The ultimate goal of the lead generation process is to attract new, qualified prospects to your business in a cost-effective way. But, how do you find and target these individuals when they aren’t already part of your audience network, reading your content, or visiting your website? And how can you then convert them into qualified leads?
This is where lead generation marketing comes in.
For most companies, there are likely to be peaks and troughs in trade. Customer acquisition helps to maintain a steady stream of new and consistent business and create sustainable growth.
Acquisition marketing helps you build up a database of qualified leads who are the perfect fit for your product or service. And it’s not just about sales either. There are the benefits of increased web traffic, brand awareness and engagement too.
Here’s the P+S five-step guide to creating a high-performing lead gen campaign.
Step one: identify your target
You can’t create an effective campaign unless you know who you’re targeting. A good place to start is by analysing the data you have on your current customers.
Start developing your customer acquisition strategy by taking into account both the demographics and psychographics of your current clients. Not only will this help you identify the most suitable targets for your campaign, but having insight into their motivations, needs and behaviours means you develop empathy for their interests, challenges and perspectives. The more information you can gather, the better, as it will guide you to develop content that captures your prospects’ attention.
You can further narrow down your audience into segments by creating audience personas. Populating these personas with information such as age, occupation, education level and goals, alongside the addition of psychographics such as motivations, frustrations and interests will help you personify your audience. That way, you can more effectively predict any objections, and proactively overcome them. Plus, you’ll be able to create more bespoke campaigns which are increasingly personalised, too.
In addition, creating a customer journey map allows you to visualise, understand and explore the different stages in the purchase cycle. This map provides a representation of your typical customer’s purchase pathway, and once you know the path, you can identify the crucial moments in their journey to influence, in order to create the greatest impact.
Step two: find out when and where to target them
Now’s the time to establish your messaging strategy. A large part of this will revolve around channel selection, so refer back to your customer journey map.
Is email going to be the best form of contact for prospects? Would LinkedIn work better? Or maybe PPC search advertising is the answer? It all depends on what action or behaviour you are trying to influence at that particular stage of your audience’s journey, and which channel is best placed to do this.
For example, P+S ran a lead generation campaign for The Open University to promote the institution’s management training courses. LinkedIn was selected as the channel to initially generate responses, which were followed up with an email marketing programme to qualify each lead.
This campaign ultimately delivered 175% more marketing qualified leads than all of their other current marketing activity combined. And it came down to powerful, ‘sticky’ messaging, in the right places.
Step three: measure your success
To define exactly how well the campaign is performing, compare the results you’re seeing to your outlined KPIs. Having SMART objectives – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound – means you can continue to tweak your campaign efficiently, optimising it to return the highest amount of leads.
Our lead gen project for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) did exactly this, exploring a range of approaches for tweaking and optimising our content, and ultimately settling on a number of case studies to form the core of the campaign. It paid off, with response rates higher than 15% in some countries, and a qualified lead-to-response-rate of over 50% across Europe. Proving that ongoing optimisation is essential for ensuring campaign success.
Step four: hook your audience
To attract the right customer, you need to provide content that matches their motivations and needs at a specific time, and a strong call-to-action (CTA) to elicit a direct response.
That action could be visiting your website for more information, clicking through to a bespoke landing page or providing an email address for a follow-up article. Whether it’s a sales lead, site visit or subscription, it’s an action that will upgrade your audience member from being a viewer, to an active participant.
As a general rule, the content itself should educate, inspire or inform your audience. It could be an explainer video, a thought-leadership whitepaper, or an industry intelligence article, for example. And the focus won’t necessarily be the benefits of your business over the competition: at this point, it’s about creating the right content for the right stage of your customer’s journey.
Each marketing channel has its unique strengths and your content should take advantage of these accordingly. Linking to a whitepaper may be more appropriate on LinkedIn than Instagram. Likewise, a video could be better suited to Instagram or Facebook stories, rather than Twitter, depending on your audience data.
Research on channel selection, market, audience preferences and competitors will help you create the right content to deliver at the right time – also called ‘motivation-matched messaging’. The benefit to your audience is its usefulness; the benefit to your business is an enhanced reputation as a trustworthy authority.
Step five: capture their details
If you want to establish a customer database, feed new prospects into your nurture track, or integrate new data into your current CRM system, you’ll need to capture audience information. And there are a number of methods you can use.
From a pop-up data collection form, to a bespoke landing page. You’ll need to decide which information is critical, and when the best time is to capture that intel.
Plus, you’ll need to ensure the process is as easy for your customers as possible. Otherwise, you could see prospects abandon it altogether, making your campaign redundant.
There’s opportunity to be creative here, for a more interactive experience with a professional feel. When P+S worked on a direct response marketing campaign for Sungard AS, we delivered an impactful, incentive-driven three-dimensional mailer. Each was tailored per client, complete with a URL taking them to a personalised landing page where they were met with a meeting booking form. We more than doubled the conversions achieved from any previous Sungard direct response campaign, and more.
Increased engagement, boosted brand awareness, maximum ROI
Lead generation marketing may seem complicated at first. But the benefits to having a comprehensive customer acquisition strategy are undeniable. No two campaigns are the same, and every business needs a bespoke strategy to deliver the leads they’re looking for.
At P+S we genuinely care about delivering the best results to our clients. Over our 40 years of experience, we’ve helped our clients generate multiple millions in revenue, populate entire databases of qualified leads and maximise brand engagement. We attract the customers you want using careful planning, targeting and creative.
If you have any queries about the content above, or your own marketing activity, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation discussion - we would be happy to help!