5 Lead Generation Tactics Improved with Marketing Automation
While you can increase the number of leads in your sales funnel by deploying lead-generating tactics, you can maximize their benefits using marketing automation tools. Marketing automation you to streamline many repetitive and time-consuming marketing activities in relation to communicating with and nurturing your leads.
Read on to see the 5 ways of how marketing automation can enhance lead generation tactics:
1. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is an effective strategy for generating leads because it serves your ad to customers based on the words they used when searching for something. For example, if your business is a carpet cleaning service and potential customers typed “cleaning service near me” in their search engine, your SEM ad would be displayed above or to the right of the organic search results. With SEM, you know your customer is already searching for the products or services your company provides, making this a valuable lead-generation tactic.
Before we investigate how marketing automation improves this process, here are three steps to get started with SEM:
Step 1: Identify your keywords.
These are the keywords you think people would type in when searching for the type of products and services your business provides. It’s a good idea to mix it up between long and short search terms not only to give yourself a variety of keywords to choose from but also because the length of the keyword is indicative of where the buyer is in their journey. Someone searching “cleaning services” is more likely at the beginning of their search as opposed to someone searching “cleaning services that use environmentally safe products.” Longer or long-tail keywords are used by customers who are typically better leads because they’ve identified their exact problem and are actively searching for the solution.
Step 2: Bid on your keywords.
Once you’ve identified your keywords, you’re now able to bid on how much you want to pay per click (PPC) on your keywords. One important thing to keep in mind is that shorter keywords may be more competitive and ultimately cost more because shorter search terms are often the broadest. On the flip side of this, long-tail keywords may be cheaper because they’re much more specific. With either short or long-tail keywords, always keep in mind that other marketers in your industry may be bidding on the same keywords, so the higher you can bid the better.
Step 3: Create Your Ad.
SEM ads are typically more successful as text ads, but you do have the option of using image ads. If using a text ad, it’s crucial to have an engaging and relevant headline with the CTA on the second line. Make sure the copy is relevant to the keywords and keep the copy short (less than 70 characters). If using an image ad, be sure you’re adhering to the search engine’s recommended image sizes to ensure a good viewing experience on desktop and mobile.
SEM + Marketing Automation
Using SEM alone could be highly beneficial, but with marketing automation, it can take your efforts to the next level. Marketing automation allows you to see a more complete picture of which keywords are performing best. While many businesses turn to Google Analytics for a snapshot of how well an SEM ad is driving traffic to their site, Google Analytics can’t provide information on how well Bing ads or other search engine ads performed, but marketing automation tools can. Marketing automation tools let you have a comprehensive view of your SEM efforts by allowing you to see how visitors are interacting and behaving with your ads and website. Because marketing automation enables you to track and connect keywords to a prospect, you will be better able to nurture them into leads by meeting them where they are in the sales funnel with relevant content.
2. Social Media Advertising
Fans on your social media profile may become leads with the right amount of engagement. Social media advertising helps your company generate new leads through your social media profiles. Social media advertising is different from other lead-generation tactics in that it lets you tailor your ads to a specific demographic. You could choose to target your ad based on a user’s location, interests, education, or marital status as examples of categories you can choose from in defining your target.
Once you’ve specified the demographic you’re targeting, the process is like an SEM ad in that you bid on PPCs and the higher you can bid, the better. What’s different from SEM ads is that with social advertising, imagery is very important. So, ensure you have a high-quality image, engaging copy and CTA, and a URL that takes the customer directly to a landing page with the product or service advertised.
Social Media + Marketing Automation
Through marketing automation, leads can be scored based on the actions they take with your social media posts. For example, if a lead or prospect likes or retweets a post, your marketing automation software can add points to their lead score. The higher the lead score, the better the quality of a lead they are. Not only does this identify ambassadors of your brand, but it enables you to monitor the types of activities taken on your posts and inform marketers of the type of content to serve your followers and fans.
3. Content Marketing
Businesses communicate their value and thought leadership through content marketing. This includes blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, downloadable checklists – content that your leads are interested in and find useful. For example, if your target customer is a small business owner that’s just starting out, you could write a blog article offering advice on the eventful journey of an entrepreneur. In the blog, you could include a special offer on a $7 eBook on entrepreneurship topics with a great call-to-action (CTA) to buy the eBook.
Not only does this give your lead something tangible they can use right away, but this also reinforces the positive impression they have of the services your company provides. By nurturing their interest and building trust, they can transition from a casual prospect to a lead, to a purchasing customer.
Content Marketing + Marketing Automation
Marketing automation helps your website collect contacts using customizable forms when a reader decides to sign up, integrate social media, and even design your content and blogs with the software. The largest benefit of integrating marketing automation with content marketing is being able to track the interactions with your content. Automation allows you to track how readers are behaving on your site, which links they’re clicking, how long they’re staying on your site, how deep their engagement is with your content and website.
4. Landing Pages
Not to be forgotten, this is a crucial step in lead-generation. All your content, ads, emails, and organic searches drive traffic to a landing page, so if this isn’t optimized, you could be missing out on an opportunity to generate and qualify leads. If you’re offering a free trial or discount off a product, your landing page is prime real estate for generating leads and should reflect the offer that got your lead to click through. Not doing so could cause the prospect or lead to lose interest and bounce from the page.
Landing Pages + Marketing Automation
Building your landing page using marketing automation lets you customize the information that you collect from your customers. Let’s, again, imagine that you’re a company with new, small business owners as the target customer in two scenarios.
