In today's competitive market, B2B companies often invest in marketing so they can stand out from their competition and ultimately generate more sales. To maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing dollars, you need to generate high-quality leads and turn them into customers. However, there are quite a few steps in between investing in a marketing strategy and developing lead generation that truly makes your investment worthwhile.
It’s 2019, and the results are in: if you’re in business, you should be on LinkedIn. With over 500 million users, 40% of whom are logging in daily, LinkedIn can connect you to pretty much anyone. However, while many of us are comfortable using LinkedIn for recruitment, networking, and branding, turning LinkedIn into a lead generation powerhouse takes a bit of strategic thought.
Consumers search the internet with questions. Supply the best answers in the best way, and traffic will flow to your website. Each visit is a possible lead. It’s simple and complex all at once. To develop a relationship and convert casual browsers into qualified leads, you need to offer timely and relevant information and encourage engagement with your content. Your goal should be to meet the needs of prospects at each point along the buying journey. If you do this well, visitors to your site will reward you by supplying their contact information.
Since people have embraced the use of the internet, the way they buy has changed. In the past, companies had all the information on the product or service they were selling and buyers came to them to gather information. Now, buyers do research on the internet, are well informed and usually have chosen who they want to do business with before they ever even contact a company.
Feeling a bit dismayed about lagging sales stats? Don't let discouragement get the best of you.
Most likely, the right information isn't getting into the hands of your most qualified leads when they're most likely to spring into action.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool in your inbound marketing strategy box - especially if you're a B2B marketer (80% of marketing leads for B2B companies are generated by LinkedIn, and it's used as the primary social media platform for 92% of B2B companies). As the name implies, however, LinkedIn is only as fruitful as the strength of the "links" you create.
Everything about networking changed in 2004 when LinkedIn introduced Groups as a feature. Once Groups were brought online, liked-minded professionals had a new way to connect, demonstrate thought leadership and learn about their industries.
So, you've applied everything you've learned about LinkedIn lead generation and yet leads seem to have flat lined. What gives?
It's deflating when a well-planned inbound marketing strategy doesn't yield the results you expected. It's tempting to feel like throwing in the towel or start anew. Don't give in to that temptation!
The work you've done so far is a wellspring of content from which you can tease, build upon and develop as you re-orient your sights.
LinkedIn is a valuable inbound marketing tool for healthcare organizations. While patients and prospects may use the network's profiles to learn more about doctors, specialists and other healthcare providers, it's also a way to get yourself out there, active and engaged with other industry professionals.
You know your prospects with precision. You've identified them, found them on LinkedIn, and populated a database with their information.
You know your company's value proposition inside and out. You've crafted authentic, personalized messages for your prospects that will inform and educate them, make their lives easier, and drive them to your website.
A slow drip. Water on a stone. Steady, relentless, and effective.
This sums up how inbound marketing strategy generally is intended to work in the first place, and going further into the lead nurturing avenues with drip email campaigns aimed at carefully selected contacts in LinkedIn only enhances the power to drive more qualified sales leads into your funnel with it.
A lot of people don't like networking. When they think about it, they envision uncomfortable conversations, awkward exchanges of business cards, and empty promises. For these people, "networking" might as well be a four-letter word.
You know the drill.
Your sales team wants leads. Your leadership team wants sales. You want to see your website at the top of Google. So you opt for a varied collection of online tactics that likely includes posting quality content, rich with keywords, which are then forced into your other marketing materials. You go heavy on the links. You use Google AdWords. Along the way, attention goes toward a flurry of activity to design and develop a website that is absolutely perfect.
Sales goals are a crucial part of any business. Without sales businesses certainly wouldn't survive, and goals are the driving force in ensuring that profits happen. SaaS businesses in particular have their own growth and profitability metrics to factor into the equation.
Ah, urban legends. Even if you were the bravest kid on the block, chances are, the thought of the Boogey Monster under your bed still gave you the creeps.
Urban legends stick around because they spark something in us – a bit of mystery and intrigue, if you will. Most of them come from a grain of truth snowballing into something unforgettable and bone-chilling.
We all know modern day customers tune out of traditional outbound advertising and, instead, tune right into their web-enabled devices to read, share, and enjoy online content. More than just reading, people want to interact with brands and tout their favorite merchants to their friends on the world wide web. They no longer want to have advertisements interrupting their day only to shout messages at them from the TV, radio, or billboards.
There's a natural rhythm to any long-term romance. The first call-back (eeek!), the continuous acknowledgement of undeniable chemistry (scha-wing!), and then there's the introductions to friends and family (I hope they like me!). By the time you've reached this last step, it's a good sign the two of you are in it for the "long haul."
In addition to being absolutely beautiful, butterflies are also critical pollinators. They spread pollen from plant to plant, and the result of all that flitting about is the production of seeds. Those seeds form into fruit, which exponentially creates more seeds from which new plants grow.
If you think about it, this process isn't all that different from the way an inbound marketing strategy works!
In 1936, Dale Carnegie (originally "Carnagey," and no relation to steel baron Andrew Carnegie...) published the widely popular book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It has gone to publication multiple times and is still considered a foundation for both personal and professional success.
Paid ads and inbound marketing together? Say it ain’t so Joe!
