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Online Lead Generation: Match the Quid to the Pro Quo

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

Online Lead Generation: Match teh Quid to the Pro Quo

In online or inbound marketing much of lead generation strategy has to do with establishing a quid pro quo – this for that. We offer useful information about a product or service in exchange for a prospect’s contact information.

When a website visitor types their name and email address into a form in order to download a whitepaper or sign up for a webinar, they go from being an anonymous prospect to being a known lead who has opted onto our marketing list. This is known as conversion.

Now, not every visitor is at the same stage of the purchase process, which can be visualized as a funnel. Someone who is just starting to gather information about an item or service they’re thinking about maybe buying will want information, but be unwilling to give up much information in return.

These visitors are considered to be at the top of the sales funnel – or ToFu. Our job is to engage them appropriately at this early point in their exploration and then build a relationship that pulls them through the bottom of the funnel to a purchase.

The focus of this post is the top of the funnel and ToFu content offers. If we fail to match the TOFU content offer with what we’re asking for in return, we lose opportunities to convert visitors to leads. Here’s an example of what can happen.

Recently, we worked with a client to develop a webinar and a related email campaign to introduce their service to a hard-to-reach audience. It was clearly a ToFu content offer. We created the webinar content and the email announcing it, which was sent to a qualified list. The client’s in-house marketing team created the registration landing page.

The client was delighted that 25 participants signed up for the webinar. However, when we got the final statistics from the webinar service provider, we learned that more than 100 recipients of the email had clicked through to the registration landing page but failed to sign up.

Obviously the webinar offer was compelling and reached the right people. So why did we lose more than 75% of their potential attendees?

I asked two questions:

  • Did the registration landing page re-state the offer?
  • Did the contact form require more than the name and email address?

The answer to the first question was, “No.” Only the day, date and time, and the name of the webinar were re-stated; but not the key agenda and take-away points or information about the presenter and his qualifications.

The answer to the second question was, “Yes.” The registration form also required a phone number.

Unfortunately, the wrong answers.

When someone clicks to get a piece of content or register for a webinar, it’s important that the landing page re-state the offer to reinforce the action we want them to take. And more important, it’s critical that the required fields in the contact form are appropriate to the level of the offer.

In this case – a ToFu offer -- potential participants would probably not be ready to part with a phone number. They wouldn’t want to receive a follow up call. However, they would be okay with getting additional information via email, which calls for less commitment. The required phone number field - along with a lack of information on the landing page -- likely caused 75 potential leads to leave without registering.

So, as this example clearly illustrates, matching quid to pro quo is the path to more productive online lead generation.

How are you converting leads using online content? Click the button below to get more lead generation info.

 

Lead Generation Tips

 

 

The image is from Jon Gosier's Flickr photostream under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Inbound Marketing Strategy, Lead Generation

How Inbound Marketing with HubSpot is Like Time-Lapse Photography

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 @ 18:01 PM

 

Last week I was doing a demo of Hubspot for the marketing team of a former PR client. During our meeting, I had an experience that I'd like to share with you. HubSpot, for those new to the inbound-i blog, is the all-in-one inbound marketing software I use for E.R. Becker Company and re-sell to other businesses.

Let me set the stage with some background. When you log in to HubSpot, you land on a dashboard that lets you know how you're doing with your inbound marketing efforts. Two key measurements featured on the dashboard are website traffic and number of leads generated from that traffic.

When we started the demo, my traffic count was 90 visits so far this month - up 85% over the same date last month.  (Yes, I admit that I fell behind in my blogging over the holidays.) It was early in the month and I hadn't yet converted any traffic to leads.

I had published a blog post the evening before and publicized it automatically in HubSpot to all of my social networks and to select LinkedIn groups. The blog post was optimized for two of my important keywords and had a call-to-action (CTA) at the end, inviting readers to download a social marketing eBook, in exchange for which they would leave me their contact information.

As I demonstrated the many features of HubSpot, I spoke to the marketing team about the importance of blogging, SEO and social media to driving traffic. I showed the team how driving targeted traffic to landing pages and providing useful content offers through strategically placed CTAs is the path to generating leads.

The demo took about 30 minutes and in Q&A, one of the team members asked if we could go back to the dashboard. We did.

"Wow! You already have 30 more visitors!" someone shouted out. "Look! You have a lead, too!"

Sure enough, the traffic count was up to 120 and one of the new visitors had downloaded the social media eBook, converting from a visitor to a lead. It reminded me of a piece of time-lapse photography I've seen showing the building of a skyscraper condensed from years to a few minutes.

