One can probably find as many lead generation strategies as the number of companies operating on the market. Businesses spend thousands of dollars to generate leads using inbound and outbound techniques and exploring practical ways of finding customers.
But are there proven methods to make your lead generation strategy effective without weeks of testing? The short answer is yes, and in this article, we'll share the lead generation trends that can help you attract more prospects faster. Among them are:
- Email marketing
- Video marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Other marketing strategies.
Finding Leads Online
First, the pandemic made companies switch to digital reality and forced them to reconsider their lead generation activities. This way, sales teams changed meeting prospects during offline events for finding leads on social media and crafting personalized outreach emails. Then this reality has gradually transformed into a new standard and an effective way of doing business.
In 2022, real-time online interactions with prospects and inbound lead generation efforts keep attracting many leads. It's no secret that well-approached social media lead generation can result in hundreds and thousands of new potential buyers. This is also because digital lead generation works while you sleep. And with AI-powered tools, you can skyrocket the lead generation process and always keep your pipeline filled.
Little by little, conferences, trade shows, business lunches, classes, cocktail parties, and other in-person events aimed at B2B lead generation return to our life. Still, finding leads online became the top priority for thousands of startups and large companies. So, marketers and sales reps leverage online contacting potential customers, using popular ways of engaging new buyers. What are the lead generation trends in 2022? Let's see!
1) Email Outreach as One of the Top Lead Generation Trends
Acquiring prospects through cold emails remains the most effective B2B lead generation instrument in 2022 and probably for the years to come. Potential buyers can control the interaction with your brand and take actions when they want — without any rush or pressure. But to make email marketing bring revenue, each cold and nurturing message should be appealing, engaging, and value-bringing. And here are some approaches to make your outreach convert.
I. Incorporating Account-Based Marketing
Traditional lead generation efforts assume that businesses research leads match their ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). Then companies segment prospects into groups according to specific criteria and craft relevant offers.
However, this approach is practical due to the many targeted contacts because marketing teams see the potential customers as a generalized buyer persona. This way, marketers can, for example, personalize emails referring to visiting the same online event. This trigger will likely help gain some trust but won't build rapport with your recipient.
The account-based marketing (ABM), in contrast, establishes a stronger connection with the actual person reading your message. So, ABM makes one more step ahead and shifts from the "ideal profiles" to the existing qualified leads.
For example, with the ABM approach, you can tailor your message to the reader's recent appointment to the CFO role. Among other valuable information, you can leverage the working history, college name, or probably customer experience with your competitors.
Your sales and marketing teams will have to incorporate valuable insights into the subject lines to catch the readers' attention. But a high email open rate is only the first step to success, and the next challenge is to engage your existing and potential buyers. And for this, you can use one of these email types:
- A storytelling email. Presenting the context helps readers better understand the purpose of your digital communication. So, your proposition becomes more logical and aligns the prospect's rational sense and emotions. That's how proposals with stories behind them make your brand stand out and grow its awareness.
- An interactive and dynamic-content email. Interactive messages usually include clickable elements (e.g., buttons) which allow readers to take action. For example, they can answer a quiz or a survey, choose products for further checkout, or even play a game. Adding dynamic elements like GIFs or video previews can also motivate your audience to read your email till the very end. This way, you get more leads.
II. Delivering Value-Based Offers
The days of aggressive email marketing are over, and the best lead generation activity is now focused on the value your product brings to clients. So, you'll need to find out the challenges and problems of your potential customer and show how your solution can help.
Use case studies to demonstrate the success of other companies and when explaining the benefits of your offer, be a consultant rather than a seller. Show interest and dedication, and be ready to explain complex ideas in simple words.
2) Social Media Lead Generation
In 2022, probably no one can generate leads without social networks. So, these channels are definitely among the key trends. And, if a company doesn't have an account in LinkedIn, Meta, or Twitter, it doesn't exist for most internet users. But it's not enough to have a profile on social media and post there regularly to attract new buyers — you need to be proactive and grow your brand awareness through relevant digital channels.
