Marketing

B2C Lead Generation Strategy: Key Differences and Best Approaches

25 B2C marketers weigh in with their top lead generation approaches.

Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik on October 19, 2020 (last modified on November 2, 2020) • 17 minute read

Many marketers think you have to treat B2B and B2C lead generation differently, but the reality is that you are still selling to people regardless of if it is B2B or B2C. So, the foundation of a successful B2C lead generation strategy is building trust, establishing emotional rapport, and offering something of value.

Let’s dive deeper into B2C lead generation and learn more about the key differences between B2B and B2C lead generation, as well as the best B2C lead generation strategies.

1. What is B2C Lead Generation? 

B2C lead generation is simply the process of turning visitors into engaged prospects and ultimately happy buyers. 

The best B2C lead generation approaches build up enough trust, rapport, and connection that the person feels comfortable enough to buy the product or service you are offering. 

Tiffany Lewis of More Meaningful Marketing says. “My experience has been that finding your ideal customer is most easily achieved when you are your authentic self. Personal branding goes a long way, and if you can get to a place of comfortability and vulnerability in who you are, the leads will follow, almost pre-qualify themselves, and convert based on trusting a person or brand they can identify with.” 

2. How to Generate B2C Leads? 

First, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to B2C lead generation. 

Egor Matveev of inSegment says, “It depends on the product/service. Long term strategies, such as SEO, Content marketing, and Influencers yield results for most verticals if done right.

However, if you’re starting something unique and trying to generate demand, there may not be any traffic out there to impact your content.

If you’re competing against industry leaders with a less-known product, your influencer marketing tactics might go unnoticed for an extended period of time.

But some products explode with paid marketing efforts, allowing for 100, 300, 1000% ROI with the right targeting choices. And not to forget about email outreach, that WILL show great returns when properly personalized and delivered to the right audience.

With all these things in mind, the ONE effective B2C lead gen method I’d name is to take your customers on a journey.

Align several (or all!) of the channels in a comprehensive strategy, explain your product or service in great detail, work with objections, and the success will not make you wait.” 

While many B2C marketers turn to content marketing, email, and paid search and social ads, Generating B2C leads (and customers) is all about knowing and educating your target audience.  This starts at the top of the funnel when they first hear about your company. 

Depending on the average sales cycle and often the price point of the product, a customer might buy at this point.

You’ll want to define the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, the bottom of the funnel, and then retention/upsell phases. 

However, Qyn Bayley-Hay of Arcane Digital says, “Generating leads for B2C is all about cost. It’s not always about being the cheapest; it’s about being the most valuable.

Time is a commodity, so if the customer is to give you theirs (along with their money), you need to offer something in return. Your product or service needs to meet their current needs, and selecting a customer at the correct stage of the lifecycle of their category journey is important.

I work with a premium men’s underwear retailer, targeting men who have not yet seen a need for something better than “what’s on sale at the department store” is a strategy that leads to “sticker shock” and a poor experience for the customer.

Demonstrating the value of investing in a product made from premium materials with thoughtful consideration paid to fit and form has seen sales rise continuously as we generate a compelling value proposition to qualified customers.”

However, with many products, most consumers need to hear about it an average of 7 times before making their first purchase. This is where defining your ideal customer’s journey comes in handy. 

Let’s take an example to illustrate how this might look. 

Say, you run an eCommerce store selling custom treadmills primarily to people between the ages of 30 and 55.  

The first step is to build brand awareness and let your customers know that you even exist. A top of funnel metric might be to get them to follow you on social media or visit your website.

Because your custom treadmills start at $500, most people aren’t going to make an impulse purchase. So, your next step is to educate them on why your custom treadmills are the best for their specific needs. This might include a handful of blog posts, like: 

  • How your custom treadmill stacks up against 3 treadmills on the market 
  • XX exercises you can do on a treadmill to lose weight.

