Get Started with Lead Generation
How great would it be to have leads come to you? With a good inbound lead generation strategy, you can have that happen.
In today’s climate, demands are higher than ever for constant improvements in sales, profits, and margins.
The number one question marketing teams should be asking themselves is: How do I get more qualified leads for my business or sales team?’ While this might seem like a given and over-simplistic, it’s the word QUALIFIED that drives the point home. But how can I and find the formula for, boosting sales and growing your business?
The first step in good lead generation is to know what you’re looking for: the clients you want in your funnel both the proverbial white whale and the entire school of fish. The vital thing to note here is these all should be more than just warm prospects; they should be leads that are ready to convert on your landing pages.
The most important thing digital marketing and analytics have taught us is that there’s no excuse for not putting your message in front of the right eyes. With tactics such as Google search, Social media, sophisticated remarketing, and persona targeting, it’s easier than ever.
It’s no longer a question of time, nor the size of your reach, but instead defining your exact target market that stands in your way of success. Once the buying trends and patterns of your primary targets are known, the only thing left to you and your team is to capitalize.
Here are seven sure-fire ways to get more qualified leads and a better return on your time and investment:
Use Social Media and Native Ads to Assist with Your Lead Generation Efforts
Location, location, location. Time and time again it’s been proven it’s not the size of the net you cast to try and land prospects, it’s the location. To land the big fish, you have to know where and when they’re biting. Lead generation is no different. Before a user arrives at your site or landing page, there is typically a campaign built that centers around brand awareness. Getting new (targeted) users familiar with your brand and services is an integral part of the lead generation processor any content marketing strategy. By creating and using personas (more on that later), and analyzing your market’s paths to conversion, you can expose potential customers to your brand, messaging, and services.
Two of the best ways you’ll find for initial outreach at the top of the funnel are by serving Social and Native ads to potential customers and utilizing “look-alike” audiences. These audiences will be targeted where they already spend most of their time: social media streams and news feeds. Why are Social and Native ads the way to go? Social ads and sponsored content are relatively inexpensive PPC methods, and Native ads are a great way to reinforce your brand and your content (e-books, blogs, etc.), positioning you as an expert in your field.
By placing well-thought-out content in front of users, you can capitalize on keywords and interests related to your service. Your ads will not only be seen but will quickly become part of the user’s normative landscape. Your brand and message become part of their viewing experience on their favorite websites, social media feeds, news networks, search engines, and more. By participating in programmatic ad platforms, you can ensure more eyes on you versus a traditional method of buying space on top sites only.
Optimize Your Website and Landing Pages for Better Lead Gen Opportunities
What’s even better than searching for qualified leads? Having them come to you! Also known as inbound lead generation.
This is where the traditional meets the modern data analytics. Through algorithms and constantly evolving scoring systems of search engines like Google and Bing, your company’s website content and landing pages can vastly improve your chance of first-page results for keyword searches exposing your website to tons of free traffic which could result in inbound lead generation.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t what it once may have been: just a collection of keywords slammed into your landing page and a proverbial roll of the dice. Today, a highly sophisticated and ever-changing formula for scoring includes keywords and content just as much as ever. However, it’s also reliant on how your website performs for the user (UX). How unique and valuable your content is to readers and viewed by crawlers analyzing the site can also impact your ranking.
Here are a few quick tips on how best to crack the code and rank higher than ever before:
- Produce High-Level Professional Content: This should go without saying, but the better and more engaging your landing page content, the more likely it is to be shared and rank higher. This immediately boosts your scores. Make sure you’re sticking to the technical requirements of excellent web content: always adding main keywords early in the content and using concise and unique titles, descriptions, and support copy.
- Optimize Everything: From making sure your images contain captions and metadata along with proper naming conventions, to the optimization of your title tags, SEO considerations should be in mind for every element and piece of content added to your website or landing page.
