No matter what the nature of your business, or how long you have been in operation, lead generation is one of the most sophisticated challenges you face. Even if you are successful, with a range of happy and satisfied clients, your future growth depends on your ability to generate new leads and gain new customers along the way. It does not matter if your company is a new start-up or a seasoned Fortune 500 company; without leads, your business will be unable to grow and compete in the modern world.
Lead generation has always been a tricky process, regardless of the methods used to generate those leads. As a business owner, you want to get as many leads as you can and pass them on to your sales team in a timely manner. At the same time, simply flooding your sales staff with hundreds of unqualified leads will only create dissension in the ranks and reduce the efficiency of your operation.
Simply put, all leads are not the same, and not all leads are equally valuable. If you want to succeed and make the most of your limited time and staffing resources, you need to find a way to qualify leads first.
The first step is to make sure your current email list is actually still valid. You can use an email verification service to check the quality of your list, and ensure that all of your current leads on your email list are still valid and ready to be placed onto your automated email marketing plan.
There’s also lots of email marketing software available to help you make the most of your campaign, but these can be costly, and not all businesses will have the budget to make use of these services.
This is where email automation comes into play. Email automation allows the owners of all kinds of businesses to generate a steady stream of valuable leads – leads they can pass on to their sales team or run down on their own.
No matter how long your business has been in operation, customers will not want to do business with you if they do not trust you or believe you can deliver on the promises you make. Building trust is an essential part of the modern business world, vital for everything from gaining new customers to building your brand identity.
Developing trust among your base of potential customers is also essential as you create and fine tune your email list. The more your potential and existing customers trust you, the more likely they will be to buy the products and services you have to offer. Building trust is not always an easy thing to do, and there are no shortcuts to success.
One of the best ways to begin developing trust among your base of website visitors, email recipients, and advertising targets is through premium giveaways. Everyone loves to get something for free, and offering a premium item of real value serves a number of important purposes.
As recommended by many sites, offering a free whitepaper for download allows you to gather contact information and start building your email list. Placing the premium offer on your company website, linking to it in your blog posts, and featuring it prominently in your print advertising is a great way to gather leads while building trust among your customer base. Offering to give away such a valuable item is a sign of trust on your part, and over time that trust will be returned.
Offering a free downloadable whitepaper is also an effective way to build your brand identity. Creating a compelling brand narrative has never been more important than it is today, given the fact that so many consumers now speed through commercials and have learned to tune out marketing messages. A well-written whitepapers gets your company and your brand in front of readers and helps them develop a level of trust going forward.
Offering a downloadable whitepaper also allows you to demonstrate your expertise. Modern consumers are looking for real expertise in the companies they do business with, and a quality whitepaper is one of the best representations of your expertise and experience. Once you have gained the trust of your target audience, you can add other offers and make your future lead-generation efforts even more successful.
To learn more about what’s working best in reference to building trust and creating a mailing list that people actually want to open, be sure to check out this guide to email marketing from AppInstitute.
That downloadable whitepaper is an excellent place to start, but it is just the beginning of the trust-building and lead-generation process. Once you have the attention of your readers and customers, you can slowly start to offer other items they will find valuable. This strategy will serve to further build trust and cement your reputation as an expert in your chosen industry.
The additional items can be anything your customer base or prospect list is likely to find valuable. If your product or service is visual in nature, a short video clip is a good way to demonstrate its benefits and encourage casual shoppers to become loyal customers. Whether you are selling a garden implement, a piece of cookware, or sports equipment, a real-world video demonstration is a useful sales tool.
Case studies can be just as valuable in terms of lead generation. Modern consumers are more savvy than ever before, and they rely on much more than the claims of manufacturers and resellers to make their purchase decisions. Giving your prospects real-world case studies and offering reviews by real customers is a vital part of the trust-building process. The more case studies you can provide, the better; embedding one in each email you send is a smart strategy for success.
If you maintain a blog, be sure to update the site regularly and use it to build brand loyalty and engender trust among your list of prospects. Blogging is a great way to convey information, but it is also a valuable sales tool for all kinds of businesses.
The Importance of Follow-Up
No matter how compelling your message or how valuable your premium items, you cannot expect to get a huge response rate with a single message. That is why having a follow-up strategy is so important.
There are lots of different email marketing software that can help you to measure your open/read rate, this information will be crucial in helping you to understand what works and what doesn’t.
