A fascinating list of marketing statistics from Hubspot reports that 65% of all businesses say that generating leads is their biggest marketing problem. And 80% say that their lead generation efforts are only “slightly to somewhat” effective.
It seems natural that generating leads during the early years of a small business would be challenging. Over time and with a good marketing system in place however, you’d think problems with generating leads would diminish.
Yet these statistics indicate it’s an ongoing business development challenge for small businesses in all niches.
Statistics can be mind-numbing, misleading, or enlightening. They can also be completely wrong for our business if taken out of context.
But one thing they do well is point out opportunity and I see a great one here.
10 Tactics to Significantly Improve Your Lead Generation Effort
If so many businesses struggle to such a degree with lead generation, then you can give yourself an impressive edge over your competitors by being just a little bit better than average. A little effort in the lead generation department can deliver disproportionately better results.
So let's take a look at ten tactics that will help.
1 - Track key performance indicators on your website
Hubspot goes on to say, “…74% of companies that weren't exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead,) or sales opportunities.”
An article in Forbes also mentions “engaged and effective measuring” as one of the top ten trends driving marketing in 2017. When you know who’s visiting your blog and website, it’s easier to put a sales process in place. When you know what your customer really feels, you can improve their experience. Otherwise you’re shooting blindly.
There are many things that can be measured and all modern website platforms have functionality for measuring and tracking.
Then there is Google Analytics which mines an incredible amount of visitor information.
The bottom line is that if you want to exceed your revenue goals, it's important to start measuring. After you integrate a measurement method into your site, you'll find that just a few minutes a week will yield valuable marketing intelligence.
2 - Focus on your lead conversion ratio
Once you start tracking relevant data, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it. One of the key performance indicators (KPI’s) is the lead conversion ratio. This ratio is the percentage of leads who have gone through your marketing funnel to become customers.
It's easy to get complacent with conversions. What I've experienced and seen happening in other businesses is this: a company is running OK with a few lead generation processes in place. Leads dry up a bit so they ask, "What new lead generation process should I implement?"
Although it's always important to consider new tactics, it's equally important to ask, "How can I increase my conversion rates?"
For example, let’s say your lead conversion ratio is 20%. You get 100 leads X .20 = 20 new customers. For the sake of illustration we'll say each new customer is worth $500, so that’s $10,000/month in new customer revenue.
A tiny increase in lead conversions to 22% means you get 100 leads X .22 = 22 new customers @ $500 each, or $11,000/month in new customer revenue.
That’s a 10% increase in new revenue without the added expense of a new lead generation tactic or campaign. Sometimes conversions can be increased with a simple webinar, a phone call or a series of emails.
So, as you work on new lead generation ideas, don't forget to work on your conversion ratio.
3 - Try Google Ads
“64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online,” says the same Hubspot report.
It’s easy to get started with Google Ads. Set up a Gmail account and then search for the Ads product. It won’t take long to set up a simple ad campaign, but you’ll want to study all the tutorials.
It’s easy to waste money if you don’t focus precisely on who you want to reach and their exact needs. Google also has free telephone assistance for setting up and running your Ads campaign. I've found them to be very helpful and spot-on with their guidance.
Of course, be aware that they're in the business of getting you to spend more money on their ads. Let common sense and your budget prevail.
4 - Use video content and video ads
Video for small business is hot right now because it’s proven to be effective. A report on video marketing from Hubspot says that 88% of video marketers get a positive ROI from their video investments. It works.
There are two basic ways to use video for your business.
First, create relevant video content as part of your inbound marketing strategy. This can take the form of video FAQ’s, video tips, as well as how-to and educational videos.
Second, use YouTube ads via your Google Ads account. There is a window of opportunity today in YouTube video ads. An average YouTube ad costs 10-30 cents per view and can be as low as .02/view, versus an average Google Ads cost per click of $2.00 or more.
The point is that you can drive a heck of a lot more targeted traffic to a video ad that you could to a comparable text-based ad. But the opportunity will dry up in the coming months and years as it did with Google Ads. Bid prices will escalate as more businesses pile into the opportunity.
In addition, today’s online video apps make video creation as easy as posting to social media. So there’s no excuse not to participate in video. And for the introverts out there, you never have to appear on camera!
