The landscape of lead generation is in a constant state of evolution, and the speed in which it changes continues to pick up the pace. Several ‘new and popular’ strategies that were once believed to be the most effective are getting pushed to the back burner: many of them having come about within the last five years.
For instance, it was once thought that having a heavy social media presence was the golden goose of lead generation, but, research is now showing astoundingly bleak results for this particular method in 2014.
At the same time, there are certain strategies that are enduring far longer than most had projected. Email marketing, telemarketing, tradeshows and conferences and search marketing have been holding steady as boasting the top ROIs.
The best strategies are ones that aren’t primed for short-term gains but instead are fixed on long-term results. Here are four tips for crafting your own lead generation strategy that will outlast the ‘new and popular’ ones, keeping your company ahead of the times for the long haul.
1: Engage, Engage, Engage
The most effective strength of any lead generation strategy is your company’s level of engagement with its potential leads.
This is one area in which many new startups often fail, because their strategy is one of pure automation and not of direct engagement. For instance, many companies have adopted the practice of trusting in automated social media posting and have neglected the most basic and surefire practices in sales: engagement.
Engagement is providing available sales representatives via chat, help centers and forums. There’s just no way to ‘automate’ this essential lead generation method, because it requires a real person on the other end to interact with the potential lead.
Perhaps the only real way to auto-generate leads through engagement is by developing an FAQ section of the company site (see image above).
The FAQ section can be developed based on the statistically most common questions asked by potential leads. Not only will this method engage prospective customers, but adding a statistically-developed FAQ section will save your company time, labor and the marketing budget.
There is no substitute for remaining active in engaging your potential leads.
2: Maintain Your Outbound Edge
According to an insightful infographic from Marketing Profs, their research on the most effective lead generation methods in 2014 showed that lead generation was the biggest, most costly challenge for 78% of marketers. However, it also showed that email marketing, telemarketing, tradeshows and conferences, executive events and inside sales were the most effective methods at generating leads.
What do all these methods have in common? Answer: yet again, engagement.
The least effective methods were apps, online video, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The common link among those methods is that companies are free to basically remain disengaged from potential leads, while utilizing them.
However, one important aspect of this comparison is to understand that the least effective methods are considered ‘inbound marketing,’ while the most effective methods are considered ‘outbound marketing.’ Focusing more on outbound marketing will pay off; the stats have proven it still works best.
3: Embrace New Technology
One method that was supposed to have been rendered obsolete long ago was email marketing. However, in 2014, it retains its position as one of the strongest. In fact, ConvinceandConvert.com published stats from 2014 that stated four out of five Americans do their online shopping on a mobile device.
This is one reason why email lead generation has held its position in front of the pack. Smartphones receive emails, and this invasive form of advertising will go with the potential lead just about everywhere.
So, here’s what your company should do:
Stay up to date on new devices, and find out how to reach them.
Identify new technologies and in what areas will it be compatible with older methods (i.e.: the email-smartphone effect).
Invest in developing ‘smarter’ types of media and page design. Responsive web design allows pages to automatically change with the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. Not only is this convenient for the visitor, but it ensures that your website doesn’t have to create and entirely new site to accommodate a new type of web device.
4: What’s Trendy Isn’t Always Trending
One lead generation method that wasn’t quite at the top of the list on the Marketing Profs infographic was SEO. However, this method still beat blogs and radio in terms of overall effectiveness.
The need for search engine optimization has been tremendous, even as far back as 2007, and it still remains a requirement for effective marketing seven years later.
SEO largely depends on several factors, including maintaining a presence on social media. In fact, QuickSprout.com even noted that social media plays an integral part of SEO, and this is one area that cannot be ignored.
Although your lead generation strategy cannot live by social media alone, it is still important for you to keep your social media presence active in order to nurture a much larger player …the search engines.
Social media might soon become highly effective for lead generation again, especially if the technology evolves to make this happen. However, we’ve always understood that search engine marketing is highly targeted, cost effective, and highly beneficial over the long-term.
Doing what’s trendy might make a few dollars overnight, but it will leave your company penniless within five years. Doing what is trending can sustain your lead generation machine beyond seven years. Usually, the methods that work best are the ones that have stuck around the longest. Strategize accordingly.