Lead Follow-up Best Practices for B2B Leads

Even if business is going great, you can always use more leads. Unfortunately, just getting the leads isn’t always enough. You also need to keep them engaged, and nurture them through the funnel. What is a lead who doesn’t end up making a purchase? Just another useless name in your database. We’ve spoken about lead nurturing before, and today we’re going to cover some lead follow-up best practices to help you keep your leads engaged. 

What is Lead Follow-Up? 

No matter how successful your lead generation efforts are – if those leads don’t convert, then it’s all in vain. Unfortunately, that happens more often than not – often because of poor follow-up and nurturing practices. Those two concepts, lead nurturing and follow-up, are similar but not the same. They are both focussed on a prospect’s needs as they travel through the funnel.

Lead nurturing is designed to help you build a relationship with a prospect, and gain their trust by responding to their expectations and concerns.

Follow-up is all about keeping in contact with your leads after their first exposure to your brand. Follow-up is all about staying top-of-mind and making sure they don’t forget about you. This can be done through phone calls, emails or social media.

For both of these things, you need to learn about your prospects’ problems and needs, as well as their communication preferences and their personality in general. This means that lead follow-up isn’t the easiest of tasks. It requires time and dedication, but it remains an essential part of your sales strategy. Without following these lead follow-up best practices, you’ll probably end up missing a significant portion of your potential sales. 

Why Proper Lead Follow-Up is Important 

As we’ve already mentioned, consistently following up with your leads is key to improving the ROI of your lead generation efforts. This is important to remember, especially when you consider that most sales people give up on a lead after following up with them only once or twice.

With timely follow-up, you’re able to more easily guide prospects through the sales funnel. You can link them to informative articles and blog posts during the awareness stage, or send through case studies and benchmark reports when they’re nearing their final decision.

Consistently following up with leads allows them to feel appreciated. This, in turn, builds stronger and more lasting relationships. Additionally, every follow-up with a prospect teaches you something new about them. This information is crucial for tailoring your strategy, and engaging with them – and prospects similar to them – more effectively in future.  

Lead Follow-Up Worst Practices (is that a thing?)

Before we get into the dos of lead follow-up, let’s get into the don’ts

One of the absolute worst practices of lead follow-up is making use of outdated follow-up sequences. They usually look a little something like this:

  • Signing them up to a drip feed of informative content, hoping that something will resonate with them
  • Trying to stay on their radar by sending through educational content
  • Trying to hook them with biased calls to action. 

Especially when working with B2B clients, this kind of follow-up sequence is, more often than not, doomed to failure. While educating, engaging and staying on a prospects radar are all good things, you’re definitely not the only company on their radar. You’re also not the only one educating them and engaging with them.

So what can you do?

Start a conversation. 

Lately, prospects are starting to respond less and less to targeted calls to action. They are becoming desensitised to biased forms of copywriting. The goal is to start a neutral conversation, with a message that provokes some thought about their current challenges without trying to sell them on your solution.

Especially if your business has a long sales cycle, the earlier you get into a conversation the better. If you start speaking to prospects early on in the relationship, you’re allowing yourself to gain more information. You also position yourself as a guide, which adds value. 

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Lead Follow-Up Best Practices for B2B  

Hopefully it’s become clear that you need to implement an effective lead follow-up strategy. To help you build that strategy, we’ve laid out a few lead follow-up best practices to help you achieve your goals. 

Follow-Up Through Multiple Channels

There are an endless number of ways you can follow up with your leads – an endless variety of options. You can phone them, email them, meet up with them at industry events, or even text them. You can even make use of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to stay in touch.

If they’re posting about you or interacting with your posts, you can respond to their comments, like their posts or even send them a direct message. When following up with social media, just make sure you’re sticking to the platforms they’re active on. It won’t help anybody if they’re interacting with your posts on Facebook and you send them a DM on Twitter.

Another important thing to remember is not to encroach on their personal lives. Even if they’re interacting with your business on Facebook and Instagram, don’t start ‘liking’ their family photos. 

While this is a list of best practices, there is no best practice for the ideal time or method for contacting a prospect. Each one has their own communication preferences, times they’re most active and channels they frequent. While some prospects may prefer to discuss business over the phone, others will be more comfortable with email. Still others might actually prefer LinkedIn direct messages. 

Your follow-up strategy will need to be personalised to each of the prospects you’re reaching out to.

Even so, some may not ever respond, despite all your best efforts. They might have chosen to go with another business, or they’re still undecided. Though you shouldn’t abandon leads too soon, knowing when to cut your losses is important. Intent data and lead scoring can be extremely helpful in this case. 

Emailing isn’t Enough. Give Them a Call

Much business nowadays is conducted over email. Email is a great tool for following up with multiple leads at once. 

That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for phone calls. In fact, lead follow-up best practice is to make use of both, along with a bit of social media interaction. By combining these methods, you’ll notice much higher response rates than if you had used only one channel.

Ideally, you should email a contact first, confirming that they are indeed a worthwhile lead, and begin the nurturing process. Phone calls can be used for deeper engagement. With a phone call, you have the prospects’ complete attention. Unfortunately, there is a chance that may choose to just not take your call at all, or cut you off before you can begin your spiel. If they don’t answer, you can always leave a voicemail, and hope that they don’t try to call you back when you’re not available. 

While emails can be read and responded to at any time, there is always a chance that they could get lost in a prospects’ inbox. Especially in a B2B environment, inboxes are busy places. If your prospect is having an extremely busy day, there’s always a chance that your carefully crafted email could end up in the trash. 

Use Sales Cadences

Sales cadences are an effective strategy for streamlining your follow-up efforts. Defining contact methods, frequency and timing, the system allows you to organise a follow-up timeline. While you don’t have to contact people every day, your touch points should include social media, emails and phone calls, as we’ve already discussed. 

An example of this would be: 

First day: You send an email

Third day: You make a phone call and follow up with email

Fifth day: You follow up on LinkedIn

Your sales cycle will determine the length of your sales cadence, while it’s structure will be dependent on the size of your sales team, the target company profile and your budget, etc. 

Sales cadences have many advantages. They create structure and order for your follow-up strategy, and they allow repeatable results. Once your sales cadence is established, tracking and optimising your sales process becomes much easier. 

Perhaps your prospects respond better to emails early on and to calls later in the follow up process. Use this knowledge to fine tune your sales cadence and process.

Have Something Meaningful To Say

The things you say during follow-up are crucial. Avoid contacting a prospect just to check in. You have to offer something meaningful.

Consider competitive sheets that show why your brand is superior. Or a piece of educational content, like a white paper, eBook or an interesting webinar that may be related to an action they’ve already taken.

Be there for your prospects. Offer them a fresh perspective on how to manage their pain points. Provide supportive information and useful advice.  

Make sure you are prepared for any questions they may have. Always provide thorough answers to strengthen reliability and build trust. Don’t be afraid to take a question you can’t answer offline and follow-up later. Giving them the right answer later versus the wrong answer now is a surefire way to damage your relationship with the prospect.

All in all, lead follow-up isn’t as difficult as it is heavy on time and resources. So do your best to make things easier for your sales teams. Organize customer relationship training and invest in CRM apps to effectively manage lead interactions.  

Final Thoughts

When a lead expresses interest in your products or services, do you follow up with them immediately? If so, how? 

Maybe they are not ready to buy right now, because they still have to think about it. Are you reminding them consistently about your company?

The extent to which you successfully convert a lead depends on how you follow up with them. In other words, the major obstacle that stands between you and a successfully converted prospect is the task of following up with them.  

Though it seems painfully obvious that you should follow up with your leads, studies actually show that nearly 50% of leads aren’t followed up. That represents a huge wasted opportunity. Even worse, a huge waste of money, because chances are that those leads came from a paid campaign. 

The leads that you don’t follow up with will probably end up buying from a competitor. 

Make sure that that’s not happening by implementing the following follow-up best practices:

  • Make use of a CRM system to check on and follow up with every single one of your leads.
  • Be responsive to all of your prospects by providing answers to their questions.
  • Make sure you’re following up fast, because businesses who get in touch with their prospects within an hour of receiving the query are seven times more likely to convert their leads. This is according to the Harvard Business Review
  • Automate any part of your follow-up process that you can. While you won’t be able to automate your one-on-one calls, you can still automate other things. Things like your lead nurturing email campaigns and your call scheduling.

There are also a few tools that can make the follow-up process simpler and more effective:

  • FollowUp.cc to schedule your follow ups
  • Olark to follow up with prospects while they browse your site
  • Survicate to follow up with surveys
  • Whoisvisiting to follow up with unknown website visitors

Try adding some of these lead follow-up best practices to your processes and see what kind of results you get. Remember, not every tip will work for every business. These tips can provide a good foundation to build your own personalised lead nurturing strategy, but above all, you should experiment, and see what works best for your business.

