How To Ace B2B Lead Generation With Digital Marketing?
The changing consumer behavior is dictating new terms for the B2B segment. Succeeding the B2C like ‘experience’ factor, digital marketing is catching up as the new normal for B2B stores. There are several first-level challenges involved in B2B digital marketing. Before expecting any result, these challenges should be addressed. So here we are with a list of challenges that any B2B digital marketing initiative should address and ideas to overcome the hurdles.
As much as the B2C industry, the B2B industry has also started embracing digital marketing as a means to generate leads. B2B players have long understood the need for building organic traffic, heightening digital user engagement, creating a social media bonding and perfecting every other aspect of digital marketing.
In fact, Statista reports that at least 45% of B2B companies have a formal marketing plan in place. At least half of the B2B companies in the United States have earmarked digital marketing budgets to increase their lead generation.
However, digital marketing is no magic wand a quick wave of which will throw open the floodgates of leads. There are several first-level challenges involved in digital marketing for B2B that need to be addressed before results can be seen.
Challenges involved in B2B lead generation using Digital Marketing
The major challenges involved are outlined as under:
Content is the key asset which helps B2B enterprises drive leads using inbound marketing. But, content production being a relatively new field (hardly a decade old), it can feel a little alien for long-standing B2B enterprises. In fact, the various forms of content required and their purpose itself can feel like a difficult maze in the beginning.
The content produced needs to have a strong message, a compelling tone and it should also address the pain areas of the target audience heads on. Such form of content production and its distribution across online outlets is indeed the toughest challenge in b2B digital marketing.
Forecasting future trends
Five years ago, keyword stuffing was a way of living for SEO professionals. Today in 2018, voice search pegs over and above all other forms of search. The rapid pace at which Internet grows has made it difficult for marketers to forecast how things will be in the near future.
Drawing long-term plans for five years is no longer possible. The best bet that B2B marketers can make it to devise strategies with a long-term vision that will help them achieve short-term goals.
For example, securing top SERPs in a specific region for a given keyword with definite search volume.
Measuring conversions & lead scoring
In eCommerce, conversions mean a successful sale that the customer paid for. But, in digital marketing, across B2B as well as B2C, conversion means something else. In fact, they mean a lot of things, like:
A Call-to-action clicked and contact form submitted
Download of gated content like eBook, White paper, Case study, brochure, etc.
Visit a campaign page routed through a text/display/sponsored ad
Question submissions in community or KnowledgeBase
Each of these preliminary actions has a different weightage of being resulting in a business deal. Sometimes, the lead achieved in different ways may have to be scored for their possibility of turning into a lead. Accurate lead scoring and nurturing them for long-term deals is indeed a challenge in B2B digital marketing.
Integrating marketing automation tools
Blogging. SEO. SEM. Social media. Email marketing. The world of inbound marketing is as vast as you can imagine. Bringing all the tools under one roof and taking the best out of them is a swim against the tide. Hence, the need for marketing automation.
There are several marketing automation tools like HubSpot available today that help orchestrates the entire digital marketing activity from a single dashboard. But, using them for B2B digital marketing is a different story. B2B enterprises rely on an entirely different suite of tools for CRM, Content Management, database management, accounting and so on. Integrating all of these tools with marketing automation tools or vice versa often ends up in a grinding halt.
Data compatibility issues, rogue data, inconsistent data capture, etc. are to be blamed for the difficulty in integration. A possible solution is to cleanse the data before it can be integrated with disparate systems.
As much as the challenges involved, there are also several channels that help negate the challenges involved in acquiring B2B leads using Digital Marketing.
Channels that help negate the challenges
Just like in traditional marketing, the secret to B2B lead generation is being in the right place at the right time and in front of the right kind of people. Digital marketing offers several avenues to do that and in a very specific way.
Here are some channels that help negate the challenges in B2B digital marketing.
Meeting customers in their inboxes is still the best way to get more leads. Email marketing that sends periodical emails to subscriber lists, third-party lists or first contacts is sure to help in nurturing leads for long-term conversions.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter rein as ideal platforms for B2B marketers to create an online splash. These platforms help accelerate the online presence as well as the gain visibility amid audience who have associated interests, like eCommerce, conversion rate optimization, eCommerce Content Management Systems, digital commerce, etc.
B2B buying decisions are usually taken with serious participation from C-level execs. The best way to get the attention of C-level execs is through Thought Leadership in topics of their interest. Blogs, white papers, case studies, and similar gated content can help win the attention of customers as well as turn them into interested leads.
According to Digital Doughnut’s State of B2B Lead Generation Report, 59% of respondents agree that webinars are quite effective in lead generation. Webinars are largely created in-house which gives them the credibility and authenticity which is much needed in B2B marketing. Also, webinars can attract a real-time audience who can be later targeted with personalized emails and adverts. Similarly, the on-demand streaming of the webinar video can also be used as gated content for the lead on a later date.