One of the primary requirements and biggest challenges for a B2B marketer is lead generation. “B2B” stands for “Business-to-Business” and they are enterprises that sell products and services to other businesses. On the other hand, there are B2C (Business-to-Consumer) companies that sell directly to consumers.
Lead Generation is the step where a marketer attracts a potential customer (lead) towards his business. After a marketer has got the attention of a lead, the follow-up procedures like engaging with a lead (lead nurturing) and then convincing the lead to become a customer (lead conversion).
Let us look at some of the prominent virtual lead generation strategies.
B2B marketers live and die by lead generation statistics.
– Jen Barrell
Virtual Lead Generation Strategies
Here are some statistics which shed light on the lead generation scenario:
- Before finalizing a product purchase, 94% of B2B buyers research online. (Marketing Profs)
- More than 79% of marketing leads don’t convert into sales with the lack of lead nurturing as the leading cause. (MarketingSherpa via HubSpot)
- 68% of B2B companies are still struggling with lead generation. (CSO Insights via Lattice Engines)
- 61% of B2B marketers find generating high-quality leads as their biggest challenge. (B2B Technology Marketing Community)
- Strategic landing pages are used by 68% of B2B businesses to acquire leads. (Marketo)
- 75% of B2B buyers use social media for their decision-making.
Most effective lead generation tactics producing highest ROI according to B2B marketers in the United States in 2019
As the above illustration depicts, three of the virtual lead generation strategies which are at the fore are,
1) Email Marketing
2) Content Marketing
3) Social Media Marketing
According to a study conducted by Statista, there were 3.8 billion registered email users worldwide in 2018. This number is expected to jump to 4.4 billion users in 2023.
Email marketing is one of the leading virtual lead generation strategies.
Some of the facts and figures overwhelmingly in favor of using email marketing to promote your B2B business:
- 93% of B2B marketers use e-mail.
- 72% of customers prefer email as their main channel for business communication.
- 83% of B2B companies make use of email newsletters during their content marketing campaigns
- 40% of B2B marketers are of the view that email newsletters are highly significant to the success of their content marketing strategy.
- According to a study, 50% of the respondents revealed that email is their most preferred way to receive updates from brands they follow.
- B2B marketers feel, among all their strategies, emails delivered the highest average ROI (Return on Investment). According to a survey, ROI through email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent i.e. a ROI of 4200%.
Email is a tried-and-tested method of communication which is decades old and yet, it is still the most effective form of one-to-one correspondence. Emails allow for personalization of communication to a degree which is far better than is possible in any other means of digital marketing.
Emails are a great way to test waters with a fresh lead. They help you get an understanding of the leads and their likes, tastes and preferences. Emails help you take a new lead further down the marketing funnel and closer to the step of converting the leads into customers.
Email marketing is an inbound lead generation strategy where you are in the pursuit of attracting and convincing leads who can later turn into customers.
According to a study, it has been found that 68% of B2B buyers now prefer to conduct their own online research into a product before speaking with a sales rep.
This is a statistic which further highlights the significance and value of quality content. With the trend of seeking information online being omnipresent, the B2B marketers need to realize the worth of content marketing.
To keep the information flow going, content marketing is a great strategy. The various forms that content marketing could take are blogs, educational videos, e-books and even online courses. For a person who is a stranger to your business, getting access to such resources may be something they would be grateful for. Such a person would readily lap up the information that you present through content marketing and become familiar with your work and business. Through content marketing, you can also invite interaction from your leads and start a dialogue with them. This not only creates a positive impression about your business in the minds of a lead but will also increase the likelihood that such a lead may, at a later date, become a customer. This sort of tactic is an inbound lead generation strategy and it yields rich dividends.
Other ways of content marketing which B2B marketers could make use of are to organize podcasts, live sessions and webinars. In the pandemic-dominated world of 2020-21, Cloud-based apps like Zoom and Time were the go-to methods for arranging events which asked for the involvement of a group. Such virtual events are fantastic means of keeping in touch with your clients and also make up for the lack of events in the real world.
The methods devised for content marketing in conditions of Corona pandemic are here to stay and it is very likely that they could become the norm in the days to come.
Social Media Marketing
As all B2B marketers have realized in the recent years, these days, for any company or organization, social media presence is a must. Be it Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn, the number of users of these social media platforms is increasing exponentially by the day.
Each of these social media tools can be used for information dissemination in unique ways by making use of their respective strengths and plus points. Social media marketing works really well as an inbound lead generation strategy.
Facebook consists of a varied cross-section of users and by custom, Facebook posts contain both words and images. Twitter is ideal for short, crisp messages like updates, notifications and advice on a new product or service. LinkedIn is mostly used for job seeking and it is suited for staying in touch with clients who are professionals and business oriented.
Social media marketing as a strategy goes a long way in building your brand awareness and you never know when and what can convert your “Followers” into clients.
B2B marketers can never tire of stressing upon how crucial lead generation is in improving their business. Lead generation as a tactic is no longer what it was even a few years ago – all thanks to the advent of digital marketing and virtual lead generation strategies. While lead generation is a tough and demanding job, the methods in which to handle it too are several and have shown to bear results.
I am Lisa Angela, Currently working as a marketing consultant at eSalesData, a renowned database company based out of Fremont, CA. I have around 10 years of experience in developing and executing marketing campaigns for various brands.