There are a number of lead generation strategies available for b2b brands today, but it’s important to consider that all leads are not created equal.
While some lead generation strateigies can attract your ideal clients who provide repeat business, recommend you to colleagues, and always pay on time, the wrong lead gen strategy can attract unqualified buyers and clients that are difficult to deal with, draining your company and team of valuable resources.
So which lead generation strategy is right for your business?
The truth is that it depends on what products/services you sell. You have to consider who your primary target market is, how they normally interact with content & what influences their decision to buy should be factored in.
However, after working with brands in various industries and countries around the world, we’ve found that there are some lead generation strategies that work well in almost any industry and can most likely work for you as well.
Start with these 12 lead generation strategies and you’re sure to see a dramatic increase in engagement, exposure & sales for your business.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is perhaps the most effective lead generation strategy for b2b there is.
Research shows that businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
If you’re not currently utilizing it, you stand to see serious increases in ROI from implementing it in your marketing strategy.
Since most of the strategies in this post involve content marketing in one form or another, we thought this would be a great place to start.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing can be summarized as creating, publishing & promoting content to a target market that solves a problem they’re facing or teaches them something of value. It’s a mid-long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship by providing them high-quality content that is relevant & engaging on a regular basis.
While content marketing may seem like a new phenomenon, it’s actually been around for hundreds of years.
Here’s an example that John Deere tractors first published in 1897 called The Furrow to help customers with the issues they faced in farming and showing how their tractors could help solve those issues.
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, content marketing is one of the most effective investments you can make to generate leads for your business, not only now, but for years to come.
B2B content marketing can take on many shapes and forms, here are the more common ones:
Besides publishing content directly on your site, consider third-party platforms to reach new readers like Linkedin & Medium or reach out to brand and industries and pitch the idea of guest posting to gain access to their readership.
Why is Content Marketing So Effective?
Ask any marketer, the primary objective of b2b marketing is to generate leads that convert into sales.
Traditionally there have been two primary ways to do this, inbound and outbound marketing. If you’re not familiar, outbound marketing is things like cold calling, direct marketing, and door to door sales, all of which are based entirely on interruption.
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting prospects to your company via content and educating them on your services & areas of expertise before they are ready to buy.
Content marketing is the backbone of inbound marketing and has been shown to generate over three times as many leads as outbound marketing tactics like cold calling and direct mail while costing 62% less per lead.
Because content marketing is all about education and storytelling., both powerful tools in communication.
Hands down, content marketing is the most effective way at generating leads for your business, and Hubspot found that companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.
Quality Over Quantity
If you’re like most brands, you’ve probably used or at least considering using content marketing in your business.
It’s a wise choice because publishing content on your website frequently directly impacts the results of your SEO search traffic with the strongest results tied to the most frequent posts.
While it’s clear that publishing regularly can lead to more website traffic, it’s also important to note that your content needs to remain consistent to your brand tone & product/service offerings, otherwise it could end up attracting irrelevant visitors that have no interest or need for what you’re selling
If you can only create one quality blog post per month, it’s better to start with that and focus on quality. A good word count to aim for is 1,500-2,500 words. The longer and more helpful it is, the more visitors you will potentially reach.
Finding The Right Content for The Right Audience
How do you find out what type of content to create?
If your main objective is lead generation, start by researching your current clients and ideal customers. What type of content are they’re interested in? Which influencers do they look up to? What industry publications do they interact with? What do they need to know to get ahead in their career?
This is what’s known as a buyer persona, or a more specific profile of individual members of your target market.
If you know their needs, interests, desires & pain points, you can create a custom content strategy that actively works to solve their problems. Do that on a regular basis and they will definitely take notice.
When planning content for a b2b audience, be sure to factor in those who don’t make the final decision themselves but greatly influence the decision maker.
For example, the CEO may never download your eBook—but the Human Resources or Marketing Manager who does is likely to share what they learn with the rest of the team, if they think it’s valuable.
If your brand is putting out content that constantly provides value to visitors, it gives them a reason to keep coming back. It goes without saying that if your content is relevant to your products & services, you’re likely to attract visitors who can use the services you offer.
Take a minute to think about your website. What type of content are you currently offering visitors via your website or blog? Does it solve a problem or address a pain point of your target market?
What type of content would your ideal customers like to see? What can you teach them related to your product/service that they would they find valuable?
2. Social Media Marketing for B2B
In 2018, B2B brands can’t afford to ignore social media.
