Building a reliable source of ongoing leads and revenue also makes good business sense. It’s a more stable marketing strategy for organisations to implement. It also allows businesses to create well structured teams, and resources around the basis for ongoing growth and sales acquisition.
Es Chandra, CEO – Glide
I truly believe that any company wanting to strive for results, such as increased sales, enquiries or leads, should be attributing their efforts to a range of continuous marketing activities, not just one campaign. One of the key strengths to online marketing is the ability to do just that. Build a range of legitimate funnels of prospects and enquiries, not just as a result from specific campaign burst activity (i.e. a traditional advertising campaign but on an ongoing basis).
This is the true nature of lead generation, a process which caters to the ‘always on digital’ society that we have now moved towards. Every marketer or business needs to pay attention to the fact that people are always connected to information at anytime. They are always looking for specific products and services, at any place and at any moment. Whether it be at 5am in the morning, 1pm at lunch time, or midnight – we’re there and the analytics data proves it.
If you are a business or brand that relies on the growth and continuous generation of traffic and attention, then you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Is what we are doing the most effective in terms of cost efficiencies and results? Is it generating actual business growth and leads? What is the ROI? And how exactly is that marketing activity practical, in the way leads are funnelled through to the sales team or call centre. There are lots of critical questions you need to ponder, when generating sales and enquiries from online, here are the top 5.
1. Where are the opportunities online?
We know our own businesses more than anyone else. Due to our own customer experiences, we know what people want or need. We are often confronted with their questions around specific products and services. In turn, we desire to link to that nature of fulfilling their needs. There are, however, a multitude of avenues people seek for specific solutions we provide. I’m yet to meet any business that knows them all, and has them well tied up!
Online marketing data reveals the various avenues in which customers can potentially land on our doorstep. It’s up to us as businesses, to capture those opportunities, and create clear outcomes for our prospects to convert. You can analyse available online marketing data of your particular industry, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, to undertake keyword research. For popular articles or most shared or engaging content trends, there are great tools like Buzz Sumo. I will be writing an article with a more detailed list of these specific tools, so stay tuned.
By reviewing various ideas, we can truly identify the opportunities, in which we can position our existing online marketing. We can rework our current assets, such as content and videos. Or, create a more connected experiences online and cater to a specific targeted audience with new customised, insightful content. What most companies don’t realise, is the ability for analytics data to unlock creativity, in the way we market and position our brand. The devil is truly in the detail.
2. How do I capture the online marketing opportunities?
Organisations that are looking to pursue sales leads from online, need to look at how they facilitate the process, to construct an agile marketing function around their conversion funnels. The art of building a sales funnel, starts with driving relevant traffic, whether it be via paid or organic channels. From there, you will need to setup dedicated landing pages to each of your funnels. This takes time and investment for any organisation.
However, the beauty of online marketing is that you can build your assets and content over time, in order to test and trial various methods and conversion strategies. The investment you pay on those components can then be ongoing. Sure, everything has its lifecycle, but it can certainly last a lot longer than one campaign burst, a press ad or a radio. Paid channels like social advertising can also drive organic reach and more direct engagement. But you will need to analyse the return on investment, for each type of topic, or theme you’re targeting.
In many cases, you can balance out specific categories, that have a high cost per acquisition, with topics that have much lower cost per acquisition. It’s best to activate as many funnels as you can, but on a consistent timely basis. In addition, these funnels will result in enhanced engagement on your website, which ultimately leads to more conversions.
Like many of the case studies we have developed, a bullish approach to activating your marketing funnels, can lead to an exponential increase in driving leads. But conversion is key.
3. How can we convert them into leads & consequent sales?
The biggest mistake many agencies or brands make, is casting online marketing, as a channel on its own. Media companies consider digital marketing, as an assist based channel, to their overall traditional budget. However, when it comes to lead generation, this can be a very inhibiting approach to your overall marketing strategy. There are many ecosystems within the online marketing world. This is because customers exist in many layers and platforms, and are ready to engage at any point in time. Whether it be via Google search, social channels such as Facebook or Instagram, or even awareness based advertising methods like Display or YouTube, there are a multitude of avenues to reach potential customers online.
The key is applying the right copy, creative, content, theme and call to action, to trigger an experience that will entice conversions. The trick to being successful online is building a model that caters for everyone. Customer-centric marketing is providing various avenues based on the individual’s preferences. There is no longer a sure way to convert online. Some people like gated content, and need to read more before they trust a brand. Some people like to make appointments, so it gives them an opportunity to discuss the options in person. Others like to just call, and some people are too busy to talk to anyone at that moment, and will happily leave their details for a call back. Whatever it may be, the more avenues we can provide our prospects to convert, the more connected and in touch we are to the most important people, our customers!
So, if you’re reading this article, then you need to seriously rethink how your brand is allowing for customers to contact you. And are each of those touch points connected to a specific marketing funnel, which you can track and measure? Are you covering all avenues? Is it easy for prospects to get to the end goal?
4. What’s the market share? What’s the investment?
These questions will ultimately reveal two main outcomes. The first is the current market position of your brand, and the second is the effort required to get to where you need to, in regards to specific objectives. To truly understand your market share, you need to look at the overall opportunity of your targeted location, such as a specific city, state or country. You can then isolate that market, to the key competitors, within your specific vertical. Once achieved, you can then closely align to the areas that you wish to grow in.
Analysing competitor traffic trends and digital marketing activity can paint a clear picture, in regards to the amount of growth required, to attain marketing share. The more traffic you require, the more funnels and diversity you will need to introduce into your business. This will in turn formulate the level of investment that you need for additional content and customer-centric strategies. It is all very measurable, and highly achievable.
You need to assess each funnel, and review the online experience for each on all platforms, i.e. Google Search and social media. You need to mainly look at these channels, because these are the platforms that command the most attention from people in 2017. If you’re not actively planning to attain market share from social media, such as Facebook or Instagram and Google, then you will loose the online game – period.
The amount of resources required, can be worked out by setting goals and a plan to roll out the content required, for each of the funnels you want to go for. So, written content, videos, downloadable’s (whitepapers), and podcasts etc. need to be established, and a content marketing pipeline created. Add those up over a period of time, and you have your investment.
5. How can we measure our ROI from online?
The quick answer? Use conversion tracking and attribution modelling. The key here is to get your goal tracking and analytics setup in such a way, that you know exactly which customer converted where, and why. By understanding the path to conversion, you can then scale it, replicate it and optimise it even further.
So, get all your funnels tracked, and ensure any paid or organic activity you invest in, is directly measured against each of your funnels. The objective is to get so tight with your reporting and analytics, that you can then formulate a true cost per lead for each channel, down to each funnel. From here, you can see where to truly refine your efforts, and where your opportunities are.
Further from this, you need to start measuring the conversion of leads, to actual sales. You can do this via CRMs, and marketing automation tools, to articulate your overall conversion rate. This will allow you to assess the quality of your leads over time. For instance, you may have a funnel with a high cost per lead, but it produces highly qualified sales and perhaps even revenue. So, the investment could seem high, but the return is far more rewarding.
In summary, growth really comes from a state of opportunity analysis. Then, solidifying a clear plan, to help achieve your goals quicker. All of this, with the focus to allocate your resources, to areas of opportunity and market growth. Don’t miss out on utilising the tools already available, to achieve the results you need, from online. Use them to help you better measure return on your investment, and ultimately grow your business.