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.
Direct Mail. “Just like each of the above all on their own could be a standalone marketing campaign to feed your business enough leads forever, this could as well. You can generate these letters and target all kinds of lists, so you can get very specific and never ever run out of potential campaigns. I use melissadata.com for my lists, but there are many companies that can and will sell you lists. I then use a done-for-you service. They create, print, stamp and send to us to drop in the mail. It cannot get any easier than that. These letters we use are in hand written font and made to look like you wrote it out on a yellow pad of paper. They're mailed in invitation- type envelopes so they get opened and not tossed in the waste basket.”
Beyond incentives, often a key part of the conversion funnel that can be optimized is the lead form. Although it is beneficial from a business standpoint to collect as much information as possible about a prospect, more forms fields leads to a reduction in form submissions. Experiment with different form lengths to see what is optimal in terms of lead capture and lead information.
The inbound method attracts leads using online content. You create a website, or you write a blog, and you optimize it for online search through SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. This means the content has the appropriate keywords and answers the questions your target audience is asking. When your content is easily discoverable and begins to engage your readers, they become your leads. Depending on how you interact with them from then on, they can become your customers too.
Marketing emails need to be personalized to the reader and filled with interesting graphics. Few people want to read emails that are addressed "Dear Sir/Madam" -- as opposed to their first or last name -- and even fewer people want to read an email that simply gives them a wall of text. Visuals help your recipients quickly understand what the point of the email is.
The most advanced email marketing services offer custom workflows where you can specify triggers based on actions (such as opening an email or making a purchase) or on inaction (such as ignoring emails). With these services, you can also set up a series of emails (such as tutorials) to be sent to segments of users, and you can pause or stop a campaign at any time. You can also move contacts into new segments once they have completed tutorials.
The first autoresponders were created within mail transfer agents that found they could not deliver an e-mail to a given address. These create bounce messages such as "your e-mail could not be delivered because..." type responses. Today's autoresponders need to be careful to not generate e-mail backscatter, which can result in the autoresponses being considered E-mail spam.
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.
Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events. A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.
Virtual Assistants. “There are many virtual assistant companies and individuals available to help you with your seller and buyer calls. I struggled through three of them and was ready to throw in the towel. Then I found an amazing company that trains well and is very well scripted and constantly improves. I hired them and have been with them almost six years with the same person. They will become an integral part of your team when utilized properly. They all charge differently. I personally spend between $125-$135 per week for six to eight hours of calling. This produces approximately 12-18 leads weekly for me so two to three per hour counting the sourcing time they have to do. They send me on a daily basis fully filled out property information sheets. This assures you that you’re only speaking with quality leads that want to speak with you.”
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.
A common example of permission marketing is a newsletter sent to an advertising firm's customers. Such newsletters inform customers of upcoming events or promotions, or new products. In this type of advertising, a company that wants to send a newsletter to their customers may ask them at the point of purchase if they would like to receive the newsletter.
As of mid-2016 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 73% in the U.S.; six percent were filtered as spam, and 22% were missing. This lags behind other countries: Australia delivers at 90%, Canada at 89%, Britain at 88%, France at 84%, Germany at 80% and Brazil at 79%.
Expired Listings. “These are listings that realtors had on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and they didn’t sell. I personally love these because they tend to be more frustrated already, having not sold with a realtor. This will many times translate into immediate appointments opposed to the ‘for sale by owners’ that need some time typically. Where do you get expired listings? It used to be that you had to work with someone that was licensed to get them. Now there are services that offer them so it's super easy to get a constant feed of them.”
About the Author: Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative and provides clients content marketing strategies that rock and creative that rolls. Barry has recently been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by Online Marketing Institute and one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. Visit Feldman Creative and his blog, The Point.
You can count on our experience to assist you, as well as our commitment to the industry. SendFree has been serving Internet marketers since 1998. We maintain multiple mail servers and back-up your data daily to ensure reliable service. Our servers are stored at a secure data center with 24hr/365 days a year monitoring, power back-up, AC systems and redundant connectivity to all of the world's major backbones.
When you create a Mailchimp account, we automatically set you up with a no-cost Forever Free plan. This option allows you to experiment with our tools and figure out how to best use our platform. So if you’re just getting off the ground, this is one less cost you have to consider. You can remain on the Forever Free plan as long as you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers across all lists in your account.
Each lead generation technique usually has a tradeoff between quality and quantity. For example, a form on the company website that visitors can fill in to request a call back will generate high-quality leads – these visitors are very likely to buy since they're interested enough to want to hear more – but probably won't generate a lot of leads. On the other hand, a lead list that's based on a newsletter subscription list from another company may generate a lot of leads, but they won't be nearly as interested or qualified.
Attention scarcity is driving a shift from “rented attention” to “owned attention”. Historically, most marketing has been about renting attention other people have built. An example of this would be if you purchased an ad in a magazine or rented a tradeshow booth. But in the noisy, crowded market that today’s buyers live in, rented attention becomes less effective as attention becomes even scarcer. Of course, this is not an either-or proposition; you will ideally use a mix of rented vs. owned attention for your lead generation efforts to be affective.
Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns (such as customer referral programs).
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.
With the vast majority of leads failing to convert to sales, companies can’t afford to abandon prospects when they fail to become buyers. By nurturing these leads—providing them with the right information based on who and where they are in the buying process—Modern Marketers can directly improve sales success. By implementing a formal strategy for lead nurturing, instituting nurturing programs, and following the best practices outlined here, you can begin reaping the benefits of lead nurturing today. Based on the Grande Guide to Lead Nurturing.
Facebook has been a method for lead generation since its inception. Originally, companies could use outbound links in their posts and information in their bios to attract strangers to their websites. However, when Facebook Ads was launched in 2007, and its algorithm began to favor accounts that used paid advertising, there was a major shift in how businesses used the platform to capture leads. Facebook created Lead Ads for this purpose. Facebook also has a feature that lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website.
If links and looks are set, begin interacting with the page. Abandon it, adjust the window size, convert. Are error messages appearing when they’re supposed to (if, for example, you don’t input all the form’s required info)? Is your CTA button working? If you abandon the page, are you retargeted with ads? When you resize the window, does your landing page respond accordingly?