Generate leads for B2B companies in online marketing

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Generating leads is significantly different from generating inquiries in the private customer sector. Here you can learn what you need to consider?

Lead generation is one of the main goals in online marketing. A lead is a qualified contact, i.e. a potential customer or interested party who indicates a willingness to buy. In a sense, a trade fair visitor who leaves his business card, only not in person, but on your website, your social media profile, or in other online marketing tools such as a newsletter or a live chat.

Here, a classic distinction is made between so-called B2B and B2C marketing. The former refers to marketing to business customers (business-to-business) and the latter to marketing to private customers (business-to-customer). It is not always necessary to make a general distinction between the two, because both target groups are always the same: people. And even the CEO sometimes sits on the couch in his sweatpants and watches a video on YouTube.

Of course, B2B customers can also be reached via many B2C channels, but it often makes sense to separate the target groups, especially in online marketing, in order to apply an appropriate strategy.

You need content!

Your website needs good content, because as the saying goes, “Content is king!” Without good and meaningful content, no website is possible. The world-famous formula e = m x c² can also be applied in content marketing. Because your energy on the web is brand x content². Without good and appropriate content, your website won’t work for B2B leads either.

A prospective customer wants to find relevant information on your website. The visitor wants to know what added value is hidden behind your offer. He wants to have a quick overview of your services or products.

Good design alone won’t get you qualified leads, or can you imagine generating an order with an attractive salesperson who doesn’t say a word to the customer Surely not! The look & feel of your website is important and must match your brand image. But the difference is in the content of your site.

By the way, the German word “Inhalt” already describes very precisely what it is all about. It’s about texts, images, or videos that make us “pause”. Content that makes people stay on the page and that positions the company as an expert in its field.

But to generate leads, you also need to be one thing, visible. You are visible if you are also found in the search engines. But this is exactly what good and relevant content are needed for. A search engine has a simple goal it wants to provide a visitor with the best answer to their search query that exists on the Internet. For this simple reason, you should always invest in excellent content.

By the way, content does not always have to be textual. Images or videos are also part of the content that can be interesting for the user. PDF files, e-books, or presentations are also content that can be interesting for potential leads. If you don’t know what content might be interesting to your B2B visitors, our simple tip is to ask your customers! No one can better tell what a potential customer is looking forward to than their current customers.

Leads need more time

Especially in the business customer sector, B2B leads simply need more time than leads in the private customer sector. Why this is so is easy to explain. In most cases, especially in large companies and organizations, orders are subject to standardized processes. In the process, even a requisition usually passes through several hands. This process takes some time.

Also, a need in a company is not necessarily always urgent. Often there is already a proven supplier for a specific need. The key here is to be patient and stay on the ball. It is precisely through continuous and professional content marketing that long-term success can be achieved here. But positioning in the customer’s mind that one is a better supplier than the competitor also takes longer.

A private customer is only accountable to himself or his partner when a supplier is changed. An employee in a company must always be able to justify the change of a supplier.

This not only means for you as an advertiser that a little more patience is required but also means that in marketing, for example, campaigns have to be designed for a much longer period of time. Especially for campaigns that are designed for a runtime budget, it is important to design the runtime realistically and really for the long term. Creating a B2B campaign with a one-week runtime is a great way to blow a lot of money as quickly as possible. Here, a more difficult approach must be taken. The campaign that brings traffic to the website may be designed with pleasure for the short term, but only if this is accompanied by a long-term remarketing campaign, which then reminds the users of your company again and again. Always be aware that lead generation for business customers takes more time. A time of several months from the first contact to the first inquiry is absolutely not a rarity, but rather the rule.

Making a decision within seconds is not common in B2B. Be patient when generating B2B leads.

Never underestimate the technical perfection of the website

Technical perfection sounds very high-flown. However, this can be broken down into a few points.

Print view

It is now often neglected, but is still very important, especially in B2B business, the print view. The print view is the view of a website that appears when you want to print it. Mostly it is shown as a short preview before printing.

Why this view is rarely optimized is clear. It is rarely or never checked by a customer who has a website created by an agency. Yet it is still quite common, especially in large companies, for websites to be printed out for a meeting, for example. For reasons of sustainability and environmental protection, this is certainly not the best way to discuss something, but hand on heart, a printed website can not be easily forgotten in a meeting. A link that you sent to the team a few weeks ago is.

It is important for you as a company to be aware of this fact when generating B2B leads. Therefore, make sure that your website is also optimized for print. This doesn’t mean that it should produce a visual masterpiece that’s every bit as good as your brochure. That would hardly be technically possible either. But a reasonable presentation, where all content fits on one page and, for example, texts that would otherwise only be visible when you move the mouse over them, will also be printed.