Developing B2B Lead Generation Strategies

A quick google search for B2B lead generation strategies will get you tons of results. And boy, do I mean TONS. The only problem? Every blog, website, post, and podcast, has something different to say. 

In fact, B2B lead generation strategies and kind of like weight loss tips. Everyone swears they’ve found the one and only, foolproof secret to success. But in reality, each and every person responds to exercise and nutrition differently. 

The best B2B lead generation strategies are tailored to suit specific industries, businesses, and customers. The sooner you understand what works for you, the sooner you will see results. 

While bespoke B2B lead generation strategies are necessary, there are several basic tips and tricks that should be the base of all B2B lead generation campaigns. It is important to understand these underlying principles before you spend money on a strategy that doesn’t work for you. 

At the end of the day, the more effective lead generation is, the cheaper it gets. So, let’s take a look at some B2B lead generation strategies that will maximize your ROI and grow your business. 

Understanding The Basics 

While all B2B lead generation strategies are going to look a little different (if you’re tailoring them to your specific needs) there are 5 broad categories that most lead generation tactics fall into:

  • Website Optimization 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Email Marketing 
  • Paid Advertising, and 
  • Social Media 

Most B2B brands will rely on these channels when they’re trying to increase sales. The way to really drive those sales up is to understand how to use each of these channels in the optimum way, for you, personally. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s go over the basics of lead generation and using it to promote B2B sales.

Inbound Vs Outbound B2B Lead Generation Strategies   

A lot of marketers these days will tell you that inbound marketing strategies are more effective than outbound. But what is the difference? 

Outbound marketing techniques push a message to your audience by informing them of your proposition. Inbound marketing techniques on the other hand are designed primarily to draw (i.e. pull) customers towards your company.

Which of these techniques are better to use for B2B lead generation? The truth is, neither of these techniques can work in isolation. 

Using outbound B2B lead generation strategies allows you to connect with your leads faster. However, inbound B2B lead generation strategies are great for establishing credibility. By pulling leads into your sales funnel, you are getting them to come to you, and this can give you the upper hand. 

So when you are developing your B2B lead generation strategies, be sure you use a combination of inbound and outbound techniques. You need to push your message out there and win attention, and you also need to pull potential leads towards your sales funnel. 

What is B2B Lead Generation? 

b2b lead generation definition

B2B lead generation strategies are all about increasing sales. That is the goal. It is ultimately the first step in the typical marketing and sales funnel/process. The focus is on collecting information from potential customers so that you can personalise your communication with them when trying to make a sale. You’re looking for information like:

  • Name
  • Email Address 
  • Company Name, and
  • Job Title. 

Once you have this information, you need to qualify your leads, perhaps with a marketing automation tool. You then hand them over to the sales department. Basically you’re trying to establish a sales funnel that draws in high-intent prospects that you can turn into customers. 

This is the main focus of B2B lead generation strategies. To attract quality leads that can be easily converted into sales. Most B2B lead generation strategies will focus on the top of the funnel, or ToFu. Once you have gathered the lead’s information, probably with a form, you will engage with your prospective customer in the middle of the funnel, or MoFu. If you manage to convert the sale, you will lead the new client through the bottom of the funnel (BoFu) and into your client base. 

Increasing B2B sales: The Lead Generation Process

B2B lead generation strategies are all about giving your marketing and sales teams a proven framework that they can follow. Each team has different responsibilities, but they need to work together to reach the company’s ultimate goal, which is to drive sales. 

The sales funnel is the standard metaphor we use to describe this process. But how do you actually draw high-intent prospects into the sales funnel? What does it entail?

Step 1: Finding B2B Leads 

Your B2B lead generation strategies have to focus on collecting contact information. The easiest way to achieve this is with a lead generating landing page. Your landing page can contain a simple easy to fill in contact form. There are many companies that specialise in lead generating landing pages. You will direct traffic to your landing page with your B2B lead generation strategies. You can also purchase leads from a third party or a database, but this more for the B2C space.  

Step 2: Qualifying and Reaching Out to Leads

Once you have your leads, you then need to qualify them. How far are they in the buying process? How likely are these leads to buy from you?  

Your sales reps will reach out to your leads via cold outreach, social media or by responding to inquiries. When your leads engage with your reps, your sales team can then rank their quality. 

Step 3: Close The Deal

By focusing on your high-quality leads, i.e. leads with high-intent to purchase, you will have ample opportunity to convert your leads into customers. 

It is very important to demonstrate excellent service and good value at this point in the process. Lead’s with high-intent to purchase will most likely be looking at your competitors too. By proving that your company is better value for money and provides better service than your competitors, you will have an extra edge when you’re trying to close the deal. 

So, What Are The Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies? 

So I know you’re reading this blog and thinking… okay, so enough about the basics. Let’s get to the good stuff. Tell me about the best B2B lead generation strategies out there!

But alas, the silver bullet doesn’t exist. You have to get to know your industry and your customers and figure out which combination of tactics are going to work best for you. But while you’re figuring that out, here are some good ideas. 

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is undoubtedly one of the best B2B lead generation strategies out there. Decision-makers at other businesses read content just like the rest of us.

This is an especially good B2B lead generation strategy for businesses that are generating interesting content anyway. Are you already producing informative copy about your brand? Are you already explaining your services? Do you already take photos and make videos frequently? You’re already halfway there. 

To make content marketing work for you you have to be aware of what type of language you should be using and what type of graphics your client’s enjoy. It is important for your content to reflect your business’s vibe and to appeal to your potential leads. 

You also need to understand your target audience so that you can speak like them. How will they most likely phrase their internet searches? By aligning your keywords with your target audience’s natural tendencies, you will improve your search engine optimization. 

The key to content marketing and using it as a part of your B2B lead generation strategies, is that it has to be consistent. You need to publish new content regularly and make sure it all represents your company adequately. 

2. Social Media Marketing

Using social media as one of your B2B lead generation strategies allows for a more targeted approach. LinkedIn for example is a B2B marketers dream. It is literally designed to give brands and professionals a platform to engage with one another and potential clients. 

Social media advertising is also very effective. Almost everyone has social media, and are exposed to targeted advertising. Targeted advertising on social media is very effective, as people provide all their information for you. You can potentially see their location, age, name, gender, profession, business and so on. 

This is the same information you would be trying to get from potential leads with a lead generating landing page. This means that social media platforms can literally offer you up potential leads on a silver platter. By applying filters on a platform like Linkedin, you will identify high-quality leads and reach out to them with an outbound marketing strategy.

Get to know your target audience’s social media habits. If you design your own social media content around what they are already searching for, you will probably increase your engagement. 

3. Cater to New B2B Buyers on Mobile 

As younger generations enter the workforce, businesses have to tailor their B2B lead generation strategies to appeal to them. This means that you should optimize your mobile user experience. 

Research has shown that:

  • 80% of B2B buyers use mobiles at work
  • 60% of these buyers reported that mobile plays a critical role in their purchases, and 
  • B2B marketers who have already optimized their mobile experience are finding “reduced purchasing time and higher customer loyalty”. 

Especially considering the world’s accelerated shift to digital during the pandemic, there isn’t really an excuse to not be up to date with the latest consumer trends. 

4. Creative CTAs and Email Copy

This year, email turned 23 years old. The simple truth is that people don’t really read newsletters as much these days because they are sick of them. They’ve been done before. 

You have to make sure that if you are using newsletter emails as one of your B2B lead generation strategies, that you make them entertaining. They need to be informative, valuable, and it doesn’t hurt to make your audience laugh either. 

Even getting people to sign up for a newsletter can be challenging. For the same reasons as previously stated. You have to really make sure that your newsletter signup landing page is enticing. 

What sounds better? “Sign up for our newsletter”, or “Join us and 25000+ world-class marketers for the latest tips and tricks on B2B lead generation strategies”?

I know which newsletter email I’d rather sign up for. 

In the second example, the emphasis is put on the social proof and value behind the newsletter, not the signup process itself. By using this technique, you can build up an email list and extend your B2B lead generation strategies’ reach. 

5. Pay Per Click Advertising 

PPC ads are one of the fastest ways to get results, and one of the easiest. When it comes to B2B lead generation strategies, you will be more effective when you know who your audience is. However, it can also be expensive. So make sure you run some A/B tests with your ads so that you know you’re putting your best foot forward. 

You also need to bear in mind that many people use ad blockers and will not see you clickable ads and banners. So while it is an effective strategy, you can not use it insolation. 

You can place your ads on Google with Google AdWords. This is very effective because most people who click on these ads should already be close to buying. 