While inbound marketing results take time to build, it's motivating to see the growth before your very eyes. After this dramatic end to my demonstration, I told the group the following:

When I was providing PR services to your organization, even though we got great results, I could not and would not ever guarantee those results. In PR we work to present your information in a way that earns a media outlet's valuable space for editorial coverage. But we don't own the space and can't give it away.

With inbound marketing I WILL guarantee you that if you blog regularly in the online space that you own, sharing useful information based on your expertise, if you publicize your posts in social media and optimize the content for search engines, you WILL grow your traffic. If you provide further remarkable content and CTAs, you WILL convert traffic to leads. If you analyze your results with software like HubSpot or Google Analytics, you WILL be able to see the growth of your marketing skyscraper as it builds steadily toward success!

As a consultant, it feels great to offer a process that makes me feel comfortable guaranteeing success! If you've experienced your own inbound marketing time-lapse moment, thank you for sharing in the comments.

Learn more about marketing with HubSpot by clicking the CTA button below and if you have 2-an-a-half minutes, enjoy watching the YouTube video at the top of this post depicting the two years of construction of the Denver Spire condensed via time-lapse photography.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, E.R. Becker Company, Lead Generation, HubSpot

HubSpot3: Beyond Lead Generation

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:09 PM

HubSpot3 Love 255

 

So far this year, the 8000+ users of HubSpot have generated more than 35,500,000 leads using the all-in-one inbound marketing software. Its creators have just launched HubSpot3 – a powerful new version – which promises to exponentially increase both HubSpot users and lead generation.

Inbound Leads Generated by HubSpot

If you’re a small or mid-sized business or even an enterprise level company trying to use Internet tools to generate leads, you owe it to your business to look into HubSpot3. In fact, this version not only helps you generate leads, but provides new methods of interaction, CRM integration and analytics -- all designed to move you beyond lead generation to closed business.

We’re still within a window of opportunity for those companies that adopt Inbound Marketing before their competitors do. Most businesses are still stuck on figuring out how to drive traffic to their websites (read “Home Pages”) without a fundamental understanding of how to convert web traffic to leads and then to sales.

HubSpot allows you to both understand and implement the process. The most important aspect of HubSpot3 is that it organizes the inbound marketing process far more intuitively than its initial release, while providing and demonstrating new ways to connect disparate online activities to drive results.

For one example, when I log into the Contacts section of my HubSpot -- which is at the heart of the new release -- and click on a specific individual, I can now see the social media he or she is active on – including handles. I can click to go direct to their social profiles and follow them right from HubSpot.

This allows a new level of proactive engagement with those who choose to provide their email to download a piece of content from my website. I can now create a social media conversation, with their past interactions with my site as a starting point. As contacts continue to interact with my business over time, their profiles automatically update so that I can segment them for additional engagement based on selected criteria.

One of the most powerful features of HubSpot for larger companies with outside sales departments is a more robust integration with Salesforce.com and other major CRM systems. The result is that sales people can become stakeholders in the marketing process and leads get turned over to them when they’re far more purchase-ready, making for a more efficient and productive sales process.

eMail in HubSpot3 is arguably the most effective email marketing software available today. An array of templates, customization and personalization capabilities (even custom personalization fields) help create appealing and audience-appropriate emails. Open rates and other stats are incorporated into overall analytics and contact profiles. Subscribers now have the ability to opt in or out of various email offer types.

Those marketers charged with creating emails and email campaigns can view page-development progress in an on-screen preview panel. Lists can be easily segmented and contacts assigned to specific salespeople for personalized responses.

At the Professional and/or Enterprise levels of the HubSpot3 product, email can drive clicks to Smart Landing Pages that adapt automatically based on browser and device, as well as previous contact interaction and behavior. Full campaigns can be launched from landing pages.

Marketers can also embed smart forms which remove fields a contact has filled out previously and Smart CTAs (calls-to-action) that adapt to the individual contact’s interests based on previous actions. It’s easy to imagine how such individualized user experiences can build relationships with leads and encourage them to become buyers when they’re ready.

Get a sneak peak of HubSpot3, which will roll out between now and early 2013. Get a jumpstart on next year’s marketing plans! eMail me at ellie@erbeckercompany.com for a demo.

Also...Learn more about generating leads online and download your free Lead Generation Tips here.

