Here’s how you can generate more leads, generate high-quality leads and generate more revenue in 2016
Most New Year’s resolutions fail – I’ll tell you why that happens. We miss out on one crucial thing in our overly-optimistic self-improvement plans. We don’t scrutinize the pitfalls – where did our resolutions falter last year – did we invest on the wrong channels, did we write the wrong content type?
So, let’s start 2016 by analyzing where we as marketers failed in 2015, which brings me to point no. 1 that would drive all the other points that follow.
1. Analyze Your Efforts for 2015
I am guessing you are already doing that as part of your yearly marketing report.
But, I want you to dig a level deeper. Create an extra report this time.
In this report, replace total no. of leads with total no. of high-quality leads.
Replace CPL (cost per lead) with CPHQL (cost per high-quality lead). Do this for every source (Adwords, Organic, Social etc.)
Needless to say, it would be immensely beneficial to help you plan out your actions for 2016. For instance, if I tell you that Facebook lead ads are next big thing and you should definitely try them out, you would rethink this advice if you find out that the past year you haven’t received even one high-quality lead from Facebook (despite using the best targeting options).
Not saying you shouldn’t try it – you definitely should, but think twice before investing all of your marketing money into it. By doing this exact exercise, and tweaking our campaigns subsequently, we have been able to reduce our cost per high-quality leads by 64.2% in Adwords. Even though the total impressions have dropped too, but who needs impressions that are getting you bad quality leads. You should do this for all your paid and unpaid channels.
So, this year start by tracing your footprints – what worked, what didn’t, what has more potential if you just tweak it more.
2. Concentrate on Video
Content marketing has been marketers’ favorite buzzword for at least 2 years now, and the form of content that’ll dominate 2016 is video.
I am talking video in any form – you don’t need huge agency budgets and fancy videos, if you can’t afford them.
For us, webinars have proved to be a major source of new leads, engagement and revenue. So, you can start small too and create slideshow videos (the ones with moving pictures), basic demo videos, and webinars. There are several tools available to help you create simple videos that look high quality as well (Powtoon is one).
For businesses with the budget and resources, who invest on television ads, YouTube and Facebook are potential advertising options. Many people exclusively watch YouTube now as opposed to television, and by running TV only ads, not only are you doing a huge one-time investment, but you are also isolating this section of the audience that doesn’t watch television.
With YouTube ads (they work on CPV model), you pay only when the users view your ads, so this gives a huge pay per reach opportunity if done wisely.
So, you have a huge opportunity of generating more leads, and engagement at a lesser cost.
3. Think mobile-first
I don’t even need to say it – mobile usage is sky high right now; there are 3.65 billion unique mobile users in the world. So, you have to start thinking mobile-first. The first steps:
1. Make your website responsive,
2. If you do paid advertising, run mobile-only ads separately,
To emphasize the importance of responsive websites, I’ll share some data from LeadSquared’s analytics after Google’s mobile algorithm rolled out (I have compared 1-month data before and after the rollout) – The number of sessions increased by 54.97% and the average session duration increased by 126%
If you aren’t thinking mobile-first, you can forget about converting all this traffic into leads.
4. Create Lead Ads on Facebook
If, in your initial analysis, you found that Facebook has been a good source for you, then lead ads should be a high-priority item to better your lead generation. Lead ads can help capture leads in 2 taps. For us, the cost per lead from Facebook dropped down by 44.22% (we are still analyzing the quality, so stay tuned for that).
I will quote another example from Facebook’s own case studies. Latin American property marketplace Properati uses lead ads.
Results– They got a 4 times reduction in the cost per lead, with more than 3 times the total number of leads generated generally in Brazil.
Verdict: Worth spending your money on, if you have seen consistent high-quality leads from Facebook. And, a wonderful way to get more leads from mobile ads on Facebook, because landing pages, responsive or not are still a pain to open on smaller devices.
5. Optimize Your Website
If you haven’t already thought about that, this should be one of the top-priority items for you. As you dig down into your Analytics to figure out what’s working for you and what’s not, look at your Google Analytics data as well – you would find out the main drop-off points on your website as well.
If most people are leaving your website at one particular point, then maybe you need an offer that makes them stick. Note that the offer always has to be very relevant to the content on the page and the context of search – maybe a simple e-book, or an opt-in exit pop-up. It can be a huge conversion booster.
6. Identity-based advertising
For those of you who stay updated with paid advertising, this might be old news, but Google Adwords now allows you to upload a list of email IDs to create a custom audience, and lets you create a similar audience from that too. This is very similar to your custom and lookalike audience in Facebook.
If you run paid marketing campaigns, and have found potential in Adwords (during your initial analysis), this strategy is relevant for you.
7. Twitter ads
Twitter ads rolled out very recently in India, and I have run them for a very short duration. In this “short” duration what I noticed was that the cost per click is higher than your regular paid channels (Facebook/Adwords), but the lead quality is higher. So, it’s definitely worth a shot if you have been getting at least moderate amount of traction from Twitter.
8. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation will be one of the top drivers in improving the lead generation efforts in 2016.
It’s not just about generating the leads, is it?
You generate leads, and pass it along to your sales team (time lag), your sales team parses through the leads to find the best fits (time lag), or your sales team just starts calling, without prioritization (time lag in reaching out to the best sales opportunity). With every time lag, the chances of conversions decrease, so you need to minimize the drop off points.
A simple automated email customized to the prospect’s inquiry makes the response time shorter. A lead prioritization mechanism in place (lead scoring/engagement scoring) helps sales team call the most sales-ready lead first.
These things seem small, but closing these loopholes can really bring the ROI on your marketing up. (It especially makes sense for businesses with a steady flow of leads, so if you have a low lead inflow, then you can maybe put it off for now, but be ready when the flow of leads increases).
(Side-note: Read this post to find why small businesses should use marketing automation)
9. Content Distribution
Content creation will still dominate 2016, but I’d refrain from focusing on just that. Rather, I’d concentrate on another important aspect of content marketing – distribution.
If even a fraction of time spent creating content, is spent in distributing it, we’d get much better brand recognition, much better traffic from sources we wouldn’t have thought possible, and better ROI (hopefully).
So, find out the ways in which you can distribute your content – quote the influencers in your posts and request them to share it, think about content syndication with 3rd parties. Push interesting content out on websites such as Medium. They already have an audience, and your content getting shared stands a much better chance of getting found on them. Create a quick PPT and upload it on SlideShare. But, everything you do, make sure that you are somehow directing the traffic back to your website (in a tasteful manner) – maybe allow them to download this content as PDF from your blog.
10. The merge of social and publishing
We have seen the trend for quite some time. LinkedIn has its own publishing platform; Twitter’s is underway,
Facebook has overhauled notes for a much better writing experience. Even Reddit has its own website now, called Upvoted.com (check it out if you haven’t). Their motivations are simple – they want to keep the users on their platforms itself, but how would you use it?
Figuring out how to leverage the reach of these platforms, while being able to translate this reach to traffic for your website would be one driving factor in your lead generation campaigns.
You wouldn’t want to completely abandon your own blog to write great content on these third party channels.
It’ll be interesting to see how we achieve this balance; I don’t have a perfect answer to it right now, but this trend would definitely affect content creation, and eventually lead generation.
So, these are the things you can do to get better at lead generation in 2016. Would love to hear your thoughts, and your ideas about it!
This article is part of the #2016defynd series where we have experts from the industry talk about what digital marketers need to do to keep up with Digital Marketing in 2016. You can check out the entire series here.