A very important and, for some companies, the only contribution that is required from marketing is lead generation. But at many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), marketers struggle to establish databases and employ tactics that drive both new revenue and customer loyalty.
On top of that, it is a challenge to meet the needs of an audience which includes potential and existing customers, former customers who switched to other providers and even people who will never be customers but are part of the ecosystem and help spread the word about businesses. Another consideration is that customers are inundated by marketing messages all day long and often shut out or ignore a majority of what comes at them. So here are six tips to help you manage your database, support your audience and stand out among all the other online campaigns so your leads become happy customers.
1. Record data in detail: Learn as much as you or your team members can about each contact and record the information in your client relationship management system, database, Excel spreadsheet or any other method you use.
The more detail you have, the better you can evaluate the role of each contact and the kind of influence they have in the buying process. Keep enhancing the information for existing contacts, as well as adding new ones.
2. Segment for better engagement:It is very important to understand the level of each contact in your database and segment them as decision makers, influencers, procurement people, end users, etc. You need to tailor the message to the role the contacts play in the buying process.
Taking this thought a step further, you need to be able to speak the language of your audience and segments. As David Ogilvy says, "If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think." This means you have to learn what they are thinking, their aspirations and challenges to establish the basis for your communications.
Other methods for segmentation including location, size of company and industry, as well as the blogs and business journals to which people subscribe, events they attend or even social media they consume. All of these details should inform the marketing campaigns you develop, which should be as specific to the audience segment as possible.
3. Publish great content: When thinking about topics for your content, think of business information that your target audience might find helpful. You will get a good idea of the trending topics of your industry from Twitter, in magazines and business journals, by searching for updates, events and interviews on Google and by reviewing the highest searches for your domain-related topics on Google Insights. Writing about news articles, business events and interviews that interest your target audience ensures strong levels of readership and click-throughs; ultimately resulting in a highly-involved audience.
4. Strike at the right time: Some people prefer to catch up on business reading on Monday mornings and some like Friday evenings or weekends. You should check the habits of the majority of your target audience before setting a time and day for your communications. You can determine this by looking at the open rates of your emails, views of your blog and traffic to your website resulting from your newsletter distribution or blog publishing. The right timing means the difference between emails being read, left unopened until later or deleted. This may sound like a simple or obvious suggestion, but it definitely takes some testing to get right.
5. Create and promote offers: A peak at an intriguing offer can tempt people to want to know more and to spread the word to others. Research by eMarketer also shows that emails with a discount receive the most shares (34.7%) as compared with other types of email content. So use these strong hooks to get maximum opens but then make sure the audience gets something that matches their expectations. If you don't deliver on your promises, chances are that your customers will reject your marketing emails and even your company a long time!
6. Provide value: In targeting decision makers, it is sometimes better to share your experience and expertise. These types of transactions help to build relationships and give you opportunities to set your company apart from competitors. For example, a home decorating company could offer a free consultation on designing a room, a florist could offer free workshops on Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging style) and a salon could offer free tips on hairstyles for special events. Hubspot does this perfectly by offering their Marketing Grader service for free website marketing analyses that has a great pay-off and reinforces their expertise.
You might create emails that deliver what your audience needs or wants by incorporating options such as case studies, white papers and business insights. Spice up the content with limited-time offers, promotions, discount and coupons that can be shared with others.
Nurturing leads is a complex practice but you'll make significant progress if you build a solid database that enables you to segment and share content and offers that appeal to each segment of your audience.
What other tactics do you use to keep your marketing leads engaged?