63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge.
While cold calling and direct mail campaigns might bring in some business, it’s not always a scalable activity. It requires time, energy and manpower to continually search out new clients.
According to Hinge Research Institute, agencies that generate 40% of their leads online grow four times faster than agencies without automated lead generation campaigns.
They also found that high-growth agencies (companies that grew five times faster than others in their industry) mark lead generation as a top marketing priority.
So two things are clear: Making lead generation a priority is a must, and automating your lead generation campaigns is important for growth.
Here are a few ways to get started creating a lead generation campaign that will sustainably grow your business for years to come.
Step 1: Invest in Audience Research
42% of marketers state that a lack of audience data is their biggest barrier to lead generation.
Audience research and segmentation is a vital component of your campaign. Without understanding who your audience is and why they buy, you risk spending resources on ineffective marketing.
There are two ways you can go about researching and segmenting your audience:
- Demographics – This includes age, gender, location, industry, job title, etc.
- Psychographics – This includes buyer habits, hobbies, spending habits, values, etc.
While demographics explain who your buyer is, psychographics explain why they buy from you.
Using psychographic data instead of demographics can help you avoid making wrong assumptions about your audience.
For example, if you sold candles, your demographics could tell you that a 25-year-old woman bought a candle and a 60-year-old woman bought the same candle.
But you wouldn’t necessarily create an audience segment from that information, except perhaps one that targets a female buyer persona.
But if you knew that one woman bought the candle for home decorating purposes and the other bought the candle for relaxation, you could create a lead generation campaign designed for each person.
When you have this information, you will better understand the types of content that resonate with your clients, how they like to receive information, what channels they use, and why they buy.
Step 2: Set Campaign Goals
Once you understand your audience, the next step is to set goals for your campaign.
Goals should be specific and measurable, and reflect the overall needs of your business.
For example, poor goals might be:
- We want more website visitors
- We want a larger email list
- We want to rank #1 on Google’s SERPs
While specific and measurable goals might be:
- We need 10,000 new visitors each month, 500 leads from those visits and at least 10 new acquisitions
- We need to add 500 new emails to our list every month with 5 new customers generated from email marketing efforts
- We want to rank number one for the keyword search terms, “Creative agency consultant” and “freelance web designer Seattle”
Having specific goals allows you to see whether or not your campaigns are producing ROI and how to adjust as needed if you’re not hitting the mark.
(If you’re not sure how to set measurable goals, read Kissmetrics’ advice here.)
Step 3: Create Your Lead Generation Campaign
Once you understand your audience and know the types of ROI you want to see from your campaign, you can start building the campaign itself.
There are four elements you will want to focus on:
- Website / Landing Pages
- CTAs and Forms
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
Website and Landing Page Optimization
Your website and subsequent landing pages are the hub of your campaign efforts. It’s important that your homepage and landing pages be optimized for conversions.
- Using clean, minimal design with user-friendly navigation
- Including a clear CTA that points to your sales funnel
- Including benefits of your services
- Using social proof (testimonials, reviews, etc.)
- Making your site mobile friendly
Mobile friendliness will be an essential component to optimization in the future, as Google’s new search algorithm will promote mobile sites over desktop sites going forward.
CTA and Form Optimization
Your CTAs will make or break your campaign success. Placement, wording, and design all impact how well people respond to your offers and whether or not they proceed through your sales funnel.
Grow & Convert, for example, estimates conversion rates for certain CTA locations:
- Sidebar: 0.5 – 1.5%
- Generic, end-of-post: 0.5 – 1.5%
- Pop-ups: 1 – 8%
- Sliders and bars: 1 – 5%
- Welcome gates: 10 – 25%
- Featurebox: 3 – 9%
It’s important to understand how your CTAs will affect your campaigns, and to test location, color, design and wording to ensure effectiveness.
Your forms will also play a role in whether or not you will see conversions. Length, design and CTA placement in your forms will also affect your results.
When building forms, consider what information you absolutely need to ask, or use progressive profiling technology to reduce the length of your forms by only collecting new information about the lead.
One study found that including phone number fields reduces conversion rates by 5%.
Email Marketing Optimization
Email marketing can be another effective tool for generating leads.
While your forms and CTAs will play an important role in getting people to sign up for your email campaigns, you also need to consider how to optimize your emails for better conversions.
Automation is key for email marketing. Choose an email marketing software that allows you to create automated campaigns based on behavioral triggers.
You will also need to segment your email lists so that the right information can go to the right subscribers. According to MailChimp, segmented email campaigns get 14.72% more opens than non-segmented campaigns.
(ConversionXL has some tips for generating leads from your email campaigns here.)
Social Media Optimization
Social media is another component to a lead generation campaign that can’t be ignored.
According to Quick Sprout, social media’s “lead to close” chances are 100% higher when compared to outbound marketing.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest all have advertising options that can improve your lead generation campaigns.
Facebook Ads have shown positive conversion results for both B2B and B2C businesses, even compared to Google AdWords, for example.
Using the Custom Audiences feature, you can further segment your audience for better results. You can upload your own contact list to target specific leads or use filters to refine your leads for better conversions.
When choosing a social media channel strategy for campaign promotion, it’s important to look at the channels your audience is using (if they’re not on Twitter, don’t use Twitter ads, for example).
Your social media ads should also point back to your website. This is why audience research and website optimization are important. (Here are more tips for improving your lead generation with social media.)
Lead generation is necessary for the growth of your agency, but the only way to scale your operations is to focus on generating leads online.
This means optimizing your website, landing pages and CTAs to create an effective sales funnel that will bring business to you, instead of reaching out to leads in cold calls.
Email marketing automation and advertising is also a core component of a scalable campaign. Make sure you’re segmenting your audiences so that every email is targeted and that each ad finds the right person at the right stage of the sales cycle.
And finally, set specific, measurable goals for your campaigns so you know what’s working and what’s not.
This will help you determine which efforts should change, which audiences to target, and whether or not you’re seeing the results you want.