B2B lead generation ideas must be custom-tailored to the needs of individual companies. What works for one company may fall flat for another, even if they implement the same strategy. You need to think both outside and inside the box with B2B lead generation ideas. There are tried and proven methods such as well-done cold email outreach, but you also need to keep an open mind to other avenues to gain leads.
Your marketing efforts must keep up with the latest trends in lead generation, but more than that you need a B2B lead generation strategy. After creating a lead generation strategy we highly recommend also making sure you have a clearly defined sales cycle to ensure no leads are going to waste.
In this guide, we provide 10 unique and detailed B2B lead generation ideas based on our experience marketing for a variety of companies.
Reddit is a unique platform that can generate B2B leads when used correctly. It’s often overlooked in B2B marketing, but it can be a productive platform when you know how to use it.
Here’s how to effectively use Reddit:
Find The Right Subreddit
You can find “subreddits” related to your industry with a built-in community of avid followers. There’s a subreddit for pretty much anything you can think of. Join the conversation on upvoted topics, and your brand will begin to gain attention in the communities. If your company provides cybersecurity services, for instance, you could be active on the r/cybersecurity subreddit. It’s another channel you can leverage to establish your brand as an expert in your industry and interact with your target audience where they are already active online. Respond to trending posts and comments, and post questions.
What Not To Do
Don’t just post links to your website and self-promote. Those posts will be flagged and removed by moderators in most communities. Reddit dislikes blatant self-promotion. Use Reddit to engage with your target audience by answering people’s questions about your industry, start conversations with your audience, and showcase your brand’s “personality”. People may come to view you as a helpful resource, reach out to you with questions, and become potential leads.
Find Trending Topics In Your Industry
Notice which posts and comments have the most upvotes. A higher number of upvotes is an indicator that people are paying attention to a topic. Comment on the thread so people will see your brand is part of the conversation about important topics. Take this knowledge with you outside of Reddit to post about trending topics on your social media. You could even write a blog post about it.
Search For The Best Keywords On a Subreddit
You can use Keyworddit, a free tool that extracts keywords from any subreddit. Simply type in the name of a subreddit, and instantly see a list of top keywords. You can then craft a post with the top-used keywords for that subreddit. This can increase the chances of your post getting noticed on the platform. For example, here are the most used keywords on the software subreddit:
Many B2B marketers don’t put a lot of stock in Facebook. It’s primarily seen as a B2C platform. However, the group feature makes it appealing to B2B companies. Facebook groups are closed communities where people from a profession communicate about the challenges they face at their jobs and provide useful advice for each other. Here are some ideas for how you can use Facebook groups to grow your online presence and generate leads:
Do your research. Make a list of all Facebook groups your target audience may be spending time in.
See what questions people are asking in the groups. These are likely questions Google isn’t easily answering and can give you fantastic ideas for blog posts.
Write and create content that provides direct value to your target audience. Promote it in the groups you have found. Don’t just post it though – post a teaser of the value your piece provides and ask if anyone wants it. Provide links in the comment section.
Interact with your audience. Offer something of value to the groups. Introduce people to your brand in a non-sales way by engaging with them and providing helpful feedback.
Use retargeting to reengage website visitors through Facebook PPC (Pay-per-click) ads. Retargeting allows you to to advertise directly to visitors who have already engaged with your brand. This can result in a far low cost per click and far higher conversion rates.
Guest blog posts are a pretty common technique in marketing. Reach out to blogs and news sites your target audience visits, and ask if they’d put a guest blog post on their website from you. This is a great way for your company’s name to be seen by more people who may be interested in your services. Ideally, some of them will check out your website and turn into leads.
In order to do this effectively, you must write good content. Posting high-quality content that entertains, educates, and persuades your readers is the only way to get people motivated enough to check out your website and services. Spend some time learning how to write the best content you possibly can, and optimize it for SEO (we’ll get into that in a bit).
You can also check out our post on this topic for detailed strategies on how to write the best B2B marketing articles.
LinkedIn is widely considered to be the premiere B2B lead generation network. If you have a Sales Navigator account, you can use your buyer personas to find and connect with decision makers. You can filter based on industry, income, title, seniority, company size, and more. LinkedIn is widely considered to be the premier social network for B2B buyers. Here are best practices for making the most out of LinkedIn:
As an example, perhaps I am a B2B company that helps FinTech startups connect with major banks. First I could go to Crunchbase and find a list of recently funded companies, then build a list of CEO’s and COO’s at those companies using LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Don’t use a rote sales pitch. If you are an executive on LinkedIn chances are you get dozens of messages per week and most of them have the same format. Take the time to customize your message directly to your prospect, or simply introduce yourself.
Build a relationship first. Ask your prospect to have a virtual coffee, or another small ask. Don’t jump straight to the sales pitch. Sales is about building relationships first.
