5 Timeless ways to generate B2B leads and website traffic
The questions I get asked most often as a brand and communications strategist are:
We have a beautiful brand and our new website just launched. How do we get more traffic and generate more leads? How do we become #1 on Google?
Lead generation and sales funnels should be part of your planning and launch strategy, but all too often, clients focus only on the visual upgrade and not enough on what happens next. Disappointed business owners see lackluster results from their investment, and scramble months later to understand why they’re not seeing a flurry of new business.
I wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for that disappointment. Tons of brand experts and web designers will gladly take your money for slapping a coat of paint on your business, but take no responsibility for its post-launch success.
So where do you turn? Communications strategy—not marketing.
A communications strategy is bigger than marketing. It’s a plan with a set of strategic, measurable objectives that a forward-thinking business implements and updates annually. We offer a few free guides targeted to our key sectors:
I hate the word marketing. It’s gooey with bad juju, for good reason. Too many marketers lack integrity, simply taking money to churn out “content” and “reports”—but generate very few dollars. Having seen little ROI, many business owners go the DIY route, taking their marketing in-house by hiring a young Communications graduate or a nephew who lives and breathes social media.
Every marketing channel is clamoring for your attention, and the energetic ideas of a 24-year-old might not suit your longstanding, reputation-based clean energy business. You must have a TikTok! You must be on Clubhouse! You must boost your Facebook posts! You must must must do everything and be everywhere!
It’s not true.
Especially for smaller B2Bs with limited marketing budgets, you need to be where your customers are. That’s the only place you need to be—unless you plan to be the first, top-name in a new space. (For instance, Clubhouse is rocketing in popularity right now as people try to become #1 Influencer in their given space.)
It’s not just about GROWING. It’s also about CONNECTING to everything else you have going on at the same time.
As the show runner for a small B2B agency, I don’t have a lot of extra time. I rarely play on social media and networking is impossible right now, thanks to COVID-19. So how do I pull in the most leads? It’s actually quite simple: our blog. Yah, this old thing.
The result? Over 5000 monthly website visitors to the blog alone.
Since 2010, we’ve offered advice, rants (always our top posts), and tools for entrepreneurs and nonprofit professionals. Because it’s always paid off. Plus, we kill it on SEO.
Write differently. Write articles and posts with well-researched facts, strong verbiage, and that take a stance. Don’t be just another blog about “innovations in X industry” and get buried in search results.
If you’re ignoring SEO, there’s no point. SEO is how you get Google’s attention:
- with internal and external links, headlines and formatting,
- paragraph length suitable for online (especially mobile) readers,
- great titles and meta descriptions, and
- tagged images.
2. High-quality downloadable content
Focus on key topics in your industry. Again, write original content—don’t just reimagine what your competitors have already done. Roll this content out regularly and consistently for maximum impact, and never miss an opportunity to entice people to download and access your content in personal emails and chats. Content examples:
- Case studies
- White papers
- Evergreen landing pages
- Webinars and virtual events
- Guides and tutorials
The debate on cost is ongoing. Do you give it away, since the signup for download is tied to your email newsletter list, and nurture the leads over a long period of time? If you regularly use email marketing, then this can be effective. But if your list stagnates regularly, you’ll maybe want to charge $1 or so to see how hot these leads are.
(Don’t be surprised if your competitors are frequent downloaders—it’s a little flattering, if not a little irritating.)
It’s amazing to me how many professionals ignore the power of PR, a vehicle that large, successful organizations actively use to promote their goals and initiatives.
Having built a reputation through client relationships and longevity, some small business owners fail to see that a well-orchestrated press team puts that reputation to use to attract new invitations and opportunities: speaking engagements, for instance, like event panels, webinar features, product demos, seminars and workshops—across the globe, thanks to vid chat.
A press team can help you:
- Build a segmented list of reporters, publications, blogs, and other industry resources, with specific contacts
- Draft and distribute press releases for product launches, completed projects, new hires, partnerships, and other company news
- Track real-time publication pickup and reporter followup to manage interview requests and feature pieces
- Build a press kit (photos and copy) for individuals and the company, accessible for download from the website
- Organize media and post to the website, social media, newsletter, etc.
4. Email marketing
Volumes have been written on email marketing and how it continues to be a primary driver of business for B2Bs, but the two most important innovations to date in this space are list segmentation and automation.
- List segmentation allows you to target your email campaign messaging and calls to action more effectively. Particularly for those who target multiple sectors or multiple differing roles within a sector, list segmentation can be key in ensuring your message has direct impact. It’s the difference between this headline: “We Offer Cost-Saving HR Products!” and this one: “Hey there, Hiring Manager. HR Wizard narrows your search.”
- Automation is also under-utilized by a lot of smaller B2Bs. Essentially, automation creates a sales funnel, wherein someone enters your list, then a series of emails continue nurturing the lead automatically. For instance, Joe Taco downloads your free guide to understanding Bitcoin; you can set up an automation sequence to: (1) invite Joe to connect with the founder on LinkedIn, (2) download additional guides, (3) set up a free consultation to implement Bitcoin for his business, and/or (4) incentivize him to continue interacting with your business in some other way (freebies lead to social media shares!).
As members of the exclusive Mailchimp agency partners program, we can hook you up if you need help.
5. Chat and mobile messaging
Live interaction is the best way to capture leads, particularly in the “just browsing” phase. Mobile marketing pulls in leads and provides better customer service on your website, via text, and on social media.
More and more website browsers are reaching out with quick questions via live chat, or leaving messages for followup in off hours. You can collect their contact information to add them to your email marketing list or even take it a step further and begin building a mobile messaging campaign. Many live chat tools also integrate with Facebook Messenger and some offer the ability to text-to-chat.
The idea here is easy access. Live chat is a low-cost, effective way to engage visitors to the site, showing that you’re not just a business, but a friendly team as well.