B2B Lead Generation is a topic shrouded with uncertainty and doubt. With various studies and experts preaching countless different “essentials” for B2B marketers to focus on, it can be extremely daunting and confusing as a small business to even know where to start.
And so perplexed small business marketers turn to Google to try and answer the ever-present question: “How can I succeed in B2B Lead Generation?” The outcome of such a search will provide puzzled marketers with advice from some of the leading B2B companies. The tactics that these companies preach most often include:
- Search Marketing
- Social Marketing
- Content Marketing
All of these tactics encompass an Inbound Marketing approach to B2B Lead Generation, utilising digital media channels. That’s to say that it is up to the customer to find you. This is not entirely surprising given the digital-first age we are currently living in, however, when we are viewing B2B Lead Generation through the eyes of a small business it is not always feasible to expect prospects to be able to find you.
When we look closer at the various favoured categories of B2B Lead Generation tactics we find that Outbound Marketing actually proves to be the most effective strategy as a whole. That’s to say that the company initiates the conversation and sends their message out to their audience.
Outbound Marketing tends to have a bad name as being an outdated approach to Lead Generation, and while it does have its drawbacks, these limitations tend to effect larger companies much more so than small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The “issues” large companies have with Outbound Marketing are as follows:
- Outbound Marketing campaigns are difficult to track, especially when compared to tacking the digital alternatives.
- Outbound techniques aren’t as commonly used anymore so no one wants to accept them (Do not call lists, spam filters, etc).
- It’s higher cost than inbound, with the chances of a low yield result.
These arguments and connotations exist as a result of the beliefs of big brands, because they would need to implement Outbound Tactics on a scale far greater than is utilised for small businesses in a simple B2B Lead Generation campaign.
Outbound Tactics for small businesses tend to be hugely successful for companies aiming to make a splash, with a smaller number of prospects, in order to secure a handful of quality leads. Outbound Marketing could be the perfect approach for your small business! It’s not about how many prospects you have; it is about the value of those prospects and the worth they have for the company.
Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing are all incredibly powerful tools, which should not be neglected, but as a starting point they are useless for the purposes of B2B Lead Generation for your small business. So what should you do now? What’s a simple and effective Outbound Marketing tactic for your B2B Lead Generation campaign?
Direct Mail Marketing:
Gone are the days when we are excited to receive every email.
One way to stand out to your prospects and spark their interest for you over your competitors is to put the effort into a piece of physical mail. Don’t fall into the trap of becoming just another email that a CEO must reluctantly paw through each morning, create a physical presence.
Direct Mail is tricky, but when done right it can be extremely effective. All you need to do is get creative. Don’t think that you can simply print another, run-of-the mill template letter, place it in your every-day envelope and gain a quality lead. Put something exciting, enticing and different on your prospect’s desk to get your content read and their interest sparked.
When you are sending Direct Mail to prospects you need to be creative in order to be seen. Often the person you are trying to reach has a gatekeeper; to get to the boss you’ll have to first get past their secretary. You can’t put another letter, which looks like all the others, onto a receptionist’s desk, and expect them to present it to a CEO as a priority.
Try these simple, but effective Direct Mail Marketing tactics next time to get your mail opened by your prospect and maximise your B2B Lead Generation:
Send more than a letter:
Parcels and packages are much more likely to be passed on from a receptionist to their boss than a standard sized envelope, as they appear far more significant and may hold something of value to the recipient.
A receptionist will tend to file away enquiry letters for future review but packages present as more important to pass along so that the boss can have immediate access to its contents. More than words, there is a physical good being delivered.
Think long and hard about what you want to put into this package. It could be a free sample of your product or a book that details your service offering, however, we have found that some of the most effective parcels are far more obscure… A CEO may not recall your sample product in a few weeks time, but if you are a business which offers, for example, travel assistance and you send through a miniature globe or toy airplane for example. That CEO will be a little perplexed, yes, but they won’t soon forget you. You can then follow up with a call and have the easy introduction of “Hi, I’m the one who sent you an airplane last week”.
This tactic can effectively break the ice and create a memorable experience that captures prospects attention and maximises your chances of being heard over your competitors.
It sounds Stone Age and absurd but it is so rare nowadays to receive a none-typed piece of physical mail that when one does arrive it tends to stand out from the pack. Creating a point of difference between yours and your competitors’ mail is essential. Hand-written notes (including the address on the envelope itself) have a powerful presence and exhibit a certain level of added effort on the mailers part because the audience can recognise that it takes more effort to customise print media than digital. This could be the deciding factor between prospects choosing your service over your competitors.
This tactic is along the same lines as the above package strategy but can be done so in a less, some may say “obnoxious” way.
Another way to utilise hand-written notes to get through the gatekeeper is to fool them in to thinking that you know their boss/supervisor/CEO on a personal level. While a gatekeeper will tend to file prospect letters, they consistently pass on any personal mail to their boss.
Placing post-it notes on letters that personally address the subject appear more sociable and as though there is a pre-existing relationship. Place a note with something along the lines of…
…and watch as it is passed from receptionist to superior.
As a small business it can be hard to be seen and heard over the top of the big brands, so it is in your best interest to utilise outbound tactics in clever, new ways that get you noticed. If you choose to try to go up against large corporations in the inbound, digital realm you have a huge struggle ahead of you. Don’t overlook the direct approach that is so often forgotten in this digital age. Don’t wait for prospects to come to you, embrace the necessity to Outbound Market your brand and get your message heard and the B2B Lead Generation flowing!