According to surveys, nearly 80% of marketers say that lead gen is their top priority, and this is not surprising. B2B brands are tirelessly looking for new opportunities to scale their lead generation, and inbound offers such an opportunity.
In this article, we will tell you about the value of inbound in B2B and reveal the best inbound lead generation techniques to help you achieve your goals.
Traditional outbound lead generation tactics like cold calls, emails, and others have proven their effectiveness for B2B. Yet trends change, and so do consumers, which is why outbound alone is no longer enough, especially if you want to scale your lead generation.
There are several reasons why inbound lead generation is still important in B2B:
It attracts consumers by considering modern buyer behavior and habits
Today, sales reps are no longer the primary source of knowledge for potential customers. According to Worldwide Business Research, B2B buyers are already 57%-70% through their buying research when they finally contact sales reps. That is, they prefer to do more research on their own, and inbound marketing ensures that more people see information about your business.
It builds loyalty and trust
Inbound channels provide B2B brands with the right tools and techniques to attract, convert, and retain existing customers. This encourages better customer loyalty and secures repeat purchases. On top of that, this tactic helps establish you as a specialist in your niche and makes your prospects want to stick around.
It boosts brand awareness
With inbound marketing, you make it easier for your target customers to find the information, tools, and services they’re looking for.
It supports other marketing channels
Finally, inbound marketing can (and should) work in conjunction with the rest of your marketing efforts. Leveraging all these lead generation tactics together will help you strengthen your overall strategy and enhance your outbound.
At Belkins, we actively leverage different inbound strategies, including blogging, social media marketing (SMM), webinars, and others. However, it wasn’t a part of our strategy from the start. Being a lead gen agency specializing in appointment setting via cold emails, we focused only on outbound before. But as our expertise grew, we realized that in order to scale lead gen, we needed to activate all available channels, including the inbound.
Gradually, our team mastered different inbound lead-generation techniques that we continue to use today.
Best ways to get the most out of inbound to boost lead generation
In the list below, we have collected the most effective tactics to help you get the most out of inbound as a lead gen channel.
Offer the highest quality of professional advice in your content
When you start thinking about how to get inbound leads, focusing on delivering content is quite obvious. However, generic pieces of advice like “write blog posts” don’t work any longer, so we want to give you a more relevant tip.
In order to rank you content high is SERP and scale the quantity of generated leads, your blog needs to offer the highest quality of professional advice. Here are several tips to keep top of mind:
Don’t publish generic content
B2B customers are demanding; they have longer buyer journeys and make complex purchasing decisions. They have to ensure you’re a real expert in your field before giving you a chance. So you need to go beyond the strategy of rewriting the top articles on Google.
Instead, opt to deliver top-quality content that reflects your unique expertise. Professionals with experience in your field are the best candidates for writing roles in this case.
Incorporate thorough topic research to your content creation workflow
It allows deeper and more-detailed exploration of the matter, which helps you establish your credibility and bring more value to readers.
Use a strong storytelling arc
Modern consumers love good stories. By incorporating a strong storytelling arc into your pieces, you will make your articles more relatable.
For example, one of the most powerful formats for storytelling is case studies. When your potential customers read them, they place themselves in particular situations and develop deeper trust and affection for your brand.
At Belkins, we use our case studies as sales tools. When we have a conversation with potential clients from a certain industry, we demonstrate what results we achieved in a similar case. This often positively affects the decision to collaborate with us.
Use different content formats to achieve greater results
In order to drive more inbound marketing leads, it’s preferable to create different types of content. The 4 most-resonating content formats for B2B are solutions, company information, case studies, and industry-specific or target buyer-specific content.
On top of that is “resource” content, which helps readers answer a question or solve a problem. Examples include blog posts, infographics, guides, white papers, FAQs, videos, checklists, and spreadsheet templates.
Make SMM an integral part of your lead generation strategy
Social media has nearly 5 billion monthly active users these days. Thus, all B2B companies must have strong SMM tactics inherent in their inbound lead generation strategies.
The primary challenge for B2B entities in terms of SMM is that their buyer personas are much different from the B2C ones. Respectively, traditional SMM tactics simply don’t work for B2B brands. So here’s what you can do:
Opt for relevant platforms
Clearly, not all social media platforms meet the needs and objectives of B2B brands. However, there are a few that work well. First on the list is LinkedIn. The biggest professional network, this platform is ideal for B2B inbound lead generation. To learn why, read our guide: LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation: Best Tactics & Examples.
Twitter and Facebook are next — these 2 platforms are more formal than TikTok or Instagram, yet a bit more casual than LinkedIn. The last platform that you can try is less obvious: It’s Quora, and it’s a place where you can deliver value in exchange for new high-quality leads.
Get specific with targeting
Social media platforms let you reach out to significantly broader audiences. On the one hand, it’s a good thing since you want to scale your lead gen efforts. On the other hand, it means that without proper targeting, you might reach too many people who just don’t fit into your ICP.
To avoid this, conduct a thorough analysis of your audience (and competition) and craft detailed target personas to help your message reach the right people.
