Business Leads: How to Find Them and What To Do With Them

February 22, 2016 Doug Milnor

In today's world of instant access and constant connectivity, digital marketing is gaining traction as the best way to find and nurture leads. Understanding that consumers, whether B2C or B2B, have access to more information than ever before, marketers are shifting strategies to ensure that the brand message they promote is front and center across all digital channels a potential lead might encounter.

What Makes Digital Different?

Lead generation with digital marketing includes use of multiple electronic media forms, including the internet, wireless text messaging, mobile instant messaging, mobile apps, podcasts, and social media content. It involves content marketing in a digitized environment and provides real-time analytics that inform marketing strategy in a more agile way than traditional marketing methods.

Lead generation

Do you have a clear strategy for attracting leads?

Lead Generation in the Digital Age

What does all this mean for lead generation? Simply put, it means that digital marketing provides access to a wider and deeper customer experience.

According to Content Marketing Institute's (CMI) "2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America", 88 percent of B2B respondents and 76 percent of B2C respondents use content marketing. This makes sense, considering the typical customer journey today.

Hubspot's 2015 "State of Inbound", reveals that companies of all sizes are relying more heavily on inbound marketing than ever before. Among companies with fewer than 25 employees, inbound marketing commands a staggering 84 percent of marketing efforts, while companies with 26-200 employees funnel 71 percent of marketing efforts to inbound methods. Even larger companies with over 200 employees are using inbound for 50 percent of their overall marketing strategy.

However, simply using content marketing does not guarantee qualified leads. The CMI survey notes that only 44 percent of B2B organizations have a clear idea of what an effective content marketing strategy looks like.

Here is how the numbers break down:

  • 79 percent of the most effective marketers have clarity regarding their marketing strategy.
  • 53 percent of them have a documented content marketing strategy.
  • 40 percent of the least effective marketers have no strategy at all.

These figures clearly illustrate that if digital marketing is to be effective, there must be a clearly defined, mapped strategy involved.

Attracting Leads

The first step of lead generation is finding leads. While that may sound simple, it is not always clear where your best leads will be. With the sheer volume of digital channels available to potential leads, finding your target audience requires careful analysis.

Creating buyer personas will help you find your target audience. Thinking about your brand proposition, what does your ideal customer look like? What social media outlets is your ideal customer likely to use? Just as billboard advertising is only effective if it is on a road that is well-traveled, your digital marketing efforts are only effective if they are seen by the right people at the right time.

Lay the initial groundwork by creating viable buyer personas, choosing the appropriate channels to reach your target audience, and crafting your digital campaigns to appeal to that audience.

Nurturing Leads

Mere use of digital channels may put you on the radar of potential leads, but to really gain solid ground, you must do more. Lead nurturing begins with initial contact and builds as you move your leads through the sales funnel.

Here are some sound strategies for effective lead nurturing along with way:

1) Build and broadcast your brand message.

The goal of your digital campaigns must be to strengthen your brand position in the minds of your target audience. To that end, every piece of content, whether on your website, social media platforms or emails, must be designed to build trust in your brand. Examine every part of your campaign to ensure that there is no unnecessary, arbitrary fluff. Make every communication with your leads count.

2) Identify and solve customer problems.

How can you ensure you are providing true value to your leads? The best way to accomplish this is by identifying what problem your lead is facing. What search led your lead to access your information? What problem is he or she trying to solve?

Once you have the answer to that question, you can nurture your lead effectively by providing the solution to his or her problem. Illustrate the real benefit of your product or service in a personalized way. This builds trust and rapport, and leads will respond to your nurturing efforts.

3) Provide emotional appeal.

Whether your business is B2C or B2B, there is an emotional component to conversion. Ensure that you reach the heart of your target audience by painting a clear, convincing picture of how life will be better with your product than without it. Let your content tell a story, and make that story emotionally evocative.

4) Include a strong CTA.

Seal the deal with a strong call to action, providing your lead with clear direction about the next logical step, conversion. While this message does not always have to be a club-over-the-head, heavy-handed instruction, it must always be clear to the reader how to take the next step.

Lead generation

A solid digital strategy includes a strong social media presence.

5) Build brand loyalty.

New business is great, but repeat business is better. Build brand loyalty by maintaining a digital presence with customers after conversion. Nurturing must continue throughout the customer lifecycle. Work just as hard to retain existing customers as you do to acquire new ones. Create loyal brand advocates by providing a superior customer experience.

The Continuing Process

To be truly successful, your digital marketing strategy must be clearly defined. Lead generation and nurturing is an ongoing process that requires consistent, clear brand positioning. Do your digital marketing efforts measure up? If you want an expert opinion, request an assessment today. As leaders in the field of digital marketing, we will help you find the strategy that attracts, converts, and retains customers for your brand.

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