When it comes to B2B lead generation, what really impacts the bottom line? Marketing departments in the companies often gent into confusion because of the changing canvas of lead generation. Methods of lead gen have been changing over the last 5 years.
In this post, we’re going to talk about how a company generated 5,100% ROI from $1 million integrated campaign. We’ll also look at how a major accounting firm generated $1.3 billion in pipeline revenue from content marketing.
But before we jump into the case studies and discuss specific strategies, it’s important that you get the foundations right. This ensures that you’re able to capture and convert a large percentage of leads from your campaigns.
A Leaky Lead Bucket:
Many B2B marketers spend a lot of time, metaphorically, pouring water into leaky buckets. Rather than fixing the bucket (the marketing funnel), they pour more water (traffic) into the bucket to keep it full.
This is a recipe for inflated acquisition costs and below-average results.
The biggest culprit here are landing pages and, in particular, your forms. Forms separate your leads from non-leads, and have a huge impact on your conversion rates and overall lead generation results.
A Question of Marketing Strategy:
If we were to go by Hubspot’s study of the best B2B lead sources, we’d conclude that SEO is the best (identifiable) lead generation channel.
If, on the other hand, we used Chief Marketer’s data on the same question, we’d conclude that email marketing is the most effective channel for B2B lead generation. Needless to say, there are reports that social media and content marketing are effective forms of B2B lead generation.
Why so much variation?
The likely answer is to do with audience biases. A survey conducted by an email marketing provider is almost certainly going to have different results to one conducted by PPC management tool, as their audiences have different skillsets and biases, skewing the results of their sample. As such, we should take the specific ranking of different strategies in these studies with a pinch of salt.
Inconsistencies aside, the online strategies that consistently come out at the top are:
- Email marketing
- Search marketing
- Social marketing
- Content marketing
We’ll look at each these in more depth in a moment, but bear in mind – how you use a lead generation channel is more important than what lead channel you choose.
With this caveat out the way, let’s look at some ways that B2B companies are using the these strategies.
5 Ways to Generate B2B Leads Online
In this section, we’ll cover the four strategies outlined above, as well as a strategy that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the studies, yet it enabled one B2B company to generate a 5,100% ROI from a $1 million investment.
First though, let’s talk about one of the oldest strategies in online marketing: email marketing.
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the few online marketing channels that has stood the test of time. In fact, email is 23 years old this year. But, it still trumps the top spot on many B2B marketer’s lists of B2B lead generation strategies.
One of the biggest trends in email marketing at the moment, that has generated great results for many B2B businesses, is marketing automation.
2. Content Marketing: From Blogging to Microsites
By creating a total of 48 infographics, videos, and Q&A blog posts targeting C-level prospects of large market cap financial institutions, the public accounting firm Crowe Horwath generated $250,000 in revenue attributed to content marketing.
If 6-figure growth doesn’t get you excited, perhaps 10-figures (a billion) will.
In 2012, Xerox created a microsite offering relevant tips to business owners. The result? 70% of the companies targeted interacted with the microsite, adding 20,000 new contacts to their pipeline, 1,000+ of which scheduled appointments. The value of those appointments exceeded $1.3 billion in pipeline revenue.
3. Search Marketing
Organic search marketing is arguably one of the most valuable long-term strategies for generating B2B leads.
About 5-6 years ago, I was working on the SEO campaign for a major business stationery brand. It was one of my first ‘big campaigns’ that I was allowed to manage in my previous job.
While I can’t take the credit (their in-house SEO team and previous agencies had laid a great foundation for us), I watched the site’s revenue from SEO increase by over £4 million, just from a handful of keywords reaching #1 on Google. There is no doubt that a good SEO team can have a massive impact on your business, and although finding the right SEO based company that fits your needs can be a tough decision it’s still worth searching. Reviews, similar to these Victorious SEO reviews, can be a great place to find the best SEO team for your business. Reviews could also lead to SEO specialists agencies similar to this RaleighDigital SEO company for businesses who are looking for a more localized marketing agency.
4. Social Media
Calling social media an effective B2B lead generation strategy is a controversial discussion to be starting.
While social media scored very well on both of the aforementioned ‘studies’, we can just as easily find reports where social media channels are regarded as the least effective lead generation strategies.
The bottom line is, social media isn’t inherently a poor channel for B2B lead generation. The reason social media is sometimes rated poorly on these aggregate studies is because most B2B companies have an ill-fitting social media strategy, to put it politely.
While tens of thousands of companies blast out self-promotional drivel, a minority of businesses use it generate and nurture millions of dollars worth of leads. In this instance, it’s best to learn from the minority rather than the majority.
5. Integrating it all together
It’s said that success leaves clues. Well, when a $37 billion company generates a 5,100% return on investment on a million-dollar marketing campaign, it might be a pretty good clue.
From a $1 million investment in an integrated marketing campaign that included display ads, email marketing, campaign websites and content marketing, the healthcare technology company Optum generated $52 million in new business.
So, what’s the clue?
I believe it’s this: exceptional lead generation results come from a relentless willingness to experiment with different tactics, and to combine tactics across multiple channels.
Only by experimenting, can you truly know what does and doesn’t work, and when you know this, you can use your time and budget more effectively to generate higher returns on your investment, and better lead generation results overall.
While we suggest companies to try things, it has been proven that outsourcing marketing especially the lead generation as it is a cost viable choice and get experts to do your job.