Share your best creations
The key to success in B2B SMM is to use a combination of social selling strategies and thoughtful content. While everything is pretty clear with selling, crafting compelling content for social media as a B2B business can be tricky since you need to balance professionalism and entertainment.
Therefore, you want to deliver fascinating, valuable content to make your followers stick around. We recommend focusing on posts that resonate with your target audience and make their lives simpler.
Here are the post topics that work best for Belkins’s LinkedIn audience: industry news, trends, how-tos, tips, meeting the team, key takeaways from recent case studies, specific challenges in different industries and how Belkins overcomes them, polls, and best practices.
Support your content with visuals
Photos, videos, infographics, and other visuals are proven to drive attention and improve engagement. Therefore, when delivering well-written stories, be sure to support them with great visuals. Below you can see an example of our post on LinkedIn to celebrate Belkins's wins in 2022.
Make a more personal connection
Leave out salesy content and use social media to humanize your brand instead. Share your personal story and thoughts, as well as insights that your business has gained throughout its history. Also, tell prospects about industry-related challenges you’ve faced: Let prospects see real people behind a faceless organization and you will win their trust and loyalty!
If you use these hacks, SMM will become an integral part of your growth strategy and help you boost your results. We also recommend exploring more B2B lead generation tips that our team incorporates in their strategy to get regular appointments with highly qualified decision-makers.
Set event marketing efforts at full potential
Arranging events can help you increase brand awareness, grow your business network, share expertise, build credibility, and educate potential customers. Most importantly, all these effects together result in gaining new high-quality leads.
According to Belkins’s experience, digital format opens up broader opportunities than traditional trade shows or conferences. If you host an online event, you have more control over the process and receive better analytics. It also lets you automate a variety of routine tasks, thus saving plenty of time.
On top of that, you can record online events. Use these videos later to generate even more leads by providing them with access to the event materials in exchange for their information and subscription opt-in. Just look how many views Belkins's online workshops generate months after:
Here are our tips of organizing an event using the example of a webinar.
Start making the preparations at least the month before
Ideally, the time for organizing the webinar should depend on the number of attendees you expect to attract. The more registrants you need, the more time you’ll require to organize the event. For instance, to attract 200-300 registrations, the Belkins team requires a month of preparation and active promotion.
Create a dedicated landing page for promotion
The landing page should grab attention and communicate the benefits of your event. Therefore, include a brief list of topics that will be covered in the webinar and mention the hosts and their achievements. Needless to say, the landing should contain a visible registration button that leads the user to the registration form.
Launch a multichannel promotional campaign
To advertise your event effectively, it’s better to combine free and paid channels. For instance, announce your upcoming webinar on your site so your regular visitors can see it by adding a banner at the top of the page. Launch an email sequence for existing clients or subscribers, preliminarily segmenting the audience. Finally, if your budget allows, enhance your promotional campaign with PPC ads.
Create sequences of email follow-ups
They remind potential visitors of the following occasion to minimize the rate of no-shows.
How do we do it at Belkins? We develop a 4-point reminder sequence: 2 weeks, 1 week, 1 day, and 1 hour before the occasion.
Always rehearse your speech and test interactive features
Rehearsals are a must, both for public-speaking newbies and experienced webinar hosts. Speakers need to check out the presentation, read their lines out loud, and prepare a list of answers to obvious questions the audience may ask. Finally, the moderator (yes, you will need one to monitor the chat during the event) should test all interactive functions, such as polls and live chat, in advance.
Make your events stand out from each other
Create partner webinars with industry experts, invite in-house specialists from your team as experts, and think of various interactive activities for each new webinar. The diversity of your content is the key to winning audience engagement and long-term loyalty.
These numbers suggest that video has already become consumers’ favorite type of media. So if videos still aren’t part of your B2B lead generation strategy, there’s no better time than right now to change this.
For video marketing purposes, YouTube is the best platform thanks to its versatility and its 2.1 billion active users from all across the globe. Now the question is how to leverage YouTube marketing at full capacity to scale B2B inbound lead generation.
We recommend focusing on educating your audience. With the help of videos, you can educate your prospects and leads on your industry, common challenges faced by your target audiences, and your products and services.
As far as video formats, start with product videos. According to Statista, it was in the top 3 most popular types of video content in B2B marketing in 2021, and it’s projected to keep its position. Videos that share details about your products, services, and business in general are powerful for scaling lead generation and converting new customers.
So here’s how it’s actualized within Belkins’s video strategy. For the maximum outcome, we prefer to combine different video formats. On our YouTube channel, you can see the following types of videos:
Webinars, podcasts, and other educational content
They help us build authority and brand awareness and educate prospects on what we do. The topics we cover are closely related to our industry and expertise. For example, one of our most viewed webinars was on how to close outbound leads effectively, and one of the most popular Belkins Growth Podcasts tells how to pave your own lane in B2B SaaS sales.
