If you haven’t already, it’s time to face the facts: the digital age has altered the way we conduct business forever. Gone are the days when promoting your business meant taking out an ad in the newspaper or going door-to-door with flyers.
These days, when seeking a product or service, the first thing most people do is reach for their laptop or mobile device and search for what they need – typically via a search engine or social media platform. In fact, nearly 90% of shoppers perform online research before making a purchase. Accordingly, conventional sales and marketing tactics have evolved to adapt to these behaviors.
Today’s marketers, salespeople, and brands must put themselves in the shoes of their prospective customers. Can your target audience carry out a quick Google search and easily discover your brand and specific products or services online? Is your message reaching the right prospects through your social media channels and campaigns?
As organizations continue to adjust to a digital sales environment, many are experimenting with online lead-generation campaigns aimed at bringing in new prospects that they can eventually convert into paying customers.
Using proven digital marketing methods, your business can build a solid lead-generation strategy that will attract new customers and boost sales in a cost-effective way.
WHAT IS A LEAD?
Before proceeding any further, we should probably define exactly what a lead is. According to HubSpot, a lead is any person who shows interest – whether implicitly or explicitly – in a company’s products or services in some way, shape, or form.
Rather than receiving a random cold call from someone who might have purchased their contact information, leads usually hear from a business or organization after initiating communication – typically by volunteering their personal information for an offer, trial, or subscription.
WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION – AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
While we’re at it, we should also clarify what lead generation is, and why it’s important for your business.
According to HubSpot, lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into people who are interested in your company’s products and services.
Implementing a lead-generation strategy can help get your marketing messages heard across various channels, thus boosting brand awareness, creating demand for your products and services, and establishing relationships with potential customers.
From a digital marketing perspective, the overarching idea behind lead generation is to bring traffic to your website, convert website visitors into leads, and ultimately convert those leads into customers. By gradually warming up prospects to your brand, you set up your sales team for greater success and help drive revenue for the business.
HOW TO GENERATE LEADS THROUGH DIGITAL MARKETING
It’s important to note that there is no generic formula that works equally well for all businesses. A lead-generation method that may be effective for one company might fall flat for yours. A number of factors come into play here, including the type of business you have, the kinds of products you sell, and properly identifying your target audience, to name a few.
There are any number of promotional channels you can use to steer traffic to your website in order to start generating leads. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common digital marketing techniques that have proved to be successful for many organizations:
Content marketing involves “creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience to drive profitable customer action.”
Common forms of content marketing include blogs, articles, infographics, videos, and social media posts.
The ultimate goal of content marketing isn’t to sell your product or service – rather, you want to build trust and authority around your brand. Instead of delivering an obvious sales pitch, offer meaningful solutions to specific problems that customers are experiencing and position your brand and its products and services as the natural remedy.
Effective content marketing helps improve online visibility, boost brand awareness, increase website traffic, and attract more credible leads. In addition, when your audience notices that you’re consistently posting useful information, they’ll presume that you’re good at what you do – which naturally helps build confidence in your business.
Having a great deal of interesting content on your website will also encourage visitors to spend more time on each page. When Google sees that people are spending a lot of time reading your content, this sends a positive signal that people are finding your pages helpful – which, in turn, has a positive impact on your Google search rankings.
Gated content is a surefire way to generate leads, as this type of content is only available to people who agree to fill out a special form to access it. It’s a fair exchange for both parties – you get the contact information of a new lead and a potential customer gains access to your special content. Popular forms of gated content include case studies, whitepapers, reports, e-books, and how-to guides.
Pro Tips for Successful Content Marketing:
- Regularly post blogs, news, and tips about or related to your industry. This helps further establish your expertise in the field.
- Organic search is the largest source of high-quality leads – so spend some time optimizing your content for search engines so that users can find it easily.
- Research your target audience thoroughly so that the content you create aligns with users’ search intent – in other words, seek to answer the questions they’re already asking and provide the info they’re already searching for.
- Promote your content on your social media sites and in emails. Great content won’t make a bit of difference if people can’t find it!
