Email marketing is one of the few online marketing channels that has stood the test of time. In fact, email is 23 years old this year, and it still trumps the top spot on many B2B marketer’s lists of B2B lead generation strategies.
One of the biggest trends in email marketing at the moment, that has generated great results for many B2B businesses, is marketing automation.
Marketing automation tools are effectively hybrid email marketing tools that connect with your CRM to enable you to automatically send highly targeted emails to leads that are personalised specifically to them.
When Thomson Reuters upgraded to a marketing automation solution, their revenue increased by 172%. Another company increased their revenue by 832% (going from $80,000 in debt to $2 million in revenue) in just three years.
While traditional newsletters and email marketing are still important, the ability to capture more data on users and use behavioural-triggers has enabled B2B marketers to get a lot smarter with how they target users in the inbox.
By creating a total of 48 infographics, videos, and Q&A blog posts targeting C-level prospects of large market cap financial institutions, the public accounting firm Crowe Horwath generated $250,000 in revenue attributed to content marketing.
In 2012, Xerox created a microsite offering relevant tips to business owners. The result? 70% of the companies targeted interacted with the microsite, adding 20,000 new contacts to their pipeline, 1,000+ of which scheduled appointments. The value of those appointments exceeded $1.3 billion in pipeline revenue.
Given the broad scope of content marketing, a good question to ask is what type of content should B2B companies be focusing on to generate leads?
Well, you could go by which tactics are most commonly used by other B2B companies (displayed below). The risk of this approach is that, by definition, you’ll be doing what everyone else is doing.
While there is some wisdom in following trends, there’s a good argument to do exactly the opposite of what other marketers are focusing on.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain
Whether you’re a contrarian marketer or prefer to stick to what’s working for others, a good content marketing strategy requires a degree of diversity and experimentation to understand where the biggest growth opportunities are for your business.
So, by all means, experiment with the common and uncommon tactics. Whether you use microsites, blogging, research reports, or infographics, the important thing is to test what does and doesn’t work so that you can gradually refine your lead generation over time.
Organic search marketing is arguably one of the most valuable long-term strategies for generating B2B leads.
Report of 5-6 years ago from an E-entrepreneur working on the SEO campaign for a major business stationery brand, he watched the site’s revenue from SEO increase by over £4 million, just from a handful of keywords reaching #1 on Google.
Getting to #1 in Google is a lot harder today than it was five or ten years ago, and it can barely be summarised in a few sentences.
As of 2015 a good SEO largely a bi-product of doing things well in other areas e.g. design, conversion rate optimisation, content marketing, and social. While there are exceptions, this is increasingly looking like the rule.
Calling social media an effective B2B lead generation strategy is a controversial discussion to be starting.
While social media scored very well on both of the aforementioned ‘studies’, we can just as easily find reports where social media channels are regarded as the least effective lead generation strategies.
The bottom line is, social media isn’t inherently a poor channel for B2B lead generation. The reason social media is sometimes rated poorly on these aggregate studies is because most B2B companies have an ill-fitting social media strategy, to put it politely.
While tens of thousands of companies blast out self-promotional drivel, a minority of businesses use it generate and nurture millions of dollars worth of leads. In this instance, it’s best to learn from the minority rather than the majority.
One of the most obvious ways to generate B2B leads from social media is using LinkedIn. An commodity risk management company managed to generate over $2 million in pipeline value through their lead generation strategy.
Another consideration is that social media is an integral part of content marketing, and to some extent, search marketing. How successful will your blogging or infographics be if no one’s following your company’s updates on social media?
Integrating it all together
It’s said that success leaves clues. Well, when a $37 billion company generates a 5,100% return on investment on a million-dollar marketing campaign, it might be a pretty good clue.
From a $1 million investment in an integrated marketing campaign that included display ads, email marketing, campaign websites and content marketing, the healthcare technology company Optum generated $52 million in new business.
I believe it’s this: exceptional lead generation results come from a relentless willingness to experiment with different tactics, and to combine tactics across multiple channels.
Only by experimenting, can you truly know what does and doesn’t work, and when you know this, you can use your time and budget more effectively to generate higher returns on your investment, and better lead generation results overall.