month is A LOT. Especially if you’re aiming for long-form authority content. But a minimum of one or two blog posts per week are doable, aren’t they?
If they aren’t, I know someone who can help you [hint, hint].
Learn more about our SEO copywriting services and start generating leads through blogging. Fully managed services and ROI-oriented content are just a click away.
I know, guest blogging is still blogging. But I felt it needed a “chapter” of its own. And I have good reasons for it.
You see, blogging on your own domain is a great way to generate B2B leads. Plus, you own your virtual real estate, so you should never replace it with anything else or let it go.
However, when combined with guest blogging it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. When you blog on someone else’s website you immediately gain access to a brand-new audience. This means more potential leads for you.
I guest blog regularly for a few platforms. Here’s a fresh example: my column at SiteProNews brought my agency seven leads last month. They read the articles, clicked on the Idunn link in the bio and then filled in the contact form. Four of them turned into paying customers and I’m pretty sure at least two will stay with us for the long run.
Bonus: guest blogging isn’t just a great way to generate B2B leads. It’s also amazing for improving your SEO, especially if you publish on high-DA platforms.
Gated content is gold! If you publish excellent, well-researched white papers, your potential customers will jump at the chance of offering you their contact information in exchange for them.
Of course, the key is actual value. It’s true that once someone has given you permission to email them, they become a lead. But if you just sent them a poorly written white paper that brings nothing to the table, do you really think you’ll be able to convert them into customers?
White papers help you generate B2B leads and convert them into paying customers. In a Demand Gen Report study, 82% of B2B buyers said white papers are the type of content most likely to get them to convert.
Map your buyer journey carefully and craft white papers for B2B lead generation, lead conversion and client delighting.
Need help with white papers for every step of your customers’ journey? We’re here for you! Get in touch and we’ll craft well-research and compelling white papers to support all your business goals.
E-Books and How-To Guides
Speaking of gated content, these two are also a great way to demonstrate your expertise. An e-book or a how-to guide that truly helps someone solve a problem will definitely get you their email address.
And if you think they are too time-consuming (they can be!), why not repurpose some of your blog posts into e-books or how-to guides? With minor edits and some design work, a few of your best blog posts on a certain topic can make a great e-book for people who are looking for in-depth information on the topic.
Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry AND generate B2B leads?
This is exactly what webinars can do for you.
One hour of showcasing your knowledge on a hot topic in your industry can get you tons of email addresses. The best part about this is that those leads are very easy to turn into paying customers. They already know you rock, they’ve seen you live, so the sale is half closed.
[I wrote about how to create an amazing webinar that generates leads here — 5 Essential Tips for a Killer, Lead-Generating Webinar]
Of course, this may be one of the more time consuming B2B lead generation tactics. Putting together a killer webinar and promoting it, along with doing all the post-webinar nurturing work can be tedious.
But it’s definitely worth it!
For every blog post, white paper, how-to guide or e-book you write, you need strong, compelling and personalized CTAs.
You’d be surprised at how many people craft amazing content, but forget that it’s ultimately the CTAs that generate B2B leads. You think that people know they need to contact you if they like your work?
You need to tell them what you expect them to do. Tell them why they should download your white paper or register for your webinar. Tell them how you can implement the same strategy you described in your blog posts for them.
Don’t leave them hanging. They’ll simply close the page and move on.
82% of B2B organizations use case studies in their marketing. And there’s a reason for that – case studies are extremely effective, not only for lead conversion, but also for B2B lead generation.
In their research, B2B buyers are very likely to want to see one of your case studies. If they got so far, then why not turn them into a lead with a strong case study?
As far as gated content goes, case studies can be extremely versatile. If your case study shows exactly how you helped someone fix a real problem, there’s no reason for potential buyers to avoid giving you their email address in exchange for it.
The pinnacle of long-form authority content, topic clusters can generate B2B leads easily.
Topic clusters are the meeting point of user intent and SEO. Comprehensive pieces of content on a topic, they are loved by Google bots (that tend to enjoy lengthy explanations) and readers (who can get real knowledge on a certain topic from a single web page).
Briefly put, topic clusters are web pages that exhaustively explore every single facet of a topic. For instance, adopting a child. This is a rather sensitive subject, so a topic cluster focusing on it should offer unbiased relevant information.
You would have to cover everything from paperwork, conditions to be met, options, best age to approach adoption, discussing this with your family and even continue with post-adoption tips, like integrating your kid in your existing family and even breaking the news to your child.
Think about it this way: you need to build a thorough resource so that people who are thinking about adoption can use it as a one-stop-shop for all the information they need. You’d be sparing them from visiting tens or hundreds of websites.