Despite the fact that it’s one of the earliest forms of digital marketing, email is still one of the most effective methods for gaining and nurturing leads. In truth, the first point of entry to a lead is often an email. Virtually everyone who’s active online has an email address – and that isn’t going to change anytime soon!
Email marketing can consist of newsletters with updates on your organization, announcements about special promotions, and exclusive offers for subscribers.
With today’s technology, you can achieve more favorable results with your emails through audience segmentation. In essence, you can tailor your email marketing messages to target specific segments of your customer database. In doing so, you make your brand relevant to a greater number of people.
Email is a surefire way to reach people who are already familiar with your brand, products, or services. Done right, this marketing channel helps bolster trust between your organization and current or potential clients.
Social Media Marketing
Social media has unquestionably become one of the most powerful avenues for marketing. With over 2.8 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone, it’s a safe bet that most of your potential customers have and use at least one social media account. Currently, the most popular platforms for driving traffic to your website and acquiring leads are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Through social media, you can connect with your target audience directly, gradually build relationships with them, and in due course convert those followers into leads. In order for your efforts to be successful, you’ll have to invest time and effort into building an engaged audience.
Instead of flooding your followers with a slew of special offers, speak to them about their desires and challenges. By interacting with users on a personal level, you not only start to earn their trust but also humanize your brand in the process – the importance of which cannot be understated.
It’s essential that you know your target audience well in order to determine which social media platforms they use frequently so you can reach them where they are. Don’t expect to succeed by simply setting up accounts on every social media channel available, then interacting with your audiences once a week – consistency is key. Ideally, you should establish a presence on 1 to 3 social media channels and start posting meaningful and relevant content on a regular basis.
Resist the temptation to use social media simply as a platform to talk about yourself. Rather, use it to discuss news about your industry, share tips that aren’t necessarily written by your team, and always welcome open discussions. An active business social media account can go a long way toward promoting your brand as a thought leader and expert in the field.
Pro Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing:
- Be sure that your social media profiles include all the important information users might need to get in touch with you, including hours of operation, physical address, website URL, and other contact info.
- Showcasing your company culture on social media can give your brand a distinctive personality online. Don’t hesitate to share pictures, videos, and anything else that might give users an inside look at your company.
- Many people visit social media sites simply to be entertained. When composing your social media posts, be sure to maintain a casual, not-too-serious tone. This can form a stronger connection with your audience.
- That being said, each social media platform has a different vibe. Strive to “read the room” and change your tone based on the platform you’re using, while still retaining the ethos of your brand.
- Center your social media efforts on interaction and engagement. It makes no difference if you’re posting a hundred times a day on Twitter. If nobody’s engaging with those posts, you’re wasting your time!
- Always remember that social media is a two-way street. By sharing and commenting on your followers’ content, you show that you’re an active participant in the relationship you’re building with them.
- If you’re considering running paid advertising on social media, Facebook Lead Ads is a good place to start. This type of advertisement provides a quick and simple way for users to share their contact info with you without ever having to leave Facebook or visit your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Ranking high in organic searches is likely one of the most beneficial long-term lead-generation strategies there is. Yet, with over two hundred factors determining how Google will rank your website within search engine result pages (SERPs), it can be difficult to know where to start.
Being at or near the top of Google SERPs is especially critical when you consider that 75% of people won’t ever advance beyond the first page of results. With Google receiving over 1 billion searches per month, if you’re not laying claim to your rightful place in those searches, how can you hope to drive the website traffic needed to generate leads?
The solution is search engine optimization (SEO). The goal of SEO is to improve your website’s rankings in SERPs for specific keywords and phrases. If someone is looking something up online and your website appears first in search results, there’s a good probability that they will engage with your website in some form or fashion.
As with many other aspects of the digital world, the rules of SEO change regularly, especially as technology advances. But this doesn’t mean you can’t gain some degree of control over your rankings.
SEO is primarily driven by your chosen keywords and how you map them to relate back to your website. This process can be complicated, and is generally best left to marketing professionals. However, there are a couple of things you can do on your own which will make a positive impact.
You can start by making sure that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) is consistent on your website, as well as within online directories such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business.
