Inbound marketing is getting a lot of buzz; the key to successful lead generation is a well-rounded marketing mix. This includes both inbound and outbound marketing techniques. Through outbound marketing programs, you actively go out to find your customers, often via paid channels.
Another distinction to make is that inbound marketing works for broad lead generation activities, but outbound is good to amplify your inbound efforts and target specific opportunities. And in many cases, outbound techniques can have that "wow" factor to make your company stand out since these strategies are often highly targeted with an obvious call-to-action. As a result, good outbound marketing can lead someone down your sales funnel at a faster rate, assuming he is a good lead.
PPC (pay-per-click) advertising
By paying to advertise on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, your message can be seen by leads searching for keywords specific to your business. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads show up on the side and top of the organic search results and use targeted ad copy to tempt leads to click a high-value offer such as a content piece that relates directly to a search term. PPC ads also take the form of banner advertising on many websites and can be found on social channels such as LinkedIn.
Content is the fuel for your lead generation efforts. But it's not enough to merely put content on your own website: You also want to make sure it is seen by thousands (or millions) of potential leads.
Content syndication can take the form of both paid efforts, selecting websites that will host your content, and nonpaid efforts, like writing a guest blog post on an industry association's website, or sharing your content through RSS feeds and social media. Many content syndicators require that leads fill out a form asking for contact information such as email addresses, address, company, and so on, adding more qualified leads to the database.
Although there are many views on the effectiveness of direct mail, when combined with the other efforts listed here, direct mail can be a highly effective way to reach and engage your target audience. By focusing on sending creative and targeted communications, you can grab the attention of someone who has previously not responded to other lead generation efforts.
Event marketing is a fantastic way to generate leads, create lasting relationships, and engage with current customers for upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Events often take the form of webinars, conferences, tradeshows, or seminars and offer your company a chance to meet your leads face-to-face and form a lasting impression. This helps you cement relationships and top-of-mind when your lead is ready to make a purchase decision.
An important part of being successful with your lead generation efforts is the ability to turn marketing leads into sales pipeline. Your inside sales team can help you with this. Inside sales takes marketing-generated leads, calls and qualifies them, and then hands them off to an account executive or a more experienced sales person to close.
The team is often considered part of the marketing function because without its help, marketing leads often don't get called and can dry up — you definitely don't want the fantastic leads you have worked so hard to generate sitting neglected in the dark.
Email marketing often uses leads already in your database or leads from a list. By creating emails to promote content pieces, events, new product launches, and so on, you can create additional buzz and demand for your company. Email marketing attracts leads to your website, blog, social channels, events, and webinars, making it a fantastic channel to move leads through your sales funnel.
Lead nurturing and lead scoring
Many marketers forget that lead generation is not finished after the lead has been acquired. Instead, it's just beginning. Many of the leads you have generated and brought into your database are not quite ready yet to buy. So through lead nurturing, systematically sending emails that move a lead closer to a purchase, you can help turn your lukewarm leads hot. And by assigning leads scores based on how closely they fit your buyer profile and where they are on their buyer journey, you know exactly when a lead needs to be sent to sales. You don't want a hot lead that is itching to make a purchase going cold because no one is calling him.