UK Small Businesses use varying tactics for quality vs. high-volume lead generation. They are trying a little bit of everything, according to a survey by Eloqua, CMO.com and Software Advice. Nearly all B2B marketers surveyed reported maintaining email lists and doing search engine optimisation (SEO), but most have experimented with nearly every marketing tactic listed in the poll, whether time-tested or cutting-edge—from trade shows, to telemarketing, to social media ads, to behavioural retargeting.
The theme that emerges from the data is that inbound personalised marketing methods tend to outperform more passive outbound “blasts”—both in quantity and in quality. According to respondents, it’s not as simple as more efficient digital strategies replacing “old media.” Chasing down high-quality leads requires a mix of digital savvy and old-fashioned legwork.
When it comes to marketing tactics best suited to turning up high volumes of leads, marketers most frequently cited the work of third-party lead generators at 34%. Other trusted sources for maximising lead generation included paid search advertising and email marketing. Fourth on the list, however, was the in-person marketing that happens at network events and trade shows: 66% of UK small business B2B marketers said such events brought in a high or medium quantity of leads for them.
The survey also suggests that when it comes to social media marketing, UK B2B marketers are still having trouble finding scale. Only 10% reported getting a high quantity of leads through social media posting, and just 5% saw a high quantity of leads from social media ads; roughly two-thirds reported low lead quantity from each method. Furthermore, many UK B2B marketers reported that what few leads did come through were often of low quality.
Among the most endorsed tactics for attracting high-quality leads were in-house email marketing and search engine optimisation. Two in five said their own email campaigns produced predominantly high-quality leads; 36% said the same of leads that came in through SEO. Tactics designed to create person-to-person direct contact were also among the best performing, including telemarketing/cold-calling and trade show events, both of which most UK B2B marketers surveyed said mainly delivered leads of reasonable to high quality. Another high performer: sponsoring webinars, which 77% of respondents said led to high- or medium-quality leads.
Among the worst-quality sources of leads: third-party email marketing, print, radio and TV advertising, and CPM display advertising. The overall message of the data is not that digital channels necessarily trump traditional ones, but that high-quality leads are more likely to come from more active forms of online and offline engagement.
In-house content creation getting more attention
To follow on, still on the theme of lead generation is the growth in importance of content marketing. UK small businesses have also quickly incorporated the practice into their budgets, according to a survey of UK marketers by content marketing agency NewsReach. 78% of respondents said they had invested in content marketing, while only 19% said they did not.
The majority (55%) of UK small businesses reported creating that content in-house, but a further 40% said they worked with outside content creators.
Not only is such a high percentage already invested in content, but 80% expected their content marketing spending to increase, while 17% thought they would spend the same amount of money. Clearly, small business in the UK have seized upon the idea that consumers will increasingly encounter and respond to content marketing, whether online, via mobile browsing, or through social media platforms, and have adjusted their budgets accordingly.
Companies in the UK are also embracing the potential virality offered by social media sharing of content. Just over half of those polled said that industry news and blogs were the type of content most likely to be shared via a social platform, followed by infographics (18%), videos (27%) and white papers (4%). News and blogs are likely the most popular because they do the best job of engaging consumers.
In a world where consumers are increasingly bombarded with messaging and imagery from all angles, content marketing can serve as a conversational channel, capturing eyeballs and forging connections when interruption marketing is being tuned out.
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