Many small companies in the B2B space still rely on referrals. And why shouldn’t they, it’s the quickest way to earn trust. But what if you want your company to grow more quickly?
To do that, you’ll need to get more leads and most times referrals won’t be enough.
You’ve probably already heard all the typical advice for generating leads for B2B businesses. The reason you’re still looking is probably because those tips haven’t worked…yet.
The reason these tips aren’t working for you is not because they are bad tips. It’s more likely that whatever you read was missing key information to make these tips actionable and successful.
This blog post isn’t going to re-invent the wheel. But it will explain in detail how to make the best B2B marketing tips work.
So let’s get into it.
What you’ve heard: LinkedIn is a great way to contact decision makers
What actually works: LinkedIn and Sales Navigator are great ways to find and research contacts, then contact them directly via phone or email
Start by finding target prospects on LinkedIn using your accurate buyer persona.
The difference between the various LinkedIn subscription levels is complex but the Sales Navigator service provides a lot of value. With access to this tool you can:
- Save leads
- Receive alerts on lead and company activity.
- Inmails (although we don’t often use these and we contact people direct)
Generally we sync LinkedIn data to our CRM via a nice widget because the LinkedIn lead management tools aren’t great. The LinkedHub tool also has several integrations with email finding tools that help to uncover a leads direct email address.
The activity information is valuable as it allows you to identify leads that may need your services as their businesses change.
What You’ve Heard: Join forums and on-line networking groups.
What actually works: Join forums and on-line networking groups and comment publicly.
The general advice with forums is to comment and be helpful.
This can be quite time-consuming so it’s best done on forums that are open to the public. Then, anyone that searches for that particular query, will find helpful information and a link to your website.
Forums like this typically sit in Google, Yahoo, Quora and Reddit.
Be aware that this strategy can take a lot of time and you will be giving the site a global license to use and reuse your content with no fee.
So, if you create a fabulous 500-word answer to someone’s question the site can use it in any way they like.
There are a couple of approaches that work for answers:
- The huge, highly inclusive response that looks more like a blog post than an answer.
- The to the point answer with a link to more information
We tend to take the second approach. Most often the question will already have been answered on our blog and we can directly reference that post.
If it hasn’t been answered, we’ll write it up on our blog and link to it. That way the content stays on our site.
Either way, there are a couple of key points for your answers:
- Look for questions with a lot of followers: There’s no point in spending 2 hours answering a question with only 2 followers.
Free tip: use follow volumes to better understand important topics for your blog posts.
- Read the question carefully and answer it – seems obvious but not everyone does it.
- Don’t “sell” yourself, your company or your products in your answer. It puts people off and they skip over it.
- Link to more information. Make sure you link out to an authoritative site, hopefully, your own on the topic. Once readers are at your site they’ll see how great your content is and hopefully download your content upgrade.
What You’ve Heard: Create Facebook Look-a-like audiences
What actually works: Build multiple audiences and test them against different types of content and ads.
You can build a multitude of look-a-like audiences in Facebook. If you have your Facebook pixel enabled, you can build a look-a-like audience from all the people who visit your website, or even specific web pages that experience high conversion rates.
Look-a-like audiences pull interests and demographics from an existing pool of people.
These may correlate to your buyer persona, or they might have nothing to do with it. The profiling that the Facebook algorithm uses to build the look-a-like audience may elect demographics and interests which are purely incidental or even wild anomalies. This is why you need to test your lists with a few different ad types.
Multi-variable testing takes time, but it’s worth the effort if you get a list of people who are more targeted to your marketing efforts. This can take time, so build a testing plan, stick to it and be patient.
What You’ve Heard: You need your pages to on rank page 1 of the Google results
What actually works: You need your pages to rank on page 1 of the on Google results for keywords relevant to your Buyer Personas.
To do this, you should make a list of terms used to describe the service or products your company provides, then put them through Google. Scroll down to the common searches associated and you’ll see search queries commonly made containing your keyword.
If you want to go one step further, you can run your main keyword through AnswerThePublic, a question generation tool. You’ll get an extensive list of questions this way, which you can download into a spreadsheet and run through a keyword explorer on an SEO keyword explorer tool like Moz or SEMRush.
Assess the keywords most applicable to you that have a desirable monthly search volume, high priority and low difficulty. You’ll have to make your own judgements as to which keywords are achievable for you. If you choose a keyword with low difficulty, it’ll be easier for you to reach a high ranking on Google.
What You’ve Heard: Use infographics to get shares and downloads
What actually works: Publish valuable blogs and tempt readers with highly relevant gated downloadables.
The key here is relevance, whether it be in an infographic, a blog post or a table. What you want to do is publish a high-value blog about the keywords you select, then place gated content within the most relevant sections of that blog. This content can be shared with social media and email contacts.
Most importantly – don’t just use a generic download for all your blog post, that is the opposite of relevant. On this blog we get 12% conversion rate for some of our content because it is 100% relevant to the person reading the post.
An easy way to know what makes relevant gated content is from reading your blog from the buyer persona’s perspective. If there’s a particular paragraph or section that is absolute gold, turn it into a downloadable.
Make sure you word the CTA in a way that’s enticing but not too pushy.
To read more about the do’s and don’ts in B2B marketing. Check out my blog on how to avoid the most common mistakes in B2B marketing.
A marketing and PR strategist dedicated to helping companies leverage greater customer engagement, brand visibility and profits through tried and tested digital methodologies.