I. Ad Campaigns
For potential buyers, advertisements in Meta or Instagram aim at selling your products directly. However, sales are only the most prominent part of ad campaigns. But even if promotions on social media platforms don't bring enough conversions, businesses get other benefits:
- Users will learn about your company and product. Even when people don't click the social media ad to learn more, they still notice your brand name. So, next time they see it, it'll seem more familiar to your potential buyers, and they can decide to follow the link. This is how you can grow website traffic and get valuable insights about your visitors. Answers to questions like where they arrive from, which pages they see, and for how long can help marketers and sales reps learn the audience better.
- Companies can grow their audience. Depending on your social media campaign type, businesses can not only advertise their products. Their lead generation activities can include motivating potential clients to make reposts in exchange for discounts, participate in polls, write reviews, or join contests for prizes. Or, they can get some benefits or lead magnets for joining your mail list.
- Marketing teams can assess the relevance of their offer and correct it. Measuring its effectiveness is necessary when you launch a social media ad campaign. The number of comments, likes, and shares will show if your potential clients find this offer valuable and worth forwarding to friends and colleagues. Analyzing such factors as your banner's design, color schemes, and wording can improve your marketing strategies.
II. Content Marketing
Useful content is a decent way of generating leads. So, creating content for promotional purposes is known as the inbound marketing strategy. And when it goes about social media networks, content is gold. Your content strategy includes links to helpful blog posts, infographics with explanations or lists of core ideas, professional images, and relevant hashtags.
And interaction with your audience is also essential for digital lead generation. Obviously, your followers will thank you for your valuable posts with numerous likes. Still, sometimes social media users get so involved that they forget about tapping the "Like" button, so you can try to motivate them to do it.
However, you needn't ask for likes and remind subscribers about sharing straightforwardly, as such requests can irritate them. Instead, try alternative ways to engage your audience: humor, little surprises, or liking back.
III. Engaging Internet Users with Videos
For both B2C and B2B sectors promoting products and services through videos on various digital platforms has become a priority. That's because almost everyone likes catchy and exciting videos, so this content is vital for your social media marketing strategy. Moreover, it expresses ideas more clearly and often generates higher engagement and ROI than other social media content.
However, video content marketing requires investment as producing professional videos involves expenses. And in 2022, you can't save on the quality of your content because top social media platforms like YouTube are highly competitive and demanding. Bad sound, poor recording quality, one perspective, and unprofessional video editing aren't good for attracting and nurturing leads.
3) Using AI-Driven Tools for Finding Leads
With such a variety of communication channels, many businesses have successfully incorporated Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their tech stack. For example, Belkins, a B2B lead generation agency, uses several AI-driven platforms to generate leads for its customers.
AI-powered software can search for leads more effectively and much faster than any marketing or sales team specialist. Computer programs need only several parameters to start processing gigabytes of data on the internet.
But Artificial Intelligence is also a good helper in processing and structuring the information about your leads. You can obtain data from different touchpoints, that's why it can arrive in various formats, be missing, or be duplicated. Many marketing automation platforms can collect emails, craft messages, and send them to prospects. So, algorithms take on a routine but time-consuming part of business communications and free hours of work to marketing specialists and sales teams.
I. Improve Customer Journey with Insightful Data Analytics
It's vital to make each customer journey flawless if you want your business to flourish. And AI-based digital automation tools can deliver analytics that will improve every interaction between leads and your brand. That's because of getting a more detailed map of every buyer journey, fulfilling the hidden needs, identifying patterns and key trends in customers' behavior.
Your sales team can monitor client-related indicators like CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), average spend, customer churn, renewal rates, and other vital metrics with proper analytical tools in place. Collection and procession of buyers' feedback results in better customer relationship management, a more personalized experience, and higher customer satisfaction. This way, chances for a prospect to make a purchase and your revenues grow.