If your prospects do not respond to your first message, always be ready with a follow-up email. With email automation you can set up the schedule and forget about it, making the follow-up process that much easier and improving your long-term results.
Offering additional resource in your follow-up communications is important. Those additional resources should be similar, but not identical, to the ones that were offered before. If your previous email message contained a link to an online video, your follow-up message might include a case study or an online review. It is all designed to work together, even though each new message is its own unique entity.
Bringing It All Together – The All-Important Call to Action
Now that you have demonstrated your expertise, provided real value to your prospects and delivered information to your readers, it is time to bring it all together. No matter how great your previous messages may have been, without a solid call to action (CTA), you may never be able to close the sale.
The CTA is a vital part of every lead-generation strategy, whether the communication takes place online or off. If you are prospecting for new leads through email, every previous step o the process has been leading to this moment, the moment when you reach out to each prospect personally in an attempt to close the sale and convert interested readers into eager customers.
The format of the CTA email you send will be critical, and you need to give it the attention it deserves. While you should tailor your call to action to the needs of your specific business, you can use this handy email template to get you started.
Dear [First Name],
I hope you have found the resources I sent you interesting and useful. I would like to learn more about what you are up to and if there is any way I can support you. Why don’t we schedule a call for next Tuesday at 2pm, or Thursday at 4pm?
Alternatively, your CTA email could suggest a product demonstration, or a face-to-face meeting instead of a call. It is all up to you, but the goal of your email should be to get your lead to take some sort of positive action. Even if it is nothing more than registering on your website or signing up for your newsletter, your goal is a positive response.
The Final Step
In a perfect world, every call to action would result in a new lead your sales staff can follow up on, but we do not live in a perfect world. In the real world, even the most finely tuned CTA will probably not generate a 100% response rate.
That is why you need to incorporate a final step into your email automation and lead-generation process. This final step will follow up on the call to action and give you one last chance to close the deal.
Not everyone who receives your CTA will be comfortable reaching out to you directly or having a face-to-face meeting. That is why you need to provide additional alternatives that will generate new leads and drive new customers through your virtual doors.
Your email automation process will have already sorted out which list members responded positively to your CTA and which ones did not. Once you have segmented your list and identified your target, you will craft a final email that provides that alternative response method.
You, for instance, invite those prospects to sign up for a group you are part of. If you have a LinkedIn profile or a Facebook page, you can simply invite your email recipients to connect with you on LinkedIn or interact with you on Facebook. Interacting with clients and customers is what social media is all about, at least for businesses. Using it to your advantage is a key part of the lead generation process.
If you do not have a ready-made group set up, you can always encourage your prospects to sign up for a free newsletter. Creating a monthly newsletter filled with helpful tips and inside industry information is a great way to generate new leads and encourage prospects to become customers. At the minimum, this strategy will keep your company and your brand at the top of the customer’s mind.
At first glance, the email automation process may seem like an arcane and confusing one, but the reality is much simpler. You can think of the email automation lead-generation process as a kind of funnel. You start by organically building a list of email addresses, using sign-up forms on your website or blog, business cards collected from customers, and so on. All of those email addresses go into the top of the funnel, starting with the first email you send.
That first email will generate a number of positive responses, leads that can be passed on to your sales team for further action. The remaining email addresses drop down through the funnel, and after a period of time, the recipients receive a follow-up offer for a free video presentation, blog post, or tip-filled newsletter.
Again, that second email will generate a number of new leads, which will in turn be fed to your sales team. The remaining email prospects will receive additional offers, and finally a strong call to action. At the end of each step, you will new leads to work with, and that is good news for your sales team – and for you.
10 Strategies to Ensure a Strong ROI on Your Email List in 2019
Even in today’s world of countless digital communication channels, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach current and potential customers. When done correctly, building and maintaining an email list can yield a high return on investment. Do it wrong, though, and you risk alienating subscribers and wasting your time, energy and resources.
So how can you ensure that your email marketing efforts pay off? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
Email lists can be quite a potent tool, but they’re not always worth the investment. What step is crucial for making sure the email list you’re preparing to build will generate a strong return on investment?
Here’s what they advise:
1. Give Subscribers What They Want
Email software programs can be very expensive, especially when you hit 10,000 monthly subscribers. The best way to generate a decent return on investment is by giving subscribers what they want and providing value, whether it’s an exclusive promotion or a great piece of tip-driven content.
