Everybody wants more leads.
So, how do you actually get them?
Great question. There are, essentially, two main levers you can pull to increase your lead flow. You can reach more people with your message (i.e. traffic generation), or you can increase the rate at which people who hear your message become contacts (i.e. conversion optimization). Both of these things are important.
If you’re not reaching enough people, you won’t get any leads. Let’s say, for example, that only 50 people visit your website each month. If you have an average-ish conversion rate of 1-2%, you’ll bring in maybe one lead each month. If you have a conversion issue, on the other hand, and you’re only converting .01% of traffic that reaches your site, you’d need to drive 10,000 visitors each month to get a conversion. If you’re serving a niche audience, well, good luck making that happen.
Don’t worry, though: Assuming your business model is solid, you can solve traffic or conversion issues, and many of the fixes for these issues aren’t overly complex. Here are five tactics you can implement this month in your B2B tech marketing to improve your lead generation.
Traffic Generation Tactics
Let’s start with traffic generation tactics, because 80% of the time, if you’re not driving leads with your B2B tech marketing, you have a traffic problem. If your site receives fewer than 1,000 visitors each month, the issue in your lead funnel is that not enough people are hearing your message.
Here are three tactics to help.
1. Create a pillar page for your most impactful keyword.
The idea of “pillar pages” was coined a few years ago by HubSpot in response to a developing SEO trend: the increasing word count of pages that ranked high in search engines. In the old days (meaning the early 2000s), if you wanted to rank for the term “B2B marketing,” writing a quick, 500-word post on the topic stood a good chance of getting you there. Today, there are thousands or millions or billions or more pages of results for nearly any keyword on any search you run. To stand out, you need to put effort in.
A pillar page is a way to stand out.
Pillar pages require two traits to merit their title. First, they must compile a lot of information around a keyword. In other words, if you’re not writing 2,000 words about a topic, you’re probably not writing a pillar page. Second – and most importantly – pillar pages must be supported by internal links from relevant pages. If your goal is to rank for the keyword “IT ticketing software,” there should be at least 10 pages on your site that have something to do with that topic and are linking to your pillar page. Usually, your pillar page will link back out to them, too.
Practically, pillar pages take a few forms:
- Resource Pillar Pages: This kind of page is a collection of relevant resources from third-party sources around a single term. Here’s one we created for B2B tech marketing (a term we currently rank ~4th for in the US).
- 10x Content Pillar Pages: This kind of pillar page takes all of the content you’ve created around a topic and compiles it onto a page. This approach leads to pages titled “The Complete Guide to X.”
- Product or Service Pillar Pages: This kind of pillar page outlines your product or service in detail. It’s best for low-funnel searches – people who are basically searching to buy – which is great, but, honestly, it’s often the hardest type of page to rank.
(Word of advice: If you want more on this topic, Content Marketing Institute’s piece on these three types of pillar pages is really helpful.)
Creating a pillar page is a great tactic to rank for a keyword – but, to be effective at driving leads, your pillar page has to be targeted toward the right keyword. This will take a bit of research.
Go to Google Keyword Planner and find keywords that are relevant to your offering. There are three factors to balance here:
- The search volume of each keyword (how many people search it each month)
- The competition around each keyword (how hard it will be to rank for)
- The correlation between a keyword and buying interest (how likely it is that people who search the keyword and click your result will become leads)
As you weigh your potential keyword targets, it’s helpful to consider this: The first place ranking for a term will receive, at most, about 30% of clicks. So, if there are 300 searches for a keyword, the maximum amount of traffic it’ll drive you each month is about 30 users. So, I’d recommend focusing on keywords that have at least 1,000 searches per month. If you know that your conversion rate is very high, though, you may choose something with less traffic.
One final note on this tactic: It is not a quick fix. Create your pillar page and monitor it for six months. You might rank sooner, but you shouldn’t expect to.
2. Run search ads to a one-page funnel.
This approach, on the other hand, will start driving traffic tomorrow.
I wrote an entire post about the one-page marketing funnel; you can find it here. Here’s the gist: Paid search ads are a way for you to skip the queue of SEO results and generate traffic without working to rank organically. This can be worth it – in fact, if you do it well, it usually is. The key is in making sure you do it well.
3. Buy a list of prospects and email them.
Should you buy an email list? I used to think that the answer was “Absolutely not ever.” Now, though, I think the answer is “Definitely. Sometimes.”
If you’re targeting a niche audience – or simply a very specific audience – then buying a list of ideal prospects can be a helpful way to get some traffic to your site. You’ll want to narrowly refine your list parameters to focus on ideal prospects. Then, engage them with a drip campaign. Send them 5+ targeted, personalized emails over a several-week span, and monitor the conversion on your site from the campaign. (For more on the structure of the drip, read this.) Use a high-quality vendor like Discover Org for this.