Lead Generation Tips

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Generation, HubSpot, HubSpot3

Online Lead Generation: Blogging Builds Business

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:06 AM

Online Lead Generation Blogging Builds Business  When I say, “Blogging Builds Business,” I say it   with certainty. Why am I so sure? Because, I’ve personally built business through blogging. For online lead generation, blogging is an undeniably powerful and essential tool.

With consistency – at least one post per week -- I’ve seen my website traffic grow continuously. I share my blog on social media and almost always offer another piece of content with each post via a call to action button. And my business has grown.

In fact, I’ve become so busy implementing inbound marketing programs for clients, that I’ve further proved the value of blogging to build traffic and help convert traffic to leads. This time it’s a negative proof.

As my blogging consistency has waned, so has my traffic and so has my online lead generation – dramatically. I know this because I track my marketing progress through my HubSpot analytics.

So, this week I’m doing what I recommend to my clients: Sit down at your computer and take a bit of time to share what you know about your business. In today’s marketing environment, content publishing is the Holy Grail. We ignore it or abandon it at our own peril, and that of our businesses.

Fortunately my online community, those I respect and whose blogs have inspired me in the past, reminded me that I just have to rededicate myself to my blog and online marketing efforts. Ironically today, both Chris Brogan and Mark Schaefer had posts that got me to sit down first thing and share these thoughts with you. Please be sure to read them for some great advice.

I expect that with a few extra blog posts, my traffic will build pretty quickly. I’m also going to spend part of today creating a new piece of content to offer on a new landing page to help my blog visitors engage with my company. These efforts will also make my site more enticing to search engines as they continuously seek fresh information to provide to those looking for it online.

Even as someone who understands and believes in the value of inbound marketing – and the critical role of blogging, I’m no different than any small business owner trying to take the best care of clients, while continuing to market and build business. These activities are not mutually exclusive and both are critical to success. So I stand by the advice that I offer to you and to myself. Start blogging. Keep blogging.

How will you get your online lead generation on track?

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The image Keep Up and Blog On is from the flickr photostream of futureshape under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Generation, HubSpot, Online Lead Generation

SEO Tips: It’s Easy to be on Google Page 1 With Zero Competition

Posted by Ellie Becker on Sat, Mar 31, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

This post diverts from the announced progression of my SEO series to lay out a cautionary tale about search and what to look for when you’re hiring SEO help. File it under ‘SEO Tips.’Zero Competition Gets You on Google Page 1

A friend and business colleague of mine called to ask for some advice. She’s starting a new venture on a shoestring budget and looking to put up a cost-effective website. Members of her circle were touting an outfit that creates inexpensive templated websites that look ‘pretty good’ but are ‘great for SEO’. Users, she said, were coming up on page one. She asked me to check them out.

When I reviewed this company’s client portfolio, I found that the age-old adage, “You get what you pay for,” still holds true. The template designs looked out-of-date and did not appear to provide the ability for customers to manage the sites after the fact, but required a maintenance package. Not where things are going these days.

What disturbed me more was the search engine optimization -- SEO -- claim. When I checked out the title tags for these sites, it did appear that someone was paying attention to SEO. Type the search terms into a Google search field and – bingo! The companies came up on Page 1 of search results for those terms.

That’s as far as most people go. They get all excited about seeing themselves on Page 1 of Google search. But here’s the kicker and an important SEO Tip: Run the term through the Google keyword tool and see if it actually gets any search. When I ran the Page 1 search terms this company optimized pages for through the tool, invariably they received no search.

It’s easy to be on Page 1 when there’s zero competition for a search term. But what does it get you in new traffic and potential leads – the objective of SEO? Zero.

 

While you're here, get our new, free Social media whitepaper!

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Image is from the Flickr photostream of Tim Green aka atouch under Creative Commons license.

Topics: SEO, Lead Generation, Online Marketing Strategy

Marketing Differentiation: How Canned Content Can Backfire

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Feb 01, 2012 @ 15:02 PM

In a highly crowded and competitive online world, marketing differentiation is critical. We must take the time to understand and communicate what we bring to the marketplace that is unique and important to our customers. This is especially important if we’re in industries where we may be perceived as ‘cookie cutter’ to begin with. Here’s a good example of how not to differentiate yourself!Canned Content Can Backfire for Marketing Differentiation

Yesterday morning at 11:32 an email came across my desktop with the intriguing subject line: Happy Groundhog Day – which it wasn't. At 12:19 a second email with the same subject line arrived. I thought to myself, why did this person send me the same email twice within a short time frame?