Image via HubSpot
Working on a topic cluster can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you need to start from scratch. However, if you already have some white papers or blog posts on that topic, your work is half done. All you need to do is a bit of rewriting and formatting, then sit back and watch how your topic clusters easily generate B2B leads.
Do you have a dedicated landing page for each of your products/services yet? If not, you’re missing out on a massive lead generation opportunity.
An SEO-friendly landing page doesn’t just generate B2B leads. It generates qualified leads. Think about it: people search the almighty web for a product just like yours. Luckily, they stumble upon your killer landing page that convinces them they should at least give you a shot.
How simple is that?
Of course, a great landing pages doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It needs great design and, most importantly, amazing SEO copywriters to find the perfect mixture between what search engines like and what converts human readers into leads or buyers.
Speaking of landing pages, it looks like including a video on yours can boost conversions with up to 80%. Even more, 59% of business execs say that, given the choice, they always pick video over text. Simply mentioning the word “video” in your email subject line increases open rates by nearly 20%.
I could go on and on, but I’m sure you already know that video reigns supreme.
Perhaps you didn’t think that it can also generate B2B leads, though.
And I’m not just talking about webinars – we’ve already covered that. Videos are a great way to introduce people to your brand and perhaps even to the people behind it. They are incredibly versatile: cartoons, videos shot with hand-held cameras (or even phones), testimonials, short personalized messages – these are just a few things that could help you generate B2B leads in a fun and creative way.
OK, I admit, this one is a bit controversial. There are a lot of people who say that cold email is that and that it will never help you generate B2B leads, only annoy people and be called a spammer.
Here’s the thing: more than Nietzsche himself, we marketers love to announce that something is dead only to proclaim the new king or queen of something. It happened with regular ads, SEO and many, many others.
Yet, we still see ads on TV. And they still cost a fortune, so they must be working, right? The same goes for outdoor ads, even print ads and, most importantly SEO. It was never dead and I dear say it will never be.
But I digress.
Cold emailing, much like TV ads and SEO, isn’t dead. It’s just evolving. Yes, it’s true that people hate spam an unsolicited emails. That’s why you should never buy an email list, for instance.
However, it doesn’t mean you can’t send an email to a prospective client that you researched and vetted thoroughly.
Here’s the key to cold emailing that generates B2B leads: personalization.
Don’t send the same email to hundreds of people. It’s wasted time.
Instead, do your homework. Show your prospect from the subject line that you know about their pain points:
“I think [Prospect’s Company Name] would greatly benefit from our social media tool. Free trial available!”
will ALWAYS work better than
“Check out the free trial for our amazing social media tool.”
Keep going with the personalization in the body of the email, too. Following up on the example above, you can always tell them that you love their social media presence and present them with a specific idea on improving it (without criticizing, though!).
Such an approach may be time-consuming, but it’s very effective. Plus, it’s better to send 10 emails and get two replies than to send 100 emails and get none AND be labeled a spammer in the process.
Social Media Content Promotion
This one is pretty straightforward: promote your content via social media. Bet you never thought of this one, huh?
Here’s an additional piece of advice: make sure to use the right hashtags in order to make it easy for prospects to find you. The captions you use should also be enticing enough to get people to click on them.
When you got the much-wanted click from social media, it’s all up to the funnel you’ve created so far. Quality content (see above) should get people to keep reading until they get to your amazing CTAs that prompt them to get in touch or subscribe to your newsletter.
Social Media Product Promotion
You know how every social media expert says that you don’t have to be overly promotional on your social profiles? That’s perfectly true. Never forget about the “social” in social media.
But don’t do what I did, either.
My Twitter profile grew really fast in the past few months. I created real, valuable connections there mainly by being social and sharing great content – posts from the Idunn blog and retweets from industry influencers.
I was happy about it (naturally!)
But I forgot my primary reason for re-opening my dormant account. In other words, I didn’t do what I preached. I forgot to promote our own services.
Sure, people loved my articles, I got plenty of retweets and I even managed to generate B2B leads this way. Let me rephrase that: I managed to generate very few B2B leads this way.
Until it hit me: I left out the most crucial part of any marketing communication – I didn’t direct people towards the services of my agency.
When I realized that, my pinned tweet immediately became a promotional one. I also added promotional tweets to the mix, in between articles. The result? While the promotional tweets make up for less than 5% of my Twitter posts, they generate at least 10 times more leads than my non-promotional feed used to.
Bottom line: don’t be like me. You can generate B2B leads via social media if you play your cards right.
Social Media Messaging
Much like cold emailing, messaging someone via social media has to be timely and relevant. Do your research on the prospect in question and send them a personalized message.
