January 28th, 2021
Ways to Find New Leads and Customers Online
The task of creating and organizing a sales list and accompanying sales process can seem daunting. But just a few minutes of prospecting, organization, and outreach per day can drive higher conversion. If you're just getting your business up and running, or your prospecting and sales process has stalled, try these techniques to give your sales a jump start.
- Identify the businesses that you want to work with. Think about who you want to work with, where they are located, and other information that may be relevant in your dialogue with them.
- Use KobraGold Prospecting services or do online searches for those businesses. For example, if you want to target cafes to start, search for "cafes near me"
- Once we conduct a search with our software a list will pulled up, create an excel spreadsheet (or use KobraGold's sales contact spreadsheet) with columns for the business names, phone, website, email, and then provide columns to use when you reached out, followed-up, and makes notes of your conversation, etc. For KobraGold Media clients, we have created a Sales Contact Spreadsheet available for you to download.
Find and communicate with prospects where they are:
- Join your local chamber of commerce - membership is usually relatively inexpensive and the return can be high. Often times, the chamber will send an email to all of its members announcing you/your business as having just joined. You'll be listed on their website which will link back to yours (good for SEO), and many have a monthly "Business Afterhours" or "Social Hour" or "Happy Hour" etc. These are great, in-person networking events where you can meet other small/medium sized business owners and industry leaders who are looking to expand their own business as well as find new solutions to make their business more profitable. You'll be able to shake hands, exchange business cards, schmooze with members and make your sales pitch.
- Join www.Alignable.com - a free network where business owners meet, increase word of mouth marketing and generate referrals. This is basically like a digital version of the chamber of commerce. You'll be able to create a profile of your business and link it back to your website (good for SEO), and digitally connect with other small/medium sized business owners and industry leaders.
- Get your business listed on other hyperlocal / local / regional websites; business directories, Patch, Nextdoor, Craigslist, etc. Anywhere where someone may be looking for your services. Plus, you'll be able to link back to your website (notice a pattern? Good for SEO).
Lead Sources Your Organization Needs to Measure
Primary Lead and Prospecting Sources Your Organization Needs To Develop, Maintain, and Measure.
- Blogging: Blogging efforts optimize your website for new visitors (see #3 below), and nurturing existing leads. Think of the prospect who finds your latest blog post via a long-tail search. He or she my have never heard of your company before that post. Track blog entrance pages, engagement, RSS subscribers, and CTAs incorporated into your blog content or layout to measure the impact of this channel.
- Premium Content: Does your website include a library of gated, or premium, content? Resources like ebooks, podcasts, white papers, primary research and webinars, provide value to your website visitors—who are willing to exchange basic contact information for that value. Measure premium content pieces for overall downloads, as well as individual topic or campaign performance.
- Organic Search: Optimize your website with persona-focused content to gain an advantage in organic search. Organic traffic is prime for bringing new and highly qualified visitors to your website. An answer to organic search should be relevant, and provide value to the visitor.
which supports the nod to better qualified leads generated from organic search.
Paying attention to organic search means staying up to date on the latest search engine updates. For example, Google’s encrypted searchposes an extra challenge for marketers evaluating the keywords driving new leads to your website.
- Email Marketing: How advanced and engaging are the email nurturing campaigns your organization runs? Are you also able to tap into strong partner or industry networks to expand your reach with additional qualified leads?
A survey from CMO Council and Lithium found email to be consumers’ preferred method of brand communication. Email can sometimes feel like an old tool in the marketing mix, but put yourself back into a customer’s shoes—it’s a go-to for prospect questions, service and support, and loyalty touchpoints. Advanced email solutions can make email marketing contextual, personalized and efficient. Segment leads accordingly, and respect leads’ inboxes for a lasting and valued communications channel.
- Digital Advertising: Does your organization pay for banner ads, social ads, and/or paid search or retargeting campaigns? To gauge the effectiveness of paid channels, measure impressions, click-through rates, then content engagement after that first click. Include relevant content and calls to action for all paid digital ad efforts to better quantify results.
- Media Coverage: Media coverage optimizes your website with powerful referring links, can improve overall brand awareness and credibility, and can make your company top-of-mind throughout the sales cycle. Track visitors coming to your site from PR efforts or brand mentions in the media, then qualify this channel as those visitors become leads and work through the funnel, highlights opportunities for traditional PR efforts to measure data-driven, bottom line results.
