This is a guest post by Miles Hobson from The Chat Shop.
Lead generation. A real pain in the…ahem, usually. Many marketing managers find lead generation to be a bit of an uphill struggle. You somehow need to convince potential customers that you are right for them while figuring out whether they are right for you.
So, let’s start with the obvious. You need to convince people that you are awesome, really clever and that you’re going to make them more money; no-one wants to hand over personal information unless they are getting something good in return. It doesn’t just end there though, to develop that name and email address into a hot lead you need to keep providing value and revealing how brilliant you are. Your marketing team needs to develop leads far beyond just a name and an email address or your sales team will waste a lot of time trying to sell to people that are nowhere near ready to buy.
Ok, second thing, deciding whether leads are right for you. Whilst you are proving your worth to a potential lead, you need to also decide whether they are any good to you. You don’t just need to generate more leads, you also need to qualify them at the same time. What a load of hassle, right? Not really. The real hassle comes when you don’t qualify leads. Unqualified leads eat up the super short time the sales team have in a day to deal with those potential clients that will help you to flourish. Unqualified leads also turn into poor clients – clients that you can’t do amazing things for and which end up costing more to manage than the amount of revenue that they bring.
So how on earth do you generate more qualified leads? Personalise the experience for potential leads. In order to turn website visitors into customers, they need the right information at the right time and they need a relationship to develop as you provide it. Personalisation means that potential leads get a better research and buying experience, and YOU generate more leads by meeting the wants and needs of individuals.
And how do you get more personal with your potential leads? Well as the title of this post would suggest, we’re about to give you 5 ways to do it:
- Focused content for your target audience
- The right content at the right time
- Keep them keen with Google Analytics
- Speak with your leads
- Analyse the pain points of potential leads
So without further ado, let’s get personal.
#1 Focused content for your target audience
The Content Marketing Institute reported that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus in an advertisement. The bottom line: readers don’t want to be sold to, they want to be educated, and articles should deliver the kind of information your prospects are seeking in order to make smart, well-informed decisions.
To hone your inbound marketing and content writing you need to personalise your content to your target audience(s). What’s causing headaches for the people and businesses that you want as clients? For this thought leadership malarkey to work, you need to be solving problems that the right people need solving.
How do you figure out all of the problems that your different target audiences have? And what you should write about to provide content for them (which will generate you more leads)? One method is talking to your existing clients. Ask your current clients what the problems that they face are. Start producing content which solves these problems and you will begin to solve problems for your potential leads.
A fantastic method suggested by Marcus Sheridan is writing a post about any question that your business has been asked. Once you’ve written down as many questions as possible, you now have the actual blog titles for your articles.
2. The right content at the right time
Alright, we’ll level with you, this is the part of content marketing that might take a little more work. You can’t just ask existing clients to provide you answers on this one.
So at the start of the Buyer Journey (sales funnel if you prefer), your content should just provide helpful advice to your targets’ problems. As buyers move down the funnel, though, you do need to draw occasional attention to the fact that your product/service can be a valuable solution to some of these problems. Then right at the bottom of the funnel you do need to be providing buyer guides and FAQs etc. to those leads that are now considering buying from you.
To make a truly personalised lead generation process, you don’t just want to be throwing out loads of content which tries (and fails) to talk to a tonne of different audiences at different stages of the funnel.
You need to create a content funnel that matches to different target audiences’ journeys towards buying. Map out all of the content which you have written. Once a particular target audience has downloaded a guide or read a blog post, what do you want them to read next? Which piece of content will again provide them with value, establish you as a thought-leader AND move them that little bit closer to understand what you do and what solutions you can provide to them? Make sure that your potential leads progress to the next piece of content through your CTAs and automated emails.
This kind of content personalisation will get you more leads. It’s a non-pushy, intelligent way to get potential leads to understand how brilliant you are. We won’t sugar coat it, though…it can be a long process to map it all out.
Be methodical and produce content for each audience at each stage of the funnel. Then use marketing automation to make sure that the right lead gets the right content at the right time.
3. Keep them keen with Google Analytics
Google Analytics allows you to understand how different target audiences are behaving and how they could be better marketed to.
Let’s start with the basics. You can use reports such as Exit Pages, Time on Page, Time on Site and Behavior Flow to decide if you are getting anything wrong with your site visitors as a whole. Exit Pages will tell you which pages are viewed before visitors leave your website; if you have a high exit rate on a certain page then perhaps it isn’t delivering the value that you were expecting it to.
