Best Practices in Lead Generation
Lead generation is the life-blood of any business – without a pipeline of leads, your business cannot grow. For small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs, lead generation is critical to survival. In the end, when time and resources are tight, and your business is in growth mode, almost all of your marketing activities will come down to lead generation.
Google “lead generation for small business” and the entire first page of results will be ads for platforms and services. The options and ideas can seem endless. But in the end, effective lead gen campaigns boil down to a set of proven best practices and ideas. Read on for an overview of the best ways to approach this important task.
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Identify Your Audience
In order to effectively market to your audience, you need to know who they are. We start every client engagement with a positioning session that includes a robust audience identification exercise. As part of that, we build buyer personas – detailed profiles of a potential customer to help our clients and teams really get into the prospect’s head, so we can effectively tailor communications to them.
To build a set of buyer personas, ask yourself these important questions:
What type of customers does my product/service serve?
What is their title/function?
What are their demographics and interests?
How much do they earn?
What problem do they have that my product/service is likely to solve?
What motivates them to buy?
What do current customers who fit this profile like about my product?
By working through this exercise, you will create a profile of your ideal customer. Once you understand who that customer is, you will have valuable insight that makes it easier to target them effectively.
Create Targeted Content
There are a host of content types you can use in generating interest from prospective customers: blog posts; infographics; newsletters; contributed articles; and more. Any and all of these can be effective, as long as they provide real value to your target audience.
Focus on what your customer wants, needs and feels and build your content around their pain points. If you focus only on a hard sell and/or keyword stuffing, you might see surge in traffic on your website, but you won’t see that traffic convert into leads.
Equally important is the way you market the content. Eye catching visuals and catchy posts with a clear call to action can help your content get noticed.
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Optimize Your Website -
All of the content in the world won’t help if your prospects have a frustrating experience once they reach your website. Invest time, money and resources to ensure your website has these attributes:
Speed - if your site isn’t fast to load, potential customers are likely to leave before they get the information they need
Mobile - most people browse on their mobile devices; if your site is built for the desktop, and doesn’t offer a good mobile experience, you’ll lose customers
Navigation - once people get to your site, it should be pretty clear to them how to move around and find the information they seek; they should have a smooth experience navigating your site
SEO - to rank on search engines, your landing pages and content need to be optimized for the keywords your target customers will use.
Call to Action - You need a clear call to action on your site that moves prospects to get in touch; phrases like “Start Saving Today” “Are You Ready to Grow Your Business” or “Take Action Now” drive people to click through your site and provide information that helps you target them with offers
Third Party Validation - Customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies illustrate the value you bring to current customers
Get Serious About Newsletters
According to research, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. A regular newsletter that summarizes and promotes the great content on your site, delivers actionable information that can help your prospects, and positions your company as a thought leader in your field, can have a very positive impact. By emailing useful and relevant content to prospects, over time, you can turn them into customers.
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Use tools like Constant Contact or Mailchimp to manage your email marketing. In addition to managing your lists and allowing you to schedule your campaigns, these services provide important data on engagement. You can easily track which contacts are regularly opening and clicking through on your emails – and you can follow-up and market to them accordingly. Another important feature of these services is the ability to test your emails for the best engagement. Both offer the ability to test different subject lines, for example, to see which one drove the most engagement.
Is Your Marketing Program Designed For Lead Gen?
There are many other strategies and tactics that can help build a lead pipeline: Google Ads; Social Media Marketing; Co-Marketing with Partners; Events; Tradeshows, etc. But all of those require a solid foundation – as outlined in the ideas above. Once you’ve built a solid program, you can experiment with a range of strategies.
The most important piece is to monitor and measure your program so you can adjust. Prepare a process for defining, managing and measuring when and how prospect become leads – and set a regular timeframe for measurement. This allows you to know if your strategies are actually leading to conversions, or if you need to adjust course.
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