Guidelines For Generating High Quality Leads

By 2020, buyers will manage 85% of their own journey without talking to a human, according to Gartner Customer 360 Summit. From implementing a comprehensive content marketing strategy to capitalizing on social media and creating an effective sales funnel, incorporating the right strategies and tools is key to building and maintaining successful lead generation campaigns.

Lead Generation Strategies for Digital Marketers and Brands

According to a report by Sharp Spring, here are some of the key trends, technologies and best practices to help design a successful lead generation campaign for any product or service offering.

Point 1: Content Marketing
The phrase "content is king" has become embedded in the marketing and branding lexicon for good reason. A comprehensive content marketing strategy should be a goal for every marketer and brand that wants to build a loyal, dedicated base of users, improve engagement and brand recognition, and build organic traffic and qualified leads.

Some of the main benefits of investing in a long-term content marketing strategy include:
Attracting new traffic
Improving SEO
Ongoing content for social media channels
Improving email marketing efforts
Building brand recognition and reputation to establish trust and leadership
Building ongoing relationships and consumer engagement
Improving conversion rates
Providing additional revenue streams

The main components of a robust content marketing strategy for quality lead generation include:
Landing Pages
Case Studies
Online intelligence
Targeted e-mail campaigns

Point 2: E-Mail Marketing (Yes, Really)
In the era of social media, search engines and algorithms, many people wonder whether email is still an effective tool for lead generation and marketing campaigns. In fact, if you aren't already using email marketing as part of your efforts, you might be surprised to learn that it actually tops the list of most effective lead generation strategies, beating out landing pages and SEO. It makes sense when you think about it. Regardless of where they currently fall in the sales pipeline, sharing an email address is an open invitation for your brand to move the consumer closer to making a purchase.

Consumers have admitted to looking forward to receiving emails from their favorite brands. As with social media content, make sure to offer high-quality, premium content that encourages action, such as downloading a case study or forwarding the email to friends or colleagues for referral leads.

Point 3: Optimizing Social Media Platforms
Rather than passively posting content on social media platforms to cross it off the digital marketing checklist, marketers should treat social media as another vehicle to generate and convert new leads, and to maintain engagement with the brand's target audience. According to Neil Patel, there are four main strategies to focus on when using social media platforms for lead generation:

Focus on the best platforms for your market (hint: you don't have to use them all)

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter continue to generate the highest levels of engagement, but getting the right blend of content is key. Using video, photos, and relevant hashtags can draw your leads in, and offering them incentives to download or sign up for premium content can move them through your sales pipeline or funnel.

Don't ignore LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the B2B marketer's social media platform of choice for obvious reasons. From making sure that your agency or brand's profile is fully optimized to publishing content that establishes thought leadership, LinkedIn is a formidable goldmine when it comes to lead generation and professional relationship building.

Treat your Facebook and Twitter feeds like professional sales outlets

While you don't want to be pushy and overtly salesy to the point of driving away potential leads, Facebook and Twitter should be a professional extension of your brand. Optimize the content you do share to build engagement and lead capture.

Point 4: Growth Hacking
Like all aspects of marketing and branding, there is a fine art involved in getting it right with growth hacking. According to Salesforce, growth hacking is simply the process of experimenting with different tools and strategies to find a formula that sticks, from content offerings to social media strategy.

You've probably been doing it all along. Use data and analytics to get a sense for how your conversion efforts are performing, and adjust accordingly to find the right mix. Look at factors like how often you are posting to social media and what types of content receive the most engagement.

Point 5: Qualifying Leads for the Sales Team
No two leads are created equal. Categorizing leads effectively (hot vs. cold to gauge where they are in the buying process being the most obvious example), allows the sales team to hit the right targets at the right time for maximum effect. User behavior (specifically how they interact with your content and engagement levels on social media for example) can help the sales team to create a more effective and targeted pipeline.
Our agency implemented a successful campaign for a wealth management practice focused on retirement needs for commercial pilots, with the following results:

257% increase in conversion rates
529% increase in click through rate
93% decrease in cost lead
75% decrease in cost/click

Additionally, our team helped one of our family run businesses implement SalesForce in six months. We set up simple process for architectural reps to follow, and the client assigned a dedicated resource to manage activities in SalesForce.

Early on we identified a need to create an app to allow sales reps to easily enter information after meetings, which was successful. However, the company culture did not offer incentives for sales people to do more and proactively qualify and follow up on the leads, despite management's recognition of a need for the new CRM platform and new processes which we implemented. The cultural element jeopardizes the efforts to take lead nurturing to the next level. We recommend putting in place business processes before the lead generation program is implemented to ensure successful lead generation and nurturing efforts.

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