The next part of the customer journey is to establish buying intent. For example, this is where a lead goes from reading about all of the things they might use a custom treadmill for searching for “how to buy XX custom treadmill” or “where to buy a custom treadmill.” 

Many marketers mistakenly stop here once a customer makes a purchase. However, once someone makes a purchase, this is where the real work comes into play. You want to make sure they have a great customer experience so that they buy from you again and tell all of their friends. 

3. 13 Best Lead Generation Methods/Strategies

As we mentioned above, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, we’re going to take a closer look at 9 of the most popular lead generation methods. 

1. Content Marketing 

“I recommend content marketing,” says Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging. “Seamlessly weave solutions into posts that solve people’s pain points. Make sure you have an optin form a few times in the post. Also, discretely offer links to products and services related to solving the problems people are reading the post looking to solve.” 

Anthony Barker of Homeownercosts says, “Showing expertise in your area and really being able to discuss nuance is what can set you apart from the competition.” 

Nathan Sebastian of GoodFirms adds, “Content Marketing is the one effective method for B2C lead generation. Content marketing is a household name now. So, almost everyone is aware of how it works. 

In the current scenario, customers are already saturated with content. So, it is necessary to create content that not only stands out but also is informative. A simple rule of thumb to follow is to give more value in fewer words.

The primary reason to adopt this rule of thumb is that no one will read a lot of information. Consumers will just scroll down the page. To catch their attention, two or three lines of unique content can get you those conversions.

An example of a brand with a successful content marketing strategy is GoPro. GoPro is a manufacturer of action cameras. They rely mostly on user-generated content, and they say it has a high impact on the customer’s purchasing decisions. Very little of the brand’s content is created by GoPro itself.” 

Max DesMarais of Vital Design agrees, “The most effective lead generation strategy is very case by case dependent on the client, but in the long run, it has almost always been content marketing efforts.” 

Editor’s Note:  Looking for an easy way to see your highest converting blog posts? Use this Organic Blog Traffic Dashboard template to see which posts convert search traffic into customers. 

Organic Blog Dashboard

2. Influencer Marketing 

Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls says, “One of the hottest areas in content is influencer marketing which is on the rise with more confidence in trusted content, friends and influencers than advertising — the world has been moving this way for years with people seeking their friends’ and influencers’ opinions and advice online on what to buy, where to go, and what to do more than a paid ad or fancily packaged content. 

Customers are savvy today. They are happy to buy what they want and need, but they do not like to be sold things. Curated content and ideas from a trusted source beat paid content every time. Partnering and building relationships with the right influencers with content that is co-created helps brands scale and grow faster and amplify and boost their message.” 

Related: 18 Expert Tips for Running Your First Influencer Marketing Campaign

3. SEO 

“SEO because most B2C lead generation industries are problems-oriented,” says Stan Tan of Selby’s. “Consumers are searching for a solution to a problem they have, and they want a solution now, and search is the fastest way to solve that problem. For example, if you have a leak in your toilet and you want to find a plumber, you won’t go to Facebook and wait for a few hours to get a few recommendations. You would search on Google and pick the plumbers with the best reviews, and you can do it instantly.” 

Brian Robben of Robben Media adds, “Rank on the first page of Google and your customers will naturally find your products or services when searching. Utilizing SEO is the most long-term and ROI-focused lead generation tactic in the world. We’ve made millions for our clients and ourselves through SEO alone.”

Related: 28 SEO Techniques That Can Dramatically Increase Your Organic Traffic

4. Paid Social Lead Campaigns 

“B2C lead generation has a much shorter sales cycle than B2B, since individuals are using their own money, typically for discretionary spending, rather than their company’s,” says Harris Schachter of Lend-Grow.

“One great way to generate leads for B2C is Facebook Lead Ads, which create pre-populated contact forms using the consumers’ Facebook profile, plus the ability to add custom questions to the forms. You can use these to integrate with most any CRM or automation platform to quickly score and follow up with these leads for a very low cost, compared with other display channels.” 