II. The Danger of Buying Business Leads
Sometimes marketers decide to save on buying software and buy contact bases created by someone else. But unless you hire a company specializing in researching high-quality leads for each client, don't buy business leads for your outreach campaigns. That's because the consequences can be devastating, for example:
- Your brand image can be affected. Though sellers can promise their list is new and consists of highly-relevant contacts, they can just lie or sell it to your competitors. Imagine how irritated a recipient can be with your company when your message is the tenth one offering a remote sales representative service.
- Your deliverability rate can drop. Purchased lists can be outdated or include emails that never existed. And once you send outreach campaigns to such addresses, mail servers return non-delivery notifications called bounces. As soon as your bounce rate reaches 2-5%, email providers can start landing your messages in spam boxes.
- Your domain name can get into blacklists. You can't check whether each contact from the list you buy wanted to get promotional emails. And often, these users have never agreed to receive your offers. So, such recipients can mark your emails as spam, which may eventually get your domain into blacklists. This way, your marketing efforts will be useless.
4) Leveraging the Authority of Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the mainstreams of online lead generation in 2022. Collaborations of brands and authoritative bloggers can motivate thousands of social media users to choose your product or company, among many others. And, since it's the influencer audience you want to engage with, it's vital to thoroughly think over the win-win solution before launching the digital communication.
Not every online influencer is a celebrity in the offline world. Still, these people boast hundreds of thousands of social media followers who listen to every word of their experts. The subscribers are ready to follow all influencers' recommendations, so influencer marketing is a super powerful tool for B2B online lead generation. And here are some steps on approaching such marketing and sales strategies.
- Define the goals of your campaign, its basic metrics, and consider the budget. Whether you plan to generate leads, nurture them, or grow revenues, think over the social media strategy that fits your business goals. Will this be regular short promotions, a one-time video conferencing session, or an Instagram lottery? Also, pick up the metrics to assess the success of your campaign.
- Create a plan, preliminary schedule, and conditions of your collaboration. Draft a plan and list the steps that will let you reach the targets. Choose the digital platform your buyer persona prefers and try to express your vision of what the ad campaign will look like. Later you'll correct it with the influencer and agree on the remuneration amount and payment terms.
- Decide on where and how to find the right influencer. Once your plan is put on paper, the challenge of finding the right influencer arises. Check the relevant hashtags, monitor industry-related accounts, and subscribe to popular podcast shows. You can also join groups dedicated to your niche and find bloggers who talk about similar products.
! Don't Expect Immediate Results
When you find an influencer, remember that it won't be an endorser who will advertise your product or service on social media for money. You won't be able to just buy B2B leads. Famous bloggers spent months building reputations and growing their audience. So they won't compromise their authority for money. That's why you need to thoroughly research opinion-makers and choose the one who promotes similar products and, ideally, shares your values.
And, like every marketing strategy, influencer marketing requires some time and effort to drive results. You can't expect hundreds of phone calls from your new leads the next day. That’s because this digital marketing strategy aims to grow trust in your products and brand gradually. Industry experts help your company get more leads without direct prospecting and appointment setting.
5) Generating Leads at Online Events
Conferences, trade shows, and business dinners have been an effective way to find and qualify leads. During the in-person communication with potential buyers or a demo session, a sales team can find out their problems, needs, preferences, tech stack, and available budgets. And after this interaction, each prospect takes its place in the sales funnel, and marketers start nurturing leads.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies switched to the online operation format and adjusted their sales strategies to the new digital reality. And these changes impacted marketing activities, sales processes, and, of course, lead generation. Sales managers and C-level executives could set appointments, present demos, or discuss industry trends during online events.
And digital format required fewer investments in each potential buyer. The decrease of the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) was possible due to cutting expenses on travel and accommodation. However, salespeople still lacked direct interaction with their prospects at online meetings and building stronger rapport.
But luckily, in 2022, companies can leverage the hybrid solution. Keeping the balance between offline and virtual events on preferred digital platforms helps optimize the flow of leads. Now marketing and sales experts can better manage lead generation during events and coordinate event marketing incentives.
