By now you’ve probably read articles, watched webinars, and engaged in conversations about the impact a third-party cookieless world will have on marketing. While alternate solutions are being ironed out, there’s one thing we know for sure: building up your first-party data will be crucial. Whether you’re employing demand generation strategies or formalized account-based marketing programs, we’ve outlined some key lead generation considerations for your website, event, and content strategies.
Lead generation through your website
When it comes to collecting leads through your website, we often think about using a “carrot” such as valuable, gated content or a special offer. But there are some situations, especially if you have targeted traffic-driving tactics and strong organic search optimization efforts, when a user is ready to engage with your brand without that extra incentive. In these scenarios, the goal of lead collection on your site should be to create as little friction as possible.
Some key considerations for the lead collection process should include:
Make forms and contact information accessible. Depending on how a user gets to your site, they may not always land perfectly on a campaign landing page optimized for lead generation. Ensure that contact information and key forms are easy to find wherever a user is on your site. This is especially important on deeper-funnel pages like product- or service-specific content, sales program pages, and high-traffic pages.
Simplify your forms. Consider what information is critical to move the user to the next step in your buyer’s journey, and only ask for that detail. Depending on how your leads are managed, there should be a number of additional steps along the way to augment the user’s record. Make the first step as simple as possible while still complying with privacy laws and best practices.
Be clear on next steps, and consider ways to humanize. Take away the guesswork. If a user knows what is going to happen next, they may be more likely to fill out your form. Spell out who within the organization will be following up and how soon. Be sure to disclose whether the data will be used for other marketing and communications purposes. If you have a specific representative who is going to follow up, explore how you can humanize the experience by adding their name and photo.
- Explore new contact methods. Live chat and messenger experiences are growing in popularity. These are largely driven by the demand for real-time information and more users who prefer digital-only communication channels. In fact, Business Insider reports that almost 40% of worldwide internet users prefer interacting with a chatbot rather than a virtual agent. In addition to providing user benefits, experiences like AI-driven chatbots can also free up customer service and sales team members’ time until a user is more qualified in the buying or outreach process. We recommend exploring how your organization might pilot new communication methods, like live support or real-time messenger experiences, to further align your lead gen tactics to buyer preferences.
Lead generation with gated content
Whether you’re producing this content and hosting it on your website, including it as part of a virtual event, or delivering it as a webinar in partnership with an industry publication, making a range of valuable content available will help you attract quality leads.
Building up your first-party data will be crucial.
Here are some key considerations when developing gated content for lead generation:
Create valuable content that meets audience needs. Any time you intend to use a piece of content to generate a new contact, it’s important to consider the value you’re providing to your audience. This is especially important when you’re asking people to submit some of their personal information to access that content. We recommend considering your target audiences’ pain points, challenges, and needs to develop helpful content. Find the right opportunities to educate them on what you have to offer. And make sure there’s a direct correlation between the value of the content you’re supplying and the amount of personal information you’re requesting.
- Determine the best content format to leverage. During the B2B buying process, decision-makers engage with content in a variety of formats — from blog posts and videos to case studies and white papers. As you’re developing content for your campaigns, consider the format that will help you best tell your story and connect with your audience. Also, holistically consider the range of content formats you have available.
Lead generation through virtual events and trade shows
As in-person events continue to be cancelled or moved online, marketers still need to provide thought leadership and deliver their message to key prospects and customers. Brands have been reevaluating their event marketing strategy to effectively harness the power of virtual or hybrid events.
Key considerations for using virtual events and trade shows to generate leads:
Invest in the right virtual event platform. When selecting a platform for your virtual event, platform lead generation capabilities are key. Prioritize platforms with pre-event registration along with during-event, one-to-one sales interaction, and networking capabilities.
Consider the user experience of your landing page. An effective event registration page is more than just a form. Communicate within seconds why visitors should sign up. Feature a compelling title and meta description to boost SEO and click-through. Include a short video to excite prospects and build rapport. Detail key event information and outline the agenda. Offer information about speakers to build credibility. Last, provide helpful resources to prepare your audience for the event.
- Determine how to best use on-demand content. Make sure you have a plan for promoting your on-demand virtual event content for ongoing demand generation and nurturing leads collected through registrations:
Share recordings with registered attendees.
Make on-demand, gated content available on your website and include it in ongoing demand generation efforts.
Develop a personalized nurture plan to move targeted prospects acquired from the event through the buyer’s journey.
- Consider whether a hybrid event is right for you. As in-person events and trade shows start to return in 2021, an anticipated rise in hybrid events is expected. These can combine the lead generation power of both virtual and face-to-face strategies.
Measuring your lead generation efforts
Regardless of the shape your lead generation strategy takes, measurement is necessary to understand the success of your program. As part of the planning process, take the time to determine — and document — your primary KPIs for campaign performance. You may think this is a given, but it’s often overlooked. Whether you’re trying to generate as many leads as possible or looking at sales qualified leads (SQLs), having agreed-upon KPIs as your source of truth for campaign success is essential.
Additionally, initiate an open dialogue with your sales team. Ask them to provide feedback on the quality of contacts they’re receiving, as well as any feedback they’re gathering in their conversations with prospects.
Check out Part 2 of our “Lead Generation Tactics for a Third-party Cookieless World." In the meantime, if you want to learn more about how to approach lead generation, visit our B2B Marketing Guide. You can also reach out if you’re interested in chatting with us about partnering on your marketing efforts.