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Written by James Scherer
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5 B2B Lead Generation Strategies We Use Ourselves

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Leads!

Let’s figure out how to get you more of them. You in?

In the interest of being one of those modern internet start-ups with complete transparency (and because I have a genuine desire to see our readers succeed), the article will give you the full picture of what we do, here at Wishpond, to generate leads.

I’ll give you five strategic examples (four of which we are currently and actively using on our website) of how a B2B or SaaS company can generate leads online. I’ll also give you a step-by-step breakdown of how we implement these strategies ourselves.

Might get fired for this, but let’s do it anyway!


B2B Lead Generation Strategy #1: Ebooks

Ebooks are the most straightforward and common strategy for B2B lead generation. It’s likely that your business is creating content already, and if you’re not turning that content into lead-gen currency you’re missing a huge beat.

Here’s an example of an ebook I wrote about a month ago that we’re currently using on the Wishpond blog to generate leads:

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While this one I actually wrote from scratch, many of Wishpond’s ebooks are created a bit differently.

Here’s how you can maximize the ROI of your ebooks by working smart (not hard):

  • Create and publish 4-7 blog articles focused on the same subject, from introductory to advanced.
  • Compile the copy, statistics, images and diagrams from your articles into a single document.
  • Use Google Drive’s Presentation tool to create a visually appealing ebook (put time and energy into your title and cover, and use the handy grid and copy/paste to create something you’re proud of.)
  • Export your ebook as a PDF.
  • Design a landing page using a landing page template to easily upload your PDF and email-gate download.
  • Promote your ebook on social platforms and with online advertising (such as Google AdWords).
  • Creating ebooks this way is the most cost-effective strategy, as you are reusing content but making it even more valuable and comprehensive by putting it all in one place.

  • Putting together a landing page can also be cost effective (Wishpond allows you to create free landing pages).

B2B Lead Generation Strategy #2: Webinar

This is something that we at Wishpond are only just scratching the surface of, webinars are one of the coolest strategies for lead generation.

I could tell you it’s because webinars allow you to communicate face-to-face with your leads, increasing the personable nature of your business. I could tell you that creating a webinar with an influencer in your sector is one of the best ways to create a buzz, and that they’re one of the easiest “sells” that drives a lead towards a final conversion.

All those things are true, but they’re not why webinars are so awesome or great at generating leads.

The reason webinars work so well when done well is because so few of your competitors (or, really, anybody) are doing them well.

Consider it like the basic principle of supply and demand: when something becomes scarce it becomes more valuable; when something becomes incredibly common it loses value faster than Usain Bolt.

A good webinar is like that flower in Madagascar that blooms every 100 years: an occurrence so rare you’re lucky to see one in your lifetime.

How to make your webinar not terrible:

  • Test your registration system, video feed and audio until you’re 100% confident that nothing’s going to explode. Then test it again.
  • Ensure your internet connection isn’t sketchy. There’s nothing more unprofessional than your webinar stopping mid-sentence with 300 possible leads waiting for you to plug in the ethernet cable.
  • Don’t just talk. Either screen-capture a professionally-created presentation, a snapshot of how to use your tool, or at least a series of images that relate to your topic.
  • Invite a guest with their own fans. Not only does this help your webinar to actually have registrants, but it allows you to trade leads by promoting your webinar to your existing leads, and ensuring your guest does the same with theirs.
  • Promote the thing. Consider using an entry popup on your blog, mentioning that “Free entry to your upcoming webinar ends tonight at midnight!” Also ensure you’re promoting on social networks and perhaps a click popup as well.

If you can create a regular, professional, informative webinar word will spread for it faster than any other form of lead-gen content. If you just throw something out there hoping it’ll catch on, you’ll be disappointed.


B2B Lead Generation Strategy #3: Podcast

Many content marketers consider a podcast simply a recorded webinar, and in many ways they’re right.

But I struggle with that definition, as I actually find podcasts far more similar to a blog article than anything else.

In fact, the only difference between a podcast and a blog article is that one is written and one spoken.

Even if you have a guest for your podcast, the ability to record, edit and hone it down to a fine piece of art makes it more like a blog article than a live, terrifying, sweaty-palmed webinar.

At least in my experience.

Here’s one part of a podcast series that my content colleague Krista Bunskoek and I did a while ago.

