Online lead generation requires a heavy and well planned mix of different tactics encompassing both offline as well as online world. In this quick guide, I share the top online lead generation tips focusing on areas that can be used on the Internet and are a sure shot.
A website is a fundamental starting point for all businesses. It can be a basic electronic brochure or a highly interactive website. In this modern times, it is now almost equivalent to advertising in the traditional “Yellow Pages” of the phone directory.
But simply having a website hosted on the Internet is not going to get you anywhere. Enhance it in particular ways to drive more traffic to your business. Invest some money in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). We talk about these later in the article.
These are a special type of pages that serves a unique purpose in lead generation. It’s an extension of a link or an advertisement that displays content which is optimized for search engines and social media. Typically, these pages make use of “lead forms” that are designed to collect visitor information. Mainly we have two types:
- Reference Landing Pages: Promotes visitor interaction to generate a lead. It provides useful information about products and services and prompts visitors to leave back information about their company and needs. This helps to identify potential leads.
- Transaction Landing Pages: This is more direct and has a strong CTA (Call To Action) that prompts the visitor to purchase something immediately or very soon thereafter. A software upgrade offer is a typical example.
- Use images to draw attention and invite the visitor to read.
- Use good design sense and make the page consistent with the rest of the web site.
- Keep text short and get right to the point without wasting words.
- Optimize for search engines.
- Minimize the amount of data you need to collect on forms. People don’t like to fill long forms.
- If appropriate, use Call To Action buttons (example: Get It Now, Free Upgrade, etc.) to bring visitors to forms.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is a complex process to improve the visibility of a web page in a search engine. The practice of SEO requires good knowledge about the logic used by any given search engine for ranking websites. There is a dedicated industry of consultants who specialize in delivering optimization services and measuring results. Go ahead and hire one.
- Target the right keywords. Choose long tail keywords.
- Assign proper Meta tags especially the Title Tag, Try and put your keywords in there.
- Use keywords in the URL, separate them with a hyphen.
- Curtail and polish the Description. This is what users will see in search results.
- Use Headings i.e. <h1> and <h2> tags.
- Develop appropriate content. Write for the visitor and not for search engines. Text content needs to be simple, clear and as brief as possible.
- Build links from other websites and business directories to enhance the site’s ranking. These are also known as backlinks.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is also known as pay per click (PPC). It’s the predominant form of paid Internet advertising. The three largest PPC services that I can think of while writing this are Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter (Bing).
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
This is a relatively new area but quickly gaining grounds of popularity. This marketing is intimate than other types of marketing communications because the messaging is informal, shared, bidirectional and mainly the audience choose explicitly to affiliate with a person or an entity. The big opportunity is viral marketing, which means that enthusiastic prospects or customers tell other people in their circles and groups about your brand, product or service.
- Map the target audience to appropriate platforms. In other words, segment the market and learn how users in that segment interact on the platform.
- Strategize based on platform. Create individual strategies for each platform as a generalised approach here would not work.
- Create compelling content and focus on providing information that’s useful for the target segment.
- Refrain from unabashed product advertising. Ensure that what is provided is relevant and timely.
- The “social” in social media means ongoing conversations that build trust and relationships. Write to generate a dialog.
- Use contests, games, quizzes and giveaways. Respond to comments and questions.
- Monitor and measure as social media campaigns require the ongoing collection of data to understand what’s working, what’s not.
- If you commit to using this channel, do it well, or not at all.
A web seminar or popularly known as webinar is a presentation or a discussion using web conferencing technologies over the Internet. Webinars are one of the most important selling tools available to a company. Although they do not replace face-to-face selling, they have become virtually indispensable for linking businesses to potential and current customers.
There is no other communication medium available today that is as common and accessible as email. We use it to engage prospects initially and to sustain relationships. It’s often a communication vehicle that supports other online and offline marketing tactics. Thousands of excellent articles have been published about email design and best practices. We will not duplicate that content here. But there are a few critical things you must always keep in mind when generating leads using Email Marketing.
- Know the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 as ignoring any provisions of the law can have severe consequences for on the reputation of the business.
- Segment the target audience based on needs and customize content accordingly. That engages the reader quickly.
- Keep the mailing list clean as too many bounce emails are likely to put your IP or your domain in the SPAMMERS list.
- Write clearly and get to the point quickly as chances are that the email receiver gets dozens of emails each day and they may skip a marketing email by just giving it a glance.
Do you have any more innovative online lead generation tips which you would like to share? Feel free to comment.