You can also use a retargeting strategy which means that you show your ads to people who have already been on your website and have a certain amount of brand awareness. 

By using PPC advertising to get people onto your lead generating landing page you will potentially create a steady flow of traffic into the top of your sales funnel. All your sales team has to do is make sure the funnel doesn’t have any leaks. Once you have a lead, you need to work hard to make sure it is converted. 

Final Thoughts

B2B lead generation strategies can be challenging to develop because you can’t just copy-paste a strategy that worked for someone else. You have to be in tune with your market and current trends in your industry. 

However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from one another. Have you tried any of these B2B lead generation strategies? Have they been effective? We would love to hear from you in the comments below. 

Lead Generation Tools to Get Those B2B Leads Into Your Sales Funnel Fast!

If there is one thing that we tend to equate, it’s that more leads mean more money. But the number of leads that you get might not always be the most important thing. More and more, people are starting to realise that quality is actually more important. This is the case to the point where 73% of B2B companies have shifted their focus from lead quantity to lead quality. 

So why do you need lead generation tools? Assessing lead quality might be an easier thing to do on a smaller scale. However, when you are doing this on a larger scale, you need to do it at a faster and more efficient rate. This is where lead generation tools come to the rescue. 

Lead generation tools are key to ensuring that you are getting high quality leads. Furthermore, they help with ensuring that you are tracking them accurately through your sales funnel. The more data you collect on your sales funnel, the more you know how to improve your lead generation strategies. Using lead generation tools is an effective way to do just that. 

Here is our list of the top 10 suggestions for lead generation tools that you can use to get those high-quality leads in. 

Email Lead Generation Tools

1. Prospect.io

Prospect.io is one of the best lead generation tools, because it integrates well with other sales automation tools. Some of the other benefits of Prospect.io are that you are able to launch cold email campaigns at the click of a button, straight from your browser. By having an automated system, you can increase your overall productivity and optimise your sales efforts. Furthermore, Prospect.io collects data for you. And you can use this data to inform your lead generation strategies.  Prospect.io is one of the perfect lead generation tools to use if you want to generate leads in less time, with less effort. 

In terms of pricing, you can expect to pay at least $74 per month if you subscribe to an annual plan. If you subscribe to a monthly plan, you could end up paying $99 per month. 

2. Hunter

Hunter is one of the best lead generation tools for email lead generation. With this tool, you can browse for company email addresses and use those to market your product. Hunter is a great tool to save, manage and contact your  leads. By using the emails that they collect through searches, they are able to show you who you need to target. It does this by providing you with the names and email addresses of companies that have been searching for your services. Hunter works as an extension on most browsers and is an effective way to manage your leads. This is an excellent way to get a high number of leads into the top of your sales funnel.

You can use the tool for free for your first 100 requests. Thereafter, you would have to pay $39 per month for 1000 requests.

3. Leadfeeder

If you are looking for one of the most intuitive lead generation tools, Leadfeeder is the one for you. It can tell you which companies have been visiting your web page, and you can use this information to reach out to them. And the best part is that the companies don’t even need to fill out the forms on your website for you to gather this information. Leadfeeder is able to collect the data for you from the page visits. 

With Leadfeeder, you are also able to access the contact information for the people within the company. It also allows you to reach out to people who might not have reached out to your company before. Leadfeeder is quite a popular lead generation tool in the marketing industry. In fact, it is used by over 30 000 marketers and agencies. Its ability to identify page visitors makes it one of the most useful lead generation tools. Another great feature about Leadfeeder is that is integrates well with other apps, such as HubSpot and 

Mailchimp. There are many different ways that Leadfeeder is one of the best lead generation tools for your business. 

In terms of the pricing, you can start off with a free 14-day trial. Thereafter, the lowest monthly plan goes for $55 per month. 

4. Boomerang

Boomerang allows you to schedule emails by using a Gmail extension. One of the other great things about Boomerang is that it sends emails back to your inbox when you don’t get a response within two days. That way, you know who to follow up with and which leads to chase. This is one of the best lead generation tools for keeping your email leads organised. 

In terms of pricing, you can pay as little as $5 per month to use this lead generation tool. That’s not bad for all of the leads that you will get to generate. 

5. HubSpot Sales

HubSpot Sales is a division of HubSpot that is solely focused on marketing and sales. With HubSpot Sales, you can see when your email recipients have opened the emails that you have sent them. And when your potential leads open their emails from you, you get a notification. This is an excellent way for you to follow up on your leads. HubSpot Sales also works as a Gmail extension. Its ability to integrate so well makes it one of the most useful lead generation tools for your business. 

Price-wise, you are looking at paying around $50 per month, but there are free plans available. 

6. Snov.io

This is one of the most multifunctional lead generation tools that are available out there. With Snov.io, you can do things like:

  • Collect email addresses from company websites
  • Obtain personal and domain named email addresses
  • Find email addresses and names from other platforms such as LinkedIn and Google

Snov.io gives you the ability to use a built-in email verifier to:

  • Send triggered email campaigns
  • Check the found emails

In terms of the cost, you can use Snov.io for free for up to 50 emails per month. Thereafter, the cheapest paid plan goes for $39 per month. 

7. MailChimp

In terms of email marketing, MailChimp is one of the most popular lead generation tools out there. One of the best things about it is that it has a drag-and-drop email builder that is user-friendly. You can also use MailChimp for email automation. If you use MailChimp, you have the ability to store up to 2000 email contacts. Furthermore, you can send out 12000 emails per month. These are the features that you can get for free, so it only gets better when it comes to the paid plans. 

For the paid plans, you could end up paying as little as $10 per month. 

Landing Page Lead Generation Tools

8. Unbounce

One of the most effective lead generation tools that you can use is a landing page. A landing page should be bold and should tell a potential lead exactly what you do and why they should opt for your product. There can be a lot of moving parts to consider when it comes to building an effective landing page. This is where Unbounce comes in. 

With Unbounce, you can create custom landing pages that speak to your brand. The great thing about Unbounce is that it has a drag-and-drop feature  and templates which make it easy to use. For an additional cost, you can also opt in for A/B testing and pop-ups. These are two landing page bonuses that really help to boost your lead generation even more. 

Unbounce is available on a 30-day free trial and you can also purchase a plan starting from $79 per month. 

9. HubSpot

If you run a SaaS business, then HubSpot is one of the best lead generation tools that you can use. The best thing about it is that it is an all-in-one CRM solution. With HubSpot, you can:

  • Manage your contacts
  • Find new leads
  • Create landing pages

With HubSpot, you can increase your leads, have a streamlined customer service process and grow your sales fast. HubSpot is your all-in-one lead generation and management tool. And the best part is that HubSpot has resources in place to guide you on how to use HubSpot optimally. 

There are many different price options for HubSpot. It all depends on which option you select. But there is also an option to use it for free. 

lead generation tools

10. Instapage

Another one of the lead generation tools that is popularly used is Instapage. This tool is used to build landing pages. And the best part is that it integrates with various other marketing and CRM platforms such as:

  • Salesforce
  • MailChimp
  • HubSpot

Just like Unbouce, this tool also has a drag-and-drop feature  that makes it easy to use. In terms of pricing, Instapage will set you back by $68 per month but this is one of the lead generation tools that is worth the investment. 

Chatbot Lead Generation Tools

11. Tars

Another useful tool to increase your lead generation rates is the inclusion of a chatbot. Chatbots are one of the most effective lead generation tools for increasing your lead generation rates. This is because they allow you to respond to potential leads faster. This can instantly spark the interest of the potential lead and get them to opt it faster. 

One of the greatest benefits of Tars is that it is user-friendly. It is a plug and play app that doesn’t require any kind of coding experience from you. Responding to your potential leads can be as easy as responding to a text. Tars is used by multinational corporations such as DHL and Honda. So it is clearly one of those lead generation tools that could benefit your business immensely. 

Now for the dent to your pocket. They do have a 14-day trial version available. Thereafter, if you are an early start-up, you can use it for $99 per month. Depending on the size of your company, plans can start from $499 per month. 

lead generation tools

12. Intercom

As mentioned above, having a chatbot is one of the best lead generation tools to attract leads fast. Intercom is another useful tool to respond to your potential leads quickly. Intercom also allows you to:

  • Publish help articles on your webpage for potential leads
  • Send targeted messages
  • Manage conversations

Unfortunately, there are no free plans for Intercom but you can use the software for as little as $49 per month. 

Final Thoughts on Lead Generation Tools

Lead generation tools are the key to getting your leads into your sales funnel. But admittedly, you do need to have strategies in place that inform how you will use these tools. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that you get high-quality leads into the funnel so that you can have higher conversion rates. By using a combination of lead generation tools and strategies, you can increase your chances of doing just that. 

