With the COVID-19 pandemic occurring at this writing, there’s certainly much re-thinking and re-strategizing occurring now and in the coming months when it comes to marketing and lead generation.

We do know this. Prospects will be spending more time on the Internet, for both business and personal use. That also means much more time on social media as well as mobile apps.  Your prospects crazy schedules are lessened.  Less meetings.  Less events.  But they also need to keep their head in the game, thinking about adding value to their business.  Learning. Assessing. Auditing. Setting the stage for business improvement.  Longer buying cycles will become longer but staying top-of-mind is critical.

So, here’s a laundry list of steps to take during this downturn when it comes to marketing optimization and lead generation, for B2B.

Review marketing budget line-items that have been cut.  Review and reset marketing investments towards channels and tactics that have worked in the past.  Lead generation will be more about content than ever, as prospects at home crave information about how to better their business challenges. That means emphasizing content lead generation. That also may mean development if new content, and quickly, that can solve business problems.

Speaking of content, it’s also a great time to re-evaluate your own brand and website message, as well as your marketing messages. Don’t push.  Be helpful.  Offer ideas.  Offer interesting solutions.  But still solve problems.  Content builds trust, and trust sells.  Now more than ever.

The two most powerful lead magnets are:

White paper/eBook downloads

Helpful, solving-problem content has always driven quality mid-funnel leads for B2B. Remember content leads are not buyers yet, but at least you’re beginning a relationship. Once these prospects enter the pipeline, do not push them to online demos or trials yet.  Certainly, thank them for downloading with an automated email, then plan a follow-up cadence.  Nurture with continued helpful content, for now.  That means a revised blog/newsletter calendar for this new reality we are in.

Webinars and Online Presentations

Businesses have been using webinars to generate leads for years. They can be a great way to kick off the sales process, as they give you an opportunity to showcase your expertise.  Now with Zoom, Whereby, and other video conferencing solutions, holding interactive webinars towards prospects is now more important than ever. By the way, record your webinars, and allow them to be available on demand.

Your marketing budget must now be allocated towards channels that drive leads via content the best. Here’s a few; and it’s OK to test of course.

Facebook Lead Generation

Facebook offers many targeting options. Is it perfect? No. But you can still target job titles, people’s interests, and household income. Retargeting works well here too. You can drive people to landing pages, or use Facebooks lead generation objective which has worked quite well for many of my clients.

LinkedIn Lead Generation

LinkedIn also offers many tools to drive leads.  Here you can target very specific audiences, industries, titles, functions, company headcount, and more.  Granted the cost-per-click is high compared to other channels, but if budget allows, may be worth it if you generate qualified leads.  With LinkedIn, sponsored posts, lead generation ads with forms, and new conversation ads can all drive traffic and leads if the message and offer attract interested prospects.

Content Syndication Networks.

Content syndication networks republish your content on third-party platforms and portals. These third-party platforms host your eBooks, webinars, articles, and whitepapers on their site, sharing your content with their network and capturing prospect information with a gated form. Syndicating your content can help you spread your reach, bolster brand awareness, and ultimately generate new leads.  Many B2B publishers offer their own content lead gen programs, on a cost-per-lead basis, as well as syndicators like Netline. Tech Target and IDG are also robust platforms in the high-tech space.

Sales Enablement

Sales enablement tools allow salespeople to customize content and presentations based on the specific needs of a buyer.  If you haven’t implemented a platform, now may be the time in this environment. Simply, once leads enter the pipeline via marketing, and then are qualified to enter a CRM, salespeople take over to start communicating to these prospects individually.  Salespeople need to continue to be trustworthy and helpful at this opportunity stage. Read more about sales enablement in my recent blog.

Summary

There’s no reason to panic. But certainly, pivot and rethink lead generation. On one hand, companies are re-evaluating and setting priorities, which means revising strategies and reallocating resources and budgets. On the other hand, online lead generation and building relationships with problem-solving messages is still needed. It’s different, but critical.

Some helpful links:

My buyer’s journey audit– the first step to marketing optimization

Lead Booster– a very affordable way to build pipeline with fresh content.