Make it simple for your customers to leave a review on your website. Additionally, reviews on third-party platforms can greatly increase your chances of being found by qualified prospects – without having to pay a dime! So, don’t hesitate to ask your satisfied customers to put in a good word for you.
Having a business website is a critical component of marketing your brand – think of it as your digital business card. Indeed, the overall aim of digital marketing is to propel traffic to your website. But nearly 96% of users who visit your website aren’t yet prepared to make a purchase. Your website has to persuade visitors to buy your products or services.
Is the design of your website and landing pages sleek and contemporary? Are pages loading quickly enough? Are all internal links routing to the correct web page? These are the kinds of questions you need to regularly address in order to successfully generate leads through your site.
Though having a slick, professional appearance can make your brand look modern and well-informed, it’s not what matters most to your target audience.
Website visitors would prefer to interact with a website that’s easy to navigate. If it isn’t, visitors are unlikely to spend a great deal of time on your website – let alone convert to customers. Loading errors, lag speed, and poor user interface can actually drive traffic away rather than drawing more in.
In addition, Google deems it essential that websites be more mobile-friendly. If not optimized for a seamless experience on users’ smartphones, your website can actually be penalized by being ranked lower in search results.
Building optimized web pages for your business is the secret to driving traffic to your website and to convert those who are “just visiting” into leads. Experienced web developers and web designers can make sure that both your website and your landing pages – which are essential to driving leads, since these pages are often where most of your website leads will be generated from – are fully optimized.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an online advertising framework that businesses draw on to drive traffic, sales, or inquiries from their target audience. With PPC, an advertiser runs an ad on an online platform such as Google Ads and pays a fee every time someone clicks on the ad. PPC platforms provide an impressive depth of targeting, which is to say you can deliver ads exclusively to those who you deem to fit your customer demographic.
PPC uses keywords in a similar fashion to SEO – accordingly, you’ll need to decide which keywords you want to target with each campaign. These keywords will trigger your ads to appear at the top of search results.
Pay-per-click is ideal for generating new leads because it attracts “qualified” traffic – that is, users who have already shown interest in your products. In fact, PPC visitors are 50% more likely to make a purchase than visitors from organic searches.
Setting up and running a PPC campaign can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to it. Oftentimes, the best approach is to partner with a reputable digital marketing agency that specializes in PPC advertising.
Marketing is all about identifying your target audience and communicating how your product or service can address and resolve their problems. In today’s customer-centric market, chatbots are immensely popular as customers enjoy interacting with them.
A lead-generation chatbot essentially serves as the first point of contact with a new user and signifies the beginning of your brand’s relationship with them. Chatbots are engineered to interact with site visitors in a conversational way. A chatbot’s primary goal is to anticipate what the user is going to ask and to provide a response that’s entertaining, engaging, and educational. The longer a user communicates with a chatbot, the more data is amassed.
Lead chatbots are designed to collect contact information from prospects in order to convey the data to sales professionals who can then continue the conversation and ultimately convert those leads into customers. They’ve proven to be highly effective, too – in fact, chatbots convert 4x higher than traditional lead-generation tools.
The benefits of chatbots for lead generation are practically limitless. Here are just a few of the more obvious advantages:
- Available to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Meet the needs and interests of prospective customers by offering relevant products and services.
- Address customer queries in real time and proactively provide pertinent information to users.
- Direct quality leads to arrange initial sales meetings by gathering essential info, suggesting times, and sending booking confirmations to meeting participants.
- Increase operational efficiency, delivering cost savings to the business while providing greater customer satisfaction.
While chatbots are seldom qualified to answer visitors’ more complicated queries or executing the final steps of the sales process – both of which necessitate a human touch – for more direct approaches like those listed above, these marketing automation tools can be valuable straight out of the gate.
Generating leads for your business might seem like a challenging task, but it’s essential if you want to drive revenue. By employing these proven digital marketing methods, you can increase the number of leads your business generates and ultimately improve your chances of increased sales.
If you’re just starting out or still struggling to find ways to grow your business, we’d love to partner with you! HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC advertising, social media and email marketing, content development, and website optimization. Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website to see all that we offer!