Ask for quotes. Ask if your prospect would be interested in being quoted on a blog article you are writing. This can be a great way to start a conversation and also provides a built in ally in promoting your content.
Consider automating the process. Some people have found success using a LinkedIn bot such as Phantombuster to automatically connect and message people. This takes a large amount of manual effort out of connecting, however it can also get your account banned so use with caution.
Webinars. LinkedIn can also be a great tool to drive qualified leads to a webinar. As the market becomes more and more saturated with content, hosting high quality, informative webinars can provide enormous value.
Collect contact information. LinkedIn can also serve as an excellent tool to get the contact information for decision makers.
Cold outreach gets a bad rap. When you think of cold email or cold calling your mind probably immediately jumps to that annoying cold call you got last week, or the endless deluge of spam that seems to flood your inbox every morning unprompted. However, many businesses are built on the back of outbound marketing. Inbound can take some time to start working, and some businesses can’t wait three months for Google’s algorithm to begin ranking their pages.
You need cold outreach in your email marketing arsenal. Here are some outbound B2B lead generation ideas to make cold email outreach actually work:
Step 1 – Identify Pain Points. Every business has a pain point. You need to figure out what’s keeping your target prospect up at night. If he’s an IT service provider maybe he doesn’t feel like he’s providing adequate cybersecurity for his clients because it’s simply too expensive. If he’s a dentist, maybe he feels overwhelmed with appointment scheduling and hasn’t found HIPAA compliant software to easily manage bookings.
Step 2 – Personalize Your Outreach and Add Value. When cold emailing is your first contact with a potential customer, remember this: People don’t buy from you because they like your product, they buy from you because they like you and you solve their problem. Don’t make it a pure sales pitch. Add value by sending along a helpful and free resource that addresses a problem they may be having.
Step 3 – Solve Their Problem. Succinctly explain how you solve your prospect’s problem. Let’s illustrate this with an example: Which email would you be more likely to respond to?
I wanted to reach out to you and let you know about the new software Orange Jaguar Security. Our product has been rated one of the best cybersecurity products for financial companies and we are currently rapidly expanding. Would you be interested in setting up a 10-15 minute call?
I saw the article you wrote on the trouble financial institutions are having with cybersecurity in last week’s edition of Enterprise Magazine. I wanted to reach out for two reasons. First to introduce myself – I’m the CEO of Orange Jaguar Security and I wanted to see if there were any opportunities to work with Purple Sphinx Financial Services.
Secondly, I was wondering if you could spare 10-15 minutes so I could get a quote from you for an article I’m writing on the advantages of using Endpoint Detection and Response in the context of financial firms. (No sales pitch I promise).
Thanks so much,
The first email offers nothing to the prospect. The second email provides immediate value and shows that the CEO took the time to research them. Sales isn’t about selling, it’s about building relationships. Many people think you first have to get a customer and then have a relationship when in reality the best salespeople form a relationship first and then get a customer.
SEO may seem complex but it comes down to two main things:
Posting consistent, quality content
Building links to that content
Beyond these two items, there are a multitude of little technicalities that add up and increase your chances of landing on the first page of Google (such as the right meta-description length, and having your keyword in your meta-description and at least one H2).
But all of those things are subject to change – Google enacts hundreds of algorithm changes each year, and several core changes every few months. You can’t control this, but you can control the quality and quantity of the content you put out. You will also begin to build high-quality backlinks when other trusted websites find your content valuable enough to share as a resource.
We can’t overstate the importance of having good organic backlinks. You may have backlinks from websites that Google doesn’t trust and not even realize it. This can harm the trustworthiness of your website in the eyes of Google’s complex algorithm. We recommend conducting a thorough offsite SEO audit to find all potential sites that have linked back to you. You need to assess the backlink “equity” of existing backlinks by considering factors such as the “freshness” of the link, the anchor text used on the linking site, the domain authority of the linking page, and how related the linking site’s content is to your website’s. You should assess these factors and disavow links as needed.
You also need to conduct good keyword research. You can use tools such as Ubersuggest or SEMrush to identify the most effective keywords for your industry. The ideal keyword has a high monthly search volume, a low difficulty rating, and a high cost-per-click (CPC). A high CPC matters because it indicates that other companies are willing to pay a lot of money to get people to their website through that keyword.
Another pro-tip for boosting your SEO is putting an interactive tool on your website. Neil Patel noted in a recent Digital Marketing Podcast episode that interactive tools are quickly becoming one of the most important things to have on your website for SEO. This isn’t a mainstream or well-known SEO method yet, and you could benefit from getting in early on this burgeoning trend. You can easily create interactive tools such as quizzes on a website like Typeform.
If somebody likes you, they’ll tell their friends about you. Pretty soon you’ll have a bunch of business you didn’t really do any outreach for. Business is all about relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals if you have an established relationship with a customer who trusts you.
