What is lead generation marketing? As a B2B business, if you’re generating revenue there is a good chance that you are doing lead generation in some form already. Every time that you bring in a customer through a print advertisement, social media account, outreach attempts, or even through a referral, you are generating a lead.
While the term ‘lead generation marketing’ implies a broader strategy, basic lead generation activities are inherent to running a successful B2B business. Taking a more focused approach to lead generation can help businesses avoid cold calling and more aggressive marketing tactics.
Let’s start by defining what a lead is and what it isn’t. Then, we’ll put it in the context of online lead generation. If you’d like to learn how an effective lead generation campaign can keep a constant flow of qualified prospects coming into your pipeline, keep reading.
What is a Lead?
A lead is a prospect who has indicated interest in your company’s products in some way.
They may have filled out a contact form, interacted with your branded accounts on social media, or joined your mailing list. These are people that have opened a line of communication with you. Not someone that you have randomly cold called.
Depending on how a lead entered your system, they may have varying levels of qualification for your offer or be at different points in the buying process. A lead that signs up to your mailing list through your blog may still be in the research phase of buying, while someone that inquires about case studies or references might be farther along.
Why Do You Need A Lead Generation Marketing Strategy?
For B2B businesses, having a consistent flow of new prospects reaching out to your business is everything. Lead generation strategies focus on defining the methods that you use to facilitate the lead generation process. Ultimately the goal of any company is to generate more highly qualified prospects.
Lead generation falls within the inbound marketing methodology. Check out the inbound marketing guide that we published to learn more. It is the second step in the process. Once you’re able to attract an audience through information sharing and the publishing of high-value content to establish familiarity, you use lead generation tactics to establish contact with customers and nurture them through the buying process.
As a HubSpot consultant, I help clients design and execute effective inbound marketing strategies that generate leads, then walk them through the decision-making process, then on to becoming a satisfied long term customer.
What Are Effective Lead Generation Tactics?
There are many individual tactics that I use to generate leads for our clients. Our strategies are comprehensive, often incorporating multiple tactics to create a well-rounded strategy. Cold outreach through email. Social selling on LinkedIn. Community engagement on popular discussion forums. Nearly any action that you take to get your brand in front of your target audience could be part of a lead generation marketing strategy. Guest posting on popular publications.
A recent survey IDG asked companies what lead generation tactics they found to be the most effective. You can see the results here:
The tactics that you use (or that I’ll recommend) will depend on your industry, current resources, and current digital presence. Leads are anyone that comes out of those efforts showing organic interest in your business.
In the inbound marketing methodology, you can use any of the above channels. Creating a multi-channel approach that includes both online and offline channels can be a smart way to broaden your net and mitigate risks associated with relying too heavily on any single channel.
The Keys to Successful Lead Generation
I am a big believer in the power of inbound marketing. It is at the heart of nearly every engagement that we take on here at RiseFuel. Then, we help our clients to marry their lead generation marketing efforts with an aligned sales strategy that not only keeps their pipeline full of prospects but positions them to successfully close them at high rates as well.
Inbound marketing allows you to attract customers to your business, build awareness, and establish yourself as an industry expert. The tenants of a successful lead generation strategy include:
High-Value Content Development
Content is at the center of every lead generation strategy that we design. We use content to attract customers to your business through search. We develop content that your sales team can use to answer questions, quell fears, and close more deals.
We create content that educates your customers and builds long-lasting relationships. 55% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that didn’t publish any.
A Multi-Channel Approach
You don’t want to be pigeonholed into a single tactic. While companies with smaller budgets should dial back their strategies a bit, a well-rounded approach is still necessary.
Inbound marketing dictates that you go where your customers are. That means that you should be communicating with prospects through email, social media, and search. You should make brand representatives available to establish real connections with prospects.
Sales & Marketing Alignment
I am a big believer that the more aligned your marketing and sales teams are, the more successful you will be. I work closely with clients to improve their sales enablement practices and create cohesion between the two departments.
Inbound marketing lends itself well to alignment. It attracts highly qualified prospects that your sales team will appreciate while educating them on your product, company, and industry in the process.
A Compelling Offer
No lead generation campaign will be effective without a compelling offer for providing their details. This is why we focus so heavily on education here at RiseFuel.
By educating your prospects on your offer and showing them why it is so valuable through high-quality content, you build a relationship over time and help them to establish an inherent trust for your brand.
Position Your Company to Grow
Companies that are just winging it when it comes to lead generation might bring in enough business to tread water, but are they really positioning themselves to grow? Are they mitigating risk by ensuring that they can weather storms?
A solid lead generation marketing strategy will help you to define what the research process looks like for your customer, identify highly qualified leads, and keep your pipelines filled.