In this blog, Jake Sadler at The B2B Marketing Lab, discusses the lead generation trends to watch out for in 2020 focusing on key digital marketing tactics including Conversational Marketing, Video and Behavioural Intelligence.

    As we head into the new year and indeed a new decade, the way we approach lead generation is going to change.

    Thanks to advancements in technology, the way people search for answers to questions or buy things online is drastically different to what it was five years ago. Nowadays, there’s no guarantee that what you’re doing to generate leads this year will work in the next.

    In the digital era, consumer behaviour changes far too regularly to just repeat what worked before. To keep growing, you need to understand where your prospects are now, where they’ll be in the future and how they want to be engaged with.

     

    But what is lead generation?

    For those of you who don’t know, lead generation is where you attract and convert people interested in your brand, products, or services.

    However, whilst every brand wants to be the first on their audience’s minds (and the one to shout the loudest), the challenge lies in turning visibility into leads. The key word to consider here is ‘convert’; your audience may know who you are but not why they should be interested in becoming a customer. So, what can you do to start a flow of genuine enquiries rolling in?

    Here’s the thing: every year there are hotspot trends that people flock to, that become a key way of generating leads as they rise in popularity and attract attention. And that’s what is going to be covered in this blog.

    So what do we think will be the key lead generation trends in 2020?

     

    Conversational Marketing

    According to Drift, responding to a new lead within five minutes is critical, after which your odds of qualifying that lead decrease by 10 times.

    This is where chatbots come in.

    With chatbots, you can provide your leads with answers to their burning questions almost immediately, keeping them on your website and ensuring they don’t click off to look for answers elsewhere. This is part of what’s called ‘Conversational Marketing’.

    Conversational Marketing is all about talking to your audience naturally and engaging them in a here-and-now discussion. This enables you to provide them with answers at the point of asking, rather than making them trawl your website for them.

    Also, chatbots are not solely for the B2C world or for junior staff. According to The 2018 State of Chatbots Report, 41% of people starting online chat conversations with businesses are executives. This means real decision makers (that could become legitimate leads) are out there with questions to ask but nobody to answer them – so bring on the year and indeed decade of Chatbots!

     

    Video

    Every year we’re told video is the “next big thing”, but this year we really mean it. There’s a lot of content out there online – but the most easily digestible is usually video. A concise and informative video can give your audience all they need to know in less than a few minutes, and it's much more engaging than a page of text.

    We’re not saying to neglect text-based content, just engrain video within it. A warm smiley face or a snazzy animation can really add to your content marketing strategy. These videos can range in format from webinars and demos to live streams or even short pieces to camera. Having a moving visual element with audio is significantly more engaging. In fact, video marketers generate 66% more qualified leads per year, according to Aberdeen Group.

    Video is already a mainstream trend for generating leads; a report by HubSpot shows 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, up from 63% in 2017. And it’s only going to carry on growing in importance, especially on social channels.

    Stuck for ideas?

    Create one long, catch-all video and chop it up into shareable snippets. Host them on both your website and social channels, i.e. LinkedIn – and voila, you have a stream of engaging, informative and varied content to help with your lead generation.

     

    Behavioural Intelligence

    We now have the technology at our disposal to tell where prospects have clicked on a website, on what pages they’ve spent most of their time, the content they like and dislike as well as the device they browse with…so why not use it?

    We love this quote from Stratabeat on how leveraging behavioural intelligence on your website is the perfect way to help convert interested visitors into leads:

    “It’s one thing to rely on web analytics to understand your site visitors. It’s quite another to go deeper, observe their digital body language on each page, and uncover behavioural insights that empower you to optimize your site for a better user experience. More and more B2B marketers are using behavioural intelligence to optimize their sites based on insights gleaned from heat mapping, click mapping, attention mapping, and scroll mapping.”

     

    Events

    Free offerings can be a big winner in anyone’s book but there’s quite a lot of them these days. Free 90-day premium trials, free webinars, free online training – it can be hard to remember who offered you what.

    A sure-fire way of creating a memorable experience and increasing your chance of conversion from a free offering, is to get them out and physically experiencing your world.

    So how about hosting a free to attend event?

    Now it can be hard, there’s no denying that. Nobody has time anymore, everyone’s always very busy, it costs a fair bit to set one up. But hosting your own event can really drive interest. Proof? In the B2B setting specifically, events help generate the most leads, while case studies help convert and accelerate the most leads. (Marketing Charts, 2018)

     

    Voice search

    Search behaviour has changed. Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri have made it possible for anyone – anywhere – to execute a search from their mobile phone. These searches are far more conversational, natural and distinctly different from the keyword-based terms we use on desktop computers.

    As a result, we have to rethink the way we optimise our websites and content. We need to consider what mediums our prospects use to search and the questions they might ask to create content that resonates. According to ComScore, 50% of searches will be voice searches by 2020. So digital agencies who work with SEO better pay attention (like we are).

    Remote working will continue to thrive in the coming year, so as decision makers spend more time at home, the more in touch with their smart home system they will become. So instead of typing ‘B2B lead gen trends 2020’ into google they’ll instead say, ‘Hey Alexa, what are the key Lead Generation trends to watch out for in 2020?’

    A B2C phenomenon, right?

    Not at all. The more we think of those key decision makers as humans and less as part of a business, the more you start to understand how to connect with them on a human level.

    Make your content more conversational, include phrases that mirror human language, make your titles and headings sound like something someone would say and, over time, you’re sure to start seeing leads come through.

     

    Get off to a flying start in 2020

    So there we have it, those are our lead generation trends to watch out for in 2020. The overriding themes? Make the most of the technology available to you in chatbots, video, behavioural intelligence, automation and voice search.

    We’ll leave you with one last thought: deliver a personalised experience.

    Research by Accenture revealed that 73% of B2B buyers want a personalized, B2C-like customer experience.

    But what does that look like? Hosting free events to engage prospects into your world, answer their questions without generic answers in real time, and provide engaging content that is not only useful but entertaining, too.

    Keep up with all these trends and you’re sure to kick start your generator and begin the new year toasty warm with an abundance of leads.


    Keen to learn more about lead generation strategies? Check out our top tips on how to turn your website into a lead generation engine by downloading the eBook below!