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Podcasts can be a useful piece of lead generating content - by email-gating them like you would a case study or ebook -  but they can also be an additional kind of content on your blog that makes it more interesting and dynamic as a whole.


B2B Lead Generation Strategy #4: Facebook Contest

Ol’ reliable: the Facebook contest.

Seriously, what better way to get valuable leads than to bribe people with something only valuable leads would want?

This is why social contests actually work better (in my opinion) for B2B companies than they do e-commerce or B2C.

Think about it: anyone interested in “winning a free year of [your business’ tools] is one of the most valuable leads you can get. They’re more interested in your business than your blog readers, more interested in your tools than anybody who downloads an ebook.

True, B2C and e-commerce contests will generate more Facebook Fans, and they’ll absolutely generate more engagement.

But the engagement that a B2B company gets from a Facebook contest is awesome engagement, arguably the most valuable engagement you can get online.

Here’s an example of a contest Wishpond ran last year on Facebook:

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It takes a bit of brainstorming to get a B2B Facebook contest right, so here’s a step-by-step for businesses like yours:

  • Give away the right prize: It’s harder for B2B companies to run a contest than it is for B2C (who can just throw up their most successful prize or a gift card and they’re good to go). I recommend free subscriptions to your tools, free consultation sessions, discounts or something more creative like a sponsorship, philanthropic endeavour or something where you use your business’ success to spread the word about the contest winner’s cause.

  • Consider your design strategy: Facebook contests should be fairly simplistic and have a visual of the prize (even better, someone with the prize so people can create a scenario in their head of them winning the prize. If your contest can make your potential entrants can envision themselves with the prize, you will get a higher conversion rate on your contest.

  • Do a referral: Use your existing leads to find more by doing a referral contest: every existing lead who refers five friends/colleagues gets a discount or free month subscription to your tools.
  • Promote like hell: Facebook contests shouldn’t just stick to Facebook. Spread the word on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and your website. Consider (like the webinar) an entry popup that lets people know the deadline to enter is coming up.

  • Don’t neglect your entrants: The most frustrating thing I see in the social promotion game is clients who don’t have a plan for what to do with the leads they get. Create a series of timed emails that nurture your qualified leads towards a final sale. Consider a consolation prize that keeps them happy with your company. Introduce yourself and your business (this makes it harder to unsubscribe from your email list).


B2B Lead Generation Strategy #5: Meetup

This is one of the coolest lead-gen strategies Wishpond has tried in the past couple years, and something I’m really excited about.

About a month and a half ago we decided to get the Vancouver internet startups together and have a foosball tournament. The opening night was last Friday and was a huge success. We had about 100 people crammed into our office, music, food and enough alcohol to satisfy even the hardiest of programmers.

It was also a fantastic way for our business (and yours, if you so choose) to generate connections and leads in our city and our sector. Let alone the buzz generated by 40 internet startups talking about it in the weeks beforehand.

Here’s just one of the announcements:

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Here’s a step-by-step of how you can do your own meetup:

  • Decide the format and tone of your meetup. Will it be educational and informative or fun and casual? Will you invite everyone from your sector in the area or just your target market?
  • Invite people either through a middleman (we’ve previously held educational seminars and meetups through online marketing, programming and user experience groups in the city) or by organizing it yourselves.
  • Create a press release that spreads the word and creates buzz in your area. Promote your meetup on social media, and create a landing page to collect registrants and encourage shares.
  • Put time and energy into making your meetup awesome and professional. Invest in chairs, tables, food and drinks as well as spending time on your presentation or whatever you have planned. You want people to leave with a fantastic impression of your business, ensuring they spread the good word even if they don’t become leads themselves.

Meetups are, also, just a genuinely fun way to meet people in your sector, and are totally tax deductible, which isn’t bad either.


Conclusion

Hopefully that’s given your B2B business a few ideas about generating leads you may not have heard before. Remember to plan your Facebook contest from entry to lead nurturing, and ensure your ebooks, podcasts and webinars are completely on-topic (so the people who download or listen to them are actually qualified leads).

Further reading:

Written by James Scherer

James Scherer is the content editor at Wishpond. When he's not writing or designing for Wishpond he's risking his life biking around the city. Reach out to him on Twitter @JDScherer.