When I had time to actually read my emails later in the day, I realized that I had received the same identical email from two different financial advisors with two different companies. Both emails included a link to a cute flash card with another link to the identical message, personalized with my first name. Each of their cards was signed with their name with yet another link to a contact form if I wished to leave them a message.

It was obvious that these guys had bought a canned content and ‘lead generation’ program. At the bottom of their emails I found a tell-tale link to a website: ebriefme.com. The url took me to a site called eRelationship, obviously intended for people who need to generate sales.

The headline promised to ‘Increase Your Commissions’.  The site offers automated emails, what they call ‘Validity Generators’ (enewsletters, articles, and other content), ‘Likeability Generators’ (Cards like the Happy Groundhog Day one, 4th of July, birthday, etc.), Lead Generators (‘For those appointments you couldn’t close’).

Nowhere do they warn that a prospect might get exactly the same content from your competitor. The only good news in that possibility is that he or she will look like as big an idiot as you do.

Look everyone, I understand that this Inbound Marketing stuff takes time and it’s easy to be tempted by services that will provide you with ‘content’. But for marketing differentiation, your content really has to be different!

Did these guys validate themselves as knowledgeable? Did getting their twin emails make them more likeable to me? Did their effort generate a lead? The answer to all three is a great, big NO!! In fact, what it got them was a click on the ‘unsubscribe’ link.

And here’s the main point of all of this. The goal of content marketing is not to get your prospects to like you. It’s to get them to trust you. There’s no way I can trust someone who doesn’t respect my intelligence or who won’t take the time to understand who I am and what I need so that they can provide information that’s useful.

So differentiate your marketing for marketing differentiation!!

 

Learn more about how Inbound Marketing can help differentiate your business, build trusting relationships with your prospects and lead to more sales.

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The image is from the Flickr photostream of Timparkinson under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Strategy, Marketing, Lead Generation, Market Differentiation

Now: Free Online Marketing Check-up for Healthy 2012 Business Results

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 @ 19:12 PM

Green Check Mark   Have you spent the past year feverishly tweeting, posting on Facebook, and Linking In -- but not really knowing what it’s all getting you? Do you wonder what else you could or should be doing on the Internet to grow your business? Are you still not sure what this Inbound Marketing stuff is all about?

If you want to start the New Year with a better idea of how well you’re doing online and how to do better, try Marketing Grader. This new, free tool is from HubSpot, the company that – literally – wrote the book on Inbound Marketing.

Marketing Grader replaces Website Grader, which has measured the effectiveness and improvement of millions of sites since 2006. But online marketing is about much more than your website, today, so HubSpot has greatly expanded the tool.

Type your company’s url into Marketing Grader, enter your email address and in a few minutes you’ll see how your overall online marketing scores on a 100-point scale. (Higher is better.) It also provides separate scores for each of the three distinct activity areas of Inbound Marketing -- Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel and Analytics. These correlate to lead generation, lead nurturing/sales conversion and marketing improvement/ROI proofs. For an even bigger picture, you can compare your marketing with a few competitors’.

More than that, you’ll have an educational report of about 11 pages that steps you through the Inbound Marketing process and explains best practices to shoot for. If you haven’t yet taken the leap into social media, blogging or content marketing – not really understanding how it’ll help you – this may well give you the needed push!

The report shows you how you’re doing driving traffic to the top of the sales funnel, then converting traffic to leads and nurturing them through the middle of the funnel to closed sales. And you'll learn how well you’re analyzing your activities to help you improve your marketing and, ultimately, your business results.

At last you’ll see how everything fits together - social media, SEO, blogging, mobile, landing pages, calls-to-action, conversion forms, and analytics. Of great value are the statistics, best practices and tips that accompany each item in the report -- along with links to specific information to help you improve your scores.

As Inbound Marketers, we at E.R. Becker Company are thrilled about Marketing Grader. We’re already using it ourselves to analyze our overall marketing and to plan our 2012 growth strategy. We’ll be focusing on Middle of the Funnel activities to convert more of the substantial traffic we built in 2011 to leads and sales.

We’re sure that Marketing Grader can help you, too! Give it a try! Then come back and tell us what you think in the comments!

 

By the way...To help you get the most from Marketing Grader, access a Free Fact Sheet to learn how Inbound Marketing can help your business take off!

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Green check mark image is from PNASH's Flickr photostream.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Ellie Becker, E.R. Becker Company, Marketing Grader, Lead Generation

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