Lead generation is a tricky little thing, especially now in the days of so many new tactics popping up every few months. We all want good, qualified leads that enter our funnel on a consistent basis with a majority that turn into high-paying, long-term customers, right? What a simple plan!
It’s never that simple.
On average, it takes 27 brand impressions to persuade a visitor to click an ad. Wow, 27! Consumers are inundated with advertising on TV, radio, pop-ups and mobile, all of which is designed to disrupt and either keep the brand in front of you or get you to close the deal, buy those shoes or download that PDF.
And in the B2B world, since the sales cycle tends to be longer and the target audience tends to not want to be found (in my experience), we need to be super direct and extra diligent with our spending.
So how do we do it?
As a lead generation expert, I am asked this question by EVERY prospect:
“How do I find my best customers, and why should I choose you to help me?”
Of course, this is the holy grail of lead gen marketing. If we could always find the best customer that easily, we would all be flying down to our private islands. Whether I am working with agencies as their expert or talking directly to my clients, there are three simple rules I use when setting up their lead generation campaigns.
I can’t promise leads will be pouring into your funnels, but if you stick to these guidelines, I can guarantee that the quality of your campaigns and leads will improve no matter whether you are a B2C or B2B marketer.
Don’t Forget the Source
If you’re a typical marketer, you will try various lead generation tactics to find leads… and you should. Benchmarking and testing variables are very important, but underused tools in our tool belts.
No matter whether you’re advertising on Facebook, Google Adwords or LinkedIn; pursuing association marketing; emailing cold lists; offering webinars, or using any other tactic, the messaging may be the same, but the tone can and SHOULD be different. My connection, Sima Dahl, does a great job illustrating this in one of her presentations about Social Branding in which she discusses the nuances of the social media platforms in a party format. She talks about LinkedIn as the business networking event, Twitter as the cocktail party, and Facebook as the backyard barbecue… and points out that you shouldn’t approach each one of those situations the same.
Leads that come in from Facebook are different than those that come in from LinkedIn. You can argue with me all you want that they are the same, and they could be in some cases, but how you follow up should be completely different because the mission of all of these platforms is different. When you’re creating your follow-up email campaigns and sending messages to some or all of these leads (in or out of the automation program), take that into account. Address where the lead came from in the subject line or headline, and don’t forget it. I have signed up for many marketing lists as a former corporate marketer, and I often can’t remember why I did. Keep me engaged and remind me why I was interested in the first place.
Adjust the Drip
Ok, so your lead generation programs are running, your content is working and you’re seeing some conversions. Now what? Even if you’re a B2C company, not all leads will convert into customers right away. For example, in a former company, our main call to action was to get an initial quote on service. As a result, a small percentage bought right away. But, an even larger percentage just wanted to see the pricing before adding our company into their decision-making process, which left many unconverted leads out there for the taking.
And, if you’re a B2B company, all you have are leads of varying quality, and you may not know much before passing them along to the sales team.
In either case, you want to stay in front of your audience with content to encourage a conversion, support their decision, give them further information or—lest I have to say it—give them a fear-based scenario of what could happen if they don’t convert with you. That’s where the drip marketing program comes into place.
For most companies, the bandwidth to manage a program is desirable, but unrealistic. For those companies that are able to have someone manage a marketing automation program, it can be a game-changing tool.
But I will caution that you must adjust the drip. What does that mean? Not all follow-up marketing programs are created equal. For instance, a quote follow-up campaign may need seven emails in 14 days because it is a highly competitive service and decision-making usually is completed within 14–21 day,s so quantity of communications is important. Conversely, you may want to construct your webinar follow-up program to deploy a post-webinar “thank you” email, and then send one email every 30 days for six months. And there are nuances within those two example programs that could require further segmentation.
Your follow up marketing program should be customized depending on:
- Target audience
- Call to action
- Time to decision
Have a Secondary Call to Action
As always, not every lead will be interested in or convert on that single call to action. If it requires more than a download, most leads aren’t even ready for that commitment. I always encourage my clients to drive to a single call to action because it is easy to track, measure and test.
That being said, if you are finding conversion rates to be low or leads to be dwindling, start developing that intermediary call to action. In the quote example from above, it may be a comparison chart download piece or it could be a video explaining your product, service or benefit.
You will never know what truly converts well without testing out a few calls to action. Know that you should have a back-pocket CTA ready. Look at all the trigger points throughout your lead journey, whether it’s at the top of the funnel in getting a prospect to become a lead or if it’s in the middle of the funnel and persuading them to convert.
A few examples of where CTAs can point are:
- Demo or discovery calls
- Entering the target into a prospect campaign
Next year is already becoming “the year of (insert many things)” to many marketers. The year of more video content. The year of programmatic buying. The year of mobile advertising. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter the new hot marketing strategy the masses flock to. What matters is in all of these cases is that your leadership team will be looking to you for ways to drive more leads (and quicker). Use these methods above within your lead gen strategies and crush your 2017 goals!