You can also ask customers for testimonials. If you don’t have customer testimonials prominently displayed on your website, we suggest making that a top priority right now. It creates social proof on your website, showcasing to all of your visitors that other people find your services beneficial. Show off your customer testimonials like trophies on your website.
Customer testimonials speak louder than your website’s copy. Testimonials create proof that you can actually do what you say you do. We suggest you display testimonials on your website’s homepage that align closest with the services you want people to buy right now.
For B2C, Facebook is the premier platform for paid ads. LinkedIn and Google AdWords are best for the B2B space, and Reddit ads are in-between. You need an interactive process to maximize your ROI on paid ads. Accomplish this by message testing ads using A/B testing, selecting the best ads using metrics such as CTR and CR, and then run the test again. The key is continuous optimization. A few things worth focusing on:
Conversion Rate Optimization.
You should be continually running A/B testing campaigns to find the highest converting ads. In many cases some messaging will resonate far better with your target audience than other messaging. Discovering this before you spend a fortune on PPC ads can save you thousands. Testing out CTA’s and CTR’s is particularly important.
Don’t Always Go For the Sale.
In many cases you can run paid ads promoting a piece of unique content that you have developed as part of your content marketing strategy. This is particularly important for B2B companies since in many cases the purchases tend to be far larger than B2C. Building a rapport with your audience is critical to selling.
Test Out Different Platforms.
Facebook is primarily seen as a B2C platform, however many B2B companies have found great success on it as well. You may find that you can generate just as many high quality leads as you would on LinkedIn for 20% of the price. It all depends on your niche and targeting.
Hiring an SDR is a big step for a business, but it can also be a critical one. An experienced and able Sales Development Representative can help you bring in consistent and reliable business, the trick is to find a good one. In general when looking for an SDR you should look for an individual who has:
Experience selling your product (or at least something similar)
Several references from previous employers with verifiable sales numbers
A plan of action of how he or she would sell your product
Make sure to set clear goals and expectations early. Doing this can save you a lot of headaches later on. You can ask some colleagues for what a reasonable benchmark in your industry is for leads/closed revenue per quarter. Make sure that you have a high-quality content marketing approach in place.
A comprehensive content marketing strategy is critical for any B2B business, and forms the cornerstone of inbound marketing. Having a large repository of high quality content builds trust, generates leads, and helps your target audience find you. Creating a valuable and high quality content marketing strategy consists of a few parts:
Lead Magnets: Lead magnets are gated pieces of high value content that allow you to collect prospects email addresses. Once a prospect downloads a lead magnet they are both familiarizing themselves further with your brand, while also providing you with an email list of quality leads who have taken the time to opt-in. In many cases lead magnets have their own web pages, or are delivered through a popup form as a user interacts with your website. The key is grow your email list and add to your sales funnel.
Blogging: Blogging is absolutely critical for every company in 2020. And spamming out 500 word “recent news” blogs is entirely useless. You need to set yourself apart from the competition by creating high value blogs that answer the questions your prospects have. If you need ideas for blog topics look at subreddits that your prospects frequent. In many cases, they will be asking questions that they couldn’t find a satisfactory answer for on Google.
Use a Marketing Automation Tool: Marketing automation is equal to the hype. Marketing automation allows you to create a lead nurturing process where prospects become leads and leads become buyers. At Vale Creative we are big fans of Hubspot. Hubspot is easy to set up, easy to use, and can automate many tasks that marketers struggle with.
Create Landing Pages for Different Content: Each piece of content should have it’s own landing page, preferably through a tool such as Unbounce or Instapage. These tools allow you to A/B test different messaging and cta’s (Calls to action) and arrive at the ones that most resonate with your target audience. Measuring conversion rates can improve yur marketing results by 10%, 20%, or even more.
Whitepapers: The best type of content you can create are new and groundbreaking whitepapers. These are the most likely to be picked up by journalists which can generate free media attention and also provide backlinks to your website.
Case Studies: Case studies are critical to proving to your prospects that you know what you’re doing. A good case study should highlight a specific company and demonstrate real measurable results which your service provided them.
B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring. Make your content more personalized, and maybe take a couple notes out of the B2C handbook. Businesses have different problems, but they still do have problems and they’re still run by people. Use infographics and videos to get your main points across and engage with your audience.
As an example, LinkedIn is the best marketing platform for B2B but we’ve also gotten numerous B2B leads from answering people’s questions on Reddit and from creating pieces of high value content on our website. Facebook is the preeminent B2C advertising platform but we’ve gotten plenty of leads from interacting with Facebook groups in our clients’ industries.
The tone is more professional for B2B marketing and the preferred medium may be different, but at the end of the day you’re still talking to people. And people have short attention spans and will navigate away from your website if they don’t find your content engaging and helpful. So don’t be afraid to make your content more engaging and creative in the B2B space. For more details on how to make your brand strategy and content writing engaging and compelling, check out our guide to technical content writing.