Lead generation is the process of marketing stimulating and capturing points of interest for your products or services for the purpose of growing your sales pipeline.
Lead generation often uses multiple channels, and has changed substantially in recent years to include the rise of new online social methodologies. The abundance of information made available online has led to the rise of customers buying directly and the appearance of new marketing methods has helped to develop and qualify leads before passing them along to sales. Today, customers can do their own research online and can find a variety of educational resources through search engines, social media, and other online channels. Through these available channels, customers can learn a great deal about a product or service before ever speaking to a sales person.
According to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even contact the vendor. With all of the information needed at their finger-tips, buyers can delay speaking with sales, until they themselves have become more knowledgeable about the product and services they are looking for. Since the buying process has changed over the last few years, companies need to find new ways to reach buyers and get noticed through all of the competition and noise online.
Developing and creating a rock-solid lead generation program and strategy will help you build trust and capture the interest of your buyer before they are ready to contact sales.
Some online marketing methods to capture leads:
– SEO – Search Engine Optimization
– SEM – Search Engine Marketing
– Content Marketing
– SMM – Social Media Marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube)
– PPC – Pay Per Click Marketing
– Affiliate Marketing
– Email Marketing
– Mobile Application
– SMS Messenging
– Brand and Reputation Management
Within each segment of online marketing there are different strategies that companies use to make themselves and their products and services noticed above the competition.
Let’s get started on some of the steps on how to create your internet marketing strategy:
DEVELOP YOUR BRAND
In today’s marketing world, a brand name and image is as important as the strategy itself. Your brand needs to make you stand-out among your competitors. Take the time to strategically pick a name, trademark, website, letterhead and business roadmap before launching your internet strategy.
STUDY THE COMPETITION
Study your competitor(s) from their websites through their entire sales process, including any apparent marketing strategies, so you know what works in your given market.
STUDY THE MARKET
Determine whether your products and services are part of a niche market. This will help you to decide to focus all of your efforts on a specific target market, or to center your strategy on all Internet consumers.
USE COMPETITIVE MARKETING STRATEGIES
The market research you cover on your competition should tell you how many followers they have on Facebook, and how many people comment on their blog entries. This information will tell you whether the same target market is responding well, and that these types of campaigns should be the first on your list for your internet strategy.
LAUNCH MULTIPLE MARKETING STRATEGIES
In order to increase your brand recognition you should launch several marketing campaigns at once.
Multiple channel marketing is the integration of a internet marketing strategy across multiple channels or platforms, thereby maximizing opportunities to interact with prospective customers.
The goal of multiple channel marketing is to provide consumers several opportunities to find your products and services, and allow them buy when and where they want to.
Some other reasons for multiple channel promoting:
- To Increased Awareness. The multiple channel approach is about casting the widest net to get the maximum customer interaction. You want to try to give customers the best holistic experience throughout all touch points.
- A Uniform Message. Another benefit of multiple channel marketing is the consistency of brand messaging. Showing the same message over several channels will show the organizations presence over these channels and make the buyer more aware of the company and it’s products and services.
- Channel Preference. This means touching and engaging with your customers on their preferred channel. For organizations with a longer buying cycle, it may be necessary to touch potential customers more than once, and that means targeting them with the right message, in the right place, at the right time in their journey.
TRACK ALL OF YOUR CAMPAIGNS
Create a campaign for each facet of your internet strategy so that you can look at each one to see which ones had the best success and the best return on investment (ROI).
REVIEW, ASSESS AND REPEAT
Now its time to take all of the information that you have gathered and do a stringent assessment. It is not just about selecting the campaigns which provided the most ROI, but also looking at the details of each campaign to see what really was successful and responding to what you’ve discovered. What does that mean? In layman’s terms it is gaining an understanding of what your customers want, the knowledge of meeting the customers needs, and delivering the products and services that the customer wants, all based on the information you gathered from your marketing campaigns.
DEFINE YOUR MARKETING BUDGET
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit margin — after all expenses — is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range. Some marketing experts advise that start-up and small businesses usually allocate between 2 and 3 percent of revenue for marketing and advertising, and up to 20 percent if you’re in a competitive industry.
Using the SBA’s recommendations, calculate your company’s ideal marketing budget below:
- Total Revenue x 7-8% = Marketing budget required to maintain current awareness and visibility
- Total Revenue x 10-20% = Marketing budget required to grow and gain market share
Note: These examples are based on businesses that average at least six-figure revenue numbers. Companies with smaller margins should allocate a percentage of their net revenue based on estimates of what their competitors are spending. (That will require some guessing, as competitors rarely share that information openly.)
Lastly, keep in mind that the total budget calculated by these rules of thumb covers all marketing expenses: The cost of marketing staff, their overhead and the cost of printing, advertising, and outsourced resources is included.
Let Yellowhat help you on your business journey to develop your internet strategy as part of your over all business model and strategy roadmap.