While inbound marketing is getting a lot of buzz, a well-rounded marketing mix should include both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Inbound works for broad lead generation activities, but outbound is good to amplify your inbound efforts, and target specific opportunities. So what exactly is outbound marketing? It’s using outbound channels to introduce your message and content to your prospects, typically through rented attention, rather than making your content and messages availableon your own properties.
Cost per acquisition advertising (e.g. TalkLocal, Thumbtack) addresses the risk of CPM and CPC advertising by charging only by the lead. Like CPC, the price per lead can be bid up by demand. Also, like CPC, there are ways in which providers can commit fraud by manufacturing leads or blending one source of lead with another (example: search-driven leads with co-registration leads) to generate higher profits. For such marketers looking to pay only for specific actions/acquisition, there are two options: CPL advertising (or online lead generation) and CPA advertising (also referred to as affiliate marketing). In CPL campaigns, advertisers pay for an interested lead — i.e. the contact information of a person interested in the advertiser's product or service. CPL campaigns are suitable for brand marketers and direct response marketers looking to engage consumers at multiple touchpoints — by building a newsletter list, community site, reward program or member acquisition program. In CPA campaigns, the advertiser typically pays for a completed sale involving a credit card transaction.
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Turning a stranger into a customer. That’s the goal for lead generation. You are the one that initiates all the contacts with outbound marketing. When it comes to the inbound approach, you put quality content out there and wait for the public to then initiate the contact with you. It’s all about finding unique ways to attract people toward your business. It’s about you being found.
Not every lead will be ready to convert at that point in time but that doesn’t mean such leads should be ignored. Lead nurturing is especially critical in the lead generation process when prospects are undecided about a purchase. Send them helpful information based on their interests. Automate the lead nurturing process, and set up reminders and a schedule of when to check in with them. You want to be top of mind when they are ready to make a decision.
Remember when we talked about lead scoring? Well, it isn’t exactly doable without your sales team’s input. How will you know what qualifies a lead for sales without knowing if your defined SQLs are successfully sold? Your marketing and sales teams need to be aligned on the definitions and the process of moving a lead from MQL to SQL to opportunity before you even begin to capture leads.
Your content is the foundation of your inbound marketing efforts. According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action”. Think of content as the fuel to all of your marketing campaigns from email to social. Create content that is impactful to your audience and drives sharing. Through creating high quality content, you can begin to gain your buyer’s trust and start breaking through the noise.
During the launch of one of our client’s hiking equipment products, we helped them design and execute an email marketing campaign targeting existing customers and email lists from a local hiking club. The email talked about our new innovative equipment, launch details and order information. The email response rate and sign ups not only gave our client potential leads who may be interested in their products, but also helped us dissect business data like market trends and customer preferences.
Use different modes of social media. You might start with a general site like Facebook, a business networking site such as LinkedIn, or a microblogging and all-purpose site like Twitter. However, consider expanding to picture-based sites like Pinterest or Instagram. Also look for any types of social networking platforms specific to your industry, like Glozal for real estate, Lawyrs for law, or Architizer for architects and designers.
Promote your business on social networking sites. These sites are where millions of people are already gathering to connect with each other. So, establishing a meaningful presence there is a good idea. You can create a page on these sites to promote your business. When a customer "friends" you or "becomes a fan," the people in her network can learn about your company as well.
Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively. Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale”. The criteria for these actions is completely up to you, but it must be uniform across your marketing and sales department so that everyone is working on the same scale.
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