The outbound method involves a proactive attempt to reach out to your audience. This usually begins with purchasing lead lists. You then contact these leads by calling them directly (cold calling) or sending them physical mails (direct mail). For a wider reach, businesses look beyond lead lists and use billboards, print ads, television ads, and radio ads. The emphasis here is on budget, media connections, and how much marketing muscle you can flex.
At a certain point, the prospect’s online behavior – their Digital Body Language – will indicate that they’re ready to engage with Sales in a discussion about purchasing. Marketers can identify this readiness through lead scoring, which matches the individual’s behavior to activities that are known to indicate buying intent. The resulting conversation with Sales will rest on a foundation of buyer education that has been built in the earlier stages of the lead generation process.
Lead generation firms supply your company with the hot leads you need to acquire new clients, while freeing up your time to spend on other tasks, like product development or quality assurance. Conversely, you could double down on new leads, drumming up business in tandem with leads provided by generation firms. Business expansion is directly correlated to finding new clients and making them happy, and the free time gained to reallocate time on these pursuits is what makes lead generation so powerful.
How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.

An autoresponder is a computer program that generates a response to an email, request, or action. Autoresponders were initially used to notify a sender of an undeliverable email, but now they are often used in email marketing. Autoresponders can give you the ability to send a customer a pre-written email when a specified event takes place, such as a customer creating an account or purchasing a product.
The aspects of your lead gen campaign should mirror everything else on your website, on your blog, and within the product that you will eventually try to sell. If not, you’ll have a difficult time getting your lead to the next lifecycle stage. Your campaign should be about more than just obtaining an email address — it should be about developing a new customer.

Over time, the popularity of email marketing campaigns resulted in personal email inboxes that were overflowing with the latest and greatest offers. Email campaigns grew and people grew tired of them. Laws that allowed customers to unsubscribe breathed new life into email marketing campaigns as customers could easily pick and choose the companies they were interested in.
How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.

Once you have a good mix of high-value content, including visual content, start promoting it on social channels. The more engagement you get, the more Google considers your content to be of high value, which in turn boosts your SEO rankings. Search engines look for natural links, so the more informative your content is, the more likely people will link to it naturally.
Lead generation is evolving, and the modern marketer needs to understand that an integrated marketing strategy is table stakes today. Want to know more? Download Marketo’s resource The Definitive Guide to Lead Generation, which includes a lot more information about lead gen, a really awesome sales and marketing alignment checklist that we use all the time, and other information that will get you on your way (registration required.)
This is probably the most common use of the Autoresponder feature, or really any auto-responder functionality, in general. When something exciting happens (someone subscribes to your list), you want to react (send them a welcome email)! Who doesn't? In order to make sure that your Welcome Email campaign sends automatically to your new subscribers, you just have to connect your signup form to the same list that is associated with your Autoresponder. (For details about signup forms, see Signup forms .)
"Why aren't millennials moving?" The subject line of this email campaign reads before citing interesting data about relocation trends in the U.S. Trulia doesn't benefit from people who choose not to move, but the company does benefit from having its fingers on the pulse of the industry -- and showing it cares which way the real estate winds are blowing.
How do you minimize unsubscribe requests and spam complaints for your auto-responder program? The best way to minimize the risk of unsubscribe requests, spam complaints and non-opened emails with your auto responder program is the same way to minimize those risks with all email marketing. Provide useful, engaging content and good offers that your subscribers will care about. You can also use the best practices for managing unsubscribe requests, opt outs and spam complaints that we'll discuss later in this book and which include: prominent and easy-to-find placement of the unsubscribe link, proper opt-out and opt-in messages and asking users to "white list" you in your initial email.
How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.
4. Make Links Clear and Visible & Use Text Links: Make sure that all links to your product purchasing pages are clear and visible. When possible, default to blue, underlined links for easy user recognition. Though in web design it is often unadvisable to use the words "click here" in a link, in email design it typically is more effective to use the words "click here." Make sure that your links are text links and not image-based links as images may not appear in all emails.
One of the first lessons that I learned about email marketing campaigns is to give sincere thought to how a customer perceives every component of the email, starting with the subject line. Media headlines grab your attention and get you to listen longer or read further. A meaningful subject line for an email offers the same punch. Subject lines should be relevant, interesting and genuine.
How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.
Auto responders present an excellent opportunity to create email marketing results with minimal effort after the initial build out. However, the key to success is to think through the process during the build out and to monitor the program carefully for the first several months in order to optimize it. We'll discuss auto responders throughout the remainder of this book when talking about email design, implementation, tracking and optimization.
Whenever possible, add a personal element to your emails. Most email tools allow you to enter shortcodes that will be replaced with the recipient’s name when the email is sent out. Emails from Treehouse Co-Founder Ryan are always fun and personal. The subject lines are creative, messages are sent "from" Ryan's email address, and the content is personalized. If you reply to the mail, you'll even get a prompt response from Ryan himself!

