What’s the biggest challenge for B2B marketing? We’re talking the holy grail for business owners: sales leads.  Everyone wants more leads.  Without leads, there is no contact, no client, no revenue, no business!  The truth is, gaining B2B leads isn’t easy, and it’s even harder when you don’t know where to start.

Chances are, you know how the process works.  You have already identified your audience, you might be blogging or using social media for your business (more than 80% of B2B marketers use social media in some form) and you’re on the right track. These tools are exactly what you want in your arsenal, but the key to lead generation is using those tools correctly.

  1. Use your social skills well

Social media may not directly be a source of leads, but it should still be an important part of your strategy. While businesses and their management aren’t necessarily directly coming to Facebook or LinkedIn to shop, people are on there and talking, so use it to your advantage! Use your social media to direct people to your website (preferably to pages that encourage visitors to sign up) and to encourage newsletter sign ups. LinkedIn is especially beneficial for B2Bs because it doesn’t just give your company traffic – it provides the right traffic. Actively use LinkedIn for professional connections in your industry that could generate leads – join groups and conversations, network, create content specified for your audience, and invest in some paid advertising.

  1. Content is king

It’s talked about a lot, but with good reason – I can’t say enough about how important a content marketing strategy is for putting your company’s name out there and gaining traffic, which generates leads. Our article on creating smart content goes more in depth on writing better content, but don’t stop there. Content isn’t just the written word – the key is to use several different types of content and distribution channels to make sure you’re reaching your audiences. Creating content could mean anything from making a short video or livestreaming an event you’re hosting, compiling an infographic, reaching out to former customers for reviews or case studies, distributing a funny meme, recording a podcast – the possibilities are endless. Experimenting with different forms will help you figure out what your audience is looking for and find solid tactics for lead generation.

  1. People love free stuff

I’m not talking about giving away tangible things here (though I wouldn’t say no to some company swag here and there)– I’m talking about giving away content for free (and by free, I mean the small price of an email sign up). Ebooks, webinars, workshops, guides, infographics, images, templates – there are many options for every industry, so create something free to entice website visitors and convert them to leads. The more valuable and relevant the content is to your audience, the more likely they will be willing to fork over some contact information in return.

  1. Measure your success

You can’t improve what you haven’t measured—it’s as simple as that.  Marketing is more of an art than a science, in that one strategy doesn’t work across the board. Sometimes you need to tweak things here and there until it comes out perfectly. Create reports and keep records of the metrics from your content and compare them when you tweak things to see what does better or worse.  Make sure to measure content consumption, sharing, lead generation, and sales metrics for a good look on how your content is performing.