As experienced sales professionals know — and as new sales professionals quickly discover — not all leads are created equal.
On one end of the spectrum are “look-i-loos” who, while usually friendly and enjoyable to communicate with, but have little or no intention of making a purchase in the near future; or perhaps, ever. And then on the other end of the spectrum are quality leads. These are individuals (B2C) and businesses (B2B) that are eager to solve a problem or achieve a goal, and will do so as soon as they find a solution that fits their needs and budget.
It goes without saying that an excess of look-i-loos in the pipeline is a recipe for disaster, while an abundance of qualified leads is the formula for success. And that’s why all businesses — whether they sell consumer goods to individuals or professional services to corporations — should be targeting their resources and efforts on these three online channels in 2019:
Search - Organic & Paid
If you recall seeing organic search on top of “best online channels” lists from years past, then there’s a good reason for the repetition: dollar for dollar, there is simply no more lucrative or affordable way to generate website traffic — and qualified leads — than organic search. Paid search my cost a bit more but also produces highly qualified leads. That’s the good news.
The not-so-good-news is that this is hardly a secret, and as such competition for many keywords is ferocious. Still, it’s fair to say that when it comes to strategies and tactics most businesses aren’t firing their organic search engine on all cylinders — and some are barely just sputtering along. This means there are plenty of opportunities available; especially for “long-tail keywords,” which are those that have a relatively lower search frequency, but are typically sought by more qualified (i.e. ready-to-buy) individuals and businesses.
The key factor to keep in mind, however, is that while driving traffic to a website is a critical objective, it’s not the full picture. Once customers land on a website (or any digital property), they need to be engaged, informed and inspired to take action. In some cases, this could mean making a purchase. But most of the time (and all of the time in the B2B marketplace), desired action is anything that moves customers forward on the buyer’s journey, such as watching a video, scheduling a demo, starting a web chat, downloading an ebook or report, and so on.
When social media first arrived on the business landscape, businesses that wanted a piece of the action typically created accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on.
However, these days smart businesses have taken their social media presence a big step forward by using their accounts to actively engage their community (comprised of current customers, prospective customers, and all other supporters/stakeholders), so they can stand out in a crowded and cluttered marketplace.
What does “actively engage” mean? It means publishing a steady stream of relevant content through the appropriate channels (e.g. thought leadership articles for B2B audiences on LinkedIn, professional-quality photos for B2C audiences on Instagram, etc.), engaging in conversations with fans and followers, and addressing customer concerns and issues. A study by Twitter found that customers that receive response from businesses on Twitter are willing to spend 20% more, and are 30% more likely to recommend the business to their network.
Email marketing has been around for many years, and it’s not because old habits die hard: it’s because email marketing continues to generate incredible results! For example:
- Email marketing has an average ROI of 3,800%. (Source: Salesforce)
- 81% of businesses say that email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (Source: eMarketer)
- 61% of customers enjoy receiving promotional emails from businesses they know and trust. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)
- 88% of smartphone users regularly check for emails throughout the day. (Source: Pew Research Center)
Naturally, there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to email marketing — everything from choosing the right campaign objectives, to complying with anti-SPAM laws. For a deeper look at how to get started with email marketing, please download our free guide.
Contact Noble Webworks today to learn more about optimizing all of these channels — search, social media and email marketing — in order generate qualified leads in 2019 and beyond. Your consultation with us is free.