Today, the B2B space is overflowing with talk about demand generation, inbound marketing, content marketing, and other digital marketing buzz words. However, when you boil it all down, these concepts are essentially all just different versions of a multi-channel “Lead Generation” strategy.
Companies like Hubspot and Marketo have been driving their own messages forward, which have peaked the interest of many business owners and decision makers to investigate this strategy. While I’ve certainly learned new tactics and strategies from these companies and their platforms, these methods have actually been around for a while in a disconnected fashion.
So despite what others might claim, let’s navigate through the flashing lights and discuss what a lead generation campaign should look like in a few simple steps:
Set your campaign goal or objective:
It’s the foundation of any campaign. Too often we spend time focusing on the fancy tools, but this first step is a must: What are you trying to accomplish? How will you measure success?
- Every client and campaign’s goal varies based on several factors. You could start by simply defining the number of leads you’d like to drive; or you could do some analysis to determine the number of closed leads or revenue per lead based on a customer lifetime value (LTV) metric.
- Because every client and industry is different, it’s important to not jump to a performance goal of cost-per-lead (CPL) or return on investment (ROI). First, we need to determine the investment and channel mix required to meet this goal.
Identify your target audience and personas
Demand generation and inbound marketing software offer tons of cool tools related to persona development – but ultimately, the bells and whistles are not as important as a clear understanding of who you are trying to reach with this campaign.
- This is certainly not a new process for companies and marketers alike. Traditional media planners have been perfecting this process for decades, so it’s no surprise that this is an inherent part of any marketing strategy.
- In this step we’re looking to define everything about our potential customers; from the type of company, vertical, size, location; to the actual decision makers at the company and their job titles, pain points, and behavior. You could also identify other groups like your current customers for upsell opportunities, or past customers for re-engagement.
- This final product will then help to determine your channel mix and overall content marketing topics and themes.
Determine your channel specific strategies and media mix
Again, it’s easy to fixate on features within a tool, but we all know digital marketing is not a ‘if you build it they will come’ proposition. Any good campaign needs a thoughtful channel mix for success.
- In order to get leads from your site, you have to have people actually visiting your site first. There’s a number of different channels that help fill the funnel on your site, but it’s important to identify how each impacts the overall goal you set at the beginning of this process.
- For example, I always hear clients claim that by using content marketing (blogs, guides, etc.) they’ll be able to drive leads. Well that’s not exactly true… If you know anything about digital marketing, you know that a piece of content may take weeks or months before it starts ranking for SEO; and even then it’s not a guarantee.
- Make sure to review every opportunity, from paid search (PPC) to organic search (SEO), and from organic social media to paid Facebook Ads. Determine the cost of each channel, and the subsequent cost per visit to determine which channels are more efficient and better at reaching your target audience.
Develop a content offer (give them what they want!)
All too often, we will see customers implement technology but overlook one of the easiest and most critical components of a campaign: Do your prospects have a clear and appealing path to engage?
- At this point you could just start running with your strategy, and driving people to the site to hopefully know enough to fill out a form or pick up the phone. However, that would be a waste of time and money.
- These days, it’s pretty widely known that people don’t just hand over their information that easily. Everyone’s asking for their email, so why should they give it to you? What can you offer them? This is where you can pull the lever to increase that online conversion rate, and increase the percent of your traffic that converts.
- You could offer up a guide, registration for a webinar, a free demo, or some other type of incentive that speaks directly to one of your target audience’s pain points. Once you’ve developed this piece of gated content, it’s important to build a campaign around it so you can get the most out of it.
- This could include developing a set of PPC campaigns with keywords specifically targeting this content topic, or targeting certain Twitter users to help share and promote the content. All of these channels would then lead to a landing page with a designated CTA and form that users can complete in one simple step.
Build email workflows
Here’s where the tools can start to shine – enabling you to automate communication. Saying that, the essence of what you are saying is far more important than the tool behind it.
- Not all leads you obtain are ready to convert right away. Sure you’ve given them a valuable piece of content, but let’s be honest… they really just wanted your content.
- This is where marketing automation platforms like Hubspot really provide the greatest value. With these tools you’re able to setup parameters to filter leads automatically based on the information they provide, so you can set them up in a nurturing campaign that provides relevant content that communicates your value proposition.
- Over time, you’ll be able to convert and close more leads using this strategy and give your sales staff more marketing qualified leads.
Contact us for a marketing assessment for suggestions and tips to generate more leads.
Contributed by Ryan Walbridge, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist