Starts with defining your audience.Improving your lead generation is rooted in furthering your understanding of the audience you are trying to reach. If you’re finding that lead numbers are low or that the quality of incoming leads are poor, the underlying issues are likely that you:
- Don’t really know who your customers are so you don’t know who to target
- Haven’t identified the pain points your customers are tying to resolve
- Don’t understand the questions your customers are asking and what they need to hear
- Haven’t found a compelling way to provide an answer to their questions
- Don’t know where your customers are looking for solutions
Critical criteria to have a handle on:
- Demographics - How are your clients dispersed by age?
Psychographics - What do they value? What do they care about?
- These are important in two contexts: their business life, and personal life, as the two different areas reflect different content opportunities.
- Triggers - What makes the client aware that they need your solution?
- Pain points - What problems does the client face that your products or service can address?
Stumbling blocks & motivators - What gets in the way of the purchase? What might scare the client off?
- Conversely, what might motivate them to purchase?
- External authorities - Do they have superiors? What do those authorities expect from them, and the solutions they find?
- Persona: School Principle Pete
- Demographics: typically aged 35 – 45. Primary market is in the western United States.
- Psychographics: Values the longevity of equipment equally to its usefulness; operates within budget constraints, values the team they manage & achieving consensus. Interested in but inexperienced with emerging technologies.
- Triggers: SMART may be suggested by teachers at the classroom level; looking for new ways to engage students. Encounters the product online or at a teacher’s convention.
- Pain points: Teachers within the school are suggesting use of the equipment as a means of teaching a new generation of learners. Older equipment is in need of replacing.
- Stumbling blocks & motivators: Budget is the primary drawback – little to draw upon and must be very careful about where to invest. Buying this tech will likely mean cutting back somewhere else. Needs to see a clear advantage over traditional whiteboards; responds well to statistics surrounding educational improvements in students and lifespan of the product.
- Ask your sales team. They will have an intimate knowledge of pain points, needs, stumbling blocks, and common questions along the sales cycle that can help guide your content and how you execute your lead generation plan.
- Customer surveys can be used to help gather some data. If your budget allows for it, then you can also consider focus groups (though it can get expensive)
- Market research firms are an expensive but worthy alternative; keep in mind that this knowledge is going to help you improve sales numbers, so you will recoup the costs invested.
- Social listening is an affordable means that can glean insights. Websites like Quora and Reddit can yield surprising insights, while industry forums are a great place to hunt for discussions.
Three General RulesFirst, let's look at some general precepts that can boost lead generation across almost every advertising and outreach medium.
1. Keep links crystal clearWhether you're linking to an offer in a marketing email, creating an intuitive navigation for your website, or promoting a free resource via Twitter, people like to know what they're about to click. Keeping all anchor text clear and accurate is essential, particularly for busy B2B customers who typically have little time to waste on misguided links. For example, startup whodoyou leaves no ambiguity as to where the links in their e-mails will go:
2. Offer opportunities for further learningB2B clients typically do a lot of research on services and products before enquiring or purchasing. By the time they connect with your sales team, over 60% of their buying journey may already be complete. That means you’re going to need to give them content that answers their pain points, helps to create triggers, and alleviates their concerns. If you can make your brand known during the pivotal research stage, you may be able to build trust, boost your reputation and enhance brand recognition among B2B clients who will need your service further down the line. How can you deliver your content in a more compelling way? A few examples include:
- Webinars are interactive content; it’s a chance to share your expertise on a subject pertinent to your market in an environment where they don’t feel pressured to buy.
For example, ICAEW Has hosted a ton of webinars on financial accounting, all of which inform customers and help them familiarize themselves with the expertise of the vendor.
- Consider writing a whitepaper that clients can research on their own time. One of the smart ways to get a lead into your funnel is to offer these in exchange for an e-mail, then follow up with a drip-campaign targeted to the customer’s stage in the buying cycle.
For example, SIGNiX is a platform for collecting signatures digitally. They created a whitepaper that is chock full of helpful information on digital signatures that leads can use to learn more about the process.
- If you have a lot of data that you would like to present, consider making an infographic. These are particularly useful in generating and converting leads by sharing stats favorable to outcomes your customers are looking for (for example, SMART might share statistics surrounding classroom engagement and how much it improves when an interactive whiteboard is used).
- Comprehensive guides and eBooks work the same way whitepapers do, allowing you to provide an in-depth look at a question or subject your market is deeply passionate about in exchange for an e-mail address. With their email address, you now have the ability to remarket to the customer you know is researching solutions.
For example, the Kaplan Agency assembled an eBook on analyzing financial statements to help corporate clients who may need their services down the line. It answers a pain point while pulling the lead into the funnel.
- Blog posts are useful for timely and topical discussions, but be careful not to lean on them too heavy and hard. These are great for clients high in the funnel as they can talk about a wider breadth of topics and address those personal psychographics of your market. They can also be used to tie back into larger pieces like whitepapers and eBooks and further push people into the funnel.
- Video is an amazing and completely underutilized medium. From explainer videos that describe your offering succinctly and in a storytelling format (perfect for high-funnel clients as well as those who don’t yet know they need your service) to demoing your offering live on film, video can be used to educate, entertain and inform leads almost anywhere in the funnel (except at the point of purchase – then get out of your own way).
Example: GoToMeeting uses video to educate curious onlookers and existing users alike.
- Tutorials, both written and video, are great because they demonstrate your business’ competence. Again, you can couple these with more permanent resources like whitepapers and eBooks to turn passive customers into active leads.