It’s crucial for marketers nowadays to adopt multichannel strategies and be where their customers are. However, not all lead generation channels are created equally, and businesses need to focus on what works specifically for them to increase efficiency and maximize returns.
Every business has specific dynamics and unique requirements in terms of their sales and marketing processes. In reality, you can’t just duplicate a strategy that works for another brand in a similar context because there will always be slight differences in the way they operate. That being said, there are certain channels that have proven to work in specific circumstances.
Here are the top B2B lead generation channels and what these channels can best be used for:
#1 Email Marketing
In a 2016 survey, almost 90% of B2B marketers claimed that email marketing was the top lead generation channel. A year later, email is still king.
According to a 2017 Chief Marketer survey, email is still the top channel that drives both leads and revenue for B2B marketers, which is why B2B businesses rely on email communications as their key marketing strategy. And why not?
Virtually every professional your B2B business is targeting has a work email that they check daily, if not several times a day. Most importantly, it’s cost-effective. On a per-lead basis, email beats other digital platforms in terms of return on investment (ROI). This makes email an effective channel for pretty much any business operating in a B2B context.
As a B2B company, one of your ultimate goals is to be found on the first page of search engines for targeted keywords. Once you start building a reputation on search engines, more prospects will be able to find you when they’re looking for products and services related to your offering.
According to a recent survey, organic search is the top lead generation channel for 70% of B2B marketers while paid search strategies pay off for 54% of B2B marketers. With search engines being such a big part of online presence, organic search is a channel that no brand can afford to neglect.
#3 Social Media
Social media is one of the fastest growing marketing channels for B2B businesses. In fact, approximately 87% of B2B marketers today use social media to generate leads.
LinkedIn is the top social network for B2B companies, where 44% of marketers get qualified leads. 39% are on Facebook while 30% are on Twitter to get leads and grow their audience.
Social media marketing works to grow connections, cultivate relationships, build a positive brand image, and of course, generate qualified leads. However, brands should only choose to invest heavily in social media marketing if they know for a fact that their audiences are present and active on these platforms.
#4 Content Marketing
It’s extremely rare to find a credible, reputable business nowadays that doesn’t implement some form of content marketing. Any B2B business would benefit significantly from using content to establish their brand as an authority in their niche or industry.
For more than half of B2B marketers in this report, whitepapers are the content type that performs best in terms of lead generation, with webinars closely following suit.
By consistently publishing valuable and educational content, you can build strong relationships with prospects and establish trust with your audience. A common way to achieve this is to build your business blog to provide your target consumers the information they need, nurturing them towards keeping your brand top-of-mind when they’re ready to make a purchase decision.
#5 Word of Mouth / Referral Marketing
A referral is priceless for B2B businesses, and many companies and startups are incredibly successful when it comes to word of mouth or referral strategies.
People tend talk about the products and services they use, which is why you should ensure that all your clients are happy with your brand. If you do a good job, word will get around about how awesome you are, and your customers will personally refer you to their friends, peers, and connections.
A 2016 study revealed that word of mouth has a huge impact on revenue for B2B businesses. It’s an age-old channel that should never be taken for granted. It may not generate as many leads as quickly as other digital channels, but if you have a relatively long sales process and/or a relatively high-value product, it’ll always pay off in spades.
So, what channel should you be using?
In this highly competitive business landscape, it’s important for B2B marketers to be visible in multiple channels that are integrated through an omnichannel strategy. There’s no one-size fits all, but the aforementioned marketing channels have proven to work tremendously for most B2B companies.
However, it’s crucial for each business to test, measure, analyze, and refine their strategies according to the results they’re getting. If there’s a specific channel that’s getting you more qualified leads, then you should increase the resources spent on that channel to maximize your ROI.
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