Generating leads for sales is a top priority for any enterprise content marketing team. Every day, you’re creating compelling content and full-funnel campaigns to attract and convert audiences. However, it’s not without its challenges, and many factors impact performance — audience preferences, format types, topics, conversion objectives, and more. It’s a lot — a full-course content planning dinner for thousands, you could say. So, what are the latest B2B lead generation ideas you should have on the menu?
The B2B Lead Generation Spread
So, what’s happening in B2B lead generation? We can confirm that content marketing does generate them, with 60 percent of marketers stating it does. Additionally, demand for content by B2B buyers has increased by 33 percent since 2019, delivering 4.6 million leads. These statistics represent the power of content marketing.
Along with these data points, you should also be digging into your content analytics and measuring lead generation to know what’s working. With content, leads can come from multiple content tactics, including:
- Gated long-form content (e.g., ebooks and white papers)
- Email campaigns
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Social media engagement
- Blogs with conversion-driven CTAs (calls to action)
- Case studies
Be sure you have the mechanics in place to measure this monthly. For example, for blogs, use a unique link to the conversion page so it counts as coming from marketing.
Let’s start developing that perfect meal for your B2B buyers.
Hors D’oeuvres: Make Content Appetizing to Your Audience
Within your audience, you will likely have more than one persona. They have different needs and motivations for buying your solution. In developing your content plan at this stage, the more you can segment and personalize, the more likely they will find it relevant and interesting.
Dividing your audience up and delivering more meaningful content to them drives them down the funnel. Here are some examples of lead generation ideas based on how buyers make buying decisions and what’s most important to them.
For this scenario, we’ll use a C-level buyer motivated by finding a solution that delivers more value than their current one. They put a lot of stock in industry leader opinions and have little time to learn about what else is out there.
Here are three content hors d’oeuvres to serve this buyer:
Break the Ice with Infotainment
These buyers encounter content daily in many different channels. They also want more content, as C-level consumption rose 15.8 percent from 2020 to 2021. While they want more content, they also don’t have a lot of time. Get their interest by targeting them with infotainment in the form of a short video of another visual piece.
Serve Up Thought Leadership
The decision-makers don’t want a marketing message. They want solutions and facts, which is why thought leadership content impacts them. Working in partnership with prominent industry voices would get their attention. A good use for this may be a webinar with this person as a featured expert.
Show Them the Numbers
These buyers are number-focused. They need to feel confident that your product could help them save money or time or resolve some pain points. Case studies, testimonials, and internal data are clear ways to get them to sit down at the table with you.
Sometimes buyers need to see where you stack up against others. Providing them with a comparison of features, costs, and other components makes this easy to digest. They can go a long way to getting the buyer to consider your product as just as good or better than what they have now.
The Main Dish: Cooking Up a Content Funnel
The next course is the entrée, and you’ll need to plan to develop content for your personas at every stage of the funnel — top, middle, and bottom.
Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content creates awareness and visibility. Conversions don’t happen here, but they are starting points for many. The type of content you’d create here includes blog posts, ebooks, videos, and infographics. At this point, you are introducing the solution and telling a story where your buyer is the focal point.
Middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content ensures your buyer considers your product or service. Although you’re still educating them, you are making the case with conversions as the objective. Persuasion is the tone for MOFU content. The best MOFU content for lead generation includes checklists, toolkits, comparisons, and case studies.
Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content is the last stage, where conversion is always the goal. Usually, BOFU content targets existing leads. However, you may only qualify them with this final piece, where they raise their hand to meet with you or schedule a demo. The content here is very product-focused. It can include case studies, product demo stories, persona-focused landing pages, pre-onboarding (e.g., see what it’s like to use our solution), and very detailed comparisons.
Dessert: Sweetening Up Micro-Content and Social Engagement
A meal isn’t complete without a sweet treat. In this course, you’ll want to focus on lead-generation ideas related to micro-content and social media engagement. Micro-content is short and bite-sized, so social media is often the best distribution channel.
Every piece of content we’ve covered could translate into micro-content on social media. As with any type of lead generation content, keep your focus on the audience. Here are a few ideas:
“What If” Posts
Getting buyers to think about big “what ifs” can be highly compelling. These posts also deliver a solution, such as demonstrating how a process that takes hours now would only take minutes. Sprinkling these through your social profiles can elicit the attention you need to generate leads.
“Customer Feature” Posts
Develop visual social content that highlights how your customers solved their pain points. Using this type of storytelling builds credibility for your brand and can result in leads.
“Drawing Parallels” Posts
Find inspiration from other verticals to draw parallels. For example, for software companies, you can study other technical sectors to define a compelling storyline. If you find it intriguing, your audience may, as well.
The After-Dinner Mint for B2B Lead Generation
Are you feeling full of all this tasty advice? These lead-generation ideas can help you as you plan campaigns to meet marketing objectives. It’s an evolving and dynamic area of marketing, so you’ll keep coming back for seconds and thirds. Your lead generation strategy will succeed if you understand your audience and appeal to them.
For more servings, check out our post on how to generate more leads with your content.