As lead generation continues being one of the biggest marketing challenges for businesses, there are still ways to ensure that it doesn’t continue this way.
A recurring theme I see with companies that turn to me for lead generation help really boils down to the following:
- No clear strategy. For instance, this could mean that a dedicated budget isn’t even in place and the old excuse of, “Oh yeah we have money but we want to be conservative” is understandable but quite honestly, it’s not going to get you very far.
- No marketing expert(s) in-house. An all-too-common scenario is that you end up having someone who knows a little bit about marketing but doesn’t clearly understand the inner workings of how to leverage the right platforms to target the right audience for lead gen.
- Not enough content that aligns searcher intent with specific SEO tactics.
- No omnichannel approach to making everything come full circle and work well together.
- No marketing automation tool to sync with your CRM.
- Wanting a cheap solution that will deliver BIG results. This is an outdated state of thinking and I promise you won’t be successful if you stay in this mindset.
With all of this in mind, I’m sure you can already tell that I might just be pretty damn passionate about this topic. Companies that say they want to push for growth have to have their lead gen process and strategy down with a solid plan. That will help tremendously among other things as well.
Let’s dive in…
1. Define your vision
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, you have to start by asking yourself, what your vision for lead generation this year looks like. Sure, you’ll probably say “more.” Clearly, more leads are a good start, but let’s delve deeper. Let’s shoot for high-quality leads, leads that are more likely to convert. While defining or refining your vision for lead generation, take some time to map out a plan.
Define your objectives by asking some pertinent questions, like:
- Who is your target audience?
- What will trigger engagement and an action to buy?
- What does the entire buyer journey look like?
- What types of marketing campaigns do you envision for the upcoming year, and how can you align our lead generation efforts with those campaigns?
Creating a vision for the year ahead means outlining your goals and following up with strategies designed to support them. Boosting lead generation isn’t just about choosing the right tactics; it’s about creating clear and quantifiable goals, making the most of your marketing budget dollars, and directing your staff and resources in a manner that supports your marketing initiatives.
2. Create a lead generation strategy
As you develop your lead gen strategy, it has to not only align with your vision but also the overall business objectives which will come down to revenue growth. In order to get an effective strategy in place, consider the following:
- Setting up SMART goals.
- Identifying tactics that will support your strategy.
- Tools and processes that need to be in place.
- Knowing the key places your target personas are.
- Painting the buyer journey and figuring out where content assets can support.
- Doing a competitive analysis.
That said, it’s also important to understand what the lead generation process looks like as well. Here’s a great example outlined by HubSpot:
- First, a visitor discovers your business through one of your marketing channels, such as your website, blog, or social media page.
- That visitor then clicks on your call-to-action (CTA) — an image, button, or message that encourages website visitors to take some sort of action.
- That CTA takes your visitor to a landing page, which is a web page that is designed to capture lead information in exchange for an offer.
Note: An offer is the content or something of value that’s being “offered” on the landing page, like an ebook, a course, or a template. The offer must have enough perceived value to a visitor for them to provide their personal information in exchange for access to it.)
- Once on the landing page, your visitor fills out a form in exchange for the offer. (Forms are typically hosted on landing pages, although they can technically be embedded anywhere on your site.) Voila! You have a new lead. That is, as long as you’re following lead-capture form best practices.
3. Choose 3-5 tactics to execute
It can be easy to feel like you have to implement a hundred different things in order to yield any positive results. Let’s face it, the digital marketing space can be overwhelming and it is, in fact, saturated with so much.
Don’t get lost in the mix of it all. Instead, once you establish your vision and strategy, you should outline specific tactics that will support both. This will push you to get much more focused so you aren’t inching towards the finish line with producing results or collecting data to help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
My recommendation that I’ve seen work across the board — no matter the sector or size of your company — are: email marketing, paid media, and SEO. Let me elaborate a bit more on each tactic to help paint a clearer picture.
As I like to say, email marketing is truly far from dead. Businesses that yield amazing results with their email efforts do so because they are not only consistent, but they also approach it with science and creativity.
This means that you are segmenting recipients based on their behavior; you are implementing lead scoring; you are testing subject lines, CTAs, visuals, etc.; and you are also pushing emails based on the recipient’s lifecycle stage. In other words, personalization is a huge aspect. From there, you can then turn to automation to save time.
As I mentioned in a recent blog post, here are key stats as to why automation is so effective and efficient:
- Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails
- Transactional emails 8x more opens and clicks than other emails and can generate 6x more revenue
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases
- 78% of marketers say that list segmentation is the marketing automation feature they can’t live without
- Customers who receive automated abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4x more likely to complete their purchase
- 55% of all companies are currently using marketing automation
Before you start to spend any marketing dollars you need to figure out the following:
- What is your positioning?
- What type of messaging are you going to test?
- Who is your target audience?
- Which ad platforms will you advertise on?
- What’s your budget?
- What are your projected results?
What I love about a solid paid media approach is the fact that you’ll be able to quickly gather data that will explicitly tell you which channels are converting the best, where you’ll need to optimize your overall positioning, and where you need to stop spending.
Where I see a lot of companies get into trouble with their paid media executions is that they get complacent with ad variations and optimization. In order to ensure that yours doesn’t do that, you need to make sure analytics is set up to track the movement of what happens from clicks to your landing pages, etc.
Once you start generating qualified leads, you’ll then need to ensure that you’re infusing email marketing to nurture these leads into sales qualified leads. It’s crucial that you don’t just look at MQLs, but track which channels are driving the best leads for the most conversions with the great LTV.
Educate yourself with understanding the basics of SEO because this will help you see how doing it right will positively impact your lead generation efforts and business in general. Know that SEO is a longer term process so if you’re looking for the immediate results you would see with paid media, you’ll be largely disappointed.
The great thing about SEO is that as you continue being persistent and consistent with your efforts, you’ll begin to see results. This means better rankings, more targeted site traffic with leads that have a higher likelihood of becoming paid customers without as much effort.
Yes, you’ll be building awareness and also driving leads. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Additionally, SEO will help you figure out the right balance between the searcher intent and contextually relevant content that will actually engage with the right people.
Wrapping it up
Know that content will continue to also play a very integral part of your lead generation because it will be in everything you do. From writing blog posts, to creating downloadable assets, and promoting it all on social, your messaging is going to be key for figuring out what triggers your target audience to take action.
As I always recommend, with everything you do, make sure you are measuring it all. This will help you gain clarity around the things that are working and the things that aren’t. Executing with a data-driven marketing approach isn’t the end all be all, but it will provide insight for making better decisions moving forward.