Lead them to the water…
So, you’re a startup, and you need customers. You need sales! Which means you need leads. Lead generation, or “lead gen,” is basically a catchphrase for getting people interested in your business. Each person showing interest is a lead, and the point of lead gen is to turn leads into customers, and increase sales.
Website hits, downloads from your site, contact information, signups—they are all ways that people engage with your business and ask you to contact them. When these methods of engagement work and potential customers engage with you, they are, we say, inside your sales “funnel.”
The “sales funnel” is generally understood to have a top, middle, and end. The top is traffic generation; here, the goal is to pull in potential customers or leads. Next, the middle of the funnel, is conversion. This is where potential leads are turned into actual leads—or not. Last, the end of the funnel, is the acquisition, or when the lead is turned into a client or customer, and a sale has been made.
Quality in quantity: lead targeting
Always plan ahead! Pin-point who you’re targeting to gain quality leads. An effective sales funnel doesn’t just bring in as much traffic as possible; it brings in the right traffic, targeting leads that have real potential to result in an acquisition, or sale. This means it’s important to find the right people, group, or type of businesses that would actually be interested in your product.
It’s an excellent practice to reverse engineer your potential customers, ask yourself what would have helped you to buy the service you are offering if you were in their shoes, what one or two specific benefits of the product/service would convince you to contact them.
This will give you a higher return on investment (ROI) and make your efforts to create an effective sales funnel worthwhile.
So do your homework. Adopt a “buyer persona” using real data, understand the demographics, goals, buying patterns, and motivations of your targets, then tailor your targeting efforts according to these details, always work and create content in a way that is contextual to the persona you are targeting.
Think B2B: good content goes a long way!
When it’s businesses you’re after, content really is king. This is where smart, quality content comes into play. Offering valuable content to targeted businesses, as a marketing strategy, can effectively generate leads by sucking them into your sales funnel.
B2B content marketing usually includes topics such as advertising, marketing, tutorials, videos, guides, trends, case studies, downloadable content, whitepapers, and more, while focusing on business-related topics.
Paid ads and remarketing: find your targets
Paid ads are typically an important part of your sales funnel, especially as a start-up, as you probably don’t yet have brand recognition, and are just starting to show up on Google. But pay attention: paid ads are most effective when you accurately target specific groups, customers, or businesses that would be interested in your company or product, and when ads are placed where potential leads will see and engage with them. Again, think of that buyer persona before dishing out cash on your ads.
Another good tool is “remarketing,” which is targeting your advertising to people who have previously visited your site, but weren’t converted the first time around or users who have searched for a key phrase that you compete on in google but they went into a competitor’s website instead of yours. Remarketing personalizes ads to this audience. The goal with remarketing is to get these potential leads to return a second time, and convert them.
Content? copy? don’t make it good, make it great
No two personas are created equal so also No two ads are created equal; and what separates the good from the great in advertising is effective, thoughtful content and copy that is predicated on research and buyer persona practice. Advertising is, for most businesses, and especially start-ups, the fastest way to get leads into your top of the funnel, and even small changes in your response rate can have a huge impact on your bottom line. That’s why it’s critical that you write ads and copy that is as persuasive and contextual to the target audience as possible. Because when it comes to content, quality and having the right messages to the right audience is the name of the game.
Track, analyze, iterate; track, analyze, iterate
Finally, to optimize your sales funnel and generate as many quality leads as possible, it’s vital to pay attention to the data. Track your leads. Analyze the numbers—conversions and acquisitions. And iterate, or repeat, when successful. Make adjustments when your tactics are underperforming, and repeat successes, while always looking for ways to improve.
Trust me, this is easier said than done but without iterating, all the other steps are less effective, do your share of analyzing, iterating and your campaign capabilities will carve your way through the jungle which is PPC.