B2B Lead Generation – Sprint or Marathon?

Neil HartleyLead GenerationLeave a Comment

B2B lead generation - sprint or marathon

Building a content marketing engine for the long term is the right thing to do for your B2B tech company. Regularly producing content (blog posts, webinars, white papers etc.) adds significant value to your business including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Search engine ranking – producing content regularly is really the only way to help you rank for the keywords relevant to you and your prospects.
  • A pulse – when prospects visit your site they want to see signs of life. Likely they’re looking for a technology partner for the long term and fresh (relevant) content is a vital sign of life.
  • Thought leadership – if you have got something to say and can take a position that is respected within your community then the persuasion principle of ‘Authority’ can come into play, meaning your thought leadership can become a short cut in your prospect’s decision making.
  • Lead magnets – simply producing content will yield more inventory that can be used as lead magnets (offered as an exchange for a visitor’s contact details). Without a productive content marketing engine, thinking of what to use as a lead magnet can be difficult.

As we discussed in one of our recent posts, this content marketing engine takes investment, requires persistence, and will take time to deliver results (probably 6-9 months at a cadence of one item per week).

If you’re reading this in urgent need of leads for your business, then the prospect of investing in the production of content for 6-9 months before you see results is not very encouraging. That’s why we developed the concept of a Sprint (as opposed to the ‘marathon’ that is content marketing).

Before explaining the Sprint, we should point out that you should do both, largely because content marketing provides longer term benefits (some of which are listed above) beyond the short term leads generated by a Sprint.

While content marketing deliver leads in the long term from search engine rankings (i.e. organic search results) it’s not ‘free’. Producing all that content has a cost.

The Sprint relies on paid advertising to produce short term leads and has two broad applications:

  1. You just need leads. The right sort of leads, of course, but just generate leads!
  2. Maybe you’ve had success in one target market and you’re ready to explore another? A Sprint can be a good way to explore those new sectors.

What kind of paid advertising?

This chart is explained in detail in our first post on B2B digital marketing so I won’t repeat it here. But, essentially you’re looking for a paid ad platform where your prospects are 1) actively looking for a solution to their problem and, 2) where you can best target them. In our experience, at least for B2B software companies, Google Ads and Capterra (now Gartner Markets) best meet those requirements.

The Sprint then requires a solid investment in paid ads/listings to generate the leads you need.

Critical to success in the Sprint is consistency from the search term, to the ad/listing, to the landing page your prospect is taken to on clicking the ad. If they’re searching for X, the ad should be about X and the landing page should discuss how you solve for X and offer a lead magnet relevant to X. You’d be amazed at how many companies pay for ads and then take the click to their home page.

If you offer solutions to Y as well as X, then make sure you segment your campaigns appropriately, either through the ad source/creative or through some form of visitor self-selection on the landing page.

The Sprint can run for as long as you need it but 1-3 months is a good starting point. Making sure you can attribute leads to a source and developing an analytical understanding of the Sprint not only enables you to optimise your spend but provides you a solid ROI basis from which to continue investing in those parts of the Sprint that provide the best return.

So, if you need leads for your business and want to see results quickly, please contact us to see how we can provide a done-for-you Sprint at a single price point covering development of all aspects of setup, content development and ad spend.

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