Time on Page and Time on Site can also be clear indicators of a failed value proposition. Is that insightful content really insightful enough? If the majority of your website visitors only stick around for less than a minute, then we doubt they find your blog posts to be enjoyable and educational.
Finally, Behavior Flow allows you to drill down to the order in which content is viewed. You want potential leads to read X and then Y…but are they doing it? Maybe you need a better call-to-action at the end of X. Maybe you should be proactively engaging website visitors to provide the right content at the right time.
The really cool stuff in Google Analytics (as in the nerdy personalisation stuff) comes from Advanced Segments. Advanced Segments allow you to determine exactly how your target audiences are behaving on your website. You could look at the conversion rates for the segment of women between the ages of 20 and 30 in California who clicked on a particular ad on their iPhones and went to your site at least twice. Use segments to understand exactly what these people are up to on your website.
Find out which parts of your lead generation process are weak and fix them. A/B test different adverts and CTAs. Try different content formats (white paper, video, infographic, etc.) for different target audiences. Audiences want formats personalised to their needs – Millennials, for example, engage primarily with shorter video formats.
4. Speak with your leads
You can’t get much more personal than a one-to-one conversation with a potential lead. And a one-to-one conversation means that you can personalise the lead generation process for more than just a target audience (i.e. a big group of people), you can personalise it to an individual’s needs. When you get this personalised, you start to see an uptick in your conversion rate.
Use communication channels such as live chat to direct potential leads to the right content at the right time and offer them a pain-free solution to any questions that they may have. Having real conversations with your website visitors means that you can address any concerns or misconceptions early on. Nip ‘em in the bud and get to showing prospects why you are so great!
Don’t use your chats as sales pitches. Be friendly and helpful, show how delightful doing business with you could be. Answer questions, recommend great content to read and get lead details when appropriate. Live chat can even be used to qualify leads. That’s something that we at The Chat shop do as part of our lead generation programme. We don’t just generate more leads from existing website traffic, but chat agents also use the conversations to determine whether leads are hot or cold and how quick the sales team should be following up with them.
Building up a conversation with leads before they even talk to sales is important too. A relationship needs to exist if you want the lead to be comfortable enough to buy. And a lot of your sales team time can be wasted if they have to build that relationship. Don’t just chat about your products, chat about your potential customers wants and needs. Show empathy and get to know the people you chat with.
5. Analyse the pain points of potential leads
Once you’ve started having conversations with potential leads, before they’ve even got to a buying decision (i.e. when they are still in the lead generation process), you should be adding all of their juicy feedback into your CRM system. Getting personal with your leads means that they are more susceptible to giving you insight that could really fine tune your lead generation process.
What do potential leads not like about your product or service? Whereabouts did they come across your company? What drew them in? How exactly did they intend to use your product or service? These are the sort of questions that you can start to answer by having conversations with potential leads and by using Inbound Rocket on your website.
Get down to the nitty-gritty and record gripes and decision factors. Then…act on them. Once you understand what problems your customer base and target audiences are facing when they consider buying from you, you can personalise what you sell and the way that you sell it. With this information, you’ve got a good grip on what to say when making future contact with leads.
Pretty cool, right? And pretty simple. Get potential leads to tell you why they do or do not become leads and then adapt your lead generation from it. You can compile your feedback to make changes sitewide – maybe you’re not expressing the benefits your products or services prominently enough on your website. Or you can use the feedback to help potential leads on a one-to-one basis – give them the content, buyer guide or free trial that they need to convert.
Answer questions and solve problems directly for potential leads but also learn from these interactions. Figure out why you are receiving these questions and start personalising your lead generation efforts for your audience.
So you might still be thinking “Lead generation. A real pain in the…ahem”, but once you start personalising for your website visitors, that’s when you start to generate a high quantity of quality leads.
You need to start producing content for your target audience, deliver it when they need it and make sure things are running smoothly with Google Analytics. You need to start talking to your potential leads to find out what is and isn’t working….and don’t forget, you then need to act upon what they are telling you.
It’s not all fun and games getting to where you need to be. You might need some outside help at some stages. But personalisation really can improve your lead generation and can make for happy customers once those leads have converted.
You’ll have more leads, you’ll be a better fit for them and they’ll be a better fit for you.
Miles Hobson is Content and Communications Executive at The Chat Shop. Miles produces insightful content that allows companies in an array of industries to increase their sales and make customers happy.
The Chat Shop are Real People that Deliver Real Results through Real Conversations. In-depth website analysis and highly trained agents empower them to generate qualified leads, increase conversion and create outstanding customer experiences with live chat.