Social media usage has been increasing at an exponential rate over the past 10 years. It’s expected to reach 3 billion users across networks worldwide by 2021, that’s almost half of the entire world’s population!
While most B2B companies already have some sort of social media presence, the content is generally dry, uninspiring or boring, and leads to low engagement levels. This usually results in reduced brand activity on social media and ultimately missed opportunities.
It’s a nasty cycle, but you don’t have to get caught in it, take advantage of these common B2C approaches to stand out and be miles ahead of the competition:
Social Media as a Content Promotion Channel
Social media works well with content marketing because it offers you a cheap and reliable source to send traffic to your blog articles on your website and gain readership. Depending on the type of business you’re in, certain social media channels may be a better fit than others.
For example, if your goal is to share strategy driven articles related to your business, LinkedIn may be a better source than Facebook (more on that later).
If your business is more visual based you might want to consider using Instagram or interest. Or if you have lots of video content, YouTube is probably a better choice. We’ll discuss this more below.
Whether marketing to businesses or consumers, the key point here is people prefer a personal approach. Many times in B2B, making that human connection can make all the difference between the sale, so anything you can do to humanize your brand and content is advantageous.
Use Social Media As Your Customer Service
While not a lead generation strategy directly, using social media as an arm of your customer service department allows you a fast and public way to respond to client inquiries, remedy potential problems before they get out of hand, and show the human side of your company, all major challenges in traditional B2B marketing.
Prospects and customers alike expect a fast response to inquiries, and when paired with live chat on your website, email support, and phone-based customer service, you’ll offer people the chance to reach out & connect with you through their preferred method of contact.
Use Social Media To Monitor your Competitors
Competitor intelligence is an essential part of any good marketing campaign. It’s important to always be aware of your competition’s activities & interactions with customers, in the hopes of uncovering strategies and gaps that your brand can capitalize on.
By figuring out what works and what doesn’t though the actions of your competitors, you can save a tremendous amount of time and resources by only focusing on what’s been proven to work.
Utilize social media in multiple ways to promote your brand and interact with clients and prospects. Don’t be afraid to make your b2b brand stand out by adding a personal touch and humanizing it to form a deeper connection with your audience that nurture the sales process.
3. Teach Your Audience
Albert Einstein once said that “you don’t truly understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Even though your grandmother probably isn’t in your ideal target market, if anyone knows the in’s and outs of your business, it’s you and your team.
If you think people won’t be interested in your opinion you may be pleasantly surprised, no matter which industry you’re in, there are always people in need of professional advice from someone who’s lived and experienced it first hand.
Let’s face it, you can provide valuable insights into key areas of your business, such as recruitment, current trends or common challenges & solutions to problems you routinely experience. You can literally save people years of their time and large amounts of money by contributing your knowledge through education. Now that’s value.
There are a number of ways to go about doing this, here are a few:
- Teaching a class, seminar, or workshop
- Creating a video course
- Recording a webinar
- Writing a detailed series of blog posts
- Creating a whitepaper or how to guide
- Live streaming on YouTube
- Recording a weekly podcast
Why is teaching good for businesses?
Teachers are one of the primary authority figures in society, along with doctors, police officers, government officials, and celebrities.
People listen to authority figures because they feel that they have the experience, knowledge and wisdom to be worthy of respect. Generally speaking, people take the statements of an authority figure as reasonable, beneficial, and true.
Think about the last time you were in a class or listened to a guest speaker. Did you question every statement the teacher was saying? Probably not. We tend to accept what they say as true and that assume they know what they’re talking about.
How does teaching generate leads?
It will come as no surprise that teaching business-related content tends to attract professional people, especially seminars, workshops, and paid courses.
Many of your students will invariably be decision makers in their respective businesses, which can lead to a host of new opportunities, either directly with the students themselves or through word of mouth recommendations & referrals to their colleagues, coworkers and friends.
By teaching your audience about aspects of your business they find useful, you’re tapping into the power of authority and credibility while at the same time positioning yourself as an expert in your industry.
Sharing your knowledge gained from years of experience in your industry not only helps out fellow professionals but also builds your brand in the process.
4. Form Strategic Brand Partnerships
It’s pretty common for b2b businesses to share the same target audience without selling directly competing for services. In many cases, these services can actually compliment one another quite nicely.
Have you ever considered teaming up with these businesses to tap into their customer base and pitch them your services?
What are the Benefits of Strategic Partnerships?
- New Leads:
- New Exposure
- New Opportunities
Who to team up with?
