9 Search Marketing Tips for Effective B2B Lead Generation


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search engine optimization“Average B2B Buyer’s Attention Span Is 8 Seconds” – REALLY? 9 Search Marketing Tips for Effective B2B Lead Generation

In a heated discussion at one of my client’s offices recently, the company’s senior executives were hung up on a study that said “the average B2B buyer’s attention span is only 8 seconds”. Their digital marketing agency was in the room and so were the key team members who managed their lead automation system and CRM. They all gave me a shocked look when I asked, “Eight seconds is quite a long time, isn’t it?” I was ready for this. Silence. Looks exchanged around the room. And then, one gentleman said, “It’s barely enough time to talk through one presentation slide.” Made no sense to me.

“Well”, he explained, “if our blog post has a 30 second demo video of our new product, the prospect will probably just see only 1 slide in 8 seconds”. I asked him how long it would take the prospect to lead the headline of the blog post. “One or maybe 2 seconds”, he replied. “Then that is how much time you really have—2 seconds”, I said. As the point drove home, I saw people sink back into their chairs one by one, with a look of resignation. The general sentiment in the room seemed to be—”we can’t make it; we just don’t know how.”

So I decided to focus next on search marketing as Part Three in the Back-to-School B2B Primer series.


  1. UNDERSTAND THE NEW RULES OF RESEARCH. Statistics from the Consumer Executive Board show that buyers are typically 2/3 of their way into the buying cycle before they even engage with a company they would potentially buy from. What’s changed here? What must we do differently now to feed the research hunger of the B2B buyer? We need to stop using pushy, promotional content that we wrongly presume is “informative” and “educational”. The buyer is looking for vendor comparison data, competitor pricing charts, product/service features Vs. benefit matrixes, and other holistic market intelligence. It’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM.
  2. UNDERSTAND THE NEW RULES OF SEARCH. In a recent webinar by the Content Marketing Institute, the presenters mentioned an interesting fact—that there is more power being harnessed in a single Google search today than what NASA used to put a man on the moon in 1969. What does this tell you? That your buyers have this supernormal power available at their fingertips. They can use it to find you and they can also use it to shut you out if you don’t provide relevant, meaningful and useful content; the first time and ongoing.
  3. UNDERSTAND THE ANIMALS IN THE GOOGLE ZOO. Panda? Penguin? What do all these Google updates mean and how do they impact your company’s online presence? How is each new version different from the previous one? What will you need to do differently to not be hit by Google’s algorithm changes? Here is a good summary of recent changes to Google’s Panda and Penguin Updates in 2013.
  4. RECOGNIZE THAT KEYWORD RESEARCH MUST BE DONE ONLINE AND OFFLINE. Even the best, most sophisticated keyword research tool cannot identify all the right keywords that you need to optimize your digital marketing content. Talk to your field sales staff and front-line customer service teams. What keywords and phrases regularly come up in conversations with prospects and customers? No matter what your SEO experts tell you about search volume, traffic volume, broad-match searches and all that tech-speak you’ll hear; if your buyers are asking and talking about certain terms, you can’t ignore them in your keyword optimization list.
  5. IDENTIFY BUYER PERSONAS AND BUYER BEHAVIOURS. Match these to the SEO trends you are seeing on your various online properties—your company website, your blog, social media profile pages, etc. Marketing automation software and lead generation systems today are evolving. If you are stuck with an automation tool that does not perform the critical function of integrating prospect activity with the referral source of information, you are missing out on some very pertinent and valuable data points.
  6. REALIZE THAT PHONE CALLS CAN STILL TRUMP FAQ PAGES. This may not apply in very early stages of the buying cycle. But deeper into the cycle, when a potential buyer is already on your site, for example, and has spent some time on your site already or even made a few visits over a period, a phone call can be a timely conversion tool. Buyers have a question and they want an answer now without having to spend another extra minute looking at your FAQ page. Your organization is B2B but your buyers still care about P2P (person-to-person)—don’t treat them like they are just a number in your prospect list. Do remember, however, that you have to give the buyer the ability to call you easily, not the other way around. Plus, with call tracking, you can further evaluate your lead score and take the immediate next steps required for further lead nurturing.
  7. REMEMBER THAT ONLINE FORMS ARE LIVING, EVOLVING TOOLS. Gone are the days when you created an online form and stuck it in multiple places—your website, your blog, your email blasts, your landing page. As I mentioned in my recent piece about “7 Tactics that are Working for B2B Lead Generation Today“, try to customize and update at least one form field in new online campaigns. Ask a prospect for information you don’t already have on file. This is proactive progressive profiling. Online forms are powerful and their power is not just for protecting your content! The more content you share without hiding behind lengthy and complicated forms, the more high quality engagement you will start to gain.
  8. DETERMINE HOW YOUR COMPANY WILL TRAVERSE THE SOCIAL JOURNEY. It is a journey. You have to go down that road of social relationships and work hard to stay on track. There are many internal and factors at play here and you need to make sure it all comes together before you can become a social business rather than just a socially active company. I enjoyed this SlideShare presentation that talks about how to make the transition from social media to social business. Examine whether you have absolute executive buy-in, are your employees involved and engaged in your social journey, how does the rest of the company view the role of marketing, what social platforms are your buyers spending time on, what social tools and technologies will you use to engage them, how will you gather and interpret data points from social media activity…take a close look at all of these.
  9. DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN SEARCH MARKETING GOALS AND CAMPAIGN KPIs. You must have overall objectives and goals for your search marketing strategy, but you also need to break them down further into specific KPIs for each campaign or component of your search marketing. If you are using Paid Search or Pay-Per-Click (PPC), then cost-per-click and cost-per-lead are the right KPIs to measure. When a whitepaper campaign is geared towards thought leadership and brand awareness, on the other hand, then a suitable KPI would be to measure the volume and quality of viral sharing across multiple channels including email and social networks.

What are some search marketing techniques that your B2B organization has found useful and effective in recent times? Feel free to add to the list above and do leave me a comment below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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