Lead generation is a vital part of any business and there are countless factors one must take into consideration before executing a lead generation strategy. While lead generation is a marathon, short-term sprints can help you to supplement your lead flow and meet deadlines. Creating a comprehensive strategy will help you to build a sustainable pipeline. But before we jump in, let’s refresh on exactly what lead generation is.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline, which allows companies to nurture prospects until they’re ready to buy (Source). It’s no secret that one of the main objectives of any business is acquiring leads and companies dedicate very large amounts of resources to this initiative. Many companies are still choosing quantity over quality when it comes to their leads, which in the grand scheme of things is not a sustainable approach. Simply sorting out the good leads from the bad leads is time consuming and resource intensive. By asking yourself, “does this prospect have an interest in my service and if so, are they ready to make a purchase?” you can prioritize your leads and invest energy where you are most likely to convert. By focusing on high-quality leads, rather than all leads, companies can boost sales and ROI. The goal of good lead generation is to set you up for success in both the short-term and the long-term.
What’s the difference between long-term lead generation and short-term lead generation?
Every successful B2B marketing strategy must have the right combination of both long-term and short-term lead generation tactics. Let’s first define the difference between long-term and short-term lead generation, then walk through a few examples of both strategies.
What is Long-Term Lead Generation?
To put it simply, long-term lead generation includes things that do not have a set end date and get better over time – these are the timeless tactics that are working hard for you behind the scenes. Long-term lead generation strategies help lay a strong foundation for your future marketing activity and enable you to generate targeted organic traffic (from all channels other than paid) over a period of time. Let’s dig into each one.
Lead Nurturing Campaigns
These campaigns include multiple emails and touchpoints that are intended to be delivered over an extended period of time. They are geared towards continuing to educate your leads with value-added content, stories, the introduction of a new product or service, and other special offers.
Nurturing campaigns take time to be effective. For instance, having 4-7 emails in a sequence can triple your reply rate. In a recent study marketers found that sending 1 to 3 emails per sequence achieved a reply rate of 9%, while sending 4 to 7 emails per sequence yielded a 27% reply rate. This indicates that persistence and consistency can be very rewarding in marketing emails (Source). These lead nurturing email sequences yield a multitude of benefits, such as sending traffic to your site, building trust, establishing your expertise and authority, and ultimately, leading to a conversion.
Search Engine Optimization
A holistic SEO strategy is necessary to optimize your company’s digital presence and give yourself a fighting chance for organic search. Every web page, landing page, and content asset you create should target a specific term related to your brand, product, service, or pain point that you’re looking to solve for. It’s important to use long-tail keyword terms – think three or four-word terms – as these are much more specific and will drive targeted traffic to your website. From there, those visitors will likely be much easier to convert since they’re actively searching the web for what you do. By adopting an SEO strategy, your company’s overall domain and sender reputations will be viewed as more trustworthy, which positively impacts your search engine results page’s (SERP) rank, as well as how your business effectively communicates with your target audience (Source).
Content marketing goes hand in hand with your SEO strategy and is critical to provide value for your customers. By designing content for your buyer personas at each stage of their buying journey, your content initiatives can educate, dispel doubt, and establish trust.
In order to get the most of your content strategy, It’s important to find ways to optimize your content for SEO and the specific platform it’s being delivered on. As more and more people find, read and share your content, search engines will reward it with a ranking boost (note: if you keep refreshing and adding valuable information to your existing content, then you have a greater probability of ranking higher up on a search engine result page). In order to maximize the value of your content, try linking to other bits of content on your website when relevant. Related articles, or articles that provide more information than what the reader is currently reading, should always be linked. Not only will this increase the SEO value of your content, but it’ll also enable the website visitor to educate themselves and move further into the buyer’s journey (Source).
Retargeting Campaigns/Ads for Existing Leads in Your Database
Given the fact that 97% of people who visit your site for the first time leave without buying anything, retargeting campaigns are becoming increasingly more effective in bringing prospects back. Retargeting helps build visibility for your brand, allowing you to reach an audience that has already expressed interest in your product or service in the past. It’s always important to circle back with these leads because needs are constantly changing and you want to remain top of mind. Not to mention, retargeting your existing leads is far more cost-effective than other types of marketing.
What is Short-Term Lead Generation?
Short-term lead generation activities have a shelf life and a natural, expected end date. These strategies are considerably broader and have a valid place within the overall marketing mix. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
Special Offers and Discounts
The best thing about special offers and discounts are that they help jolt your potential prospects into action by helping those considering making a purchase to do exactly that. You’re making them more inclined to give you a chance by offering increased value while encouraging a timely conversion.
Pay-per-Click and Social Ad Campaigns
PPC is one of the quickest ways you can get more leads. You can target specific audiences based on criteria and keywords to ensure that the people clicking your ads are actually interested in what you’re marketing. It’s worth noting that in order to get the most value out of PPC, your ads must be linked to a landing page related to the keywords your ads are targeting. From there you should include a form on the landing page so you’re able to capture their contact information in exchange for what you’re offering.
Online and In-Person Event Promotions
Events, whether online or in-person, are a great way to generate leads and educate prospects. Similarly to PPC, you can make use of landing pages with forms to promote your event and capture your prospects information when they sign up for the event. If you’re trying to generate as many leads as possible, then consider utilizing both email marketing and PPC to help advertise your event.
Building a Sustainable Pipeline
When it comes to B2B organizations – particularly those with long sales cycles – it’s important to create balance between long-term and short-term lead generation strategies. Your aim should be to have a long-term, fully integrated marketing strategy running all the time that’s supplemented by short-term lead generation campaigns that will provide you with supplemental leads.
Developing a successful lead generation strategy requires a lot of trial and error, which can be undoubtedly frustrating. If you’re looking to grow your business faster, you’re struggling with your marketing strategy, or simply just need more opportunities in your pipeline, then it might be time to consider outsourcing your lead generation. Here at Sapper Consulting, we help small to medium sized businesses put their business development efforts on autopilot, as we provide each of our clients with a dedicated team that creates, runs, and optimizes their marketing campaigns. We help book qualified sales meetings for you, which allows you to spend more time closing deals and less time prospecting. So if you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of partnering with a lead generation company, then book a time and let’s chat.