Strategic partnerships can be quite lucrative when done correctly, but obviously, you don’t’ want to team up with just any brand.
Although a company may share the same audience, if your product/services aren’t’ connected in some way it won’t make sense and sales will be harder to come by. On the flip side, finding a company that has a service offering that truly matches your service offering along with an existing client base can accelerate sales for both organizations quickly.
For example, if you’re an app development company who specializes in android and ios apps for real estate and hotel bookings, partnering with a marketing agency who specializes in real estate or hotel marketing could be a lucrative venture.
Form strategic partnerships with companies that offer complementary services to the same target market. Cross promote services with promotions and exclusive discounts to accelerate sales for both organizations quickly.
5. Youtube Marketing
Did you know the brain processes video 60,000 times faster than text?
Another form of strategic content marketing, video marketing may be the most powerful of them all.
Not only is it easier on our brains to process video, but according to research published in 2015, 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product or service features than read about it.
Think about that for a moment. If you add video to your sales page, you have the potential to increase your conversion rate by 4x or higher, providing the video is well made and effective at selling your service.
That’s pretty major, and it makes sense because Google found that almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before ever contacting a salesperson or visiting a store.
In other words, people like to do their own research and video provides them with the fastest and least mentally taxing method to take in new content.
What are the Best Types of Video for B2B Marketing?
There are a number of video formats that B2B marketers find success with. Depending on your industry and product/service, you might find that some are a better fit than others. Whenever possible it’s best to have a strategic mix of styles, lengths, and content to keep things varied and engaging for your viewers, here are some of our favorites:
Live & Recorded Webinars
Tying in nicely with our teaching strategy above, a webinar is a live interactive session where viewers can ask questions, take part in surveys and download content. Due to their interactive nature and set time, webinars are often among one of the most engaging forms of video marketing available..
Instructional / How To Video
How-to videos are especially effective for visual learners who prefer seeing it demonstrated in step-by-step fashion.
Keeping the principles of content marketing in mind, showing people how to do something that will help them solve a problem or highlight an issue they hadn’t thought of are good ways to provide value.
For example, a security company that specializes in business protection services could create a video on 5 of the most common ways thieves break into a business and how to prevent it. While a light pitch or call to action at the end of the video are recommended for lead generation, a direct promotion probably isn’t your best route here
What are the most common objections you hear from customers and potential customers?
If you have a f.a.q. page on your website that is well written and addresses these common objections, consider turning them into a short q&a video with your ceo or team members. The casual exploration of common objections relating to your product or services is compelling for viewers and helps them better understand the features and benefits you offer.
Client Testimonials/Case Study Videos
Testimonials & case studies are among the most powerful strategies in marketing available, as they’re deeply connected with the ancient art of storytelling. These types of content communicate the true value of your solution while allowing the prospect to hear directly from the customer themselves, a powerful & authentic marketing message.
By creating a video that highlights your client’s success, you’re truly demonstrating your expertise and making a strong case for why people should work with you instead of the competition. Why not leverage them in your video strategy?
Showcase Your Brand Videos
Red flags like cheesy stock photos, outdated website information, and infrequent social media updates can set off alarms that make people question the legitimacy of your business. This is why design and branding play such a major role in communicating your company’s value and authenticity.
Creating videos that showcase your actions as a real company go a long way to establishing trust and credibility with your audience. Highlighting company events, outings, conferences, the team at work are all excellent opportunities to showcase that your brand is real and committed to helping your clients.
By utilizing a mix of the video formats above, this strategy can attain major results for your company by generating new leads and increasing your website traffic. If you’re not yet producing videos consider getting started and see how effective they can be for your business.
6. Invest in Influencers
94% of marketers surveyed reported that influencer marketing was effective in marketing their brand.
If you have the budget, utilizing partnerships with influencers can be an incredibly lucrative opportunity for almost any business. There are a number of ways to go about incorporating influencers in your strategy, but let’s start with the basics.
What is influencer marketing?
The concept of influencer marketing may seem relatively new since we tend to associate the term with Instagram and Youtube stars who promote your products on a paid post basis, but influencers have been around for a very long time, known by another alias, endorsements.
Whether Michael Jordan and Haynes, Tiger Woods and Nike, or Michael Jackson and Pepsi, influencer endorsements, are incredibly effective at transferring authority and credibility to the products they promote.
If you have the budget, using celebrities to promote your brand can be an effective way to bring results. After all, they are already known and trusted, will lend instant credibility to your brand, and their stardom means that you will reach a large audience in a variety of demographics.