When a subscriber is sorted into a segment, it can trigger an automation to send to them. Each person’s interactions with your email campaigns or your website can trigger a sequence of follow-up emails based on their interests, allowing you to hone your message to your targeted audience. For example, if someone visits your pricing page, you know they’re probably further down your sales funnel and will want to follow-up appropriately. Or if they went to a specific product page or clicked on a link for that product, you can send additional information about the product, testimonials and more.
It's tough to figure out if your lead generation strategy is working if you aren't looking at industry data. That's why we partnered with Qualtrics to survey more than 900 marketers from all different industries in North America and Europe to create a demand generation report with data on website visitors, leads, opportunities, customers, and revenue.
Monitor and influence the progress of leads through the sales funnel by presenting them with relevant content based on buyer persona and content mapping. Content can be sent via personalized drip email campaigns or by direct integration using personalized content, for example website messaging that is tailored for lead segments or buyer personas. Apply lead scoring rules as leads consume your lead nurturing content and move them to different lifecycle stages and segments using marketing automation workflows.
If you’re going to get in the habit of pitching often, try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Ask yourself if your messaging is consistent with the expectations you’ve set. As I said before, Amazon does this well because they send relevant offers based on my buying habits. Those that send blind offers are far more likely to lose permission to keep doing so.
Webinars - A webinar is a live video session which your visitors can view and participate in. Webinars typically last between half and hour to an hour and provide information and educational material about a specific topic. Because webinars are interactive and require a big investment in time, they can be a great way to not only create a lead but also to educate and convert them.
As you can see from the example above, emails following the model contain a succinct headline that highlights the key message of the campaign, as well as supporting information and visuals to help convince readers about the benefits of clicking-through. The reader is then presented with a prominent call to action button that makes it crystal clear what to do next.
An email marketing strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy and business plan. It helps you market your products and services with the use of the email channel with the best chances for making a profit and reaching your goals. That is because an effective email marketing strategy takes into consideration what your target customers are, their preferences and benefits they are looking for as well as your products services and industry and which email marketing messages are most effective. 