5 - Optimize your local online search profile
72% of consumers who searched locally will visit a store within five miles and 50% of mobile local searchers visit a store the same day.
If you have a business that depends on local customers, it's essential to have a locally optimized presence and it's not that hard.
The best way to get found locally is to create a Google My Business account for your company.
Not only does your Google My Business account help you get found locally, it acts as a mini-website for your business. In fact, Google encourages the use of the platform to promote anything and everything about your business.
An optimized Google My Business page can also help you to rank in the local 3-pack, a prime piece of local-search real estate as shown below.
6 - Include inbound marketing as part of your overall strategy
Hubspot found that B2B companies that blogged 11 or more times per month had nearly three times the traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. Businesses that blog 16 times monthly get about 4.5 times more leads as those who blog 0-4 times!
While there are other forms of inbound marketing, blogging is the simplest and most effective way to start your inbound strategy (attracting customers to you versus outbound such as advertising).
Hubspot’s list goes on to say that only 32% of B2B companies have any content marketing strategy.
This reinforces my point—by simply starting a blog, you give yourself an immediate advantage over the majority who do not blog. I suspect most of your competitors don’t blog, or if they do, it's infrequent.
7 - Use Short Webinars
Business webinars are common because they're fast and effective at building credibility and relationships with your prospects. And they're not just used for direct sales.
For the best lead generation results, craft a purely educational webinar that solves a customer problem. Of course, it should also be related to one of your products or services, although you won't be selling on this type of webinar.
You'll collect contact information when they register for the webinar. Then you'll follow up with regular educational emails about your products and services.
I mentioned "short" webinars because so many of us are pressed for time. I like a good webinar but if it's going to run an hour or more, I'm pretty picky about what I attend. However, if the webinar host says it's going to be 20-30 minutes, I'm FAR more inclined to participate.
8 - Create interactive content
Another effective way to increase your leads is to create interactive content. Quizzes are one example of this type of inbound marketing content.
Online quizzes are created around topics that resonate with your target audience.
For example, Neil Patel used Lead Quizzes to create a nutrition site quiz called “Which Diet is Right for Your Personality? Studies have found that matching a diet to your lifestyle is the single biggest indicator of success.”
Screenshot image - Lead Quizzes
The results of the quiz: it increased the website's online lead capture by 500%.
Of course, quizzes allow you to capture contact info. But because quizzes are so engaging, people are generally willing to give up a bit more information in exchange for the quiz results. In turn, you get a segmented list that you can communicate with more effectively.
9 - Start an email newsletter
Email is still an effective and preferred lead generation channel. Over 50% of people in the US open email more than 10 times daily and say it's their preferred way to get updates from companies. And 40% of B2B marketers say email is critical to their success.
If you’re not using email newsletters, you’re missing a big opportunity. Your customers want to hear from you!
And when you start to use email, be sure to measure and track relevant statistics.
Aweber has a solid report on Growing Your Business with Email Marketing : A How-To Guide on Getting Started.
10 - Actively network both online and offline
Face-to-face contact is still the most effective way to generate interest in your products or services. If your business is local, you can join the local chamber, the Better Business Bureau, or any number of local business groups. If your business is global or ecommerce, there are trade shows and conferences to attend.
And don’t forget to actively network online as well. Not only do you want to post content links to your social media channels regularly, make an effort to reach out to individuals wherever there might be a mutual benefit.
Some of my best relationships started online with a simple Twitter or LinkedIn message. It’s not quite face-to-face contact, but it’s still one-on-one. We don’t want to forget the human element is this digital age.
I realize these ten marketing tasks cover a lot of territory and they are by no means a complete list. Yet they are relatively easy to get started.
Keep it simple and set it in motion. Take action in the right direction and work on learning more about each as you go along. Break it down and work on one a week. In five weeks, with five new tactics in place, you’ll have started the framework of a killer marketing system.
My experience is that with a good overall marketing strategy including inbound and outbound, your lead generation effort will run almost automatically. The leads you’ve been scrambling to find will gradually start to find you. And they’ll do it without the enormous expense of an outbound-only strategy.
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