Problems with Celebrity Influencer Marketing
Celebrity influencers can obviously bring a lot of credibility and attention to your brand, but there are also a few problems.
First, it’s usually obvious to consumers that these celebrities are getting paid to pitch products or services. This is especially apparent when the endorsement doesn’t makes logical sense. For example, a basketball player promoting logistics might generate some buzz but it won’t drive sales the way a basketball player promoting a basketball shoe would. It all comes back to authority and being an expert on the topic.
Second, it’s expensive. No major celebrity is going to sit down at the table without a substantial offer. In many cases, the cost of this partnership can exceed sales, making it a losing venture.
Third, the demographics of the celebrity audience are likely a varied mix of people with a large portion who would not have a use for or understand your services.
So how can you get the same credibility and exposure for your brand without paying ridiculously high rates to celebrities?
The answer is micro-influencers.
Who are micro-influencers & Why Should You Invest in Them?
Micro influencers are defined as people who have between 1k and 100k followers on social media. They are typically focused in one main niche and have a loyal following of engaged readers.
Essentially they are smaller scale celebrities. And that means they are not only more than willing to promote your product or service to their audience on a paid post basis., they are also much more affordable.
Source: Sidney Pierucci
A) More Cost Effective
The primary reason is that’s it’s cost effective. Take a look at the average cost per platform for sponsored micro-influencer posts:
B) Higher Engagement Rates:
Research shows the following for influencer engagement rates across social media platforms, as you can see a larger account actually experience less engagement.
- Influencers with 1,000 – 4,000 followers = 4.5% Engagement Rate
- Influencers with 4,000 – 100,000 followers = 2.4% Engagement Rate
- Influencers with 100,000+ followers = 1.7% Engagement Rate
The same research also found that micro-influencers have up to 22x more buying conversations with their followers than celebrities do, which results in higher sales revenue.
C) More Precise Targeting
While it’s unlikely to find a celebrities who’s branded themselves in the exact same niche industry you have, you may be able to find a micro-influencer who is part of your target market or appeals to your target market.
To find influencers who are a good fit for your business, use a website like Klear. The system analyzes 500 million+ profiles across 60k different categories from the past five years. It allows you to narrow down your search by network, such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or blogs.
Partner with micro-influencers to get more exposure, engagement and sales for your company. Find someone who is a good fit and reach out to start the conversation. Instagram, twitter, Facebook, and Youtube are great places to find these influencers, but be sure to check their comment and post likes to make sure they are getting actual engagement.
7. Google Adwords Advertising
If you have the ad budget, Google Adwords is perhaps the best way to reach buyers who are qualified for the products and services you sell There are two main types of advertising on Google Adwords, display and search. We’ll be looking solely at search as it’s the most effective in converting into sales.
What is Google Adwords & How Does It Work?
If you’re not familiar with Google Adwords, it’s essentially ppc advertising for google search, which lets you reach people through targeting different keywords and phrases.
Pay per click (PPC) advertising is unique from many other advertising models like tv, radio, or even print, because you’re not paying for the views or the airtime, but rather you’re only paying when someone clicks your ad.
No clicks and you don’t pay. Simple as that.
But that’s not the only benefit…
Why Google Adwords is so Powerful in Increasing Sales
When people use Google, they’re searching for something specific, which means they have an intent.
Whether that intent is research a new product they’re considering buying, learning about a topic they’re interested in, or finding out specific information like what movies are playing in the next hour or the best beach to visit in Thailand for snorkeling, every search starts with intent.
This is useful in B2B as most searches generally happen in three main stages, in what’s known as a “buyer’s journey” that looks something like the following:
Source: Crazy Egg
By targeting keywords and considering search intent, you can create a content strategy that truly custom tailored to your customer along every stage of the buyer’s journey.
While google adwords may be more expensive than other advertising options, if you have a funnel that converts in can be incredibly lucrative in a short period of time, as all tactics are scale-able.
If you need help creating a strategy and running an adwords campaign for your business, we can help you set up execute and optimize your campaign to generate the maximum roi possible, get in touch.
8. Linkedin Lead Generation
Linkedin is the gold standard in lead generation.
We briefly discussed Linkedin earlier in the social media section, but it deserves it’s own section for how powerful and effective it can be as a lead generation tool for B2B.
There are a number of ways to use Linkedin for your business, however in this section however we want to focus on lead generation and how you can use LinkedIn’s native search features to find highly targeted leads for your business on a regular basis.
