Your B2B organization is primarily focused on finding customers and generating revenue. That’s the case for most companies. But if you lack B2B brand awareness, demand for your services is not reaching its potential.
So which marketing strategy should a B2B company invest in when looking to grow -- increasing brand awareness or lead generation?
B2B Brand Awareness Vs. Lead Generation
While brand awareness and lead generation are technically different things, they impact each other directly.
Some companies are great about promoting their brand, but their websites fail to convert leads. One of the most common pitfalls is lack of landing pages -- conversion opportunities that aren’t RFQs or contact forms.
Other businesses fall victim to the opposite problem: They possess an intuitive website and valuable knowledge, but they neglect building brand awareness. It’s hard to sell to people if they don’t know you exist.
You can’t have one without the other and expect success.
Brand Awareness & Website Traffic Go Hand in Hand
Wouldn’t it be amazing if every prospect were to do this?
- Head straight to one of your webpages
- Read over the content
- Click your call-to-action
- Become your newest customer
Unfortunately, lead generation is rarely a straight path. Chances are your prospects will conduct multiple online searches and visit several websites.
(If you’re looking to implement a brand awareness strategy, start here.)
Most B2B companies are not household names -- it’s the nature of the business. It’s especially important to define who you want to be more aware of your B2B brand -- your target market. This goes hand in hand with generating the right leads. Without this step, you’ll waste a lot of resources promoting yourself to the wrong people.
Those who are already viewing and “liking’ your content are more likely to become buyers than a website visitor who found your page by accident. Leads are great, but great leads are even better.
Content Marketing: Two Birds, One Stone
Modern buyers often research their problems or opportunities online first.
During customers’ information-gathering portion of their buyer’s journey is when you have the highest potential for building your B2B brand awareness. This, in turn, can generate leads.
Perhaps even more than B2C companies, B2Bs need to create valuable content -- blogs, videos, etc. -- that provide answers to specific questions of those working in niche markets. If you can build your brand in a market that’s largely uncharted territory online, your brand’s presence can dominate.
In B2B marketing, one piece of content or one social post doesn’t always equal one sale.
To increase lead-generating opportunities, you need to expand the top of your marketing funnel with multiple brand-awareness efforts. Sometimes it’s only after multiple visits to your site that a lead becomes a potential customer. The more ways you can bring leads in, the better.
Another task to tackle in both increasing brand awareness and generating leads is promoting your brand’s content on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The more people become aware of your expertise, the more likely they’ll turn to you come purchase time.
Through these efforts, your website is better positioned to rank well in search engines for keywords your potential leads are using. With those awareness-raising blogs and social posts acting as lead magnets, you can begin lead capturing, doing things like collecting information such as email addresses.
One of the best parts of this content marketing approach to brand awareness and lead finding? The effect compounds over time.
Invest in Both Brand Awareness & Lead Generation Strategies
Brand building doesn’t require a huge budget, and you do have options to take some of the pressure off increasing brand awareness and lead generation:
- Using internal staff or hiring an agency to optimize SEO or set up PPC campaigns can get your name out there and collect leads at the same time.
- The same goes for writing content. A skilled marketer already in your building may be up to the task, or you can outsource the work to a professional. Because content strategies rely heavily on repurposing and republishing, a little investment can go a long way.
- You can also employ someone to examine your brand awareness metrics daily. That includes social shares, website traffic, and about a million other tactics that work behind the scenes to influence your reach.
A Long-Term Payout
One of the most important things to be mindful of in both B2B brand awareness and lead generation strategies is this: they take time.
Monitoring your company’s reach and building a library of content will not produce immediate results. Rather, they build your online clout over time to create a steady increase in traffic, leads, and customers.
Staying the course with the appropriate content creation and distribution strategies can lead to big gains in your company’s brand awareness AND lead generation.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July 2017 and was updated in April 2020 to reflect modern tactics.)