For many businesses, leads are the be-all and end-all of marketing.
Especially for small businesses, your company may see the main goal of marketing as sending a maximum number of leads to the sales team. You may even be small enough that your owner or CEO prides themselves for personally engaging with and converting high value prospects.
According to HubSpot, 74% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority, but only 22% are satisfied with their conversion rates. This disconnect exists because most small businesses over-prioritize the volume of leads they’re generating, and don’t put enough time or thought into generating high quality leads, nurturing them effectively and converting them reliably.
By only focusing on one element of lead generation, you fail to gain a full picture of how successful your business is at lead generation and conversion. Here are 7 marketing strategies your small business can use to optimize every stage of the lead funnel.
Track Target Accounts’ Media Consumption
Where are your best leads coming from? You could spend a lot of money for a front page article on Huffington Post that would result in a lot of clicks. But would those be the best leads for you? Obviously this a flawed approach. Focus your efforts on the websites and channels where your ideal buyer personas spend the most time.
One great source of this information is Twitter. Twitter accounts for 16% of referrals to longer articles from social sites, and 14% for shorter news articles. By monitoring the social activities of your existing contacts, you can learn the sites they most often engage with and target your own advertising and guest posting strategies based on that information.
Follow Up after Events
The other way your business likely generates meaningful leads is through events. These events may include conferences, seminars, networking meet-ups, user groups or any other opportunity to engage with potential leads. At all these venues, your team members probably leave with a handful of business cards, send those people an email and never engage with them again.
Optimizing how you follow up after live events can ensure that the meaningful conversations you have with these leads will then be moved into the nurturing stage of your funnel.
Related Class: How to Get Clients & Generate Leads
Build Qualified Lists
One marketing strategy that has gained major traction in the past couple of years is account-based marketing. The idea of targeting leads at individual companies with tailored content and an integrated sales approach may or may not work for your business, but the idea behind it definitely can.
No matter how large your list of leads is, you should use segmentation to nurture those leads in the most targeted way possible. Most small businesses do understand the need for segmentation. Unfortunately, they often segment their list inside CRM, and then do nothing with that information. By building qualified lists that extend to your email marketing, social media and other lead nurturing efforts, you can easily send personalized messages to your leads and gain more specific insights about the success of different segments.
Leverage Marketing Automation
List segmentation and marketing automation go hand in hand. Once your leads are segmented into dozens or even hundreds of separate lists, you can’t expect your sales team to manually reach out to each individual segment. Using a marketing automation solution like Marketo or HubSpot allows you to build these lead nurturing sequences, and then customize them for each segment and lead.
This is why companies with marketing automation are 2.3 times more likely to customize content to the buyer journey stages and 3.5 times more likely to use intelligent targeting to trigger content release. More importantly, marketing automation makes it 2.2 times more likely you’ll be able to capture intelligence for the sales team. These increased insights can improve how your marketing team nurtures the leads and ultimately how your sales team closes them.
Optimize Nurture Streams
As you build out your lead nurturing sequences, make sure you are constantly tracking and measuring the success of each individual touch point. Your goal should be to slowly guide leads with relevant information that moves them further down the sales cycle. You shouldn’t try to convert them with a sales sheet the day after they follow your Twitter account. Instead, send them a useful blog article that relates to their social activity and the lists they’ve been segmented into.
In a recent Socedo University video, we discussed our own experiences optimizing our nurture streams. Through experimentation, we discovered that case studies – in which we weren’t sending leads until the 4th or 5th touchpoint – had the highest click-through rate. Based on this information we moved them up to the 2nd message and greatly improved our overall nurture stream.
Related Class: How to Build a Lead Nurturing Campaign
Integrate Marketing Solutions
A difficulty many small businesses face when engaging with leads is moving the conversation to new marketing channels, or moving to a new stage in the sales cycle. Examine your company’s traditional sales funnel, and you will find that you are losing a percentage of leads at every stage. Your goal should be limiting this churn as much as possible by creating a seamless experience for your leads.
Creating this seamless experience requires you to integrate your various marketing solutions. If your CRM doesn’t integrate with your email marketing solution, there will be a disconnect when the lead moves from email nurturing to direct contact with a sales rep. Instead, your social media lead generation tool should seamlessly pass leads to your marketing automation software which should then easily communicate with your CRM, and so on. Not only will this create a single, unified experience for your leads, it will also allow you to collect more accurate ROIs for your various channels.
Track Efficiency Metrics
We mentioned in the intro that many organizations emphasize lead volume. In fact, 59% of marketers rely on total lead volume as a top metric. Instead, marketers should focus on tracking metrics that will allow them to create a more efficient lead generation process.
74% of companies that weren't exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities. Tracking metrics such as sales cycle length, cost-per-lead, and lead sources can give you more actionable insights to inform your strategy.
The tools and strategies your small business needs to start optimizing your lead generation and conversion are out there. All you need to do is begin experimenting with these strategies and make sure you are tracking their success so you can continue to improve the way you engage with your audience.
Related Class: Increase Lead Generation Quality, Conversion & Velocity
Teena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.
Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: How to Get Clients & Generate Leads, How to Build a Lead Nurturing Campaign, Increase Lead Generation Quality, Conversion & Velocity