Lead generation can be a very tricky thing to achieve. But the point in all of this is that you need to equip yourself with various tools. Using a multi-faceted approach is also more likely to result in you yielding higher results. In our post, we have highlighted how you can target your leads by using lead generation tools via email, landing pages and chatbot. 

Another thing to bear in mind is that time is money. So the more efficient you are with how you use your time and resources, the more time you can spend focusing on devising targeted ways to get those leads into your funnel. The best thing about lead generation tools is that you tell them what to do and they do all of the work for you. But in order for this to be effective, you need to do your research. 

There is nothing more powerful than understanding your audience. So take the time to really understand which businesses you are targeting, what their pain points are and how you can address them. But by using multiple lead generation tools and strategies, you can increase your leads and watch your business grow. 

Understanding Marketing Qualified Leads

We’ve spoken at length about lead generation, covering a few methods and some of the theory. Of course, general lead generation is just the first step. While it can be said that ‘a lead is a lead’, any salesperson will be able to tell you that there’s a distinct difference between a qualified lead and a tire-kicker. Today we’ll be discussing marketing qualified leads – what they are and how to define them. 

You may be wondering why it’s important to quantify which of your leads are marketing qualified and which are sales-qualified, if you’re just trying to sell your products or services. In a nutshell, trying to sell to sales-qualified lead will often have a much higher success rate than trying to sell to a marketing-qualified lead. In fact, pitching to an MQL may scare them away, losing you the sale for good. You don’t want your salespeople wasting time and energy on leads that are probably not ready to make a purchase. 

Having a qualification process for your leads simply helps you to organize which leads are ready to be sold to, and which aren’t. This saves time for your sales team, and gives everybody a clear idea of where to focus their efforts. 

Many organizations have multiple qualification stages for their leads, namely:

  • Marketing Qualified Leads: a prospect who has demonstrated some interest or engagement, which tells marketing that they are a genuine lead.
  • Sales Accepted Leads: prospects become sales-accepted when the sales team accepts the lead and agrees to take action.
  • Sales Qualified Leads: prospects that have passed the point of qualification by the sales team, and are moving into an opportunity stage.

What is a Marketing Qualified Lead?

Technically, a lead is anyone who provides you with their details. Unfortunately, as most marketers know, many of these leads are all but useless. They don’t respond to emails, they don’t answer their phones and eventually, they ask to be removed from your database. A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead which shows at least some engagement with your business’s marketing efforts. They are someone who is deemed more likely to become a customer than other leads. 

The qualification process will differ from business to business, and a lead can become marketing qualified based on what they’ve downloaded, what web pages they’ve, and other similar engagement with your business’s content. Marketing qualified leads haven’t quite made the step into a sales conversation yet, but they are more likely to be receptive to a sales pitch that a regular lead. 

Examples of Marketing Qualified Lead Actions:

  • Downloading a lead magnet, such as free ebook or webinar
  • Using a software demo
  • Adding items to a wishlist or their shopping cart
  • Spending a lot of time on your site, visiting the site often or visiting key pages
  • Contacting you to request more information

This is not a comprehensive list, but does cover some of the common actions of marketing qualified leads. The best way to identify qualified leads often depends on much more, such as demographics, analytics and lead scoring. These are a start though, and can help you to weed out those leads who are unlikely to become customers.

How To Identify Marketing Qualified Leads

Examining buyer journeys and existing customer behaviours is one of the most common ways to identify marketing qualified leads. You’ll need to develop your own definition for MQLs for your business, as not all are the same, even within the same industry.

Defining your own criteria will require looking at your other buyer’s and leads habits. You can do this by investigating demographic data, such as job title, location, company size, etc. You should also analyse how they act and interact with your site as compared to other leads. 

Examine historical behaviour: analyse the behaviour of your won, lost and cold leads. Examine how sales have gone in the past, the journey the took from initial contact to confirming the sale

Get customer feedback: what is the feedback you receive from lost or cold leads? Are there particular things that put them off? Can you change these things? Make sure to gather both empirical data and a sentiment analysis.

Look for trends: What do successful leads have in common? Which offers, pages and ads convert the highest quality MQLs? Identifying these trends can tell you what you are doing right. 

Identify competitive edge: Understand your place in the competitive landscape on every level. Take a look at your marketing presence and tactics and identify what makes leads choose you over competitors? 

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) Vs. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

The only difference between a marketing qualified lead and sales qualified lead is their perceived willingness to make a purchase. An example in layman’s terms would be a person at a shopping mall or retail store. An MQL would be window shopping, or just browsing. They’ve indicated some level of interest by going into the store, but they’re not set on making a purchase. Being approached by a salesperson at this point may irritate them, causing them to leave. An SQL would be searching for something specific, looking for a sales associate to help them. 

marketing qualified lead

SQLs have intent, and are actively interested in making a purchase. They are the only leads who should be passed along to the sales team. 

What Marketing Qualified Leads are Not

An MQL is neither just a regular lead nor a guaranteed customer. This means you should overvalue them, or undervalue them. MQLs are just leads who have indicated some level of interest in your business. Once they demonstrate any further interest in making a purchase, they should be moved from MQL, to SAL or SQL.

An MQL is Not a Guarantee of Sale

Not every MQL will become an SQL. Even though they indicate some interest, there is no guarantee they will continue to move down the funnel. If a lead is not clearly ready to make a purchase and you approach them as if they are, you will probably scare them away entirely.

An MQL is Not a Regular Lead

MQLs actively show interest. This is important, as some leads won’t even be marketing-qualified. There are many tire-kickers out there who probably aren’t even interested in getting a newsletter or hearing anything more about your company. An MQL will at least have some engagement with your brand. Looking back to the example of a shopper in a mall: regular leads would be the people walking past your storefront, or those who walk in and walk straight back out again. They’re around, and it’s possible that they could notice you and come back in to make a purchase, but it’s somewhat unlikely. 

An MQL is Not any Bit of Interest Your Business Receives

Sometimes, people who are just browsing are  really just browsing, and they’ll walk out of the store no matter what you do. Sometimes people are going to download your trial software or ebook just to try it. Maybe they’re curious, or maybe can’t afford a purchase. There are many factors which make someone a generic lead and there’s not much you can do. The only thing you can do, really, is weed out low-quality leads, and focus on the promising, high quality leads. 

Defining the difference between a lead and a Marketing Qualified Lead means you won’t waste time on leads who will most likely never turn into customers.

How to Nurture MQLs into SQLs

Once you’ve identified what makes an MQL, you need to use marketing to add fuel to the fire and turn them into an SQL. This can be tricky for businesses who haven’t yet started with lead nurturing. While an MQL definitely isn’t ready for the hard-sell, not contacting them at all will allow them to forget about your business entirely, possibly leading them to a competitor. 

While your lead nurturing strategy should be tailored based on your specific company, customer personas and buying cycle, there are a few general strategies that almost always work.

1. Drip Campaigns

A drip campaign is probably one of the most common lead nurturing strategies. They are often automated, triggered by a lead taking a specific action, such as filling in a form or downloading an ebook. By “dripping” emails into their inbox, you can stay at the forefront of their mind, slowly building trust and moving them down the funnel. While your drip campaign will be specific to your company, an example may look something like this: 

  • First Day A lead downloads an ebook from your website. They are marked as a marketing qualified lead, and enrolled in a nurturing workflow. You send a thank-you email containing a link to the ebook and some other relevant resources.
  • Fifth Day: Your next email contains another bottom-of-the-funnel offer, such as a product sheet or case study or product.
  • Second Week: You send another follow-up email, asking if they have any questions about your product. You can also detail some features that are specific to their persona.
  • Third Week: They have yet to reach out to you, so you send another bottom-of-the-funnel offer.
  • Fourth Week: You send a demo request email.
  • Fifth Week: They request a demo, and you can mark them as sales qualified. They are then passed off to a rep to walk him through a product demo.
marketing qualified lead

2. Newsletters

Another good way to keep leads engaged, or re-engage inactive leads is creating monthly or quarterly newsletters. Newsletters can be used to speak to certain personas or pain points, showcase new content or highlight products and services. They provide a good way to remind leads of your business, which is especially useful for businesses with long buying cycles. 

This doesn’t mean that you should bombard your entire database with the same newsletter every month. Segmentation is vital. For example, customers should receive newsletters containing product changes or company updates, and bottom-of-the-funnel leaves should receive free trials or case studies. Top-of-the-funnel leads can receive newsletters which address their pain points and provide useful information. 

3. Event-Based Workflows

An event is a specific behavior that a contact can take across your website. Using these actions to trigger certain nurturing workflows can take a significant degree of personalization and effort to pull off, but can have a rewarding payoff. Some actions that could trigger workflows include spending a certain amount of time on the site, or visiting a specific page.

