Although not exactly poetic or altruistic, it has been noted that we are all in the business of making money. And as marketers, we all know we are only as golden as our last lead generation effort. Have you ever sat on the wrong side of the desk as you tried to explain to your boss why your leads have not produced the expected results? It’s not pretty. You can blame sales. You can blame operations. You can even blame your CRM system. But, to quote John Donne and later Ernest Hemingway, “Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
No one in the history of B2B marketing has ever wanted to hear the bells tolling. So, if your leads are simply not doing the job, it may be time to conduct a reality check. As an example, let’s take a closer look at the top of the funnel and the key Do’s and Don’ts. The “Top of the Funnel” stage of the lead generating process is about targeting and building awareness via your prospective B2B buyers. Assuming you’ve already created your buyer personas, your next job is to identify their needs and wants versus pushing your own sales and marketing agendas. Part of gaining trust to this vitally important segment of your lead strategy is to introduce your company as a trusted and recognized brand. Let’s take a quick look at the Do’s and Don’ts of B2B lead generation activities, especially as they relate to content syndication:
• Develop data-driven buyer personas. Get to know your B2B buyer personas inside and out. Use insights and information you gained from website visits, customer meetings and industry experts, to make your targeting spot-on.
• Provide real value through your syndicated content. B2B companies that use blogging in their business practices generate as much as 67% more leads per month. At this stage, your blog content must cover industry information, reports, statistics, tips, strategies and anything that is relevant to their interests and solving their pain points.
• Forget to track, measure and report on stringent ROI data. Make sure to incorporate any “Top of the Funnel” marketing activities until you are able to accurately forecast the best, worst and average ROI outcomes.
• Forget the B2B leads, even content syndicated ones, may take more than a minute. As marketers, it’s sometimes tempting to tap into the lower funnel where prospects reside that are hopefully ripe for the picking. However, there’s a danger that these leads may have a disastrous result and may not be sales-ready. The lesson to learn here is to develop long-term strategies with your funnel strategy and focus on prospects who might not be ready to buy now, but may do so in due time. Invest in each stage of the funnel to build your bottom line now, and in the future.
Lead generation offers many helpful tools to help you boost your outcomes. From marketing automation software, to intelligent CRM systems, to social media outlets, and especially a sound content syndication strategy.
Popular B2B Lead Generation Strategies:
According to a HubSpot Benchmarks report, companies that blog 6-8 times per month double their lead volume. This proves that blogging has a definite place in the extremely effective lead generation hall of fame, especially when combined with a robust content syndication strategy.
53 percent of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority.
Content syndication and email marketing go hand-in-hand
Don’t assume that email marketing is best used when only communicating with existing prospects and customers. Email can be a powerful channel for new lead generation programs. In fact, according to eMarketer, email has a median ROI of 122%, which is 4x higher than social media, direct mail and paid search. Provided below are powerful statistics to support this versus other marketing channels:
Make Your Email Strategy Work Even Harder:
• Let the “spammers” beware. Don’t forget to maximize your opt-in strategy. Spamming prospective prospects will lead to plenty of trouble via unsubscribes and the email police.
• This is where the valuable offers go. As you know, B2B content syndication assets are no place for product pitches. Whether you are offering downloads, discounts, educational content or, yes, detailed product information, you will have a much better chance of filling your pipeline coffers with a well-crafted email message that doesn’t make your audience feel “sold” to.
• Make it easy on your over-worked prospects. Provide easy-to-use tools, buttons, boxes, social media sharing or anything else that will facilitate an easy “share this information with a colleague” strategy.
Email marketing is 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.
Social Media Isn’t Just “Social” Anymore
Social media has evolved from cat videos and political pundit propaganda. It’s emerging as a viable channel that many businesses are embracing to make a significant impact on their brand awareness and messaging platforms. Provided below are a few ideas on how to generate leads using social networks:
• Build a loyal following by building relationships with potential prospects. When all is said and done, social media is really just about people. Not companies necessarily, but people. Get to understand your audience’s likes, dislikes, interests, communities and other pertinent information. The key to generating viable leads is to have a human interaction with your constituency.
• “Talk” to your social media audience. Create a two-way dialogue. Don’t make the mistake of using social media to only blast out messages about your company and products. Include interesting facts and figures, tidbits about your company, executives, events, activities, promotions, etc. Try to develop interactive content, where your social media followers feel engaged and look forward to their interaction with you.