Sarah Green of F&G Funnel Mechanics says, “If you want to generate leads and your target audience is active on Facebook, then this is the most cost-effective way to reach a broad audience. You have got to ensure that your campaign is well optimized.” 

Jonathan Aufray of Digital Growth Hackers adds, “When running Facebook or Instagram ads, you don’t want to promote sales offers and discounts right away. You want to educate people about your brand and products. You want to show them interesting and insightful content to bring them to your funnel (Top of the funnel).

Once they have engaged with your ads, you can retarget them with more engaging content, products, testimonials.” 

Editor’s Note: If you want a quick way to monitor your Facebook ads in addition to any Google Ad campaigns you may be running, then you can use this Facebook and Google Ads Paid Marketing Overview Dashboard to monitor the performance and ROI of all of your ad campaigns in one place. 

Facebook and Google Ads Dashboard

Joe Czarniecki of Efferent Media says, “I’ve found that one of the most effective methods for B2C lead generation on social media is generating ads around customer testimonials and featuring real customers in video form discussing their experiences with whichever business I’m advertising for.

Whether it’s a product or service, people trust the honest opinions of other people. Especially if you’re using people similar to your target audience that they can relate to. Additionally, it helps even further to ask them to answer frequently asked questions that your business often gets about their product or service.

Doing this helps build trust, brand recognition, authority, and, ultimately, a huge increase in lead generation.

Finally, remarketing to custom audiences on all social media platforms has shown a 33.8% increase in overall leads for my clients (year over year) and a 24.3% decrease in cost per lead (year over year).” 

And, Sasha Matviienko of Growth360 adds, “An ideal example of a business that would choose Social Media Advertising as one of their primary channels would be a Real Estate agent.

While people do search for Real Estates, the nature of their business requires a lot of trust.

An ideal approach to Social Media advertising, in this case, would look like this: a Real Estate agent would record a video inviting consumers for a webinar (no one searches for that!), which roughly 30-50 people would attend. At the end of the webinar, prospects will be offered a consultation, which 5-7 of them will agree to. Just like a Real Estate agent would create an audience of people who know them and chances are, generate a Sale or two.

The beauty of both methods is that they rely on data, which means that you can easily calculate your average Cost per Sale. Let’s say it costs you $50 to get a sale online. Production costs for your product or a service amount to another $50. If your Sale Price is $150, your advertising pays for itself because you consistently make a profit. This means that you can repeat your initial success and scale further by expanding your advertising.”

5. Instagram 

“When looking at B2C, you want to be on the platforms that your customers frequently visit,” says Marcus Cook of The Success Bug. “Instagram has proved to be a great platform for us. We use paid and organic strategies to grow our following, and we have a link in our bio that is a sign up for our mailing list. It is a very low-cost way to build a mailing list and turn cold leads into warm ones.” 

Editor’s Note: This Instagram Business (Audience Overview) dashboard template will give you insights about your audience and followers’ growth. It will help you to understand your user base and drive ideas about post strategies.

Instagram Business (Audience Overview) dashboard template

6. Paid Search Campaigns 

“The most effective tool in B2C lead gen is paid search,” says Joe Karasin of Karasin PPC. “When looking for leads, the best way to capture them is to capture them when their interest is piqued. 

When someone is actively searching for your product or service, their interest level is high. Whether they are early in the research process or ready to buy now, paid search offers the best tools to capture people at the right moment. 

Take, for example, the real estate industry. I have clients across the country using paid search to generate leads for their business. A client in Cape Cod has pulled her Zillow spend and is only spending with my company and paid search because of the higher quality leads she is receiving.

Also, the volume is better. While my client in San Angelo, TX, was only generating 2-7 leads per month with paid social, they are now receiving 12-20 leads per month via paid search.” 

Editor’s Note: Use this free Google Ads Campaign Engagement dashboard template to track the efficiency of your campaigns, the keywords driving the most engagement, and more.