How to Use “Advanced Search” on Linkedin to Generate Leads:
Step 1) Sign up for Sales Navigator Free Trial
While you can do some of the things below with a free Linkedin account, we recommend signing up for the 30 day free trial of Sales Navigator to get full access to the search features, which allow you to search by job title, seniority level, location,past companies, recent job changes and other valuable insights.
Once you’ve signed up for the sales navigator trial, you will then have full access to LinkedIn’s powerful advanced search feature, which is pictured below:
Step 2) Search for Your Ideal Prospects
Now you’re ready to search for people who are decision makers and likely to be interested in your business services and products. Before you begin the search, take a moment to think about your favorite customers and what commonalities, traits and features they share?
Perhaps they all worked for a fortune 500 company at some point, or underwent training at a prestigious mba program, you can use LinkedIn’s powerful search features to come up with creative targeting combinations and uncover as many of your ideal customers as you can.
Here are just a few of the ways you can narrow the search:
- Job Title (past/present)
- Company (past/present)
- Experience Level
- School Attended
- Company Size
- Job Skills
Once you’re ready to start the search, click on the “save search” button in the upper right hand corner, this will allow you to apply your “sales preference” for future searches, a good way to save time when modifying your original search.
Step 3) Save Leads & Connect With Prospects
After you’ve found your ideal prospects, you can save them as leads for future marketing purposes or reach out and connect with them right now. To dramatically increase your acceptance rate, avoid sending the standard LinkedIn connection request, but rather include a short message on what your purpose is for connecting.
Once you save your searches, you’ll receive a weekly email update from LinkedIn that includes any new LinkedIn members that meet your search criteria, as well as any LinkedIn member who recently updated their profile.
This is a great way to stay on top of new prospect opportunities without having to constantly repeat the same search efforts. Keep in mind that when your free trial ends LinkedIn will delete any leads you’ve saved so it’s best to export this data or simply connect with your prospects instead.
LinkedIn is the ideal place to uncover new sales prospects for your business.
The advanced search feature in Sales Navigator can help you generate new leads for your business and uncover opportunities to connect with people that could truly benefit from your products and services.
9. Email Marketing
Did you know that ‘Email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter?
If you’re not currently utilizing email in your b2b marketing strategy, you could drastically increase your website traffic, content shares, conversions, and sales, simply by starting now. But with more email messages landing in our inboxes than ever before, it’s not enough just to start sending out emails, you need to make sure the messages actually get opened and read.
Email marketing is a complex subject and we’re not covering it in full detail in this post, but here are 3 tips to get you started in developing a profitable email strategy:
Tip #1 — Build Your List
Use email opt-ins at strategic areas to grow your subscriber base. Be sure to let people know what they’ll get in exchange for providing their email and that you won’t spam or sell their data to any third parties.
Keep your optin form as basic as possible to increase the likelihood of conversion. Many times a name and email field is your best bet.
Tip #2 — Get Specific with Segmenting
Segment your email campaigns by creating different email flows to target different markets and objectives.
If you’re not familiar an email flow is a series of emails that you send to a prospect over a period of time with an objective of informing them of your products or sending them to a landing page to buy.
For example, if someone just signed up for your newsletter, they are most likely new to your brand and could benefit from links to your most useful or popular content in the form of a series of emails. If someone is deeper in your sales funnels they probably want to know more about case studies, white papers, and product features.
Or If you’re targeting existing customers, they would probably prefer special discounts, exclusive offers, or updates on your product/service features.
Tip #3. — Nurture Your Leads
Email flows are part of a bigger lead nurture campaign that can involve as many emails as you want to send your prospective client on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. These emails are an effective way for companies to keep prospects interested in their brand and stay top of mind without constantly pushing the direct sell.
Email marketing is versatile. It allows you to push a new sales offer or promotion out to prospects or develop long lasting, multi-faceted lead nurturing campaigns that are designed to build client relationships by delivering value consistently over time.
How can you utilize email marketing in your business?
10. Publish A Book
Much like teaching a class, publishing a book cements your position as an expert in your industry. After all, you’ve literally “written a book on the subject”. Here’s just a few of the ways that publishing a book can be such a powerful element in your marketing strategy, especially for B2B Brands:
Positions you as an authority in your industry:
Writing a book cements your position as an expert in your industry.
Instantly gives you credibility:
Credibility in essential when selling high ticket products and services to business decision-makers. Being published instantly makes you more credible.
Accelerates trust with prospects & clients:
Becoming a published author instantly awards a level of trust and recognition as a trusted resource in your niche.
