09 Mar How to cook up the secret sauce for lead generation in digital sales
by Kim Georgeton
When you think about it, your favorite customer was once a simple lead.
Although the process of acquiring new leads has evolved with emerging technologies, the process of connecting with buyers to build meaningful relationships has not. The process looks something like this: You offer a product or service that provides a solution for a specific need or satisfies a customer’s want. You reach out to your targeted audience with desired contract terms or a market-bearing price. Voila! You’ve closed the deal.
These days, companies are diverting much of their marketing budget away from traditional marketing methods such as print and focusing more toward retail’s final frontier: the digital space. This is because within the digital marketing space lies seemingly limitless possibilities for discovering new and exciting sales prospects. According to the Sprout Social 2019 Index, 66 percent of Facebook users say they like or follow a brand on the platform. A recent Salesforce survey found that out of 3,000 Americans who use social media, 690 reported reaching out to a company for support via social media.
Your competitors know that succeeding in this business means more than just developing a cool product or service and choosing a market. It also requires leveraging effective marketing techniques that connect with your target audience. For many of today’s leading retailers, the online consumer is just the ticket to take their business to the next level.
“By thinking outside the realm of ‘what self-promotional post can we share today?’ and more about better-optimized campaigns and personalized outreach, brands can obtain more leads from social media that can turn into actual revenue,” explains Kelsey Jones, a marketing consultant. More and more brands look to drive customer loyalty via digital channels, often providing special discounts to followers or running promotions and contests targeted directly at these online audiences.
Remember, your goal is to use this space to build relationships with potential new and existing buyers. To do so requires a formula that includes a healthy dose of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a dash of relevant content, a tantalizing blend of paid advertising and organic strategies, and a healthy scoop of email marketing. Let’s discuss each ingredient.
Questions about SEO strategy are common amongst brands and their retail partners, and I’ve found it’s one of the most misunderstood concepts of digital marketing. By clarifying the business goals for your online brand, brand voice, campaigns, and overall messaging, you can gain a better understanding of SEO’s functionality and how it contributes to your digital campaigns.
Similar to buying radio ad space during rush hour, SEO helps maximize your visibility to potential clients and buyers by catering to search engines. Properly implemented, SEO ensures your organic content and website rank higher on search result pages, thus providing more exposure—much like those radio ads. SEO is not an overnight magic cure-all for an ailing website, but it is a reliable indicator of the positive impact a consistent message can have when promoting your online brand to your target audience.
“The purpose of SEO is greater than simply driving traffic to your website from search engines,” explains SEO expert Manish Dudharejia. “Actually, depending on your business goals, an SEO strategy that brings less traffic, but the right kind of traffic, can ultimately help you more.”
A user-friendly—and search-engine-friendly—website that offers concise messaging all while leveraging valuable keywords will rank higher than a website with minimal SEO effort. Researching, then implementing valuable keywords into your website SEO strategy means your site is more likely to appear when consumers are searching for those keywords versus relying solely on generic content which may or may not be relevant. Remember, consistency in SEO keywords and concepts needs to be supported not only on your website but also in any social content and within paid advertising campaigns.
Today’s digital space requires content that is not only meaningful but relevant to your customer. The days of stuffing random keywords within text are long gone! These days, content needs to be engaging and pertinent to your brand whether directly or indirectly. In order for content to be effective, it must reflect what you’re offering or provide a benefit to the end user.
Consumers are researching your digital presence long before you’re even aware they are shopping. This is why it’s essential that your content effectively speaks on your behalf by providing brand awareness, establishing trust and credibility, sharing valuable information or key takeaways, and encouraging further engagement with your company.
Whether it’s blog content, a video, a free downloadable ebook, or a posted webinar, statistics show that 82 percent of buyers accessed up to five pieces of related content before purchasing or engaging with a particular company.
From paid promotions to influencer and email marketing campaigns, finding a strategy that best suits your campaign goals is often not a matter of choosing just one, but blending a few to maximize results. Here are three of the most popular digital campaigns.
Often referred to as pay per click (PPC) paid ads, this strategy leverages directed content on search engine landing pages in higher placements to improve customer visibility based on identified keywords. Instead of relying on organic search ranking, bids are used to “buy” those ranks. “Google Adwords, Yahoo! Bing Network, LinkedIn, and many others let you set up an advertising campaign where you only pay each time someone clicks on an ad,” says Carl Lefever. “With PPC, you are simply using a middle man, in this case the ad platform, to get your website link to people you wouldn’t normally have access to.
Develop strong relationships with people who consumers can easily identify with your brand and who maintain a dedicated online following. A marketer survey shows that 71 percent of marketers agree that the quality of customers and traffic is better from influencer marketing compared to other sources. Often, consumers seek to use the same products or services that their influencer uses, therefore the traffic is pre-qualified before it even reaches your site.
When used properly, email marketing can be up to 40 times more effective than social media. A study by McKinsey & Company also shows that the buying process happens three times faster in email marketing versus social media. When you use an automated system such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, your email campaign strategy is easy to design, configure, and implement to ensure the right message reaches your target audience for maximum return.
The truth is, there are no shortcuts to creating effective lead generation. But, by building your strategies around consistent SEO guidelines, relevant content, and a customized advertising campaign formula, you just may discover your next favorite customer… or customers!
Kim is Simplus’ Managing Director of Commerce and Marketing Cloud. She leads a team of 24 architects, developers, designers, administrators, and specialists on all things Commerce and Marketing Cloud. She has over 20 years of experience working in retail ecommerce, marketing, and merchandising. Kim is an expert on digitally scaling businesses of all sizes and industries.