In most cases this is a difficult traffic generation technique to sustain in the long-term, but, depending on your circumstances, it is repeatable, and it does work.
Conversion Optimization Tactics
I’ve given you three traffic generation tactics. Now, let’s turn to conversion optimization.
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t pay too much attention to your conversion rate until you get to a certain threshold of traffic. If you’re only driving 100 users a month, you just don’t have enough data to understand your conversion rate. I recommend looking at 1,000+ users before you draw any conclusions. If you need to expand your timeframe to look at 1,000 users (say, by looking at three months instead of one), you probably have a traffic problem, not a conversion problem.
If you’re getting 1,000+ visitors to your site each month but you still aren’t consistently driving leads, then you do have a conversion problem. In general, you should convert at least 2% of all site visitors into contacts. If you’re really good, you’ll convert 5% of visitors. If you’re great, you’ll convert 10%. If you are literally on fire and a wizard, you’ll convert 12% or more.
If you’re struggling with this, here are a couple of simple tactics to help fix it. (There are more advanced tactics, too, but these are a good start.)
4. Optimize your 10 most-viewed pages.
Go to Google Analytics and pull up the Landing Pages report for the past three months. Analyze each page for conversion issues.
Some of your most-landed-on pages might not even have clear conversion points; maybe you wrote a blog article three years ago and didn’t put any calls-to-action (CTAs) in it, so users are just getting to the end of the page, hitting the back button, and leaving forever. If this is the issue, fix it.
If your most-hit pages are decently designed and have clear CTAs, then there are two potential issues. Either the content on the page isn’t relevant to users, or the CTA that’s offered isn’t relevant. To evaluate the first potential issue, look at acquisition sources to consider how users are finding the page. If it’s mostly referral traffic, are they being sent from an old page on another site with outdated information? Request an update. Are they coming via organic search? See what other sites rank when you search your page’s focus keywords. You may simply be ranking for a keyword that isn’t relevant to your business – if that’s the case, there’s not much you can do (although I’d still recommend trying what’s below).
If, from what you can tell, the traffic to the page is relevant, then evaluate the CTA. Here’s what I recommend: Each page should have a high-funnel conversion point and a low-funnel conversion point.
Most pages only have a low-funnel conversion point – something enticing to people who are ready to buy, like “Call for a consultation” or “Let’s Talk.” The problem is that most users aren’t ready to buy – but even so, some of them might be ready to offer up their email address for something valuable. So, review your page again. Based on where traffic is coming from, what is the most valuable piece of content that users would want to see next? For example, if your page is “10 IT Policy Tips,” users might be interested in a downloadable IT policy template. If you have such a content piece – great. Make it available as a downloadable piece on the page. If you don’t – no problem. It’s time to make one.
Repeat this process for each of your top 10 pages and your conversion rate will significantly improve.
5. Create a service overview content piece.
This is, really, a continuation of the previous tactic. I’m breaking it out because:
- It’s something that most people don’t quickly think of.
- It works really well.
Here’s the premise: For many B2B tech businesses, their most-viewed pages include their homepage and service pages. That’s great. The problem is that it can be difficult to come up with good high-funnel conversion points for these kinds of pages; unlike blog posts, which often lead naturally to more content, service pages and homepages often lead most naturally to a buying decision. So, if the user isn’t ready to buy, that’s it – right?
Not so fast.
There are actually a lot of users in the B2B world who are doing buying research. These folks search for your service, land on your service page – but aren’t quite ready to move forward with a contact form because they’re gathering data on you and the competition. But there is a logical next step for them: A download piece that offers more detail on your product or service. The incentive, for the user, is that they get to continue the data collection process and potentially bring your (impressive, authentic, and aesthetically pleasing) information to a decision-maker.
If your most-viewed pages are your service pages, try this approach.
(If you’ve done this and reviewed your 10 most popular landing pages but are still struggling with conversion rate, it’s time for a deep dive. Get in touch with us for a CRO analysis.)
Ready to Bring in the Leads?
Hopefully, these tips have been helpful as you consider your own B2B tech marketing efforts. If you’ve got a traffic problem or a conversion problem, no fear – it can be fixed.
And, if you’re looking for more guidance on lead generation, let’s talk. At New North, we help businesses like yours unclog the lead funnel so that consistent growth can happen. Schedule a consultation (or, if you’re not quite ready for that, try downloading one of our helpful top-of-funnel pieces right below this article).
Here’s to getting leads!