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Helping Lancashire businesses: Five ways to generate quality B2B leads during tougher times

Five ways to help generate quality B2B leads to boost your business during tougher times web

Steve Brennan, co-founder and CEO of Bespoke, a Lancashire digital agency, provides five helpful key factors to enable businesses to boost business to business (B2B) leads online during tougher times.

In over 20-years as a digital agency working with B2B businesses to generate leads online we've seen many upturns and downturns and have noticed the different ways in which they each react during these tougher times. 

Our own agency, Bespoke used the initial COVID-19 lockdown to reshape our business and service offering to focus on service and manufacturing businesses. This resulted with our best ever results in the three years since COVID-19, thanks to those changes.

Combined with our experience of clients we have closely worked with during tough times, we now have a close-up view of what separates businesses that navigate choppier waters successfully and those that don't.

So here are the five key factors enabling businesses to boost B2B leads online during tougher times:

1. Sharpen your positioning

Bespoke carries out 'user testing' exercises for clients which involves opening a website for eight seconds and asking visitors what they understand about what the company does, who it is for and what the next step is to engage. In most tests visitors can't identify most of these basic positioning statements when they first visit a website.

If a new website is built with properly crafted layout and positioning statements the flow of leads always increases.

2. Sharpen your key messages

Our team also carries out testing across the full range of digital channels, including social media, paid campaigns, email marketing and the website itself. Often content is produced and published without a plan for what the key messages are.

So prospects trying to understand the business encounter a mixture of statements over time that add confusion rather than clarity. We can remember at most three key concepts about a new company so choose three key messages and repeat them with the same terminology across all channels.

3. Audit your digital tactics

Each week our team holds strategy calls with businesses who submit enquiries via our website. we do this to assess what improvements they can make to their digital strategy. The recurring theme is the business is investing in the wrong digital tactics. For example: many are investing time and budget in organic search optimisation which was once a key tactic but which is now merely a battle to be half way down page one at best given how search results are now laid out.

Paid search can be laser-targeted to be seen only by your ideal customers now. Get an audit of your choice of online marketing activity and tactics and focus spend in the areas that actually generate leads.

4. Build a performance website

Those who don't generate the leads they want online normally build a website they like and leave it live and hope it generates what they want. Others treat their website as though it's a salesperson – they demand results from it, they give it a target for leads each week and record those results on a board on the way. The first step to build a performance website that will deliver on those targets is to build the digital strategy before the website.

The website is then designed around the key messages and lead magnets and focused fully on the ideal customer's key questions. It's then monitored weekly using video tracking software and performance is improved month by month. This approach results in an increasing flow of leads over the life of the website.

5. Use laser targeted campaigns

Of course, any website only generates leads if the right prospects find the website. In 2023 it's possible to target social media campaigns so ads are seen by specific sectors, regions, clients, job titles, ages and interests. In other words it's possible to publish campaigns that are only seen by the people you are most interested in engaging with you.

Coupled with the right website and lead magnets it's a formula that consistently delivers a flow of leads. In times of downturn invest in proven and effective tactics like this, and stop investing time and budget in activity that doesn't generate leads.

With experience of working with hundreds of businesses over many years to generate leads online, our observation is that for most businesses it's a simple choice of whether to use tougher times as motivation to sharpen up lead generation or not. Those who use downturns as the focus to finally get their online marketing in shape do well not only through more difficult times, but are set up to perform better than ever when the upturn inevitably arrives.



About the contributor

Steve Brennan is co-founder and CEO at Bespoke, a Lancashire digital agency specialising in B2B performance websites and lead generation. He is also author of the Amazon #1 bestseller 'Build Your Digital Marketing Strategy'. Bespoke is one of the North West's longest established specialist web agencies, having generated over £1bn in leads for its clients since 2000.

Gain a free B2B digital strategy audit: https://audit.bespokedigital.agency  You'll self assess and receive and instant report.

Boost is helping Lancashire businesses. We have a range of funded support programmes and a team of business advisers you can talk to. To speak to someone from the Growth Hub about business support, contact Boost online or call 0800 488 0057.


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