Lead generation is the lifeline of your business. Without leads and sales, your business will eventually fail. But, with a steady stream of potential customers, your business has an excellent chance of thriving.
Unfortunately, lead generation strategies are more complicated nowadays. That’s because in the 21st century, valuable information is at a premium.
That means using traditional lead generation techniques won’t work anymore. New customers find YOU. Not the other way around.
In fact, Hubspot reports that only 18% of marketers say outbound practices provide the highest quality leads for sales.
Search engines make it easy to find answers to your questions, and with those answers a mere Google search away, you must have a successful marketing strategy in place that ensures you’re providing the right information for the right customer.
So, how do you obtain and retain a lead in this era of information? Here are 3 steps to help you:
Identify your target customer
Create the right content for your buyer
Capture their information
STEP 1: Identify Your Target Customer
Buyers have changed, but have you?
Businesses have to accept the fact that the Internet has now entered the buying cycle, and it is making waves.
It’s no secret that the Internet has forever changed how people do what they do. In fact, when it comes to business, it’s the first meeting between a possible buyer and your business.
Therefore, your internet presence and presentation are of higher value than ever before. Online lead generation begins with identifying your buyer persona. Your buyer persona, or your ideal customer, is critical to developing the right marketing strategy that will help you in retaining and qualifying leads and developing new ones.
But, is a buyer persona necessary?
Yes. Creating buyer personas helps you understand your potential clients and prospects, and they allow you to market your product or service more effectively by better tailoring content to fit their specific needs, behaviors and concerns.
Identifying your buyer persona also will help you identify what mediums you should take advantage of to showcase your content so in the end, you can connect with qualified leads.
Why is this important? Here’s one example: Forbes reports 78% of consumers say that posts made by companies on social media influence their purchases.
If you want to catch a fish, you have to go where the fish are biting.
How do you identify your buyer persona? Our article, Keys To Finding Your Ideal Buyer Persona, walks you through the process of narrowing down this important component of your marketing plan.
STEP 2: Create The Right Content
Once you get a consumer to your website, whether it’s through a search engine, social media, paid advertising or elsewhere, your work isn’t finished. In fact, it’s only just begun.
The challenge now is to hold the attention that has just been given to you so that you can capture a prospect’s contact information.
In 2000, the average attention span of a consumer in the United States was 12 seconds. Today, that average has fallen to a mere 8 seconds.
If you are going to convince buyers to stay on your site, you need to use the valuable resources that you have and do it quickly. You can do this with targeted landing pages, site offers and features designed to incite interest and convert these visitors into potential sales leads.
Some effective types of content that help you obtain leads include:
Offers are downloadable content designed to provide, solutions to your target customers’ problems or educational material aimed at helping buyers overcome the challenges they may be facing. This type of online marketing is presented in the form of ebooks, case studies, checklists, white papers and other informative items that can be accessed and downloaded at the click of a mouse.
You may be surprised to hear that you should only position one primary offer on a specific landing page. Driving traffic from blog articles via organic search results or paid advertising should always be linked to your primary offer, and not your home page.
Many businesses across the country make the mistake of linking their paid advertising campaigns or cta’s to their home page where they are typically offering tons of services to try and appeal to everyone. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer multiple services. It simply means you shouldn’t be diluting your company’s value. Instead, decide what you’re best at and lead with that particular service or product.
Calls-to-action are buttons or links on your website that push viewers to take action and to interact with your business. For example, “Download now” or “Register for a free webinar” are popular options. When calls-to-action are done right, they can ensure visitors will be directed to a solution to address their problem.
Landing pages are the webpages that are linked to call-to-action buttons or links that promote your offers. Once you develop this piece of content, it is imperative that it has its own landing page on your website.
For example, a simple search for “Air BnB hosting” to see if hosting my property is worth it, provided a paid search ad for VRBO. Their landing page contains all the elements I will likely need to review before making an informed decision about hosting with them. These are all above-the-fold components.
Oh, and did you spot one of the biggest components of a landing page? There is no main menu navigation!
These pages are critical since they provide visitors with the opportunity to download your offer and learn how to solve their problems. You DO NOT want to send potential customers to your homepage because it will not address the concerns they have nor match the reason why they clicked on the CTA in the first place.
There is nothing worse than directing a potential customer who is looking for possible solutions to a problem that day and then presenting them with your homepage. That's a great way to force your potential customer into confusion and frustration as they try to find the solution on your web pages that you promised them.
Ultimately, in a matter of seconds, that customer has a poor user experience, leaves your website and is unlikely to return to your shop or service. Your online lead generation success depends on not making mistakes like this.