For example, if a contact repeatedly visits a page that speaks to a specific persona, pain point, or industry, they should be enrolled in a workflow which delivers other useful information relating to these topics.

However, contacts shouldn’t be receiving emails each time they visit your site. Parameters must be set when creating these event-based workflows to ensure that leads are not being inundated.

The process of identifying your MQLs and creating lead nurturing strategies may sound complicated, but it’s well worth the effort. Though it will take some time to get everything implemented, you will soon start getting the conversion rates you want.

Five B2B Email Marketing Tips to Build Your Email Strategy

By now you should know that marketing is a wide field. Whether you’re looking to generate leads, build brand awareness or drive sales, there are many strategies available. There is one thing every marketer should know: while not all your potential customers are on social media or avid blog readers, pretty much all of them use their email regularly. Moreover, when it comes to B2B, email is still the quickest and most effective channel of communication for receiving and transmitting data. Therefore, email marketing can still be profitable and effective – provided you know what you’re doing and know how to adapt your strategy to your audience. That’s where this list of B2B email marketing tips comes in. 

Why Do Businesses Need a Good Email Marketing Strategy?

I am sure that most of you are pondering on the above question. What’s the point of creating a dedicated B2B email marketing strategy? What are the benefits, and how can such a strategy help my company, or the company I work for? 

Vital Design has a few numbers which could shed some light on this.

  1. According to their report, 72% B2B buyers are willing to share useful content via email. This means that your emails won’t just end up in a spam folder. Once someone from your target audience receives your content, there is a good chance they will also share it with other people from their “social cluster.”Like the shares you get on a social network, B2B buyers are likely to forward useful emails on to their friends and colleagues.
  2. For every dollar spent on email marketing, you get a return on investment of 44 dollars. That is a huge ROI, considering that most other traditional marketing platforms cannot deliver those types of numbers. For instance, influencer marketing pays no more than 6.5 dollars for every dollar spent, a rate almost 7 times lower than what we can achieve with a successful email marketing campaign. That doesn’t mean that you should forget all other types of marketing and branding, though. It means that email marketing should not be neglected and building your email list should be your top priority. It’s effective and as we are going to see in this article, easy to implement.

Five B2B Email Marketing Tips

Now that we know email marketing is effective when it comes to B2B sales and B2B lead generation, let’s dive in a little further, and talk about some of the best B2B email marketing tips.

1. Understand the Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing. 

B2B marketing, although similar to direct marketing, it is not the same thing. The clients behave differently and they make different choices. In B2B marketing, you are addressing a more rational audience. B2C customers are sometimes less informed about what they are buying, and they are more susceptible to whims and recklessness.

B2B clients, on the other hand, know right from the start what they need. They usually don’t base their buying decisions on whims or indulgences. Rather, they make more rational decisions based on what they need, focusing on good quality and good price. Consequently, when addressing B2C clients, you need to take these differences into account. 

2. Pay Attention to Your Email Header

This is one of the most important visual aspects of your email campaign. Even if you have the right kind of content for your audience, you need to catch their attention first. This is what your email header needs to do.

The average office worker receives around 121 emails daily, so you have just a few seconds to get them interested. This means that you need to transmit something, a clear message, right from the header section, the first thing your audience will notice when they open your email.

What do you need? Well, you need a clear vision of what your banner should look like, you need your logo to be visible so that your audience to be able to recognize you and you will also need a tool to generate and design that banner. You need to save time and at the same time, to deliver a professional look. In order to do that, I recommend you to use an online tool such as Bannersnack, a great choice for creating great looking email banners.

B2B Email Marketing Tips

3. Get Your Title and Subject Line Right

Think about your subject line as if it is going to be the only thing your audience sees. Why? When your email lands in your client’s inbox, the first thing he or she will notice is your subject line. You only have a few seconds to make them curious about what you have to offer. This is why you need to tell them everything they need to know right from there.

On the other hand, the title is also important, should you manage to get the client to open the email. Your subject line is  what will convince your audience to click and open the email. The title is what should convince them to read the rest of your content. Little tricks like adding an emoji can also spice up your subject lines and increase your CTR. Out of the 5 emails below, which one below stands out to you? 😉

4. Don’t Address Your Email to the CEO

Considering that your goal is to generate B2B sales and leads, you need to know that not all the decision making individuals from your targeted audience have the same roles in their companies. While your first impulse may be to contact the CEOs from the companies you have targeted directly, this is not always the best choice. Why?

Let’s say you’re selling automation products. There are institutions that need these products but there are also big companies, the local shops, individual entrepreneurs and so on. Different kinds of people are in charge of supplying these types of goods to their companies.

They all have different educational backgrounds, different social statuses. You will address CEOs, business owners and maybe even their employees and this is why you need to create a message that will be easily understood by anybody.

5. Create your Content

Once you have an eye-catching header, a snappy subject line and a good title for your newsletter. Now, it’s time to give your audience something of value to read. It’s time to create content that will generate B2B sales and leads.

Things to consider:

  1. Pick evergreen topics. You’ll need something more valuable to add to your email than just simple product descriptions. Ideally, you should be creating valuable evergreen and relevant content for your audience. The best content is that which manages to answer questions, or provide tips and tricks – like the best B2B email marketing tips. You can also offer articles and advice that your audience can apply in their own lives or businesses. The goal should be not only gaining new customers, but also keeping the existing one interested. This is important, because it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than keep an existing one.
  2. Make sure the content is unique. People listen to different kinds of music because music makes them feel in a certain way. They usually buy from brands for the same reason.  They make decisions based on the brand’s ability to trigger some emotions. Alternatively, the brand must provide a convincing reason to buy from them. Nothing differs when it comes to content. You need something unique, something to tell your audience that you did not only put an effort into this but also, that you have something of value to give them.
  3. Choose quality instead of quantity. You don’t need to write a novel to send a message. The length of your email shouldn’t be a concern, as long as you’re delivering value. What you deliver should be of great quality, though also not too much information. You can even create extremely short newsletters and still get great ROI if your messaging is effective. Effectiveness, in this case, means that you should make your point in as few words as you can. Your text and images should also be professionally composed and processed. Additionally, your style should be properly adjusted for the type of audience you’re addressing.
  4. Make the content easy to read. Not everyone likes reading long articles or big blocks of texts, especially if they’re receiving many other emails every day and don’t have time to pay attention to all of them. Ideally, you should make use of headings and subheadings, as well as bullet points where relevant, to make sure your text is easily scannable. You can also highlight the most important pieces of information. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short, and make sure you have enough white spaces.


There is no doubt that email marketing is an effective marketing strategy. Whether you’re addressing individuals or businesses, building your brand or trying to drive sales, email marketing works. These B2B marketing tips are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good start on building your email marketing strategy. 

How to Find Sales Leads with Inbound Techniques

Inbound marketing has proven to be an effective tool over the last decade, helping marketers to find sales leads and convert them into paying customers. Of course, not everyone has the marketing teams available to leverage traditional inbound marketing. In this situation, how can you find sales leads for your business without resorting to cold-calling and email spam?

One of the first things to understand is exactly what inbound marketing and sales is, besides the obvious. With inbound sales and marketing, you’re building relationships before your prospect is ready to buy – you’re selling a solution, not a product. By letting your prospects set the pace of the buying process, and offering advice and education, you’re building confidence and trust in your company. This, in turn, makes it easy and safe for prospects to buy from you.

So how do you leverage these techniques in your own business?

How to Find Sales Leads

1. Optimize your Social Media Profiles

While most businesses will have a Twitter profile or Facebook page, when is the last time you updated them? One of the easiest ways to bring in more leads is to keep your social media profiles fresh and up-to-date. 

LinkedIn especially is a good platform for finding sales leads. Make sure your profile stands out, and shows up in more search queries, by following basic optimisation principles. Include a conversion-optimised headline, and a descriptive summary which tells visitors exactly what you do and which markets you serve.

Twitter is also a good platform for sales people to connect with their leads. Some good optimisation tips to follow include: 

  • Make sure you have a professional profile photo
  • Tag your company account
  • Include a link to your Twitter on your LinkedIn profile
  • Include hashtags which are relevant to your buyers

2. Identify Prospects on Social Media That You Can Help

While most salespeople have a presence on LinkedIn, they probably aren’t using it effectively to generate top-of-the-funnel activity. Social media is a great way to connect with interested prospects in a low-effort, high-value way.

Some recommendations for leveraging your social presence to find sales leads includes:

  • Connect with as many people as you can. The more people you connect with, the greater your reach will be
  • Don’t feel the need to be best friends with the people you connect with. Even tangential connections can be good for finding potential prospects
  • Get recommendations from your current clients 

3. Post a Blog with an Offer for a 15-minute Consultation

Writing articles and blogs is one the main pillars of inbound and content marketing. Unfortunately, it’s a topic which tends to make most marketer’s eyes glaze over. People tend to think of blogs as very particular things – like a college essay – and most people find writing them about as enjoyable as speaking in public. 