Google Ads Campaign Engagement Dashboard Template
Google Ads Campaign Engagement Dashboard Template

7. Organic Social Media Marketing 

“Cycles and transactions for B2C tend to be much shorter and cost less,” says Mike Sadowski of Brand24. “Therefore, for B2C leads, we work almost exclusively on gaining leads through social media as that’s where the customers live. Social media is simply the best way of reaching a ton of potential leads without having to spend a fortune on advertising.” 

Editor’s Note: This Google Analytics Social Media dashboard looks at the actions users take after learning about your brand on social media.

Google Analytics Social Media Dashboard

8. Email Marketing  

“We’ve found our most effective method is a strong mailing list that’s linked up to a sales funnel,” says Dan Bailey of WikiLawn. “We offer something free (or steeply discounted) in exchange for an email address, then slowly market over time.” 

Editor’s Note: This Email Marketing Performance dashboard template allows you to see how the content of your email has been performing, monitor the health of your email database, helps you track email open rates and CTOR, and much more.

Email Marketing Performance dashboard template

9. Email and Social Media Cross-Promotion 

“Cross-promotion of email marketing and social media marketing has worked really well for me when it comes to B2C lead generation,” says Alejandro Rioja of So Influential. “Using social buttons in emails so that your subscribers can share content with others is a good strategy to get leads to your site. 

Similarly, on your social media platforms, let your followers know that you have an email list and what they can expect from your email campaigns/messages. It helps in bringing consumers from one platform to the other.” 

Daniel Snow of The Snow Agency adds, “Online marketing is all about constantly testing with ideas of lead generation and pivoting to try new stuff when necessary. Marketers and/or business owners should use any resource, including current audiences, at their disposal.

People who follow you on social media may not receive your newsletter by email, and vice versa. That’s an issue because you want them as integrated as possible in your business.

In your emails, use social media buttons so subscribers can share your content with others. Invite them to forward your emails to their friends.

On social media, let people know you offer an email list. Tell them exactly what to expect: in the same voice and style that you use with other public channels.

Many marketers are too centered on the number of subscribers they have, the number of Facebook likes they receive, the number of Instagram followers they have acquired, etc. Get out of that mindset.

Look for ways to carry followers from one channel to another instead of agonizing over follower counts. Once people are in your platforms, you may then ask them to convert and turn them into leads.” 

10. Retargeting Campaigns 

“Social media retargeting is effective for meeting people where they are with the products you know that they want to see,” says Meara McNitt of Online Optimism.

“Facebook has severely limited its targeting capabilities, making it harder each day for B2C businesses to reach their ideal audience. By instead re-engaging people who have already shown interest, you’re more likely to secure the lead or sell the product.” 

11. Quora

“Engaging in Quora has also brought us some leads, so it might be another new channel to really focus in the near future,” says Marcin Muras of Upmenu

12. Live Chat 

“An effective lead generation tool is a live chat on a website,” says Aarron McWilliams of 1Dental. “When leads visit a website and have questions, they can get immediate answers. They can also enter their email or contact information to receive help.

This is an effective lead generation strategy because these leads are likely to convert because they are already on a site asking questions about products or services. On top of capturing lead information, live chats can also prompt the consumer to purchase or schedule a demo.”

Related: 32+ Live Website Chat Features You Need If You Want More Leads

13. Trial Promotions 

“One of the most effective B2C lead generation methods for my company is trial promotions,” says James Boatwright of Code Galaxy. “We’re currently running a promotion to allow potential students to try the first class of our course for free, and it has been a huge success. Especially in low economic times, many people want to make sure their investment will be worth it, so we want to help show them our value without forcing a commitment.” 

In sum, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to B2C lead generation. It boils down to knowing your ideal customer, building trust, and demonstrating how the products can offer value or solve a pain point.  

About the author
Jessica Malnik
Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik is a content strategist and copywriter for SaaS and productized service businesses. Her writing has appeared on The Next Web, Social Media Examiner, SEMRush, CMX, Help Scout, Convince & Convert, and many other sites.
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