Channels to Contact and Convert LeadsOleh Mykhaylovych
If you want to increase traffic, conversion and customer loyalty, then you need to pick good and suitable traffic channels for your project. This is not so easy because some channels may work great for one business, but for others it will be a waste of resources. So, what kind of channels are the best to contact and convert leads, especially for you? Let’s try to find out.
The most popular channels
First of all, let’s take a look at the most popular marketing channels that have the highest potential for contacting leads and conversion. In the past year, marketingcharts.com published a survey with channel research. The survey garnered 551 respondents, including organization owners and marketing management position holders. The results showed that marketers found e-mail marketing, SEOs and social media as the best outlets to engage customers (57%, 55% and 44% preferring).
The next most preferred lead generation channels appeared in conferences, tradeshows and events (39%). Fewer respondents (23%) mentioned PR as a preferred channel for generating high-value leads. TV and print also are still alive, acquiring 9% and 16%.
As you can see, offline methods are slowly dying; and online channels are becoming more powerful. So, let’s take a closer look at the best ways to attract and convert leads.
E-mail marketing is the simplest and most effective marketing technology. Research from Experian shows that $1 invested in email marketing returns at least $44.25 for marketers. Nowadays, specialists are able to use marketing automation software, which allows one to build a collection of emails delivered over time for a specific type of buyer, or a distinct area of interest.
Marketers can create and schedule emails in advance, which gives them more efficiently crafted cohesive communication that will be highly valuable to their audience. Once their marketing tracks have been developed, marketers can easily place people into correspondence streams either manually or based on user behavior triggers.
This consistent and highly relevant email communication helps build credibility and trust with leads. Additionally, it keeps the brand at the forefront of one’s mind for when decision makers are ready to select a solution.
SEO and PPC
SEO and Pay-per-click are both great ways to jump-start your lead generation efforts. SEO is made up of both on-site-tweaks and off-site-tactics, which helps you to receive traffic from search engines. If it’s done correctly, it can be one of the best choices for your project. The con of this benefit is time. Most of SEO techniques take take more of the scale of weeks and months to be implemented and for sure, it’s long.
As for Pay-per-click, it brings instant traffic in no time with very little work. With PPC, you are able to track the ROI of your campaigns right down to the exact keyword driving the traffic. Pay-per-click also allows you to tailor your message to each stage of a buyer’s cycle in relation to the products and services you are selling. Contrary to an SEO, it allows you to get in front of prospective buyers right away instead of waiting weeks or months for increased rankings.
If done properly, PPC can lead to steady growth rather quickly. However, turn off the campaigns and the traffic is gone. Anyway, “P” is for “pay”, and you are not getting away without paying for this one, no matter how much time you have on your hands. It is a pay-to-play marketing strategy. Pay-per-click advertising costs money, and how much depends on the keywords you bid on.
You cannot avoid this channel. Just take a look at the simple statistics! An average Facebook user spends 6.35 hours per month on this network. As for Twitter, there are 260 million active users. And it is not just about these social platforms; do not forget about LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest etc.
Social Media as a channel is also not so simple. To run a successful campaign, you have to consider several issues. You have to research your audience, define their potential needs, give them what they want, become a kind of influencer and so on.
The truth is that social platforms are much more than just a way to grow your brand and connect with your current customers. Social media is a really strong lead-generation channel. And the other benefit that needs to be mentioned is its cost effectiveness as social media marketing has reduced costs for 45% of businesses and revenue increased for 24% of businesses. At least the social media channel is worth to try.
How to choose the best channel for contact and converting
While you are starting your own project and you have limited finances, Google Adwords will be too expensive for you. All the key terms are very expensive in SaaS. All the good keywords are $1-$5 each. Taking into account a 2% conversion ratio or other number, it will be pretty tight at $499/month and this won’t work at all at $99/month. Anyway, it works perfectly for higher price points.
The same situation is true with purchased lists. They are found to be ROI-positive in a way that would work at $499/month, but they are completely senseless at $99/month. You may pay 10-50% of a deal to a partner for a true lead and this will work. But at the beginning, you will not get much. Your partner is relying on your brand. Since you are ‘young’, they will not send you many leads or customers.
