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Constructing a concrete foundation for your inbound marketing efforts is a must to transform website visitors to leads and then leads into customers. Persuasive emails, influential pages on your website and commanding calls to action will help solidify the structure of your content, and will result in a stronger lead generation strategy, which leads to producing higher-quality leads.

This is the second in a series on lead generation; our post, essentials for quality lead generation, served as an overview on converting leads, a look at the customer funnel and how to back up the claims you make with compelling content.

To recap, a lead is a person or a company with a varying degree of interest in what you have to offer. While marketers are expected to contribute directly to most business’ bottom line, according to HubSpot, only 8% of salespeople said marketing leads were very high quality.

How do you raise lead value?

That’s the million dollar question! Here are a few basic ideas:

  • For B2Bs, reach the people in a company who actually make the purchasing decisions.
  • For B2Cs, timing is crucial. You want to be in front of them at their time of need, or when a purchase decision occurs.
  • For both, employ multiple channels to reach your desired audience. When combined, multiple marketing tactics can make the difference.

Easier said than done, right? Read on for some tools to get you moving toward more robust leads.

We recently started a new marketing automation project for one of our clients, and the very first thing we did as marketers was to get on the same page as the people in sales. Your message and content needs to be consistent not just across channels but across departments, so as not to confuse potential customers. There are systems designed to make this critical element very transparent.

Next, we brainstormed a plan for lead generation, reviewing multiple content strategies across multiple channels to arrive at a strategy that made sense for our client’s customer base. Having that plan put us in the right headspace to create new content and use/repurpose existing content that will convert site visitors into leads. If you’re creating content that doesn’t positively affect your goals, you’re wasting time.

Content creation can be very time consuming, but content is the backbone of success for marketing automation and lead nurturing, so we need to leverage automation effectively.

Automated content for different personas

Isn’t automated content potentially obnoxious and annoying to our prospects? Sure, if you blast everything to everybody on your list. But, by using highly-segmented lists to send more personalized emails, you can push valuable content to leads – based on the topics they’re interested in – while saving time. A recent Experian email study showed that personalized emails generated six times the revenue versus generic emails.

One way to achieve a big revenue bump is by creating personas of your target purchasers. For our client’s marketing automation project, we realized that three of us on the team were potential customers and practically the same age, but our characteristics wildly differed from there. It was a jumping off point to create several personas. We knew these customers would arrive at a purchase decision by (sometimes) receiving different content. Personas will humanize your leads, allowing you to better hypothesize how to reach them. When creating them, include information like:

  • Demographics: age, gender, geography, family
  • General knowledge: education, job, hobbies
  • Psychology: needs, desires, aspirations, irritations

Work together with the sales team to gather these answers from the existing customer database. Having these customer types broken down will allow you to prioritize your content creation efforts to focus on key decision makers and send them pertinent content, based on their stage in the buying cycle and that is meaningful to them.

Email marketing tools

For our client’s current lead generation project, we are using SharpSpring, which utilizes a wide variety of automated tools to segment  your prospects to different pieces of content. It’s a subscription Marketing Automation Platform (MAP), but if your mailing list isn’t huge — yet — you can take advantage of the email automation features offered by freemium services, such as MailChimp.

Here are some tactics to try, to let your leads know you aren’t sending emails with blinders on:

  • Send emails from different addresses. If your company’s founder is well-known in the community, it could be powerful to get an email from her. Or use/create departmental emails that tie into your content’s subject matter. Most systems can send one-to-one emails on behalf of an individual as well as one-to-many.
  • Tie in the geography of the lead. If you sympathize about the current, local weather, for example, it makes you more relatable. Tie your offers into seasonality or cultural differences that geography can present.
  • Demonstrate to your subscribers that you’re paying attention to their interests, preferences and habits which will automatically make your interactions more personal. Measuring the affinity of your personas and audience types can provide great value in understanding what makes them tick.
  • Acknowledge the actions leads have taken on your website, such as their downloads, engagement with your social media or feedback provided via forms or polls/surveys. This will make your lead scoring better and the actions you take based on data, not assumption.

Email marketing can still take advantage of many of the same strategies as does marketing automation. Sometimes the effort is more hands on, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as providing a human touch can add to its success.

There are lots of tools in your belt

Email is still a powerful marketing tactic,  but don’t be afraid to use multiple channels. For example, account-based marketing (ABM) allows you to position yourselves as close to your potential buyers as possible. Using LinkedIn or other ABM resources could help you score B2B leads. Consider display advertising, retargeting or mobile advertising. Even some traditional marketing tactics might be the answer as people’s trust of digital wanes.

Keep in mind, though, that even with strategic planning, every piece of content you create isn’t going to strike gold. Experimentation with different types of content on varying channels will help you find the ones that work the best. It’s OK to fail, as long as you learn from the data analyzed from the failure and turn it into an opportunity to improve.

Future blogs in this series will look at the types of content that will work for B2B and B2C leads, and we’ll also take a deep dive into measuring the quality of your leads. If you’re interested in getting started with your own marketing automation or lead generation project, reach out and let us know.

Lead generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing

Learn how they work together in your marketing automation strategy

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