Inbound Lead Generation Campaigns

If you’re executing a digital marketing campaign, there is a good chance you’re ROI (return on investment) is based on how many emails, prospects, or customers you can get inside of your database. If you’re using a CRM (customer relationship management system) such as SalesForce.com or Oracle, those contacts have some real measurable value. Even more so when you can match them up with your sales data and discover little nuggets like customer lifetime value or simple conversions.

One strategy for getting more of them into the system is to offer something of value in exchange for the low cost of getting their email address. It’s not completely free, but it’s close enough. By giving them value up front, you are establishing yourself can begin to start the relationship.

Many companies try to double-dip their lead generation tactics by putting up a pay wall or going straight for the sale in exchange for their content. In today’s new economy, customers expect you to try and build a relationship before they open their wallets. This is true for B2B companies where there are sometimes hours of research or complex models involved. It’s also true for small companies or individuals wanting to brand themselves. If a potential employer visits your online resume and learns something, you’ve just jumped ahead of the bland one-pagers on their desk.

Customers want, or even demand, that you showcase your value by providing services or information on your website. It shouldn’t be a lone sales pitch with a form saying “give us your phone and email so we can call you 20 times during dinner”. Your website should be a tool driving conversation.

At some point in the conversation you can ask them to take the next step. That’s the point during inbound marketing where you ask for their contact information. That’s the point where you begin to target and nurture them via email, social media, and customer relationship managers. That point is only after you’ve given them something for free.

5 offers that add value and drive lead generation:

  1. Live or video demonstrations. Walk the prospect or customer through some of the best features of your product or put a face on your unique services. Leverage video testimonials and executives to add the personal touch to your website. Answer questions, talk about interesting facts, or reveal data that your company has access to.
  2. Informational whitepapers. PDF whitepapers make a great resource for your customers, especially when they solve a unique problem. What partners or resources do you have that could help your customers understand or act on a particular issue they’re having? If you can document a guide on how to accomplish something or educate them in an interesting area, you’ll be able to get their information quickly.
  3. Digital tools or calculators. Small and large companies usually have access to data and processes that customers don’t. If you can provide a lite version of your product or demonstrate some value with a free online tool then you’ll be able to generate some buzz and inbound traffic. Even if your product/brand is something tangible, you could create an online component to interact with it.
  4. Webinars and podcasts. Digital media is a popular tool for sharing information. They’re a quick and easy way to disseminate important information to large audiences. It becomes even more valuable when you make them interactive with surveys and live questions. The results of the webinar can be spun off into even more educational content.
  5. Community forum. Bring people together with a common background or interest. If you establish a secure place where like-minded people can come together and discuss their issues, you’ll get their information and generate content at the same time. Leverage your customer’s knowledge into shareable information. Keep everyone involved and don’t miss the opportunity for your company to jump in and be heard.

How do you attract customers to provide their contact information?

Increase Your Email Marketing Effectiveness

As an email marketer, I’m constantly looking for ways to achieve an increase in effectiveness of the emails I’m sending on behalf of myself and clients. Even a 1% increase in click rate could equate to 1,000+ individuals for some large blasts. By influencing those extra people and engaging them to click and engage with the content, the chance that they make a purchase goes up significantly. Without action there is no ROI to measure. They are a meaningless subscribe. If they open however, one can attribute that back to influence and transactions.

Below are 5 tips for increasing your effectiveness in emails:

  1. Clean your list up front. Many marketers gather whatever emails they can find and start blasting them out, and then are surprised when they have low engagement. I always ask, “How did you get that email address?” Most likely the person ‘found’ it or grabbed it from a transaction in their system. If you ask the person permission outright or allow them to subscribe themselves on your site, your contacts will me much more engaged in the future.
  2. Write a great subject line. Keep it short and simple. Let them know what’s in the email with a quick call-to-action of what you want them to do. It’s so easy to hit that “delete” button and move on to the next item in their inbox. What can you say to make them stop, even if just for a second.
  3. Be a familiar From Address.  If your sales rep normally has a relationship with the person on the other end of that email, make it come from them. It’s easy to customize the From Address of emails with the help of advanced email service providers. Use email technology as a way to build retention and a relationship. If the subscriber doesn’t remember who you are, you’re not going to get through.
  4. Manage your IP reputation. Internet Service Providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc. have purposefully installed automatic filters that block emails from unknown or blacklisted senders. If you have a private IP address dedicated to your brand’s email sends, protect it. Don’t buy lists and send massive email blasts. Monitor your SPAM complaints and unsubscribe everyone who asks. You likely only have one shot to make a positive impression.
  5. Test test test. Just because something works for one company doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. The opposite is also true. Find out what works best for your list, on your schedule, with your content. Develop a 50/50 AB test where you send half of your list one subject line and the other list a different subject line. What worked better? Now test the From Address. Now test the From Name. Now test the day of week. Now test the time of day. Build a list of best practices and continue to modify.

Email marketing is effective because it’s highly measurable. You’ll be able to know exactly how many people opened, clicked, bounced, and unsubscribed. Use this data to develop a strategy for getting through to your customer. Always ask, how can I add value to their inbox?