The biggest conundrum for a marketer is “where do I get leads?” If only there was one, clear answer to strong lead generation.
Well, there is a great blog article exactly on this topic and…you’ve found it! So, don’t despair.
Have you heard the phrase “There is no silver bullet in marketing?” I have heard it multiple times, but the concept of a "silver bullet" has never really crossed my mind. The very reason I enjoy marketing so much is because it’s constantly changing, and what may have been considered the “silver bullet” of lead generation yesterday is likely not the “silver bullet” of today. Markets evolve, more advanced lead-generation marketing features become available, and marketers adapt along the way. As this happens, marketing activities have to change and evolve too.
The only sure thing I depend on in the field of marketing is a good and consistent work ethic. Hard work could even be considered the consistent silver bullet. If you put in the time and effort to do the work, you will see results. Not likely today, or tomorrow, or even 6 months from now, but it is inevitable that you'll see the results you desire. Better yet, when yo do the work, you learn more about your business, your clients, and your customers, making your marketing that much more effective.
Now, I will step off my soap box for the remainder of this article.
Once you know that you must but in the work, the next question you'll likely ask is, "Where do I begin and what are the best resources for lead generation?"
Before I dive into six important examples, it’s important to categorize these activities into either ‘long-term lead generation campaigns’ or ‘short-term lead generation campaigns.’ If you have one, but not the other, your business will struggle. When you are developing a marketing plan, make sure it’s a mix between long-term and short-term activities.
Lead Generation: Long-Term Campaigns
Social media platforms of today make engaging online communities easy for marketers. Social media may be very easy to set up, but it takes a strong investment in time to make your efforts worthwhile. Whether you choose a LinkedIn group to keep prospects and customers engaged or a Pinterest board, you have to give social meida your all. Make sure to reward community members when they interact with you. If you provide a little bit of value every day, not only will you enhance relationships with current customers, but your communinty will also grow.
Remind your community to get involved and create a drip email marketing campaign to send to them. The online marketing community will benefit from a few consistent reminders.
Content (Videos, eBooks, Comic Strips) + PPC Ads
Marketing content is king, but it's no silver bullet. The time and effort you put into creating marketing content is only worth it only if you duplicate your effort when promoting your content – I know, it's an uphill battle!
My top tip for you is to put your best content where different and new people will see it. You still want to share the content with your current customers and prospects, but make sure it works hard for you in bringing in new leads to add to your lists too! Pay-per-click (PPC) ads, such as targeted LinkedIn or Facebook ads fall into ‘short term campaigns’ (more on this below). Before you get into your short-term campaign, make first your long-term content calendar follows these two rules:
Audience. First things first – who a does marketing content appeal to? Define this as concisely as possible to hit a homerun. Women, age 35 and above isn’t enough to hone in on a topic. What do these women do for a living? What hobbies and interests do they have? Think of your ideal client and write the content for them, so those types of people or companies pay attention to you and your content.
- Mix. If you’re good at writing whitepapers, you may think that whitepapers should be the only content to offer. Think about content as a five-birds-with-one-stone sort of weapon. If you create a great whitepaper, put your content into a good design and make it an eBook. You can also split it up into a series and post it on your blog. The possibilities can be endless.
If you're like me, finding the right audience and mix for your content calendar can be difficult. I am usually so entrenched with the details in creating a piece of content, I want nothing to do with repurposing it elsewhere. Recruit someone to take it from there or simply send the whitepaper to your sales team so they can create blog posts that ultimately direct people to the download.
Back to my original point of mixing it up. Some of your audience members might like to read while others will want to watch short videos. Everyone absorbs content in a different way. Don’t miss out by pigeon holing yourself into one content type.
This is so easy to forget, yet so critical to keep new leads streaming in. Your happy customers are your greatest advocates and you need to give them that chance to be! Instead of simply contacting them once in a while for a testimonial, start a program or online web portal to make it easy and rewarding for them to engage with you. Give them a voice in the next product update. Hold contests that offer prizes if they tell one friend about you.
This is another area where social media has made it much easier for marketers to share the good news about their company. If that good news comes directly from a customer’s social media profile, all the better! Consistently leverage that to your advantage, so your customers can expect it and pay attention.
Lead Generation: Short-term Campaigns
Industry marketing is all the rage in the B2B space, and for good reason. Companies buying services and products need to know they’re buying something that will solve their specific pains. They want to work with someone who has been in their shoes and comprehends their situation.
For example, if you're a technology provider selling an eCommerce solution for retailers, seek out retail events in your area. This is similar to targeting your content as much as possible – target your reach with industry events. Find out where your ideal customers hang out and speak to them about how you can solve their problems.
Limited Time Offers
It’s okay to give things away for free, but what if you add scarcity to that concept? Instead of creating an eBook and pushing it out to everyone and anyone on the web, make it free for one month and then add a price to it after that.
Follow this three-step process and short-term, limited-time offers will be more successful in bringing in leads:
- Provide a great offer
- Put that offer in front of the right people
- Give them a reason to act now
LinkedIn or Facebook Ads
As mentioned earlier, running PPC ads on LinkedIn or Facebook can put your content where new prospects see it. It’s a cost-effective and analytically-driven marketing activity that surprisingly has gained some momentum in the last few years. I’ll be the first to admit that I never thought it would stick around because I never looked at those ads…until recently. Marketers are smart and have adapted well, because the targeted and compelling ads I see today are catching my attention and have changed my opinion on the matter.
When deciding whether to place ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, know that Facebook is better suited for B2C while LinkedIn is for B2B marketing. Cost per click is also more expensive on LinkedIn, so if you are just starting out, I recommend that you iron out your ad on Facebook first.
According to a blog post on Social Media Examiner, "LinkedIn is by far the best for B2B targeting. You can target prospects by job title, seniority, company, skills, specific group membership, geography, and years in business; information people aren’t putting on Facebook."
In addition to targeting professionals on LinkedIn, you can also target groups by certain keywords. You don’t even need to join the group. Inside the ads platform on LinkedIn, you can type a word and all groups containing that word or a related word show up. Simply add groups to your ad and reach more people than otherwise possible!
I hope this gives you a better answer to the question of “where do I get leads?” and motivates you to put in the hard work. Hard work pays off, but be smart about it, pay attention, and adapt to the ever-changing world of marketing.
Until next time, happy lead generating!