Scenario 1: You have some existing leads that love your weekly e-newsletter and regularly click through to your landing pages. Because these are existing leads, you already have their email address and name, but maybe you’d like to know what issues are impacting their business the most. Using marketing automation, you could create a custom form for this segment of your customers by only asking this question in exchange for the offer they’re expecting. This way you’re constantly learning more deeply about your leads by using a personalized landing page.
Scenario 2: You’ve placed a text SEM ad on a few search engines advertising registrations for an upcoming masterclass or webinar. This may attract new prospects to your brand and it’s likely you won’t already have their name and email information. This would be a good time to ask for this information and possibly ask what type of business they run. While customizing your landing page can be powerful, it could backfire if you ask for too much information at a time.
5. Email Marketing
Marketers sometimes shy away from email marketing to avoid being automatically sent to the junk folder for being spammy, but it can be a valuable tool for generating leads, especially when coupled with automation. Before starting an email campaign, there are a few basics that must be covered first:
Start with a goal in mind.
Before starting an email, ask yourself these five questions to help you focus and narrow down your goal:
- Who is this intended for? Is this for returning customers or potential customers?
- What do I want the customer to do after reading my email? Subscribe? Book a consultation?
- When is this email most relevant for the customer? Are they ready to make a purchasing decision or are they still figuring out what they need?
- Where are they reading your email? Is it from an iPhone, tablet, or desktop?
- Why are you sending this email? Why would the customer want to read your email?
Answering these five questions will help you focus your email so that it adds value to the ongoing conversations you’re having with your customers.
Hook them with the subject line and the preview text.
In the days of the attention economy, a great attention-grabbing subject line followed up with engaging preview text is crucial for getting readers to open your email. With your subject line, you should:
- Use personalization when it’s appropriate (“Dom, your prescription is expiring soon. Make an appointment with your optometrist today”).
- Avoid the use of all caps, excessive exclamation points, and words like “free” or “% off” in the subject line. This could trigger spam filters.
- Promote action. Let the customers know what they can expect in the email.
Your preview text will be the first line of your email copy and should follow in the same tone as your subject line, which is a good segue into the next point.
Match your content with your subject line.
When sending out an email, you want to avoid a clickbait-and-switch scenario in which readers are intrigued by your subject line only to realize the email isn’t what they thought they were about to read. This could lead to lower click-through rates because the reader may be less inclined to open your emails in the future. Be sure that the body of your email is aligned with your subject line and provides the reading experience your subject line conveys.
Brevity is key.
Readers may only have enough time to scan your email, so having the main idea and points of your email buried in long, drawn-out paragraphs could work against your overall goal. Aim to have one idea per paragraph and use bullet points or headers to break up long sections and ideas. Keeping it brief could improve the likelihood that your entire message is read.
Email Marketing + Marketing Automation
Automating your email marketing can alleviate some of the pressure of creating and sending emails. Using automation in this way enables you to set “trigger” emails that will be automatically sent, such as confirmation emails or event reminders, much like the optometrist appointment reminder example from earlier. This can even go a step further and send a trigger email to leads that put something in their cart only to abandon it, which could reignite interest in the product.
Another benefit of using marketing automation for email marketing is the ability to send focused emails based on segments and lead scores. If you’re an online clothing retailer and a lead purchased from the plus-size department, it would make the most sense to send an email that uses images with plus-size models instead of slim models. Personalization in every communication is what marketing automation enables.
Like what we mentioned in the social media section, leads can be scored based on the actions taken on the emails they receive from you. If the email is opened, the CTA is clicked, read in its entirety, etc., these actions would add points to the lead’s overall score that indicates where the lead may be in the sales funnel and how qualified a lead they are. These lead scores can improve efficiency since marketers would be following up with leads with good scores.
Bonus #1: Push Notifications + Marketing Automation
A newer and relatively easy way to generate leads is by using push notifications on your site to engage your customers. After adding a small piece of code to your website, you can have customized notifications served to your audience to keep them interested in your content, products, or services. If you have a blog, you could send a push notification once the reader reaches a certain point on the page that has a CTA for a special offer, directs them to another relevant blog on your site. Or if you’re an e-commerce site, your notifications could try to reignite interest in a product they put in their cart and then abandoned.
This ability coupled with marketing automation would allow you to measure the success of your push notification campaigns through KPIs such as click-through rates, view rate, and revenue generated from notifications.
Bonus #2: Analytics + Marketing Automation
A big, if not the biggest benefit of using marketing automation is the built-in analytics tools to help you drive business growth. Because all your marketing efforts are housed under one “roof” you can compare how well any of your campaigns are performing, and gauge which tactics bring more traffic than others. Knowing how your customers convert, days, weeks, or months after the initial contact with your company can be vital for shaping how your company operates, and it’s possible with the analytics provided through marketing automation. Automation enables you to take a data-driven approach to optimize your campaigns and channels.
Marketing automation can take your current lead-generation tactics to the next level and lets you provide a personalized experience with your brand while gradually escalating and nurturing your leads through every step of your sales funnel. Not only does marketing automation save you time in tracking, analyzing, and reporting results, but it also saves your resources by allowing you to streamline your marketing activities so that you’re spending that valuable time on your quality leads.
Choosing the right marketing automation tool will maximize the success of your business as you can gradually build up your marketing initiatives. This will only maximize the engagement of your prospects and deepen relationships with your existing customers. We are recognized as a top Massachusetts Digital Marketing Agency on DesignRush. Contact us today by emailing us at [email protected] or calling us at 617-651-1457 for a free one-hour strategy session on how our marketing automation services can profitably grow your business today.