5 Hidden Tricks for Better B2B Lead Generation

    by Brian Whalley

    Date

    November 8, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    secretsMany marketers who have discovered tips or tricks about succeeding in their industry keep those secrets close to their chest. It’s understandable why they would want to preserve these secrets, whether it's for competitive advantage, job security, or just plain selfishness. Marketers will use these strategies to help generate leads for their sales teams, watching their secret tools or methods mature over time and finding ways to improve them or get a little more out of them.

    A lot of these hidden tools and tricks are around finding ways to pull in more leads to the top of your marketing funnel, whether it's increasing social media reach, list size, or any other marketing attribute that you're being measured by. Well it's about time some of those secrets were let loose, so here are five hidden tricks you should be doing to make your B2B lead generation efforts more effective online.

    1. Network More Efficiently With Followerwonk

    Followerwonk is a Twitter networking tool that helps you identify other Twitter users with specific interests, sorted by how popular they are. There are a number of tools out there that do things similar to this, but Followerwonk is better than them for a few reasons: You don’t need to sign in or give it information about yourself, it’s very fast, and it doesn’t just do the basics like “find users like me.” As marketers, we usually aren’t trying to find more people who are just like us, but instead trying to find people in certain segments, industries, or topic areas.

    Followerwonk's sorting and ranking features are also useful because they place the likely industry influencers at the top of the rankings very reliably, so you can quickly assemble a list of 10 or 15 primary people that you'd like to reach out to. You can reach out to them directly via Followerwonk once you’ve established who you want to contact, and then engage with them. If you’re instead just trying to build followers, you can also do a search for the people who follow the most people, and then follow them from Followerwonk. This is effective, because these are the people who will most likely end up following you back. Increasing your social media reach is a great way to get more eyes on the lead generating content you share on Twitter. The result? More leads!

    2. Make Sure Your Social Media Presence Leverages Lead-Capture Forms

    Forgetting to include lead-capture forms is a mistake that a lot of marketers make when using social media. We frequently get caught up in the other parts of social media like “conversing” and “engaging” and “joining the conversation” that we forget to include our own motives in our work. Make sure that some of your social media updates send fans and followers to landing pages on your site and refer back to content offers that you have. A good rule of thumb is that if you’ve published ten updates but haven’t linked to something that could generate leads for you, it’s the perfect time to do so. Some marketing automation software packages can also help you track this and handle it for you. If you have other interactive tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates, and Google+ messages happening, that means you are engaging your followers in a way that you need to be successful with automation.

    3. Provide Special Offers to Your Unengaged Email Recipients

    Build a mailing list segment of people who haven’t been responsive to your last five emails to them, and then send them a special offer asking them what they're looking for but haven’t seen. This will enable you to get very valuable feedback and advice as well as generate leads from prospects who were otherwise unresponsive. Consider this a different type of lead nurturing campaign that is customized to an unresponsive set of leads or prospects.

    In a past test I administered, a re-engagement email was sent to otherwise inactive contacts that included a final offer and asked them for feedback on what they’d received so far. Almost 5% of those emailed “woke up” and became actively engaged in some way -- either by responding to the question or following through on the offer. While that may not seem like a significant number, remember that these were previously inactive subscribers and were basically dead weight on the mailing list. By getting them to complete an action, they were more valuable than before, and the marketer was able to remove the other emails from the list, maintaining list health and reducing the cost of future campaigns.

    4. Make Sure Your Website Is Optimized

    This may feel like an obvious thing to be aware of, but it’s tricky. It’s all too easy to lose track of old pages and outdated offers on your website when you’re a busy marketer. Twice a year, take a quick inventory of your offers and their conversion rates, and then check pages on your site that haven’t been updated in the last six months. If they are displaying offers or forms that are not converting well anymore, like last year's ebook, you should switch them out with newer offers or ones that are proving more effective. By getting into a regular, six month cycle of this, you will be more aware of what is succeeding or flopping on your website, and better able to turn around pages that aren’t delivering on their potential value.

    5. Check Your Historical Analytics

    Finally, hand in hand with the previous point, make sure that you are consistently examining your analytics, not just against the previous month, but also against last year’s month and the year before that, if available. Look at your growth, accomplishments, and the milestones. If business hasn’t been as strong as the past, carefully review what different segments of traffic and activity looked like in past years. Is it traffic or leads from a particular source or type of source that has decreased? This can help you better understand where you need to focus your efforts to grow again, or where your real problems lie.

    What other tips or ideas do you have for successful lead generation?

    Image Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer

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