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Lead Generation Trends for 2018

All B2B marketers want leads—high-quality, excited and engaged leads. How you find those leads in 2018 is not a mystery. Here are the trends to capitalize on to generate high quality leads.

Email marketing

remains high on the list of marketing strategies that consistently generate a remarkable ROI. In research performed by Campaign Monitor, every $1 spent on email marketing generates $38 in ROI. While a respectable return, you can improve conversion by almost 50% when you A/B test your email series.

Several researchers put email marketing as the top channel for lead generation. Chief Marketer’s 2018 B2B Lead Gen Outlook and DemandWave’s 2017 State of B2B Digital Marketing are excellent avenues for learning more about email marketing in 2018.

Email marketing does not get a lot of press and acclamation, but it still needs to be a large part of your marketing strategies in 2018.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

is one of the most popular strategies for B2B companies because you can target specific prospects and customers who are your ideal customers. ABM will become even more prominent in 2018 because an ABM growth strategy concentrates on best-fit or quality instead of quantity.

ABM is about targeting, not inbound marketing. Use ABM to narrow down your best prospects so you can customize a program around their specific needs, wants, and problems.

SiriusDecisions reports that more than 70% of B2B companies have staff in place dedicated full- or part-time to ABM programs.

Content marketing

Institute and MarketingProfs teamed up to create the 2018 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. In it, they state 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their marketing schemes. Of those who don’t, 54% plan to start content marketing in 2018.

This report also notes that white papers are the most effective form of content marketing. Interestingly enough, DemandWave’s and Chief Marketer’s reports mentioned above both found white papers effective for moving prospects through your funnel.

Rely on both blogs and white papers to generate leads in 2018. According to HubSpot, B2B companies using blogs get 67% more leads than those who do not.

Another consideration for your content marketing strategy is to incorporate visual content, specifically video. Aberdeen Group reports that B2B marketers using video get 66% more qualified leads than those who do not.

Live events

Live events, such as trade shows, client summits and more, are still a mainstay in B2B marketers’ toolboxes. In the Chief Marketer’s report discussed above, they found live events are tied with SEO as the second most effective form of producing significant ROI. The good news is that the study found 80% of C-Suite surveyed feel live events are critical to their company’s success.

With B2B’s high value buying cycles, in-person interactions through live events in 2018 continue to be a top contender for lead generation.

SEO

Tied with live events, is a popular and profitable lead generation tactic. Google reports that 71% of B2B buyers start their purchasing cycle with a generic online search. SEO, done right, delivers a large volume of leads.

With the demand clearly available, make sure your SEO strategies reflect current algorithms. Then set up analytics to measure your SEO program and tweak to make sure you are effectively using this channel for B2B lead generation.

Marketing technology

While not a specific lead generation tactic, marketing technology is certain to continue advancing in 2018. Salesforce found top performing marketers are 14 times more likely to adopt new technology into their marketing efforts than under-performing teams.

Marketing technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year. This explosive growth leads to more innovative solutions that can keep you in front of prospects and customers in unique and intriguing ways. Be on the lookout for innovative marketing technology in 2018 to help you generate even more leads.

Final thoughts

All of these trends lead in one direction: personalized marketing focused solely on the customer. To gain competitive advantage in today’s information-packed world, you need a deep understanding of your customers and prospects that borders on obsession.

Your prospects and customers have higher expectations than ever before because of the vast information available. Competition can be stiff, making delivering a sterling customer experience a must. When analyzing your , make sure your customer journey captures their experience with to help you deliver amazing customer experiences throughout your funnel.

Walker Information, a customer intelligence firm, reports that customer experience will exceed price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. Start now with the above strategies so you are ahead of the game by 2020.

Contact KEO Marketing today to take your lead generation efforts to the next level. .

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.