Lead Generation 101
For a business to be profitable, you need customers. Customers start from leads, and leads can come to you either through word of mouth or as a response to advertising. They can also find you through the search engines – that is, if you’re doing SEO (search engine optimization) right. That said, here are five things you can do to generate more incoming leads:
1. Start a company blog
Gone are the days when weblogs were synonymous to personal online journals. These days, companies are positioning blogs as an online marketing strategy, no matter how un-sexy the thought of regular posting may be.
By starting a company blog, your website ceases to become just an online brochure with product/service information, contact details, and such. Blogging gives your company a voice, an opportunity to be seen as an industry expert by providing your target audience with the educational information they need to make an informed purchasing decision. It also allows you to answer pressing industry questions and engage your clients and prospects in healthy conversation.
If readers find your inputs helpful and insightful, your blog posts can get shared and your brand introduced to new readers you can potentially turn into leads.
2. Create great content
Content is no longer king. Great content is, and understandably so. The Internet is literally underwater with content, hence, the terms “content shock,” “content fatigue,” and so on. Every day, people are bombarded with a great deal of content they’re likely unable to consume, which is why the content you put out there has to stand out from the crowd. Then again, what makes great content? As per Kissmetrics, the following are the characteristics of great content:
• Has a strong headline
• Provides answers
• Maintains reporting accuracy
• Engaging and thought-provoking
• With images and video
Whether it’s for your own website or other content platforms, like sites you guest blog on, ensure that you’re creating no less than great content. When it comes to content marketing, quality trumps quantity every single time.
3. Use CTAs
Calls to action are essential for every website, and every single page of your site must have one, not just the Home and Contact pages. A call to action is an instruction you give your readers to invoke an immediate response. They are important because more often than not, people need prodding before they actually act on something. A call to action can be anything – read a related article, visit your website, download an e-book, claim a discount voucher, sign up for a free trial, join your mailing list, and others. Calls to action, or CTAs, can be placed in an email, your website, an e-book, a blog post – anywhere in your marketing, essentially.
Remember though, your CTAs must not be obnoxious, as these can negatively affect user experience.
4. Take advantage of social media
Even for local and small businesses, social media is a vital marketing strategy, as it allows you to connect and interact with your followers. Timely quips – think Oreo’s blackout tweet at the Super Bowl – can even get your brand at the center of conversations. And then, there is social media’s link to search engine visibility. Neil Patel of Quick Sprout affirms that social is the new SEO.
Now, if you’re looking for a specific demographic, like a job title or age range with specific interests, social media PPC (pay per click) advertising is worth looking into. Cheap PPC ads on Facebook can help increase the number of likes and/or shares for a YouTube video you want to go viral. Even your company’s Facebook page can benefit from this approach and significantly extend the reach of your future communications and campaigns.
5. Create an email list
If you haven’t tried it yet, creating an email list may seem like a daunting proposition, but if you’re looking for a long-term lead generation strategy, neglecting the power of an email list may actually hurt your business in the long run.
While we now probably have all heard that the money is not in the list, it’s a known fact that people are likely to check their emails every day, and email lists are a great way to rapidly and effectively disseminate messages to your subscribers – people who have expressed desire to receive your messages by opting in to your list. One clear advantage of having an email list is that you own it and have full access to it. Facebook and Twitter may be popular now, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll stay that way forever. Cases in point: MySpace and Friendster.
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