B2B lead generation is one of the most intricate tasks that face any marketing professional. With leads serving as the foundation on which sales and marketing are built upon, lead generation is a high-stakes, high-competition game.

While most marketers have their own specific rhyme and reason for developing and cultivating leads, the shifting landscape may send some of those old tricks into question. While email marketing remains the stalwart of the lead generation game, many other elements have been tweaked and refined to reflect the increasingly mobile-focused landscape.

To keep you and your business up to speed, we’ve put together a list of 12 tips that are proven to generate leads and drive sales for B2B marketing.

1. Email Marketing

Email marketing is consistently ranked as the best channel in regards to ROI. When it comes to B2B, you are looking to foster a relationship rather than persuade someone to buy on impulse. And while the average return fluctuates from year to year, email marketing delivers an average of $40 on every $1 investment.

The key here is to personalize your messages, to draft your copy with care, and make sure to take care of your prospective B2B lead every step of the way—regardless of the lead generation stage.

2. Marketing Automation

After your email campaign is in full swing, keep an eye on marketing automation in order to check your lead development progressions at every level. Keeping campaign development, landing page creation, lead capturing, scoring, nurturing, and of course, email, all in one place, marketing automation is not only a method of marketing organization but of streamlining the entire process. Curious as to how automation can affect your B2B strategy? Read on.

3. SEO

An essential marketing practice that can be extremely undervalued, search engine optimization (SEO) is deceivingly simple — and notoriously unpredictable. In the past, proper keywords usage was a surefire way rank in any SERP. B2B marketers now have to take many more factors into consideration. Organic results generated by queries are now accompanied by paid search and digital placements — additional tools used to boost your B2B lead gen.

Keep in mind that when it comes to SEO, you’re playing the long game. Optimizing your strategy will not have inbound leads falling at your feet overnight. Instead, building a proper SEO strategy, slowly and steadily, while developing a distinct voice for your brand is key. Curious about how to optimize your SEO strategy? Read our take here.

4. Landing pages

One of the most straightforward ways to up your conversion rates and overall lead generation results is to a develop a great landing page with an enticing form. Whether you’re offering a trial, a special offer, or another kind of deal entirely, its best to have a specific B2B target group in mind. The online marketing institute breaks down B2B buyers into 5 categories: researchers, end users, IT influencers, finance decision makers, and executives. Decide which audience you would like to focus in order to launch your B2B campaign in the most effective way possible.

Pro tip: good copywriting that includes a call-to-action, and an element of visual storytelling will set your landing page above the rest.

5. Paid Ads

While paid ads may seem like a classic and surefire way to generate leads, it is deceivingly difficult. Consider this: for AdWords specifically, there is a low search volume and high competition, which results in expensive CPCs.

However, high-risk gambles can have high payoffs. Social media channels – especially Linkedin for B2B lead generation – can be a vital source for your leads. Establish which channels serve your industry best, and work from there.

6. Webinars

Webinars will put a face to your expertise. Every time you host a webinar, you are pitching to many potential leads, and nurturing the ones you already have. This is an excellent way to build trust between your business and others while also gaining a great ROI; that is if your webinar is conducted and planned properly.

For best post-webinar practice, send your audience a package that includes the webinar recording, and any future reminders regarding upcoming webinars, given that the majority of the audience will not already be converted.

7. Content Marketing

An umbrella term that encompasses a variety of tactics, content marketing is a great way to flex your many marketing muscles and to position you as an expert in your industry. Publish blogs that promote backlinks to your website; send out newsletters; write and publish articles on all possible social channels; conduct case studies; create videos, ebooks, podcasts, infographics, whitepapers, and incorporate illustrations and photos to your content for added value across the board. An exhausting list that can lead to excellent results.

This may be the least direct lead generation technique, but it greatly influences the other initiatives that you have on the go.

8. Online Directory Listings

The more directories of value that you’re listed on, the more traction your business will get. Popular SaaS solutions review directories are G2 Crowd (one of the top marketing automation platforms, which we’ve been ranked amongst the best tools), Capterra, GetApp, Software Advice, and more. Research the sites that best suit your industry in order to garner inbound B2B leads.

9. Website Optimization

As we steadily push towards an era of “mobile first”, it’s more important than ever before to ensure that your website promotes design that connects with people. A website that looks great on all forms of tech bodes well for lead generation.

Consider your onsite SEO, your level of mobile response, UX development, and page speed for a better user (and lead generating) experience.

10. Affiliate Marketing

Consider affiliate marketing as an extension of your business’s own marketing team—another line used to reel in the big fish. An excellent way to generate leads, make sure to monitor the quality of the traffic the affiliates are sending your way, as well as the conversation rate you’re offering on your landing page. Each affiliate will also get a cookie-enabled link that will provide a commission in exchange for each referral.

And while commission and the shelf-life of a referral vary from industry to industry treat your affiliate businesses well while also keeping an eye on their progress, and the leads will come.

11. Influencer Marketing

Similar to affiliate marketing, influencers are a type of credible – and professional – individuals within a given industry. Helping your business by using a credible or known face to help promote your product, influencer marketing can range from the volatile, to extremely rewarding. Serving almost as an elevated, and more social form of guerrilla marketing, it’s important to look for individuals that match your industry.

While the line between an influencer and an affiliate marketer is, at times, difficult to decipher, influencers are relying on social interactions over commissions. Search for your influencers at the intersection of your business’s interests and the needs of your target audience.

12. Social Selling

Actively participating in conversations that involve your industry is a great way to show off your expertise in such a way that generates leads, and builds trust. Contribute to online discussion and forums, and interact with leads – both nurtured and potential ones – across all your social platforms on a regular basis.

LinkedIn, of course, is the most valuable social platform when discussing B2B tactics. Engage, connect, participate in forums, groups, and stay active in regards to posting. Here are a few tips on how to use LinkedIn’s many features.

B2B lead generation can be very important if done properly. Take the tips above to heart, and integrate them into your marketing strategy in order to generate the best possible leads, and to leave a lasting mark on your industry as a whole. In the era of “fake news,” a valued and nurtured sense of trust goes a long way.