• Create a channel for content sharing. Publishing and sharing content that directs traffic to targeted landing pages, content syndication sites and other social media vehicles is the single biggest lever to increase lead generation through social media. Share new content by posting links to landing pages, blog posts, discount opportunities and other great resources.
(Source: IMN Inc.)
SEO and Organic Search Lets Your Prospects Find You
Extending your content syndication strategy to incorporate SEO and organic search strategies is critical for lead generation. In addition, you want to be able to leave a bread crumb trail to allow your potential prospects to your “door.” By applying search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, you will discover that your job will be made a bit easier. Specifically:
• Pick a primary keyword for each piece of content, landing page, etc. Focus on optimizing that page for that word. However, be careful not to oversaturate a page with too many keywords. In other words, pace yourself. If not, the page will lose its importance and authority because search engines won’t have a clear idea of what the page is about.
• Place your primary keywords in your headline and sub-heads. These areas of content have greater weight to search engines.
• Include the keywords in the body content, but don’t use them out of context. They need to be relevant with the rest of your text.
• Include keywords in the file names of images (i.e. mykeyword.jpg) or use them in the ALT tag.
• Include the keywords in the page URL.
50% of page-1 Google results are now HTTPS
At Long Last: Content Syndication Leads
The question of whether B2B content syndication leads are better than other lead generation leads is irrelevant. They are neither better nor worse, but they are different. Content syndication leads are not quite like most sales leads. When someone registers to download a white paper, video or case study, they are probably interested in the topic or business challenge that is represented, not necessarily in your product or service. In fact, the individual may not even be aware of your brand or product, which definitely presents a peripheral opportunity. Further, the individual didn’t download your content from your website, but rather content syndication or third-party publishers.
Content syndication does have its advantages though, including:
• Expanded reach. Some of the larger syndication websites have social media followings as large as 100,000 or more. You may find your subscriber rates skyrocketing.
• Better SEO. The right syndication partners provide author links, including links back to your website.
• More lead generation opportunities. Carefully target the websites where you syndicate to match the sites where your buyer personas are most likely visiting.
• Fudging on the no promo rules. While most websites prohibit promotional blogs, you are able to include links to your social media provided in your author bio, or call-to-action buttons which will link back to landing pages on your website in addition to your content.
The most successful B2B marketers spend 40% of their total marketing budget on content marketing. The average of all respondents is 26 percent.
(Source: Content Marketing Institute)
Where to Begin Your Content Syndication Journey:
• B2C – Business 2 Community: An independent news community focused on social media marketing, PR and almost everything else related to business.
• Social Media Today: An independent community focusing on sharing the latest tips and news regarding social media marketing, especially as it relates to marketing, PR and advertising.
• Alltop: Not actually a traditional website for syndicate content, but rather an enormous RSS feed. Try to fit your content in one of their designated categories, i.e. Health, beauty, culture, tech, people, etc.
• Inbound.org: Focused on online and inbound marketing content. The community also allows participants to ask questions, start discussions and post links to their own content
• Medium: Provide a platform for publishing content, photos, audio and videos directly.
• Slideshare: A network of LinkedIn alliances that carries multi-disciplinary professional content.
• Quora: Allows business owners and other professionals to showcase their expertise in certain areas.
• Outbrain: A content marketing platform that offers advertising opportunities for your content on large online media properties, such as CNN, People and ESPN. It boasts a global audience of 557 million per month.
• Taboola: A content discovery platform that offers local placement on top sites.
• Scoop.it: A way for professionals and businesses to publish content. It drives online visibility; while defining their areas of expertise and helping them to generate new business and potential prospects.
• Facebook Business: Offers “business tools for each business goal”. It also provides paid as well as free resources to help businesses raise awareness, drive demand and promote sales.
• LinkedIn: Focuses on helping companies build brands and generate potential customers.
• StumbleUpon: Allows you to submit your favorite pages, follow people and interest, and share content.
• Reddit: Is a critical part of popular culture. It reaches tens of thousands of people every day.
• Tumblr: Provides a dashboard that gives a live feed of the blogs that users track.
84 percent of people expect brands to provide content that entertains, tell stories, provides solutions and creates experiences and events.
(Source: Meaningful Brands)