The modern consumer isn’t what it once was. As a small business owner you now have to earn a customer’s attention, it’s not enough to simply buy it. How do you earn their attention? The first step is relevant, helpful content. Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the importance of content and how to effectively repurpose it to target a wider audience. We’ve also looked at the importance of buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, and how all three of these elements combine to give you a winning marketing strategy.
The next step in your marketing strategy is lead generation. How does lead generation flow on from creating great content? Basically, you want to use the content you’ve created to convert visitors into leads. Did you know 67% of companies use lead generation as the sole metric to determine content success? Or that the top priority for marketers for 2020 is generating leads?
When including lead generation in your marketing strategy, it’s important to first look at the different types of leads you may come across. Not all are relevant to every business, just like not all leads will necessarily follow the same linear process from subscriber to customer. However, by identifying the different types of leads, you will be able to improve your marketing results by aligning content and offers to the type of lead they are.
Types of leads and how to best market to them
A lead is a person who has shown interest in your company by taking some action. However, not all leads are the same and just because they are a lead doesn’t mean they’re motivated and ready to buy. Let’s have a look at the different types of leads you may have, and how to best market to them.
A subscriber is a low-barrier way to get the contact details of people who are interested in what you have to say. If someone subscribes to your blog or newsletter, this doesn’t tell you if they are a qualified lead or are a motivated buyer. What it does tell you is that they are interested in your content. You wouldn't try to sell to your subscriber list. However, you would offer them content that would encourage them to convert into a marketing qualified lead.
For example, an offer like a free ebook or webinar that addresses questions at the Awareness stage of the buying process will help you to differentiate subscribers who are at the early stage of the buying process from those who aren’t. From here, you can add them to an email campaign that offers content for the Consideration stage of the buying process.
Marketing Qualified Lead
A marketing qualified lead is someone who has shown a significant level of interest in your company and you know a little about them. Information like their name, company, email and phone number but not enough information to identify them as your ideal buyer. These people have done more than just subscribe to your blog or newsletter – they’re visiting your website and possibly downloaded an ebook or attended a webinar at the Awareness stage of the buying process. This level of activity lets you know they’re interested, and as part of your marketing strategy, you should be offering additional information to help them move along the buying process. This might include an email and or social media campaign offering another ebook or webinar that addresses questions they have at the Consideration Stage of the buying process.
Sales Qualified Lead
A sales qualified lead (SQL) is someone who your company identifies is qualified to speak to a sales person. The definition of a sales qualified lead will be different for each company. However, at a high level, to determine if you think someone is ready to talk to a sales representative, you need to know they have a need for your product or service, are a motivated buyer (have a reason to buy now) and have the power to make the buying decision. You can determine this by asking different questions when they fill out a form on your website or speak to them on the phone. For example if your company has identified your ideal buyer as a: sales manager, who works in the manufacturing industry and has a team of 3 or more sales reps. You need to know their name, email, phone, company, industry, job title and number of people in their sales team before you can identify them as a sales qualified lead. So as part of your marketing strategy you might offer an ebook to help sales managers in the manufacturing industry sell more, and then offer a webinar to educate them on how to get the most out of their sales team.
Someone who is an ‘opportunity’ is typically up to the quoting stage. They have spoken with a sales person who understands their needs and is putting together a quote or proposal to win their business. In addition to just getting a price, people at this stage are looking for information that will give them the confidence that your company is the right solution. As part of your marketing strategy, it's important that you have this information readily available on your website for them to find, or for the sales team to easily reference. Information required would be things like client reviews, case studies, price comparison sheets and understanding the total cost of ownership and return on investment (ROI).
A customer is someone who has engaged your services or purchased a product from you. And your marketing doesn’t stop here. In addition to delighting your customers with your amazing products, solutions and customer service, you want to make sure they come back and buy more, and/or refer people to your company. For this reason it is really important to get feedback from your customers so that you can continue to improve the buying experience. Use this insight to come up with new blog articles that answer their questions, advertising that is relevant to what is important to them, marketing campaigns that provide solutions to their pain points and needs, and relevant emails that are helpful, timely and personalised.