Really though, blogging is just a conversation. Your blog topics can be as simple as answering some basic questions about your business, industry or product. Even things as simple as “Beginner’s Guide to [Common Challenge]” can be an engaging topic. 

Once you’ve got a good blog post, share a link on your LinkedIn page and other profiles, along with an offer for a 15-minute consultation to get people engaged with your content and your business. 

4. Ask Your Current Clients for Referrals

Everyone knows that referrals can be effective for generating new business. Unfortunately, not many businesses know how to effectively implement them. When last did you reach out to your current clients, to thank them for the business and enquire about referrals?  

If you’re just getting started with referrals, the following steps can help you get started:

  • Check with the account manager involved to ensure that the client is happy. If they’re not happy, you should reach out anyway to see if there’s any way to improve things.
  • Give the client a call, or reach out the them by email and find out if they have the time for a 10-minute conversation
  • During your conversation, thank them for their business and explain that you value the relationship. Let them know that you’re interested in adding value for them
  • Ask them if there are any other companies or contacts they can think of that would be interested in your service
  • Get the details of the company or contact – name, phone number and email address – and ask why your client thinks they would be a good fit
  • Ask the client if they would mind setting you up with a quick introduction email

Afterwards, you can even send them a note or small item like a t-shirt or flash-drive, thanking them for the referral. 

5. Identify Potential Leads Within Your Personal Network

Many salespeople overlook their personal network when looking for ways to find sales leads. Of course, your personal network is a good place to start when looking for prospects, as there is often a sense of trust already. Some people you meet in a personal context can be incredibly valuable for generating leads, even if you don’t think of them that way. 

Your neighbours, yoga friends or book club could all have connections that could be potentially useful. If you’re at a point in your relationship with them that you can easily talk business, let them know you’re looking for prospects. Tell them what kind of company you’re looking for – the size, industry and location etc – and find out if they know anyone who fits that description. You can even send them an email to forward to make the connection.

Obviously, mixing your professional and personal lives needs to be done in a respectful manner, but when done right it is an effective tool for broadening your reach. 

6. Engage with New Leads at Networking Events

It should go without saying that attending networking events should be part of your lead generation routine. They are an excellent way to grow your reach and potentially drum up new business. 

There are four basic principles to remember when you get started with networking: 

Networking events are all about mingling and being human. Remember not to take things too seriously, and have some fun

Make sure to bring business cards to hand out to your new acquaintances, but don’t be that guy who hands one out to everyone they speak to 

Clarifying your “consistently be helping” theory up close and personal is normally a really enormous differentiator

While you’re talking to someone new, offer to connect on LinkedIn from your phone. This is an effective way to find sales leads.

7. Revisit Closed or Lost Opportunities

Your lost or closed opps are businesses who already know what your company does. They may have seen a demo or gone through a discovery call with you and decided that it just wasn’t the time to buy. You should make it a habit to touch base with these clients every six months or so. Find out how their priorities have changed, and whether their business and team goals have changed at all. Find out what their new challenges are and whether your company can help.

These leads are already more qualified than new warm leads, so you should invest in marketing to them. You can enroll them into appropriate nurturing drip campaigns, send them some relevant blog posts that may be interesting to them, and keep all your communication personalised. 

While the first, second and third time you follow up with them may not be the right time, the fourth time may be the charm. Or the fifth. You never know when a prospect will finally have the budget, or the need for your solution. Perhaps your contact changes jobs. If you keep in contact, you may be the first vendor they contact when the need arises. 

8. Implement an Email Sequence

Sam Blond, CRO of Rainforest QA recommended the following at SaaStr Annual 2018: “Define your strategy for outreach. Then get creative with the email copy — be clever”. He went on to explain that one of their most successful email sequences at Rainforest was addressed from their CTO. SDRs could send the mail to the CTO of the prospect’s company, framing the mail as though their CTO had asked them to reach out. “It’s creative, it grabs attention, and it allows us to cast a wide net over each prospect’s company,” Blond said.

Have a clear purpose for each of your email sequences if you want them to be successful. For example: 

  • Email 1: Address the prospects pain points
  • Email 2: Explain your value proposition
  • Email 3: Name drop a big client
  • Email 4: Qualify your message
  • Email 5: Include a product message
  • Email 6: Reach out one last time

Put together a comprehensive, deliberate email sequence and see if it can work for you and help you find sales leads.

9. Contribute to Other Websites and Blogs

Blogs are the cornerstone of a good inbound marketing strategy, and if you aren’t writing them yet, you should be. Begin by writing about subjects you’re an expert in. Whether this is referral marketing, sales process optimisation or your own product or service, start writing. You can share your articles on your company’s blog, on LinkedIn and Facebook, on your own personal social media channels and to your customers in emails.

It’s important to be a visible expert in your field and to build authority. Not only does this put your expertise on display, it allows you to educate your prospects as well. 

10. Embed a Meeting Scheduler on your Website

If you’re in charge of bringing in your own leads, you probably don’t have the time or resources to be back-and-forthing with prospects, coordinating schedules. It’s a waste of their time, and a waste of yours. Rather, embed an appointment scheduler on your homepage and within your email signature. There are many tools that you can use to do this, many of which will sync with your Office 365 and Google calendars. This way, prospects can always see your availability. 

Even if there’s no dedicated sales rep, many scheduler’s can set up round-robin meeting links so that prospects are able to schedule meetings with the rep who’s availability matches their own.

Make it simple for prospects to get in touch with you. 

12. Lead a Webinar or Virtual Workshop

Writing and sharing blog posts is a great way to share your knowledge, but nothing tops the opportunity to actually teach. Facilitating an online class or online workshop, sharing your skills on relevant topics, is an incredible method to find sales leads on the web. Sharing your knowledge in this way is a great way to build trust with your prospects, and find sales leads.

7 Amazing Demand Generation Marketing Strategies

What is Demand Generation Marketing?

Demand generation marketing describes the full umbrella of marketing programs which serve to get customers excited about your brand. Demand generation helps you to reach new markets, build buzz and generate PR, and re-engage existing customers.

It’s more than just branding exercise though, or an early funnel marketing tact. Demand generation marketing covers all the touchpoints throughout the sales and conversion optimization cycles. 

With demand generation marketing, the goal is to build and nurture relationships for the long term. To accomplish this goal effectively, there are a few things that marketers need to do. For instance:

  • Responding to customer queries on Twitter
  • Promoting blog posts and other content through Facebook
  • Run email marketing campaigns
  • Host informative webinars

Demand generation can take the form of weekly newsletters, ebook campaigns, meet-up events or even a company-sponsored webinar. It’s not just a quick banner ad or email blast.

The difference between demand generation and other customer acquisition tactics is the commitment to long-term relationships, and the strategic mindset. 

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation vs. Inbound Marketing: What’s the Difference?

To the untrained eye, demand generation, lead generation and inbound marketing might all sound remarkably similar. However, here are the industry definitions of each:

  • Demand generation: focussed on targeted marketing programs designed to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products or services.
  • Lead generation: the initiation of consumer inquiry or interest into a company’s products or services.
  • Inbound marketing: a technique designed to draw customers to products and services through search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and branding

There’s definitely a lot of overlap between the definitions, so it’s understandable that there would be some confusion. Ultimately though, you can think of demand generation marketing as encompassing both inbound marketing and lead generation. Demand generation is the function, while inbound marketing is the method. Lead generation is also a component of demand generation, but the focus stops as soon as a lead is passed off to sales.

7 Amazing Demand Generation Marketing Strategies

So, now you’ve got a far better idea of what demand generation is. The remaining question is how you can go about implementing it?

Here are seven demand generation marketing strategies you can start using immediately .

1. Give Away Your Best Stuff

Whether it’s a content download, a free offer, or another promotional campaign, make certain to only give away your absolute best stuff.

Though this might sound counterintuitive, consistently offering giveaways of real value has several benefits.

Firstly, it creates a sense of trust between you and your audience. This means they’re more likely to come back to your content or your website.

Secondly, it reflects well on your brand. Some enthusiastic prospects may even take things one step further and advocate for your brand on your behalf. This makes them brand ambassadors.

Lastly, by offering something of real value, your visitors are much more likely to part with whatever information you need to begin qualifying them as a viable lead. This is the first step in the demand generation marketing process.

2. Provide a Resource, Tool or App

One of the best ways to begin a successful demand generation campaign is by offering a free tool or resource.

