In this blog, Jessica Gamble, Client Services Director at The B2B Marketing Lab, takes a look at short vs long-term lead generation tactics, including what they are, how they work and the differences between them.
When it comes to generating leads, the most successful strategies use a combination of short and long-term tactics. Think pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, events, email blasts, content marketing, social media and lead nurturing.
However, whilst there’s no shortage of options, most businesses want to generate leads and generate them quickly. As a result, short-term tactics are often prioritised.
But here’s the thing: though short-term lead generation tactics deliver value almost immediately, unless you have deep pockets you won’t be able to sustain them. Also, once they finish how will you drive traffic to your website to convert visitors into leads?
In this blog, I’m going to be talking about short and long-term lead generation tactics and how they can support your overall marketing strategy.
But before we delve into short and long-term lead generation tactics… what are the differences between tactics and strategies?
Well, a strategy is the specific approach that you are going to take in order to achieve the goals and objectives that you have set. It is, therefore, pretty high level.
You can see in that definition of strategy there is no talk of what we are going to do or what actions we are going to take in order to meet those goals and objectives.
Tactics, on the other hand, are the specific actions that you take to achieve the goals and objectives that you set. They are informed by your overall approach or strategy.
Let's take a look at the tactics.
Short-term lead generation tactics
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
PPC is one of the best ways to generate leads quickly as you’re essentially paying for them.
With PPC, you can target specific audiences based on criteria and keywords, ensuring that the people who click your ads are interested in what you’re marketing.
For example, you can use PPC to drive searchers to a new eBook you’ve created or a webinar that you’re hosting.
To get the most value out of PPC, your ads should be linked to landing pages – and those pages should be relevant to the keywords your ads are targeting. There should also be a form on the landing page that the visitor has to fill in to access what’s on offer.
It’s a quick and easy way to generate new leads!
To find out more, read our SEM’s latest eBook ‘How to Set up PPC Campaigns for your B2B Company’.
Online events are another way to generate leads in the short term.
In the same way that you use PPC to drive people to your landing pages and provide their details in exchange for an offer, you can do the same with your online events.
Better yet, consider using email marketing and PPC to advertise your online events, maximising your exposure and generating you as many leads as possible.
Want to generate leads with minimal effort? Try offering website visitors a discount on their first purchase and then a percentage off anything else they buy.
For example, you could offer visitors 25% off their next purchase via your website if they sign up for your newsletter – or you could give them a free trial for two months if they sign up today.
The great thing about special offers is that they galvanise potential prospects into action – encouraging those considering making a purchase to make a purchase. You’re putting pressure on the visitors you want to convert.
When should you use short-term lead generation tactics?
Short-term lead generation tactics are great when you…
Want quick wins
Are trying to prove the conversion rate of a new website
Need to generate new leads for your service offering
But remember, short-term lead generation tactics can be costly because – in most instances – you are either paying for results, particularly with PPC, eating into profit margins (as with a discount) or using a lot of internal resources (as with events).
Let’s talk about long-term lead generation strategies.
What strategies belong to long-term lead generation?
Unlike short-term lead generation tactics which end after they’re done, long-term lead generation tactics have no end date and get better over time.
Think search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, lead nurture pathways. These long term lead generation strategies (SEO and content marketing in particular) lay a strong foundation for your future marketing activity and enable you to generate targeted organic traffic (from all channels other than paid) over a period of time.
Let’s dig into each one.
The reason why SEO is so important as a long-term lead generation tactic (which, arguably, is more akin to a strategy than anything else), is because every web page, landing page and content asset you create will target a specific term related to your brand, product, service or problem you are looking to solve.
Ideally, you should be using long-tail keyword terms for your content assets – think three or four-word terms – as these are much more specific and will drive targeted traffic (the people you want to engage with) to your website. The advantage of this is that these website visitors will be interested in what you have to say and be much easier to convert. After all, they’re literally looking for what you do!
Working in tandem with SEO is content marketing. As mentioned above, every bit of content you create (minus anything that’s hosted on your website as a PDF), can target a different keyword.
As more and more people find, read and share your content, search engines will reward it with a ranking boost (you may even find yourself on page one of Google if you keep refreshing and adding valuable information to your existing content – something we would recommend).
Eventually, you’ll build a repository of content – becoming an authority on specific topic areas – and your visibility on search engines will be much, much higher.
To maximise the value of your content, we recommend that you link to other bits of content on your website where relevant. Related articles, or articles that provide more information than what the reader is currently reading, should always be linked. Not only will this increase the SEO value of your content, it’ll also enable the website visitor to educate themselves and move further into the buyer’s journey.
Of the tactics listed above, lead nurturing can be the most difficult purely because it involves keeping in touch with potential prospects and sharing valuable content with them at the right times.
For example, you may find that someone arrives on your website, reads a lot of content, signs up to your newsletter – but for you that action in itself isn’t enough to make that person a “lead”. So they’re just a subscriber at the moment – someone interested in what you’re doing.
You want that person to become a lead – someone who may be interested in working with your business or purchasing your services.
With this in mind, you need to nurture them to that point where they’re ready to convert on a landing page for an eBook or similar. To do this, you need to maintain contact with them over however long a period – sending them relevant, helpful content to address any problems they may have.
Eventually – and if done right – they’ll come back, more educated and more prepared, and convert on a landing page. It takes time (because the B2B sales cycle is long and numerous decision-makers are involved) but can definitely pay off. It’s also completely free.
So how do you know which one you need?
You need both! Ideally, you’d want some short-term tactics that will help you generate leads right now, and then long-term tactics that will bring in the leads over time.
But keep this in mind: short-term tactics that are going to work often will cost you quite a bit of money (think PPC here, you’re paying for each and every click). Long-term tactics, on the other hand, are more cost-effective, but it will be longer before you see results.
You also need a foundation to work from before you kick off your short-term PPC strategy, for example. Ultimately: you need something to drive your leads to.
Short-term lead generation
Long-term lead generation
Pay Per Click campaigns, online events, email blasts, special offers/discounts
Search engine optimisation, content marketing, lead nurturing
Usually in a specified time frame, quick wins
Usually no end date, longer term
It can be expensive
Usually more cost effective
This concludes my blog on short vs long-term lead generation tactics. Hopefully you’ve found this blog useful and are now armed with the information you need to make your strategies and campaigns a success!