2. Build a Funnel
You can get immediate ROI from an email list if you build it with a sales funnel designed to pay for the cost to acquire the email. This funnel walks people through a series of offers that are very valuable to them and allows them to purchase immediately. Then create promotional calendar to give them more value and offers, so they stay on your list and continue to give ROI. – Monica Snyder, Birdsong
3. Use Gated Content
High-quality gated content attracts the right subscribers. You want subscribers who are interested in what you sell, and publishing content valuable to that niche is an excellent way to qualify leads. It can be expensive — good content costs money to create and promote — but you’re far more likely to attract subscribers who convert than with less focused methods of building a list.
4. Use Triggered Emails
To boost the ROI of your email marketing, use triggered emails. Triggered emails are automatically sent to subscribers when they take a certain action. So, if a customer abandons their shopping cart you can send a triggered email right away to convince them to return to buy. Triggered emails will allow you to message subscribers at the perfect time so they’ll be more likely to take action.
5. Hire a Talented Copy Writer
An email list is only valuable if it generates sales either directly or indirectly for your business. The most effective tool for consistently generating sales via email lists is good copy writing and a deep understanding of the psychology of your subscriber base. A good copy writer will be an expert at this and help you to squeeze every dollar out of your list by keeping open rates high.
6. Make It Easy to Sign Up
Have a simple to use, easy to find page where people can sign up for your list on your website. Don’t hide it or make it difficult to find; it should be rather obvious.
7. Segment Your List
Email marketing can generate up to $44 for every $1 spent, which is among the highest ROI you can find in marketing. It’s the one channel where you retain complete control of your brand and core message. So it’s critical that you have a healthy email list, which is organically sourced (no purchased lists!), and segmented so you can send relevant content to specific groups of subscribers.
8. Maintain It
Building an email list is imperative, but it can get out of hand very quickly. Many people have more than one email, which might be hard to keep track of. You want to make sure your email list is updated with the most current email of your leads and customers. Also, be sure to remove any duplicates. This can skew your estimates and reports, which can affect your conversions and business strategy.
9. Keep It Small and Niche
We create small email list of very targeted audience, generally based upon the industry, geolocation and job title. This allows us to target them with very specific messages. These email list works out better than larger lists. We have been doing it for the last four years and we have learned that smaller lists have better ROI than larger ones.
10. Build High-Quality Lead Lists
Having the best email drip campaign will not get you the results you need when the messaging does not resonate with your leads. If the lead lists are also low quality, then that will be an issue. Always build highly targeted lead lists based on your ideal customer profile and have them verified by your sales development rep or outsourced SDR team before sending your emails. Once verified, you won’t waste money.
f you enjoyed this expert round-up article, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world.
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Which is Better in 2019?
Out of all businesses, 83% claim digital marketing works for them. When it comes to traditional marketing vs digital marketing, which is better?
People think traditional marketing works better than online marketing. It’s still easier to determine your ROI (return on investment) with digital marketing.
Here’s what you should know about digital marketing vs traditional marketing:
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing 101
What is traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing uses offline advertising and promotions. This includes television, billboards, telephone calls, and radio. Print ads, direct mail, promotional gifts, and brochures are also popular methods.
Digital marketing happens online. It uses images, videos, and custom content. SEO marketing makes this content easy to find on search engines.
Don’t forget about social media marketing. You control who sees your ads with digital marketing. Digital ads then appear on social media feeds and websites.
Pros of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing connects with consumers. It exposes your product/service to new audiences.
Traditional advertisements make strong brand impressions.
Consumers remember print ads better. The same goes for commercials.
Brochures are easy. Use free flyer templates to make custom flyers.
Cons of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing costs more money. After all, you make advertisements using materials.
There’s no interaction with consumers. You also can’t measure engagement.
It’s hard to determine an ROI with traditional vs digital marketing.
Traditional marketing has limited reach. It’s good for reaching local consumers. Digital ads reach people all over the world.
Measuring engagement is easier online. So is reaching target demographics. You can also connect with consumers easier.
Digital Marketing Madness
Digital marketing is taking the world by storm. You reach more people with digital marketing than with traditional market tactics.
With digital marketing, you’re placing your brand into a consumer’s daily life. The majority of people spend time online. Television viewership and magazine readership are declining.
It’s a better option for a smaller budget. Unlike traditional marketing, you pay as you go along with your campaign. There’s less financial risk involved with digital marketing.
It’s easier to attract, identify, and generate leads on social media. Social media campaign metrics tell you exactly how many people engage with your ads. These metrics tell you which ads are most effective and which ones aren’t.