Landing pages also give your sales team an opportunity to nurture potential customers into becoming potential customers. In addition to allowing potential customers to access the information they want more quickly, landing pages allow you to capture personal information about the prospect, such as contact details like an email address or phone number, in exchange for the offer.
Landing pages are among the best ways to collect this information. In fact, according to Hubspot, companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7 times more leads than those with fewer than 10.
Blog posts rich with multi-media content include articles, videos and links to intra-site material topics that are of interest to your ideal consumer are key in attracting visitors captivated by today’s multi-media world.
What is a blog and should you have one? For businesses, a blog usually serves a specific purpose and can be an important tool to engage prospects and customers by delivering information relevant to their needs.
Blogging allows businesses to deliver targeted content to their audiences, provide advice and serve as an expert authority on a subject. It is an effective inbound marketing tool that promotes visibility online and helps boost business growth and brand awareness.
Increased frequency of a site’s blog increases sales leads. In fact, according to Hubspot, marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI.
Blogs are a tremendous way to provide value to your targeted consumers and generate online leads by subscribing to receive your information.
Social Media Widgets
One area many companies overlook are embedding social media widgets on their sites. This is an easy way to encourage sharing of content on a variety of social media networks.
By giving visitors the option to share the content they are viewing to Facebook, Twitter and more, you are appealing to their desire for connection while also boosting the number of eyes your name and brand can potentially reach. New leads can come from a variety of sources, and social media widgets is one of them.
These are just a few of the ways content can help you obtain and retain leads. By combining social media with effective content, you’re on your way to igniting important leads for your business.
STEP 3: FORMS
The information you are asking for on a landing page form, in return for accessing your offer, must be in relation to the offer you are providing and in the correct stage of the buyers' journey.
There are typically 3 stages of a buyers journey that should include specific offers:
Webinars, Checklists, eBooks, Whitepapers, How-To Videos, Tip Sheets
Case Study, Product Video, Data Sheet, Demo Video, Sample, FAQ
Free Trial, Live Demo, Consultation, Estimate, Coupon
For example, If your offer is a top-of-the-funnel offer, Awareness Stage, and you are asking for their full name, email, phone number, company name, website URL, how many employees they have, how much revenue they generate, and so on, you will lose that lead immediately. The information you are asking for does not match the value of the offer.
Top-of-the-funnel offers should ask for minimal information like first name and email address … and that’s it. It’s important to remember that top-of-the-funnel offers must still provide tons of value. Just because you are only asking for a first name and email address, does not mean you can just “mail in the offer. You need to give your potential customers a solid reason to part with their information in exchange for your offer.
Then lastly make sure the button to accept the offer has an action to it. Do not say Submit! Download Now or Register Now are better examples.
Once a lead is in your database system, it can be nurtured throughout the buying process, with additional targeted information and offers. It’s at these later stages of the buyers' journey that you can ask for additional information to provide a fuller picture of your potential customer.
BONUS: Track Your Progress
After identifying your buyer persona and creating the right content that appeals to that buyer persona, you may be wondering, how do I know if this is even working?
You must track the activity your company is receiving online. In other words, you must assess both the traffic on your website and the content connections being drawn through social media networks.
If you are still not obtaining or retaining the number of potential leads you desire, make adjustments and keep making adjustments until you get there.
After all, in this era of information, you must adapt to overcome the difficulties presented by the way today’s buyers look for information and ultimately make a decision.
For many business owners in a community, this can present yet another challenge - finding the time to thoroughly examine whether your marketing plan is working.
The good news is, the right content marketing company can help you do a lot with a small business marketing budget. Not only will an inbound marketing agency create informative, engaging content that provides a long-term lead generation strategy, it also will utilize effective tools to help track the progress of your marketing plan.
Among the many benefits of working with an experienced marketing agency are:
- Expertise with your market niche
- Money savings by hiring to your specific needs
- No employee training required
- No additional overhead
- Execution of your marketing plan immediately
The right online marketing company will provide valuable resources that help you optimize SEO, manage your social media channels, create engaging content customized toward your customer base and track the progress of your plan so that adjustments can be made accordingly.
Here is an example of the type of information an inbound marketing agency tracks as it monitors your marketing plan, as well as the effectiveness of using the right tools to generate leads and improve your conversion rates.
If you want to reel in the right buyers and retain these leads for your sales funnel, you need to identify your target audience, know how to implement the right content and know when adjustments are needed on your platform.
With this knowledge, you’ll be on your way to generating leads, meeting your goal and ultimately growing your business.
One main problem is that there is nothing here about retaining leads. This should be step 3 and “Track Your Progress” step 4.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!