From the Carolinas to the Southwest, Deep South to New York, the subject of barbecue is a touchy one. Some insist it needs to be slathered in a tomato-based sauce that ranges in flavor from sinfully sweet to OH MY GOD SOMEBODY PLEASE PASS THE BEER. Others opt for a mustard-based sauce with varying degrees of brown-sugary goodness and vinegar-y tanginess. Arguments over these differences have started fistfights and ended up in family feuds lasting more than a century.
B2B generation online is much the same, only without the generational feuding. Some insist that it's a completely different dish than B2C marketing, and none of those concepts apply. Others are sure that the differences are minimal, and most of the strategies that work with consumers are good for online lead generation among business buyers, too.
What's the secret sauce for yummy, satisfying B2B online lead generation? Well, this one isn't passed down through the generations, because this online stuff is still rather new. But it's working for some of the most promising startups, as well as many of the global enterprises that we all want to be like when we grow up. So here goes ...
3 Parts Organic Search
You can bring 'em in with blogs, PPC ads, through social media, or with good ol' fashioned SEO practices, but nothing beats leads generated through organic search. Try as you may, even the most skilled pit masters are hard pressed to smoke up a converted buyer out of nothing but a stray marketing email.
Go after the ones already searching for you, only widen the net a bit. Once you're ranking well for your highly relevant key terms, continue to produce SEO that targets increasingly less popular or less directly-relevant key terms. Whether it's a picnic ham or a Boston butt, it's all just pork, and pork is pork, so get it in the smoker however you can.
2 Parts Social Follows
"Ah!" you say. "But social follows don't translate into paying customers!" This is true. It's also true that nobody was a loyal fan of Herman's Ribhouse until they stumbled in there and placed an order. First, social follows give you instant access to your leads. You can message them, shout out to them, or simply let them sit back and gobble up your delicious content. Second, while it isn't a 100% chance that they'll see all of your luscious lead generation content, connecting with them on social significantly increases the chances that they'll be exposed to a healthy portion of it. You simply can't get it right with online lead generation if you aren't going whole hog with social.
1 Part Lead Capture
What do you get when you mix up all that powerful SEO and social connections? Lead capture. Obviously, if you're going to capture lead info from the get-go, your menu has to look absolutely mouthwatering. If you're not promising the best ribs this side of Austin, there's no need to ask for their phone number. There are several ways to lead capture once you get visitors to your site with spectacular SEO.
Sure, you can block the whole blasted page with a plea for the visitors to pretty-please-give-me-your-email. But 99% of the time that either makes 'em mad enough to back out of your site, or annoys them just enough to X out the ad and gobble up your content without leaving a tip. Be cool about it. Keep a friendly option to subscribe or opt into your emails scrolling across the bottom of the screen, out of the way. If they like the menu they see, they just might place an order by offering up their email while digesting the meal.
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