For years we’ve talked about how you should focus on drawing traffic to your site through relevant content. Build it and they will come. Provide relevant content that resonates with your target audience and they will love you for it. But what if you want to jumpstart your inbound lead generation efforts through paid ads? Promote it and they will come... faster.
When it comes right down to it, the goal of SaaS marketing is the same as any other business marketing... leads. Your marketing team needs high-quality, sales-qualified leads to pass along to the sales team. However, as a SaaS company you do have a few unique oppotunities for marketing in addition to the standard methods.
Getting more leads from your website sounds like a pretty simple and straightforward goal until you set out to do it. So why is it so difficult and how do you actually do it?
Have you ever stopped to consider that there are marketing activities you are doing right now that may be counterproductive to your goal of getting more leads for your sales team? Think that's not even a possibility?
Every generation is different, yet somehow the same as the last; that is as true in marketing as it is in other aspects of life. If you grew up as a Baby Boomer, you may be feeling out of touch with today’s Gen Y – but the good news is, you are not really that far apart.
You already know how important qualified lead generation is: more sales leads means more customers, which means more revenue for your business. As a result of this simple tenet, many businesses are focusing their efforts on how to generate sales leads.
It is safe to say that the way you generate sales leads today is not the same way you did 20, or even 10, years ago. At least it shouldn’t be the same.
Why? The customer you once courted via “outbound” or interruption marketing – direct mail, broadcast, outdoor boards, Yellow Pages and cold calls – no longer is quick to respond to these fading media.
There is a lot of buzz these days about online lead generation and using websites to boost the bottom line of a business. Exactly how should a website support closing more sales?
Web marketing is constantly evolving (there isn't even concensus on what to call it) – and whether you’re targeting a neighborhood customer base or have your eye on a big audience, your website must contain the elements that help people personally engage with your business in order to convert from visitors into qualified leads. Without them it is no better than passing out flyers in terms of meeting sales goals.
Business-to-business marketing (b2b marketing) online takes place in a different environment than business-to-consumer. It’s a slower, more deliberate process. And with B2B, so much hinges on credibility and relationships – which take time to build but are necessary to move forward in the sales funnel and are crucial for qualified lead generation. To build these kinds of relationships you must identify and speak directly to the people who decide whether or not to purchase your product or service. These are called marketing personas and they are much more involved than general marketing demographics.
With the straightest of faces and the sincerest of deliveries, would-be marketing guru Dan Sally tells us why inbound marketing simply isn’t for him. If you can identify with Dan, you are likely losing money, customers, perhaps even your business without even realizing it.
It’s not difficult to see why mobile marketing is beginning to blend so well with qualified lead generation. Our mobile devices have become so embedded in our daily life that daily marketing seems to escape the consciousness. Mobile advertising has become a reality, and experts speculate this form of advertising will outpace mainstream promotions.
Since 2008, consumer behavior has rapidly shifted, embracing the new digital revolution. 88% of adults in the US have a cell phone, which has become the dominant communication tool in the United States.
A well-crafted landing page design can generate traffic on its own, but add in the newest cultural trends, such as social media and blogging, better known as Web 2.0, and you’ll strike gold. Of course, simply throwing up a blog and signing up for Facebook won’t guarantee customer acquisition and retention, but a mix of simple strategies will undeniably generate results.
Why the Need to Socialize
How would you like a first-hand account of everything that goes on within a business? Perhaps measure how customers feel about your handiwork? Or simply test the market tonight with bits of information and analyze the outcome tomorrow? This is the type of real-time power social networking offers.
Like it or not there has been a monumental shift in power and the online consumer is in full control. One angry customer will spread the word to 100 other people about their experiences – good and bad. And with the use of social media, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, overnight, those 100 people can multiply to 100,000. Just think of the possibilities - wouldn’t you like the opportunity to influence, prompt and persuade prospective clients to embrace your business? Combine a great landing page design with social media and blogging and watch the sudden impact.
Social Media websites are like attending an on-going networking event, a trade show or maybe a debate. While various conversations are erupting at the speed of light, businesses are broken down or praised. Either way, you have an opportunity to motivate the crowd.
“Hi there! Glad to meet you! And now that we’ve just met, will you buy something from me?”
Just as you (presumably) wouldn’t hand over money to a stranger, you cannot expect visitors coming to your website from your inbound marketing efforts, who know you only from some blog posts or Twitter feeds, to make that dramatic leap right to the end of the sales funnel. Not yet.
The vital middle area of the funnel involves landing page design. The function, message and design of landing pages contribute to lead generation in a way your homepage just cannot match. (In other words, you don't want to be cited by Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook as among the 44 percent of clicks for B2B companies that bypass a landing page for the less useful homepage.)
Facebook has its friends; Twitter its followers. But only LinkedIn, the world’s largest business network, can claim the monopoly on “contacts.” And when it comes to inbound marketing, contact is as vital as content for fostering lead generation.
There's a reason more than 187 million people were LinkedIn members as of November 2012 -- because this site connects people and businesses like no other online.
Though the Internet has changed the way B2B clients and B2C shoppers approach a prospective vendor, some things never change – like your need to separate the full-speed-aheads from the dead-ends among your leads.
Every minute a sales rep spends pitching to an unqualified lead is a minute wasted and money drained. In years past, effective lead generation may have centered on cold calls. Today, your website’s landing page does much of that legwork.