WordStream implemented this strategy back in 2011 when they launched the AdWords Performance Grader. The free tool proved a remarkably strong demand generation machine. It also helped thousands of advertisers audit their PPC accounts and take actions to improve them.

Over the years, they’ve graded billions of dollars in AdWords spend. This has helped them to strengthen and solidify their position as one of the industry’s most valuable resources for PPC and marketing help and news.

Of course, developing a free tool (or app) isn’t cheap, and there are overheads you’ll have to consider, such as development budgets.

3. Use Lookalike Audiences on Facebook

We’re going to assume that you’re already advertising on Facebook. And if you aren’t, it really is time to reevaluate that. Instead, we’ll recommend one of the most powerful targeting strategies on the platform, which is lookalike audiences.

As the name suggests, lookalike audiences are custom audiences that closely resemble users that have already expressed an interest in your products, services, or content, based on demographic and behavioral similarities.

Facebook allows you to upload custom audiences created using data you’ve already gathered from your actual users. From here, you can create lookalike audiences that share many of the same characteristics.

One of the key advantages of lookalike audiences is that you can essentially double the potential reach of your Facebook advertising campaigns. This is because it allows you leverage the vast wealth of data Facebook has on it’s users.

The larger the custom audience you upload, the more widely you can cast your net using lookalikes.

Given the amount of time people spend on Facebook, this targeting feature is one among your most powerful demand generation strategies.

4. Partner with Industry Superstars on Webinars

Some brands (again, particularly tech companies and startups) phone it in when it involves webinars.

Sure, they’re relatively easy to produce and don’t have much of a production overhead, but if you don’t give webinars your all, why would anyone pay attention to them?

If webinars are going to be a part of your demand generation strategy, you need to go all in, and only partner with the superstars of your industry on webinars.

Doing so helps you to forge connections with key influencers and increase your industry standing, as well as boost your brand awareness. All of these are crucial elements of a good demand generation marketing strategy. 

Of course, partnering with industry rock stars isn’t as easy as simply emailing Guy Kawasaki and asking him to hitch your next webinar.

Establishing relationships takes time and effort, and initially, it might not be possible to snag the speakers you want.

However, when planning and producing webinars, you ought to strive to feature the foremost respected and well-known guests you can. You also shouldn’t hold back on the good tips and advice – see our first point.

5. Use Managed Placements in Display Campaigns

These days, display advertising sometimes gets a nasty rap. Display certainly has its limitations (and unique advantages), but many advertisers overlook the facility of Managed Placements in their Display Network campaigns.

If you’re not familiar with them, Managed Placements allow advertisers to control the audience their display ads are shown to more effectively by specifying where their ads appear, limiting their reach to individuals who are more likely to respond positively to them. Think of them as a more targeted approach to display, instead of the somewhat scattershot approach of normal display ads.

As the primary purpose of display campaigns is to boost brand awareness, display are often a highly effective a part of a wider demand generation campaign. You’re not necessarily looking for conversions from display (though it’s always nice), but rather increasing brand awareness and promoting your products or services, both of which are strengths of display campaigns. With Managed Placements, you get these benefits combined with additional control over who sees your ads, which may make this ad type even simpler .

6. Invest (More) in Content Creation

Inbound marketing may be a huge part of a successful demand generation strategy, and content creation has never been more important.

A solid content strategy for demand generation purposes incorporates elements of a number of our previous recommendations, including making a gift of only your absolute best stuff and providing your audience with an invaluable go-to resource. Similarly, content is most definitely a long-term investment, a bit like demand generation itself. Success requires consistent effort – something that many businesses fail to do when it comes to content.

If you’re already publishing blog posts regularly, believe how you’ll make them even more valuable. Do they incorporate original data or research, or just regurgitate what everyone else has already said? Do they supply timely insight into emerging trends, or are your posts always late to the party? Essentially, ask yourself some hard questions about why someone should spend their precious time reading your content, compared to that of your competitors.

With content marketing, success doesn’t happen overnight. It can take several years of hard work before your efforts really started to pay off. Don’t phone it in when it comes to content – double down and only publish the very best content you possibly can.

7. Optimize Your Email Marketing Strategies

Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful component of your demand generation marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, far too many advertisers misuse it or fail to harness its potential.

When it comes to email marketing, A/B testing is essential, and the adage that “Less is more” most definitely applies. If you resort to carpet-bombing your email list on a regular basis, you risk turning prospective customers off and harming your brand. Rather than blasting your lists all the time, work smarter, not harder.

Everything about your email campaigns can (and should) be A/B tested. This is to ensure your emails are performing as strongly as they possibly can. Everything from headline length and subject line copy to linking strategies and offer placements should be tested in order that you’ll make informed decisions about your email campaigns based on hard data rather than assumptions.

You should also incorporate demand generation strategy favorite – only divulge your best stuff – when it involves email marketing. Constantly spamming your database with low-value offers is a surefire way to drive your subscribers crazy (and tempt them to click “unsubscribe”), but if you offer your list your very best tools, resources, and offers in your emails, you’ll soon have your prospects looking forward to hearing from you.

What Long-Form Content Can Do For Your Brand

Some brands have moved away from long-form content because they fear that the public’s attention span is declining. A myth we have been told constantly. Science has shown this to be false. In fact, in their State of Attention Report, Kelton Research found evidence of the contrary – our attention spans are improving from generation to generation. 

Think about it, a 48-hour straight LAN-party or a weekend-long Netflix binge doesn’t speak to lack of attention. Instead of catering for small-minded ‘goldfish people’, it’s time to share our big ideas. It’s time to move away from the view that our audience can’t pay attention to long-form content. Let’s rather focus our energy on creating content so engaging that readers will want to give it their utmost attention.    

What Is Long-Form Content?

Most search engines define long-form content as between 1200-2000 words – although some brands are publishing content up to 10 000 words. When trying to define long-form content it’s easy to get stuck in the semantics of word-count. In truth, the precise length of long-form content is not important. 

The primary feature is that it is entertaining and rich in valuable information. It must be long enough to discuss a topic fully. No one wants to engage with content that doesn’t say anything – particularly if it’s long. You don’t want your audience reaching for the syrup to add to your waffle. 

The Quartz Curve 

Kevin Delany, the founder of Quartz, created a length optimisation model for online content. Simply put, content from between 500-800 words doesn’t perform well. This is because it is too long to be easily shareable – say for example a tweet or Facebook post, but too short to satisfactorily answer a complex question.

The Power Of Long-Form Content 

A few years ago, short-form content dominated the scene. Now, long-form is starting to make a comeback. Here’s why:

  • Engaging With Your Readers

Ideally, long-form content should be jammed packed with high-value information. By giving your readers something to sink their teeth into, they spend more time engaging with your brand. Increased engagement then leads to better reader satisfaction.

Additionally, longer posts give you the opportunity to redirect traffic through your website. WordStream found that the move to long-form content increased their average time-on-site three-fold

  • SEO Optimisation 

Search engines want their users to be satisfied with their search results. If all your searches bring up short, poorly written articles with no real useful information, you won’t want to use that engine. So, search engine algorithms are focused on pushing good quality, information-dense content to the top.  

Google prioritises texts of more than two-thousand words when ranking search results. This makes sense – if someone is looking for information a longer piece is bound to give them a fuller picture. As a side note, Google preferentially ranks sites with a longer time-on-site. The more time someone spends on your site, the more likely it is that your content is good. We have seen that long-form content increases average time-on-site.

  • Building Brand Identity 

Every piece of communication you put out helps the public build an impression of your brand. Long-form content gives you the opportunity to really dive in and expand on that image. The objective of long-form content is not to punt for sales, but rather to share your values, hopes and aspirations with your audience. Doing so, whilst simultaneously entertaining your clients will well-researched informative content might just be the ticket to building a lasting relationship. 

Another benefit of long-form content is that it positions your brand as a thought leader. This gives you the chance to flex your muscles and flash your pearly whites, as it were.

  • Closing Sales

Long-form content gives your buyer a chance to get to know you before they make their decision. A transparent brand that produces thoughtful content is more likely to inspire trust. Customers who trust you are more likely to convert. This could give you a leg-up over the competition. 

  • Long-Form Content Is More ‘Shareable’ 

Everyone is obsessed with going viral. BuzzSumo has correlated their longer pieces – 3000 words or longer with increased shares on social media. Again, it is essential to emphasise that reaching a particular word count is not the goal. Nobody wants to read a 300-word article that says nothing, nevermind a 3000-word article.

When To Use Long-Form Content

There is no doubt that long-form content is beneficial to your brand, but this doesn’t mean you should throw out all other forms of content. Not all topics need to be expanded into a long article. If you are trying to communicate something simple, that can be said in a few hundred words, it is not wise to drag it out. 