Substantial PR & Media Attention:
Becoming an author is one of the best ways to get free publicity and can result in high-profile interviews and media opportunities.
Industry experts and authors are constantly invited and even paid to speak at business engagements.
Writing a book may seem like a pretty major undertaking, and to be fair it is, but if you have dedicated resources the process can be a lot faster than many people realize.
Even though it’s a major commitment on your part, the ultimate payoff can definitely justify the effort, especially for B2B brands looking to stand out in a crowded market.
11. Speaking Engagements
Have you ever spoken at a conference or seminar on behalf of your brand?
Speaking engagements, much like teaching and publishing a book are an excellent way to establish you as an authority in your niche. While not all conferences will generate leads and inquiries, the more speaking you do the more invitations you’ll receive, which add up significantly over time.
What are the benefits of speaking at conferences?
Generate Leads & Sales:
The obvious benefit is that speaking helps you generate lead inquiries and sales.
By giving a good speech and showing that you and your company have experience, you’ll naturally attract people who want to do business with you.
Other than the potential sales, the other huge benefit is branding and exposure. Just like content marketing can expose you to new audiences, so can conferences.
Trust & Credibility:
Being invited to speak at a niche specific event tells the audience that you know what you’re doing and that you would be a good source to turn to as a potential service partner.
What kind of events should you attend?
Industry-based conferences are a great place to start and may convert well if you’ve never had a presence before.
You will generate sales but you’ll notice that these types of events will get less and less effective as more and more of your competitors start showing up there. A better option is to seek out speaking opportunities in industries outside of you and your immediate competitors.
For example, If you’re a marketing agency, speaking at a marketing conference won’t generate as many leads as if you spoke at a real estate conference on marketing in real estate.
Speaking at events is well worth your time, effort and resources as a b2b brand.
While it may not be as effective as content marketing, you’ll find new opportunities that might not have presented themselves through other channels. Seek events outside of your industry and give personalized industry talks for maximum lead generation effectiveness.
12. Create or Revise Your Referral Program
Referrals are powerful sales motivators for b2b brands.
When it comes to business leaders, they have to be sure that they’re making the right decision. In fact, a study by Heinz Marketing found that 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral.
On the same token, a Neilsen study found that 92 % of consumers trust reviews and recommendations from people they know, and are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
Clearly creating a referral program is a great low-cost way to generate highly qualified leads that more often than not convert into clients.
But there’s a catch.
Any old referral program won’t cut it.
In a study published by Texas Tech University, 83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience—yet only 29% actually do.
Why? Most likely the referral program wasn’t considering these 3 key factors.
3 Keys to a Referral Program That Generates Results
The goal is to create a referral program that resonates with what your customers care about and avoids what they don’t.
A good referral program is usually best designed by a marketing team that understands your business and client base and verified with the legal team to ensure everything is above the board.
When designing a referral program there are many elements to consider, but here the 3 of the main ones:
Clients are busy if you want them to bring you leads you have to offer them something to make it worth their while.
You might think that a cash incentive would be the strongest way to do this, but a study by the University of Chicago actually found that cash incentives were 24% less effective than non cash-based incentives.
Consider offering alternative incentives such as discounts, vouchers for business service or loyalty program style rewards like free hotel stays, meals, and gifts.
One of the biggest mistakes b2b brands can make outside of not asking for the referral, is asking for the referral at the wrong time.
Depending on your incentives, offering the referral program at key points during your sales process can result in much higher conversion rates versus no set strategy.
For example, if you offer 10% off your client’s invoice if they refer someone that buys, a great time to ask would be when you’re sending that month’s invoice. Likewise after key project milestones when your clients are pleased with your service can be great times to pitch the program.
Bonus tip, include a link to your referral program in your email signature to subtly market your program everytime you send a message.
Ensuring your program is clear and easy to follow is essential. Dedicate a page on your website to explaining the program details and how it works.
Be sure to include frequently asked questions or questions that you think your customers would have right on the page itself.
If there is a minimum requirement or other criteria required to be eligible for the rewards, be sure to make that information immediately clear.
Otherwise, you could risk aggravating customers who have gone to the trouble to recommend you but that doesn’t meet the requirements for the reward.
Utilize strategic referral programs to grow your business from your existing client base.
It’s always helpful to study what your competitors are doing, but consider looking outside of your industry for inspiration and you’ll likely have a more unique referral experience than others in your industry.
Hopefully you found these 12 strategies useful and can incorporate some or all of them into your lead generation campaigns.