Trade shows are a nice way to build an existing brand and meet your current audience in case your business is stable and recognizable. Again, if your project in its early stages, this channel will not work. You may get a few great leads and a couple of customers, but you should not expect more.
If your ACV is less then $20k, a paid webinar may bring you 1 or 2 customers at best. Otherwise, free webinars from your own leads are still a great thing and it certainly will work. What about PR? As lead generation channel, it always works in the long run. You should not wait for fantastic results in the short term. Moreover, PR is worth it on many levels, even at the early stages. You just have to decide which investment you can make here.
As you can see, many channels look pretty confusing in the early days. But it is not that bad; you still have other ways to make a good start. Take a closer look to SEO and social media. But, first of all, you need to understand your needs and your audience as well as identify your buying persona. Try to analyse your current sources; take a look at each current campaign, figure out the performance etc. If you already have an audience, do a year-by-year comparison. When you have this data, decide which sources to keep and which to abandon. What worked for you in the past might not work for you now.
Once you identify your audience, you may start working with social networks. Which one should you use? Facebook is good for almost everyone – except for the innovators and/or early projects. Twitter is best for early adopters. But it is also a great tool for connecting with bloggers and journalists, reaching out to other brands etc. LinkedIn is great for usiness-to-business leads and promoting your company/personal brand. Google+ is great for early birds. Pinterest is great for visual products/brands with an emphasis on women.
What about an SEO? You need to compare your site’s “value” against the competition currently ranking for your specific keyphrases. Try enter your domain URL and the URLs of the other top competition at OpenSiteExplorer.com and compare the overall “Domain Authority” for each site. If you are not within a few points, then you should go for a long-tail SEO strategy.
It is quite simple: go after less popular and less competitive keyphrases (typically 3-5 words), create awesome content around these long-tail phrases and get high quality links back to these blog posts. Big, popular keyphrases can be worth thousands and thousands of dollars to companies. Therefore, they are going to invest huge sums of money into dominating those search engine result pages (SERPs).
When you are working with different channels, you must take into account your return on investments. In other words, you should devote your time to researching ROMI. Return on marketing investment (ROMI) is a metric used to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. It helps marketers make better decisions about allocating future investments. You may be surprised, but many brands are still stuck in short-term, cyclical marketing.
The marketing budget as a long-term investment is extremely important for smaller, fast growing companies. By amortizing investments in brand building and awareness, which will pay back over many quarters, you will be able to recognize the percentage of marketing expense in any given quarter. Also, it will be more closely match the current levels of revenue.
Okay, supposing you have already chosen channel for campaign, but how can you measure ROMI for them? How can you identify their effectiveness? Here is a few-step formula for this task:
When you are going to calculate the ROMI, you must take into account the estimation of the incremental sales attributed to marketing. These incremental sales can be the “total” sales attributable to marketing or “marginal”. This is what the difference looks like:
Where the difference between X1 and X2 represents the cost of an incremental marketing budget item that is to be evaluated, such as an advertising campaign or a trade show.
- Revenue Return to Incremental Marketing = (Y2 – Y1) / (X2 – X1)
The additional revenue generated by an incremental marketing investment, such as specific campaign or sponsorship, divided by the cost of that marketing investment.
- Revenue Attribution to Marketing = Y2 –Y0
The increase in sales attribution to the entire marketing budget (equal to sales minus baseline sales).
- Revenue Return to Total Marketing = (Y2 – Y0)/(X2)
The revenue attribution to marketing divided by the marketing budget.
- Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) = [(Y2 – Y0) * Contribution Margin (%) – X2] / X2
The additional net contribution from all marketing activities divided by the cost of those activities.
So, now you can imagine which kind of feedback you will achieve from each channel. Treat your marketing budget like an investment in the future; thus, you can build the marketing campaigns as an asset that drives revenue. Lead converting and nurturing will be necessary as always, but by knowing your Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) instead of just focusing on vanity metrics, you will be able to drive revenue and the measure effectiveness of your growth.