As we find ourselves marching on into 2014, now’s as good a time as any to take stock of the year’s marketing and advertising activities in terms of lead generation and success rates.
For anyone unfamiliar with the term, lead generation refers to the generation of consumer interest or enquiry into business products or services via a range of day-to-day business activities such as: telemarketing, advertising, website optimisation and development, mail/email marketing campaigns and more.
Lead generation can be expensive depending on what route you take, but it needn’t be so: by carrying out marketing and advertising activities in-house, and paying close attention to the behaviour of your target audience, you can adapt your means in order to find the right leads for your business.
So, what can you do to boost your lead generation?
We’ve put together some information and tips below that may help.
Search Engine Optimisation
First and foremost, it’s essential to use a range of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategies, techniques and tactics to get your website as high up as possible on Google and other search engines.
There are a number of steps you can take to boost SEO: for example, make sure content is well-written and rich with keywords, add internal links and external links, list your business on local/ national directories, incorporate a site map, add image descriptions, and write unique and descriptive meta descriptions and page titles for each page on your website. Previously we’ve written more in-depth guides to SEO here, here and here.
Tips: Take a look at Google Adwords Keyword Planner to identify keywords and phrases people are using to search for your product or service. Use the findings to rework website content accordingly.
Optimising your website for search engines will help to increase the number of visitors to your website. In order to turn traffic into leads (and ultimately profits) be sure to feature compelling offers, effective calls-to-action and convincing lead nurturing campaigns on your website.
Web forms are one of the handiest tools you can use to capture leads in-house. They can be created yourself and placed on whatever landing page or channel you see fit.
Some of the most successful web forms include:
- Newsletter subscription forms: these can be placed on your website, Facebook page, email signature, YouTube video descriptions and more.
- File download forms: these forms are typically used on landing pages as main conversion points to urge users to download something of interest (e-book or whitepaper, badge and other resources).
- Marketing surveys: well-crafted, friendly surveys are perfect for finding out more information about your audience. Be sure to incentivise your audience responsibly to draw users to the survey.
Most web forms, if created to suit your visitor’s intent, can sky rocket your lead gathering strategy, but be sure to test and monitor conversion rates and rework forms accordingly.
Business networking is a low-cost method of marketing widely used to build relationships, boost connections and raise visibility. It’s one of the most effective and cheapest forms of lead generation out there that has the scope to propel businesses to success. Please refer to our earlier post: Networking Made Easy to find out more.
Tip: Look at each invitation or event as an opportunity for lead generation; a chance to meet new contacts or make new sales.
One of the quickest ways to assemble large sales lists is to buy it from a dedicated marketing companies who specialise in collecting and selling lists for certain business and consumer sectors. The obvious advantage is that you can access large databases almost instantly. However, it’s important to think about how many other companies have bought the list and emailed the names already. The names on the list will also be unqualified which means they’ll need to be verified and analysed to see if they are a good match for you.
Tips: Lists created in-house will always be of a higher quality (at some point or other the contacts will have interacted with your brand) and are much more likely to lead to higher conversion rates.
Mail/Email Marketing Campaigns
Well-crafted email marketing campaigns can boost lead generation and returns. Start by identifying your aims and objectives before you begin. Then, define your market audience and create powerful content that will interest and engage your audience. Track your results in order to develop future campaigns. To find out more about email marketing campaigns and how to track results, please refer to our earlier posts: Email Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide and 10 Tips to Boost Email Marketing Performance.
Telemarketing and Teleprospecting
Telemarketing and teleprospecting are two similar marketing methods used to generate sales leads. Telemarketing firms employ operators who read from a prepared script in order to try and sell a product or a service to the public over the phone, while teleprospecting employs trained operators – either in-house or from a third-party teleprospecting company – to contact targeted business prospects. Depending on the size and nature of your company, telemarketing and/or teleprospecting may be effective for generating leads and sales.
Advertise your Business
By advertising your business through traditional channels like trade publications, specialised online directories like ourselves or other targeted channels you know will reach your customers, you will generate enquires that even if they don’t initially convert to a sale can still become part of your prospects list and may eventually convert to sales.
Qualify Leads and Rank Them for Follow-up
One of the most important aspects of lead generation is to qualify the leads you’ve generated; lead quality drives revenue.
You can qualify leads by verifying that the contact information is accurate and confirming that the lead is part of your target audience. Put together a collection of qualifying questions: Who? Where? Why? For example:
- Who has the most obvious need for your products or services?
- Where do your ideal prospects live, work etc?
- Why would the prospect be likely to buy your products or service?
Once you have verified your leads, prioritize the ones that are most likely to convert to sales. Base the order on the lead’s industry, geographic location and any recent ‘trigger events’ that might make potential customers more likely to buy.
To sum up
Lead generation does not have to break the bank; established marketing processes and focused execution have the power to grow and sustain a small business. Investigate the options available and test them for yourself to determine what works for your business: Test, test, test.