Another point to consider is whether you have the resources to produce quality long-form content. Although it may seem quick and easy to ‘whip up a few articles’, this is not the case. You need access to talented writers with a background in content generation and knowledge of SEO. If this person is a member of your staff, they need to have the time to consistently produce content. One long-form blog isn’t going to help you. This is a long term commitment. 

Final Thoughts 

Investing in long-form content has clear advantages for your brand. Although traditional advertising campaigns are far from dead, we now have more tools at our disposal. The idea behind content marketing is sharing valuable information with your clients. 

Content marketing is not a new concept it’s just changed shape. Think back to the days of companies sending in-house newsletters and magazines to their clients. Isn’t that just the same as hosting a blog on your website? The goal remains the same, communicating valuable information with both your current clients and new ones. Long-form content has the advantage over short form because it provides more space for complete communication. 

If you are interested in starting a long-form content campaign but do not have the time or expertise, contact us at Goodman Lantern

Business Content Marketing: Make Your B2B Blog More than Just A Blur Of Information

Let’s talk about pimping your blog.

Blogging has become a real social phenomenon over the past few years and for good reason. Besides being a great customer service tool, its ability to rank highly in search engines, attract swarms of traffic, create advertising revenue, promote services and generate sales has led to the growing importance of the blog as a business tool worldwide.

Simply put: there just isn’t any way around it.

As books inform us of the past, blogs inform of the here and now.

So what makes a blog great?

Like most things in life, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all approach.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so yes, in some aspects it comes down to your target audience, as well as topic relevance. But wouldn’t it be great if one had a general recipe for success?

There might not be a one-size-fits-all approach, but below are a few of the most fundamental things one needs to keep in mind when hammering out that next blog.

person holding pencil near laptop computer

Touch on Relevant Issues and Predict Any Possible Future Ones

Talking about hot topics is an essential way to get your audience involved and keep them updated on any current happenings. Everyone wants to know what is going on around them and if there is anything they need to look out for.

Including this approach in your blogging could be the hook that reels your catch in.

Most businesses want to find out what’s next for their industries too. Make sure you include up-to-date facts and statistics; audience response has shown that numbers are powerful. This is one of the reasons why statistics can be such persuasive pieces of evidence when bringing across a point.

Acknowledge Your Audience’s Problem Points

In many cases, what makes a blog great is that it provides content that solves the problem your readers have. Now this is not to say that you must monopolise on people’s misery, but pain points are a great motivator to get people to click.

This approach can enable  you to reach out and resonate with your audience rather than just throwing information at them. The fact is that people tend to pay more attention if something can or does affect them directly.

Watch How You Reveal Your Hand

An important thing to remember, especially when it comes to business blogs, is that your audience usually already know you are selling something. It’s how you go about it that matters.

We all dread that sleazy, pushy salesman that gets up in your face and tries to squeeze a sale out of you. So when writing your blog, feel free to include your services or products but don’t overdo it!

Go for a more rounded approach. Include interesting facts and information, concentrate on making your blog educational, engaging and relevant. Convince your audience that they need to have what you’re selling without trying to force their hand.

Making Your Audience Think

It’s a fact that people like to learn. They feel useful when using that brain in their heads, even more so when they can bring an interesting piece of information to a conversation. Blogs are a great way of providing that kind of opportunity for people. After all, it is the ultimate forum for giving and receiving information.

A good point to remember is that people don’t enjoy being spoken at, so when creating a blog rather angle your approach towards engaging with your audience and not speaking at them. Include questions, metaphors and examples that encourage thinking and personal deduction.

Visuals Are Key

Let’s face it, words on a screen are boring!

Lines and lines of black letters on a white screen… no wonder programmers get so many headaches.

Breaking the monotony up with relevant visuals is a must. You have to give those reading eyes a break and the beauty of it is that you can do this while still providing information. Studies show that the human brain is capable of processing information from an image 60 000 times faster than text. So those infographics not only bring colour to your piece but can actually boost what you are trying to bring across, while making your blog easier to read. Win win!

Keep Track Of Your Blog’s Performance

To know if your blog is a success or not you need to dig into its metrics.

Yes, this sounds complicated but fear not! Like everything else an app has been created. A great one to use is Google Analytics. It maps all relevant stats on your blog and feeds back information on how it is doing.

This information can be crucial in learning what works for you and what doesn’t.

Blogging Your Way To A Successful Tomorrow

Blogging has come a long way since it first appeared in the late 1990’s.

It’s become a universal language in its own right. And learning how to do it right is not only a requirement but a status symbol.

Like an online profile, your blogs can and do speak for you. The work you create provides a literal representation of who you are and what you seek to provide.

So the next time you write a blog, don’t just indulge in verbal diarrhea. Take note of the things that matter and be classy about it!

Should You Outsource Content Marketing? 6 Questions to Consider

Content marketing is a significant part of any digital marketing tool kit. Content that is SEO-optimised is even more important when it comes to increasing the visibility of your site, as 95% of people only look at the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

However, according to Zazzle Media, 60% of people find it difficult to create consistently valuable and well-written content. 32% of digital marketers also say that their content creation strategy is lacking.

So, if content is such a vital cog in the digital marketing machine, and you don’t have any available resources in your company, should you outsource this function to a content marketing agency?

Here are six questions you should consider before outsourcing.

1. Do You Have The Skills In-House?

Before you decide to hire a content marketing agency, have another look at your team and see if they have the skills that you need to produce great content. Creating outstanding content is much more than being just a good writer. There are other skills – research, social media management, social listening, and the like – that the content marketing arm of your business needs to have. If your team already has these skills, you’re better off in-source this marketing function.

2. What Is Your Budget?

If you do decide to go the outsourcing route, see how much you can spend on your content marketing. Many agencies offer various packages to suit a variety of budgets, so look carefully at your options before you sign up with a content marketing organisation. Do your research and consider several agencies or freelancers. If you don’t have a big budget, consider going for a smaller agency, because the more prominent agencies are more likely to charge inflated rates as they have increased overheads.

3. Do You Want To Work With Freelancers or An Agency?

Depending on your preferences, you may choose to work with a content marketing agency or a freelancer. There are pros and cons, either choice:

  • With an agency, you’re always guaranteed on-time delivery as they have a number of resources who can manage your content creation. However, because so many people are working on your material, the outputs that you receive may be worded slightly differently as you will be having different voices coming through.

  • If you decide to work with a freelancer, you’ll have that personal touch as the person who you’re dealing with is also writing the content. As such, you know that the quality of work that you’ll be getting is consistent. However, if your demands increase the freelancer substantially may not be able to cope with the increased workload.

4. What is Your Content Strategy?

For your content marketing to work well, you need to have a solid strategy in place, which needs to have the answers to questions such as:

  • What do I want to achieve with my content marketing strategy?

  • What type of content do I want to put out into the marketplace?

  • What takeaways do I want my clients or potential consumers to have about my brand and me?

Once you’ve responded to these questions, you can start designing a structure of content that you want to disseminate. For example, consumers like to know what goes on behind-the-scenes in a company, and you need to decide how much you want people to see. You also need to choose what type of content you want to put out, such as videos, blogs, articles, infographics or combination of all of these.

5. What is Your Content Marketing Workflow?

For any project to work successfully, there needs to be a proper workflow in place. Content marketing is no exception. If you decide to outsource your content marketing or develop a team in house, you need to establish a system so that all members of the team know what they need to do, as well as when and how long they have to do this. Questions you’ll need to answer are:

  • Will the content creator need to research the piece themselves or will they be provided the research?

  • How long will the content creator have to put these pieces together?

  • What happens if you don’t like a piece of content that is created? How long will you give them to redo it?

If you prefer working with freelancers, consider hiring an editorial project manager who will coordinate workflows, quality-check the writers’ work and put together editorial calendars so that you don’t have to.

6. How do You Measure Content Marketing Success?

With everything that you do in your business, you need to measure it so that you know  it’s working. There are several metrics that you should monitor to measure the success of your content marketing efforts. For example:

  • If you decide to outsource your content marketing, either with a freelancer or an agency, put in place certain key performance areas and key performance indicators which the outsourcer will need to meet.

  • In terms of measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing, a must is for you to have Google Analytics on your website, so that you can see which content pieces attracted the most visitors to your site.

The Beauty of Content Marketing

Content marketing is the most effective form of digital marketing to date, as it is quite cost-effective to produce and the returns are quite high. However, make sure that you don’t neglect your other forms of marketing in favour of content. The most effective marketing plan is an integrated one which combines aspects such as pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimisation and public relations with content marketing.

If you find that you are struggling with producing a steady stream of content, there are always other options available so that your company can still create high-quality content pieces. If you do decide to go the outsourcing route, don’t be afraid of trying out a number of options before you find the one that works for you.