Arranging an Online Event
Before selling your products to online event participants, you'll need to work hard. And here are some of the basic things to do as an event organizer.
Before the event:
During the event:
After the event:
6) Growing Your Brand Awareness with Voice and Local Search
Voice search has become extremely popular due to the growing number of voice assistants. So, now business owners need to optimize their websites and landing pages for Google Voice Search, Siri by Apple, Alexa by Amazon, and Cortana by Microsoft. The number of voice-enabled devices grows every year, and consumers only win from this voice technology adoption.
There are three types of voice search queries:
- Direct queries. In such searches, users usually instruct voice assistants to do something. This can be a command to call a restaurant to reserve a table for dinner or an order to call someone.
- Discovery queries. People use this kind of search request to check for local companies. You can use it to ask about the nearest car service or pizzeria.
- Knowledge queries. With this type of voice search, users research some specific information. This can be questions about historical facts of the local area.
You can optimize data about your company for perfect voice search performances. This is possible for all three types of search queries and different voice assistants.
How to Optimise for Local Voice Search
- Amazon Alexa. Alexa uses information and images of local businesses from Yelp and Yext. The directory and data management tool include basic details about cafes, restaurants, spas, gas stations, hairdressers, and nearby services.
- Apple Siri. This software retrieves data about local businesses from Apple Maps Connect. So, you'll need to add relevant information about your company on that platform. As for images and reviews, Siri uses those from Yelp and several similar platforms.
- Google Assistant. Adding information about your company to Google Assistant is the same as doing this on Google Maps or Google Search. So, this search ecosystem is straightforward and takes all the information and photos from Google My Business.
- Microsoft Cortana. Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox use Cortana. And this voice assistant gets data from the Bing Places directory, retrieving images and customer reviews from Yelp. Sometimes it also takes pictures from Trip Advisor.
7) Using Chatbots for Keeping Potential Buyers Engaged
Chatbots have become vital for many businesses as it's one of the critical components of their customer support services. And one of their main benefits is 24/7 availability. So, web page visitors can have minor issues quickly resolved with the AI-driven chatbots at any time of the day. But customer support isn't their single feature.
A chatbot is also a decent tool for lead generation as businesses can collect customer data, qualify leads, and nurture them with automated conversations. Having chatbots in place, companies can rarely miss a lead. Companies engage visitors with welcome messages by displaying discount opportunities, offering newsletter subscriptions, or proposing lead magnets in exchange for emails.
How to Set Up a Chatbot for Lead Generation
There are several steps you need to take to incorporate a lead-generating chatbot for your website:
- Set the goals you want to achieve with a chatbot. Keeping the global lead generation goal in mind, you need to split it into many sub-targets and define which metrics and indicators can assess the chatbot performance most effectively.
- Think over questions that will let you qualify prospects. You need to get the answers that will allow marketers to assess prospects. With the right questions, specialists can determine the sales pipeline stage your potential buyer is at now.
- Consider your chatbot tone of voice. Your brand's voice is vital, and the chatbot is one of the channels that speak for your company. So, the terminology and appeal should deliver the message, following the corporate guidelines.
- Set triggers and optimize the flow of chatbot users. Will your chat or window appear on the home page? Which text should it display? What should be the appeal of a user who visits your website for the second time or reads the description of the same product? Think thoroughly about trigger events and where to forward your leads after getting answers.
Lead generation is among the top priorities of every business. That's because a balanced pipeline guarantees continuous company operation and constant revenue inflow. But the tech stack and approaches for finding new prospects are constantly evolving.
So, marketers and salespeople need to monitor current trends in lead generation. In 2022, they will embrace email outreach, influencer marketing, voice search, event marketing, chatbots, online events, and social media.
Do you need to feel your sales pipeline with high-quality leads or set appointments with decision-makers? Book a call and Belkins professionals will help you!