It’s also easier to customize digital ads for specific demographics. Digital ads usually don’t need physical materials. You only need visual content and quality copy to make effective digital ads.
Online marketing lets you engage with consumers easier. You can respond to tweets and other social media posts. This makes consumers feel a more personal connection with your brand.
Consumers can also give you direct feedback about your service/product/ads online.
Embrace The Digital Marketing Trend
Out of all marketers, only 61% believe their marketing strategy works best. In the battle between traditional marketing vs digital marketing, digital marketing is winning.
Only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. It’s true: traditional marketing also generates leads and conversions. Still, leads and conversions are easier to track with digital marketing.
Boost your business by learning more about social media. Your brand will thank you for it.
The Top 3 Promotional Items Your Business Should Be Using
When it comes to promoting your blog or brand, handing out promotional items is one of the most effective ways to do it. People love free stuff. If you give them something useful for free, they’ll love you, too. This also works well for branding yourself as an expert, or showing off your best content and expertise through your blog.
And each time they use your useful product, they see your brand name. This repetition will leave your brand imprinted in their memory.
While there are many ways to purchase company schwag and bags with your brand name on them, some products will have better success than others. For example, if you’ve ever been to an affiliate or marketing conference, just take a look at the tables that are getting all the attention, and people are flocking to for the free gifts.
Making sure you have a great exhibit it also key. Imagine having one like the Avengers Infinity War showcase below?! This would really wow your audience and leave a lasting impression.
So what are the top promo items to give out at the next trade show? Read on to find out.
Runners Up: Pens and Flash Drives
Before we get to the top 3, promo pens and flash drives deserve honorable mention. Both are cheap and extremely useful. And both can be customized in really cool ways.
Though they’ve been around a long time, flash drives have many benefits that are still relevant today. But as useful and appreciated as flash drives are, their use has declined since the introduction of cloud storage technology.
Promo pens are the most common promotional item. There are many creative ways to distribute them even outside the trade show setting. Entire volumes can be written about using promo pens to market your business.
But let’s face it: no one at the trade show will be excited about pens. And even the coolest pen won’t last longer than a year.
Still, promo pens and flash drives (and flash drive pens!) are a decent cheap option. But they’re not the best.
The following items, however, are sure to wow trade show attendees and get lots of use for a long, long time.
1. Mobile Device Chargers With Power Banks
Device chargers are super useful items that your attendees will use every day. These will be very much appreciated. BUT, if you’re not careful, handing out chargers can backfire for a couple reasons.
For one, you can buy these for a dollar. That means your attendees may already have 3 of them. For two, your trade show may have 3 other booths handing out chargers.
If you’re handing out chargers alone, be competitive. Make sure they are the high-quality ones and not the super-cheap kind.
Better yet, one-up everyone at the trade show by handing out fully-charged, portable power banks with your chargers. These babies make your promo chargers immediately useful.
Anyone at the trade show with a dead phone battery can connect to one of your power banks on the spot and get a few more hours of use.
These will be very appreciated. And it’s doubtful anyone has “too many” power banks.
2. Reusable Water Bottles
Why not be super helpful and environmentally-friendly? Thirsty trade show attendees need to stay hydrated. With reusable water bottles, you’re filling a need and reducing plastic waste.
It will do well for your conscience and your image to do good to the environment. And you can set up refill stations so people keep coming back to your booth. Besides, these are a really great item to hand out anywhere, not just at trade shows.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve never turned down a free shirt. Even if it’s not your favorite, you can still use it as pajamas, workout clothes, even drying your car after a wash.
Plus, we apparently don’t throw them out. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute found that T-shirts are the most-owned promotional item in the U.S.
But if you really want to steal the show, be awesome. That is, get creative and funny and pump out a variety of fun, branded shirts people will actually enjoy.
You can even set up a laptop with a camera and a printer to make personalized photo shirts. You can also allow attendees to use photos from their phone.
These fun shirts will cost the same as the lame ones you were planning to make, anyway. And, as we said, they will be used regardless.
Steal the Trade Show With These Promotional Items
Do you want to waste time and money pushing unpopular promo items nobody wants? Or do you want to show up with the best promotional items at the trade show and wow attendees and competitors alike? The choice is yours, but we really suggest you choose the latter.
Use these top promo products at your next trade show for the win!
Now check out 11 Brand Building Basics For Entrepreneurs.
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