The buying process for B2C and B2B companies has changed significantly within the last few years and marketers had to find new ways to reach consumers. An effective lead generation strategy became the cornerstone for every long-term marketing strategy.
Instead of finding buyers with broad advertising methods and mass email blasts, marketers must now focus on being found and learn to build long-lasting relationships with their audience.
It is interesting to see that even with this increased awareness for lead generation 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (Marketing Sherpa). A common cause for this are antiquated and often too promotional marketing messages without proper lead nurturing.
This article will highlight strategies focused on building a solid lead generation increasing conversion for generated leads.
Rented Attention vs. Owned Attention
Within the past 2-4 years we have seen a shift from “rented awareness” to “owned awareness”. Previous and more traditional marketing strategies were focused on “renting” awareness through channels other people have built. Today’s markets are fast paced and overflown with information, which makes rented awareness less effective as awareness becomes even scarcer. Dropping all “rented” activities would of course be a mistake as well; ideally you will create a mix of rented vs. owned awareness in order to optimize your lead generation strategy.
How can you build your own attention? Marketing automation platforms like Hubspot or Marketo are a prime example of how becoming a trusted advisor to your prospects by creating pain-point-solving, valuable content is the key to successful lead generation.
|Segmented Lead Generation|
Combating lead stagnation
Many companies do a great job with Top of the Funnel (TOFU) marketing, but the reason for the high percentage of non-converting leads mentioned above is that leads are not ready to buy at this point yet. Targeting these leads with promotional sales messages and offers too early often results in opportunities that are lost, ignored or snatched by competitors.
In order to prevent this, effective lead generation strategies include Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) techniques to further build a relationship with the potential client. An example would be to offer a “free-account” users free content solving pain points and thereby creating trust. These users will be more likely to purchase when they are ready.
Goals, Tools and Best Practice for lead generation
According to MarketingSherpa’s recent report the top priorities for marketing executives are
- Increasing measurable ROI
- Optimizing the sales & marketing funnel and
- Gaining greater insight of the audience
Currently these goals are pursued by increasing budgets for website optimization (highest budget increase in 2013/14), social media, SEO and of course content marketing.
One of the most commonly applied options is email marketing, which needs to be reexamined as well. Today’s inboxes are carefully curated and if your message is not relevant, it is likely to land in the spam or trash folder. The solution is a deeper segmentation strategy through targeting your main target ID’s with matching language and content, which helps to boost email performance. Display ads can help catching attention before a user is even in the market for your specific product.
Captivating text and graphic elements can help prospects discover their interest for your product, giving you the tool to create the new lead and establish a first connection. Of course there is also social media, and without getting into detail per channel my recommendation is LinkedIn, which is shown to generate a 2.74 percent visit-to-lead rate, according to HubSpot.
Marketing Automation has proven to be very efficient for both Middle of the Funnel and Bottom of the Funnel (Opportunities & Customers) techniques. Timing for activities at this stage is crucial and Marketing Automation can help get the right message to the right user, at the right time. Meaning once interest and intend have been identified, the project will be reached with a message, which either moves him further down the sales funnel or makes him convert. Taking care of marketing qualified leads (MQL’s) in a timely manner also prevents them from getting stuck at a certain stage of the funnel for too long.
Lead scoring can help to further optimize that process by identifying whether prospects either need to be fast-forwarded to sales or developed with lead nurturing strategies.
What are your experiences with lead generation? Do you have examples of strategies that have worked particularly well for you in the past? Please post in the comments or send me a tweet @global_trend