If you can use a personal account for this instead of a company one, it’s even better. Sure, people know that there are actual humans behind every brand, but it never hurts when they can put a face to the name.
LinkedIn and Twitter are the best environments to reach out and “cold message” prospects. Again, don’t be pushy. A friendly attitude and a small compliment can get you a long way in B2B lead generation via social media.
Quora can be a B2B lead generation gold mine, albeit a time-consuming one. The process is quite simple: you login, create your profile and start answering questions that showcase your expertise.
Here’s the catch, though: you can’t just answer with: “I wrote a blog post about this, check it out here [link].
In order to generate B2B leads via Quora you need to post lengthy and detailed answers. You can insert your own links (and it’s recommended you do it), but only as support material.
Choose questions that have a lot of people following them, even if they are older. And yes, even if a lot of people already answered.
You see, Quora is a high-DA website, so its pages appear in the first Google results, especially for long-tail queries. This way, you ensure that it’s not just the person who asked the question and those who follow it that see your answer, but also others that might be facing the same problem.
It’s a long-term play, so don’t expect the leads to pour in within five minutes. The good news is that when they do start to come, they will keep coming for years.
96% of your website visitors are not yet ready to buy from you (or anyone else, for that matter). It may sound like a daunting stat, especially if you’re still building up your traffic numbers, but it’s not a tragedy.
Simply using the tools above on your website will ensure that a good portion of those 4% turn into leads.
Back to the matter at hand.
Website live chat is no longer optional – it’s the norm. People expect speedy answers and ease of communication. Instead of going to your contact page and filling a form or copy-pasting your email address into their email client, they can simply click on the chat window and get the information they need in a few seconds.
Making communication easy doesn’t just generate B2B leads. It generates enthusiastic leads. You’ve shown them that you are reliable and eager to help from the very first contact.
What’s not to love about that?
Well, now that I think of it, there could be one thing: in our rush to generate B2B leads, we tend to go overboard and crowd our websites with intrusive pop-ups and live chat windows.
Don’t be that guy. It will make you look like a pushy car salesman. Avoid noisy chat windows that scare the bejesus out of visitors. Try to keep them discreet, but noticeable. And make it easy for people to close them if they don’t want to talk to you, OK?
Facebook Messenger Bots
If people like your Facebook page, then it means you’ve already got their attention. Why not make a step forward?
A simple messenger bot can help you deliver personalized messages as soon as someone likes your page. You can use the opportunity to ask them for their email address and promise relevant content in exchange.
Or you can simply use them to say “hi!” and ask for personal info later. The options are endless and it would be a shame to waste this B2B lead generation opportunity.
Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter Chats
All of these are great ways to generate B2B leads, but only as long as you are patient. You see, most Facebook and LinkedIn groups have strong rules against self-promotion. Those that don’t are typically dumping grounds for bad blog posts and filled with spammers, so you don’t even want to be in them.
Twitter chats owners may not have the ability to kick you out, but if your input in the conversation isn’t valuable, you will be ignored.
Thus, it’s safe to say that the same principle applies: make valuable contributions to whatever group or discussion you join and people will be intrigued. From a click on your profile to a collected lead there is only one small step.
Again, don’t rush into things. You can post a link to your blog post every once in a while, but only if it’s truly valuable to a certain conversation. Don’t be a spammer!
The leads you can get through customer referrals are usually top quality. When someone vouches for you, you’re definitely half way through the door.
So why not take advantage of this and generate B2B leads that won’t take forever to convert into paying customers?
Reach out to your existing customers and simply ask them to refer you to their friends or business partners. If you want to make it worth their while, you can always offer a small incentive: a discount, a free upgrade or a small gift are always appreciated.
This won’t just help you generate new leads, but also boost your client retention rate. Aside from the small perk you are offering, you’re also showing that you value your customers and their opinion of you and referrals.
Quite a win-win situation, isn’t it?
Good, Ol’-Fashioned In-Person Networking
Who would have thought that in this day and age speaking face to face with someone is still a great way to generate B2B leads?
Industry events and local community meetings are a massive opportunities. Whenever you attend something like this, make sure to distribute business cards or connect with potential leads via social media.
20 B2B lead generation tactics is a lot. But again, they are not meant to be used at the same time. Mix and match as you see fit and remember to switch it up every once in a while.
More importantly, make sure you don’t miss any opportunities. This is the prime goal of this post: you may know about all these ways to generate B2B leads, but it never hurts to be reminded of the efficiency of every one of them.
Need help with B2B lead generation in general or implementing one of the tactics above? We can help! The Idunn team of skilled marketers and copywriters is just a contact form away (and so are your new leads):