So how do you ensure you hit that leads goal every month, instead of experiencing intermittent (and often random) success? It all comes down to a recipe for success that includes, yes, many moving parts, but all of them well within your reach. The ingredients for the recipe are:
- Getting found
- Converting traffic into leads
- Analyzing the effectiveness of your lead generation
When time and resources are dedicated to the pursuit of these three things, you'll find yourself better able to predict your lead flow, thus enabling you to set and hit realistic (or lofty!) lead goals. Now let's break down the steps for this effective lead generation recipe so you can ramp up your efforts this month, or start January 2012 with the formula for success.
1.) Blog, blog, blog. If you haven't already started a blog, do it. If you have one, write for it consistently. If you're not sure how often you should blog, take a look at your organic competitors. If they are blogging twice a week, outdo them and blog four times a week. Just make sure you're not winning the quantity game by sacrificing quality .
2.) Keep other web pages up to date. The frequency with which you post and update content matters in search engines, and to people. Blogging is a great solution to this, but don't neglect the rest of your website. Update your event pages, news pages, product and service pages, and 'about us' pages to stay up to date with the pace at which your industry moves. No, you won't update these as much as your blog, but keeping the content fresh and timely is crucial to maintain relevancy.
3.) Create content around topics people care about. Remember that content you create should be above all else helpful. Otherwise people will not read it and share it, and you won't get found. If you're having trouble coming up with topics , talk to your customers, prospects, customer service team, and sales team. This is first-hand information about what dogs people on a daily basis, and perfect fodder for content creation.
4.) Create content around keywords people are searching for. This step in the lead generation recipe should be visualized with giant, flashing, neon-light warning signs behind it. The warning is, content should be topic-driven, not keyword-driven . That being said, you absolutely should perform keyword research when determining topics and writing content. Use tools like HubSpot's Keyword Grader to identify appropriate keywords and Google Insights for Search to see which keywords are trending in your industry, and you'll have an easier time not only brainstorming topics, but developing topics around what people clearly need more information on.
5.) Optimize your content for organic success. All that keyword research should be applied beyond topic generation. Optimize the content you publish so you get found in search engines. Remember that long-tail keywords consist of 70% of organic searches, and they drive extremely qualified traffic. So try to optimize your content for long-tail keyword phrases as well as head terms for quicker (and more!) success. If you're still getting up to speed on long-tail search optimization, not to worry; we've written a long-tail search guide to walk you through everything you need to know.
6.) Don't discount paid search. Paid online search, when executed in conjunction with an organic search strategy, is not inherently bad! It is a great way to drive leads around keywords that are too competitive to target in your organic strategy. Use paid search to target difficult but valuable keywords for which your competitors rank, unless they are branded, of course! If you're new to paid search, read our paid search guide to get up to speed and start your own campaign.
7.) Distribute your content using social media. Getting found in search engines is your goal, but part of what helps you get there and generate more traffic to convert into leads is through social media. People need to know you and your content exist. People are on social media. Include social sharing buttons on your content, and post your content to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn to grow followers and get a broader audience for your website's content.
8.) Leverage your email list. If people have opted in to receive email updates from you, make sure you're sending them daily or weekly digests of the content you're producing. These people have asked you to communicate with them; remind them you're still there and doing amazing things! Other relevant updates should be emailed, too, but only for that which they've expressed interest.
Converting Traffic Into Leads
1.) Create downloadable content assets and other offers. Blogs drive traffic, but that traffic needs to be converted into leads. One way to do that is by offering downloadable content assets like whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, slideshows, and other offers like free trials, production demos, etc. that can be acquired for free by completing a form.
2.) Create targeted calls-to-action. Insert calls-to-action throughout your site that drive visitors to landing pages with forms to convert a visitor into a lead. To be effective, however, calls-to-action should be targeted to the visitor. For example, if you received a visitor to a product page, they might be interested in a free trial of that product or a product use case. If you received a visitor to a how-to blog post, they might enjoy a free ebook that continues the discussion of that concept.
3.) Create optimized landing pages. Creating a landing page to convert your visitors into leads is important, but it's crucial that it's laid out correctly. Not following best practices will result in quick abandonment and a dismal number of leads come month end. To make sure you nail this, take a look at this guide to the layout of an effective landing page .
4.) Improve landing pages with A/B testing. Once your landing pages are set up following best practices, you can generate even more leads if you A/B test. HubSpot offers advanced landing page features like A/B testing , or you can research another tool to let you capitalize on success and make incremental improvements that will yield more leads.
5.) Complement successful landing pages with paid search. Once you've got a landing page that's driving tons of leads, get even more out of it by expanding the landing page's reach with paid search. Center the keywords on the offer associated with that landing page, and watch more leads come in.
6.) Continue to nurture your leads. 50% of leads are not ready to buy from you . This means that to make all of this effort worth your while, you need to continue to nurture so they move through the sales cycle and become a customer. Set triggers based on their on-site and off-site behavior so your sales team and marketing automation system know when and how to communicate with a lead, whether that means delivering a new whitepaper via email, or having a sales person reach out on the phone to set up a product demo.
Analyzing the Effectiveness of Your Lead Generation
1.) Analyze where your traffic is coming from. Is the bulk of your traffic coming from social media? If so, which sites? Or is it coming from paid search? And how much traffic can you attribute to referrals? If you know where your traffic comes from and in what quantities month over month, you can analyze the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts.
2.) Analyze where on your site traffic lands. Know which assets drive the most traffic so you know not only what people are interested in, but also where you should focus your time to generate better results. For example, if you see a steady growth in traffic landing on your product pages, perhaps you should include more product-related calls-to-action on those pages to boost your lead generation.
3.) Analyze which offers convert the most. Create more content around these topics, and offer them more frequently to generate more leads. On the flip side, analyze which offers don't perform well so you can either filter out those topics or perform further testing to understand if their poor performance is a function of landing page layout or the call-to-action design.
4.) Analyze how high quality the leads are. All of this effort will bring you more leads, but do you know if it was worth it? Track how long leads are in the sales funnel, how many leads turn into customers, and how much it cost to acquire the leads, and the customers. You'll find that some leads perform better than others, and be able to parse out lead behaviors that indicate they are a more worthwhile lead to target.
What steps do you include in your winning recipe for lead generation ? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Image credit: Images_of_Money