Generating leads in B2B

by Annie McIntyre /

If a stranger came up to you on the street and tried to sell you a bottle of milk, would you buy it? Probably not. Why? Because you don’t know them, you don’t know if you can trust what they are selling or perhaps, you just don’t like milk. This is where lead generation comes into play.

No more cold-calling. No more ‘to whom it may concern’s. Lead generation is a method of building interest in a product or service, and gathering the information of those who are interested in order to build and nurture relationships with them.

While this may sound difficult, in the digital age there are more options available than ever before. From webinars, to content marketing, to social media, to search marketing – a lead generation strategy can be made up of a wide variety of tactics. In its most basic form, lead generation could be a form on your website where people fill in their information to let you know they are interested in something you offer. However, unless they are really interested, they are unlikely to hand over their contact details to you.

So, let’s look at how lead generation can be a bit more creative, and add some value for potential customers straight from the beginning of the relationship.

Educate

There are many benefits to educating your target customer. You may be helping them realise why they need your product, why you are best to help solve their problem, or simply reinforcing your position as a voice of authority in your industry.

Take a look at MWheels for a great example. In this instance, a whitepaper offering vital insights into a critical topic in the industry is sent to users after they provide their name and email address. To make it even easier, the autofill function takes the information directly from LinkedIn – meaning even less work for the user. This gives MWheels an idea of who may be interested in their services in the future and gives the potential customer a valuable document for free.

Entertain

Another method of lead generation is entertaining your target audience. While well-used in the B2C environment, there is certainly room for some entertainment in the B2B world! MarketingSHOWCASE took this approach with Rooftop Runner – an addictive online game where users submit their details (and high score) for a chance to win a tablet.

This approach plays to people’s competitive nature (our digital manager is currently top of the leaderboard!), creates a sense of community and projects a fun image of the company – all the while gathering data for future communication.

Engage

The benefits of two-way communication are well-known in the marketing world, and it’s no different for lead generation. Not many people can resist a good quiz or poll, and if the results of the quiz give the potential customer a solution to their problems then they’re going to be happy to hand over their email address for more information.

Social media provides the perfect platform for two-way communication. For example, joining or creating conversations on LinkedIn groups is ideal for connecting with relevant people, while also sharing knowledge (there’s always space to educate!). Additionally, hosting a webinar is a great way of getting in front of your audience wherever they are in the world and engaging with them. Viewers pre-register to join the webinar, and if you can offer a Q&A functionality or comment section, then even better.

If you need some guidance with your lead generation strategy, want to try out some new methods or just want to keep up to date with the latest B2B news then get in touch with the BDB team or email ideasthatconnect@bdb.co.uk.

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