- Site Performance: Don’t overlook your website and server performance. Your site’s loading speed (speed score metrics) for desktop and mobile are vital parts of your ranking today and greatly affect your conversion rates. As visitor habits trend higher and more frequently to mobile, the more critical this score becomes.
Have an Updated and Mobile-Friendly Website
More and more business is being conducted online than ever before. If you’re trying to entice anyone to choose your service over a competitor, your online properties should speak directly to your targets and be more user-friendly than the competition. Today that means your website in its entirety, from your homepage and images to the navigation and form-fills should be mobile-friendly. Your website is more than your business card it is your business. The reality is no one looks at an out-dated website and immediately thinks that is the company I want to do business with or the trust for the service they are buying, especially not the one they’re willing to share their email with. Having a mobile-optimized website or landing page is crucial to lead generation and increased conversion rates.
In 2020, user-experience means more than just a clean interface, and a slick navigation and filter system. The first things you should be designing for are transparency and honesty. Disclaimers, cookie policies, and honest ethics must be at the forefront of your website. With more than half of all web traffic on mobile phones, a site visitor must feel safe and secure visiting a site without their desktop PC’s antivirus and firewalls protecting them from the evils that lurk around the corner. After all, today, a phone is not only a vital communication device, but a very private possession: it’s a wallet, an insurance card, and a holder of valuable memories, all in one. Every time your website is visited on a mobile device, it can be seen as a vote of confidence from the user. It’s perhaps their first impression of you and your company. More importantly, you’re gathering an increasing amount of information on them and determining if they are the target you’re looking for.
Define your Target Market for More Qualified Leads
One of the best ways to capitalize on potential business and create truly engaging, relevant content and digital campaigns is by developing target persona(s). You can not run an effective lead generation or content marketing strategy unless you know exactly who to target.
A target persona is simply a profile that represents your ideal customer. More than just a list of likes, a persona is a comprehensive profile of your perfect customer. The classification should clearly define who they are and what drives them to commit to you and your service. Perhaps most importantly, the persona should include both physical and emotional needs. While a great place to start is with a job position and geographical location, it should exceed standard demographics, questions, and definitions. Personas should always dig deeper into your ideal customers’ brains and lives to understand what makes them tick and, more importantly, make them choose you.
When you and your team create these personas, you’re able to customize all your inbound marketing efforts (especially in the digital sphere), connect with your target audience to meet their needs, and more aptly attempt to resolve their pain points. You must also define who is most likely to sign on the dotted line, as typically only one or two buyer personas convert for over 80% of a company’s sales. Understanding and grouping your visitors and targets are beyond valuable. It’s vital.
The ability to write persuasive copy directed to this audience will help you to engage and convert your users. Using these personas effectively for writing and inbound marketing can create an immediate impact on brand awareness and social media engagement to increase sales. Any improvement will kick off a snowball effect of those buyer personas to improve the brand message, appeal to the target audience, and improve commercial success.
Don’t forget to define your customers’ pain points and, more specifically, how your employees and your business can solve them better than the competition.
Use Email Marketing Automation with your Gated Content to Increase Sales
We’ve touched on how important your website is for lead generation and the level of trust needed for site visitors to convert. However, if you want your lead generation strategy to truly be effective don’t overlook the steps well before the Final Offer landing page. Yes, Always Be Closing, but it’s nice to give away some quality information to whet the proverbial appetite. That’s where gated content comes in. Gated content is any content that a user can access only after providing their personal information. Typically, that means sharing an email address.
What does this initial transaction do? By the user buying your content with their email, it is incentivizing lead generation. Visitors will arrive at your site through an advertisement, social network post, or search engine result. As long as the articles you share convince the visitor you are a reputable resource for the information you are offering, they are likely to be interested in reading more from you and your team. Gated content can become a top-performing stream of valuable sales leads. Remember, high-quality content should provide value and information without being sales-y.
