Most people don't think of PR professionals and brand marketers as lead generators. After all, it's hard to measure the effect a placement or a graphic has on leads. But brand marketers actually have a lot of opportunity to help their marketing team generate and reconvert leads. It's simply a matter of thinking outside the box, considering how a person becomes a lead, and leveraging the tools brand marketers have at their disposal. If you work in PR and branding and really want to contribute to your marketing team's lead generation efforts, here are 7 opportunities to get you started!
Case Studies & Testimonials
Case studies and testimonials are an important part of marketing to your audience. Including current customers' opinions of your product and service is a tried and true way of encouraging prospects to use your business. And what's great about case studies and testimonials is that those reading them are often already leads -- and likely near the bottom of the buying funnel -- so a few more reconversions will help your sales team prioritize them as likely future customers in their sales funnel. Turning this content into a lead generator will be a huge win for lead reconversions and a better lead-to-customer conversion rate.
To do it, create videos interviewing your customers about your product or service. During the editing process, add video annotations that include a link to one of your landing pages. Then at the end of the video, include the URL for that landing page again -- something people in the video industry call a bumper. You can take a look at this type of lead generation in action in our own case study video below. Or if you prefer to do written case studies (in web or PDF form), you can insert calls-to-action within the actual case study pages.
Smart shoppers look at what customers are saying before making a purchase decision, and having these calls-to-action will encourage them to sign up for a demo of your product, speak with a sales person, convert into a customer, or maybe even become a lead for the first time.
Presentations on SlideShare get thousands of views on a daily basis. But often, people upload their presentations on SlideShare after they deliver them at an event (great!) without including an extra slide with a call-to-action (no good!). Adding that extra slide at the end of your presentation with a clickable call-to-action is a simple way to generate leads.
Think about it this way -- a person looks at your deck on SlideShare, recognizes you as a thought leader because of the great information you've provided, and then will want to find out more about your company. Including that extra slide at the end of the deck will be a natural next step for them to find out more. For example, on HubSpot's Slideshare account, we added slides at the end of recently created and older, high performing decks. Take a look at one example here:
News & Awards Pages
A big part of a brand professionals' jobs is not only getting placements in external publications, but applying for awards that get your company recognition. On your website, there's often a dedicated location that becomes the go-to place for people to see the publications you've been featured in and awards you've received -- you should put CTA buttons in a visible place on all of these pages.
Many companies also maintain a separate blog that updates people on company achievements -- if you create enough content and have a wide enough audience, it makes sense to separate your educational content and more self-promotional content in this way. This is another opportunity for you to generate leads by including CTAs on each of these individual blog posts.
Other Members of the Marketing Team
Part of being in charge of your company's brand is working with other teams within the Marketing department. The brand team could work with the social media, content, or product team to create content that will interest leads. For example, our branding team worked with our social media team to create a Texts from Marketers campaign to help generate more leads. Here's how it worked.
First, we posted this picture on Facebook.
We then let people know that if they wanted to submit their own ideas, they could do so on our landing page. On that landing page, we had a form available to capture those who were also interested in starting a free trial with our software.
Often, the branding team's work overlaps naturally with other teams'. Think of creative ways to launch campaigns that are mutually beneficial and generate leads for your sales team.
Many PR and branding teams are responsible for putting on regular events. In addition to getting your company's brand out there and positioning yourself as a thought leader, events are a great way to generate leads -- because all of your event collateral can contain a call-to-action!
Event collateral includes the event information pages on your website, your registration page, and any promotional blogs, videos, or other content you create. So for your next event, you might put lead generating calls-to-action on your event website, especially the most highly trafficked pages on your website like we did on our Inbound event site:
Then after someone registers for your event, have a confirmation email sent to them with a call-to-action to find out more about your company.
Finally, put CTAs on any handouts you give out during the event so attendees have something to reference after the fact.
Even if you're not hosting the event, participating in live events as a sponsor, speaker, or attendee is another great way to generate leads for your marketing team. In fact, we've written a whole blog post that explains how to get the most out of a live event regardless of your role--including some lead generation ideas! Let's take an example from real life, though, to demonstrate the concept.
In August 2011, HubSpot sponsored Salesforce's Dreamforce event and used the opportunity to generate leads. Some of our in-house marketing consultants gave Website Grader (which has since been replaced by the more robust Marketing Grader) reports on iPads and collected email addresses during that process. So while some HubSpot employees were attending the sessions and speaking, others were using the time to collect leads to bring back to the rest of the company leveraging one of our valuable, relevant tools.
Leveraging Your Contacts
Don't forget about your contacts at other companies -- and if you're in PR, we're certain you have many! Whether you are working with journalists, partners, resellers, or just friends in your industry, they can all help you generate leads. Let's say you have a partner program, for example. Encourage those partners to help you generate leads by having calls-to-action on relevant pages of their website; it's not a hard sell, because the results are mutually beneficial.
Or perhaps you put up press releases on the wire. Don't forget to put a call-to-action in the boilerplate of your release! Though you may not have control over the inclusion of calls-to-action in your online placements, your boilerplate is a perfect opportunity to include a link that brings readers back to your website to redeem a lead generation offer.
Going above and beyond your regular lead generation efforts shows the rest of your company that brand marketing has a business impact beyond unicorns and rainbows -- you measurably contribute to generating new leads that bring in revenue to your company. So start implementing some of these lead generation ideas for your business, and be sure to measure your efforts month to month. That spike you see in your leads waterfall after a few months of enacting these changes will be well worth the up-front effort!
How do you use branding and PR to generate leads for your company? Share your creative ideas in the comments!