Also, always be aware that people shy away from multi-page, full-color printouts in particular. Exploit this purposefully and do without all images in the printout, which are accommodated in the layout, and use the links that offer your customers in a meeting a real added value. In addition, you could, for example, include a note stating that the printing of all images has been deliberately omitted in order to reduce the amount of ink required and that all images are, of course, available on the website on a daily basis. Such a note is technically possible and no problem at all to implement. Use this possibility and show your B2B corporate customers that you also think about their concerns.

The loading time of your website

Although our Internet connection is getting faster and faster and enormous data rates are now possible even on cell phones, the loading time of a website is more important than ever before. Latest with the Google update of the “Core-Web-Vitals” it means now for all site operators to make sure that their website is loaded in the shortest possible time.

We always recommend the Google Page Speed Test for this. This is fast, free of charge, and allows you to check for yourself how fast your website is. This is so important because customers decide within a very short time whether they are right on your website or whether they go back to the search engine and click on the next hit. The more time it takes from this small window of your website to load, the less time you have to convince the customer of you.

Please don’t just check the loading time of your home page, because many customers searching for a specific product or service don’t end up on this page, but on a subpage or landing page created specifically for this purpose. The load time on these pages should also be excellent and optimized.

Well-thought-out user guidance for a high level of usability.

Of course, this point is not only important for lead generation in the business customer sector, but in general, user-friendliness always determines the success of a website regardless of the industry. In one of our last posts, we already talked a lot about the halo effect. This states that a prominent element, which is particularly positive or particularly negative, ensures that we attribute this characteristic to the entire company.

A poor user experience does just that. Behind a website that is difficult to use, there must be a company that is difficult to work with, which is the conclusion of the potential customer. But the opposite works just as well. Behind a website that is always up-to-date and easy to use, there must be a modern and agile company with simple processes.

Content prepared for visitor awareness

Especially in B2B, websites often describe solutions and services down to the smallest detail. The latest certificates and prices are once again brought into focus and ideally, you also pack the vacancies on every page, so that you are sure to tell everything you can on a landing page.

Does this make sense? Rather less, because there are different levels of problem awareness that your visitor can have on your website.

The customer knows the solution and searches for it

In this case, the customer is aware of his problem, he also already knows the solution and is looking specifically for the solutions. Here, it is also important to clearly present how they solve this problem, but also already why your product or service is ideally suited for this. This problem perception is called solution awareness.

The customer already compares solutions

Everything seems to be clear to this customer. He knows his problem and he knows the solution for it. What is not yet clear to him is who can best solve this problem. Show this customer clearly the added value, what sets you apart, and what makes your product unique in the market. This state is called Product Awareness.

The customer knows your product and your competitors very well.

You can tell this customer little that is new. He is not only familiar with the problem and solution, but also with you and your competitors. Here you need to clearly communicate why your product is the best on the market, but also what the life cycle of the product is. How long is the warranty period, what service do you offer after the purchase, and much more? This condition is called most aware.

Social media also works in B2B, but differently

Social media also works very well in B2B, because even a department head who is always interested in aligning and improving his department according to key figures wants to know what his friends are posting on Instagram or Facebook after work (incidentally, as most B2B key figures show, even during working hours).

However, a 2020 study shows that only 9% of participants consider social media to be a very good source of information that is important in their day-to-day work. The vast majority of just under ⅔ of users said that Facebook cannot provide relevant information for your work. LinkedIn, by the way, performed very well in this respect. Instagram, on the other hand, performed even worse, with almost ¾ of respondents stating that Instagram does not provide any useful information for their work.

This means that the most important thing is the choice of social media. In which portal should you be active and in which not? These portals should always be chosen specifically for your goals and target groups and not because they are far ahead in the statistics.

A concrete example from our industry for generating leads from new customers. For us, a podcast medium is an ideal tool for our own content marketing. We know that this medium is very popular with business leaders and marketing managers. Of course, we reach other employees in companies rather poorly through it, but we don’t want to.

Account-based marketing can make sense

Creating a separate landing page for every single potential customer would be an impossibility in B2C marketing. But in B2B business, it is certainly possible and can be worthwhile. If you have a desired customer who, on top of that, has the sales potential to make this marketing effort worthwhile, creating a landing page just for this one customer can be a sensible way to go in B2B. For example, you can specifically mention his machines, his software, or his processes here, so that this particular customer feels even better addressed. Specially targeted social media ads or search engine ads are also possible.

Conclusion on lead generation in the B2B environment

Lead generation in the B2B environment seems to be a closed book, but in reality, it is very similar to generating leads in the B2C area. It’s just important to consider where the approach differs greatly, and then keep this in mind when creating a campaign and marketing strategy. Use HeyForm to create an elegant and interactive lead generation form to collect as many leads as you can. HeyForm provides features like drag and drop, step by step, item calculator, and much more.

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