An extra tip from our team: When engaging in YouTube marketing, focus on the usefulness and quality of the content first and then optimize your videos for search. Target the right relevant keywords and include them in everything around your video, not only in the title but also in the description and thumbnail. This will help ensure that your target audiences discover your videos when searching for relevant information on the web.
On our channel, there are many short (3-6 minutes) videos with testimonials from our existing clients. Such content helps build trust and credibility for our brand. At the same time, the short format of these reviews makes them easy to share on our website (along with relevant case studies) and social media for maximum outreach.
Reengage with your past visitors by remarketing
Looking to scale inbound marketing leads, many companies focus their efforts on reaching new leads while forgetting about prospects who have already engaged with their brands. The truth is that people who have previously landed on your website and interacted with you are low-hanging fruits for your business, whether they made a purchase or not. You just need to remarket to them effectively.
Here are a few tactics to start with:
Build remarketing lists based on your sales funnel stages
In order to reengage with your past visitors, you need to designate them to specific B2B sales funnel stages. Following this approach, you address the needs of your existing customers and lost leads more accurately and gradually move them through the sales funnel by reassigning them to new remarketing lists until they convert.
Retarget leads to other site pages or resources
One tricky thing about reengaging with your past visitors is that they’ve already been to your landing page and know something about you. It’s a no-brainer that sending them to the same old landing page again won’t make any difference. So if you want to strengthen and scale your inbound lead generation strategy with remarketing, you need to create separate landing pages with accurately crafted messages tailored to the needs of your past visitors.
Diversify your email newsletters
The average ROI of email marketing is $32:$1, which makes it one of the most cost-effective instruments for scaling inbound leads. But you need to approach it wisely. Although email marketing is strong in the B2B sector, reusing existing content for reengagement purposes won’t work. Don’t expect existing customers and people who have dropped out of your sales funnel to enjoy the same kind of email content. Instead, build separate email lists for remarketing and tailor the content you deliver to the specific needs of the people on each list.
Pro tip: You can build separate lists for webinar no-shows, webinar shows that didn’t convert, and customers who converted but never made a second purchase. Each of these groups of people will have different needs and expectations. Dissociate them and address their needs separately to scale your results.
Design a unique, limited-time offer
When you fail to convert a prospect on the first attempt, the easiest thing to do is reach back to them with a new offer. Create limited offer campaigns to power up your remarketing efforts.
Ideally, make these campaigns time-sensitive to play on your prospects’ FOMO (fear of missing out) and provide an incentive for them to buy from you.
Stimulate recurring purchases and upselling
Finally, if you want to scale your leads to the maximum, you need to reengage with past visitors who made purchases and convince them to buy from you again. According to research by Forrester, acquiring new customers costs 5 times more than repeating purchases with existing customers.
So a powerful post-purchase remarketing campaign is the perfect complement to your general strategy. Tactics you can leverage for this purpose include cross-selling and upselling, renewing, and rebuying. And don’t ignore the power of loyalty campaigns to help you build stronger relationships with your existing customers.
Nurture subscribers with email marketing
Since most of our B2B audience is familiar with cold emails, we are covering other forms of email marketing here. Namely, we will talk about generating inbound leads via marketing newsletters and email digests.
The art of effective email marketing is rather in-depth. There are many things to keep in mind since this tactic works only on warm leads. They are your prospects who have more time to consider your proposition or users who subscribed to your blog.
Here are 4 primary keys to success:
In order to generate more leads via email, segment your lists first. Group the leads you collected based on their industry, location, source of acquisition, and other factors. You can then use this data to tailor your message to each particular group of contacts and make it even more relevant. This will help you speed up conversion.
The best content for marketing emails is the kind that brings your prospects real value. There is no better way to nurture B2B leads than to educate them. So here are ideas for valuable email content: blog digest, case study takeaways, white papers, reports, and video guides.
Pro tip: Include event announcements in your nurturing campaigns. One day your subscribers or past prospects will become registrants of your webinars, which will drive them down your sales funnel.
If you personalize your emails more, it can do wonders for your lead gen. According to email statistics from Oberlo, personalized subject lines boast 50% higher open rates. So if you are still not paying due attention to email personalization, it’s time to change this!
Email automation helps you optimize the time and effort your team spends on marketing. With its help, you can create, run, and analyze larger volumes of nurturing emails and, thus, gain better results.
Pro tip: Never neglect the role of testing. By testing your marketing emails, you will avoid spam issues, improve deliverability, and boost your conversions.
The bottom line
If you’ve been in B2B for a while, you might think that your lead generation is pretty well established at this point. But when it comes to scaling your efforts, you may find that there are still plenty of things you are missing out on.
Now that you’ve read this guide, you have an idea of how to take your B2B inbound lead generation to the next level. But if it still feels like a bit of help won’t hurt, don’t forget that the team at Belkins is always here to help you achieve your goals. Throughout years in the industry, our team has helped hundreds of customers to scale their strategies and make their businesses thrive. Let our experts optimize your lead gen strategy, too, to get tangible results faster.
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.
Subscribe to our blog Get the ultimate insights on the B2B trends and hands-on tips from sales professionals. Receive updates on new articles and more.