From Neanderthals to Homo sapiens, bullock carts to electric vehicles, door-to-door to digital marketing, evolution is inevitable. With the advent of machine learning, AI, and advanced data analytical tools, traditional lead gen for IT companies as we know it is dead. Modern marketing budgets are significantly increasing as enterprises realize the correlation between increased spends and ROI. Enterprises in the B2B space are exploring the broad spectrum of possibilities with multichannel marketing. When it comes to lead gen for IT companies, it is no different. Technology and software companies need to evolve their approach towards lead gen and they must leverage newer tactics to be able to produce results with their target audience. Some of the challenges faced by IT companies in their lead gen efforts include:
- Significantly increased competition.
- Reaching decision makers and not just general audience.
- Not having enough trust and brand value to appeal to a significant audience.
- Not having an organized multichannel approach strategy.
- Managing sales lead sources.
With the constant disruption in the field of information technology, the modern B2B marketer must be dynamic in their lead gen strategies. New business models and operational strategies are letting small technology firms compete with their international rivals – but to do so effectively, each brand needs to stake out an approach that emphasizes its unique value to their target audience and includes social media. Only focusing on email marketing and generating leads through your website catalog of products and services is not enough. A social media lead has the potential to be just as valuable as any other qualified lead and you can take your Facebook ad another level up by using a feature called a lead ad which allows you to put a CTA button to your landing page at the top of your Facebook page. A prospect community must be built from the ground up, having foundations through various media channels. It can be tough to know where to start on this huge process.
Here are a few ways in which marketers for B2B IT firms can revamp their approach:
Automation and AI is currently the most powerful way to build your lead gen strategy. Marketing automation tools will grow to reach $25.1 billion annually by 2023 from $11.4 billion in 2017! This advanced system will allow you to connect with potential clients 24/7 and provides visibility for you to see how visitors are engaging with your website. Marketing automation uses a funnel to design a customer journey which starts with a trigger, like filling a form, downloading a whitepaper, signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or sharing an email. These journeys are designed to be more relevant to the recipient than just a mass email campaign. Once you know your buyer persona and target audience thoroughly, a lead generation tool like this can come in handy for your outbound lead generation efforts. 80% of marketers using automation software generate more leads. Lead generation software has come a long way in helping run a successful lead generation campaign and measure the effectiveness of various channels.
A great way to generate quality leads is to offer premium content regarding your IT niche to visitors who are willing to provide their contact information. Examples include blogs, whitepapers, e-books, and even video tutorials. Rather than just asking for the visitor's details, you can innovate in different ways to gate your content; this may include taking a survey regarding the industry followed by sharing a poll showing what other visitors think about the same or even include a small pop quiz to engage your audience. Keeping things interactive with your audience will surely not only reduce bounce rates but also makes your visitors more inclined to sign up for your product. Demand generation is the first step to your lead generation process and your landing page has a greater impact than you think on your conversion rate. Offering free limited trials in exchange for information is also another excellent lead generation strategy for IT startups. This allows users to preview your product before purchase while also allowing you to collect feedback. In 2016, SAP was able to effectively reduce their cost per lead by 88.5% as a result of offering their customers 30 days of free trial. Netflix is another great example where they were able to use free trials to achieve an astounding conversion rate of 93% according to Merriman Capital stock analyst Eric Wold.
Don't Neglect Webinar and Podcast
Webinars and podcasts are here to stay. They are proving to be extremely effective tools for B2B lead gen, especially for IT companies. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of marketers are now using webinars as part of their inbound marketing campaign. Webinars are incredibly effective as a form of lead generation. Podcasts are getting extremely popular too. These content formats can aid your content marketing efforts and good content can result in effortless lead nurturing, in a much better way than content syndication. A recent survey found out that 165 million people in the US have listened to a podcast, while 32% of Americans are monthly podcast listeners.
- Webinars and podcasts are effective because they have the ability to hold your audiences like no other forms of media.
- They allow you to educate your audience by answering questions, sharing experiences and case studies.
- Allows you to cater to your niche, industry-specific audience with incredibly relevant content.
B2B leads can be best captured via SEO and email marketing, so it might be a good idea to create a blog post about your podcasts to harness the power of search engines in your lead generation process.
Use Influencers for Outreach
Whether it is a small IT startup or any other niche industry enterprise, consumers trust one another more than they trust messages from less familiar brands. This is where partnering up with the right influencers can be an absolute game-changer. PPC and other paid advertising is getting incredibly expensive, congested, and in many cases just not effective. While thought leadership can help you build credibility, influencers can help in expanding your reach while generating leads. Dell and LinkedIn have all indulged in influencer programs for the past five years and according to a report by Linqia, 85% of marketers already use influencers. SAP is a large company which works with enterprises in a wide range of niches; different sales teams identify relevant influencers for each line of business. During their user conference in Orlando in 2016, they worked with 11 influencers who live-streamed to about 80,000 people who could not attend the event. This just goes to show the right people can have a significant impact on sales. Opportunities like these let you use your outbound marketing efforts and leverage them on social media to facilitate inbound lead generation.
When it comes to lead generation marketing, there are no limits to the techniques you can try when generating leads using social media lead generation methods. Your lead generation funnel needs to accommodate each prospective customer and convert them into new lead or potential lead for your marketing team.
Strategies that work for one business might fall completely on its face for another. That’s why it is always important to keep testing and experimenting. It all comes down to knowing your audience and how they interact with your business. Old strategies can still work—but make sure to update them with a new twist. Lead nurturing is not tough especially if you use an agency that provides lead generation services. Generating leads and lead management has become a complex process over time but tools that help with email marketing and other software has also streamlined the process. A comprehensive lead generation process can allow you to find a quality lead out of potential customers and lead nurturing when done well is an art that lets you use your landing page to increase your conversion rate with ease. Do you have a B2B lead generation technique that works well for you?