The form on your landing page consists of a series of fields (like in our example above) that collect information in exchange for the offer. Forms are typically hosted on landing pages, although they can technically be embedded anywhere on your site. Once a visitor fills this out — voila! — you have a new lead! (That is, as long as you’re following lead-capture form best practices.)
Automatically move inbound leads over to your CRM using marketing automation workflows and assign them to appropriate sales reps when they reach lead scoring thresholds and/or trigger specific behaviors, such as requesting a free trial or demonstration. Use segmentation rules to assign leads to an appropriate sales rep, for example by territory or industry. This process should be carefully planned in Step #1.
Content - Providing high-quality content in exchange for contact information is a common practice in lead generation. This content can be anything from a white paper or infographic to an ebook or exclusive video. The idea is to entice the user with a piece of useful content that is relevant to your business and require them to provide their contact info before they can get access to the content.
Once you have a good mix of high-value content, including visual content, start promoting it on social channels. The more engagement you get, the more Google considers your content to be of high value, which in turn boosts your SEO rankings. Search engines look for natural links, so the more informative your content is, the more likely people will link to it naturally.
These examples might make it seem like lead generation is pretty easy; it is not. To get people to divulge information about themselves, you should be able to articulate the value in your business solution. Plus you need to be present in channels that get you closest to your target audience. Articulating value is a broad, multi-layered topic, and it has as much to do with soft skills as it has to do with your knowledge of the business. However, there are specific channels you can tap into when it comes to lead generation, and that’s where we’re heading next.
Something else to consider is your offer. The more valuable it is to your audience, the more you can ask them to hand over in exchange for it. If you’ve put together a short tip sheet, then ten fields might be too big an ask. On the other hand, if you’ve compiled an industry report filled with valuable insights from leading experts, your prospects might be totally fine with completing a 10-field form.
If you want to integrate your email with your shopping cart but don’t quite want to spring for InfusionSoft, 1ShoppingCart could be your answer. 1ShoppingCart is a one stop solution for payment processing and email marketing. It allows you to segregate lists and mail only buyers or your entire list. It’s one of the more reputable shopping cart services on the net.
What's the difference between them? One-off communications versus prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, email marketing tools are excellent for one-off communications. You can use these tools for the one time you'd like to send someone an automated email response when they join a subscriber list, on their birthday, or when you promote a new product. But marketing automation tools are better suited for prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, you can use marketing automation tools whenever you want to guide someone from a subscriber list to a product purchase. Or you can send thank you emails or send new product promotions—all without having to lift a finger after the workflow is designed. 

Use it to make sales on autopilot. Creating a sales funnel out of an email autoresponder sequence is a widely adopted strategy used by information marketers, but it can also be used by software companies, eCommerce businesses and service providers. For example, it could consist of a series of educational videos, a sales video and follow-ups to sell your information products. Or, you could create a sequence of free educational emails, and then invite them to a live or recorded webinar where you make an offer. For eCommerce businesses, your sales sequence could include promo offers for products your subscriber has just viewed on your website.
This is the number of visits to your website from unique URLs, not including your own employees. A higher number of website visits means more people are landing on your site. This traffic is acknowledged by Google (and other search engines) as an indication of your website’s authority. As a result, your website starts ranking higher for keywords you’re targeting. One way of getting more visitors to your website is by promoting it extensively on social media.
Imagine you have 125 leads. Every lead has engaged with your business in unique ways, and they’re in different stages of your sales funnel. It’s not humanly possible to glance at a lead and recall how closer/farther they are to your business—until you use lead scoring technology. Lead scoring is a method by which you define parameters to qualify or “score” a lead in the CRM. So a CTO might get 15 points by virtue of their designation, and a lead who clicked on a link in your email might get 10 points (versus a lead who only opened your email and gets 5 points). All these points add up, and the higher the score, the hotter the lead. Putting a score on a lead cuts down your decision-making time in terms of which lead you should contact first. 

Though they’ve been around for a while, not all small business owners are familiar with the capabilities that autoresponders offer. To help businesses start reaping the benefits, this post provides important definitions, different types of autoresponders and 13 specific examples of how they can be used right away to increase engagement, leads and sales.


Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively. Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale”. The criteria for these actions is completely up to you, but it must be uniform across your marketing and sales department so that everyone is working on the same scale. 

Lead generation is a key element in the sales process that has changed in recent years alongside shifts in sales and marketing landscape. Generated leads are no longer an indiscriminate list of names that marketing hands to sales. Leads are generated today by drawing in potential customers using a variety of methods, offering them useful information, building and nurturing relationships, and evaluating which leads are ready to move forward in their buying journey. For more detailed information, visit our blog post on “5 Ways You Can Generate More Qualified Leads ”.
Lead Qualification and Filtering is the process of determining whether a lead is ready to be passed on to sales based on things like customer demographics and behaviours. Some leads will be filtered out, because they are not yet at that stage or appear less promising than others – focussing on unqualified leads is a waste of time and resources. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be used to track and evaluate leads before distributing them to sales.
CTR is the number of clicks on your CTA button, versus the total visitors to that landing page or ad. If 1000 people visit your landing page/view your ad, and 650 people click on the CTA, your CTR is 65%. A high CTR depends on a number of factors, chief among which are the value proposition on your page/ad, your CTA’s placement, and the relevance of your content vis-à-vis your target audience.
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