Warning, this transaction isn’t a transfer of money (see: pricing strategies); you should never charge for your content. That’s a subscription/paywall model. If anything, that will be a deterrent for turning your visitors into qualified leads (or at a minimum requires other consideration for another time and blog).
When you have your Gated Content ready to go, an excellent way to nurture leads is through an email workflow.
Perhaps the most tried-and-true method (with a tremendous return on investment or ROI) is email marketing. This is a ridiculously successful way to increase leads and turn prospects into buyers. This was true in the days of “you’ve got mail” and is still true today, even as emails get shorter and more personable.
Email marketing is where you are finally able to build a trusting relationship with your target audience. Whether they’ve signed up directly on your website via a form field to your newsletter or from a gated content piece, every email sent to your list should not only make each recipient engaged, but know how important they are to your business. They should look forward to receiving the emails because of the high-quality content and a strategic cadence that enhances the true value of what you offer.
An important thing to remember is if an email list member downloaded your gated content (e-book, video, how-to manual, etc.), he or she might have simply been interested in the content of the piece, and not in your company and its services. Effective lead generation email marketing can define a person’s level of curiosity and qualification, and help to nurture them over time until it evolves into a genuine interest in committing to a product or service.
The final hurdle is: How can you engage simultaneously with hundreds (or thousands) of individuals, from two or more target personas all with unique drivers and pain points at varying stages of the buying cycle? The most efficient way is utilizing email / CRM marketing automation software to deliver relevant content in a timely and non-invasive manner.
While any productive CRM, lead management system, or marketing automation software can help with most of the technical items related to the email journey the general best practices for a great email remain:
- Personalized Subject
- Relevant, timely, and high-quality content
- support images (optional)
- Social media links
- An engaging Call To Action (CTA)
Without these lead generation tactics, your email marketing can likely land on deaf ears resulting in the nurture campaign turning away prospects before they become qualified leads for your sales team to take across the finish line.
External: Survey People on Your Website
Now that your lead generation engine is running and you’ve got visitors on your site, no matter the stage of the sale cycle they arrive, it’s a great time to get more feedback from them. Surveying visitors helps you understand their pain points better and will help you adjust your lead generation strategy. You will create an immediate connection with your audience and a survey puts you in a position of authority. By learning from their responses, you’re better equipped to tell them how you can solve those pain points. One way to achieve this is by writing better copy that resonates with prospective clients. Also, with this survey info, you can better segment your audience to serve them with more relevant information creating a stronger lead generation funnel.
Many CRMs include an automated survey-builder. If yours doesn’t, there are several stand-alone services out there that offer this. Most can share data and incorporate directly into the most popular CRM streams. Two things to keep in mind with your surveys are 1) not overwhelm the user with technical information and 2) length of surveys. Also, be sure to stay on topic. No one wants to be on a website about the area’s best ethnic restaurants and be asked if they prefer Ford or Chevy!
Internal: Survey your Sales Team
With all the talk of finding and bringing leads to you and your site, don’t forget to keep an ear to your company’s ground floor. After all, the final stages are when the warmest leads get handed off to the sales team. It’s the sales team that will know how well you’ve been doing throughout the entire lead generation process. Hopefully, your team is utilizing a lead scoring system, a way to qualify leads quantitatively to help provide feedback to your marketing team. Additional questions you should be asking:
- Are your target personas on point?
- Have you correctly identified your customers’ pain points and laid out how your service can resolve them?
- Was your website effective, and your email marketing friendly and engaging?
- Were any new issues revealed, and is there anything in the final offer preventing the final sale?
- Were there any objections from prospects?
- Is the lead scoring you are using with your CRM or lead management system accurate?
Once you have this information, you can address any issues or objections right on your website and through email marketing drip campaigns to bring that prospect from a warm to a hot sales lead by the time they get to your sales team. Using this strategy will also help you increase your return on investment
These are all things you’ll need for a cohesive and comprehensive analysis of your lead generation marketing efforts. Rinse, repeat, and succeed!
Because, after all, coffee is for closers.
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