When marketers start talking about leads, most of the time they seem to be talking about consumers. There’s discussions of funny videos, social media schedules, contests and email drip campaigns. The audiences are wide and often vague, from “mothers in their thirties,” to “teenagers living in Florida.”
But what about us Business to Business marketers? Our audiences are much more specific, and the tactics must be a bit more nuanced - it’s not enough to simply entertain and hope that our viewers share, we also have to add value from the get-go. Because there’s less conversation around Business to Business lead generation, we thought we’d get the conversation started by checking in with the state of the industry to date.
Content Marketers Have Their Work Cut Out For Them
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing Report for 2016, the vast majority of content marketers have Lead Generation listed as their most important goal for this year. However, less than a third have an actual plan for how to get there.
We have a feeling that the industry is overthinking this problem. The best way to get leads from content marketing is simple - though not easy: generate valuable content that is also entertaining and/or compelling to read. While this may seem daunting, especially if you’re understaffed when it comes to content, the best way to take a step in the right direction is to create a content calendar. Once you have a plan, you can break your tasks down into more manageable sections, and start making real progress.
Don’t Write of Email, Social Media Marketing, or Other “Consumer” Tactics
Remember, your audience is made up of consumers - they just happen to also be in positions of power at the brand you’d like to serve. In order to really appeal to these people, make sure your branding isn’t all corporate and professional.
Don’t be afraid to throw in some jokes, and target your audience in the same places consumer brands would - namely, email and social media. Both have served Business to Business marketers well, according to Ascend2’s 2016 State of Lead Generation Survey, which gathered the majority of its responses from Business to Business marketers.
What’s more, email marketing was voted to be the easiest way to generate leads, beating out paid search, online advertising, SEO and content marketing.
Build a Great Team
It’s important to have experts when you’re attempting a difficult task - and to know when it’s time to call in an outside opinion. It’s not surprising that in the same Ascend2 report, it was found that the most effective marketing teams were made up of a mixture of in-house experts and outside specialists. This is especially true of social media and content marketing, which we learned earlier are the two most difficult - though also the most lucrative - ways to generate leads.
These tasks are so difficult, in fact, that 80% of organizations that Ascend2 surveyed outsource at least some, if not all, of their lead generation needs.
You can read the full report here. We've also included a wonderful infographic that details the state of B2B lead generation, below.
Have you had a different experience? Do you have a tip you’d like to share with our readers? Want to learn more? Let us know!