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.
With the new buyer it is important to note that your marketing efforts don’t end once a new lead comes into your system – what we call Top of the Funnel (TOFU) marketing. Many companies do a good job at generating leads, but the problem is that most new leads are not ready to buy yet. And if a sales rep does engage and the lead isn’t ready to talk with them, it reinforces the notion that marketing sourced leads are not great. As a result leads get lost, ignored, or snatched up by your competitors.
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In terms of your website, this could be a visitor who has demonstrated interest in your website's content. This could be the visitor has filled out a web form, have downloaded content, have signed up for a newsletter or filled up the shopping cart and then left the site. Each type of interaction is assigned a lead score, a metric that is intended to help sales and marketing personnel determine where the visitor is in the buying cycle. If the potential customer is early in the buying cycle, it is usually the marketing department's job to nurture the lead.
There is certainly no doubt about the fact that social media has helped us in a lot of ways. Not only has it made possible for us to communicate with people from all over the world but it has also made sure that businesses online get the right audiences and promotions that they need. Businesses can also appreciate lead generation from social media and enjoy great conversions.
Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
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By producing authoritative content, you build credibility within the marketplace. In time, customers view you and your company as knowledgeable and helpful. You create and offer content for a distinct audience, your targeted one that is driven by choice and perhaps interactivity. Consumers embark on a journey when attempting to find solutions to their problems. They generally seek information for each part of that journey. In the beginning, they are familiar with their problem and solutions that have potential. Mid way they begin comparing some possible solutions. In the end of this journey, they give their due diligence to make a final decision. It isn’t uncommon for consumers to conduct twelve searches before being on your specific brand’s site. Generally, eighty-one percent will research online before making that purchase or that appointment. In multiple forms, your quality content makes all the difference.
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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.
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This point-based approach to recognizing and analyzing a company's hottest leads will save your business time and money when reaching your target market and capitalizing on sales opportunities. With your hottest leads identified, your business can communicate with these leads confidently knowing that they are already aware of and interested in your business.
Once a lead is a part of your lead management system or email list, it is important to continually nurture them to ensure they move through the sales funnel when the time is right or to encourage another purchase. Retaining their interest in being part of your email list is vital. It’s time to work to build this lead into a long-term relationship that involves both trust and loyalty with your business.
Go the extra mile and become a product expert in your respective field. Develop into an advisor that customers can trust rather than just an ordinary salesperson. Customers have a vast amount of knowledge at their fingertips, they do most of their research before ever talking to a sales representative. A way to bridge this gap is by speaking at trade shows or conferences as a way to become a trusted source of information.