In B2B lead generation, quantity versus quality is probably the biggest challenge faced by industrial marketers. In order to satisfy the demands of the C-suite, the marketing department usually provides easy-to-measure metrics like traffic, page views, time spent and number of leads captured. The focus here is definitely on quantity.
On the other hand, the sales team is probably complaining about the quality of B2B leads generated by your marketing team. They want better qualified and sales-ready leads. People in sales are not very interested in spending time nurturing suspects and prospects, that’s marketing’s job. And the tug-of-war between sales and marketing continues.
Business blogs for lead generation
Even though business blogging is not widely used in B2B marketing and especially in industrial marketing, it can be very effective as a tool for lead generation. A good business blog can drive a steady stream of pre-qualified leads that are as good as referrals.
HubSpot in their recent study of over 1,400 small- and medium-sized businesses, found that marketers with blogs generate 67% more leads. The chart below shows the difference between B2C and B2B companies.
Clearly B2B marketers can improve their lead generation efforts by using a business blog. It should be noted that we are talking about general B2B companies here and not specifically the industrial sector.
Size does matter in business blogs
The size of your business blog does have an impact on lead generation. Here we are defining size as the number of published articles on a business blog at a given point in time. HubSpot results indicate that median leads start to grow once 24-51 articles are written and published. Median leads were 77% higher among marketers with blogs of 52+ articles versus bloggers with 24 to 51 articles. The graph below shows the impact of number of blog articles on monthly leads.
Don’t put lead generation before traffic
Traffic is the lifeblood of any business blog or website. Don’t spend all your time and resources crafting lead generating offers (white papers, webinars, online demos etc.). First focus on driving a critical mass of interested traffic by making sure prospects can find your business blog.
How do you drive more traffic? By increasing the number of indexed pages in Google (Blog pages Google includes in its database of pages considered for ranking for specific keywords). For every 50 to 100 pages of indexed pages in Google, leads achieved double digit growth as seen in the chart below.
Optimizing (SEO) business blogs and lead generation
Instead of focusing on achieving top ten ranking in Google, your lead generation efforts will receive a bigger boost by growing the number of keywords ranking in Google’s top 100. Companies ranking in Google’s top 100 results for 26 to 51 keywords generated twice as many leads as compared to businesses ranking for 6 to 13 keywords. B2B marketers with 51+ keywords generated three times more leads than those with 6 to 13 keywords.
Making a business blog into a lead generating machine
Let’s apply all these findings into action items to turn your own business blog into a well-oiled, lead generating machine. Here are the key takeaways from the HubSpot study:
- Build page volume: consider starting a business blog to quickly increase pages
- Increase the number of blog pages indexed by Google by applying optimization techniques:
- Place keywords in the right places on blog pages (On-site optimization)
- Build inbound links from reputable sites
(See my earlier post Do-it-Yourself Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Your WordPress Blog)
- Create unique and interesting content frequently to build your base of regular readers
- Use clear calls to action on all blog posts for tying your business blog to the company’s website
- Offer compelling and educational content in order to capture qualified leads
- Deploy social marketing features on your business blog to encourage sharing and increasing awareness
A business blog can be one of the most powerful tools in driving traffic and generating high-quality B2B leads. It is very common to find blogs receiving more traffic than a corporate site. The key is to tie the two together for boosting your lead generation efforts.