- Social Media: As more consumers go to social media for customer service or to poll friends and family for advice on upcoming purchases, the channel becomes an increasingly important source for marketers to track.
Evaluate the quantity and quality of your brand followers, and track engagement and overall reach of each social channel. From there, consider goals that impact leads and bottom line impact. Track social media as your referring source for downloads, forms, registrations and sales.
Finding heavy social media referrals or engagement? Consider social CRM software that can tie to web analytics.
- Website: Last, but probably most important—is your website a lead-generating machine? It should be. Your website houses valuable persona-focused content, contact information, product and solution information, and more. It’s also likely the hub that social, advertising, event, email and other tactics drive traffic to. Teach leads to go to your website for solutions and relevant information, and make sure your website is set up to collect valuable lead insights.
Offline Lead Sources
Not to long ago, it was easier to differentiate between online and offline lead sources. Today, more and more traditionally offline sources have an “online” component or the goal to drive traffic a brand’s digital space. For the sake of breaking this post down into more digestible sections, we’ve deemed the following as offline, with the understanding that many do (or should) have digital strategies or tactics incorporated.
- Direct Marketing: Still sending direct mail? How are you measuring leads generated? Consider driving further engagement with vanity URLs to supplement direct mail pieces with relevant, engaging content. Include calls to action that will further qualify leads and track online activity.
- Traditional Advertising: Are you still measuring impressions for traditional print, radio, TV or billboard advertisements? Tie this data to leads and sales with dedicated promo codes, vanity URLs, or calls to action that prompt “impressions” to turn into identifiable leads.
- Sponsorships: Sponsorships are pure “pay-to-play,” so it’s critical to track leads and sales generated for bottom-line return. Start by organizing all the sponsorships your organization pays for. Evaluate the goals for each, then put the processes in place for tracked measurement against those goals.
Often, events and organizations you’re sponsoring are willing to help you prove value. If you’re sponsoring a show or event, for example, work with that organization to promote tracked landing pages, or tie airtime to viewer regions, time on air, etc. Consider tags for all referring links, and promo codes with branded marketing efforts.
- Affiliate / Partner Programs: Some organizations are a natural fit for affiliate or partner programs. Consider manufacturers who sell through distribution channels, resellers, software service providers, consultants and more, or value added resellers (VARs) who partner to sell industry technology.
Designate dedicated campaigns for partnership opportunities and marketing efforts to identify leads that come in from this channel. If you have multiple affiliate or partner programs running, be sure to measure and compare quantity and quality of leads from each program to determine the best performers (and where to allocate resources for the most impact).
- Events / Shows: Events are an investment for brands at all stages of the marketing funnel—from awareness with new prospects, through the loyalty and retention of existing accounts. When measuring effectiveness of events as lead generation drivers, consider cost per new lead, overall quality of each event’s leads generated, and how many of those event leads turn into longer-term sales opportunities.
Events are perfect opportunities to merge the online and offline experience. Generate meetings and event excitement pre-show with an online campaign to start measuring (and qualifying) lead activity. Encourage in-person leads to connect online at show then post show to nurture the relationship.
- Inbound Phone Calls: Many leads (and customers) opt to pick up the phone to talk to someone when evaluating options, searching for detailed or specific information, or seeking service and support. Even though that engagement is happening “offline,” enables marketers to gather data on what prompted a call, what happened during the call, and actions following that call to connect online and offline marketing efforts.
- Outbound Sales: If you’re making outbound calls, you likely have a list of prospects or cold business phone numbers to call. Evaluating this source comes with lead scoring and updates to your complete lead database. Integrate call center tracking or management with your CRM to further track outbound call efforts.
- Referrals: Encourage others to drive visitors and leads to your website, products or services. For example, if your company offers training or consultative services, encourage those who’ve already taken the training to share resources with others with a profit-share offer.
- Speaking Engagements: Track success of corporate speaking engagements by new connections, followers, visitors and leads. Consider making your presentations and contact information available with an easy-to-remember vanity URL promoted during the event. Include a few downloadable assets to drive lead generation, and nurture new social connections with dedicated monitoring lists.
- Traditional / Offline Networking: Often times, the best leads come from in-person networking. Manually tag these leads and the offline sources in your CRM or contact database after each event to keep offline networking opportunities in the lead source mix. If driving networking connections online, consider a dedicated landing page or separate social list.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of this article.
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